Topeka’s Family Service and Guidance Center didn’t know what to expect when it held its annual and first-ever virtual Works of Heart fundraiser Aug. 14.
As the organization prepared and researched how to best host its event online, keeping the Family Service and Guidance Center’s mission and clients who served as the featured artists front and center was most important.
After a night filled with client success stories and appreciation expressed by staff members, Family Service and Guidance Center ended up raising $104,310 during the fundraiser.
“We experienced an outpouring of community support that was just absolutely incredible,” said Pam Evans, Family Service and Guidance Center’s director of marketing and development. “We have some very loyal donors, sponsors and professional artists that all contributed significantly to our success and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without them for sure.”
During the fundraiser, 10 artwork pieces created by Family Service and Guidance Center clients who ranged from 5 to 18 years old were auctioned off.
Home decor, handcrafted pottery and jewelry were also in the auction pool.
Money raised during fundraiser, which was live streamed on Facebook and YouTube, benefits the organization’s clients and ensures children and teenagers receive the treatment and support they need.
Like several other local and nationally known organizations, Family Service and Guidance Center has experienced the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our organization certainly felt that early on when we had to suspend our group program, our early childhood intervention program and our youth development program for nearly three months, and that meant $300,000 in losses for three months,” Evans said. “It had a huge impact monetarily. These proceeds will just help continue to ensure that we can provide the treatments for really young kids all the way up through 18. We expect as this (pandemic) goes on to see more kids who are struggling.”
Evans said during the challenging time, the support given by the community has meant a lot to the Family Service and Guidance Center.
“It just told us what a caring community we live in,” Evans said. “So many people want to make sure that children and teens in our community that are struggling continue to have access to the treatments and supports that they need to live a happy, healthy life. It means the world to us that so many people participated and continued to support the event in these very challenging times.”
Family Service and Guidance Center will continue to look toward the future as it begins to plan and finalize its next fundraiser called Meals for Mental Health. Evans said it will be a partnership with Texas Roadhouse and is tentatively scheduled to kick off Oct. 16.