The best community galas are those that keep in mind why they’re raising funds and help patrons do the same.
A great example was the Homefull 25th Anniversary Gala held on Thursday evening, Sept. 19 at the Dayton Art Institute to raise funds for services to the homeless.
The theme was : “What Will be Possible?”
Gala goers were greeted at the door by a dancer wearing a dress made out of newspapers.
The idea, said choreographer Rodney Veal, was to provoke thought and compassion by taking items traditionally associated with the homeless — such as newspapers and paper bags — and turn them into something quite beautiful.
“Homeless people are in fact people first, and so maybe the person you may see on the street that you turn away from is someone with a story you may want to know,” said Trudy Elder, director of housing for the organization.
In addition to the live performances in the galleries, Homefull chronological exhibits documented the growth and progress of Homefull, formerly known as The Other Place.
The arty theme was also carried out with a fine art silent auction with pieces donated by area artists, and a musical performance featuring 16-year old Asia Boles on the flute, joining local professional guitarist Danny Voris. Asia is a junior at Stivers School for the Arts and worked for Homefull at its Gettysburg Gateway Micro-Farm this summer through the Montgomery County Youthworks Program.
A touching video featured a local family helped by Homefull and their move from homelessness to housing.
Homefull CEO Tina Patterson has challenged her staff “to rapidly re-house each homeless family we serve, and to ensure there will be no homeless child in the gateway shelter system on Christmas morning.”
A similar challenge was shared with the sold-out crowd in attendance asking each guest to volunteer and to help financially support the more than 150 families expected to be served from September through December. The gala grossed $87,000.
One of the stars of the night was 12-year old Max Mader, a student at the Miami Valley School, who told how he personally became involved with Homefull. For his “Story Time with Max” he collects books and reads them to children at family shelters.
“He keeps coming back and working,” Elder said. “I think he inspired other people at the event who may be older than he is to think about what they can do to get involved and make a difference.”
PHOTO GALLERY: To see photos of the Homefull gala, visit MyDaytonDailyNews.com or www.homefull.org