We are excited to share that Youth Guidance received amazing support for the 2017 Bright Futures Gala, raising $820,000 for Chicago’s youth! This year’s event—co-chaired by Matt and Carrie Parr—was held on May 18th at the Palmer House Hilton and also boasted record attendance, attracting more than 480 supporters and donors.
We were happy to honor Mayor Rahm Emanuel 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,” the Mayor stated. “When you give our kids a choice between right and wrong, they will make the right decisions. They will walk the right path.”
NBC 5 news anchor Zoraida Sambolin served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the 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 the evening came when Morgan Park BAM Senior Xavier took to the podium to share his experiences with 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.”
Our thanks to all who supported the event and gave so generously to help advance our mission to guide kids to bright futures!