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Telethon raises $84,454 for Boys & Girls
Boys & Girls Club Telethon volunteer Dave Jackson writes the latest bids on some of the items offered in the live auction Tuesday night. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO
Sure there are the people that you see on Comcast Channel 97 manning the phones at the Boys & Girls Club Telethon as well as those who stand before the camera providing the commentary for the event.

But there are also a handful of behind-the-scenes volunteers that few people realize fill vital roles in keeping the wheels spinning for the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year. This year’s telethon raised $84,454.

While waves of people flowed into the telephone bank Tuesday afternoon for the first round of calls to family, friends, and past supporters of the Boys and Girls Club, Manteca Fire Chief Kirk Waters stood patiently while overseeing the operations and making sure there weren’t any hiccups.

It took him nearly a month to compile all of the necessary information to keep the phone banks operating smoothly. That includes making sure that lists of past contributors and phone lists of people in the community are available to those putting in the footwork to ensure that the youth of Manteca have a place to go.

Waters – himself a product of the Boys Club of San Mateo – says that when he assumed the role of fire chief, he knew that he had to find something in the community that he could plug himself into. Waters said volunteering to support and organization that played a big role in his formative years seemed like a natural fit.

“This had such a huge impact on me when I was younger, I knew that this would be something that I could really give myself to,” said Waters. “I knew that I needed to be involved, and I’m happy that I have the opportunity to do this.”

Tucked away in an office away from the main telethon floor, longtime volunteer and past board president Dave Thompson looks over the pledge sheets that keep flooding into his station. He carefully enters them into a program that tracks each contribution.

It’s the second year that Thompson has utilized a new computer program designed specifically for this purpose. It is a program that replaced the software that he wrote himself and used for more than a decade handling the data entry for the event.

“I’ve been involved with the club for some time now, and I think that they just do amazing work with the kids in the community. They’ve done that for years and years,” Thompson said. “I think that the support that they provide to kids in the community is extremely important, and anything that I can do to help with that I’ll do – it gives kids a place to go other than out on the streets, and that’s one of the most important things you can provide.”

And inside of the gymnasium, as entertainers cross the stage to perform everything from dances and songs to karate exhibitions, Harmony Rebeiro waited patiently off to the side before she had to keep the entertainment going as the on-camera persona for the entire lineup.

The Manteca dance studio owner got to watch her students perform on Monday, and as a member of the Board of Directors, Rebeiro thought that taking over the position previously held by Matt Vaughn – who was an instructor at her studio – would be the logical next step.

“I always encourage my girls to get involved in the community with everything that they possibly can,” Rebeiro said. “I want to practice what I preach, and I love the kids here at the Boys and Girls Club and am proud to be able to be a part of this organization and see what it provides.”