On Saturday, October 28th Side by Side Kids hosted our annual Triple C fundraising event! It was a wonderful evening at Abel’s on the Lake that was filled with delicious food, live music, great conversation, and a good cause.
The evening began with setup. We hung photos of each campus, set up a fun photo booth, prepared donation cards for each seat, and most importantly, we prayed together. As we prepped the venue, I became more and more excited for the evening ahead.
I was filled with gratitude for the opportunity to share the ways our students have overcome various obstacles and have touched my own heart. I couldn’t wait to share their stories of difficulties and disadvantages that have been transformed into tales of growth, triumph, and hope. As I talked about my Side by Side Kids students and the mutual impact we’ve had on each other, I got to learn the ways that our ministry has impacted some of our guests and their families.
Triple C was special because we got to listen to and tell these stories - these real, unedited, authentic stories - and in this, we had the chance to connect with one another. We laughed at the funny moments, reflected on hardships, and celebrated as we reflected on the ways God has moved in our lives.
There is something so powerful about human connection, and that night as we connected and shared our hearts with each other, we got to experience the way that God has designed us to have compassion on those in need and help each other in whatever way we can.
To end the night, we heard stories from our three hosts.
First off was Heather Wilhelm, a politics columnist writer. Heather shared a powerful message about the global impact of local change. Every day we hear about another injustice in this crazy, broken world, and the idea of changing the world seems more overwhelming and more impossible. Heather encouraged us to look in our backyard and seek to make change here, at the local level. She challenged us to strive to improve the community around us because, if we all did that, what a world we would live in.
We then heard from our very own CEO, Sly Guzman. Sly shared his personal story of triumph and the huge impact one person, Stanley Nolen, had on the trajectory of his life. Sly never thought he would go to college, but Stanley encouraged and equipped him to go to create a brighter future for his life. Stanley saw potential in Sly despite the various obstacles that were before him, and without the impact of Stanley Nolen, Sly is doubtful that he would be where he is today. Because one person believed in him and invested in his life, Sly avoided a path filled with addiction and violence that many of his childhood friends went down. As a result, Sly has impacted hundreds of children and adults through the ministry of Side by Side Kids. He invited us to be the Stanley Nolen’s in the world - to see potential and invest in the lives of children to give them a brighter future.
Finally, David Guthrie, our wonderful emcee and longtime friend of Side by Side Kids, shared a bit of the impact Side by Side Kids has had on him and his own family. He prayed over us and encouraged us to give radically to have the opportunity to see God move in big and mighty ways. God certainly answered that prayer - over $82,000 was raised through this event to benefit the 6 campuses, 300 students, and 50 teachers that make up Side by Side Kids.
Triple C 2017 certainly was an evening to remember, and it is an evening that will make a world of difference! It’s not too late for you to impact this ministry! Will you join us in giving radically to this cause? Your contribution directly funds our ability to empower our students by bringing them the love of Christ.