Tucson Electric Power made the holidays especially happy on Saturday for 120 deserving youngsters from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson. The kids were treated to a $100 shopping spree at Kohl’s Pantano Road store – compliments of TEP – as a reward for being good students and leaders.

For the past several years, TEP has sponsored the annual shopping spree, which is just as much fun for TEP volunteers as it is for the kids.

Club members earn the shopping spree through regular attendance, good behavior, program participation and community service. The morning of the event, each child was paired with a TEP volunteer or two who helps them select new clothing and shoes.

“It’s such a big deal for them. They are so excited. Some of these children have never had new clothes,” said Susan Gray, TEP Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, pictured here. Gray is one of nearly 100 TEP employees who regularly volunteer to help with the annual event. “It’s a family affair,” she says, noting that her husband and children also participate.

Gray first became involved with the charity four years ago when she joined their board of directors. Since then, she has become an inspired advocate for the Boys & Girls Clubs’ efforts to break the cycle of poverty.

“The Boys & Girls Clubs gives kids a safe place to go after school, and their focus on education is really important,” Gray said. “They have access to computers, tutors and constructive activities and games. The kids also connect with adults who mentor them by casting the vision that they can attend college and have a better life than what they know.”

For more than 50 years, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson has helped keep thousands of local children involved in wholesome activities by providing a positive reinforcement as a counter to the negative influences that they face daily.

For a minimal cost, the Clubs offer daily access to a broad range of programs in five core areas: character and leadership development; education and career development; health and life skills; the arts; and sports, fitness and recreation.

Read more community news on the Watts Up blog.

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