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The Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania is on a mission to ensure that every child has the opportunity for a safe place to learn and grow. Their eight clubs around the greater Pittsburgh area serve as a safety net for more than 7,000 local children who when school is out, might otherwise be left to find recreation and companionship in the streets. The clubs partner with parents and teachers in protecting our city’s most valuable resource, our youth; with a focus on building their confidence, character, choices and future.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania are gearing up for their annual Nellie King Golf Classic to be held June 7th at Sewickley Heights Golf Club. It is the 39th year for the fund raising event and this year’s event chair will be former Pittsburgh Steeler Quarterback, Mike Tomczak.  Recently Blacktie-Pittsburgh had a chance to catch up with Mike and learn more about why he feels the Boys & Girls Clubs are so important for our community.

Where you a Boys & Girls Club member when you were a child? No – however my Father was heavily involved in the community, park district and the high school as a mentor to many and a role model to me and my siblings. During those early years of my life, I interacted with so many diverse kids while at camps guided by my Dad.  I witnessed firsthand how much he cared about the development and discipline needed for each child as a foundation for growth. I remember him saying, “Sometimes the eye is a better teacher than the ear.” By observing the impact that others make on youth, it leaves a lasting impression as you continue to evolve.

Why did you choose to become so active with the Boys & Girls Clubs in our area? I had an opportunity to have lunch with Mike Hepler, Executive Director of the clubs and former club members, Tom Samuels and Larry Werner, about 12 years ago. During that hour and a half, I was moved by the commitment these gentlemen shared about the clubs and the life changing moments they all experienced during their time there. I also was able to witness the Dapper Dan flag football games played at Three Rivers Stadium while I was a member of the Steelers and saw firsthand the excitement each participant displayed while competing on such a big stage. To be able to share that caring attitude gave me a sense of satisfaction and gratitude. The Boys & Girls Clubs present a vital haven for so many kids to be welcomed into a positive culture.

Do you have a favorite Boys & Girls Club program? My good fortune of participating in two Super Bowls with Chicago (Super Bowl XX) and Pittsburgh (Super Bowl XXX) certainly was a highlight of my professional career. Any time you accomplish the pinnacle of sports in a group setting it takes on special meaning. The efforts and commitment of so many players forge a bond for a long, long time impacting so many lives in various ways.  Because of this, I'm a fan of all the sports team leagues the Boys & Girls Clubs have to offer.  They all play a large part in the camaraderie and development of youth through various activities. The summer camps are the biggest benefactor from our golf outing though. All the proceeds are used to offset the funds we need to provide the many programs at these camps. I've heard feedback from staffers and campers stating it were the best summer they ever experienced.

How does this annual Nellie King Golf Classic help the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania? Proceeds will support to provide summer camp opportunities for inner city youth. Each of the 8 clubs has a camp. Camps are available Mon – Fri from June 20th-August 12th. Programs provide tons of summer fun for the kids, including weekly field trips. In 2015, clubs saw a 40% increase in kids wanting to attend summer camps but pricing is prohibitive for some families.

How can our community help you support the Nellie King Classic and Boys & Girls Clubs? Local Businesses can help support the Golf Classic efforts by helping to sponsor the event. There are options to fit every budget. I would encourage anyone to join us for 18 holes on Sewickley Heights’ beautiful greens. Lunch and dinner are provided. Even if someone can’t join us for the day, I hope they still consider donating. $75 will send one deserving child to camp for a week or $300 will support them for a month.

 

Individuals intereted in attending the event  click here.  Businesses interested in sponsoring the event can contact Jamie Colton-Walters at 412-782-5710 or email her at jamiecoltonwalters@bgcwpa.org.

 

 

Thank you for sharing your experiences with your dad and how he supported you and taught you to support the youth of our communities. You are a very lucky man and BGCA is very lucky to have you behind them!
Helena McKinney
09-May-16


I love the work the Boys and Girls Club does. Thank you for supporitng such a worthly organization.
Kim Kruse
09-May-16


Keep up the great work for a great organization!
Crystal Perrone
04-May-16


Thanks Mike for supporting such a fabulous local organization like Boys & Girls Club! It fun fun getting to know you more through the interview process. I am a fan!
Jennifer Schuler
04-May-16