During Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s (BGCS) annual Celebrate Youth at Blue Door Ball gala, Bob and Renee Parsons surprised the audience by awarding educational scholarships to all eight Youth of the Year finalists. Youth of the Year is a national program run by Boys & Girls Clubs of America that honors leadership, exceptional academic performance and service in the community.
“Education can play a crucial role in changing a life,” said American entrepreneur and philanthropist Bob Parsons. “Renee and I believe that everyone deserves the chance to pursue higher education, and we’re happy to open that door for these outstanding Youth of the Year finalists.”
During the event, Marena Sever from the Thunderbirds Branch was awarded the top honor and named the 2018 BGCS Youth of the Year. Celebrating her achievement, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation granted Marena a $40,000 scholarship. All remaining finalists were also awarded $20,000 scholarships from the Parsons Foundation, some of whom were not sure how they would pay for a college education.
“I am overwhelmed and so thankful for this entire experience,” said Sever. “The generosity of the Parsons will make it possible for me to attend my dream school and study political science.”
Celebrate Youth at Blue Door Ball is the signature fundraiser for the youth development organization, which includes silent and live auctions, paddle raisers and various raffles. Throughout the evening, Youth of the Year finalists from eight of the BGCS branch locations presented their stories of triumph and transformation to the more than 700 in attendance. The 2018 Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Youth of the Year will go on to compete at the state level with the potential to move onto regional and national competitions.
“The scholarships are about giving students the opportunity to follow their dreams,” said businesswomen and philanthropist Renee Parsons. “It was inspiring to watch the presentations from the Youth of the Year finalists, and we wish them luck as they take the next step in their journey to a better future.”
This is the second year in a row that the Parsons have made impromptu scholarship gifts to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s Youth of the Year finalists. In addition to $180,000 in scholarship funds this year, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation also gave $200,000 through live auction items and other donations.
“We are so grateful for the continued support of Bob and Renee Parsons,” said Dr. Lisa Hurst, BGCS President & CEO. “All of our youth have tremendous potential, and we know that children who attend a Boys & Girls Club are more inclined to pursue higher education. These scholarships will be life changing for our teens.”
Research has shown that the more time youth spend at a Boys & Girls Club, the more connected they feel to school and the greater their post-secondary aspirations become. Thousands of youth walk through the door of a Boys & Girls Club every day, where they are prepared to become 21st-century leaders, globally competitive graduates, innovative dream-makers and healthy game-changers. To learn more visit: www.bgcs.org.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) serves thousands of youth at nine Clubs located within the communities of Scottsdale, North Phoenix, Fountain Hills, Mesa, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Hualapai Nation. Research shows that the more time youth spend at a Boys & Girls Club, the more likely they are to feel more connected to school and have greater post-secondary aspirations. The door to our kids’ futures is often crowded by temptation and misdirection making it difficult for them to reach their full potential. Inside our doors, youth development professionals and mentors provide guidance, support and encouragement in an enriching and safe environment. Our outcome-based programming assures that success is in reach for all kids and teens who enter our doors, no matter their circumstances.
About The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation
The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation offers support to nonprofit organizations successfully working to empower, educate, nurture and nourish people during what is often the darkest times of their lives. Founded in 2012 by philanthropists and business leaders Bob and Renee Parsons to provide hope and life-changing assistance to the country’s most vulnerable populations, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation offers critical funding at critical times to those in need. The Foundation’s giving is driven by the core belief that all people – regardless of race, roots or economic status – deserve access to quality healthcare, education and a safe place to call home. Follow @WeDealInHope on social media, or visit TBRPF.org, to learn more about partner organizations and the important work being done in the community.