With more than 200 parents, officials and youngsters packing a meeting room at the Piñon Plaza, the Boys & Girls Club of Nevada gave back a bit of the appreciation it gets from the community.
The event Thursday evening was the second annual Boys & Girls Club Youth Community Awards Dinner, which celebrates the volunteers and donors who make the club a vital resource for children in Carson City.
Club member Bonnie Gowan entertained the crowd with an interpretive ballet. Dressed in bright costumes, the Cultural Dancers from Empire Elementary School performed a trio traditional Hispanic dances.
Children ran through the throngs as their parents tried to correct them, while the adolescents gathered in tight knots in the hall.
About 225 people participated in a room set for 160. Some guests gave up their seats for families, and the Piñon Plaza staff rushed to accommodate the crowd.
"These parents are proud that they're kids are getting recognized," said Cathy Blankenship, executive director of the club. "We have lots of family here. That's what the Boys and Girls Club is all about."
Angel Vasquez, a shy 10-year-old, said he liked being at the Boys and Girls Club with his friends and he likes the staff.
"They help me do my homework," he said. "Sometimes, at the end of the month, we get money to go to the store and buy toys."
Tim Holdsworth, a mentor at the Club's Mentor Center, was named volunteer of the year.
"He volunteers with two programs," Blankenship said. "He's a reading tutor at Empire Elementary after school and through that, he found out about the Mentor program."
Employee of the year was the Club's athletic director Zane Cole.
"He's our athletic director and he puts in long hours, especially in the summer," Blankenship said. "But more than anything, he's so positive and upbeat."
Bonnie Gowan, a member of the club for 18 months, was named youth of the year.
"She lives at the club. She doesn't just hang out," Blankenship said. "She's very active."
JJ's Ear Candy received the service award for providing awards for the clubs' the youth of the month.
The Nevada Appeal received the marketing award for enhancing the visibility and programming through its efforts and the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, a state entity, won the program excellence award for its continued support of a drug prevention program despite budget cuts.
"We have the only drug prevention program in Carson City funded by the BADA," Blankenship said.
A private nonprofit organization, the club serves more than 2,000 community youth through programs involving everything from the fine arts to golf, field hockey and homework.
Funded through local, state, federal and private organizations, the Club serves an average of 500 children daily with a budget of about $1.3 million and help from many individuals and organizations.
Contact Susie Vasquez at email@example.com or 881-1212.