Project Life extends many thanks to The Voice Gavel Club of Markham, Ontario for organizing the very successful Youth Serving Youth fundraiser Saturday, April 6. Proceeds have now topped $23,000!
The event was a combination dinner, art auction, and fashion show held at the Markham Hilton, north of Toronto. About 220 people enjoyed a four-course meal, auction of paintings and sculpture, and an “ethnic fusion” show featuring clothing by contemporary Canadian designers.
Gavel Club members, all high school students in the Markham area, hosted and emceed the entire event with enthusiasm and dedication. Arriving guests were ushered into a reception area to enjoy wonderful hors d’oeuvres and juices. During this time, Project Life volunteers were interviewed by local media and had a chance to speak to Gavel
Club members and their parents about the orphans program.
From there the action moved into a large, beautifully decorated banquet hall. The lights went down and Gavel Club members gave heartfelt, passionate speeches about the plight of world orphans. Project Life Director Linda Redfield Shakoor and WLI Canada VP Chris Wilson spoke about Project Life’s mission and its work with orphans of war, while a PowerPoint slide show played on two large screens.
Seated at the VIP table were the Mayor of Markham, Frank Scarpitti, Regional Councillor Joe Li, and a representative from Member of Parliament Jim Karygiannis’ office. All of them spoke from the podium and commended the young people for their remarkable effort on behalf of children of war.
Markham is an ethnically diverse city of 310,000 just north of Metro Toronto. Almost all the Gavel Club members are of Chinese heritage, so parts of the presentations were interpreted into Chinese for the benefit of the dinner guests.
Once the formal presentations were completed, it was time to shift gears. Guests were treated to a multimedia extravaganza—music, lights, and a rainbow of fabrics—starting with traditional Chinese dresses, and moving on to the most up-to-date styles for today’s youth by three Canadian designers. All of the young models had dedicated many nights rehearsing to get the show ready. The modeling school gave all services to the Gavel Club free of charge.
After a lovely meal the final item on the agenda was an art auction. Gavel Club President Bruce Wu outdid himself as auctioneer, egging guests on to increase their bids for the sake of the cause.
Project Life voluntary staff were left almost speechless by the inspired way that Gavel Club members spoke on behalf of world orphans. “I’m a veteran public speaker,” Chris Wilson said. “But these young people were really a hard act to follow!”
Assistant Director, Project Life