The associate board of Working in the Schools hosted its annual Blackboard Affair on Feb. 8. More than 425 partygoers enjoyed a Mardi Gras-themed event at the Chicago Cultural Center that began with a VIP reception hosted by Bears placekicker Robbie Gould. He announced the launch of a new summer reading program, "Books in Bags," which will be a partnership between Working in the Schools and his charity, the Goulden Touch Foundation. The program will raise funds to send bags of books home with more than 3,000 students.
Preston Bradley Hall was filled with attendees enjoying the Mardi Gras theme, with many wearing creative masks and bead necklaces. The New Orleans-inspired hors d'oeuvres included gumbo and andouille sausage from Limelight Catering. Throughout the evening, patrons enjoyed making memories in the photo booth, bidding on silent auction items and perusing the raffle offerings that included tickets to Lollapalooza and "Jimmy Kimmel Live."
Event Creative decorated the rotunda with soaring palms, brightly colored votives and white leather lounge furniture strewn with sequined pillows. Popular children's books that will be used in the summer reading program were on display.
KISS-FM's Nina Chantele emceed the event and introduced Working in the Schools Executive Director Brenda Palm and associate board President Anna Miller and Vice President Samantha Stevens. "The funds raised from tonight's event will give us the resources to continue to expand our programming," said Palm. "(The) programs work. The evaluation shows that students advance in literacy skills and develop more positive self-perceptions regarding their ability to achieve in academics. (We) believe that volunteer service can support a better public school system."
The Blackboard Affair raised more than $90,000 for mentoring and tutoring programs that promote literacy and the love of reading among Chicago's youth.
Freelance writer Candace Jordan is involved with many local organizations, including some whose events she covers
Click here to see photos from these events.