Friends of Children Board President, Susan Karas, delivered the following speech at this year’s Red Shoe Ball:
“Good evening everyone and welcome to the 2016 Friends of Children Red Shoe Ball! I’m so excited to see such a great turnout this year. For those of you I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting, I’m Susan Karas, president of the board of Directors.
Having served in this role for just shy of a year, I’ve witnessed the passion, dedication, and commitment that so many people have to this wonderful organization and to the children we serve. As many of you know, these children face an uphill battle as they traverse a horribly burdened welfare system.
As we stand here tonight, there are children who have had to be removed from their families for their own protection only to find themselves waiting to be placed in a setting that can properly support their needs. Unfortunately, there are simply not enough placements. So the children wait and continue to wait. They move from foster home to foster home without any guarantee of ever finding a suitable home. Clearly, this is not an ideal scenario.
Thankfully, our wonderful volunteers selflessly put forth their time and effort to give voice to and advocate for the needs of these vulnerable children. Their work is done with tremendous knowledge, support, and courage for which we are truly grateful.
While our volunteers are the roots of this organization, there are many other branches that have allowed Friends of Children to grow.
Which brings us to tonight:
First, I’d like to thank our sponsors who have made tonight possible. Thanks to our Gold sponsors Applied Mortgage and Easthampton Savings Bank and our Silver sponsors Essentials, Una Landscaping and Northampton Area Pediatrics.
Next I want to offer huge thanks and appreciation to Amy Reiser. She put extraordinary time and energy into tonight’s event, single handedly doing the work of many people.
Thanks also to our infamous emcee Monte Belmonte and auctioneer extraordinaire Lou Ekus!
Thanks to our staff Debi Belkin, Jo-Anne Vanin, Bridget Mientka and Sharon Tower for making Friends of Children effective every day of the week!
And then of course, there’s Jane Lyons, our Executive Director who somehow found the time to spearhead this wonderful event. Jane is a passionate and committed leader who has worked tirelessly to turn her vision into reality helping thousands of children in our community.
Last but not least I’d like to thank each and every one of you for coming out tonight and for continuing to support Friends of Children with your generous donations and auction bids.
Thank you all for your support. Tonight we are all truly friends of children.”