Approximately 220 golfers raised more than $160,000 at the 35th annual Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence (BGCL) Golf Tournament on June 16 at Indian Ridge Country Club in Andover. The golf tournament is one of BGCL’s largest fundraisers, providing a significant portion of the annual operating budget for critical programs focusing on academic success, healthy lifestyles, and community involvement for 3,400 youth members at two locations.
After a day of golf which also featured gifts, contests, raffles, and continuous refreshments, attendees enjoyed dinner and cocktails while bidding on dozens of silent and live auction items. The keynote speaker was 2010 BGCL Youth of the Year Greydy Diaz, who interned at NBC Sports before graduating in May from Fairfield University. Larry Yameen of Lawrence was recognized as chairman of the Golf Committee.
Markus Fischer, executive director of BGCL, said he is humbled by the kindness of community members whose generous sponsorships and donations of auction items “literally help keep our doors open.” Some of the highest sellers included golf for three with food and beverages on the exclusive TPC Boston; golf for four with carts at the Golf Club of New England in Stratham, N.H.; an autographed Ray Bourque jersey; and a Wachusett Mountain sky box package.
Other popular items included premier Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins, and New England Patriots tickets with fan experiences. Seven individuals donated to “In With Kids,” which provides a child with BGCL membership plus a hot meal every night. In addition, one lucky individual scored a hole-in-one during the helicopter ball drop, winning $2,500.
North Andover resident James Lacourse, a BGCL Board member, said he was honored to receive “The Originals” 2014 Volunteer Award recognizing his support of the golf tournament since its inception. He became involved with BGCL through his father, Julien Lacourse, who was a longtime supporter of Boys & Girls Clubs. Lacourse and his wife, Lisa, have five children and three grandchildren, but consider BGCL as their second family. After they lost their oldest son in March 1994, the Club responded by honoring his memory through the Christopher Lacourse Memorial Golf Tournament in 1995.
“Over the years, I’ve seen the Club do so much good for the youth in Lawrence,” said Lacourse, noting that he is moved and inspired each year when the keynote Club kid speaker describes the difference that BGCL has made in his or her life and future. “When you see the Greydy Diazes of the world, there’s no reason to ever stop supporting it.”
Windham, N.H. resident Joe Faro, owner of Tuscan Brands in Salem, N.H., said he decided to make his company a major sponsor of the BGCL Golf Tournament as an extension of his personal involvement. After learning about the Club about five years ago, Faro donated hundreds of Christmas presents for the annual holiday party. He said he became “100 percent hooked” after watching the unbridled joy with which more than 800 Club kids eagerly accepted toys, books, and stuffed animals from two Santa Clauses. He has continued to volunteer at the event alongside his wife, Samantha, and their three sons.
“The entire operation is impressive, but it's the kids who make the organization stand out,” said Faro, recalling that he was “completely blown away” when he toured the Club. “The mission speaks for itself.”
During the dinner program, Fischer further extended his gratitude to all the golfers, sponsors, donors, and volunteers.
“From the bottom of my heart,” he said, “thank you for all that you do for our kids.”
About the Boys & Girls Club of LawrenceThe Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence provides a safe, after-school haven for more than 3,400 youths (ages 7 to 18) to come for hot meals, homework help, fitness and nutrition programs, college and career planning, and lasting personal relationships. The club offers critical programs that focus on academic success, healthy lifestyles, and community involvement at two locations: the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence at 136 Water St., and the Beacon Boys & Girls Club at 71 Duckett Ave. For more information, visit www.lawrencebgc.com.