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3rd Annual Steak & Burger Dinner brings exciting keynote speaker Bill Barkeley

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Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth’s 3rd Annual Steak & Burger Dinner allows donors to come face to face with the Grand Rapids leaders of tomorrow. This year’s dinner will take place at the Steil Club in Grand Rapids on Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 6:00pm.
Underwriting support from:

Event Information

What: Steak & Burger Dinner

When: Thursday, October 20 at 6pm

Where: Steil Boys & Girls Club

Contact Sarah Navis at (616) 233-9370 x104 or [email protected] for more information. 

Buy tickets online now at!

Last year's event with keynote speaker Dominique Dawes.

Last year's event with keynote speaker Dominique Dawes. /Shannon Snyder

2nd Annual S&B Dinner in October 2010.

2nd Annual S&B Dinner in October 2010. /Shannon Snyder

2010 S&B Dinner at Steil Boys & Girls Club.

2010 S&B Dinner at Steil Boys & Girls Club. /Shannon Snyder

“Our children are the foundation upon which the legacy of Grand Rapids is to be built on,” said this year’s 3rd Annual Steak & Burger Dinner keynote speaker, Bill Barkeley. “They will take us on journey we cannot possibly imagine as they take the reins of leadership and independence.”

Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth’s 3rd Annual Steak & Burger Dinner allows donors to come face to face with the Grand Rapids leaders of tomorrow. This year’s dinner will take place at the Steil Club in Grand Rapids on Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 6:00pm
The evening’s keynote speaker is Bill Barkeley (read his fascinating bio below), who will share the challenges he faced climbing Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro with Usher’s Syndrome, a disease that robs people of their hearing and vision over time. 
“Boys & Girls Clubs are the critical bridge between home and community and setting the foundation for each child's life as they move forward,” said Mr. Barkeley. “Their value and impact cannot be overestimated. If anything, they are under-capitalized and under-resourced for the task that we are asking them to do.”
This event could not be possible without the generous support of the community. This year’s All Star Event Sponsors are Amway and Meijer. Their continued efforts ensure a safe and educational space for youth in Grand Rapids. Every guest also makes a meaningful difference by contributing to the funds that allow Club staff to create unique programs and experiences for Grand Rapids youth.

Individual tickets as well as corporate tables are still available. Please visit for information on attending this one of a kind event. You may also contact Sarah Navis at (616) 233-9370x104 or [email protected] for more information.

Photographs of last year’s Steak & Burger Dinner can be found at

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Bill Barkeley – Biography
Bill Barkeley graduated from the University of Southern California in 1984 with a degree in Business Administration. Bill was Director, Sales and Marketing before retiring from a Fortune 500 company after 25 years with leadership positions in Seattle, San Francisco and Grand Rapids.  Bill currently travels the world as a deaf-blind adventurer and public speaker/storyteller to share his life journey with progressive hearing and vision loss.
Bill is one of 15,000 – 20,000 people in the United States and 100,000 people in the world with Usher’s Syndrome.  Usher’s Syndrome is disease that robs people of both their hearing and vision over time.  Bill lost 85% of his hearing from birth and in his late teens began to experience night blindness and vision loss.  Usher’s Syndrome is progressive and there are no known treatments or cures.
As a deaf-blind advocate, Bill is active in community service. He works with the Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired (A.B.V.I. – past president), Hearing Loss Association of America (local and national level), Metro Health Systems (board member) and the Foundation Fighting Blindness (local and national level). 
Bill completed a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa as a project on assistive technology for the deaf-blind.  He has been featured on local, regional, national and international media such as Good Morning America, WOODTV 8, The Grand Rapids Press, Faith Magazine; Hear The World, Healthy and Sierra Club Radio.  A film documentary by Josh Levine, Walk Your Own Path – Bill Barkeley’s climb of Mount Kilimanjaro was released to the adventure film circuit.  The climb was covered in Outside Magazine (July 2008).
In 2009, Bill was awarded the No Barriers USA - James O. Goldsmith Pioneering Spirit Award. The award was created to recognize the individual or organization that passionately and selflessly works to break down the barriers that limit accessibility to life. Through pioneering spirit, focused determination, innovative spirit and tireless effort, the recipient is recognized for opening the door to adventure for others. Later that year, at the invitation of Erik Weihenmayer (the first blind man to summit Mount Everest), Bill joined No Barriers USA as a board member.  
The mission of No Barriers USA is to build a powerful community of modern day pioneers who use the experience of nature to promote innovation, education and assistive technologies that create transformative life experiences and inspire people with physical challenges to live full and active lives. (
Bill does motivational speaking to corporations, schools and non-profits on the Kilimanjaro climb and his ongoing adventure projects.  His presentations to all groups (disabled or not) focuses on building a “Life Without Limits” with major themes of Overcoming Adversity, Planning, Excellence, Community and Teamwork. His speaking engagements have taken him around world to the United States, Peru, South Africa and Germany. (
In 2011, Bill’s adventure projects kept him busy.  He climbed Mount Quandary with Erik Weihenmayer and Jordan Romero (youngest person to climb Mt. Everest), competed in the World T.E.A.M Sports - Adventure Team Challenge ( ), hosted the No Barriers USA Summit 2011 for 600 attendees ( and led his second Hear the World Expedition. 
The 2011 Hear The World expedition theme was Sound Academy: Amplifying The Grand Canyon (  done in conjunction with Global Explorers, Grand Canyon Youth and the National Park Service. The expedition took 17 hearing impaired and deaf kids from across the U.S. on a trip of a lifetime. The team rafted the Colorado River; hiked slot canyons; collected recordings and data with an acoustical scientist; and learned about the interplay between human beings, wildlife and the rugged Southwest landscape through the world of sound.  Post-trip, the student ambassadors are launching a Hear the World traditional and online social media campaign to educate others about hearing loss and sound, including a sound-themed podcast for the National Park Service’s 5 million annual visitors to the Grand Canyon.
In early 2012, Bill will be a recognized at the Global Explorers Citizen of the World Awards. He will be the recipient of the No Barriers Leader of the Year along with this year’s Lifetime Achievement winner Sargent Shriver- founder of Special Olympics (posthumous), and Award Winner for Philanthropy Greg Sullivan – founder of the AFAR Foundation and Media. The recipients are noted as exceptional individuals, philanthropists, public servants and educators who are all making a positive difference to share the world with diverse students. (

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