The State Farm insurance company and Major League Baseball (MLB) Charities recently donated $50,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale’s Lehi Branch, located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC). The Lehi Branch has used the funds to completely remodel and upgrade its Teen Center.
The facility reopened on April 4 with a ribbon-cutting and rededication ceremony at the Lehi Community Building. Jose Martinez, 2011 Youth of the Year and a proud member of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale’s Red Mountain Branch, was the emcee, and the ceremony featured several special guests: Joy Estes, a State Farm agent in Scottsdale, MLB legend Luis Gonzalez, Boys & Girls Clubs of America Hall of Famer; SRPMIC Council Members Tom Largo, Leonard Rivers and Deanna Scabby; and Doniar Mason, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Lehi Branch 2012 Youth of the Year.
A Long History of Helping Youth
Martinez recognized and thanked Steve Davidson and Rick Baker, president/CEO and board chairman, respectively, of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale. During the program, the invited guests shared what it meant to them to be there that day.
Former Arizona Diamondback and Boys & Girls Clubs of America Hall of Famer 2011Luis Gonzalez said, “I am really excited to be here at the Lehi Branch Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale to help unveil this newly renovated teen center.”
Estes spoke on behalf of State Farm, saying the insurance company is proud to support organizations like the Boys & Girls Club. “The Boys and Girls Clubs of America have a long history and tradition of providing programs that enable youth to reach their full potential by providing a platform for them to pursue their dreams,” Estes said.
Davidson told the audience that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Lehi Boys & Girls Club, which was built in 2002. He also mentioned that it is the 20th anniversary of the Boys & Girls Clubs serving the youth in Native American communities.
Largo remarked that the SRPMIC Tribal Council was honored to be part of the celebration.
“I want to look at the youth that we see here,” Largo said, “because what they are doing, they are the future leaders of this Community. They are leading the way for other people to change their lives.”
“The club provides a safe haven for youth who are experiencing rough [times in] childhood and those who are struggling to find the balance between home and school,” Mason said. “I know our new Teen Center will help many young teens in our Community, and I can’t wait to see it.”
Winning the Home Run Derby
In partnership with MLB Charities, State Farm made the $50,000 donation directly to the facility through its participation in the 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Raquelle Enos, a 15-year-old member of the Lehi Boys & Girls Club, was paired with New York Yankees All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano, and they ended up winning the Home Run Derby championship and earning the $50,000 donation for her club.
In all Robinson Cano hit 32 home runs total to win Raquelle Enos the donation for the newly renovated Teen Center in Lehi. Cano hit a record 12 home runs in the last round of the derby.
The donation allowed the Lehi Boys & Girls Club to move forward with a planned renovation of the Teen Center. The teens themselves were involved in the design and construction process, helping out the staff from Public Works where possible.
The Newly Renovated Teen Center
The renovated Teen Center has a new performance stage with enhanced lighting and a sound system for teens eager to perform karaoke and take part in other performances. It also has upgraded fitness equipment and a computer lab for homework and recreational use.
A mural painted on one of the walls reflects Native American culture and Community youth. To paint the mural, Community youth Ty Begay had the chance to work closely with a world-renowned artist, Joseph Wolves Kill, who is from the Oglala Lakota Nation.
Begay said, “I got to work with the artist, who taught me some painting skills.”
“We wanted to stick a little bit of the elements of today’s youth but never forget [the] past,” said Wolves Kill about the content of the mural. It took three weeks to paint.
National Boys & Girls Club Week is April 16-20. The Lehi Branch was hoping to host an event this week to celebrate the branch’s 10th anniversary.
If you have any questions regarding the Boys & Girls Club Lehi Branch, please call (480) 850-4453. For the Boys & Girls Club Red Mountain Branch, call (480) 947-1798.