BEST FEET FORWARD


 

5K walk/run on May 20th to benefit Boys & Girls Club

BY TARA KERRIGAN CUCCHIARA
Sentinel & Enterprise
May 11, 2012

John Clementi of the Clementi Family Trust presented the $35,000 gift to club member Maggie Norton.Participants of all ages are welcome to register for the Great Futures 5K Race to take place on Sunday, May 20th, starting at the Boys & Girls Club located at 365 Lindell Ave., Leominster.

Registration will open at 10:30 a.m., with the race beginning at 12 noon. Registration is $10 for seniors, $15 for adults, and free for children under 18.

Richards died unexpectedly in January of 2011 at the age of 69, leaving behind a legacy of philanthropic acts in the Lancaster,Fitchburg, Lunenburg, and Leominster communities. In fact, in lieu of sending flowers to the funeral home, his family requested donations to be made to the Boys & Girls Club.

Richards became the owner of Orchard Hills Athletic Club in 1983, dedicating his life to fitness and community service. He received various awards for his community service during the last four years of his life. His contribution to the Boys & Girls Club will be remembered for generations to come.

Another philanthropist who has set up a family foundation to contribute to worthy causes is John Clementi.

The Clementi Foundation has recently donated $35,000 to the B&GCFL’s annual campaign. As a child, Clementi attended the former Rec Center on Main Street Leominster, which then became the YMCA. John has many happy memories from his time at the YMCA but believes that the kids now-a-days may need it [Boys & Girls Club] even more than he did years ago.

“They are doing some wonderful work that is good and productive in a safe environment,” Clementi said, adding that “the people who work there are selfless.”

John explained that food is provided for kids who are not receiving enough nutrition at home. This is just one of the many reasons John Clementi feels so passionate about supporting the club. His involvement began in Fitchburg years ago and continues today with the combined twin cities club in Leominster.

“It is my hope that even more kids will be able to use the club after the renovations are complete,” said Clementi during a phone interview.

“Great Futures” tee shirts will be given to participants of the 5K and awards will be presented at the complementary family barbeque at the end of the day. Proceeds raised at this event will help offset tuition costs for family members who attend the Boys and Girls Club of Leominster and Fitchburg. Families only have to pay a $150 fee per child but the actual cost per child amounts to $2500 annually.

“There is a misperception that the club is funded by federal and state funds but 97% of the costs are absorbed through private funding,” said Tim Norton, Event Chair and Board of Directors member.

Each year 750 kids participate in the Boys & Girls Club. Two hundred fifty participate on a daily basis. Norton projects that this number could increase by 50% after renovations are complete.

“The new renovations include a new Teen Center, expanding the gym, new science area, larger study and activity rooms, art rooms, games rooms, and a kitchen for cooking classes,” noted Donata Martin, Executive Director.

Martin notes they love having the extra space both indoors and out. Science, Math, and Technology are a central focus for Martin and this has been integrated into the new building design.

“The dynamic at the club is different from school. It’s not as structured and kids have more responsibility on their own,” Norton said. Tim went on to say that the focus is placed on education and students are required to get homework done before engaging in recreational activities.

“Fundraising is a 24/7, 365 day job,” admitted Tim Norton. But like club founder Tim Richards, contributor John Clementi, club director Donata Martin, staff and volunteers, Norton does it for the kids, especially for the teens that are the highest at risk.

For more information about the Great Futures 5K, to volunteer for the event, or to become a corporate or private donor visit www.Great-Futures5K.com or contact Jim Drawbridge at 978.534.8358 ext. 17.