Boys & Girls Club’s annual Casino Night

Gamblers keep an eye on the roulette ball Saturday at the Boys & Girls Club’s annual Casino Night. From left are Judy McAnally, Jan Justis, Cory Riggs, Sheree Beddingfield, Stacy Carrera, James Espinosa, Kristina Bell and Mike Espinosa. The organization raised $65,000 at the event.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Chaffee County had one of its best Casino Nights ever Saturday, raising $65,000 at the event from sponsors, a live auction and Fund-a-Future donors. The fundraiser attracted 140 attendees.

“I am overwhelmed by the generosity of our sponsors, donors and volunteers,” Brian Beaulieu, executive director, said. “They believe in our kids, and it’s nice to be able to say thank you when we’re all together.”

Beaulieu said more than 70 businesses and individuals sponsored the event, highlighted by its six title sponsors: Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center, Central Colorado Title and Escrow, Republic National Distributing, First Colorado Land Office, High Country Bank and Burm.

In addition to dancing and playing roulette, blackjack or craps, attendees also got to hear from one of the club’s kids and Colorado Youth of the Year, Athena Kintgen. “She represents all of the kids of the club,” Beaulieu said. “Her speech was the highlight for us. Athena is proof that we can change the trajectory of kids’ lives; we’ve helped her become even more dynamic.”

Kintgen also made a personal request for people to help with the club’s sign language class, which she teaches and the club is expanding.

Beaulieu said the club seeks to help kids achieve academic success, live a healthy lifestyle and build character and leadership skills. The money raised will go to programs that focus on building character and leadership, Beaulieu said.

“We love for people to visit the club and show them how their investment is paying off,” he said.

The club also has an open enrollment for kids to join. Parents can call the office at 719-539-9500 for more information. The club’s schedule is online at bgcchaffee.org.

Casino Night, however, was all about having fun and saying thank you to the people who help the Boys & Girls Club.

“We’re serious about having fun when we plan events,” Beaulieu said. “If you don’t go home with a smile, then we didn’t do our job.”

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