HEART on Safari Dinner 2013

HEART on Safari Dinner 2013

This year’s event was more than amazing! The Highlight of the evening was the “Experience Africa” walk through display – a replica of the “Unity WEEP” center in the Kibera slums, the greenhouse, and the soccer field….among many other authentic exhibitions. People kept making such remarks as “this is like being in Kenya… how did you do this”!

They also had live animals provided by “Wild Things” of Weimar, CA sponsored by Criterion Systems.  People were greeted at the front door by a small boy in a uniform made by our WEEP Ladies holding onto goat with a rope.  He looked like he had just stepped out of Kenya. Among other animals, people could pet an alligator or a python!

The silent auction was again displayed in splendor and exotic tones of wonder. The “ART of HEART” exhibit donated by various local artists gave an exquisite touch to the evening.

The appetizers and evening dinner was exceptional! The evening program began with prayer of blessing by Pastor Stan Koon, HEART Board of Director Member. Mitch Hanna was the MC and charmed the gathering as he moved the line up from one segment to another.   The HEART Interns shared with Kyndal Riley, Intern from Kentucky, spoke on behalf of the Interns as to what it meant to here to be an Intern for HEART for two summers.

bethThe most talked about highlight of the program was a short, powerful speech by Beth Blaisdell, US Bank Executive, that spoke on behalf of “Women Leaders in Action” (visit “womenleadersinaction.org“) that are supporting  HEART projects, donating $5,000 to this event to bring the $95,000  donated by WLA in the past two years to a total of $100,000 for the HEART projects they support!

Vickie Winkler was the key note speaker and ended her stories of the past year’s accomplishments with plans for the new addition of 7 rooms at the HEART Lodge that will bring even greater income to HEART as part of their sustainability plan.  She showed a slide show of the HEART Kenyan staff and told the gathering of the need of HEART to raise $110,000 for the lodge.

You felt the drum roll excitement as the ticket was drawn for the winner for this year’s  trip to Kenya “Safari for Two” was won by Judy Hernandez! Judy was part of the John Johnson, Bayside HEART team last year and was already signed up to come again in June 2013!

So was the dinner a success? YES! A huge success! Raising $57,910! These funds will be used for the expenses of HEART that are often not covered in the grants.

Not only did over 300 Auburnites and the surrounding communities come and buy artifacts, purchase raffle tickets and enjoy a great evening they also shared from their hearts to help with the needs in Kenya. We also had guests from many different states:

Larry Donahoo from Nairobi, Kenya with Lift Up Africa flew in from Arizona

David and Ellen Bowman from Cincinnati, Ohio

Beth Blaisdell from Atlanta Georgia with Women Leaders in Action

Marty Lou Naylor from Phoenix, Arizona

Pastor Brian and Mercy Alarid from Albuquerque, New Mexico

Lisa Van Sistine from Green Bay, Wisconsin

Emily Vaughn from Green Bay, Wisconsin 

Kyndal Riley from Lexington, Kentucky

Matt Van Sistine from Denver, CO

If you missed this year’s HEART on Safari event, you really missed a wonderful evening! Laura Van Auker and Stephanie Gunton lead a group of volunteers that work for months to host this gala! Their husbands John Van Auker and John Gunton also should receive a resounding applause!

Plan ahead for next year and mark your calendars for February 22, 2014 and come and join us!

23 March 2013/VW

1 reply
  1. CBHEINECKE, M.Ed. says:

    Wow! What a glorious, impactful event! Congratulations and deep thanks to all who MADE this fundraiser a night to remember for a long time to come! So…HEART still needs $42,000 to raise what Vickie Winkler appealed for? I want to help. Maybe others want to help too!

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