The Parent Teacher Organization at GEMS World Academy Chicago wanted its annual benefit gala to stand out from similar events being held in the city.
So the PTO has turned the gala into a true community effort, one that organizers hope will have a positive impact on the world.
“A Night to Shine with GEMS” takes place at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 9, at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park hotel. As in past years, the third annual event will include dinner, dancing and a charity auction. This year, a casino area has been added, as well.
Three Chicago media figures will serve as emcees for the evening — Fox 32 news anchor Michelle Alegria, Fox 32 sports anchor Lou Canellis and Chicago Magazine Editor-in-Chief/Publisher Susanna Homan.
The PTO once again enlisted the help of GEMS students while planning the gala. Each grade was asked to choose a charitable organization that would receive proceeds from the event.
“The students and teachers put a great deal of thought into these choices,” PTO member Eileen Robertson said. “The choices are based on personal experiences the kids have had, or they tie directly into their classroom work. It makes our gala a true extension of what we do here as a school.”
This year’s beneficiaries address a variety of issues and reach local, regional and global audiences:
Proceeds will be raised via ticket sales and an auction of items and experiences, including artwork donated by GEMS students. Tickets are on sale now, and the PTO is looking for people and organizations to donate items for the auction or become financial sponsors of the event.
Details about donation opportunities and sponsorships, as well as tickets, can be found on the gala website.
“I love this gala because it empowers our students to make a difference and brings so many like-minded people together for a great cause – our hometown and our world,” Ms. Robertson said. See some photos from last year's gala below.