Press Release (ePRNews.com) - CHICAGO - Jun 07, 2017 - Youth Guidance raised a record-breaking $820,000 at its 2017 Bright Futures Gala, held on Thursday, May 18th at the Palmer House Hilton. This year’s event—co-chaired by Matt and Carrie Parr—also boasted record attendance by attracting more than 480 supporters and special guests. Proceeds will help support expansion of the agency’s school-based programs in the year ahead.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel was honored with the Kurt L. Schultz Service Award in recognition of his commitment to the Becoming a Man (BAM) and Working on Womanhood (WOW) programs. BAM and WOW will reach 6,000 and 1,500 youth respectively this fall under the Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative—a 50% increase in capacity for each program next year.
“I am grateful to Youth Guidance for this tremendous honor. But I am even more grateful for your partnership,” said the Mayor. “When you give our kids a choice between right and wrong, they will make the right decisions. They will walk the right path. To save a young person’s life, you have to be part of it. If we want every boy to become a man… or every girl to become a woman… we need every adult to become a mentor. I am confident Chicago will answer the call.”
NBC 5 broadcast personality Zoraida Sambolin served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the spirited program which included Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Preckwinkle applauded Youth Guidance’s dedication to the city’s youth. Also honored were Exelon and Peoples Gas as Corporate Partners of the Year. Both organizations have pledged significant investments in BAM over the next three years.
Peoples Gas Vice President of Customer Service Michelle Rindt shared, “We are in awe of BAM, the counselors and the achievements of this amazing initiative. Peoples Gas is proud to support a program that helps develop the skills and confidence that young men need to chart a path for long-term success in life.” In an acceptance speech for Exelon, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Bill Von Hoene commented, “We applaud Youth Guidance for not giving up on these students, providing practical guidance and meaningful programs for development. We believe in their potential, and in ground breaking programs like BAM that will be keys to their success.”
Perhaps one of the most moving moments of this year’s gala came when Morgan Park BAM Senior Xavier took to the podium and began relating his experiences to the audience. “My BAM brothers and BAM Counselor Mr. A. have helped me be a better person, a better man,” he reflected. “BAM is more than just a program. It’s like life. I’ve opened up to people I never have before. Words cannot really even say all that BAM has done for me.” Xavier graduates in June and plans to study software engineering.
Youth Guidance meets youth where they are—within schools, socially and emotionally—so that they are better able to overcome obstacles and focus on their education. The agency’s trauma-informed counseling programs help young men and women make positive life choices and stay focused on school.
The record success of the 2017 Bright Futures Gala was due to the collective efforts of volunteers, generous sponsors, in-kind donors and friends of Youth Guidance, which currently operates in more than 80 Chicago Public Schools in some of Chicago’s most troubled communities.
This year marks the agency’s 92nd year of service. For more information, visit http://www.youth-guidance.org.