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February 08, 2021 | Press Release

Sara Shookman will emcee Boys & Girls Club virtual fundraiser

Award-winning 3News anchor and Akron native Sara Shookman will emcee this year’s Aspire! gala, a March 27 virtual event benefitting the Summit County branch of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio.

The annual event will be live-streamed from 6-7 p.m. and include an online auction, raffle, a performance by the youth choir, a speech by our local 2021 Youth of the Year, a virtual Club tour, stories from our Clubs and an opportunity to support Club operations in the community.

This year’s honorary chair is Akron Public Schools Board President Patrick Bravo, who is also executive director of the Summit County Land Bank.

Tickets are free, but you must sign up. Go to and click on the Aspire! virtual event button to register. To enjoy dinner during the event, you can purchase a ticket that includes a $30 meal voucher for participating restaurants.

Items up for grab in the live auction include personal training sessions from Revolution Fitness, a chocolate martini basket, A “Welcome Home Playset” from Step2 Company, a family membership to the Akron Art Museum, and many other offerings from local businesses.

For further information on the event or the Club, contact Grace Marras at or 216.306.3843

All proceeds from Aspire! benefit the local Boys & Girls Clubs, which provide safe, fun places for kids ages 6-18 to go after school and during the summer. The Clubs focus on academic success, healthy lifestyles and character development. BGCNEO was formed in 2019 by the merger of Clubs in Akron, Cleveland, Lorain County and Sandusky.

Both Shookman and Bravo have ties to Akron and the Boys & Girls Clubs movement.

Shookman, who grew up in Akron and graduated from Manchester High School, has been a strong advocate for Boys & Girls Clubs, reading to younger Club members, emceeing our Youth of the Year event and serving on the Bridge Board, a young professionals group.

Bravo holds a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University and both a master’s degree in public administration and urban studies and a law degree from the University of Akron. Growing up in Indiana, he was a member of the Lebanon Area Boys & Girls Club in that community.

When Akron and other school systems switched to remote learning during the pandemic, BGCNEO converted many of its sites, including the Steve Wise Club and Eller Teen Center in Akron, to ClubSmart Learning Centers, where kids receive in-person and tech help with their schoolwork.