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April 17, 2007 - 7th Annual Roast Benefiting Denver's Disadvantaged Youth

What: Colorado

Where: Hyatt Regency, 650 15th St, Denver

When: April 17, 2007

Time: 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Ticket Prices: Individual: $250, Silver: $2,500, Gold: $5,000, Platinum: $10,000

Beneficiary: Disadvantaged Youth served by Colorado "I Have A Dream" Foundation

Host(s): Colorado "I Have A Dream" Foundation

Honoree(s): Joe Blake

EMCEE: Gregg Moss and Ned Minor

Executive Director: Mary Hanewall

Committee Members: Planning Committee: Rob Cohen, Lori Fox, Michael Hobbs, Tom Honig, Doak Jacoway, Doug Jones, Steve Kaplan, Don Kortz, Harry Lewis, Ned Minor and Pat Vincent

Sponsors: Platinum: CH2M Hill, Key Bank, United Western Bancorps, Xcel Energy. Gold: Comcast, Compass Bank, Fairfield and Woods, P.C., Garrell Roeh Group, LLC, First Data Corp., Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado, Haselden, The IMA Financial Group, Inc., Keating Investments, LLC, MegaStar Financial Holdings, Inc., Qwest, United Airlines, Wells Fargo.

Menu: Composed red romaine and Arugula salad (artichoke hearts, hericot vert and tomatoes with apple and white balsamic vinaigrette), pinon coffee marinated beef rib eye (with carmalized shalot port sauce, golden whipped potatoes, asparagus and grilled red peppers), double fudge torte (painted sauces and whipped cream).

Attendance: 925

Attire: Business Attire

Special Thanks: Blue Sky Awards, Brown Palace Hotel, Bud's House of Rose, Comedy Works, Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center, GAP Volunteers, Hyde Park Jewelers, Key Bank, Kroenke Sports, Little Voice, M.A. Nyman & Company, Inc., Mercedes Hernandez, Inc., Swank Audio Visual, United Airlines, Melanie Geary, James McPherson, Ph.D., Ned Minor, Gregg Moss, 9News, George Will, Tamra Ward.

Information: http://www.cihadf.org

Planning Committee:

Board of Directors: Officers: Robert L. Loeb, Jr., President; Rich Rainaldi, VP / President Elect; Larry Manzanares, Secretary; Trevor J. Emery, Treasurer; Ann Cisneros, Past President.
Directors: Rob L. Alvarado, Douglas A. Andrews, Tamara Banks, Carole Basile, Ed.D., Lark Birdsong, Tammy Booth, Alan Cohen, Psy.D., Robert L. Cohen, Cole Finegan, George J. Glanders, Jacqueline Berardini, Michael B. Hobbs, Robert W. Hochstadt, Tracy Huggins, Sonny Jackson, Michael Johnston, Grant Jones, Stephen H. Kaplan, Gregory Kolmitz, Anabel C. McHugh (Mrs. Jarome P.), Gary Mitchell, Cherrelyn A. Napue, Anita Padilla-Fitzgerald, Sen. Chris Romer, Justin L. Roth, DDS, Alan Seiver, Loan Vo, Philip Anthony Washington, Stephen L. Wenner, Rusty Wehner, Richelle Williams

Blacktie Photos by: Howie Grapek


 Listening to The Smothered Brothers during the roast - left to right: Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, Tamra Ward, Joe Blake (the roastee), Annie Patterson (Joe's daughter) and Joe Blake Jr.
Listening to The Smothered Brothers during the roast - left to right: Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, Tamra Ward, Joe Blake (the roastee), Annie Patterson (Joe's daughter) and Joe Blake Jr.

By Howie Grapek

There are many dreamers in the world, but on April 17, some very special "Dreamers" were honored and some very special people converged to celebrate the successes of the Colorado "I Have a Dream" Foundation.

This was the seventh "roast" fundraiser for Colorado “I Have A Dream” Foundation.  Past roastees include: Steve Farber, Wellington Webb, Mike Shanahan, Mayor John Hickenlooper, Maria Garcia Berry and Bruce Benson.

