People in tables of four will gather in one room Sept. 25 after paying $200 for their table at the annual Just Desserts fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Muncie. Each table will discuss how much money they will collectively put on the line to beat out other tables to win the prize — their top choice of treats available. The reward will be sweets because, as Amy Gibson, director of resource development at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Muncie, said, “It’s all about the desserts, and who doesn’t love desserts?”
The annual Boys and Girls Clubs of Muncie Just Desserts fundraiser is scheduled for 4–5:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Madison Street location. This year’s theme is “SMART Girls: Empowering Women.” Proceeds from the fundraiser and dessert auction will benefit SMART Girls, a program developed for girls ages 8-18 that focuses on health and fitness education in a small, comfortable environment, said Destinee Lewis, director of programs for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Muncie. The curriculum is a Boys and Girls Clubs of America program and includes topics such as consent, prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and infections, puberty, health and hygiene education, and self-esteem enhancement programs.
“[If] parents are either not sure how to educate their children or are uncomfortable, or just don’t have the knowledge to educate their children on that type of information, then this is the program they can sign their daughters up just to be informed … and then build a community of other peers and mentors,” Lewis said. “[It’s a] community of girls where they can connect and learn they’re not the only ones going through this stuff.”
The fundraising event, which Gibson started planning in April, has historically interested a predominantly female audience who Gibson refers to as “empowered women” and, she said, this year’s theme seemed to fit perfectly.
“SMART Girls has such a strong message to our young ladies … how to have a mentor, how to have someone that they can look up to,” Gibson said. “As we were coming up with this theme this year, we thought, ‘This is perfect,’ because these are the ladies that can inspire our generation that we have now.”
During the fundraiser, each of the 25 tables bid on desserts collectively, with four people per table determining how much money to give together, Gibson said. These desserts are purchased from or donated by different people in the community. Whichever table gives the most money gets the first pick of the desserts, and they continue down the line until each table has one dessert.
This bidding typically gets competitive. A couple of years ago, the fundraiser raised $2,300 on one dessert alone, Gibson said.
Another way the fundraiser raises money is through selling sponsorships to people who want to support the organization and who usually end up registering for the event as well, Gibson said. These people are typically designated table hosts and can become “champions” through peer-to-peer fundraising by creating their own page on Give Smart, the website the Boys and Girls Clubs of Muncie also uses for the fundraiser. By sharing their link with friends, they raise money and that total is added to their table’s total for the dessert bidding, Gibson said.
The fundraiser this year sold out its 25 tables and already raised $10,360 through registration, sponsorships and a few women becoming “champions.” The goal for the fundraiser, Gibson said, is $25,000 to pay for the SMART Girls program and a staff member to run it.
To Gibson, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Muncie helps children be whatever they want to be and Just Desserts is all about giving kids hope when it comes to their dreams.
“Everybody started out as a young child at some point in time in their life, they had hopes and dreams and our kids are the same way,” Gibson said. “They need people they can look up to — people that don’t look like them, that don’t look like me, that don’t look like you — they look like what they hope and dream to be in the future. That’s the reason why we do this event — we do this event to give our kids hope. We give them the opportunity to see someone that they can aspire to [be].”