KINGMAN - While the upcoming Venture Club Casino Night is being billed as fun, exciting and filled with big raffle prizes, the reason behind the one-night event is much more serious.
The Venture Club of Kingman, comprised of about 36 members, is using the proceeds from casino night to raise money for scholarships, an annual and long-term community project, and grants to local nonprofit organizations seeking assistance. The volunteer women's service organization, which began in the 1980s, focuses on improving the living conditions of women and children in the community.
"We do a lot in the community, but we're the quiet participant," said Lisa Bruno, a Kingman attorney and club member for about a year. "It's nice to be able to work with the other organizations in town, not just by giving them money but actually by getting involved with them. We do so many different things and it's really rewarding."
For instance, each July, the club chooses a local nonprofit as its annual project, providing education, services and supplies over the course of the year. Harbor House, a shelter for runaway and homeless male teens in Kingman, was picked last year and another agency will take its place this summer. The shelter provides temporary housing for up to 21 days for up to 30 youth.
Each month, Venture Club members sponsor an enrichment meeting where Harbor House residents learn about useful topics and are provided with haircuts and dental hygiene services. Also, members collect clothes, personal hygiene items and paper products for the teens. The club is planning to purchase a clothes dryer for Harbor House.
Last year, the Venture Club took on Diana's Faith House, a women's homeless shelter, as its annual project and purchased and installed a fence around the property. The club spends about $2,500 each year on its annual projects.
The club also has raised money for several years for a bigger long-term project. Bruno said club members are strongly considering the construction of a splash pad at one of the city's parks. So far, the group has saved about $20,000 towards the project and is planning to earmark part of the proceeds from casino night for it. The members are hoping to raise about $10,000 with the one-time event.
Venture Club also provides three or four scholarships annually, totaling $4,000, to women seeking to further their education, and distributes about $2,000 each year in grants to organizations needing financial assistance. It also donates service hours all year to local nonprofits to help them grow.
That includes the Kingman High School Prom Fair, Code 3 Clothe the Kids, Boys and Girls Club of Kingman, Lucky Night, Cornerstone Mission Variety Show, and Soroptimist Gourmet Dinner.
"This is a way for me to get involved in the community and do my part to help it," said Liza Noland, who joined last year and is the club's board director. "Venture Club has done amazing things. There's so much potential and skill and heart in this group, and we have the resources and drive to get things done."