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Youth of the Year honored at club

<p><strong></strong>Both Alma and Van Buren Boys and Girls clubs received a $12,883.50 check from the proceeds from the Harlem Ambassadors fundraiser event held March 6. From left are Ed Thicksten, president of Alma Rotary Club; Elaina Damante, director of Alma Area Boys and Girls Club; Raymond Harvey, president of Van Buren Kiwanis Club; and Brian Nave, president of Crawford County Optimist Club.</p>

Both Alma and Van Buren Boys and Girls clubs received a $12,883.50 check from the proceeds from the Harlem Ambassadors fundraiser event held March 6. From left are Ed Thicksten, president of Alma Rotary Club; Elaina Damante, director of Alma Area Boys and Girls Club; Raymond Harvey, president of Van Buren Kiwanis Club; and Brian Nave, president of Crawford County Optimist Club.

<p><strong></strong>At the check presentation at the Van Buren Boys and Girls club are (front row) Hailey Walda, Seth Dunn, Dustin Roberts and Michelle Mcelwee; (back row) Stephanie Riffle, US Bank; Kelton Inge, Inge Independent Insurance; Brian Nave, Arvest; Lance Montgomery, US Bank; Emily Robinson, Rhodes Chevrolet; Raymond Harvey, Turf-Pro; Alan Swaim and Tonia Fry, Swaim Office Products; and Cindy Faldon, Boys and Girls Club of Van Buren.</p>

At the check presentation at the Van Buren Boys and Girls club are (front row) Hailey Walda, Seth Dunn, Dustin Roberts and Michelle Mcelwee; (back row) Stephanie Riffle, US Bank; Kelton Inge, Inge Independent Insurance; Brian Nave, Arvest; Lance Montgomery, US Bank; Emily Robinson, Rhodes Chevrolet; Raymond Harvey, Turf-Pro; Alan Swaim and Tonia Fry, Swaim Office Products; and Cindy Faldon, Boys and Girls Club of Van Buren.

More than 100 supporters, volunteers, staff, club members and community leaders came together March 28 for the Van Buren Boys and Girls Club of Van Buren youth of the year luncheon.

The sack luncheon-style event invited guests to “brown bag” it or enjoy a nutritious cafeteria meal provided by the club. Individuals from the community were seated among club members, who were in attendance for spring break week.

Cindy Faldon, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Van Buren, welcomed guests and thanked everyone for their support and attendance. She explained that the luncheon’s purpose was twofold, providing the club an opportunity to honor Callie Burcham, its 2014 youth of the year, in conjunction with celebrating National Boys and Girls Club of America Week.

Burcham, a senior at Van Buren High School, was selected as the club’s youth of the year in early 2014. In February, she represented the club in Little Rock at the state youth of the year meeting. Burcham has attended the club for more than a decade, beginning as a little league cheerleader and now working as a club staff member. She also previously served as Torch Club president, junior staff member, and community service project organizer.

Faldon presented Burcham with a $500 scholarship check from the Arkansas Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs. She then announced that the BGCVB board of directors had chosen to establish a scholarship fund for the club’s youth of the year program. Tiffany Webster, BGCVB chief volunteer officer, surprised Burcham with a $1,000 check on behalf of the board.

“We want Callie and our club members to know that they can achieve anything they want,” Webster said. “And we want to be the ones to help them do just that.”

Following the youth of the year presentations, Faldon welcomed Brian Nave, president of the Crawford County Optimist Club. Nave, who served as one of the lead organizers of the Harlem Ambassadors event held March 6, announced that he was excited to present a check to the Boys and Girls Club of Van Buren with the proceeds raised from the event. Nave was joined by other Optimist Club and Kiwanis Club of Van Buren members for the presentation of a check totaling $12,883.50.

“The Harlem Ambassadors event was an incredible community effort that helped raise money for both the Boys and Girls Club of Van Buren and the Alma Boys and Girls Club,” Faldon said. “The organizers and volunteers who put this together did an outstanding job. I was overwhelmed by how many came out to support the event. Even if it hadn’t raised a dime, it would have been worth it because of how it brought the community together. We are so grateful to everyone who participated and for the funds generated for our club.”

As the club wraps up National Boys and Girls Club of America Week, it is gearing up for its second annual “Life’s an Uphill Run” 5k on May 3. This year’s event is presented by Rhodes Chevrolet and includes a 5K course through the city park hills, as well as a one-mile fun run around the park lake.

Registration is $20 in advance or $25 on race-day. Participants will each receive a goody bag and t-shirt. Individuals can register online by visiting www.bgcofvb.org. For more information, call the club at (479) 474-9401.

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