15 Oct Youth Opportunity Center Recognizes Legacy of Generosity at Annual Shafer Giving Society Luncheon

(L-R: YOC Board Chair Jeff Parsons, Kelly Stanley, YOC Foundation Executive Director Polly Craig, YOC CEO Rick Rowray)

The 12th Annual Shafer Giving Society luncheon was recently held at the Youth Opportunity Center on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018.  Each year, the YOC Foundation hosts the Shafer Giving Society Luncheon to honor donors and friends for their continued commitment to the Youth Opportunity Center and to celebrate the legacy created by the late Hamer and Phyllis Shafer.

A video played during a portion of the luncheon that highlighted the story of a current YOC staff member who was once a resident at the YOC as a teen. The video shared how she is using her story to relate to and impact the lives of children. YOC Director of Program Services, Ashley Williams was the featured speaker for this year’s event. Through a series of specific stories, Ashley was able to show those in attendance how their generosity was making a difference. “Your contributions help to make a lot of things possible for our kids. Activities, supplies, new therapeutic tools, and curriculums are more available because of you. Our staff members have the resources they need to be effective with our kids–and our living environments are receiving the updates needed to provide a safe and secure–yet home-like atmosphere. We have recently been able to make significant changes to several of our programs. Thank you for trusting us with your gifts and believing in our ability to take those gifts and turn them into amazing stories. This is the legacy of your generosity.

This year, special recognition was given to Mr. Kelly Stanley for his leadership and dedication to the YOC’s first capital campaign in their twenty-five-year history. Stanley was the Chairperson for the campaign that exceeded its original goal of $4,250,000 by 13% and raised $4,808,659.22 to support children at the YOC. A sculpture of Stanley was unveiled in a ceremony just after the Shafer Luncheon.

During the luncheon, Rick Rowray, CEO of the Youth Opportunity Center said, “Kelly was THE driving force in raising $4.8 million dollars for the YOC Transforming Together Capital Campaign. Through planning meetings, brainstorming times, update sessions, scheduling of activities, identifying points of influence, utilizing connections, through late night texts, detailed and numerous emails, impromptu phone calls, and seeking accountability from others, Kelly Stanley demonstrated a drive and a focus to accomplish these daunting goals, all while keeping an eye on the kids!”

Upon reflecting on the honor, Stanley said, “The whole experience was very humbling. I very much appreciated the recognition and honor. But, it’s really about the kids.” Stanley made note of a quote by Derek Jeter that has stuck with him.  After a great career with the New York Yankees, Jeter said upon his retirement, “The thing about memories is that they can be passed from generation to generation.” Stanley hopes that in years to come if someone visits the Shafer Giving Plaza – sees his sculpture and wonders WHY it is there – it will give the YOC an opportunity to revisit the memory of the many generous donors to the capital campaign and challenge future generations to build their Legacy of Generosity.  Stanley said, “If that campaign memory and discussion motivates people to be supportive of the YOC, then it’s all been worthwhile.”

Over the course of 4 months, Yorktown artist Kenneth Ryden created the bronze sculpture of Stanley that is now located in the Shafer Giving Plaza on the grounds of the Youth Opportunity Center. Born in Chicago, artist-sculptor Ryden is one of the Midwest’s most accomplished sculptors. Working primarily in bronze, his works range from compelling abstractions to heartfelt renderings of mans deepest aspirations and most ethereal visions. Ryden’s work can also be seen at the YOC through his “Awakening Potential” sculpture that stands in the center of the Shafer Giving Plaza.

Read Rick’s comments here:

View the photo album here: