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North Florida "Soars" to a Record-Setting Gala

On Friday, April 8, Boys Town North ​Florida celebrated its 13th Annual Spirit of Youth Gala at the University Center Club in Tallahassee. The community came together to celebrate our children’s success through this year’s theme, “Carnaval: Watch Them Soar!” 

Chaired by Tim and Stephanie Jansen, the sell-out event included 11 live auction, 11 almost live auction, and 90 silent auction items for the 340 guests to bid on. Some live auction highlights included a Florida State football skybox seat package for twenty people, a Virgin Islands getaway for two, VIP Jimmy Buffett concert tickets and backstage passes, and a beautiful yellow Labrador puppy.

Guests could also commit to a $500 outright gift to become a “Boys Town Star”. In two minutes, 101 balloons were sold, raising $50,500—the most ever at this event.

Former and current Boys Town youth were also involved in the occasion. Youth Jayson and Jacelyn performed a traditional Samba dance routine, and Boys Town alumna Erica Flanders Posey spoke about her struggles and triumph with the guests. Florida’s First Lady Ann Scott was there to cheer them on.

Now in its 13th year, the gala has become a significant event in the community. It has grown each year in participants and money raised. One friend of Boys Town summed it up by saying, “It used to be a fundraiser. Now it has become a community event!”

Dena Strickland, Development Director of North Florida, was thrilled with the outcome of the gala. More than $300,000 was raised and will directly impact the children and families Boys Town serves.

“We are very thankful for our Boys Town Family, who, through their heartfelt gifts of time and treasure, play a significant role in changing our children’s lives,” Dena said. “As a result of their efforts, Boys Town is able to give our children the proper tools needed so we can ‘Watch Them Soar!’”

Thank you to the Boys Town North Florida staff who worked tirelessly to make this event such a success and to everyone who contributed to Saving Children and Healing Families ®.