The Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham & Wakefield celebrated 50 years of building great futures at the Bill Chetwynd Memorial Gala.
On August 4th, the premier annual fundraising event of Greater Boston brought together 500+ for an evening that celebrated the past and looked towards the future. The event which took place at the Danversport Yacht Club was attended by a variety of supporters including community members, businesses, club alumni, and more. The evening featured moving testimonials from club members, the honoring of longstanding club supporters, a raffle and auctions to fund future programs, and the reveal of future plans for the clubs.
The event honored one of the Boys & Girls Club’s most dedicated supporters, Marc Trachtenberg. The tech entrepreneur and Chairman & CEO of Silk Title Co. inspired the hall with his passionate speech which received multiple ovations. He shared his own inspirational story and connected that to the mission of the Clubs.
Sharing “there are many charities out there that do incredible work, but this place is special. This is a place that provides kids with not only the necessary resources for success, but the opportunities to use those resources and grow as individuals. It is why I wanted to get involved on a level more than just writing a check.” He concluded his speech saying : “What you provide today in money and time, is an investment into the success of a child and the entire Boys & Girls Clubs of the future. The need is there for these kids, the drive is there for this organization, but it will take an investment from all of us to deliver on these lofty goals.” Watch Marc’s entire speech HERE.
During the event, a long standing supporter, Su Mansur was awarded the Cameron Bain lifetime achievement award for her years of invaluable support for the clubs. From music education to water safety training, Susan’s efforts have empowered the organization to launch enriching youth development programs that help members and their families thrive.
While the evening also featured special messages from former New England Patriot Devin McCourty, Congresswoman Katherine Clark, Minority Whip of the United States House of Representatives, and Congressman Seth Moulton, the real stars of the show were the club members who shared their moving testimonials.
The club’s youth of the year, Alanis, courageously shared an inspiring and emotional story about her journey to the clubs and what the clubs mean to her. “Like many kids, I came to the Boys & Girls Clubs as a young teenager. But I was not looking for a membership. I came looking for a job. I needed the job because I needed to help my family pay their bills. . .I was new to Stoneham. I didn’t fit in. I was Hispanic. I wore the same clothes multiple days in a row. I didn’t have a phone. I shared a bedroom with all my siblings.. . I was not accepted by anyone until I got to the Clubs. . . I finally felt like I had a home. Somewhere I felt safe, accepted, and loved. . .The best part was that for a few hours, I thought of nothing but the kids I was working with. When they were happy, I was happy.” Watch the full speech HERE.
The next testimonial was shared by Damon and Mia Kruppa from INspire Cafe. A few months ago, nearly 30 people were left unemployed and emotionally devastated when a local cafe that focused on providing meaningful work opportunities to adults of all ability levels closed. Determined to recreate an inclusive and empowering space, employees and their families joined forces with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham & Wakefield.
The pair shared their story about the importance of empowering and inclusive work spaces for people with varying abilities. The cafe and current pop-up slush stand “not only provides job relief but also serves as a platform for our amazing employees to shine. Here they can showcase their talents, engage with the community, and gain valuable customer service experience.” Watch the rest of Damon and Mia’s speech HERE.
The final testimonial was shared by Kylie, a club teen. She also bravely shared her story with the crowd. When she was younger, family troubles led her grandparents to step in and raise Kylie and her siblings. She shared how crucial the support the clubs have provided has been to her family. Kylie emphasized the positive impact made by relationships between club staff and youth. She shared “I love what the Clubs do for me. I love the staff. . .But do you know what I love the most? What I love the most is what they do for my little brother Georgie. My brother never touched an instrument and now he is obsessed because of Ricky. Ricky taught him guitar and drums. But Georgie loves Ricky and not because of the music he teaches, but because of the bond they have. And that bond is more important than any program.” Watch the rest of Kylie’s speech HERE.
The night emphasized the success of the past 50 years while looking towards the future. Some of the exciting future plans that were shared at the event include the club’s expansion into the Melrose and Saugus communities, the new partnership with INspire Cafe, and the plans for building the new Stoneham Club building. To stay in the loop with updates regarding these projects, follow the clubs on social media!
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Special thanks to Wakefield Community Access TV for all their hard work!
Watch the recording of the event HERE
View photos from the event HERE
View a full list of event sponsors HERE
View a full list of auction donors HERE