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Boys and Girls Club benefits from Big Beards for a Big Cause shave-off

News File Photo Brad Somers, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Alpena, is seen in this News file photo. He’ll shave his beard at 5 p.m. today after losing a Big Beards for a Big Cause fundraising challenge.

Local business owner Eric Peterson, as part of his commitment to improving lives for Northeast Michigan residents, recently launched a unique fundraiser to support the Boys and Girls Club of Alpena’s Open New Doors Capital Campaign. Eric issued a challenge to Brad Somers, the club’s Executive Director, to see who could raise the most funds to save their beard. 

“I’ve been a longtime supporter of the club and their mission to enable and inspire all young people to become productive, caring and kind citizens,” said Eric Peterson, owner of Fresh Palate. “Their members have access to first-class educational programming, recreation, wellness activities and so much more. I wanted to come up with a fun way to support their capital campaign and to bring awareness to the community support that’s needed to ensure the success of this project. Every dollar towards their project makes a difference and getting involved can be as easy — or as crazy — as challenging someone to a beard off!” 

The Boys and Girls Club have launched their Open New Doors Capital Campaign to fund the revitalization of the former Catholic Central High School. The major renovation will allow the club to serve nearly double the amount of youth in the community. The revitalized facility will bring a culinary kitchen, multimedia library, a teen center and a STEAM lab designed to prepare youth for the 21st century workforce. The new gym will triple the club’s current program space, resulting in expanded recreational opportunities serving more youth more often. 

“We extend our gratitude to Eric for his leadership and innovative thinking in launching this fundraiser to support our capital campaign,” said Brad Somers, executive director. “Our new building will be transformed into a first-class community facility allowing us to serve more youth, more often. We are excited to bring this impactful community project to serve Northeast Michigan youth for generations to come.” 

Brad was successful in raising enough funds to save his beard and a virtual event was hosted to share the shaving of Eric’s beard. The fun continued as Eric issued a challenge to Alpena resident Jack Davison, who recently hosted his own fundraiser determined to save his beard. Jack was successful in reaching his $5,000 fundraising goal and has — much to the dismay of many community members — kept his beard.

Brad will be shaving his beard at 5 p.m. today and announcing a new challenge to keep the fun rolling. 

“We have to remember this is about the kids, it’s about creating great futures for Alpena’s youth,” said Peterson. “There is no greater investment we can make than in our youth. We had a lot of fun with the beard challenge, and I encourage community members to step up and get involved in this vital community project.”  

“We are thrilled with the results Eric’s challenge has brought to our capital campaign,” said Robin Lalonde, board member. “What excites me the most is that this project is not just about our club — it is about a community coming together to create great futures for our youth. We are grateful for the leadership of Eric and Jack and look forward to continuing to open new doors to new opportunities for kids in our community!”

For more than 95 years, the Boys and Girls Club of Alpena has changed and saved young lives during the out-of-school time. The Club wants every child in Alpena to be in a safe, constructive environment when they are not at home or in school. The Club provides a safe haven for nearly 1,200 youth every year, but there are more who need it. Businesses and individuals wishing to support the capital project should contact Robin Lalonde at robin.l.lalonde@medtronic.com or 989-464-8855 for more information. The Open New Doors Capital Campaign has a variety of giving options available, including naming rights, donor wall, banners and more. 

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