By Joanna D. Sarff, Santa Clarita Contributor
Last September, Soroptimist International of Valencia held its 14th Annual Bras for a Cause, raising over $70,000 for its programs that support the women and girls of the Santa Clarita community, Circle of Hope and the Sheila R.Veloz Breast Center. In February, twelve gentlemen took to the runway for the 8th Annual Gentlemen for a Cause Route 66 fund raising event.
“Being male is a matter of birth. Being a man is a matter of age. But being a gentleman is a matter of choice.” And being a Gentleman for a Cause is believing that all women deserve to be successful and empowered. The willingness of the group of community gentlemen to donate their time and auction items for the event raised over $40,000 in support of SIV programs, especially Dream It, Be It and Live Your Dream.
(Photo: L-r, Tom Broadway, Tim Szamborski, Jeff Meyer, Pat McCollum, Members of Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Sponsor table. Courtesy photo. Photo courtesy of SchlickArt).
Each GFAC model brought something unique to the runway. Barrie Eget, a “returning Gentleman” for the event, had a big smile when his boxing night package went up for bid. “Where else can you have so much fun and do so much good?” Tom Broadway, Patrick Mc Collum, and Chad Whitney also brought sports packages for bidding.
Brian Edwards, new to the community and to GFAC, offered an amazing dental and makeover package. “I want to make a difference in someone’s life and in my community.” James O’Rourke, Troy Yudin, and Maris Ermansons had the same idea with their health and fitness auction items. Brian Schlick’s photography package offered to capture the inner and outer beauty of the lucky winner.
Jeff Meyer and Mike Bjorkman generated some lively bidding with their getaway packages. But the biggest audience response was given to the puppy Timothy Szamborski brought to the stage with his auction basket.
Would they do it again? Not one Gentleman hesitated in answering “yes”.
For outgoing president Suzanne Stone, who chaired the first event eight years ago, “Gentlemen for a Cause funds the programs that are near and dear to my heart. To put it together with a group of women who share the same goals makes it even more special.”
The Gentlemen for a Cause event funds the Dream It, Be It Career Support Conference for secondary school girls who face obstacles in their future success, providing girls with access to professional resources to live their dreams.
The event also provides the monies for the Live Your Dream Awards. These awards assist women who provide the primary sources of financial support for their families by giving them the resources for education and training to improve employment prospects.
Co-chairs Lisa West and Stephanie Sewell echoed Stone’s feelings. For West, the event “definitely exceeded my expectations. . . . The money raised will really make an impact,” Sewell added that “the support from the community was overwhelming as usual. We are looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish next year.”
No date has yet to be announced for the 2019 Gentlemen for a Cause, but if you are interested in being a Gentlemen, donor or sponsor, go to www.sivalencia.org. If you want to be part of the fun, watch the community calendar or contact Soroptimist International of Valencia.
In the meantime, consider attending, sponsoring or donating to the 15th Annual Bras for Cause Gala on September 15, 2018, at the Valencia Country Club. Information on sponsorships and tickets is available at www.sivalencia.org. Next year’s Gentlemen may even reveal their plans at the event!