Gala celebrates and raises funds for area kids

141
Laura May, BGCMW Director of Resource Development (middle) with Avidia President and CEO Mark O’Connell and Janel Maysonet, Avidia SVP, Chief Marketing Officer.

Region – Each fall, the Boys & Girls Clubs of MetroWest (BGCMW) hosts a highly anticipated fundraising event, raising thousands of dollars for its programs. This year, the 15th annual Bids for Kids Auction & Gala was held online Nov. 5, due to the pandemic. While an online event does not hold quite the excitement of an in-person event, it nonetheless still had an energetic buzz, as supporters logged on, raising nearly $115, 000.  

BGCMW provides social, educational, physical and cultural programming for over 6,200  boys and girls in the MetroWest area at its three locations in Hudson, Framingham and Marlborough. Fifty five percent of the kids qualify for free or reduced price school lunches. Sixty percent live in single-parent households. 

Programs focus on character and leadership, education and career, health and life skills, sports, fitness and recreation, and arts. While those programs enrich the lives of the kids, it also provides a safe, warm environment, which in this year of the coronavirus, has been more important than ever. 

“It has definitely been scary and traumatic,” Chris Duane, the organization’s president & CEO, said during the online event. She noted that the club’s three locations had closed during the early days of the pandemic but were now open again. 

“Kids need a place where they can just be kids,” she said. 

Several of the kids appeared on the online event, eloquently sharing just why this organization is so vital to them.  

One young girl, Isabella, noted that she had missed her friends and “being on the bus” during the shutdown. 

But there were also important lessons she had learned about from the club, she said, such as “not being mean”. 

Other kids spoke about the positive impact the clubs had made in their lives, so much so, that they are now counselors there. 

During the ceremony awards were presented to two honorees. 

State Sen. Jamie Eldridge (R-Acton) (l) and Chris Duane, President & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of MetroWest

State Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) was presented with the Michael C. Sullivan Award. In the spring of 2019, Eldridge, on a visit to the Marlborough Clubhouse, saw the need for improvements to the inside infrastructure. He advocated for the club and was successful in earmarking $200,000 for updates. 

The Community Partner for Youth Award was presented to Avidia Bank for their ongoing support for the past 25 years. 

“At every turn, Avidia Bank has been there supporting us, advocating for us, and helping us to meet the needs of our local communities,” the organization noted in its Gala book.  “Avidia Bank stepped up in a new way by building a relationship between [pro football player] Stephen Gilmore, Avidia and the Boys & Girls Club of Metrowest.” 

Receiving the award on behalf of Avidia was President and CEO Mark O’Connell and Janel Maysonet, SVP, Chief Marketing Officer. 

Photos/submitted