2012 Youthlinc Service Fiesta

Cinco de Mayo Celebration of Youth Service

More than 330 guests, Board members, Benefit Committee members, Youthlinc staff, and volunteers assembled Saturday, May 5 for our Annual Benefit, held at the new Natural History Museum of Utah.
The venue is beautiful – perched above Salt Lake City, near Red Butte Canyon – but what is truly awe-inspiring is the generosity of our donors. In one evening, we raised sufficient sponsorship dollars to support two 2012-2013 Service Year teams of 25-30 students each.

As a direct result of our Benefit, as many as 60 Utah young people will have an empowering experience next school year, each becoming a relied upon volunteer at one service site in Utah, cumulatively contributing as much as 6,000 hours of local service, mentored by adult professionals to plan international service in impoverished villages in five underdeveloped countries summer 2013.  Given the service ethic these young people will develop, who knows what exponential good they will accomplish in a lifetime? 

Such successful fundraising efforts put us on firm ground to launch six Service Year teams in November 2012. Adding one more team is a response to the increasing demand for Youthlinc. In October 2011, we had to turn away as almost as many applicants as we accepted. We filled our five teams with 150 Utah secondary, college, and graduate students – and 50 adult professional mentors—a record number.  

Our Friends & Family Team to Cambodia this summer is also at a record size (36). On this team, local service is not a requirement. Many students who could not be sponsored into the Service Year are on this team, and the international service done will be equal to that accomplished on our Service Year teams.

While our generous guests are a major reason for the success of the event, we must thank our sponsors for completely covering the costs of the evening, so 100% of donations made can directly support Youthlinc programs such as our Service Year. US Bank, Heritage Bank, and Nate Wade Subaru have sponsored our Benefit for multiple years. This year, Sundance Catalog added their support. We could not be more grateful.

We must also thank the dozens of volunteers. Benefit Committee members – alum or current parents of Youthlinc students – worked tirelessly for months to organize the party.  So much thanks goes to Margareta Vlasic and Maria Moynihan (Auction Chairs), Lenora Barber and Lori Hogue (Catering Chairs) Julia Houser (AV & Program Chair), Tracy Lyon (Entertainment Chair), Debby DeGennaro and Shannon Johns for helping with displays, centerpieces, event design, anything needed.  Youthlinc alum, DeeAnna Phelps, designed this year’s beautiful invitation, Program, and many other promotional materials www.thoughtsmadevisible.com
Dozens of Youthlinc students spent their Saturday afternoon- and late into the evening -setting up, serving our guests, and cleaning up the event. Youthlinc staffers, Julia Wee and Miriam Kramer (Check-in/Check-out and Volunteers Chairs respectively) dedicated months of preparation and provided outstanding service to our guests.

Each year at our Benefit, we honor a Utah Lifetime Humanitarian – an individual in the extended Youthlinc family who has been critical to our Organization, and who has been extraordinarily involved in local and international service over the course of a lifetime.

The recipient of the 2012 Youthlinc Utah Lifetime Humanitarian Award is Michael Wells, D.D.S. Mike, who hails from Tooele, is the Utah Rotary Youth Service Chair. Each year, he organizes Utah Interactors (high school Rotarians) for a service trip to Mexico, building houses for impoverished people. Mike has participated in a Youthlinc Service Year to Peru. He is a role model of his profession for our students, providing dental care to Amazon villagers who have no access to this service. For years, Mike has also recruited graduating dental students to accompany our teams in the same capacity. Mike has established a free dental clinic in Tooele, and was the driving force behind a similar project in Russia.

Another highlight of the evening is the announcement of the 2012 Youthlinc Utah Young Humanitarian. Since the inception of this Award in 2005, the service records of the young volunteers who enter this competition are always mind-boggling. Each year, we have between 60-90 applicants statewide. A panel of independent community leaders – representing secondary and college leadership, Foundation and Corporate representatives who support our mission of creating lifetime humanitarians – reads, ranks, and interviews finalists.

University of Utah senior Lisa Moynihan is this year’s recipient, awarded $5,000 to further her education. Her service is primarily with Utah’s refugee population. She has also traveled with Youthlinc to Kenya, and will be traveling to Peru in a student leadership position with our team this summer. To read more about Lisa, visit her blog entry.

Much thanks to the George S. & Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation for their remarkable support for this Award, the purpose of which is to recognize and reward young people who excel at giving back to their communities.

Other highlights of the evening included flash mob entertainment by the Juan Diego High School Choir, acoustic guitar by Janey Lyon (a 2012 Cambodia team member), flamenco guitar by Michael Lucarelli, an inspiring Cinco de Mayo Invocation by Armando Solorzano, Ethnic Studies Professor at the U of U and a Catholic Deacon.

Britnie Powell –a Youthlinc ‘First Year’ Alum (participating in the first ever Youthlinc Service Year in 1999-2000), recipient of the first Youthlinc Utah Young Humanitarian Award in 2005, and a five time Team Leader for our Organization – was the evening’s emcee, providing inspiring insight into the impact of the program.

Of course, as always, our silent auction is a unique experience. This year we offered more than 250 exotic crafts and art from Cambodia, Mexico, Kenya, Peru, Thailand and India – all purchased in-country by our team mentors. Judy Zone, Youthlinc Executive Director, assisted by 18 current and alum students, led our traditional ‘Sponsorship Appeal.’ Instead of a live auction, we ask our guests to contribute directly to Youthlinc sponsorships that make our Service Year possible. No student can be accepted without a sponsor. The sponsorship of $600, $800, or $1,000 is each student’s ‘final payment,’ received only after 60, 80, or 100 hours of local service is contributed and all monthly planning meetings attended. Regardless of family income, the Youthlinc experience is not something a parent can buy for the student – it must be earned.

Some event goers contributed full sponsorships. Many contributed $50, $100, or $200 contributions toward the cause. Each contribution is an investment in a lifetime humanitarian. This year, we had a very impactful donation from Good Shepherd Hospice: $8,000 to support 8 volunteers next Service Year. Good Shepherd will be their main service site. This past school year, four Youthlinc volunteers were sponsored by the senior care center, and the partnership went so well, the company wants to invest more in the sincere, hardworking volunteers who participate in Youthlinc.

Also to be thanked is Bill Child, former owner of R.C. Willey. This year, Bill donated a 7 night stay in a 2 bedroom family suite at La Costa Resort, outside San Diego. He also threw in $200 of spa or golf. With a Youthlinc donation of round trip airfare for two from Salt Lake to San Diego, this limited opportunity drawing item is $4,200+ value. If you have not made a $100 contribution that automatically enters you into the drawing, do so as quickly as possible by clicking here. Only 100 tickets are offered, and fewer than 20 remain!

Our Benefit season concludes, as usual, with our on-line auction of gift certificates donated to Youthlinc. Anticipate this email coming into your inbox before the end of this month, and get ready to bid on services all over the state: hotel stays, restaurant gift certificates, spa services, Saturday’s Voyeur tickets, rounds of golf. Our signature online auction is a great way to shop AND invest in the lifetime humanitarian service ethic of Utah’s youth.

Thank you for your generosity, your participation, your commitment to our mission! We can do so much – because of you!

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