Ronald McDonald House Charities Storybook Ball
Chimney sweeps on stilts, a waddle of penguins and Mary Poppins herself swooped into a supercalifragilistic Storybook Ball, the 19th annual Ronald McDonald House Charities black-tie evening supporting four houses open to families of children being treated in nearby hospitals. Surrounded by a London rooftop backdrop beneath dozens of Mary Poppins' umbrellas, board chairman Ed Ameen thanked retired executive director Janice Davis for 24 years of innovative programs, many adopted nationwide. New executive director Lisa Suprenand presented Jack ("Yes, that's my name") and Dede Frost and their family (owner/operators of eight McDonald's stores), the Award of Excellence during dinner May 19 at the Tampa Convention Center for their constant help. Emcees Don Germaise and Veronica Alfaro auctioned, admired and appealed to the 550 guests to raise a record-setting $530,000, including Diane Klingel's $9,000 bid for a Silky-Poo puppy. After-partiers arrived at 10 just as the C'Nergy band packed the dance floor.
A Night to Remember; Children's Home Network
From the burgers, fries and ice cream sundaes on the sock hop menu to the hula hoop contest won by Devon Anderson, Twisting the Night Away, A Night to Remember blasted the past to support the 126-year-old residential campus and many new resources offered by the Children's Home Network serving at-risk children and teen mothers, foster parents and grandparents.
CEO Irene Rickus welcomed the dungarees and poodle-skirted crowd, including an Elvis or two, and chief of development Rockin' Robert Krouse emceed, but it was the Fabulous Rockers who put the bop in the she-bop, as they have for 59 years.
Frameworks of Tampa Bay
Jessica Lahey is the teacher we all wish for our kids. The journalist, lawyer and mom shared some of her techniques for teaching students how to express healthy emotions — known as social intelligence — at the annual Head & Heart Awards Luncheon hosted by Frameworks of Tampa Bay. Identifying with a literary character's behavior was one example given.
"My super power is matching kids with books," said Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed.
Frameworks interim executive director Shea Quraishi walked the 460 guests, including many school administrators, through the steps to model self-management and awareness being provided to 41,000 students in 59 schools and organizations.
Board member Elizabeth Fowler introduced this year's honorees, Sheff Crowder, Rennex Franklin, Belle Lowke and McKay Craig, and announced the Triad Foundation would match the first $70,000 raised. That gift resulted in more than $180,000 raised May 9 at TPepin's Hospitality Centre.
of Tampa Bay
University of Hartford professor of English Joyce Ashuntantang addressed members and guests of the Ivory Club of Tampa Bay on the importance of documenting cultural memories at the 14th annual Evening in Africa dinner at the West-shore Grand Hotel.
"Personal history is important for any group, but even more for those of African-American descent because of the assault on our identity," said the expert on oral African literature. "Every family must make it a duty to archive what was lost to slavery and racism."
The Heritage Ensemble and the Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe performed at the May 5 benefit and guests bid on a silent auction of African art and clothing, many dressed in colorful African fashions themselves. Club president Jean-Pierre Nziga presented five scholarships to University of South Florida students, bringing the total awarded to more than 50 in the past decade.