More than 100 Annapolitans gathered at “ Cocktails for a Cause” last week to celebrate its 5 th anniversary by honoring community partners who helped Seeds 4 Success (S4S) during its fledgling years. “We didn’t build this organization by ourselves. Many people gave us advice and a helping hand to become a life-changing nonprofit that is having an impact on Annapolis youth living in public and subsidized housing,” said Karen Feldman, Board Vice–President and Event Chair.
This year’s honorees of S4S’s first annual “Helping Hands Award” award were long-time community activist, Sheryl Menendez, Executive Director of Restoration Community Development Corporation and pastor of Light of the Living World Church, and Anne Harrington, Box of Rain, Board Chairman. Reverend Menendez was honored for her inspiration and guidance that resulted in the Eastport Girls Club, S4S’s signature program. Box of Rain fiscal sponsorship allowed the founders of the Eastport Girls Club to initially operate as a Box of Rain program until it achieved its nonprofit status.
Also honored were Cocktails for a Cause Honorary Chairs, Phil and Meri Gibbs. As Phil explained to the gathering, “When we visited the Eastport Girls Club, we were immediately impressed with the serious, one-on-one tutoring. It was obvious that the tutors were helping with more than the 3Rs. We support Seeds 4 Success because in only five years, it is changing the lives of very vulnerable children and families through academic accountability and a little tough love!”
S4S’ new Executive Director John Palinski was introduced to the crowd. He stressed the organization’s recent results, and thanked all his staff, tutors, mentors, volunteers and Anne Arundel County Schools who make S4S a success. “Our kids GPAs and MSA test scores are increasing each year. We know that S4S programs and its wonderful mentors, tutors and staff are making a huge difference on behalf of these kids and their families.”
Cocktails for a Cause was generously sponsored by Severn Savings Bank, Christopher Gordon Wealth Management, Karen and Art Newman, and Angela and Ed Ponatoski. Food and drinks were donated by The Palate Pleasers, Graul’s Market, Main Ingredient, Reynolds Tavern, Wine Cellars of Annapolis and Eastport Liquors. More than $15,000 was raised to support S4S programming.
Recently S4S received the 2013 William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award.