Well, I don’t know whether to be excited or depressed this morning. Excited that a non-profit actually had a successful and inspiring special event over the weekend or depressed that I may finally have to drop my apathetic attitude towards them. I’m so accustomed to my irreverent and judgmental attitudes on non-profit special events come Monday mornings, that I’m having a hard time adjusting to this new feeling of hope. I can’t believe that I’m about to say this but Friday night’s Kids Korps 2011 Super Star Gala may have just turned me into an optimist. I know. I’m having a hard time even looking at myself in the mirror today. (McFarlane Promotions did an amazing job for the event production.)
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Friday, May 6th Kids Korps held their annual gala with this year’s theme entitled “Red Haute Tango”. The gala’s very successful chairs this year were Maggie and Gary Bobileff, (of Maggie B’s & Mister B.’s) who gave a very moving speech about how important Kids Korps’ programs are to instill responsibility and leadership in our youth. Honorary chairs, Denise and Bertrand Hug took the stage next to their friends to express their gratitude and excitement in Kids Korps’ newest program, Hugs for Kids, in honor and memory of their son, Julien, who passed away in November of 2010. The passion for this organization and its extremely important programs for children was evident in everyone who took the stage.
Mr. Gianni Russo, (Carlo Rizzi in the Godfather) was the event emcee and, in my humble opinion, was an absolutely perfect pick for the night’s festivities. He was engaging, charming, devastatingly handsome and, above all else, had an impertinent sense of humor. Which, of course, I appreciated almost more than him being so easy on the eyes.
There were incredible performances by Yesenia Adame from Dancing With the Stars and her partner Paul Barris who inspired most of us to stop flopping around on the dance floor and get off our duffs to actually go take some Tango lessons. The guests were treated to a singing and choreographed dance performance by youth members of Kids Korps that just about made me cry, it was so adorable.
Everything from the lighting to the centerpieces to the location (Grand Del Mar) was in perfect form on Friday night. The food was the usual Surf & Turf, as it goes at events such as these, but the difference between the Grand Del Mar and every other non-profit event’s venue was that the food actually gave the illusion that it hadn’t been massed produced for 250 people. The shrimp actually looked more like langoustines than the smaller and less appealing seafood that you’re usually served along with your filet mignon. It looked good enough to eat, even. If I weren’t trying to fit in to a wedding dress this summer, I certainly would have partaken.
Since I had decided to abuse myself by choosing the absolute most torturous pair of heels in my wardrobe, I was forced to actually sit down and flip through the program, toward the end of the evening. It was produced more like a magazine with full color and honoring all of the evening’s sponsors in full page ads (which is the right way to be done, given that none of these events and opportunities to raise money for these programs would be possible without them) and I thought to myself, Jesus, we’re a social good magazine and WE don’t even do this.
The event turned out to be a beautiful and loving tribute to all of the families, community members, donors and staff who support the incredible work of this organization. Events like these, when done right, are an opportunity to recruit more people with which to share your vision. After Friday night’s event, I’m a little less likely to be so cynical about the ways that non-profits spend money to make money. Of course I’ll hold out on completely changing my ways until I hear what the final number of dollars raised was. As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.
Congratulations Joani Wafer, Executive Director, to you and your incredible team of staff, volunteers and board! Keep up the great work!
“Kids Korps USA engages young people, ages 5 through 18, in community service. Our mission is to instill in America’s youth the spirit of giving while providing valuable education in leadership and responsibility. Our vision is to develop leaders for life through youth volunteerism.”