I have been involved with an organization named CAFETY (Community Alliance For Ethical Treatment of Youth) for just over a year, mostly as an advisor though recently promoted onto the Board of Directors a few months ago. We had a great benefit this weekend where we were the fortunate recipients of a generous contribution from the artist Jim Hodges of beautiful works of art that were sold to raise money at the benefit. I haven’t been a part of the art world for some time, really since graduating from Parsons in 2003 and then leaving NYC in 2006 I have been to the museum in Seattle only a few times, about half of which was volunteering to help with kids who had field trips at the Seattle Art Museum, (I really need to get to that Picasso exhibit!!). Being able to experience his work as well as all the work that our generous donor/connector/mentor Susan Sheehan had on display where we were working was just mind blowing. I was excited to learn that he attended Pratt, which is close to where I used to live and is one of the two schools I was accepted at 10 years ago, also he was born in Washington which of course is cool since I live in Seattle, I feel honored to have so many little things in common with such an amazing and generous artist.
The CAFETY benefit was a huge success and we had a great turnout, we heard from many of the survivors who were at the event, one of which has created a play about her experience (I’ll add a link when I find it!), and also an author named Maia Szalavitz who wrote the book called “Help at Any Cost” (How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids) which details many of the reasons that CAFETY is in existence was there and spoke about her project as well. We hosted the event at the Yale Club which is an exclusive location we gained access to through one of our board members and it was the perfect location, size, catering and everything. We couldn’t have asked for anything better for a first benefit experience taking place in NYC to put it simply.
After the benefit we started bright and early the next day, and again the following day on our Board Retreat, which was also a wonderful experience to iron out all that we are going to need and be working on in the coming year.
I look forward to posting more updates about CAFETY and all the kids we are able to save from abusive treatment in the troubled-teen industry. Please visit CAFETY.org if you are interested in learning more.