“It takes a village” is a saying educators and professionals have used for years in their philosophy of teaching children. Linda Young, former president of the Clark County School District board of trustees, is no different. That’s why she named her nonprofit The Village Foundation.
The organization is committed to high academic achievements at all levels, from prekindergarten through college. Nearly 500 supporters attended The Village Foundation’s third annual gala fundraising banquet March 1 at JW Marriott. Its theme was “It Takes a Village to Educate a Child.”
The group dined on mixed baby greens and spinach with garden vegetables and walnuts, braised beef short ribs, au jus garlic potatoes, chocolate cake with caramelized pineapple and lime coulis while listening to the Ronnie Rose band.
A highlight was an art auction featuring national artists Annie Lee and Ron Tomlin, both of Las Vegas. Yvonne Parker of New York was one of many artists participating in the auction to raise money for The Village Foundation.
“Our goal is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that relegate far too many young people, especially those from lower income families,” Young said. “We believe that longstanding gaps in opportunity, achievement and attainment have roots inside and outside the schools.”
The Village Foundation works with parents, students, communities and the Clark County School District educators while implementing a Village Training program. Clark County School District Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky spoke in support of the program.
Keynote speakers were Nevada Mining Association President Tim Crowley and Applied Analysis principal analyst Jeremy Aguero, who told the audience that out of 314,600 district students, more than 7,500 are homeless.
Aguero said, “We need to do better in preparing our kids to compete.”
He said this preparation can start at The Village Foundation.
“Pay me now or pay me later. We are facing the pay me later. Far too few of our kids are prepared,” Aguero added. “I was one of those kids who grew up in the school district. I know this foundation is needed.”
Christella Moody, who has supported the foundation since its inception, said, “The fact that The Village Foundation is helping students in Kenya is also very exciting.”
Raymundo Rodriguez, chief strategy officer for Camelot Education and a primary corporate sponsor, said his company works with students on the verge of dropping out.
“We save and salvage our young people,” he said.
Also in attendance were: Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson, D-North Las Vegas; track and field star and Olympic competitor Martha Watson; Carolyn and Ronald Reedom; KVVU-TV, Channel 5 anchor Monica Morgan; Tommie Bush; Henderson Municipal Court Judge Mark Stevens; North Las Vegas City Councilwoman Pam Brown; Family Court Judge Cynthia Steel; Pat Spearman; Judy Knox; Jeff Dice; Al Wagner; Larry Mason; Romero Brown; Janice and Lewis Mullins; Deborah and Michael Walker; Mary and Al Williams; Patricia Brown; Aurelia Henderson; Vinita Lavizzo; and Charles Moody.