“Ottawa County Has A Heart” Benefit Concert Raises $11,000

The Boys & Girls Club of Ottawa County hosted their first annual benefit concert early this spring with VISTA member Gary Jones as an organizer. “Ottawa County Has a Heart” took place at the Coleman Theater in Miami, OK, a historic tourist destination and center for arts and educational opportunities in the area.

Jones took the lead in planning the concert in the fall of 2015, forming a committee that met regularly to discuss details and recruit community sponsors for the event. Gary worked to recruit 36 sponsors total, with 32 being new partners for the Club.

The concert featured three local musical acts, a local elementary school principal performing a magic show, and Gary himself performing a ventriloquism act.

“All of the performers did a great job,” Gary said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people.” The event was very family-friendly, and many families and community members came out to support the Club and see their favorite musicians perform.

The event also included a presentation designed to show what goes on at the Club and its impact in the community.

“Everyone seemed to enjoy it, the music had a lot of variety to it, so I think they had something for everyone,” said Club Board member Adonna Helmig. “I was pleased with the turnout, and we sold a lot of VIP tickets. The building looked pretty full and I was very impressed.”

As a first annual event, the Club set a goal to raise $5,000. The fundraising aspects of the event included recruiting sponsors, hosting a raffle at the event, and selling t-shirts. The event was marketed regularly on through radio, newspaper, and television. Because of the hard work of Jones, fellow VISTA member Maria Olson, and other Club staff and community members, over 400 tickets were sold. The event reached more than double the fundraising goal and brought in $11,000 for the Club!

While organizing the event, Jones documented the hard work put in so that the success can be continued in future years. “I feel that my activism within the community in putting together a benefit concert, which took over four months to facilitate, did much to create awareness in the community of the Club, our successes, our needs and our future,” Jones said.

The money raised will go towards renovating a new location for the Club. The new location will provide much-needed space for more youth programs and the ability to recruit more teen members. The proceeds from the concert will go a long way towards reaching that goal so that Boys & Girls Club of Ottawa County can welcome new members!

Read more about the event in the Miami News-Record here: