April 13, 2013
The Boys & Girls Club of Central Virginia hosted its biggest event Saturday -- the Big Gig Gala -- attracting hundreds to the Omni Hotel for a fundraising effort.
This year, NFL greats Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw, both hosts of FOX NFL Sunday, served as celebrity auctioneers for the silent auction.
"I'm a Boys & Girls Club guy myself from Boston and understand the importance of a safe haven, great mentors, role models," Long said.
The Boys & Girls Club serves some 2,000 children throughout five clubs in central Virginia.
"We do everything from help them with their homework to run sports leagues for them and they do community service while they're with us," said James Pierce, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Central Virginia. "We try to give kids a positive place to be, and we provide programs with hope and opportunity."
The event moved to the Omni Hotel from its traditional home of the actual Boys & Girls Club headquarters because of the number of people expected at the event. More than 450 people showed their support.
"We do more and more stuff for young people now as I've gotten older -- much more now than ever before," Bradshaw said. "And the Boys & Girls Club, absolutely, is a great time."
Organizers hoped to raise 20 percent of the Boys & Girls Club's operating budget for the entire year at Saturday's event.
"For me, it was a significant part of my youth," Long said. "That spilled over to down here. Kids are kids. Boston, Charlottesville -- they're all the same."