Event aims to raise money for Boys & Girls Clubs memberships

It’s the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas’ 25th anniversary, and former state Sen. Donald Betts has set a challenge for the occasion: Raise enough money to pay for 1,000 memberships to the club.

Betts, who now lives in Australia, will return to Wichita and, along with state Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, on Friday will help host a community event at the Boys & Girls Club, 2400 N. Opportunity Drive.

“I can assure you that I have no intention to come back home to run for office,” he wrote in an e-mail to The Eagle. “I only want to do my part and give our Kansas kids what my son is privileged to receive.”

Juston White, who works as chief professional officer with the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas, said the organization has been fundraising “behind the scenes” for the past few months.

The goal is to raise $100,000. So far, it has raised about $10,000.

The $100,000 will fund 1,000 memberships to Boys & Girls Clubs locations across the state. Of those, 250 will be for its Wichita locations.

The Boys & Girls Club offers after-school activities for children every day from 2:30 to 6 p.m. at its two Wichita locations, on Opportunity Drive and in Oaklawn.

“It’s really a safe environment for kids to come in and get some acceleration,” White said. “It’s a safe environment for them to have fun while their parents are at work or out and about.”

The event on Friday will feature food, music, face-painting, “bouncy houses” and other activities for children, White said.

A donation is not required to attend; however, White said he hopes people will come and make a contribution to the fundraising drive. A flier for the event suggests a donation of $25.

The fundraising drive will last until August, White said.

Donations to the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas can be payable to “B&G Membership Scholarship,” and addressed to the organization at 2400 N. Opportunity Drive, Wichita, KS 67219.

Reach Matt Riedl at 316-268-6660 or mriedl@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RiedlMatt.

If you go

‘Kid-friendly community event’ sponsored by Sen. Donald Betts

What: Face-painting and other events tailored to 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds to raise money for club memberships

When: 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday

Where: 2400 N. Opportunity Drive

How much: Admission is free, with suggested donation of $25