The event featured a silent auction as well as a live auction conducted by guest auctioneer and musician Livingston Taylor—the brother of singer-songwriter James Taylor.
With big ticket items including trips to San Francisco and tickets to games at Fenway garnering high bids, PBHA received considerable funding for its community service programs.
The night’s curator, PBHA Events and Fundraising Officer Sophia C. Sakellariadis ’11, described the annual auction as “the biggest fundraising event supporting SUP, and important not only as a fundraiser but also as a nice way for the community to celebrate SUP and get a lot of alumni reinvolved with the program.”
The Summer Urban Program has been serving over 800 youths in the greater Boston area each year for over 25 years through 10 community-based summer camps. Each camp is run by a student director and is staffed entirely by students from Harvard and other Boston-area schools.
“Each of the programs is important within its community. There’s an element of social change in meeting these kids’ needs and helping the members of these communities empower themselves by being allies to the residents,” said former Mission Hill SUP Director David V. Jenkins ’03. “That is how you build a community’s power.”
A sense of continued presence in the communities was the theme of the night. In her opening remarks, Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds praised PBHA for being a model for continued public service in the nation at large.
Awards were also presented to City Councilor Sam Yoon and Assistant City Manager for Human Services Ellen Semonoff for their consistent dedication to service in the Boston and Cambridge areas.
Former camper and current SUP Director Nehemie Bernard, who is also a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, described her experience as an example of the continuity fostered by the program.
“This past summer when I was having a bad day my campers drew a poster with my picture on it and included things I had been telling them all summer,” she said. “Knowing that the campers appreciated me being there, it made me dedicated to giving back. That is who I am.”