Returning as an in-person event, the annual Carmel “Design Bright Futures” gala, benefiting the Carmel Youth Assistance Program (CYAP), will take place on Saturday, April 30 at the Ritz Charles in Carmel. Once again, Carmel Monthly is proud to be a sponsor of this remarkable fundraising event and a long-time supporter of CAPA.
This year’s gala will feature Carmel resident, NBA player and TV personality and local associate broker at West Clay Realty Scot Pollard as this year’s emcee and Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard. will again be honorary president of the gala.
Designing a bright future for young people in Carmel
CYAP was formed in the fall of 2015 to help empower youth and families through community engagement. CYAP works in conjunction with the Carmel Clay School District, the City of Carmel, and the Hamilton County Superior Court. CYAP connects families and youth to various resources, including mentoring, tutoring, mental health supports, food and clothing assistance, financial assistance, and much more!
CAPA Early Intervention Advocate Maggie Figge shared that the pandemic has increased the need for services offered by CAPA as well as the need for mentors and volunteers. Figge and the ACAP Board of Directors also anticipate that the need for services and the number of beneficiaries of their summer meals program will be as high or higher this year due to the ripple effect of the pandemic and rising food and transportation costs.
“CYAP runs the summer meal program with the help of many community partners who contribute to it in many ways,” said Figge. “The initial impact [of the pandemic] was food insecurity—it was huge. We’ve seen that in 2020 and even into 2021. In 2019 we had 250 children enrolled in the summer meal program, and in 2020 we had 550. We had around 400 in 2021.”
In addition to food insecurity, Figge explained that there is a growing trend of anxiety, depression and absenteeism issues among at-risk youth in the community.
“We partner with local food pantries, and we have some amazing ones in Carmel and throughout Hamilton County,” Figge said. “But people won’t give as much when their own grocery bills skyrocket. So that means our [at-risk] families feel it too, and food stamps won’t stretch that far when you go to the grocery store. I think the number of our summer meals will increase further. Also, transportation has always been an obstacle for our families for many different reasons. So our children don’t have a routine because their lives are a bit more chaotic and they live day to day.
Ways local residents and businesses can help ACAP
In addition to purchasing tables/tickets for this year’s Carmel Gala, residents and businesses have a myriad of ways to give back and help ACAP.
“We need volunteers and we need mentors,” Figge said. “There are many unique and traditional ways to use volunteers. There is training for our mentors, and the commitment of a mentor is one hour per week for at least a year. Many of our mentors often go beyond this [commitment]. Our goal is to recruit 15 new mentors by the end of 2022.”
CAPA mentor, Diane Braun, is a retired school nurse from Carmel Elementary School who has been paired with her mentee, Belle, since last October.
“I chose elementary age because of my experience with that age group,” Braun explained. “I had free time and wanted to help out and be a friend to the next generation. That’s been really fun for both of us. I’m not a parent at all and I don’t discipline . I’m just a friend. I think it’s a wonderful blessing on both sides. I would say to anyone thinking of becoming a mentor, don’t wait too long! ‘re not qualified because it’s just human nature, it’s the art of kindness. You don’t need any special skills. You just need to be able to provide quality time with a kid.
There are countless ways for local businesses to get involved in ACAP as well. Some companies choose to sponsor or donate, and some volunteer for a variety of events and tasks, such as preparing summer lunches, wrapping holiday gifts, and sponsoring families during the holidays – and there are many more creative and helpful ways to give back.
Carmel residents and business owners Scot and Dawn Pollard of West Clay Realty stepped up to answer CYAP’s call for help and advocacy.
“As a local business and residents of Carmel, we’re proud to support locals,” Scot said. “We want to serve our neighbours, our community, our village. Once a need is identified, then someone in the ‘village’ has the capacity or knows someone who has the capacity to fill that gap. It’s all about notification, which is why these events are so important, so you can let people know what the needs are and how to meet them.
Dawn added, “West Clay Realty likes to give back whenever we can. As Scot said, we will do everything we can to help raise awareness. It’s always inspiring to see him [Scot] to be excited about these events because he is so passionate about giving back. He was an at-risk kid himself, so it’s important to him.
It’s time to come together again in community and in person!
Discover what’s new at the Carmel Gala this year!
“We can’t wait to be back in person after being virtual last year,” said Melanie Brewer, event chair and ex-officio CAPA board member. “This year we have the Brothers Footman band, a lively and fun bunch of guys who performed at PorchFest and on the Midtown stage at the IMCL conference. They are pop, country and soul, just a bit of everything. We’re going to have a 360 camera, so think of the “Grammys”. It’s that 360-degree camera, and participants will be able to pose and share the video on social media. »
Brewer also shared that the gala will feature a ‘Boozy Ring Toss’ carnival game as well as traditional favourites: Bubbles & Bling raffle, Dessert Dash, dinner, dancing and a silent auction that’s packed with exquisite and exciting items donated by a long list of local businesses. Brewer couldn’t express his gratitude enough to all of the businesses and individuals who donated to this year’s gala and contributed to the auction and raffles.
Brewer concluded, “Carmel businesses have stepped up, and they are doing it like no other! This event would not be what it is without them and their partnerships.
For more information on how to get involved with ACAP, visit youthassistance.org/carmel.
Get your tickets and/or tables for this year’s Carmel Gala at carmelgala.org!