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Celebrating Our 214th Anniversary
We are so thrilled that Graham’s first ever Virtual Gala, which premiered online on Tuesday, September 29th at 7:30PM, was an extraordinary success! It was a record-breaking event for Graham– we raised more than $2.3 million -to benefit our kids and families! Over 300 members of the Graham community tuned in for our first ever virtual gala and we could not have done it without all of you who tuned in last week.
We were so proud to honor our Board Member Jennifer Mackesy and her husband Scott Mackesy for their leadership and abundant generosity over the years. They exemplify the mission of our founder, and so we were delighted to present them with Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton Legacy Award.
We were also excited to honor and present Ali and Joe Torre with the Champion’s for Children Award. The work that they do through the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation continues to be a beacon of inspiration to all of us at Graham.
Our Chairman of the Board, Georgia Wall, highlighted our Graham SLAM (Support, Lead, Achieve, Model) program that provides youth in foster care with coaches to support them from high school to college to a living wage. She had a meaningful conversation with Sheniqua Roberts, Youth Outreach Coordinator, Graham. Sheniqua spoke about first being introduced to Graham at the age of ten, transitioning to foster care and then coming back to Graham and being introduced to SLAM in her early 20’s. Sheniqua is a shining example of the positive impact that Graham’s coaching program can have on the lives of vulnerable, at risk young people in our city. She praised her coach Kaya for her support and encouragement, and thanked her for being by her side through the toughest of times.
Kym Watson, our Chief Operating Officer who was once foster care herself, and Wanda Tyson, our Family Coach/Advocate for Prevention Services shared their stories. Both Kym and Wanda conveyed “this is not just a job for us!” They are both success stories of talented people within the Graham family that overcame so much and are now working at Graham and making a positive impact on young children and families with backgrounds similar to their own.
Once again, our Board Member, Ken Bryant, led a successful Fund a Coach appeal which will help us to hire more Family Advocates and Youth Coaches for our young people in Graham SLAM. Ken conveyed just how important the generosity of our donors is and our viewers reacted. At the end of the appeal we raised more than $145K!
The event concluded with a performance by The Marching Cobras of Cobra Performing Arts, Inc., a talented and charismatic group of young people who drummed, danced, and marched their way into our hearts. And I also was elated to announce the launch of our $15 million growth campaign as we head into our 215 years of serving the nearly 4,000+ young people and families in the Graham Community.
Thank you for never giving up on our kids. This year’s gala was a testament to what we can do, even in these unprecedented and challenging times with friends like you standing by their side, and we are deeply grateful for you!
We hope to see you in person next year.