SANTA FE, NM — A big crowd packed the convention center for this year’s Mayor’s Ball. The event brought in $100,000 to support the Boys and Girls Clubs, and !Youthworks!, two organizations that complement each other nicely. About 500 friends and admirers of Mayor Javier Gonzales attended his gala, packing the convention center.
The theme of this year’s Mayor’s Ball was “FOR THE LOVE OF YOUTH – Providing a continuum of care from early childhood to early adulthood.” I know, you’re thinking, “Wait … I thought that was what parents do?” But, in real life, our jails are full of folks whose parents did not parent them; if only a caring substitute role model had been there. Many people have children, but do not have the skills and qualities to be effective parents. Their children are “at risk” of “going bad.” As a society, we step in and help these children, and guide them in a positive direction toward a productive and happy life. That’s what the Boys and Girls Clubs, and !Youthworks! do.
Let’s face it: There are not a ton of activities for our young people here in Santa Fe. Even as an interested and committed parent, you do have to look hard for healthy activities and most of the good ones you have to pay up for: horseback riding, music lessons, gymnastics, dancing lessons, swimming lessons, karate class, something worthwhile to fill their hours and their attention and, one hopes, at the same time enhance their development and character. It’s expensive to keep your precious ones off the proverbial street! Parents without disposable income need to find affordable, healthy solutions.
Elephant in Santa Fe’s room: Gangs are active and always actively recruiting new members, starting with really young kids. The good guys need to get to them before the gangs and that’s where an organization like the Boys and Girls Clubs comes in.
It’s a safe, nurturing and respectful environment with fun activities, help with homework and strong positive role models. That’s for kids 5 to 18. Then it was discovered that, with nowhere to go and no stability for those vulnerable years between 18 and 24, this population was still at risk for dropping out of school, gang recruitment and just not doing anything with their lives – or, worse, going in the wrong direction.
Hence the creation of !Youthworks!, continuing in the positive role of the Boys and Girls Clubs. Both will benefit from the income of this event’s generosity.
If there was ever a time you wanted a politician’s ear, this was the evening! They were all there! An astounding number of civic leaders all gathered together in one place, relaxed and amiable, this was the moment to mention potholes and permits, taxes and getting high-speed Internet here … maybe getting your loved one out of jail, or fixing a ticket?
Many of them were members of the extended Gonzales family. The mayor must be related to everyone in town somehow! And, in a really unusual twist, it was catered by a new company in town – the !Youthworks! Catering Co., a division of the !Youthworks! Culinary Arts Program. This is a commercial endeavor and dream child of Chef Scott Eastburn, who is teaching and helping interested young people transition into a real honest business enterprise. The dinner was great! We assumed one of the popular local caterers had done it and we were impressed!
Here’s an American success story happening before our eyes. We wish them the very best in all their entrepreneurial endeavors!
Ashley Margetson has a BA in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has a finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. To tell us about an upcoming event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mayor’s Ball chef David Sellers and wife Heather.
Ball benefactors Isabelle and Sam Jewell.
Coordinator of this year’s event, Felicia Kenner, with Justin Kenner.
Jimmy McCabe, Colin Keegan and Charlie Puglisi of Santa Fe Spirits liven up the event.