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Local Boys & Girls Club Holds Fundraiser

Brent O’Leary, Vanessa Lockel, Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, Vinny Renda (Photo: QueensPost)

Oct. 26, 2010 By Christian Murray

More than 30 residents joined forces to raise money for a local Boys & Girls Club last Friday – as momentum for the club grows.

The residents attended what’s known as “Happy Hour with Purpose”, where the group met for drinks at Bar 43 in Sunnyside, and raised money for the club.

The event, which was led by Vinny Renda and James Arbona, was the second “Happy Hour with Purpose” held by the group. Two months ago, there was one at the Fire Water Inn on Skillman Ave.

This time, the group raised more than $600.

To date, the Boys & Girls Club founders, which began their quest about a year, have raised about $18,000. Their goal is to have their own club house, equipped with a gymnasium, a computer lab and other facilities.

“There is a shared, growing concern that in our community children today don’t have the same resources that previous generations were afforded,” Renda said. “We believe we need a structural setting to equally guide both the basketball players and scientists of tomorrow.

The group has received a $5,000 grant from Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s office; $500 from the local Lion’s club; $5,000 from a fundraiser held by Liz Owens (in memory of her brother’s death); and proceeds from events/ and other charitable giving.

Residents are able to donate to the group by going to

Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (District 36)—who is a strong favourite to win the NYS senate District 12 seat next week—was in attendance. He was at the Fire Water Inn event two months ago and has been actively involved with the group for months.

Renda is in the midst of organizing the group’s next fundraising event – Dancing with the Stars. The event will be held on Saturday, Nov. 20, at St. Raphael’s School Auditorium.

More details to come.

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