October 7, 2017
Three hundred and fifty community supporters came dressed to impress in vintage Cuban-style attire to celebrate Big Brothers Big Sisters’ (BBBST) annual BIG Gala, Havana Nights. Emcee for the evening was KGUN9 news anchor, Stella Inger. The auctioneer was none other than KGUN9’s traffic reporter, “Big Al” Kath.
Havana Nights raised $131,000, which will support the organization’s mission of providing positive adult roles modes for at-risk youth in Tucson and across Southern Arizona. BBBST currently serves 560 matches – each comprised of a “Big” and a “Little” – through a variety of specialized one-to-one mentoring programs.
Havana Nights was held at Loews Ventana Canton Resort in Tucson. The evening’s program included honoring The Centurions for their donation of $102,500 to support BBBST’s mentor2.0 program, a technology-enriched one-to-one mentoring program now in its second year at Amphitheater High School. The money raised by The Centurions and donated to BBBST fundamentally changes the lives of Tucson’s youth – and consequently the larger Tucson community – for the better, forever.
Also honored during the BIG Gala was Chandler Warden, President of the Bert W. Martin Foundation, philanthropist and artist. Mr. Warden’s creativity and generosity took what started as a photography outing for “Bigs” and “Littles” by Parks in Focus, and turned it into the gallery-style book titled Hues of Heaven: The Glory of Tucson Sunsets. The book features stunning sunset photography captured by BBBST matches with additional submissions from Mr. Warden’s own collection. Mr. Warden created the book and published one thousand copies for BBBST to offer donors who make gifts of $100 or more.
Attendees joined to watch Little Brothers and Little Sisters hand deliver Hues of Heaven books to bidders who raised their paddles as “Big Al” Kath encouraged guests to make a donation. Donations ranged from $5,000 to $100. Both the silent auction and the live auction had guests on their feet bidding on items from steak knives to a one week stay in an elegant bed and breakfast in the heart of Havana.
Comcast NBCUniversal was also gratefully acknowledged for collaborating with BBBST to launch Tucson’s first “Beyond School Walls” program, where Comcast employees volunteer to meet several times a month with their “Littles” from Prince Elementary School to do homework together, play games and have fun. Comcast also organizes interesting and fun field trips to the Comcast workplace, giving “Littles” the opportunity to see the corporate world up close.
Entertainment included a special performance by Cuban-inspired dance troupe, TucSon Casineros, and local artist Crystal Stark singing to the beat of Grupo Manteca. Guests enjoyed a cigar lounge, casino play and 1950’s vintage automobiles shined to perfection. After a dinner of Cuban-inspired fare, Big Brother Tony Gale and Little Brother Antonio shared their match story followed by the experiences of Big Sister Rebecca Cohen and Little Sister Aliya.
August 10, 2017
Fry’s Food Stores’ “Round-Up” campaign and Coin Canister Program raised $14,186 to support the one-on-one youth mentoring programs of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson (BBBST). This is the second year that Fry’s has partnered with BBBST to improve the lives of children facing adversity in Southern Arizona.
Fry’s Food Stores’ continues to support of BBBST’s vision that all children achieve success in life impacts the entire community. Studies show that one-to-one mentoring relationships significantly enhance self-esteem, relationship building skills and educational success in youth, helping them reach their highest potential individually and in the community. BBBST currently supports over 500 children each year and is committed to increasing that number annually. Only through partnerships with organizations like Fry’s Food Stores can it continue to reach its goals.