May 1, 2013 By Bill Parry
The Sunnyside/Woodside Boys & Girls Club raised about $1,500 on Saturday by holding a “Latin Dance Night” at St Teresa’s auditorium at 50-20 45th Street.
The club provided attendees with a DJ who spun Latin beats throughout the evening. Furthermore, the attendees were offered several trays of food prepared by local families and an open bar. Nearly 100 people participated, paying $25 each.
Proceeds went to help fund the club’s $30,000 per year programs.
The Sunnyside/Woodside Boys & Girls Club currently provides programs for nearly 150 children six days a week from September through June. “We’ve come a long way in just three years [since the club started],” said founder Mark Wilensky. “We keep kids off the streets, teach them leadership – but we need more in the way of donations.”
Membership fees currently cost $25 per child and the club has no intention of raising them. “It costs so much to raise a family in a neighborhood like this,” said Vincent Renda, the chairman of the club. “Donations are more important than ever.”
The club uses the facilities at St. Teresa’s and PS 199 for its programs but would like to build a permanent clubhouse at 48th Ave. and 42nd Street of its own. The construction project would cost upwards of $24 million. Renda said the club would need corporate donations and public grants to help make this happen.
The club’s big fundraiser is typically in November, when it hosts it annual “Dancing with the Stars” event, which is modeled after the popular TV show. Last year, about 350 people attended and more than $20,000 was raised.
“You can only do something on that scale once a year,” Renda said.