Fiesta gala kicks off its shoes at the Sandy Club
Kids gather before their dance performance at the Sandy Club Fiesta Gala. (Keyra Kristoffersen/City Journals)
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The stars came out to play on Thursday, May 11 at the Sandy Club, A Safe Place for Boys and Girls when they held their first gala to help raise funds for a new playground.
“It’s great,” said Tim Howells, member of the Sandy Club board of directors for the last seven years. “This is our first gala and we’re going to make it an annual gala. Having it here to introduce people to the facility and everybody I’ve talked to is extremely impressed. It’s a great building and serves a wonderful purpose.”
The fiesta theme and food seemed to brighten up the evening for many of the attendees as they socialized around the burrito bar and listened to Master of Ceremonies Craig Bolerjack, a commentator for the Utah Jazz, present the 2017 Dick Adair Scholarship, worth $1,000, to Maria Vidrio.
“You write an essay about what the club means to you and to your future. To me, it’s where I came after school, where I got help with homework I didn’t get at home. I know more about college and adult life,” said Vidrio, a student at Hillcrest High School. “My cousin came here first and then she told me about it. I’ve been coming since I was 12 years old.”
Vidrio is considering studying criminal justice because of her passion for criminology.
Attendees were even treated to a dance performance by several of the girls who spend their afternoons playing and studying at the club.
“I loved to watch the little girls smile as they danced and did their backbends,” said Krysta Lynn McClure, who came all the way from Utah County to attend. “One of my friends is one of the organizers and I wanted to support the event. I’m here supporting Sandy. I think it’s really great what they do and I think it’s great that the kids have someplace.”
Ashley England, brand new board member of only two months after leaving the board of nonprofit Charity Vision after three years, was very excited about the turnout of everyone who came to show their love and support for the Sandy Club.
“There are remarkable people involved in this. I love the authenticity of it and the genuine people. I have to do something locally. You meet the people here and you just fall in love with them.”
England helped secure the bid from Sonntag Recreation to build the new playground at an extremely discounted rate, which will serve children at the club as well as the Corner Canyon Academy Preschool, which rents space in the same building.
Sonntag Recreation has been designing playground projects in Utah and Idaho since 1980, including the Sierra Newbold playground in West Jordan, built in 2014.
“Tonight is part of the funding to get this put in,” said England. “They had to add four more tables in the last two days and there are 10 (people) at a table, which is amazing.”
The Sandy Club, a Safe Place for Boys and Girls is a safe environment, a place where children can socialize, play, exercise and get help with homework in order to succeed in life and grow into productive adults.
“Sandy Club serves 100 children after school every day,” said Joelle Brown, first vice chair on the board of directors. “We have 1,000 children living on the streets of Salt Lake between the ages of 14 and 21. It’s the largest number per capita of children living on the street. If we can help children at a young age, we can reduce homelessness in adults.”
Items, food and trips were donated for silent and live auction by local businesses to raise further money toward the playground and other projects.
“We were worried that we wouldn’t sell very many tables,” said Club Director Linda Martinez Saville. “Tonight so many people came to see the club that we sold a lot more than we ever thought we would. I am so glad that everybody came out, this is so awesome.”