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Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve to hold annual fundraiser

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve is holding its largest annual fundraiser, Aspire! 2020, on March 28. One of the highlights of the evening is the Dessert Dash. (Photo courtesy of Chad Harden Photography).

Legal News Reporter

Published: March 13, 2020

With numerous after-school and summer programs, Akron-based Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve continues to expand its efforts to assist at-risk youth.
“Eighty-four percent of our children are minorities who live in lower-income areas,” said Angela Sot, staff liaison at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve. “Last year we provided over 23,300 meals and more than 15,000 snacks to the kids during the school year and over the summer.”
A local branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio, the nonprofit organization began in 1984.
It was initially called the Boys & Girls Club of Summit County and was one of three urban sites chosen to participate in a national demonstration project testing the feasibility of bringing club programs to low-income housing areas designed by Boys Clubs of America and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Today the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve has three club facilities in or adjacent to Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority properties.
“Our programs focus on academic success, good character and citizenship and healthy lifestyles,” said Sot. “We offer kids help with their homework, provide meals and snacks and have a number of programs that keep the kids moving, teach teamwork and social skills.”
To help support its many offerings, the organization will hold its largest annual fundraising event on March 28.
Aspire! 2020 as it’s called features a host of activities, including dinner and a live/silent auction along with a performance by the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve Choir.
One of the highlights of the evening is the Dessert Dash.
“Prior to the event, we solicit local bakeries, businesses and grocery stores to donate decadent, signature desserts,” said Sot. “We display these desserts at the event so that guests have an opportunity to decide which dessert they hope to ‘dash’ for when it’s time.
“Each guest table has a Dessert Dash bag,” she said. “Throughout the evening, guests drop money into the bags and then volunteers go around, collect the bags and count the money. When the Dessert Dash begins, a guest from the table with the largest donation gets to ‘dash’ up to the table first. After the winning table goes, our emcee allows the remaining tables to dash up in order of their donation total. It’s so much fun and definitely a crowd favorite!” 
Last year’s Aspire! event attracted 385 people and raised more than $220,000. Sot said this year the organization is hoping to do even better.
In an email Executive Director Julie M. Johnson stated, “We are inspired by and truly appreciate the tremendous support our community provides each year for this event! Their generosity and dedicated commitment to our Clubs allows us to provide enriching, life-changing opportunities that enable Akron’s youth to grow and thrive.”
Aspire! 2020 gets underway at 6 p.m. on March 28 at St. George Family Centre in Fairlawn. Tickets cost $125 apiece, with the proceeds benefitting the organization.
The deadline to buy tickets is March 18. Anyone interested in doing so can log on to https://wrkids.org/aspire or call 330-773-3375.