On March 5th our 34th annual Gala & Auction was held in New York City at Chelsea Piers. Every year we do a theme, this year’s theme was Waves for a Change. One of our many partners is Voya Financial and we honored them as our guests for their ongoing support of NDSS and our mission. The mission of Voya Cares and Voya Financial is to make a bright and secure financial future for those of us who are Differently-Abled. As a partner Voya Financial is a proud supporter of our key programming areas like DS works, which is our employment program and they help us bring C21 to life. At the Gala we recognized them for doing exactly that.

During the gala, we had our live and silent auctions and paddle raises to help raise money. It was hosted by CK Swett, he does a great job helping to raise money for the National Down Syndrome Society and the Down Syndrome community. David DeSanctis started the Gala off by introducing the Gigi’s Playhouse choir, following him Adrian spoke about the bidding process. The program started off with Chris Wragge and his friend Laura Lyle. As the program continued David introduced Kandi, Kandi spoke about NDSS and why we partner with Voya and all the work we have done as an organization. After Heather and Rod spoke, Adrian introduced CK to start the bidding. When the bidding was complete Charlotte came up and told her life story about her heart transplant and the urgency of donors and the disability community.

During the gala, I listened to people like Heather Lavelle and Rod Martin with Voya in addition to my colleagues. I did some networking at the gala and handed out business cards. Another part of the gala, was our step and repeat picture taking booth. Brandon Gruber stepped up and thanked the Gigi’s choir and invited us to attend the after party with DJ Joe. The after party was a blast with lots of dancing. It was a great night in New York City with a great bunch of old friends, new friends and coworkers who are also friends.