By BTL Staff
DETROIT – It doesn’t take just one village to raise a child; sometimes it takes several. That’s why representatives of several of the metro Detroit area’s diverse “villages” came together June 1 to support the area’s foster children during In Seventh Heaven, the annual fundraising gala presented by For The Seventh Generation http://www.fortheseventhgeneration.org.
“In Seventh Heaven seems to attract a more varied constituency every year,” explained FTSG co-Founder and Executive Director Lorraine Weber. “This year our sponsors, committee members, attendees and performers included prominent members of the Detroit legal and business professions, musicians and others known primarily for their creativity, local television celebrities, and people from our area’s Christian and LGBT communities.”
The result? A true community effort to provide foster children, foster families, and young people aging out of the foster care system in metro Detroit with the “extras” they need to thrive. While accounts for the event are still being tallied, organizers currently estimate that the event raised $15,000 – $20,000.
In Seventh Heaven, which took place at the Roostertail in Detroit, offered what one event organizer called “…a feast for the ears, eyes, tastebuds and heart.” Local musical legends Sean Blackman and Wayne Gerard performed as as Sin Hielo, alternating with the Vegas-style covers of Emerging Soul. WDIV’s Ashlee Baracy took the stage as emcee, while local celebrities including Jorge Avellan of WMYD and comedian Leslie Thompson competed to sell the most raffle tickets for prizes donated by local businesses. Meanwhile, attendees enjoyed a multiple-course, gourmet strolling buffet supper provided by the Roostertails’ renowned kitchen and enjoyed the chance to view and purchase artwork donated by the Park West Gallery and Kelly Ramsey Photography.
All of this activity came briefly to a halt – and the guests to their feet – when FTSG co-Founder and ISH Chair Kelly Ramsey introduced the first young woman to receive orthodontic care through the work of the organization.
In 2005, when For The Seventh Generation was founded, Jasmine Charlton was a traumatized young girl and permanent ward of the court with dental deformities that made her ashamed to smile. When she addressed the audience at In Seventh Heaven, however, she did so as a successful young adult and recent graduate of Saginaw Valley State University who plans to attend law school.
“All it took was the consistent love and support I received from Kelly Ramsey and Dr. Pinzon (the Ann Arbor-based orthodontist who volunteered her services through FTSG),” Charlton said. “Because of them I have my high school and college diplomas – and now I plan to go on to law school.”
“I think that every foster child today deserves the chances that Referee Ramsey and For The Seventh Generation gave me, and I want to thank everyone here for helping make those chances possible,” she added.
Diverse Range of Sponsors
While more than 170 people attended In Seventh Heaven, Weber stated that the diverse businesses and individuals who came forward to sponsor the event were the primary reason for the evening’s financial success.
In addition to returning supporters Charity Motors, Park West Gallery, the Seed Foundation, and GEM Asset Management, the 2013 In Seventh Heaven attracted new sponsors including the Motor City Casino, the MGM Grand Detroit, and media sponsor Pride Source Media Group, publisher of LGBT newspaper Between The Lines.
“Our sponsors help make this event happen and provide the funds that help us operate throughout the year,” added Weber, “and we are very appreciative of their support.”