The Guild Board of the Boys & Girls Club of Chicago (BGCC) presented the 11th Annual Lawn Ball at the Saddle and Cycle Club. The event is an opportunity to fundraise for the organization, and also to honor a student involved with the Club as Chicago Youth of the Year. This year’s honoree was Laura Ambriz, a rising senior at Jones College Prep.
Intelligent and humble, Ambriz immigrated from Mexico when she was six years old and shortly after joined the General Wood Club in Little Village. Her mother thought it would be a positive thing in her life and she has been with the organization ever since.
Ambriz credits the organization for allowing her to open up and be confident in who she is. “I was shy and afraid to try new things,” said Ambriz. However, over the years through being involved in activities through the Club such as theater, she was able to build that confidence and feel comfortable with “public speaking, make friends, and work as a team.” It seemed to have helped her in several facets of her life, and probably a motivator to speak out against bullying, an issue she is passionate about.
She has been involved with organizing meetings and workshops for her peers that touch on how to deal with bullying when it arises – as a participant and bystander. This is just one thing that illustrates why Ambriz was honored this year. Even though she modestly stated that all of her fellow peers were deserving of the honor as well, she took ownership of her the qualities that made her a strong candidate – this included demonstrated leadership and her hard work in the community. The 4.0 GPA student is also an active member of the Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) at her school and named president of the Keystone group within BGCC.
Don’t expect Ambriz to stop anytime soon! This summer she’ll be participating in business program sessions at University of Chicago upon the start of senior year. She ultimately wants to give back to her community in whatever way she can after she finishes her education. She said proudly that hopefully this includes one day working for BGCC.
The 1960’s Palm Beach themed Lawn Ball began with a VIP cocktail reception on the terrace and lawn sponsored by Lilly Pulitzer. A seated dinner followed the reception and led into a program that featured words from Guild Board president Chris Kirtley, event co-chair Christine Kommer, and Chicago Youth of the Year Laura Ambriz.
Kirtley stated that since joining the Board two years ago, he has been amazed by the passion and dedication of the members. He went on to describe the ways in which the Guild Board supports the organization, such as raising operating funds, volunteering, and participating in the ‘Afternoon at Work’ program (Club teens can visit real work environments and learn about future career opportunities).
“The Guild Board is committed to creating opportunities for the members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago,” sated Kirtley. “I am honored to serve as president of this incredible Board. It has truly deepened m appreciation for the work of Boys & Girls Club of Chicago, and the commitment of our Guild Board members supporting the cause.”
The Lawn Ball raised over $400,000 for the organization.
To learn more visit www.bgcc.org.