On Oct. 19, the Driving Children to Success gala welcomed 300 guests to the Camelback Inn Resort and Spa in Scottsdale for cocktails and a night celebrating education. The gala, an annual charity event hosted by the Children First Foundation, raised $250,000 in support of Children First Leadership Academy, a free public charter school serving underprivileged and homeless youth.
The Children First Foundation serves the students at CFLA by offering scholarships and supporting transportation costs. The CFF 2019 gala helped CFLA with funding for the five routes used to take students to and from school. At the Children First Leadership Academy, 75% of the students are homeless. CFLA is committed to its students; each one has access to three meals every day, on-site medical services and transporation.
The gala, emceed by Brad Perry, showcased several students from the Children First Leadership Academy. Ruby Cortez, a student from CFLA, was presented with the Outstanding Student award. Minutes later, three CFLA students- Marcus Lavell Works-Dorsey, Denise Jones and Kamirah Lawson- performed with America’s Got Talent finalist Evie Clair. Fun Pinewood Derby cars designed by the students were set outside on a table for guests to race and bid on to support the school.
Additionally, the silent auction and the live auction, led by Subyn Wadsworth, included a trip to Oregon wine country, a luxury RV rental and the trip of a lifetime around the world. The main auction item was donated by TCS Travel: a trip of a lifetime valued at over $270,000 that will take the winning bidder and a guest on an all-inclusive trip to nine destinations around the globe, including Japan, Ecuador and Maldives.
At the end of the night, guests moved to the patio and raced the Pinewood Derby cars created by the students from the Children First Leadership Academy. The support fundraised by the event will be used by CFLA to help fund five bus routes to get their students to school, regardless of where they live or their family’s income. Every year, CFLA drives students 65,000 miles to help them get the education they deserve.