Destination Delridge 2017: The Funnest FUNdraiser!

As DNDA’s Winter quarter marketing intern, I was excited to volunteer at the 2017 Destination Delridge event. Destination Delridge was a celebration and fundraiser for Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association (DNDA). I was impressed by how well organized and calm the event was. There were plenty of volunteers, and the event went off like clockwork. Metropolist, the venue, looked amazing. It was a modern, industrial space, but made festive with strings of lights.

Everyone was so warm and gracious. I greeted people at the door and took photos. I spoke with Lisa Raven, with her long green hair, and even longer stilts. She had learned her craft from some “circus folks” where she used to live.

Jabali Stewart, the M.C., was a confident and dynamic speaker from The Bush School. He had led a Diversity workshop for DNDA, and was impressed with how open DNDA’s staff were to examining their values on diversity, and how open they were to change. He said, “These folks get it!”

Monica Elenes, a member of Youngstown Anchor Tenants Totem Star and Arts Corps, sang and played on guitar a beautiful rendition of “Waiting on the World to Change”. Carlynn Newhouse, also a Totem Star and Arts Corps member, performed a spoken word piece that described her experience as a young black woman today. Her honesty and authenticity sent gasps through the audience, and they could barely wait to burst into cheers at the end!

I had the pleasure of meeting some Cooper Artist Housing residents, and asked what it’s like to live at Cooper/Youngstown. They shared how much they love that they’re able to afford it and work on their various art projects, collaborating and supporting each other. They had become close friends, and had found Community.

DNDA Executive Director David Bestock gave a short speech about DNDA’s recent accomplishments and highlighted last year’s merger with Nature Consortium. A short, touching video about Art (classes, dancing, music at Youngstown), Nature (sustainability, environmental education within the Delridge neighborhood) and Neighborhood (housing, community events). The food was great and beautifully presented. The “Dessert Dash” items were appealing to the eye and the palette. A big hit! I had worked on procuring the desserts, so it was fun to see the final results.

Cheryl and Fausto from AU Dance Collective danced a mellow, contemporary duet. She perched on his shoulder, she flipped, she balanced—it was a lovely dance! Jabali auctioned off more raffles items, including Chihuly tickets, a sweet theater package and Mariners tickets.

After the performances and presentations, the stage turned into a dance floor! Everyone had a great time. Earliest estimates were that the Destination Delridge event raised over $85,000! I will always remember the warmth and generosity of the people at the Destination Delridge event. It made my heart glad!

-Dee Smolar