Amy Scherzer's Diary

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Art of Helping Children, Alpha House wine tasting and auction, Ybor City Chamber of Commerce Gala

14th annual Art of Helping Children

Greeted by "Picasso," emceed by "Dali" and otherwise inspired by 1920s cultural icons, the Art of Helping Children gala set a chic Midnight in Paris scene for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Tampa Bay on Saturday at A La Carte Event Pavilion, A painted Eiffel Tower backdrop covered the stage as 500 guests, many dressed in fun vintage flapper and fedora flair, met a few of the 1,000 children (littles) matched up with adult (bigs) volunteers for meaningful mentoring.

One-third of the kids have a parent in jail, noted 14-year sponsor Rod Broadrick, looking straight at Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee. A big boost came from J.D. Porter of the Wiregrass Ranch Foundation with a check for $18,750 plus a $5,000 pledge. Add in the lively auction, with Henri Jean buying a 65-foot yacht ride, Sonoma Valley winery trip and a St. Pete Beach sailboat cruise. That helped gala net proceeds reach $250,000. "When you add it up, it equals love," said Henri.

Entertainment Revue's Cynthia Gries "Glee"-ishly choreographed 25 young, singing and dancing scene-stealers, reminding the crowd that all kids should have a chance to fulfill their potential. Best example: chanteuse Shannon Magrane, 16, an Entertainment Revue alum, singing burlesque to blues, her voice keeping the dance floor full all night and leaving no doubt what the future holds for the American Idol finalist.

Ybor City Chamber of Commerce 47th annual Gala

For decades, an invitation to a fancy, fall dinner from Adela Gonzmart, late matriarch of the Columbia restaurant, marked the start of the Ybor City social season. The Chamber of Commerce continues her gala tradition, adding a fundraising auction and an award for cherishing Ybor as much as she did. On Saturday, the family of the late Eugene C. Iavarone stepped up to be thanked for living the community spirit of the Latin district. Past recipients were also honored, their names engraved on plaque to be hung at the restaurant. Bay News 9 anchor Veronica Cintron emceed for the nearly 200 guests dining on filet and cannelloni de langosta.

Alpha House sixth annual wine tasting & auction.

The babies and their mothers stayed home, snuggling at Alpha House, while their advocates sipped wine and bid on loads of auction goodies at Brio Tuscan Grille. Chairman of the board Ed Mierzejewski welcomed supporters, reiterating the mission of the maternity home for women in crisis: sheltering homeless mothers until they can take care of themselves. That includes parenting classes, life skills and vocational training.

The Artemis Guild, comprised of board members plus several young professionals, hosted the Sept. 13 benefit that raised nearly $8,000. Artemis, daughter of Zeus, is revered as the Greek goddess of the hunt, childbirth and protector of young girls.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay's 14th annual Art of Helping Children Gala

Greeted by "Picasso," emceed by "Dalí" and otherwise inspired by 1920s cultural icons, the Art of Helping Children Gala set a chic Midnight in Paris scene for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay on Saturday at A La Carte Event Pavilion. A painted Eiffel Tower backdrop covered the stage as 500 guests, many dressed in fun vintage flapper and fedora flair, met a few of the 1,000 children (littles) matched up with adult (bigs) volunteers for meaningful mentoring.

One-third of the kids have a parent in jail, noted 14-year sponsor Rod Broadrick, looking straight at Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee. A big boost came from J.D. Porter of the Wiregrass Ranch Foundation with a check for $18,750. Add in silent and live auctions, with Henri Jean buying a 65-foot yacht cruise, Sonoma Valley winery trip and a St. Pete Beach sailboat ride to help gala net proceeds reach $250,000. "When you add it up, it equals love," said Jean.

Entertainment Revue's Cynthia Gries Glee-ishly choreographed 25 young singing and dancing scene-stealers, reminding the crowd that all kids should have a chance to fulfill their potential. Best example: chanteuse Shannon Magrane, 16, an Entertainment Revue alum, singing burlesque to blues, her voice keeping the dance floor full all night and leaving no doubt what the future holds for the American Idol finalist.

Ybor City Chamber of Commerce 47th annual Gala

For decades, an invitation to a fancy, fall dinner from Adela Gonzmart, late matriarch of the Columbia Restaurant, marked the start of the Ybor City social season. The Chamber of Commerce continues her gala tradition, adding a fundraising auction and an award for cherishing Ybor as much as she did. On Saturday, the family of the late Eugene C. Iavarone stepped up to be thanked for living the community spirit of the Latin district. Past recipients were also honored, their names engraved on a plaque to be hung at the restaurant. Bay News 9 anchor Veronica Cintron emceed for the nearly 200 guests dining on filet and cannelloni de langosta.

Alpha House 6th annual wine tasting & auction

The babies and their mothers stayed home, snuggling at Alpha House, while their advocates sipped wine and bid on loads of auction goodies at Brio Tuscan Grille. Chairman of the board Ed Mierzejewski welcomed supporters, reiterating the mission of the maternity home for women in crisis: sheltering homeless mothers until they can take care of themselves. That includes parenting classes, life skills and vocational training.

The Artemis Guild, made up of board members plus several young professionals, hosted the Sept. 13 benefit that raised nearly $8,000. Artemis, daughter of Zeus, is revered as the Greek goddess of the hunt, childbirth and protector of young girls.

Events

Friday: Imagination Gala benefits Glazer Children's Museum; TPepin's Hospitality Centre; 6:30 p.m.; creative black-tie attire; $250; (813) 443-3805.

Friday: Fifth annual Southern Charm Wine and Food gala benefits Brandon Community Foundation; 7 p.m. VIP, $125; 8 p.m., general admission, $100; black-tie optional; Straz Center for the Performing Arts; (813) 689-6889 or tampabaywineandfood.com

Saturday: Planet of the Grapes; 11th annual movie-themed wine­fest benefits Tampa Theatre; tampatheatrewinefest.org or (813) 274-8982.

Saturday: Teal Triumphs Over Ovarian Cancer benefits Ovacome USA; 6 p.m.; Emerald Green Golf Resort & Country Club; $75; (813) 223-9108.

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Art of Helping Children, Alpha House wine tasting and auction, Ybor City Chamber of Commerce Gala 09/20/12 [Last modified: Thursday, September 20, 2012 4:30am]

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