Volunteer Center of Iron County Youth Volunteer Corps Program Director Cindy Rose said she was over the moon about the way the event turned out. Although, she did say she was a little disappointed that they came so close to their $5,000 goal, but didn’t quite reach it.
Rose said the gala brought in a total of $4,717.91, which she said was $282.09 short of her goal.
“I just keep wondering who we can get to make up that last little bit,” she said. “Don’t get me wrong I am really grateful, I just really wanted to hit that mark, and it was so close.”
Still, Rose said that she has no complaints, and she said she could not rave enough about the dedication of her youth volunteers. She said that she felt the evening was an overwhelming success, and the permanent smile that donned her lips throughout the night showed proof evident that she was one proud program director.
The elegant affair that took place at Festival Hall in the Heritage Center Theater brought volunteers, their families, invested community members and leaders, local businesses, dream vacations, good music, good food, and founding members together for an evening of magic.
Dressed in black pants and white shirts, each bow-tied-volunteer mingled respectfully making sure attendee’s needs were met throughout the night. From showing the way to various baskets in the silent auction to bringing plated food and clearing empty platters, the volunteers who ranged in age from 11 – 17 worked hard without sitting down to rest for the duration of the night.
Just before dinner was served the silent auction closed, and the Southern Utah University Halversen String Quartet, who had provided the musical ambiance for the gala, packed their instruments to leave.
Professor Xun Sun, director of orchestral activities at the SUU Department of Music, said that the quartet was happy to donate their time to help with such a fantastic affair. He said they heard about the event from a close friend and colleague Patricia Keehley.
“She mentioned this event and asked us if we would help,” Sun said. “I think it’s wonderful, and we definitely love to offer the community support.
The delicious chicken or beef dinners, catered by The Garden House of Cedar City, included fresh veggies and potatoes, along with decadent choice of either cheesecake or chocolate cake for desert.
The 26 baskets from the silent auction were given out at the close of the night, but before any of that, the volunteers shared a video about who they were and what YVC meant to them.
One of the highlights of the night came when keynote speaker and YVC founder David Battey spoke to the audience about importance of volunteerism, and overcoming obstacles that may sometimes seem overwhelming.
Battey said that when he started to develop the YVC program he went to a trusted professional, Ray Meadows, seeking advice about how to get more youth involved in providing community service. He said Meadows was a high school principal in a town nearby to his native Kansas City, MO.
After providing Meadows with a proposal outlining the idea behind YVC and the program layout, Battey said he was devastated to receive a disapproving critique.
“He said something I will never forget,” Battey said. “He said, ‘David, I don’t think you’ll get kids to do this – I think it would be great if you could – but I know a little bit about kids, because I am the principle of a high school, and I just don’t think you’re going to get kids to sign up and serve like this.’”
Battey said that 265,000 youth have volunteered for YVC activities providing more than 4 million hours of service since the day he sat down and had that meeting in 1987.
“Those were hours provided by middle school and high school children from all different backgrounds, and from all different communities,” Battey said. “I think one of the people who would be the most proud would be Mr. Ray Meadows.”
Rose said she was delighted to have been able to talk Battey in to coming to Cedar City as the keynote speaker for the gala. She said she is proud of the children she gets to work with, and she felt they deserved the opportunity to meet the man who got the whole ball rolling in the first place.
Sophomore Canyon View High student Kaylin Shelley said YVC has brought a tremendous amount of joy into her life. She said she is passionate about service, because she grew up with struggles and there were always kind people there to help her family when they needed it the most.
“I grew up in a home that didn’t always have everything,” she said. “When I see other people that need help, or anything, I love to jump in and help them, because I know how that felt when other people did it for us.
“And when we are getting to do stuff like this for other groups, like Dust Devil Ranch, I’m thrilled, because someplace that is working hard for their own goals we are able to reach out and help them to meet those goals,” she added.
Rose said each and every youth volunteer she works with is a treasure that she is grateful to know.
“They’re amazing – every single one of them is just amazing,” she said. “They don’t ever stop.”
Volunteer Center of Iron County Program Director Amy Brinkerhoff said she is very proud of all of the progress Rose has made with the YVC program, and ecstatic about the results of the gala.
“I just can’t even describe what it was like watching this all come together,” she said.
Rose said the money will help to fund more projects for YVC to do to help the community, and hopefully will help pay for some of them to attend the YVC Summit in Kansas City, MO.
More information about how to donate to, or volunteer for, YVC is available on their facebook page found at Iron County Youth Volunteer Corps.