Smiling faces of children greet you at the door and music entices you further inside. A giant moon hangs above globe string lights, creating a cozy Italian milieu. Event Coordinator and active member for over ten years, Melissa Gough made sure it was a night the audience wouldn’t forget and she succeeded. “It’s all about the kids. We do what we can and we’ll do whatever we need to do to get the money that will keep our programs going,” Melissa exclaims.
Deckers Headquarters (the parent company of UGG and Teva among other shoe brand giants) was the backdrop for a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara. For thirty-one years, the organization has been serving not only youth but families across the community through programs including after school tutoring, learning social skills, and proper nutrition. Melissa explains a reality and the importance of supporting the cause, “sometimes the meals we feed the kids are the only meals they get.” With membership fees at just $40, and not wanting to increase fees for families, additional money is greatly needed to run programs.
Former CEO Sal Rodriguez has been active in the club since 1956, working every position from volunteering as a teen to 14 years as the CEO. He proudly speaks on the organizations growth over the years, “The first year we raised $25,000 and have gone up to$327,000 over thirty-one years.” He reflects on the annual fundraisers, “They bring a lot of memories and help the legacy continue.”
Silent and live auction items were scooped up by gracious bidders, raising thousands of dollars by the second. Deckers opened shop and donated 20% of sales from the evening to the cause. The giving spirit was all around.
The Boys & Girls Club is a savior for parents as well, allowing working adults to earn money to support their family with the confidence of knowing their children are safe and taken care of. Over 5,000 kids have been impacted by the local organization and the loving kindness of the Santa Barbara community ensures even more will be helped. Support, encouragement, hope and confidence are just a few qualities children and parents achieve when involved in the Boys & Girls Clubs. And it starts with people like you.