The volunteers lined the entrance, ready to greet the 200+ guests. The room was sparkling with silky tablecloths, big beautiful centerpieces with purple hydrangeas, and strings of lights crossing the ceiling. Then it started. Hundreds of supporters, volunteers and the youth helped by StandUp For Kids filled the space with laughter and excitement for the evenings events.
People in beautiful dresses and sharp suits began finding their seats and chattering about which silent auction items they had their eye on. The magician worked the room making things disappear and reappear to the shock and delight of the onlookers.
Photo: Chuck Jones Center for Creativity
The night continued with a three-course dinner and stories shared by volunteers and people whose lives have been changed by StandUp For Kids. We all felt moved by the heartbreaking stories about the seemingly insurmountable challenges these kids had to go through, but also the triumph in their strength and courage as they got through it and ultimately became self-sufficient thanks to the help of StandUp For Kids.
Photo: Marquesha (left); Dr. Ana McCarthy, PhD (right) courtesy of StandUp For Kids
Then comedienne and auctioneer Amy Ashton took the stage to lighten the mood with some humor. She kicked off a live auction to raise money for items like food, computers, shampoo, mental health and shelter to support the hundreds of young people StandUp For Kids - Orange County serves each year. Attendees all around the room popped their paddles into the air, offering generous donations that will help get and keep kids off the street in Orange County.
Photo: Amy Ashton, comedienne courtesy StandUp For Kids
The trips around the world, precious art, and other silent auction items were picked up as guests headed home for the night, filled with the warm hope of knowing they had just helped change someone’s life.
As for StandUp For Kids, we raised nearly $80K in cash and services to start our new House of Hope, which will provide emergency beds, an outreach center, office for staff and volunteers, along with other resources to support the homeless youth like WiFi, computer access, showers, laundry, hot meals, and mentoring services.
But we couldn’t do it without all of you. We want to thank our sponsors who kindly donated what we needed to make the event a success. And everyone who attended the gala and offered generous donations to our House of Hope.
If you weren’t able to make it out but still want to help, visit https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/SUFKOrangeCounty. We could always use more volunteers too! If you’re interested in learning more go to http://www.standupforkids.org/orangecounty/volunteer.
We look forward to seeing you all next year at the 2019 StandUp For Kids Gala! Stay tuned for more information.