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Founders of Local Boys & Girls Club Generate Support

Fundraiser at Firewater Inn

Aug. 22, 2010 By Christian Murray

The leaders of the Sunnyside-Woodside Boys & Girls Club held a fundraiser at a local pub Thursday night to help raise funds for the community’s children.

The fundraiser, held at the Firewater Inn on Skillman Ave., drew an audience of around 100 people and raised $2,000. Local supporters added to the club’s coffers by enjoying drinks on the outside deck.

Including Thursday, the group has raised $17,000 toward its ultimate goal of having its own club house, equipped with a gymnasium, computer lab and other facilities.  The group has received the help of a $5,000 grant from Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s office; $500 from the local Lion’s club; a fundraiser held by Liz Owens (in memory of her brother’s death) that raised $5,000; and proceeds from charitable giving at a recent street fair.

Residents are able to donate by going to

The group also has political clout. Asher Jacobs, a Van Bramer aide, has been part of the group since its inception. Meanwhile, Michael Gianaris (D), who is running to be this district’s next state senator, is a strong supporter, too.

“We’ve been in existence for nine months,” said Vincent Renda, the group’s chairman who is pleased with the club’s progress. “There’s been a lot of support.”

Renda said the group has already provided 12 neighborhood children with scholarships. Six children were able to attend the Variety Boys & Girls Club camp in Long Island City, while six others attended Sofia Geier’s Unity Stage (a non-profit) theater camp.

“While our long term goal is to have our own club [house], we realize that this doesn’t happen overnight,” Renda said.

He said the starting committee at the Variety Boys & Girls Club in Long Island City, a successful facility that Renda is modeling this club after, sent kids to various camps before it was able to cobble the funds together for its own club house.

The next fundraiser, according to Renda, will be a Dancing with the Stars-type competition, where well-known adults will be paired off with children and later judged. Although, the details are still yet to be refined, that is expected to be in November.


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marie owens

I just attended the “Dancing with the Stars benifit”. I was so impressed with the turnout, food, dancing and overall committment to the cause.
I was very proud to be there and support the Boys and Girls club.
It is a good feeling to be part of such a worthy cause.
When my daughter initiated a benifit for my son Tommy , it was such a good feeling that we raised 5000.00 dollars.
Hopefully you will be successful in all your fundraisers. We need something constructive for the children in the neighborhood so they do not fall into the triggers that are so counterproductive around us.

Thank you for organizing a wonderful evening. Marie owens


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