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United Boys and Girls Club hands out honors at annual gala

boys and girls club gala
John Palminteri
The United Boys & Girls Club CEO Michael Baker (L) honors Tom Heath for leading the efforts to rebuild Camp Whittier for kids, after a 2017 fire. (Photo: John Palminteri)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The United Boys & Girls Club wrapped up the year with the Great Futures Gala Saturday night in the Rosewood Miramar Hotel Chandelier Ballroom. The event's title sponsor was the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.   The dinner sponsor was the Exxon Mobil Corporation.

CEO Michael Baker walked the room with the microphone to details all the accomplishments of the organization and those who have been key members in the efforts to service children from Lompoc to Carpinteria.   Representatives and supporters from each club were present.   This gala helps all the clubs in the United Boys & Girls Club group, and they individually also do fundraising.

Baker said the organization has vital needs and, "472 children enrolled  now  that either live in a foster home, a homeless shelter, a motel or their family is in the military.   Every child is on track to finish high school with a plan to go forward to the  military, the workforce  or a college."

96 percent of the members are currently on target to graduate from high school.  80 percent attend regularly.
The clubs offer a wide variety of programs,  including homework assistance, computers, cooking and nutrition,  recreation and field trips.

The highest honor, the  Jim Crook Service to Youth Award  went to  Tom Heath who is leading the rebuilding efforts of Camp Whittier after the Whittier Fire of 2017.  That destroyed some of the children's bunk houses.    The facility has been able to operate while the rebuilding efforts take place.    

Attendees were asked to wear blue to match the organizations sky blue logo.

Prior to the dinner, there were opportunities for cocktails and photos on the Miramar lawn at sunset.

As the guests arrived, they walked past a vintage 1955 GMC Cameo truck with the club's logo on the side.  It was donated and refurbished and is available for purchase through Milpas Motors as a donation to the club.
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Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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