Big Brothers Big Sisters' Gourmet Dinner Raises $2.4 Million for Mentoring Programs in OC and IE
Joseph Ueberroth honored with the organization's highest recognition
By: Big Brothers Big Sisters
At the event, Joseph J. Ueberroth, founder and president of Bellwether Financial Group, was presented with the 2017 Joel K. Rubenstein Award, the highest distinction bestowed by the organization. The Corona del Mar resident joins an elite group of 31 gentlemen recognized since 1988. Ueberroth was honored for his unwavering and generous support of Big Brothers Big Sisters over the last 20 years, including serving on the board of directors and chairing the Gourmet Dinner committee.
"I can't think of anyone more deserving of our Joel K. Rubenstein Award than Joe Ueberroth. His deep involvements with Big Brothers Big Sisters and other local youth-serving organizations demonstrate an incredible commitment to impacting the lives of children in our community," said Melissa Beck, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire.
"Our one-to-one mentoring program helps create generational change for youth in Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties," Beck added. "We are so proud that 100 percent of the class of 2017 graduated high school and 96 percent enrolled in college. This success would not be possible without the support of our Gourmet Dinner honoree, co-chairs, sponsors and attendees, who believe that Big Brothers Big Sisters can break the cycle of poverty and dependence for the youth we serve."
Following a premium reception with Scotch tastings and hand-rolled cigars, guests were ushered into the grand ballroom for a presentation of colors by the Sunburst Youth Academy and national anthem sung by the All-American Boys Chorus. A three-course menu began with an ahi tuna poke starter, followed by a duet of filet mignon and jumbo prawns in garlic ginger sauce, and Tahitian vanilla cheesecake with pineapple compote.
Later in the program, volunteer Miguel Vasquez and his Little Brother Anthony kicked off the fund-a-need appeal with an inspirational story of their eight-year match. Bullied by other students and diagnosed with ADHD, Anthony's teachers told him he would be lucky if he finished middle school. Thanks to Vasquez's mentorship, Anthony graduated high school in June and is currently taking business classes at Coastline Community College with plans to transfer to a four-year university and open his own photography company.
"The expectations for me were set so low that I didn't realize it was possible for me to achieve more. 'Migs' was one of the only people in my life who pushed me to be better," Anthony told guests.
Anthony will continue to benefit from Big Brothers Big Sisters throughout his college years thanks to its newly expanded Destination Future initiative launched in January 2017, which extends support to young adult participants up to the age of 25. The local agency is the first of 15 affiliates in California to introduce such an initiative.
The evening concluded with a fast-paced live auction with 14 fabulous prizes that included a meet-and-greet with Angels outfielder and local Big Brothers Big Sisters ambassador Mike Trout, and an opportunity for seven individuals to join honoree Joseph Ueberroth at the exclusive Pebble Beach Owners Tournament. The opportunity drawing prize, a one-year lease of a 2017 BMW 740i sedan sponsored by Sterling BMW Newport Beach, was generously donated back to the agency by the winner to raise additional funds at the event.
The 53rd Annual Gourmet Dinner was underwritten by generous sponsors, including Ten-X (presenting)
About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire
Big Brothers Big Sisters believes that with the support of a caring mentor, every child has the ability to achieve his or her full potential. It is the nation's largest donor- and volunteer-supported mentoring organization, serving a quarter-million children annually. Based in Santa Ana, Calif., the Orange County agency was incorporated in 1958 and works as a local extension of the national effort to make professionally supported, one-to-one matches between mentors ("Bigs") and children ("Littles") facing adversity. Together with the Inland Empire agency, which opened its doors in 2013, the local organization annually serves more than 3,300 children through programs that improve the odds of youth performing better in school and avoiding violence and illegal activities. For more information visit ocbigs.org (http://www.ocbigs.org/