Youth Guidance donors, supporters and friends joined forces to raise more than $770,000 for young men and women in some of Chicago’s most disadvantaged schools and communities. The 2015 Annual Gala included elected officials such as Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois State Representative Christian Mitchell who turned out in support of the Becoming a Man (B.A.M) and Working on Womanhood (W.O.W.) programs.
Chicago, IL, May 16, 2015 –(PR.com)– On Saturday, May 9th, donors and friends of Chicago nonprofit Youth Guidance came together to support youth in need at the agency’s annual gala, “Bright Futures.” The black-tie affair was held at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park Hotel, and co-chaired by Diane and Paul C. Reilly. NBC 5 broadcast personality Zoraida Sambolin emceed the evening’s festivities, which raised more than $770,000 in support of at-risk youth. Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke about the program’s measurable positive impact on Chicago’s youth and encouraged increased support.
Richard Logan of the Reva & David Logan Foundation was presented with the Kurt L. Schultz Individual Service Award in recognition of his commitment to the Becoming a Man (B.A.M.) and Working on Womanhood (W.O.W.) programs. His remarks included a surprise announcement that the Logan Foundation would match funds raised the evening of the event dollar for dollar. “I saw an opportunity to galvanize the support on the night,” said Logan. “I was overjoyed when, led by the Bank of America, many of the attendees raised their contributions to exploit our offer. It was a great night, and it is truly an honor to support Youth Guidance in all their inspiring work.”
Youth Guidance presented Bank of America (BofA) with the Organization of the Year award. A generous supporter since 2010, BofA demonstrates a strong commitment to preparing youth for graduation, post-secondary completion and the workforce. BofA Illinois President Tim Maloney announced that the organization would double its sponsorship level, bringing its support for the event to $100,000. He noted: “We are extremely impressed with how Youth Guidance is changing the lives of young men and women all across our city, and are pleased to provide funding for W.O.W. and B.A.M. It is the personal engagement of Bank of America employees like Paul Reilly, who co-chaired the gala with his wife Diane, and Tristan Slemmons, who is a member of the W.O.W Advisory Committee, that make our commitment come to life.”
Youth Guidance meets youth where they are – both within schools and socially and emotionally – so that they might overcome obstacles and focus on their education. The agency’s B.A.M. and W.O.W. programs serve students in grades 7-12 in many of the city’s most violent and disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Fenger High School Principal Liz Dozier offered her perspective on the impact of her school’s B.A.M. Counselor on her students, remarking that Youth Guidance changes lives every day. “I firmly believe that trauma care, counseling services, and social and emotional supports are truly our keys to violence prevention,” she stated.
The B.A.M. program in particular has received national recognition from President Obama as an effective intervention for young men of color at-risk of being involved in violent crime or dropping out of high school. In addition to B.A.M. and W.O.W., the agency also offers Community & After-School and workforce development programs.
“Words cannot express our gratitude to our supporters for their generosity. Because of them we will be able to reach even more youth desperately in need of guidance and support,” said Youth Guidance CEO Michelle Adler Morrison.