USES Sets Big Expectations for 2018 Neighborhood Gala

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The annual United South End Settlements (USES) Neighborhood Gala is fast approaching, and it brings great expectations. This Thursday, May 17th, USES hopes to raise $425,000, with at least $100,000 coming from new attendees. By getting new residents in on their cause, the organization hopes to establish a strong relationship with the community for years to come.

Last year USES celebrated 125 years of dedication to the betterment of the South End community. While much in the neighborhood has changed since those early days, the goal of USES was, and continues to be, strengthening the community through the members that live there. In the words of Tory Stephens, the Director of Giving at USES, “all funds raised by United South End Settlements support our mission, which is to harness the power of our diverse community to disrupt the cycle of poverty for children and their families.” Ultimately, the goal is to provide struggling families with the tools they’ll “need for themselves and for their children – through every stage of their children’s development from infancy through young adulthood - to achieve economic mobility and ‘whole family’ well-being.” USES programs help to establish a road for opportunity that otherwise might not be paved.

As necessary as their work is, organization can’t do it alone. The Neighborhood Gala aims to raise money from members of the community to strengthen their neighborhood from the inside out. It’s a night of food, drinks, speeches, and dancing. By donating, attendees aren’t just supporting local families in need, they’re securing a future for the next generation. Donations fund everything from daycare to after-school programs, even office skills training. There’s also a summer program that sends 200 kids from the urban environment of Boston to a summer camp in the wilds of New Hampshire.

This year’s Gala theme is “backyard BBQ” and will be hosted at the SoWa Power Station with a variety of entertainment and food vendors on site. These range anywhere from Flour Bakery’s baked goods, to The Salty Pig’s more savory options. Onsite activities include games like cornhole, can jame, and bocce, adding to the backyard theme. The Gala will also include an open bar.

Last year’s gala raised just over $400,000. This allowed for an incredible increase in community engagement, not only helping to enroll more children in USES’ summer day camp, but also providing “additional programing that really helped children and teens have new experiences that they may have never had before,” Stephens said. However, it isn’t all just about the money donated. As Stephens puts it, one of the goals of the gala is to “connect our families to a diverse network that is there to support them on their journey out of poverty.” Establishing that direct personal bond is just as important as the financial aid attendees can give throughout the night.

In case you’re not able to make the swiftly approaching Gala but still want to support USES, fret not. Not only can you donate directly through their website or send a check (United South End Settlements, Tory Stephens 566 Columbus Avenue Boston, MA 02118), you can also choose to volunteer your time and technical know-how. You can find more details here for the full range of opportunities that range from classroom assistant positions, to being a part of the marketing or administration team. Ultimately, USES and the neighborhood are relying on you, the residents, to continue aiding the community. Take this moment to be a provider of opportunities and help build a better tomorrow for the families of today.