By Art Thomas
Vocational Guidance Services helps people young and old who have disabilities or other barriers to employment. The organization raised well over $100,000 at its annual fundraiser. This year the event was called “Fiesta on 55th – A Swanky, Saucy, Salty Celebracion.” It was held at the Training Center for Vocational Guidance Services.
The well-equipped facility was bursting at the seams with the 350 people attending. It was a sold-out event. One characteristic of the event was a large number of younger supporters. Guests began the evening with hors d’oeuvres served by smiling staff members and volunteers. In the main room, guests enjoyed the authentic Latin music of the Robert Ocasio Latin Jazz Project. The Cleveland Clinic hosted a display at which guests would spin a wheel and be asked a question on a health topic. Those who answered correctly received a gift bag with goodies, including a backpack, water bottle, notebook and other items.
Additional money was raised with a “Bartending Challenge,” where at half-hour intervals a new quartet of bartenders served guests beer, wine and margaritas. Guests provided tips in the form of cash or checks. The team with the most tips was the winner. Of course, all of the tips were donated to Vocational Guidance Services. This event was supervised by Bay Village resident Pat O’Brien. He also participated, but had strong competition from Bay Village neighbor Kevin O’Donnell.
Before too long, a buffet opened that featured Hispanic foods and no one went home hungry. Some guests strolled into yet another area of the party and found tables with desserts piled high.
A live auction was also held for ten exquisitely chosen items. They included Lasik eye surgery and a week in Playa del Carmen on the Mexican Riviera.
“Fiesta on 55th” was a huge success due to the efforts of the committee. Most are members of the Sunbeam Board of Vocational Guidance Services. They managed to transform the training facility into a festive party center.