Boys & Girls Clubs Youth Impact Award
By Tom Leyde
Tucson Electric Power is the winner of the Youth Impact Award from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson this year.
The award was presented in January at the BGCT virtual annual meeting and awards banquet and TEP was officially recognized for its support at BGCT’s 2nd Annual Youth of the Year Celebration, which was televised on KOLD News 13 Tucson in April.
The Youth Impact Award was created in 2016 to annually recognize an individual, couple or organization that has made a major impact on young people through innovative direct club programming and support. It is voted on by BGCT staff members.
“The award is very important, because these are people who have gone above and beyond” in their efforts to support BGCT, said Jill A’Hearn Long, VP of fund development for BGCT.
Since 2001, TEP has sponsored an early-morning, annual shopping spree during the holidays for 120 BGCT members. This last year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, company volunteers got creative and handed out meals and gift cards to families through clubhouse drive-through events. They also wrote inspirational cards to each family. TEP has participated in numerous events and provided in-kind support, totaling more than $700,000.
“The Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson has a special place in my heart,” said TEP President and CEO Susan Gray, who also serves as a BGCT board member. “Not all children have a safe place to call home or enough to eat when they get there. The clubs offer those essentials – a safe place and healthy meals.
“Just as importantly, they share a vision of the possibilities that are open to them,” she said. “The clubs provide the support to help them get there, by making sure they have access to technology and homework assistance, for example, and sharing that college or a skilled trade may be part of their future. Hope means helping them see their potential and realize they have the power to achieve it.”
Gray added, “We’re extremely fortunate to be able to contribute to a strong, healthy community through our service and our philanthropy. Our investments in education are designed to pay dividends for our entire community by supporting the success of future generations.”
TEP has developed a strong and treasured partnership with the clubs, said BGCT CEO Ted Matson, who took the helm in July. “Partnerships are important for the mission of the clubs. The more sponsorships the greater the success.”
The Youth Impact Award was inspired by Louise and Dale Henderson, who are longtime club volunteers and financial supporters of the clubs. The Hendersons attended the clubs weekly to provide hours of personalized mentoring to teens, from college preparation to etiquette to interview skills. They have attended high school graduations, hosted youth in their home and funded educational experiences for them.
The BGCT dedicated the Louise & Dale Henderson Learning Center in 2017. It serves as a hub for learning among the six BGCT clubhouses.