The announcement was made Wednesday by PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem at a presentation held in conjunction with the Verizon Classic in Tampa. The 2002 Volunteer of the Year and previously-announced player award winners were also honored.
The Boys & Girls Club of Assabet Valley was nominated by the FleetBoston Classic and was chosen in balloting that included other nominees from tournaments on the 2002 Champions Tour schedule. The Boys & Girls Club was awarded $25,000 from the Champions Tour.
The club provides much more than a safe place for children to go after school. The club is committed to empowering young people with the skills necessary to become responsible members of society. Every year more than 600 youth between the ages of 5 and 18 benefit from a wide variety of programs offered at the club. The activities are designed to be both fun and educational.
'The Boys & Girls Club of Assabet Valley is pleased and honored to be named the Champion's Tour Charity of the Year for 2002,' said Jim Fairweather, president and chairman of the Board of the club. 'Our relationship with Nashawtuc Charities and the Champions Tour has been instrumental in the success of our club and for the development of youth in the Maynard area.
'We know from experience that young people need positive, meaningful alternatives to what is happening on their streets if they are to lead positive and productive lives. Every young person needs open and honest relationships with caring adults who listen to them, respect them and serve as role models. Such relationships form the essence of the work and purpose of the Boys and Girls Club of America. The Champions Tour helps us offer all young people a chance to excel and feel good about themselves.
'Thanks to the hard work and the commitment of our community and volunteers, combined with the support and generosity of the Champions Tour, we will continue to achieve our mission of providing 'The Positive Place For Kids.''
'We are honored to be affiliated with such a fine organization as the Boys & Girls Club of Assabet Valley. To be able to help support their great programs and kids in our backyard is a thrill for Nashawtuc Charities and our many volunteers,' said Tracy West, tournament director of the FleetBoston Classic. 'We are especially pleased with the added vote of confidence to the organization given by the Champions Tour and its players. Our funding, and the Tour's added monies, will significantly impact these kids.'
The Boys & Girls Club of Assabet Valley closed its doors in 1995, saddled with debt and a poor public image of mismanagement. Two years later, a group of local citizens rallied the community by bringing youth, business leaders and local leaders together to eliminate $130,000 in debt. Through the hard work of community volunteers, the club reopened in 1998 and now operates with a full-time staff of three, 11 part-timers and a volunteer base of over 60. The club serves over 600 youth in the Assabet Valley area -- an average of 90 kids per day.
One of the more dynamic programs the club has started is called 'Big Friends,' designed to match young members with a high school volunteer. The high school student meets with the 'Little Friend' once a week to ensure they are maintaining a relationship. Once a month members of the program go on a field trip or have a planned group event at the club. These group meetings are arranged to get the group together on a regular basis and to make sure the mentor is having a positive impact on the youth in the program.
The club plans to use the $25,000 award for a number of its programs. Among those are the following: Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Inc., Street Smart, Smart Moves, Smart Girls, PowerHour, Project Learn and Campaign 3 p.m. All are nationally-sponsored Boys & Girls Club programs designed to enhance the community participation and awareness of the members.
The FleetBoston Classic will be played July 28-August 3 at Nashawtuc Country Club in Concord, Mass. Bob Gilder is the defending champion.
Also honored were Hale Irwin, Morris Hatalsky and Hubert Green after having been officially named Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Most Improved Player, respectively, on Jan. 6. Irwin was recognized for winning the Charles Schwab Cup, Byron Nelson Award and Arnold Palmer Award, as well. Mary Wright of the Kroger Classic was named 2002 Volunteer of the Year.