Gala raises $1.3 million to help kids thrive and succeed

Home Run for The Home for Little Wanderers

More than 1,100 guests turned out for the May 29th Voices & Visions gala at the Seaport World Trade Center to raise $1.3 million for The Home for Little Wanderers ― the nation’s first non-profit, child service agency ― and honor outgoing Board Chair John T. Hailer, President and CEO, Natixis Global Asset Management.

Hailer was honored for his dedication to lifting children, adults and families out of challenging circumstances and giving the tools they need to effect lasting change in their lives. He was an instrumental force behind The Home’s Third Century Campaign, which raised a record $23 million and enabled the agency to build a beautiful new school and home at its Longview Farm Campus in Walpole. It also created a fund for innovations and provides support for The Home’s endowment.

“Under John’s leadership, The Home has been able to thrive and succeed, even during difficult economic times. Voices & Visions has continued to grow and gain increasing support from local business leaders and corporations, becoming one of the Boston-area’s largest annual fundraisers,” said Joan Wallace-Benjamin, President and CEO, The Home for Little Wanderers. “John has inspired his employees and friends to give back to the community. We simply would not have exceeded our fundraising goals this year without his vision to engage new and existing supporters for an organization he is deeply committed to helping.”

In addition to honoring Hailer, Voices & Visions featured a powerful exhibit of visual arts and creative writing by children in the organization’s therapeutic residential and special education programs. Created through an innovative year-long art project, children helped select the theme of this year’s artwork, “A Journey through the Ancient Past,” which served as the backdrop for the gala. The children brought the theme to life by creating everything from cave painting to a mural of musical dinosaurs and canvases of prehistoric landscapes.

“Programs like Voices & Visions are an example of why funding art education is so important,” explained Brian Barresi, an art teacher at The Home’s Longview Farm Campus in Walpole. “It not only teaches children about various art forms, but also provides safe outlets for demonstrating complex feelings. When children are introduced to the creative process of art and writing, it has proven to be extremely therapeutic. Both are valuable tools in the healing process, especially for children who have experienced traumatic events, such as abuse and neglect, early in their lives. Voices & Visions allows us to celebrate the imaginative spirit of children and everyone who is making a difference in their lives.”

Other highlights from Voices & Visions 2013 included the recognition of this year’s Sabino Marinella Awardees. Eighteen young adults from throughout The Home’s programs for transitional aged youth were recognized for choosing higher education in pursuit of their personal career goals. This annual award, which celebrates personal achievement, is named in memory of longtime friend, supporter and board member of The Home, Sam Marinella.

According Wallace-Benjamin, “It is the generous support of donors, including John, who have allowed The Home for Little Wanderers to continue our legacy of helping kids thrive and succeed.”

All proceeds from Voices & Visions 2013 will enable The Home to continue providing innovative programs and services to more than 7,000 children and their families across Boston and Eastern Massachusetts each year.


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