As a young girl attending Burbank High School, Andrea Baghaee was a shy kid who wasn’t sure what her future may hold.
That changed when she got involved with the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and the Greater East Valley.
Blossoming in the club’s programs and through the friends she made, Andrea, who had been named the local Boys & Girls Club’s Youth of the Year in 2011, began taking finance classes and then matriculated to Woodbury University, where she majored in accounting.
A member of the local Keystone Club since she was in first grade, Baghaee has led a teen leadership program and served as the club’s president.
She also got involved in the financial literacy programs, Career Launch and College Bound, which she said were of great help to her.
Earlier this month, the Boys & Girls Club celebrated its 25th anniversary of service to Burbank youth and their families.
During a poolside cocktail reception to mark the occasion, Baghaee addressed the assemblage of local dignitaries and longtime club supporters who had gathered at Hotel Amarano.
“My participation in the club gave me self-confidence and changed my life in a major way,” Baghaee said.
“The staff encouraged me to make goals that have led me to a career in accounting and to have a volunteer spirit — the desire to give back,” she said.
The evening — hosted by Shanna Warren, chief executive of the Boys & Girls Club, along with Tom Whelan, Jeannette Vasquez and Laurie Dew of the Hotel Amarano — also saw the kickoff of the club’s new $25 for 25 fundraising event.
The program asks supporters to pledge a gift of $25 a month in honor of the club’s quarter-century of service.
“We felt that this would be a great way for everyone to be able to afford to show their support so that we can continue to change the lives of our local youth and give them a positive future,” Warren said.
Among the numerous dignitaries in attendance were state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge), and Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), who presented Warren and the club’s president, Paul Herman, with a joint resolution from the state Legislature’s upper and lower houses, recognizing the club’s silver anniversary.
“We don’t do joint resolutions often,” Portantino said, “but this is a very special milestone that deserves such a recognition.”
Other special guests included Mayor Sharon Springer, Vice Mayor Bob Frutos, City Councilman Jess Talamantes, and three of the club’s founders, Councilman Tim Murphy, former City Manager Ron Davis and local businessmen Dave Augustine and Al Shapiro.
The evening also paid posthumous tribute to Liz Shapiro, Barbara Sykes and Rev. Jerry Jones, who also served as club’s founders.
Since 1995, the local Boys & Girls Club has touched the lives of thousands of local children and their families, providing regular programming as well as affordable after-school and summer programs.
With more than 1,600 kids being served on a daily basis at the club’s main facility and its additional 18 local sites, a community and culture of caring has been created that has enabled members to participate in educational, athletic and artistic programs, including performing arts, homework assistance, tutoring, college prep and leadership training.
If you would like to participate in the club’s $25 for 25 program, visit bgcburbank.org.