'Change' focus of Boys & Girls Club event

The theme for the Boys and Girls Club of Dundee Township's 13th annual dinner is "Change for the Kids." For over a dozen years that is exactly what this local organization has done - change the lives of thousands of kids. In 2008, it provided over 224 days of structured after-school programming at four Community Unit District 300 unit locations, reaching over 1,000 at-risk club members. In 2009, it has grown and has now expanded its services to six school-based units including three elementary schools, two middle schools and Dundee-Crown High School.

Club members from age 6 to 17 participate in programs which include a wide variety of activities. Youngsters can get homework assistance and reading and math enrichment. There are recreational opportunities and programs that build self-esteem, involve gang prevention and develop wisdom to make the right choices. New programs this year, like culinary arts and computer literacy training, will help deepen the skills of its young members.

This year, 43 percent of the 1,100 club members reside in homes with household income levels of $15,000 or less and are living below the poverty level. The mission, "To enable all young people, especially those who need us the most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens," is the cornerstone of the Boys and Girls Club of Dundee Township. It has seen much success with former members becoming good citizens, finding jobs, raising families, attending colleges and serving in the military. One such member and graduate of Dundee-Crown is currently studying at the London School of Economics.

The Boys and Girls Club of Dundee Township is a proven catalyst for change. But sadly something larger than pocket change is necessary to provide these services. You can help our community's future and have a good time too. Tickets are still available for the 13th Annual Dinner which will be held Friday, Nov. 6 at Randall Oaks Golf Club in West Dundee. For $150, you will get a dinner ticket for two and one reverse raffle ticket with a chance to win $5,000. (In a reverse raffle, you want your ticket to be the last one called. It's a unique concept but a lot of fun, hoping for someone else's number to get drawn and not yours.)

The event chair, Jane Bolz, has been working hard with Krysha Sorce, Julie O'Leary and Melissa Hernandez to gather lots of great prizes for both the silent and live auctions.

For sports lovers there are three pairs of Chicago Bulls tickets, two Bears tickets and four White Sox tickets with parking and a Dundee Township Park District season golf pass. Tom Yukuis of Butcher on the Block has donated 300 pounds of meat in a grilling package and I will bake 500 assorted Christmas cookies. You might bid on a weeks stay at Hilton Head, courtesy of Russ Morehead, or at a resort in Wisconsin, courtesy of Jim Krenz. There will also be baskets filled with goodies relating to a specific theme that will apply to golfers, geeks and gardeners. There will be a Taste of Dundee basket and some baskets for coffee lovers, spa devotees and fitness enthusiasts and even a "booze" basket for that someone special.

This is all a lot of fun but the best part of the evening will be getting a chance to see the special video of our own youngsters talking about how much the Boys and Girls Club of Dundee Township has made a change in their lives and to meet this year's Youth of The Year. For information, call (847) 551-4309.

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