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May 15, 2009 - Love & Laughter: 36 Years of Changing Girls' Lives for Excelsior

What: Excelsior Youth Center's 2009 Ever Upward Gala

Where: Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center

When: Friday, May 15, 2009

Time: 6 p.m.

Mistress of Ceremonies: Edie Marks

Honoree(s): TRIUMPHANT WOMEN HONOREES: Angie Austin, Angela Schneider, Jill Farquhar, and Lisza Gulyas

EMCEE: Chris Parnete, Morning News Reporter Channel 2, KWGN

Gala Chairperson(s): Dana Berry and Jennifer Williams

Honorary Chairperson(s): Frances Owens

Executive Director: Joan Gabrielson

Entertainment: GIRLS ONLY -- The Secret Comedy of Women

Sponsors: PRESENTING SPONSOR: Land Rover Denver East; SPONSORS: Sysco Denver, CoBiz Financial, Wagner Investment Management Inc.; IN-KIND SPONSOR: Colorado Homes & Lifestyles Magazine, Imagine That! Entertainment, WM Events

Auctioneer: Gary Corbett

Attendance: 250

Attire: Cocktail

Board of Directors: EXCELSIOR YOUTH CENTER BOARD: President/Chairman: Marcia Lujan, L.C. Fulenwider, Inc.; Vice Chairman: Richard O. Jones, Attorney; Secretary: Catharine Carty, Coors Brewing Company ; Directors: Marcus Dudley, Aurora Police Department; William C. Gregory, Executive Director Emeritus; Excelsior Youth Center; Cynthia Hansen, Merrill Lynch; Judge Jon Lawritson, Federal Administrative Judge; Jerry Maglio, Marketing Consultant; Dennis Miceli, Wells Fargo; Jim Peters, Administrative Law Hearing Officers; Molly Ross, Artist and Community Volunteer; Charcie Russell, Community Volunteer; Wendy Warren, EchoStar; EXCELSIOR YOUTH FOUNDATION: President/Chairman: Kathleen Gormley, Gormley Law Firm, LLC ; Vice Chairman: Anne Haggar, Seagate Technologies; Vice President: Joan Gabrielson, Executive Director Excelsior Youth Center; Secretary-Treasurer: Clarence Ammons, Community Volunteer; Directors: Bob Adelstein, Psychiatric Social Worker; Jeannie Davis, Now Hear This, Inc.; William C. Gregory, Executive Director Emeritus Excelsior Youth Center; William Harvey, Community Volunteer; Oliver W. Hickel III, Investment Advisor; Trisha Jorgensen, Real Estate; Martye Kendrick, Law ; William H. Lane, Community Volunteer ; John Lawton, Lawton Resources; Molly Ross, Artist and Community Volunteer ; Wendy Warren, EchoStar; Michael Williams, Clinical Professor of Finance, University of Denver

Steering Committee: EVER UPWARD COMMITTEE: Dana Lauren Berry- Co-Chair, Jennifer L. Williams - Co-Chair, Tom Aston, Kim Devigil, Joan Gabrielson, Kathy Graveley, Lisa Gregory, Vonna Gregory, Bill & Sally Harvey, Emily Kaiser, Martye Kendrick, Kevin Kowalczyk, Bill & Jackie Lane, Jerry Maglio, Gayle Novak, Lois Paul, Tess Phillips, Carena Reber, Linda Shaw, Susan Tomlingson, Heather Weldon, Laurie Wronski; TICKET COMMITTEE: Victoria Aguilar, Rachel Brown, Diane DeLongchamps, Tonya Frank, Lannie Garrett, Brian Jacobson, Carmel Koeltzow, Christopher K. M. Leach, Christine Soto, Tina Lovelace-Sporkin, Ray Merenstein, Chris Meza, Dr. Dean Prina, Glory & Dave Weisberg

Blacktie Photos by: Danielle Corriveau

 All four Triumphant Women honorees: Jill Farquhar, left, Lisza Gulyas, Angela Schneider, and Angie Austin
All four Triumphant Women honorees: Jill Farquhar, left, Lisza Gulyas, Angela Schneider, and Angie Austin

Excelsior Youth Center's Ever Upward gala committee nailed it when they decided to title this year’s event Love & Laughter.
Emcee Chris Parente, morning reporter for Channel 2 KWGN-TV, embodied comedy and Energizer-bunny energy on stage. His enthusiasm perfectly complemented the endearing, genuine motherly love exuded by Event Hostess Edie Marks as she gave a brief background on each of the four females recognized as Excelsior’s 2009 Triumphant Women. This year’s honorees included Angie Austin, weather anchor for Channel 2 News; Lisza Gulyas, director of events for The Cable Center; Jill Farquhar, owner and jewelry designer of J. Skaar Collections and Angela Schneider, former Excelsior student who is now a therapist in northern California.
Video projected onto floor-to-ceiling screens unpacked the raw truth and painful challenges each of these women squarely faced to become who they are now. With Olympic-size courage, they shared stories of losing children, being homeless, and suffering depression and despair. And with rock-solid credibility they compassionately passed along sound advice about taking charge of your life. “Radiant" best describes the women as they accepted their awards. The audience responded with a standing ovation.
Moving onto the live auction, Auctioneer Gary Corbett masterfully gathered bids for items that spanned having breakfast with Mr. April from The Children’s Hospital firefighter calendar to catered dinner for 20 to golf with Terrell Davis and fishing with Governor Bill Ritter. Barbara Gehring and Linda Klein, creators of GIRLS ONLY: The Secret Comedy of Women closed the evening and left participants delightfully sore from laughing at the sillier side of life. 
The organizers – Colorado’s former first lady and Honorary Chair Frances Owens, along with Dana Berry, public relations consultant, and Jennifer Williams, publisher of Colorado Homes & Lifestyles magazine – did a tremendous job attending to the details. All eyes swept over the many tables filled with silent auction items displayed by category. Men gravitated to the sports section which included framed signature photographs and choice tickets, while women crowded around opportunities for spa experiences and romantic getaways. 
Excelsior Youth Center is one of the largest residential treatment centers for troubled girls in the country. Created in 1973, Excelsior serves girls with emotional and behavior difficulties, ages 11 to 18. At any given time, Excelsior is home to about 180 girls who participate in a structured, supervised treatment and living program while receiving a certified education. The Center is committed to the treatment and education of young females to enhance their successful reintegration into their families and their communities. For more information about Excelsior visit

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