“Wizard Of Oz” Themed Auction Raises More than $100,000 for Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence County

(BEDFORD) – Supporters of the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence County had the courage, heart, and brains to invest in Lawrence County’s youth.

Many supporters attend the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence County “Wizard of Oz” themed event Saturday evening.

Supporters invested in the future workers, firefighters, police officers, doctors, lawyers and many other occupations in Lawrence County and beyond. Their money will pay off in greater dividends in the young lives of Lawrence County’s future.

Investing in the future of a child will pay dividends in the years to come.

The evening started with guests escorted by “Wizard of Oz” themed characters such as the Witch of the West played by Mckenzie Wigley, Glenda Good Witch played by Olivia Johnson, Dorthy – played by Emma Landstrom, Tinman – played by Ramzi Girgis, Scarecrow – played by Isaiah Wray, and the Lion – played by Davis Miller.

Witch of the West – Mckinzie Wigley, Glenda Good Witch – Olivia Johnson, Dorthy – Emma Landstrom, Tinman – Ramzi Girgis, Scarecrow – Isaiah Wray, Lion – Davis Miller

Bedford Mayor Shawna Girgis and Boys and Girls Club Of Lawrence County board member opened the celebration by singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” taking supporters to a place where they could ponder the dreams of these small children that they would be helping by making some of their dreams become a reality.

Bedford Mayor Shawna Girgis sings “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to open the event.

The many programs offered at the Boys and Girls Club would not be possible without the community’s support and volunteers.

Some of the programs include Chef’s Hat. The program brings cooking education to children. With your help, they will be provided with the tools and training to learn cooking skills.

Nearly 13 million children nationwide experience some level of food insecurity, and 30 million young people rely on free or reduced-price school lunches. At the Boys & Girls Club, 85 percent of the children receive free or reduced-price meals at school.

This program gives the Club an opportunity for healthy snacks and meals to members and promotes healthy eating habits.

The art programs at the Club allow the youth to access imagination and creativity to express themselves and builds a connection with others in their community through painting, drawing, designing jewelry and decoupage.

Homework Help helps Club members ages 5-18 achieve academic success by providing homework help, tutoring, and high-yield learning activities and encouraging members to become self-directed learners. This program is attended by approximately 60 youth, at the Limestone Unit each day.

Triple-Play is a comprehensive health and wellness initiative and strives to improve the overall health of members, ages 5-18, by increasing their daily physical activity, teaching them good nutrition and helping them develop healthy relationships.

STEM is a commitment of the Boys & Girls Club in closing the opportunity gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics(STEM) with innovative and creative programs, activity ideas for the youth they serve.

After-school and the summer learning environments provide unique opportunities to advance STEM knowledge and increase interest in STEM-related careers.  The program continues to grow year after year.

Gardening Club is a year-round program that increases awareness of the environment, natural resources, ecology, conservation, composting and recycling. Help raise standardized test scores, especially in science. Encourages creativity through observing the cycles of life. This program helps develops leadership skills.

Some of the items donated during the silent auction.

There are many other things that need financial support such as the upkeep and maintenance of the facilities. Safety at the facility has also required additional needs which means that more than $30,000 goes to Resource Officers.

Bedford Police Officer Morgan Lee talks of the wonderful feeling of being part of the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence County Programs.

The Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence County makes sure safety remains a top priority, as the world continues to change and the club is prepared for anything that could possibly happen.

Resource Officers provide education on bullying, drugs, and crime furthering the education of members outside of school in a safe environment. Officers from the Bedford Police Department and Lawrence County Police Department provide the officers, and the officers try to engage with the members playing ball, cards and other activities allowing students to have a better perception of law enforcement.

The Lollipop Guild consisted of Oliver Roach, Marcus Meadows, Bear Browning. The Lullabye League was played by Adalynn McIntosh, Zoey Roach, and Lilly Scott. Mayor: Bella Landstorm

The Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence County needs financial support all year round and not just during fundraising events. Any contribution is greatly appreciated – large or small. In addition, there are many volunteering opportunities available in the After School Programs, Athletics, Concessions, Facilities, and Special Events.

