“Raising the Bar” Gala Inspired with Youth Testimony

On April 24th, over a hundred people gathered for the Salem/Keizer Coalition for Equality’s (SKCE) Raising the Bar Gala. The gala, a fundraiser aimed to sustain SKCE’s  youth leadership development programs (Lego Robotics, Video Production, and Mock Trial) and our outcome-based family literacy program Leyendo Avanzamos (Reading Together We Advance), included music and testimonies from participants in each program.

“I want to share a story about when I found my voice,” said Moises Mendoza, a member of the Mock Trial Team, describing how the program empowered him. “I used to be afraid of the police, the courts, judges, and the law. Through Mock Trial, I realize I have a voice, and I can use the law to help others.” Moises was one of the four program participants who testified at the event.

Ultimately, the Raising the Bar Gala raised the bar on future fundraising by SKCE: it brought in the $10,000 SKCE needed to receive a 2-for-1 matching grant from the Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) of $37,000.

“The food was incredible,” said Jaime Arredondo, referring to the chicken fajitas and fresh fruit dessert served at the event by a team of volunteers, “and each participant shared a powerful story that moved us. I can’t wait to hear what direction these programs move through our support. I’m coming back next year!”

If you could not make it to the event, but want to donate, click here. You can also see a gallery of images from the event.

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