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Voices & Visions Gala Brings Out Record Number of Supporters
Event Raises $1 million for Children's Services
Record numbers of guests came out to support The Home for Little Wanderers at this year's Voices & Visions gala. More than 1000 guests attended the May 25th fundraiser at the Seaport World Trade Center which raised $1 million. As the nation's oldest child and family service agency, The Home's programs across Eastern Massachusetts touch the lives of more than 7,000 children and families each year.
"Voices & Visions is a wonderful evening that celebrates the imaginative spirit of children with whom our staff work every day. It also recognizes others in the in the community who are making a difference in their lives." said Joan Wallace-Benjamin, President and CEO, The Home for Little Wanderers. "Young artists in The Home’s care are provided with a unique opportunity to let their voices be heard."
The evening featured a powerful exhibit of visual arts and creative writing by children in the organization's residential and special education programs, together with many of its community-based programs. This year’s theme "Cultures of the World," exposed children to the many diverse and colorful cultures from around the world – both thriving and extinct. From Egyptian Hieroglyphics and Mayan poems to Chinese characters and graffiti, they used symbols and words in their art to express their hopes for the world, including peace and harmony. Many of the written pieces reflect feelings about a learned culture of the child’s personal heritages. Other highlights from the evening include two girls from The Home's residential programs celebrating their "voice" by reciting the poem "Our Deepest Fear" by Marianne Williams. They later joined Wallace-Benjamin, Mistress of Ceremonies Liz Brunner from WCVB-TV, and the Voices of Renaissance Choir on stage to sing John Legend's "Are You Out There."
In addition to celebrating youth, Voices & Visions 2011 honored two outstanding individuals for making a difference in the work of The Home. Rick Loughlin, President of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage New England, was recognized for his good corporate citizenship and support of community-based charities throughout New England. Since its inception, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Cares has donated over $3 million dollars to hundreds of non-profit organizations, including The Home for Little Wanderers.
Loughlin has helped to raise money for The Home’s Coldwell Banker House, a residential program which provides short-term residential stabilization, assessment and re-integration services for teenage boys. He has also led Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage offices as they have collected toys, clothing, gift cards and other items during the holiday season for The Home’s annual Big Wishes for Little Wanderers' gift drive.
Stephen Pemberton, Divisional Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Walgreens, was the recipient of the 2011 Sabino Marinella Award, presented each year to recognize an individual achievement and/or dedication to The Home’s mission. Growing up in the foster care system and transitioning to a successful and productive life himself, he fully understands the challenges faced by many of the young people in The Home's care and earned this recognition on both accounts. Pemberton gives generously of his time and support, both as a Board member at The Home and as a role model for youth.
According Wallace-Benjamin, "Events such as this help us to continue providing the best possible care for the thousands of children we serve."
Title sponsors of Voices & Visions 2011 include Natixis Global Asset Management and The TJX Companies, Inc. All proceeds from the event will enable The Home to continue supporting programming for children and their families.