The Boys and Girls Club of the Bellport Area held their 11th Annual Beach Ball 2014 as a part of the Art of Summer. This event was hosted at the waterfront home of Alexandra Lebenthal and Jay Diamond. Over 500 people attended and funds in excess of $300,000.00 were raised for the cause.
The Beach Ball featured a live auction as well as a silent auction that was summer themed. The event began at 6:00 p.m. with food and drinks from local vendors served by volunteers and members of the community. Managed by Carl Hedin and John Wiecks, the food choices were as diverse as they were delicious.
Halfway through the event, the crowd stopped for speeches to welcome Michael Bussa, the chairman of the board, and Tracie Romandetti, the executive director, who thanked the attendees and organizers before revealing the club’s “Youth of the Year,” Emani Peterson. Emani took the floor and spoke about the positive impact that the club has had on her life so far. Charlie Rose, famous journalist, acted as the master of ceremonies and spoke about the importance of the club in the community. He alluded to a potential job offer for Emani after learning of her desire to enter the world of journalism.
Later on in the evening, there was an auction and the Grucci Fireworks show went for $12,000, a Beyoncé and Jay Z Front Row Package at Met Life Stadium went for $3,200 and a three-night trip to Caneel Bay in St. John went for $2,300. Following the auction, guests celebrating and dancing until 11 o’clock.
Other party guests included, James Danzinger, Stefan Beckman, Dana Buchman, Amanda Burden, Lucy Danzinger, Phil Grucci and Debbie Grucci, Bob Morris, Scott Pask and Angela Westwater.
The Boys and Girls Club of the Bellport Area has been around since 1965 as the Bellport Area Community Action Committee Inc. (B.A.C.A.C.), and affiliated with BGCA in 1996. The Club serves over 700 members, between the ages of 5-19, and many other youths through various annual activities. The members youth from disadvantaged economic, social and family circumstances. Nearly three-quarters of annual household incomes are $19,000 or less, and one-third receive some form of government support.
The mission of the Boys and Girls Club is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those in the Bellport Area and on the South Shore to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. They have just completed a 28,000 square-foot state-of-the art facility in North Bellport which includes teen and junior game rooms, teen and junior learning centers, a computer lab, a teaching kitchen, library, dance room, recording studio, gym and a community room and theater. The North Bellport neighborhood is historically a high-need area that has suffered chronic indications of community chaos. The area is plagued with poverty, crime, drug abuse, gang violence, academic failure and high drop out rates.
All proceeds from the Beach Ball contributed to the operating expenses of the Boys and Girls Clubhouse, and will help ensure that over 700 children aged five to 19 have a safe place to learn, grow and most importantly, feel a sense of belonging to a community.