The evening’s events started with a moment of silence for the students and professors who died at the massacre at Virginia Tech on Monday. Following that moment of silence, the emcees of the evening, Gregg Moss from Channel 9 News and Ned Minor from Minor and Brown Law Firm began the festivities of the evening.

First, the Colorado "I Have A Dream" Foundation had their reunion of Dreamers and sponsors. Following the reunion, Robert L. Loeb, Jr., CIHAD board president, announced the Denver Active 20/30 class of 2017.

Following the announcements came the presentations for the CIHAD Summit Awards. The award was established in honor of the first roastee, Steve Farber, and is awarded to a "I Have A Dream” participant who has overcome even more obstacles than most of the Dreamers to achieve success. This year, there were two awardees, one from the Lillis Class and the other from the Rocky Mountain Dreamer Class. The recipients receive an extra $1,000 toward their future I have A Dream post-secondary educational assistance.

A heart-warming presentation of the awards was presented to Kiara Nasha Calbert and Nichole M.C. Finnie. The project coordinator for Kiara’s "I Have A Dream" class notes: “Kiara has always been a role model to the younger kids in my program. But what others do not realize who see her bright future are the brutal obstacles she has overcome in her short life.” Kiara Nasha Calbert’s story is one of resiliency and commitment. She says the caring and love of her mother has given her much of her drive today. She is graduating from East High School with a 3.8 gpa and she says she actually works harder during these struggles to have a different life. While her character compels her to do more than expected, she is still compassionate, caring and comical to her elder grandparents, other family members and her friends. Kiara started as a fourth grader in the Rocky Mountain Dreamer class. She plays on the girls' basketball team at East High and is active with the Black Student Alliance. She has received several academic and basketball offers and plans to major in pre-med.

Grit and determination characterize the diminutive Nichole M.C. Finnie. Nichole grabbed the opportunity to come into the "I Have A Dream" program later than others and ran with it… but she is known for always bringing the others with her. She earns a person’s respect almost immediately because she is both substantive AND pleasant to be around. Nichole was the recipient in her Lillis Dreamer class for outstanding community involvement, and another year for extracurricular involvement. She might be short, but she plays on the girl’s basketball team at East High School where she is sometimes called “The Big Man.” She has achieved a 3.5 gpa taking difficult classes and is talented musically, singing in the choir and playing in the jazz band. She and her brother started the drumline at East High. She also works part time. Nichole speaks with candor about wanting a better life for herself . There is a no-nonsense attitude Nichole takes about her future; she plans to attend CSU in Fort Collins where she intends to double major in accounting and business management.

Following the Summit Award presentation, dinner was served to the 925 prestigious guests. After dinner, the second main event of the evening started. This was roasting of Joseph B. Blake. The first roasters were Joe’s children Annie Patterson and Joe Blake Jr. Additional roasters included Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, Tamra Ward, Sheila MacDonald, David Clark, Dick Hinson and the Denver Public Schools’ Superintendent Michael Bennet.

Joe has served as President and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce since 2001. In 2006, Governor Bill Owens appointed Joe to serve on the Board of Governors of Colorado State University, as well as the board of the Governor’s Colorado Education Alignment Council. In 2005, Joe co-chaired the statewide Yes On C&D campaign. He previously chaired the Colorado Transportation Commission and the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority. He also was president of the Denver Rotary Foundation. Everyone had a fun time roasting, as Joe provided a great example of what hard work and commitment can do.

The mission of CIHAD is to assist children from low-income communities (grades 3 - 12) to achieve their education and career goals by providing a 10-year program of mentoring, academic assistance, life-skills development and enrichment to help at-risk Denver youth graduate from high school and provide tuition assistance for higher education. CIHAD fulfills this mission by adopting classes of students (called Dreamers) that consist of entire grade levels from Denver elementary schools or entire age groups from Denver housing developments. After the classes are adopted in the third grade, CIHAD stays with them through the completion of high school. Colorado I Have A Dream's long-term dropout prevention program has proven to change lives for the better, and make dreams come true! The first two classes of Dreamers completed high school in 1995 and 1998 with graduation rates of 87% and 83% --nearly double the rate of their counterparts who were not Dreamers. Of the six classes currently in the program, the oldest one is on pace to turn a 90% dropout rate into a 90% graduation rate.

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