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Holiday auction raises $55,000 for community youth centers

12/06/2016 10:57AM ● Published by Richard Gaw

By Richard L. Gaw
Staff Writer

For many of the 250 people who attended the seventh annual holiday auction to benefit the Garage Community Youth Center in Kennett Square on Dec. 3 -- which raised about $55,000, $20,000 of which will go towards its summer workforce program, Career Compass -- the event served as more than a place to enjoy great food and beverages, and plunk down bid after bid for more than 50 items that were up for auction.
Understated and poignant, the testimonies of a dozen young people whose lives were improved by their association with the Garage were posted on the wall of the Union Street facility. Some credited the great number of mentors they were inspired by, while others wrote that the afternoons and weekends spent at either the Kennett Square or West Grove locations kept their hands busy and their minds at work.
For many in attendance at the event – past and present mentors, Garage board members and volunteers – the true success of the Garage has been in its stories.
After Maggie Walker graduated from college, she joined the Garage and helped start the West Grove location. Six years ago, she began mentoring a very shy and insecure seventh grader who, Walker said, “was just trying to figure out life.”
Over time, the student and Walker worked on the student's homework together, and Walker saw her student overcome learning disabilities through hard work and dedication.
“She and her mother are kind of a sisterhood who are each others' best friends and getting through life together,” Walker said. “She became a part of my family and I became a part of her family. I feel like I helped graduate a very secure and confident young woman, who just received a full scholarship to college.”
“The first time we did this holiday event, it didn't look nearly this good. The bar has been raised a lot,” said Garage founding member Mike Bontrager, who praised executive director Kristin Proto, development director Sarah Daniels and executive board president Kathy Williams for their work on the event.
“I feel great when I get to see these kinds of events happen,” Bontrager added. “Even though I'm not on the board anymore or driving anything, I'm pleased to see that there are much more capable people than me doing a great job on their own.”
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail rgaw@chestercounty.com.









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