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Board of Directors Gather for Annual Meeting and Honor the Vincent C. Mastrofrancisco Partners in Pr

On the morning of May 15, the Board of Directors of the Boys Girls Clubs of Schenectady (BGCS) gathered at Mohawk Golf Club for their annual meeting with much business to address.

The 2018 Youth of the Year was announced – Thalia Maynor, a junior at Schenectady High School and member of the Steinmetz Homes affiliate of BGCS. A member since she was six-years-old, Thalia embodies the culture of the Boys & Girls Clubs and continues to exceed staff expectations. Read more on Thalia today!

Also announced on Wednesday was the recipient of the 2018 Mary Ann Hogan Memorial Scholarship, Alexander George Gonyea. Board Member Tom Isabella created this scholarship to honor the memory of his late wife in 2013. Read on to learn more about Alexander and Mary Ann Hogan whose generous spirit this scholarship annually honors.

Executive Director Shane Bargy and BGCS staff enthusiastically awarded the following recipients for the 2018 Vincent C. Mastrofrancisco Partner in Program Awards:

Holly Litz and Linda Testa from the Rotterdam Board of Managers were awarded the 2018 Vincent C. Mastrofrancisco Partners in Program Award for their incredible commitment to the success of the Rotterdam affiliate of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady, which serves approximately 160 kids daily. Each year, Holly and Linda partner with a committee of volunteers to plan every detail of the annual Winter Gala, formerly the Dinner Dance, continually providing a fun evening and successful fundraising event. Holly Litz was also awarded her 5 Year Service Award and Linda Testa awarded her 20 Year Service Award. Their commitment to the Rotterdam Club is endless and we are so appreciative of the time and treasure they devote to our Club and our Club kids!

The next recipient of the 2018 Vincent C. Mastrofrancisco Partners in Program Award is Town of Rotterdam Town Clerk Diane Marco, also on the Rotterdam Club Board of Managers for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady. Diane Marco has supported the Club for many years and donates every marriage fee to the Rotterdam affiliate. Her commitment on the Board of Managers includes her role on the planning committee of the annual Winter Gala, Rotterdam’s premiere fundraising event. Diane Marco also received her 20 Years of Service Award at this annual meeting. We are so very honored to have the commitment of Diane Marco to our Club kids!

Honored next for the 2018 Vincent C. Mastrofrancisco Partner in Program Award was our fabulous trio from Blizzard Bowl at Boulevard Bowl, owner Mike Scaccia and volunteers Sharon Sager and Lori Jones. The Blizzard Bowl is a five-week competitive adult bowling tournament held annually at Boulevard Bowl with over 100 teams participating. This tournament, started by Mike’s father 24 years ago, is an incredible undertaking with various planning elements including score sheets, brackets, raffles and more! In 2018, when the BGCS staff person who typically led this fundraising tournament became ill unexpectedly, the Boys & Girls Clubs staff were anticipating that would be the end to this tournament. To our surprise, these incredibly passionate individuals picked up the reins and made it all happen! We are so incredibly appreciative that the Blizzard Bowl continues as an annual tournament and has raised over $80,000 in its 24-year history!

In September of 2018, Foresters Financials sponsored the new playground at Steinmetz Homes Club, part of the Steinmetz Housing Unit on Henry Street. This project was completed thanks to a partnership with the Municipal Housing Authority, KaBOOM!, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady and would not be possible without the support of Foresters Financial. Not only did Foresters fund this project – the 149th playground they funded nationally in partnership with KaBOOM! - but Jonathan also served on every committee including the planning committee, design committee and volunteer committee. When it came to Build Day, his team brought in more than 100 volunteers, acquired supplies in support of the volunteers, and was happy to jump in with moving mulch, mixing concrete and whatever else was needed to make this a successful day! This incredible playground will provide much needed safe outdoor play for hundreds of kids for many, many years – but they did not stop there! Foresters then provided bags of school supplies for our kids! We are grateful to the Foresters Financial team! Jonathan Wilsey, Assistant Vice President of Foresters Financials, and Mark Esslie, Senior Associate, received the next Vincent C. Mastrofrancisco Partners in Program Award on behalf of Foresters Financial Services for this incredible contribution and undertaking!

Next, Senator George A. Amedore Jr. received the Vincent C. Mastrofrancisco Partners in Program Award for his support of a 2018 allocation of $225,000 among eight New York State Boys & Girls Clubs from the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). As co-chair of the Senate Task Force on Heroin at that time, Amedore was able to act quickly in response to this prevention proposal that provides prevention strategies for drug use to align with the intervention and treatment strategies currently implemented. This prevention strategy, presented by The New York State Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs in conjunction with eight Clubs statewide, included the support of a mental health survey, SMARTMOVES program and case management for our most desperate kids. The results of these strategies are incredible with the vast majority of youth members participating remaining drug-free and a large portion of them improving on their mental health screenings. Thanks to the support initiated by Senator Amedore, the initiative was funded again for Boys & Girls Clubs statewide and managed by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady.

In 2018, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady was incredibly fortunate to secure the Lowe’s Renovation Across the Nation (RAN) grant through the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for $50,000 to provide much-needed renovations to the Rotterdam affiliate of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady. Michael Wurst of the Niskayuna Lowe’s store toured the Rotterdam Club and quickly calculated that the $50,000 grant, with a limit of $10,000 allocated to labor, was not going to come near what was needed to make all the necessary updates for a safe, clean and inviting environment for our youth members. Michael rallied the support of eleven additional stores in the capital region and designated this project as the Lowe’s Heroes project of 2018, each store providing an additional $2,500 per store! With the assistance of BBL Construction Management, over 50 Lowe’s Heroes volunteered over the course of a month and executed an amazing transformation to the Rotterdam Club – for this, the Lowe’s stores of the Capital Region received the Vincent C. Mastrofrancisco Partners in Program Award.

Our final recipient of the Vincent C Mastrofrancisco Partner in Program Award is The Auxiliary of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady! This group of amazing and passionate women have been instrumental throughout the history of BGCS. Auxiliary members are the cream-of-the-crop when it comes to organizing events, raising money and advocating for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady. In 2018, for the 30th year, the Auxiliary planned and implemented a stellar Fall Fling & Auction raising more than $74,000. The Auxiliary beautifully orchestrated every detail of the Fall Fling, our signature fundraising event, resulting in an incredible evening enjoyed by all attendees and raising necessary funds to meet our mission! The Auxiliary also executes an annual Youth Fund appeal and has pledged $50,000 to the Building Great Futures for Schenectady’s Youth Campaign.

Vincent C. Mastrofrancisco was an admired member of the Boys & Girls Clubs family for more than 60 years. Working up from a program position, he became the third Executive Director in 1957 and held that position until 1986. Mastrofrancisco’s hard work and dedication to Schenectady’s youth was instrumental to laying the foundation for the success of the organization today. He is a legendary figure in our organization’s past and we are pleased to continue to honor his memory with our annual Vincent C. Mastrofrancisco Partners in Program Awards. This award highlights the partners who, in a given year, have helped us to inspire and enable Schenectady’s young people to reach their full potential!

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