Home / Community / Big Brothers Big Sisters of SDC 54th Annual Gourmet Dinner Celebrates Success
Will Leu Photography

Big Brothers Big Sisters of SDC 54th Annual Gourmet Dinner Celebrates Success

Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County’s Annual Gourmet Dinner Raises Significant Funds and Awareness for its Mentoring Program

San Diego County CA— At it’s most anticipated event of the year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County (BBBS of SDC) 54th Annual Gourmet Dinner, themed “Building Futures,” hosted a sold out event of 700 of San Diego’s top business and community leaders in celebration of the chapter’s mentoring success. The Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine was buzzing with excitement as guests enjoyed gourmet cuisine and cocktails, and honored Person of the Year, John Frager. Emceed by Bob Scanlan, former Major League Baseball pitcher, this year’s dinner raised over $800,000 Gross and $650,000 Net for it’s one-to-one mentoring programs!

The evening kicked-off with a gourmet seafood cocktail party, sponsored by Prevost Construction, which featured a beautiful spread of seafood hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, networking opportunities and hosted bar. Guests were then ushered into the main ballroom to enjoy the gourmet dinner. Here, Little Sister Shyann opened the dinner by singing, “Try Everything” and then lead into a high-energy STOMP performance with Arts in Motion STOMP crew, all drumming on trash cans and pounding tether-balls on barrels to delight the crowd. Gourmet Dinner Board Chair, Tom van Betten joined in drumming on a trash can lid as he opened the show with a grand welcome.

Will Leu Photography

Will Leu Photography

Little Brother Luis and Big Brother Wes gave an inspiring first-hand testimonial. Luis credited his Big Brother for getting him to where he is now, in his senior year with a 4.5 GPA and prepared to be a first generation college student. Luis is involved in Big Brother Big Sisters’ newest mentoring enhancement program, Big Futures, a college and career readiness program. Luis said “This program does wondrous things. It has enabled me to have hope. To be the change for future generations. To strive to make this world a better place one step at a time. Because of Big Brothers Big Sisters, I have the ability to leave an impact not only for the community around me, but for the world.”

Current Bigs and Littles inspired the captivated audience as they shared their experiences revealing the self-worth and life-changing effects achieved through BBBS mentoring. “Courage Awards” were given out to Little Brother/Sister Honorees who have overcome adversity with courage: Little Sister Lizeth, Little Brother Carlos and Little Brother Jeremiah (featured in a touching video HERE, “The Future in Under Construction”).

A special thanks to the Gourmet Dinner Title Sponsors: Alexandria Real Estate Equities and PIRCH. Thanks to Gourmet Dinner chair, Tom van Betten, along with his incredible committee members: Greg Anton, Brent Rivard, Kelly Souza and Rick Valencia. And this night was truly a success because of the incredible support for the 2016 Person of the Year, John Frager, who gave an inspiring speech about the return on investment of one-to-one mentoring. John remarked, “For the cost of one incarcerated child, BBBS could match 82 of these same at-risk kids with a mentor, at just $1,550 per child per year. Mentoring has a projected public benefit ROI of $1.87 for every dollar invested.”

ABOUT BBBS OF SDC: For more than 50 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County has operated under the belief that every child has the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters helps children achieve measurable positive outcomes, including educational success; avoidance of risky behaviors; higher aspirations; greater confidence; and healthier relationships. By partnering with parents and guardians, schools, corporations and other community members, Big Brothers Big Sisters carefully pairs children (“Littles”) with screened volunteer mentors (“Bigs”) to monitor and support one-to-one mentoring matches that build safe, enduring relationships. Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity, often from single or low-income households or families where a parent is incarcerated or serving in the military, with strong, enduring, professionally-supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change lives for the better. Locally, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves children ages 7-21 through six distinct programs: Amachi (a program for children with an incarcerated parent), High School Bigs (after school 1:1 mentoring programs), Community Mentoring (the traditional 1:1 mentoring program), Operation Bigs (a program serving children with active military parents), Big Futures (education and career support) and Healthy Futures (a health and wellness mentoring program). Learn how you can positively impact a child’s life, donate or volunteer today at www.SDBigs.org, or call (858) 536-4900.