Each year the club’s board of directors uses this event to offer a sincere and public acknowledgment for some of the organization’s most loyal and dedicated supporters. In keeping with the theme of this year’s festivities, they selected awards that are trademark characteristics of the Wizard of Oz characters we all know and love from the classic film. Officials acknowledged a few of the many deserving individuals that contribute to the overall strength and health of the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence County. Each of them has made unique contributions and have demonstrated a true commitment to the community and to the youth that is served by this great organization.  

The Lion Award – Demonstrate Courage

The two individuals that are this year’s recipients of the Lion Award will come as no surprise to any of you. They are definitely a force to be reckoned with when they come together to support a worthy cause or to lend a hand of support to someone in need.  In addition to having served multiple terms on the board of directors, they have planned and organized fundraising events and programs and worked tirelessly to ensure the club has the resources it needs for the members.  They exhibit the true characteristics of having strong loving and giving hearts and their support of the Boys & Girls Club spans multiple decades resulting in a tremendous impact on the growth and development of multiple generations of young people within the community.  If you have the opportunity to talk with them about their passion for the club or why they continue to remain involved in helping to meet the needs of the organization, it only takes a few seconds to get a sense for the passion and dedication that they have for serving kids and to get a glimpse into the emotional connection that they feel to the club’s mission.  As long as there are children in our community that need a place to go after school and that need the impact of a caring adult in their lives, these two community leaders will be working tirelessly to ensure the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence County remains open and available to each and every child.  

Dr. Jim Sowders and Ms. Pam Evans were presented the Courage Award.

Courage Award Recipients Pam Evans and Jim Sowders

The Tin Man Award – Have a Heart

The next award was the Have A Heart Award and it is being presented to a business owner and community leader that can be counted on to come through with a solution when there is an urgent need or challenge identified.  He has demonstrated his commitment to the boys and girls of Lawrence County through his assistance and support in helping multiple directors overcome technology hurdles in order to serve the club and its members.  He is a quiet and effective force that drives initiatives and works hard to give back to the community and quite honestly, he would much rather do all of that behind the scenes with little or no fanfare. In addition to serving on the board of directors since the time following the merger, he has been instrumental in the success of this annual auction and the annual Ugly Duck Derby.  Although I have described him as a man with quiet effectiveness, he is willing to put himself out there and speak up when the situation calls for it, and when the cause is important to him.  His support to the club has enabled improved connectivity, access to greater technology, and increased security for Lawrence County’s youth.  

For these reasons and many more, congratulations and thank you to Mr. Ryan Sullivan, recipient of the Lion Award for his continual demonstration of courage in support of the club.  

Heart Award Recipient Ryan Sullivan

The Scarecrow Award – Demonstrate Brains

The next award is the Demonstrate Brains Award and was presented to a dedicated leader and influential community executive that has been much of the brains and leadership of the Club board since the merger. “Scare” crow is by far not a term to describe her part in leading the former Boys and Girls clubs to combination years ago.  She took on the task and used her wits and intelligence to help make the dream a reality, pushing the clubs into a much- needed combination.  She did so while also helping save the rich history of both organizations.  The combination was necessary for multiple reasons, therefore she was not going to let either club fail to continue to serve the area.  Both clubs supported the mission to help the local youth become productive, healthy, and happy members of the community and the combination would stabilize the situation so both boys and girls would continue to be mentored and guided to future success.  She has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the club since the merger by staying at the helm of the board through many different phases of internal leadership.  Her skillset always helped guide the team to the right CPO selection for the next phase of the club and her mentoring skills guided the new CPO in the right direction time and time again.  Many times, day or night she was required to operate behind the scenes using her experience and talents to help solve many problems and help guide club leadership through good and bad situations.  Both her executive presence and communication abilities are reasons that she was able to always offer reasonable solutions and provide calm to any interaction. 

Ironically, she even achieved her Ph.D. while serving as the president continues to prove why she deserves this award and further adds to her personal repertoire of resources she can provide to the club.  The Club could not have asked for a better, “smarter”, board president for the Club and the Club is very fortunate to have all her talents and experience to guide officials.  

For these reasons and many more, congratulations to the Club’s fearless “brainy” leader Mrs. Angie Lewis, the recipient of the Scarecrow Award for her continued leadership and guidance in support of the club now and into the future.  

Dr. Angie Lewis received the Brains Award she was unable to attend but the Lollipop Guild and Lullabye League accepted the award on her behalf.