As soon as an event is called a “luncheon,” most women assume it is only for them, and most men run for their golf clubs, feign severe illness, or apologize profusely for a pressing appointment they suddenly remembered. They know how these events go: the numbing, interminable silent auctions, raffles, and speeches – not to mention an abundance of fashion talk.
Not so with Youth Haven’s annual signature event. Youth Haven’s featured speakers and stories have all been about extraordinary men achieving amazing things against herculean odds.
Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy spoke at Youth Haven’s inaugural event. This successful Memphis family adopted 17-year old, Michael Oher, whose drug addicted mother gave him up in childhood. He is now an offensive lineman with the Baltimore Ravens, and subject of the Academy Award winning film, “The Blind Side.”
Apolo Anton Ohno is an eight-time Olympic short-track skater medalist. His parents divorced when he was an infant, and Apolo never knew his mother. Mentors and friends helped Apolo find his emotional footing in childhood, and he went on to become the most decorated American Winter Olympic athlete of all time.
Erik Weihenmayer is an internationally recognized blind mountain climber. His life of courage and triumph moved us all to tears and a thunderous standing ovation last year. He is the only blind person who has reached the summit of Mount Everest, as well as the tallest peak on each continent. His mentors inspired him to a life of possibilities, not limitations.
Youth Haven’s 2014 event promises to continue the tradition. Featured speaker, Antwone Fisher, is a New York Times Best selling author, poet, inspirational speaker, and subject of the Denzel Washington film, aptly entitled, “Antwone Fisher.” He started life in a series of abusive foster care homes. Today Antwone inspires young people around the world to believe that a life of joy and purpose, no matter their pain, is within their grasp.
These remarkable individuals have one thing in common: they achieved world class excellence in the face of stunning obstacles. But they will tell you their strength came from unexpected friends – perfect strangers and dedicated professionals who stepped up and stood beside them. Their stories remind us of what really matters: compassion, kindness, and love for one another — the ingredients given to all Youth Haven’s treasured children who climb a steep slope every day just to get by. Youth Haven provides shelter, guidance, therapeutic support, and love to severely abused and neglected children. The talented team of Youth Haven professionals works to give every “forgotten” child in our community a fighting chance at life.
Don’t miss the January 22, 2014 Youth Haven “Rebuilding Children’s Lives” luncheon. You’ll be in and out in 1 ½ hours and wish it had lasted longer.
For information, sponsorship opportunities and tickets, contact Aileen Carroll, Youth Haven, 239.687.5155. Aileen.Carroll@youthhaven.net.