October 13, 2011 - Denver Rescue Mission Hosts an Evening of Exploration
What: Dinner, auction, testimony from a Denver Rescue Mission program grad, and keynote speaker and author Mike Yankoski
Where: The Wildlife Experience
When: Thursday, October 13, 2011
Ticket Prices: $100
Beneficiary: Denver Rescue Mission
EMCEE: Tamara Banks, Emmy Award-winning freelance journalist, host and documentary filmmaker
Committee Members: Allen Daniel, Kyle Durlam, Krysten Howerton, Ryan Hunter, Josh Mason, Jim McDonald, Stacey McDonald, Kristina Reilly, Pam Terpenny, Scott Van Daele
President(s): Brad Meuli, President and CEO
Invocation: Pastor Gary McCusker, Parker Evangelical Presbyterian Church
Speaker: BJ Swenson, program graduate; Mike Yankoski, author of "Under the Overpass"
Libations: The Gin Mill
Music: Meniskus, rock nouveau band
Sponsors: McDonald Automotive Group; Jake Meuli; Griff & Lisa Freyschlag; Sherri Heronema; JHL Constructors, Inc.; Jeffrey & Kim Long; The Swenson Family;Colorado Housing and Finance Authority; FirstBank; Gift-in-Kind Sponsors: Colorado Party Rentals; Denver Post Community; Durlam Design; The Ginn Mill; The Plum Gallery
Menu: Harvest salad: baby spring greens with sun-dried cranberries, haystack mountain goat cheese, grape tomatoes and crispy onion straws with ranch and balsamic vinaigrette dressings; grilled tenderloin & Maryland-style crab cake with a choron sauce; white-chocolate raspberry cheesecake drizzled with raspberry sauce
Attire: Evening, business formal
Event Coordinator: Beanne Gabel
Board of Directors: Joseph Fortna, vice-chairman; Cathy Goss, secretary; Ted Snailum, treasurer; John P. Boucher, John Hachmeister, Scott Harris, Sherri Heronema, Jack Houser, Jeff Long, Tom Webb
Blacktie Photos by: Lisa Perry
Denver Rescue Mission's Brad Meuli, left, with guest of honor Mike Yankoski
Denver Rescue Mission created an entire spectrum of fun and feelings for its second annual “Evening of Exploration,” combining the whimsical exhibits of The Wildlife Experience venue with true, heartfelt emotion from speakers during the evening’s program. The result was a fundraiser that succeeded in being an entertaining affair, but one that also put the spotlight on Denver’s homeless community and the organization’s endeavors. Around 200 supporters attended the second annual event on Thursday, October 13.
During a reception and silent auction, guests were able to meet keynote speaker Mike Yankoski, who grew up in Parker and wrote “Under the Overpass," a chronicle of his time living intentionally as a homeless person. The crowd adjourned to a sit-down dinner with music by Meniskus, and then Denver favorite Tamara Banks took the podium as emcee. Denver Rescue Mission’s president and CEO, Brad Meuli, spoke about Yankoski’s time at the shelter and when setting up logistics, he told Yankoski how profoundly life-changing the experience would be.
Yankoski followed with a riveting talk about traveling through six cities along with friend Sam to experience first-hand being homeless in America. The two began their journey at the Denver Rescue Mission with a few clothes and Mike's guitar (for street-performance donations) before living on the streets in other towns. Yankoski’s talk chronicled anecdotes from feeling hungry and shunned to a few small, kind gestures that ultimately gave them hope. BJ Swenson, a New Life Program grad, followed and spoke emotionally about his setbacks and the positive changes that occurred as a result of the Denver Rescue Mission. Their accounts, along with the organization’s moving video about what it's like to live on the streets in Denver, put a very personal spin on the issue of homelessness in the Mile High City.
Founded in 1892, Denver Rescue Mission is the oldest, full-service Christian charity serving the poor and needy in the Rocky Mountain region. Denver Rescue Mission exists to change lives in the name of Christ by meeting people at their physical and spiritual points of need with the goal of returning them to society as productive, self-sufficient citizens. Services include meals, shelter, food and clothing distribution, education, medical care, Christian counseling, case management, work discipline, transitional housing programs and assistance for permanent housing. Facilities and shelters are located in Denver, in addition to a rural venue called Harvest Farm in Wellington, Colo., near Fort Collins.
In the past year, Denver Rescue Mission served 609,863 meals, distributed 2,728 food boxes to those in need, provided 243,025 nights of shelter, offered 13,349 client-service visits, helped 98 men and women graduate from the nationally recognized New Life Program, encouraged 25 men and women to earn their GEDs, arranged 3,572 hours of homework help for children in the youth center and assisted 249 families into permanent housing. For more information, visit www.DenverRescueMission.org.