Boys & Girls Club Throws Monopoly-Themed Fundraiser - Mountain News : News

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Boys & Girls Club Throws Monopoly-Themed Fundraiser

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Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2019 9:00 am

On Saturday, May 11, the Boys & Girls Club of the Mountain Communities held their annual fundraiser to continue providing for their after-school programs. The event was held at Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa.

Executive Director, TracyLynn Sharrit, and the accompanying board of the local Boys & Girls Club locations, elected to bring in Steve Valentine and Diana Phillippi to produce this year’s event, which was heavily inspired by the Monopoly board game. By the end of the event, the club had raised approximately $40,000.

The entirety of the Resort’s ballroom was set up to mimic Monopoly. The perimeter of the room had a line of tables where items for auction were displayed. Several tables had signs above them, labeling them as spaces from the Monopoly game board, such as “GO” or “Free Parking.” Tables for the guests each had a placard with the name of a property from the game, such as “Boardwalk” or “Park Place.”

For the “jail” spot, there was a mock jail cell made of painted PVC pipe. The jail cell was made by Keith Allen, who stayed in the cell for the duration of the silent auction and oversaw those who landed in jail as they tried to get out by rolling rice or paying Monopoly money.

The Monopoly themes weren’t just decor though. The silent auction followed a similar process to the game. People starting at the “GO” table. From there, participants could place bids on items at the table they were at, receive Monopoly money after placing a bid, then roll softball-sized dice to see which table they would go to next. This process continued throughout the silent auction.

Everyone’s Monopoly money was tallied up later in the event and the person with the most Monopoly money received a prize. The prize included a vintage Monopoly board, Monopoly-themed glass cups, a Monopoly-themed money tray, a bottle of wine, a purse, a ticket for a one-night stay at Morongo Casino, Resort and Spa, and a ticket for the Potrero Canyon Buffet at Morongo.

People were able to donate their Monopoly money back to the Boys & Girls Club, which would allow the club to potentially win the prize and keep the Monopoly board. Coincidentally, that is what happened.

Throughout the evening, Carl Uhrmann was dressed up as Mr. Monopoly and performed as the announcer and auctioneer for the event. He had a similar role in the fundraiser for Rim of the World High School’s ski and snowboard team, sans Monopoly costume. He said he was happy to help the Boys & Girls Club when he found out they needed an auctioneer for this event.

Uhrmann said he worked at the Boys & Girls Club 23 years ago and he’s been teaching physical education (PE) at the elementary school ever since. He said he recently started teaching PE at Mary Putnam Henck Intermediate School instead.

When dinner started, Tige Licato, president of the board of directors for the club, took to the podium and gave a speech where he thanked the donors and explained why the Boys & Girls Club is so important.

“Our youth today are facing more challenges than ever,” Licato said during his speech. “We depend on the generosity of people like you.”

After Licato’s speech, Uhrmann introduced two children who have both been in the Boys & Girls Club after school program for two years, Austin Ethridge and Emma Freeman. Uhrmann had the kids come on stage where he asked them several questions.

As part of the event, an artist named Kenneth Miller was hired to render the kids as superheroes and create the invites and table placards for the event. Miller also signed the illustrations, which were displayed under the podium throughout the event.

While speaking with Uhrmann, Ethridge said he’s a second-grader at Lake Arrowhead Elementary School. He said his favorite part of the club is being able to sit down and do his homework, particularly math. He said the superhero he aspires to be is the Incredible Hulk.

Freeman said she went to Valley of Enchantment Elementary School and is now in seventh grade. She said her favorite part of being at the club is the “Thursday cooking class with Miss Peggy.” She also said that she enjoys tennis, basketball and having time to do her homework at the club. She said the superhero she aspires to be is Captain America or Spider-Man.

“Thank you for your support and I hope the Boys & Girls Club is here for a long time,” Freeman said to the audience before leaving the stage.

Licato returned to the stage to announce that, with TracyLynn’s help, they had nominated members of the mountain community for several national awards given out by the Boys & Girls Club of America each year.

Having “donated his time, his staff’s time, and significant resources,” Licato said Bill Moller won the National Award of Merit Medallion.

Licato said Dennis Parker won the National Bronze Medallion Award “for unusually devoted service to the Boys & Girls Club” and for providing “tremendous financial support” through the Cedar Glen Resale Boutique.

After being a board member for over 10 years, Licato said Jeff Malcom gives his time and love and was also the recipient of a National Bronze Medallion Award. Malcom is retiring from the board this year, which Licato said was the “hardest thing for me to hear.”

“Dennis is my mentor...he got me involved,” Malcom said.

Malcom continued, suggesting that people visit the club sites and see “what goes on there” as that is what encouraged him to take part.

Finally, Licato said that Barry Sacalas had received the National Silver Medallion Award, which is only given to a single person each year. Licato said that Sacalas has donated tens of thousands of dollars, has a heart of gold, and has “demonstrated persistent leadership.”

The final speakers, prior to the live auction, were married couple Anthony and Michelle Zuiker. Anthony is the creator, producer and writer of CSI and Michelle is a retired educator of 17 years.

Michelle announced that, together, she and her husband want to give back to the community. In doing so, they’ve created Zuiker Press and are creating a series of graphic novels about real kids with real issues, such as divorce, cyberbullying, racism and body image issues. Graphic novels about those four issues have already been released with more on the way.

Michelle explained that one of the goals of these graphic novels is to help kids understand they aren’t alone and show that other kids have overcome similar obstacles. The other goal is to provide free aid to teachers and parents who have kids in these situations.

An exceptional detail about this project is that the two are taking donations so they can donate the graphic novels to schools and without charging them.

“Please give generously,” Anthony said before they left the stage, referring to the live auction that was about to begin in benefit of the Boys & Girls Club.

Steve Valentine said the fundraiser next year will be CLUE-themed. In the meantime, for those who want to donate to the local Boys & Girls Club, visit

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