"It's great to show people how the Boys and Girls Club helped me and inspired me to get here today."
OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- After a COVID-19 pandemic hiatus, the glitz and glamor were back in Jack London Square Friday night for the Oakland Town Ball.
The fundraising event and auction is one of the largest of its kind in the city and benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Oakland.
One of those in attendance was 17-year-old West Oakland native, Latayza - who was the recipient of the organization's youth of the year award.
Latayza has been a member of the club for more than 10 years, and plans on staying active in the organization through her own volunteer work.
She says the group has provided her with opportunities that she otherwise wouldn't have had.
"It's great to show people how the Boys and Girls Club helped me and inspired me to get here today. It feels good," she said.
But Latayza is just one example of the type of young people that the Boys and Girls Club of Oakland works with. For decades, the organization has been a staple in the East Bay community.
"They've just consistently been there for our children. During summertime, during after school time, and remember kids need us to be there for them at all times," said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.
It's a mission that Boys and Girls Club takes to heart. One that the group's alumnus and president, Cal Stanley understands personally.
"A lot of people have been given a place to go and a way to grow for many years, dating back to 1938 in fact," Stanley said.
In total, Friday's event raised tens of thousands of dollars.
Money that Stanley says will go towards making sure the the youth of today have the same opportunities he did all those years ago.
"We help our families to provide our kids with a North Star. Something that they can keep their eyes on the prize," Stanley said.
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