Boys & Girls Club hosts its biggest fundraiser of the year

Kevin Clifford/Nevada Appeal

Kevin Clifford/Nevada Appeal

The Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada had its biggest fundraiser of the year on Saturday to support an organization many people say is an essential service for children and teenagers in Carson City.

The amount the event raised wasn't immediately available Saturday, but Hal Hansen, club director, said ticket sales for the 15th annual World's Best BBQ & Kids Auction were good. He said he just hoped bids on auction items would come in high.

The club hoped to raise at least $300,000 of its annual $1.75 million budget that night, Hansen said. Tables of items ranging from dinners to massages to jewelry to belly dance lessons were on display.

The money raised at the auction will go to operations including staff and activities, but the club also has almost enough for its biggest construction project - a new club at Russell Way and Northridge Drive.

Work started on the 12,600-square-foot club in fall 2005. It is scheduled to open in spring 2009. About $200,000 more is needed to finish.

The club and the city are planning a joint-use agreement between the club and the city's $9 million recreation center.

The club has about 1,600 children and teenagers as members. It runs education, social and mentor programs through its South Stewart building now.

Nijel Smith, 18, was a member of the club before he started working on staff there a little more than a year ago. He said he likes teaching children at a place where he learned a lot of things himself.

"It's cool helping out the kids," he said.

Sallie Wilson worked as a volunteer at the event Saturday night and said she was there because the club keeps children and teens away from bad influences, especially when parents are away at work.

"This is a wonderful cause," she said. "I really love this."

The club is important because members get good advice and the help they need, said Elizabeth Ridgel, who works at the Boys & Girls Club in Gardnerville.

They learn, she said, "how to get along better with kids or how to do their homework or how to play fair in a game. Just everyday skills that a kid needs."

Juan Guzman, a board member, said he got involved in the club six years ago because he's a parent himself.

"I think it's just really important to try to address many of their issues and keep them out of trouble," he said.

• Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.

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