Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Gala’s million-dollar milestone means more good works for our immigrant neighbors

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Gala Chairs Dr. and Mrs. Daboub
On Saturday night, the Spanish Catholic Center Benefit Gala celebrated the Center’s 45 years of service to the local Hispanic community by doing something it had never done before – raise over one million dollars in a single night to support its work.

Held in the beautiful Hall of Americas at the Organization of American States building near the National Mall, the sold-out black-tie event annually supports the many services of the Spanish Catholic Center.  Since 1967, the Center has worked in the local community, providing critical care to immigrants and low-income Latino families. Those services have grown to include medical and dental clinics in DC and Maryland, job training programs, social services, emergency food and specialized immigration legal assistance.
The Kappazes accept their award from Cardinal Wuerl.

Gala Chairs Dr. Juan José Daboub and Mrs. Glorybell Silhy de Daboub put it best in describing why the Gala’s true success. “It may be when a caring staff member works with a family to provide food, connect them to job assistance, or help them see a doctor or dentist even when they have no insurance,” Dr. Daboub said. “Above all else, it may be the warm and reassuring presence of a staff member that says to the family, ‘You are not alone.’”

Bishop Francisco González (left) and Cardinal Wuerl
Then, Mrs. Daboub, a member of the Spanish Catholic Center’s Advisory Council, announced the fundraising total, and the room exploded with applause and excitement. It was new record, bringing with it a lot of hope.

The evening included a cocktail hour and dinner with His Eminence, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington. During dinner, a trio from the Youth Orchestra of the Americas entertained guests with vibrant selections from around the world.

After dinner, the Spanish Catholic Center presented three awards to honor volunteers, partners and leaders who have made service to the Latino and immigrant community a part of their work. Clark Construction Group accepted The Robert and Lucia Lado Award, LLC for their support of the Center’s Pre-Apprenticeship Green Construction program. Bishop Francisco González, S.F. accepted The James Cardinal Hickey Award.

A standing ovation for the new fundraising record!
Mike and Chafi Kappaz, longtime supporters of the Spanish Catholic Center and Catholic Charities, became the inaugural recipients of The Blessed John Paul II Award. Always mindful of the challenges they faced as newcomers to the United States, the Kappazes are now committed to empowering other immigrants to thrive in their new surroundings. They have served as Chairs of the 2009 Spanish Catholic Center Gala and remain deeply involved in helping the Spanish Catholic Center.

A few days later and just miles away from where the Gala was held, the Spanish Catholic Center’s Monroe Street location was alive with activity. The waiting room was full of clients: mothers rocking fussy babies, young women chatting over an ESL textbook, toddlers pushing toy cars along the windowsill, a young man editing his resume – all with simple and often desperate needs.

Members of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas
“We try to reach the people who fall between the cracks,” Sister Janice Heisey, Director of the DC Dental Clinic said. “And just look at our waiting room! There are many.”

This is the end goal of the Gala – to create opportunities.

It’s difficult to find the right words to thank everyone who gave us the assurance that the Center’s vital services can continue to help those in need, but we think Dr. and Mrs. Daboub put it best: “¡Mil gracias! ¡Mil gracias!

Read on:
 The Gala might be over, but you can still support the Spanish Catholic Center

Our Catholic Charities Foundation Gala is right around the corner, raising funds to support our 77 programs across the Archdiocese of Washington! Please join us at this annual event.

Photos from the Spanish Catholic Center Gala were featured in The Hill's Washington Scene!