Guests and sponsors step up for Menifee Valley Boys and Girls Club

Luis Hutchins, vice president of operations for JE&B Engineering, speaks at the fourth annual Gala Dinner and Auction for the Boys & Girls Club of Menifee Valley. Joel Ortiz photo

The fourth annual Gala Dinner and Auction for the Boys & Girls Club of Menifee Valley was held Saturday, Sept. 16, at 8-Bit Brewing in Temecula. Over 100 attendees and 16 major sponsors attended. The event was a success, raising $17,500 from ticket sales, 49 auction baskets and four live auction items.

Board member, Rotarian and former City Councilwoman Sue Kristjansson was honored by board Chair Jennifer Walker for her “pivotal role in opening our doors.”

“She gives her heart,” Walker said.

Walker announced the dedication of a hallway to Kristjansson, symbolic of “the gateway to learning and growing.”

“Boys and Girls Club of Menifee Valley is my heart,” Kristjansson said. “This is the most valuable thing I have done in Menifee.”

She has been working on opening the club for two years before the doors actually opened in December 2013. Kristanjansson is moving to Tennessee, and will no longer be with the club.

The clubhouse utilizes the Menifee Elementary School, a site that was shuttered due to budget cuts in 2008. They use three air-conditioned classrooms, a playground area with basketball courts and a jungle gym for younger kids, an athletic field with a quarter-mile dirt track. The three-year lease costs $1 per year.

Dr. Steve Kennedy, superintendent of the Menifee Union School District, was one of the original board members.

“I saw a need for our students to be supported through after-school opportunities to meet, share, have fun and learn,” Kennedy said. “When I approached our school board with the idea to ‘share’ our newly vacated school campus with our new Boys and Girls Club, they supported the idea wholeheartedly. This is a fine example of community resources – both public and private – coming together to support our community’s youth. The Menifee Union School District is a proud community partner with the new Boys and Girls Club of Menifee Valley.”

Key speaker for the event was Luis Hutchins, vice president of operations for JE&B Engineering and a board member. Citing the example of this son, Liam, as a three-year member of the club, Hutchins was highly complementary of the club.

“No other programs offer the variety: academics, sports, music, summer programs, field trips, teen programs,” Hutchins said. “Kids learn leadership, teamwork, responsibility and fair play. This is a tremendous benefit to families – kids get their homework done and are fed dinner – this contributes to quality family time. And we provide scholarships; we work with families regardless of their ability to pay.”

Auctioneer Dave McCrory inspired guests to lift their hands in the air in pursuits of four park hopper tickets to Disneyland, a tasting party for eight by Provecho Grill, his and hers cruising bikes and a 1.9-carat natural tourmaline valued at over $2,000.

The “Ivy League” sponsor for the event was Abbot. The “University” sponsors were Paradise Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, GMC, Neff Construction, Donna Edwards and Gil Gonzalez of Menifee Valley Community Cupboard, Mt San Jacinto College, US Bank, Karen and Manny Valdes, Eric and Natalie Mueller. The “State School” sponsor was All-American Color. The “Community College” sponsors included Smart & Final, All Star Promotions, Your Local Credit Card Guy Ron Paine, DFI Insurance, A Better Look Home Inspections, Assistance League of Temecula Valley and Re/MAX Diamond.

CarMax and Kohl’s Menifee provided five-member teams of volunteers for the event.

Since June 2014, The Boys & Girls Club of Menifee Valley has served 3,200 children with an average daily attendance of 300 students during the school year and 175 children during the summer. They have provided over $192,000 in financial assistance; 826 members are on scholarships. The club has provided over 75,000 free and balanced meals.

For more information, to become a member, to volunteer or to donate, visit or call (951) 2467-8845.

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