Voices for Children Gala Raises More Than $1.94 Million
Funds pledged at Starry Starry Night will provide advocacy to thousands of children in San Diego County foster care
(October 26, 2023) SAN DIEGO – Starry Starry Night, the signature event of Voices for Children (VFC), took place on Thursday, September 28 at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, San Diego’s spectacular bayside performance venue. Attendees, sponsors, and supporters contributed over $1.94 million in gross revenue for VFC and its Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program. The funds raised at Starry Starry Night will allow VFC to provide CASA volunteers to abused, neglected, and abandoned children in foster care, helping ensure their voices are heard and needs are met. Last year, VFC supported nearly 1,000 CASAs and provided life-changing advocacy to more than 1,900 children living in foster care in San Diego County. The gala was chaired by longtime supporters Patricia Brutten and Marina Marrelli.
EVENT HIGHLIGHTS: After enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres overlooking the beautiful San Diego Bay, over 480 guests were treated to an exquisite dining experience curated by renowned chef Richard Blais. Dinner entertainment was provided by talented musicians of the Mainly Mozart Youth Orchestra, who were later joined by the San Diego Children’s Choir and the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, for a heartwarming performance of “A Million Dreams” from The Greatest Showman.
Emceed by Marcella Lee, anchor and reporter at CBS 8 and the CW San Diego, the inspiring program began by reflecting on VFC’s impact over the last year and recognizing the 2023 CASA of the Year, Del Mar resident, Bonnie Grossman. Bonnie has advocated for four children in foster care during her seven years as a CASA. After a rousing live auction led by auctioneer Clint Bell, attendees watched the premiere of “Everyone Deserves a Catie,” a video highlighting the story of Mialissa.
Her dedicated CASA, Catie, shared, “My relationship with Mialissa helped change my life and the way I am in the world, by being in connection with her honest expression, magnetic personality, and the way she is so unapologetically herself. Mialissa reminds me to keep showing up for what is important and what it means to be truly authentic. Her natural charisma is like no one I have met before!”
During the Fund-A-CASA paddle raise, guests made pledges from $100 to $100,000 to recruit, train, and support new CASA volunteers. The evening ended with everyone on their feet dancing to the high-energy beats of DJ Cutlos Supreme and keyboardist Bobby Cressey.
Visit www.voicesforchildrenssn.org to view the full list of sponsors and underwriters.
To learn more about becoming a CASA or donating to the program, visit speakupnow.org.