A few weeks ago, I wore a dress. A white and grey lace number that a friend bought me from the White Elephant Sale benefiting the Oakland Museum of California. That might not be a big deal to many but it’s a rare occasion for me. Visiting student studios and creating art can be very messy. So on March 27th, it took a special event to get cleaned up. The Students Rising Above gala at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel was the reason why.
This is a worthy and special organization. How many “causes” can actually show results? Well, this one does masterfully. According to their website: “Students Rising Above invests in low-income, first generation college students who have demonstrated a deep commitment to education and strength of character in overcoming tremendous odds of poverty, homelessness, and neglect. We help each student to realize his or her potential by guiding and supporting them through college graduation, and into the workforce. Our graduates are breaking the cycle of poverty within their own families, serving their communities, providing a new generation of employees and leaders from diverse backgrounds, and accelerating positive change. The SRA Community is dedicated to impacting the future through the cultivation of extraordinary youth.”
CBS journalist and SRA co-founder Wendy Tokuda hosted the gala along with SRA Executive Director Lynne Martin. The event included inspiring videos and student speeches. There was a silent and live auction featuring items from fine bottles of wine to San Francisco Giants Luxury Box tickets. In addition, I donated a framed painting on canvas paper to help with the cause. When I win the POWERBALL lottery, a bigger gift will be delivered.
Lynne Martin graciously invited my husband and I to the gala. It was our first time at the Ritz Carlton. At our table sat two students who had challenging backgrounds but were proudly college bound. My advice to them: “…a person can lose everything but an education will be with you forever.” It was wonderful to see hope in such inspiring youth.
There are many good causes and organizations to support. However, Students Rising Above holds a special place in my heart. I grew up in a lower middle class family faced with challenges like alcoholism and job layoffs in a small Midwest college town. Education and setting goals was my only ticket to a positive life path with opportunities. SRA has a devoted and superhero staff that truly cares. It shows and now I’m hooked forever.