WYAP fundraiser takes on virtual format

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The Mayor’s Yellow Tie Gala, supporting the Westfield Youth Assistance Program, developed its name for a very specific reason.

Janelle Campbell

“The gala is our signature event first held in 2010 and organized by Westfield’s first mayor, Andy Cook, who is colorblind and can only see yellow, hence the name,” said Janelle Campbell, WYAP board president. “Fitting that yellow has stood for wisdom and intellect throughout the ages, the Yellow Tie Gala aims to raise thousands of dollars to do the same for the youth in the community. By giving to the youth, we serve every advantage to grow and reach their true potential. We’re confident that they will grow up to become engaged and contributing members of this community or whatever community they find themselves in some day.”

The gala was originally scheduled for June 6 but will now be a virtual event Oct. 1. Campbell said the June event was going to be a different format and not a sit-down dinner as in the past.

“We were celebrating the 10th anniversary of the WYAP this year and wanted to change the format of the evening,” Campbell said. “As part of those changes, we had changed the name from Westfield Mayor’s Yellow Tie Ball to Westfield Mayor’s Yellow Tie Gala.”

The virtual event will begin at noon Oct. 1

“Throughout the 10 hours we will use social media and other platforms to engage the Westfield community in our fundraiser,” Campbell said. “Live broadcasts, recorded videos, social media posts and more are planned to keep supporters engaged.”

There also will be a silent auction.

“In the past, we’ve all gathered for dinner together, and with the pandemic, that just isn’t possible this year,” Campbell said. “Instead, we will have local restaurants that you can patronize and have special discounts on food items for the day of the event. Some restaurants are partnering with us to give a portion of their proceeds that day back to the program as well. These restaurants will be listed on our website and will be identified with yellow swag on the day of the event.”

The goal is to raise $100,000 for the program.

“This seems like a lofty goal, but I’m confident our community can do it,” Campbell said. “In years past, we have had a handful of fundraisers over the course of the year, including the Mayor’s Yellow Tie Ball and our reverse raffle. Those events combined would get us to the $200,000 mark in order to provide the services needed for our children and families. This year, due to the pandemic, all of these fundraisers are being combined into this one event.

The funds raised go straight to our youth and families in need. We provide preventative services — connecting to counseling, anger management and other mental health resources, the only one-on-one mentoring program in Westfield, food, clothing, financial assistance, etc. — for the families in our program, and the funds raised in this event allow this to be possible.”

The silent auctions begin Sept. 1 on westfieldyellowtiegala.com. Each week, additional items will be added to the site leading up to the event.


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