2023 Gala Recap
On Thursday, May 11, 2023, our annual Gala came to life, gathering over 400 people at the Saint Paul RiverCentre to celebrate, “Noche de Colores—A night in Antigua.” The evening transported guests to Antigua, Guatemala by featuring delicious food, custom cocktails, a market, games, and a live auction.
We were honored to have the support of our Common Hope community to toast to today’s students and Guatemala’s future leaders. Thanks to our incredible sponsors, donors, and guests, $301,000 was raised to benefit the students and families we serve. The extraordinary generosity shown by our guests helps provide programs that help students develop and strengthen skills that will make them strong candidates in Guatemala’s competitive job market.
The future of Guatemala is now.
With Common Hope’s Support, students are graduating at 3 to 4 times the national rate. Resources like the computer lab, library, homework center, and programs like robotics, English, music, math, and graduation workshops ensure that students have access to educational opportunities that give them a competitive edge after graduating.
Common Hope Board Member and sponsor of Lesly Zuelata, Marlene Lopez Ibarra, was the emcee of the evening. Marlene shared how Common Hope impacts generations and how being a sponsor has impacted her life.
“As sponsors/padrinos and madrinas we can follow the development, read letters, and hear firsthand what keeps the families in the program engaged. It has been a ray of light, a pursuit of hope, and a reminder that a generation can change when the support is there for the family. I’ve always said that Common Hope gives me more than I can ever give to them,” shared Marlene.
Thank you Marlene for your warm and thoughtful contributions as emcee.
The power of sponsorship.
Education is one of the largest hurdles standing between the children of Guatemala and a higher quality of life. Thanks to 16 new sponsors made during the evening, 16 students and their families now have full access to Common Hope’s programs. A sponsor helps support a student’s dreams and guides them on the path to graduation. We sincerely thank all new and existing sponsors for their invaluable support.
During the hope-filled night, attendees also got to hear from retiring Executive Director, Shari Blindt. In her 18 years of service as Executive Director, Shari made a lasting impact on thousands of students and families in Guatemala, as well as staff and others who benefited from her leadership. Shari filled the room with exciting news about the future of Common Hope and reflected on the meaningful relationships and experiences she had during her time as Executive Director.
“This year’s graduates were in preschool when I joined Common Hope, as were my two kids. They are all adults now. I have shared 18 years – a full generation together with my colleagues, our students, and families, and so many of you.” shared Shari.
Shari expressed her belief that where there are opportunities, there is hope, and where there is hope there are opportunities. Using the new strategic plan as a guide, she is confident that Common Hope will have continued relevance for years to come.
“Common Hope is strong and healthy, and ready to serve the next generation. I am confident Common Hope’s impact will continue to grow and evolve through the next generation of leadership,” continued Shari.
Thank you Shari for your 18 years of leadership!
We are so grateful to everyone who made this evening a success and for their generosity. We look forward to seeing you all again for next year’s Noche de Colores.