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Boys & Girls Club honors volunteers

Pranav Patel and Dennis Fore named Volunteers of the Year at board of directors luncheon in Newhall

Posted: December 17, 2008 8:36 p.m.
Updated: December 18, 2008 4:55 a.m.

John Mahaffey, govering board president (right), presents the Governing Board Member of the Year Award to board member Tom Dierckman.

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Volunteers at the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley not only share their talents and knowledge to benefit kids, but also share a good portion of their lives.

The clubs' board of directors honored several 20-year volunteer board members at the annual board luncheon on Dec. 9 at the Newhall Clubhouse and presented awards to people whose work exceptionally impacted the club.

"We recognize some special organizations who have assisted the club and foundation, and also some special people who have volunteered this past year," said Ivan Price, SCV Boys & Girls Club Foundation executive director.

Regional service director JR Dzubak honored board members Sheldon Allen, Gary Condie and Gary Saenger for 20 years of service on the board. Pranav Patel and Dennis Fore received Volunteers of the Year awards for participating in more than 11 fund-raising auctions. Tom Dierckman received the Governing Board Member of the Year Award and Craig Peters received the Foundation Board Member of the Year Award.

The William S. Hart Union High School District received the Sam Dixon Award for demonstrating tremendous commitment to the club. Keyes Lexus of Valencia received the Special Award for sponsoring the club's golf tournament fund- raising event since 2004. The Santa Clarita Studios also received the Special Award for providing equipment for the annual auction.

Jim Ventress, chief professional officer of the SCV Boys & Girls Club, said the annual board luncheon was an opportunity to thank the club's core of dedicated volunteers.

"As a nonprofit organization, we rely on volunteers to keep our organization going strong," he said.

The Boys & Girls Club of the Santa Clarita Valley provides after-school programs for more 3,600 kids at its three locations in the SCV. The programs engage kids in art, sports, recreation, fitness and leadership training. The club provides a safe place for kids to play, learn, do homework and make friends.

"We touch the lives of so many kids and their parents," Price said. "It's a safe place to come after school and parents know where they are. They're meeting their friends here. We have computer labs; we have art studios ... It provides venues for the kids to have a good learning experience."

The club's diverse programs create a need for community involvement.

More than 100 community leaders are involved with the club already, either volunteering on the board of directors or participating in special events.

"It takes a lot of time," said John Mahaffey, governing board president. "The volunteers on the board make decisions about what goes on in our three facilities (concerning) personnel, budget, how we're going to keep the facilities running, and how we're going to open new facilities, which is the goal. This year's been tough because of the money issues, and next year's going to be worse."

Mahaffey said the club is always looking for volunteers.

"We've invited more people from the community to try to keep this thing going," he said.
Bryan Lake, director of administration, said community members have overwhelming supported the club. "They see the value of what it offers their kids," he said.

Pat Allen has volunteered at the club since 1982, when she began organizing the club's fund-raising auction.

"We hardly have any trouble in this community because the Boys & Girls Club keeps (kids) off the street and out of trouble," she said.

Sheldon Allan, one of the 20-year volunteer board members, said the board tries to make the club's programs affordable for every child. "The program (fees) are flexible to meet the needs of the community." he said.

Children pay $36 a year for the club's services.

The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley is a member of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, an organization with more than 4,000 clubs nationwide.

The SCV club was formed in 1968 by a group of community leaders who recognized the need for high-quality programs and facilities at affordable costs for area young people, Ventress said.

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