Luncheon focuses on our Young Adult Initiative
Last Thursday, after the last guest had left the Academy, staff and members came together to celebrate and reflect on our Fall Ambassador Luncheon. Before the task of assessing the effectiveness of our fundraising efforts would even begin, we had already achieved several key goals. This raises the question: how do we measure success?
Success began taking shape in the months leading up to the luncheon. Members took full initiative in the planning. Our young adults proposed and executed the idea of a Young Adult themed program. Success was demonstrated by their courage to share personal stories in a roomful of people.
Guest speaker Kelly Romanoff, Impact and Innovation Officer from the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, (funders of our Young Adult Initiative) discussed the commitment of the Barancik Foundation to children and youth, and shared a deeply personal story that illustrated just how much she truly understands our mission.
Our employment partner from Sunset Cadillac, General Manager Steve Montanaro, spoke of his first visit to the Academy saying “I was in awe. I went from being interested in partnership to being compelled toward partnership.” Steve shared a success story, emphatically illustrating the mutual benefits of providing employment opportunities to our members.
Success was apparent in the hours before guests arrived. Thirty-one members were responsible for the organized fluidity of our culinary team as they put the finishing touches on the buffet lunch and table settings, and in the readiness of our member tour guides, and in all the details that go unseen. Were we perfect? Certainly not. But sometimes success is best measured in how we demonstrate grace in our imperfections.
For us, success was measured in an event wholly conceived and executed by our membership, where guests bore witness to the joy we put into everything we do, and the camaraderie that comes from tireless hours of collaborating toward a passionate pursuit.
With gratitude to the Steinwach Family Foundation, along with an anonymous “friend of the Academy” donor with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, we reached our financial goal. But more than this, we raised expectations, we raised the confidence of our members, and we raised awareness about challenges and potential of young adults pursuing improved mental health. In the words of our Young Adults, “we just need a chance
Watch the luncheon
The entire program can be viewed in the video below.