CEDAR CITY – The Heritage Center Festival Hall in Cedar City was filled to the brim Friday night, as new faces turned out to support the second annual Youth Volunteer Corps Gala and Silent Auction where the fundraising creativity included the youth themselves being placed on the auction block.
YVC coordinator Cindy Rose said the Volunteer Center of Iron County sold about 123 tickets for this year’s gala with with the help of Southern Utah University students. Subject to final tally, she estimated the evening’s fundraising at $7,500 to $8,000, exceeding last year’s total of $5,000.
“You know, last year I knew almost everybody in the room,” Rose said. “This year, I hardly knew any of the people who attended tonight.”
The Southern Utah Brass Ensemble provided entertainment. Centerpieces and handmade bow ties donned each table.
Seemingly affluent guests attended, from local artists to state representatives, dining in style as 15 to 20 youth volunteers served up each delicious course – sometimes, in their eager enthusiasm, bringing more than one plate to the same person.
“I saw some real leadership potential in those kids tonight,” attendee Roy Watson said. “A lot of them really showed not only a willingness to serve, but real initiative and an ability to look and see what needed to be done.”
Roy Watson said he and his wife Gerna Watson had a great time at the gala and were excited to pay $600 at silent auction to win three wooden bowls and three pieces of handmade art created by artist Heather Cox, because it went to support a fantastic cause.
The inspirational speech delivered by keynote speaker Michael Barr got straight to the root of service learning experiences, emphasizing character building and preparing youth of today for leadership tomorrow.
Sharing his research on the origination of YVC, Barr told those in the room that the service-oriented program stretches far beyond the Cedar City borders – across a nation and into Canada.
YVC founder David Battey started the organization with a thesis paper, Barr said, and it grew into a massive vision that impacts many people on many levels. The young people in the room Friday night were no different in their unlimited potential, he said.
After the keynote came the auction. Among the items up for bid was the group of YVC youth, who placed themselves on the block.
Dinner guest Marilyn Kidwell, who paid for an entire table of guests, won every summer month that the youth offered in auction, with the surprise that YVC members will spend their time working at various animal shelters.
The SUU communication students who helped put the night together agreed that their biggest challenge was gathering donations for the silent auction.
“Getting everything from the local businesses and getting people to sponsor was probably the hardest part of it,” communication student Dallan Forsyth said. “Because people don’t know about them anyway, so when you go into places people were (skeptical).”
By the time all was said and done, however, the display of everything from printers and office supplies to art and Disney vacations took up an entire section of the room.
Communications student Kelli Bowles said this project was meaningful to work on, because helping YVC to become more visible will empower more youth to join the world of service within the community.
“I think it shows a lot about their character and about who they are that they are willing to spend their free time at ages 11 to 18 (volunteering),” she said.
- YVC coordinator hopes to double last year’s Gala goal
- Youth Volunteers give mock check to city for $60,000
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- AmeriCorps volunteers enhance Quail Creek hiking trails, making them bike-friendly – 2014
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