Youth Villages stories

Former Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Governor Maura Healey, Yvonne Hao, Matt Stone

Record-breaking Red Kite Nite gala in Massachusetts

May 22, 2024 | Blog, Expert Insights

The annual Youth Villages Red Kite Nite gala was held Thursday, May 2 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston, Massachusetts. Nearly 400 guests helped raise a record-breaking $1.2 million. These funds will impact the young adults in our LifeSet program, helping them make a successful transition into adulthood. Thanks to the incredible generosity of our donors, guests and sponsors, more young people than ever before will have access to our programs.

Guests heard from Jett, a participant in LifeSet who shared how the program has impacted her and the plans for her future. Jett spoke about the strained relationship she had with her mother, who suffers from physical and mental disabilities which caused Jett to grow up faster than she should have. She did not have any knowledge of how to progress in life or how to achieve the things she wanted, such as going to college or finding a job, and did not have a role model in her life to guide her.

With her LifeSet specialist’s help, Jett started her college journey at Bryant University. Her specialist helped her adjust to living independently, balancing school and her social life, budgeting, setting goals, working on her mental health and so much more. Jett took advantage of every opportunity to grow and now, she is about to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in biology and four minors in chemistry, psychology, management, and creative and applied arts. She has participated in many sports, clubs, sororities and internships, and Jett will continue to seize every opportunity as she moves to Georgia to pursue her Ph.D. in microbiology.

Bryant [University] may have given me a lot of opportunities, but I would not have been able to take advantage of any of them or pushed myself if I did not have Youth Villages and LifeSet behind me to help me believe in myself.

- Jett

Kallie, mother to 5-year-old Josiah and a participant in our intensive in-home services program, Intercept, also shared her story with the audience. Raising Josiah as a single mom and experiencing some major life changes took its toll. Josiah was acting out at school and would be physically aggressive. Kallie struggled to manage the situation, especially as she was fighting in court to keep her children and caring for an infant at the same time. SheKallie was referred to Youth Villages, and her specialist stayed in contact with Josiah’s school every day. She observed him in the school setting, created a plan to support him and even helped with transportation. Josiah He was able to learn and grow successfully in school and cope with his emotions. Now, as a family, they are working together and creating a more positive environment.

“Thank you, Youth Villages, for not only using your resources to help Josiah be the best he can be, but also for giving us as a family the opportunity to not just be doing OK… but to be doing great,” Kallie said.

guests during the auction

The evening also honored Massachusetts Secretary of Economic Development, Yvonne Hao, a former member of the Youth Villages local board and a champion for Massachusetts youth. Yvonne’s mother was a counselor in the public school system, working with parents and children who had experienced trauma. Growing up, Yvonne heard of the struggles facing young people. She was inspired as an adult to continue her mother’s legacy and help change the lives of those who needed help most.

Youth Villages Massachusetts is grateful to everyone who attended, donated and supported this amazing event, including the evening’s presenting sponsors: Adage Capital Management, The Klarman Family Foundation, The Mellen Charitable Foundation and the One8 Foundation. Thank you for your kindness and dedication to improving the lives of young people in our community and for being a force for change.

To view photos from Red Kite Nite, visit the Red Kite Nite photo gallery.

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