SPRINGFIELD (MassLive) – The 2nd Annual Reach for the Stars Luncheon and Alumni Hall of Fame Induction was held on Tuesday at the Sheraton in downtown Springfield.
The event gives the Springfield Boys & Girls Club the opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the accomplishments of its alumni while supporting the popular Saturday drop-in programs.
More than 100 attendees gathered to honor the seven inductees: George Caulton, Manny Fonseca, Tim Gallagher, Abe Moses, Tony Pettaway, Paul Samson and Lawrence Weekley.
Table sponsors for the event were Ellis Title Company, Freedom Credit Union and PeoplesBank. Program sponsors of the event were Bacon Wilson, Liz LaFond, Stavros, and Toner Plastics – Steve & Jean Graham.
Proceeds from the event benefited the Springfield Boys & Girls Club’s Saturday Drop-In Programs.
In 2014, the club served nearly 900 youth on Saturdays with an average daily attendance of 110 children, according to staff. Club members participated in programs including mentoring, basketball & other intramural sports, lacrosse, yoga, dance, swim lessons, Badges for Baseball, computer and financial literacy programs, college and career readiness activities. Art is also a popular activity at the club, as the ornaments placed as table centerpieces on the day of the event were created by club members.
“The club is one of the only youth service agencies in Western Massachusetts to offer an affordable drop-in program. We work hard to ensure our programs are accessible to all youth, keeping membership costs between $10 and $15 per year,” the Springfield Boys & Girls Club said in a statement. “We are also proud to be the only program that opens its doors on Saturdays at no additional cost to our members or their families. We believe that opportunities for youth to engage in positive enrichment activities on the weekend play a vital role in how their lives are shaped, and how they determine their future educational and career goals.”
Guests were first welcomed by Board Chair Kris Houghton. Executive Director Sarah Tsitso spoke about the Saturday drop-in programs and introduced the 2015 Youth of the Year, Jason Feliciano.
Feliciano gave a speech on his experience on the Club and how it has positively impacted his life.
Board member and alumni committee member Talia Gee then read the biographies of all the inductees and called them up to the podium where Feliciano asked each inductee a question asking how the club has impacted their life.
A resounding response form most of the inductees was that the club was their second home where they built lifelong friendships. Each inductee received an award that was a framed drawing of the club, which was created by one of the club’s members.