By Sandra Cathy
Rainbow Village’s Faith Hope & Love Gala at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Duluth attracted an attendance of 320 and raised $160,000 for Rainbow Village families. Wilmington Trust was the presenting sponsor for the gala.
Retired Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Reeves served as master of ceremonies. His entertaining personality added fun to an evening filled with special moments. The gala is the largest fundraiser of the year for Rainbow Village. The annual event draws friends, volunteers and investors together to enjoy an evening of stories of promise and hope for the future for Rainbow Village families.
Duluth-based Rainbow Village is a one-two year transformational housing program for homeless families with children. Most of the heads of households at Rainbow Village are women fleeing lives of domestic violence and poverty. They are not just seeking a safe place to live but also the opportunity to craft a new life for themselves and their children.
It is a true "village" model where homeless families can find refuge, recover, and learn to rebuild their lives with the support of a community-based family surrounding them. Rainbow Village doesn't just provide a quick fix in times of crisis but offers a long-term program that includes support services for the whole family including life skills training, character building, counseling, career development, after-school programs, financial education, and more.
The goal of Rainbow Village is to break the cycles of homelessness, poverty and domestic violence by teaching adults and children to believe in themselves again, to chart a new course, and to work a plan that enables them to once again be self-sufficient.
The highlight of the Oct. 13 gala was the passing of the torch from the 2011 Future of Promise Award Winner Steven Jackson, former Rainbow Village resident and now a staff member at Rainbow Village, to Tyera Braud, recent graduate of Norcross High School and Rainbow Village.
Tyera and her family moved from Rainbow Village to a home of their own this past spring, and she will be attending Gordon College in January. “What I loved most was that they were not just worried about helping my mom, they actually paid attention to the kids and helped us, because what a lot of people fail to realize is that it’s not just the parents that have a rough time, the kids do as well. I will forever be thankful and grateful for Rainbow Village,” she said.
Following the presentation of the Future of Promise Award, attendees viewed a touching video produced by Bruce Halliburton featuring Rainbow Village graduates, both children and adults. The video captured the spirit and vitality of the program and the long-term effects on the lives of graduates of Rainbow Village.
“Gala night is always a powerful night in the life of Rainbow Village because it touches the heart and soul of those involved,” said Rainbow Village CEO Nancy Yancey. “Attendees get to see and feel the impact they have on the life of a child living at Rainbow Village and witness the successes that grow out of Rainbow Village every day.”
As part of the gala, State Rep. Brooks Coleman and Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris led the live auction that raised $42,000 alone. The auction featured a Napa Valley trip donated by Duluth Travel; a multi-piece village created by Rainbow Village families with the assistance of Jayme Teague at Artistic Adventures; two Tahitian pearl necklaces donated by Gem Shopping Network; a Falcons Package including limousine service compliments of Metro Limo, four Atlanta Falcons-Tampa Bay Buccaneer tickets compliments of Chris Lybeer, and four sidelines passes courtesy of Coach Mike Smith with the assistance of former coach Reeves; two oil portraits compliments of Jane Scott; and a specially created glass art piece by Duluth artist Cher Austin.
Besides bidding on auction items, guests also had an opportunity to commit themselves to become Rainbow Village Angels. Angels pledge a monthly or annual gift to support the programs and operations cost of Rainbow Village. and giving more young people the promise of a brighter future.
The gala was also supported by Wilson Lewis CPAs, Peach State Freightliner, Coles Barton LLC, the Kress Family, the Landis Family, Motor Cars of Georgia, and Layer 3 Communication.
For more information about Rainbow Village, call 770-497-1888.
(Editor's note: Sandra Cathy is chief development officer for Rainbow Village.)
~ Duluth Patch