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Voices & Visions Raises $1.1 Million for The Home for Little Wanderers
Evening features emotional masterpieces by youth
BOSTON (May 26, 2015) — Almost 800 guests, including Governor Charlie Baker, turned out to celebrate The Home for Little Wanderers’ 11th Annual Voices & Visions fundraiser at the Seaport World Trade Center on Thursday, May 21, 2015. The evening raised $1.1 million for the nation’s oldest and one of Boston’s most beloved child welfare agencies. Highlights of the gala included a display of artwork created by the young artists in our programs and recognition of this year’s honoree Jerry Sargent, President of Citizens Bank, Massachusetts.
Sargent was honored for his commitment to the community and generous philanthropy. Whether it is sending staff to volunteer as part of Citizens Helping Citizens to The Home’s Big Wishes Gift Drive during the busy holiday season or funding a project, under Sargent’s leadership Citizens has continued to demonstrate their support of The Home and doing whatever it takes to help kids thrive and succeed. Since 1998, the bank has donated $250,000 to The Home’s two capital campaigns.
“Jerry’s commitment to corporate social responsibility serves as an example to others. Under his leadership, Citizens’ employees have been introduced to new opportunities and causes that support local charities including The Home,” said Joan Wallace-Benjamin, Ph.D., President and CEO, The Home for Little Wanderers. “Additionally, Citizens generous financial commitment has allowed The Home to build a wider network of support where some of the state’s most vulnerable youth are now able to thrive and succeed. We are grateful for their ongoing support. ”
In addition to honoring Sargent, Voices & Visions featured a powerful exhibit of visual arts and creative writing by children in the organization’s therapeutic residential, special education, and community based programs. Created through an innovative year-long art project, youth helped select the theme of this year’s artwork — “Who Am I?” — which served as the backdrop for the gala. The children brought the theme to life by depicting some of their own emotions.
“When children are introduced to the creative process of art and writing, it has proven to be extremely therapeutic. It not only teaches children about various art forms, but also provides safe outlets for demonstrating complex feelings. 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,” explained Paul Creelan, Ph.D., Program Director, Preschool Outreach Program, The Home for Little Wanderers. “By giving the children and families in our program and opportunity to paint scenes on ceramic tiles together, it allowed them to reflect on what is important to them.”
Other highlights from Voices & Visions 2015 included the recognition of this year’s Sabino Marinella Awardees. The 2015 recipients were five young women, who were The Home’s “First Five” graduates of its Academic Support for College and Life Program (ASCL) at Bridgewater State University. ASCL is an innovative program designed to support the transition into higher education for young adults who age out of state care. This annual award, which celebrates individual achievement, is named in memory of a longtime friend, supporter and board member of The Home. Governor Baker was on hand to help recognize the “First Five.” During his remarks, he harkened back to his days as Secretary of Health and Human Services, and touted his longstanding appreciation of The Home’s work. He also applauded the awardees personally for the careers they landed in human services.
According to Wallace-Benjamin, “Two of the young women are now working for the Department of Children and Families and another is a teacher at a local charter school. All of us at The Home are extremely proud of the ‘First Five’ graduates of ASCL. Through the generous support of donors, our staff, and volunteers, we are able to help young adults stay on a path that will allow them to thrive, succeed, and in some cases…help others who have experienced the same hardships.”
All proceeds from Voices & Visions 2015 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.
About Voices & Visions
Voices & Visions is a culmination of a year-long innovative arts program. The event features the creative art and writing by youth from throughout The Home for Little Wanderers’ programs in Boston and Eastern Massachusetts. Debuting 25 years ago as a small display of children’s artwork by the young residents at our well-known Knight Children’s Center ― which moved from Jamaica Plain in 2012 ― Voices & Visions has evolved into The Home’s signature fundraising gala. The project integrates the written word and visual arts — “voices and visions” that lend both name and substance to this moving event. In addition to teaching children about various art forms, it provides safe outlets for complex feelings and has proven to be a valuable tool in the healing process for those who have experienced traumatic events early in their lives. This year’s theme “Who Am I?” recognizes that belonging, identity, and validation are vital for health development especially for youth who have experienced trauma.