A Glittering Night Befitting Our Gratitude to Major Donors
Over 1,000 major donors to the YMCA of Central Florida lit up the Orlando Museum of Art for our 12th annual Donor Celebration at the “Festival of Trees” on Sunday evening, November 17.
The Chain of Lakes Middle School Orchestra, carolers from the Conway Music Factory at Conway Middle School (both part of the Y’s After School Zone Program), and a jazz trio entertained our guests as they strolled the through the Museum, enjoying hors d’oeuvres and desserts while admiring the decadently decorated trees and elaborate gingerbread house displays created by dozens of Central Florida businesses and individual designers for the Museum’s “All That Glitters” theme.
Lining the hallway the YMCA honored major donors from each of the 27 Central Florida Ys and the 2002-2013 winners of the Y’s “Champion of Youth” Award:
2002: Dr. P. Phillips Foundation
2003: Charles Bailes, III
2004: Tracy Swanson
2005: James Downing
2006: Greg Nelson
2007: Bill Browder
2008: Winter Park Health Foundation
2009: Mary Jane Arrington
2010: Richard Crotty
2011: Leonard Williams, Sr.
2012: Evans Hubbard
2013: Tyra Witsell
The 2013 Champion of Youth Award honoree is Tyra Witsell of the Orange County Citizens’ Commission. In 1998, in her role as the Manager of the Orange County Citizens’ Commission for Children, Tyra fought for funding a program that was the first of its kind in the country — the “After School Zone.” The goals were simple: to improve grades, increase school attendance and reduce juvenile delinquency in all Orange County Middle Schools. After 15 years the After School Zone has impacted over 165,000 kids and has achieved its goals each and every year.
Prior to the Festival of Trees Reception, a private dinner was held at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre for Lifetime Donors and Advocates of the YMCA of Central Florida.