Thursday, February 10, 2011

The AEF/BCEF Volunteer Appreciation Party: Volunteers, Competitive Bowling, and Awards

Honoree Joanie Juster with Volunteer Manager Sean Greene

The AIDS Emergency Fund (AEF) and the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund (BCEF) presented a volunteer appreciation party at Yerba Buena Bowl on Feb. 7 for a couple dozen people who dedicated themselves to the charities throughout the year. The AEF and BCEF provide life-saving financial support and measurably improve their clients’ quality of life.

Yerba Buena Bowl has some of the few bowling lanes left in San Francisco. It is modern and well-maintained, like the ice skating center next door. A treasure of the bowling center is the attentive catering by Tammy Cessna of Mo’s Grill, which is also located in the Yerba Buena complex. While much of the cuisine in America that is in close proximity to bowling balls is an abomination, that is not the case at Yerba Buena where three varieties of fluffy gourmet pizza and wonderful roast beef and ham sandwiches were eagerly loaded onto party plates by the hungry volunteers.

Guests were greeted by BCEF Client Services Associate Suzy Goldsmith and hardworking double-jobbed BCEF Communication Manager and Volunteer Manager Sean Greene, and between them they knew everyone entering the party.

The party’s excitement level was noticeably lower than last year’s because Suzan Revah and her energetic crew were on an Atlantis cruise. Revah hosts the monthly Nasty party that benefits the AEF at the Powerhouse bar. Her party has brought electro-torture and unusually primal go-go dancers in jockstraps out into the SOMA mainstream.

Board VP Neil Figurelli, Volunteer Manager Sean Greene, and Board President Cynthia Hester

AEF/BCEF Board President Cynthia Hester, who is a Senior Marketing Director at Hewlett-Packard, graciously thanked the volunteers for being the “heart and soul” of the organizations, and BCEF manager Sean Greene announced several awards, including a well-deserved award to the "Every Penny Counts" program coordinator, Kelly Rivera Hart.

Executive Director Mike Smith

AEF/BCEF Executive Director Mike Smith revealed that the popular annual AEF County Fair would not be happening in 2011, but board president Hester said that another big spring event would take its place.

Board VP Neil Figurelli, who is the charities’ Senior Event Planner, is employed at Winslow & Associates public relations and the board is lucky to have secured his talents. He has been successful at providing superior entertainment at the County Fair and the charities’ annual December holiday dinner.

Volunteer Manager Sean Greene interrupted the bowling to introduce former volunteer manager Joanie Juster, and gave her a floral bouquet, saying that she is the reason that most of the attendees were at the event. Jester thanked him and said that the volunteers are now in good hands. Jester is touring the country promoting her award-winning documentary "Alaska Far Away: The New Deal Pioneers of Matanuska Colony."

Then the bowling started up again and Troy Brunet outscored his team and partner John Kiltinen. Paul Soto (who is Mr. Golden State Gay Rodeo Association) and Chris Benson furiously competed against each other as did a lot of the other volunteers with their partners.

Volunteer appreciation parties are a terrific way for charities to say “thank you” and it has worked well for the AEF and BCEF to retain the people who make the organizations’ work possible.

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