Attend a Party Like No Other – The TLP Spring Gala 2014

I was homeless. 

It was for a few months over one summer but that time is forever imprinted in my mind. My mom and I lived in an abandoned building until we were able to connect with relatives in Chicago. I’m not sure of the reasons behind it but I’m very aware of the effects. The feelings of uncertainty, stress, fear and danger were a constant companion during those days.  This is a reality for over 2,000 youth every day in Chicago.

When many of us think of teen homelessness, we think of New York City, LA and the other coastal cities, but teen homelessness is a very real problem in Chicago as well. The ‘Home Stretch‘  documentary, currently in production, examines youth homelessness in Chicago and features some TLP clients and staff. As Kirsten Kelly, the documentary co-creator said, “homelessness isn’t just kids living on the streets, but those who live from couch to couch”.

CPS’ school program for Students in Temporary Living Situations alone had 18,669 out of about 403,000 students registered last year. 

That’s why I am a passionate supporter of Teen Living Programs in Chicago.  We are addressing a largely unseen problem effecting the next generation of Chicago’s youth.

TLP provides comprehensive supportive services to displaced youth. This includes housing, street outreach, healthcare, employment training, tutoring and a host of other services which are designed to prepare our youth to become stable adults who are less likely to live on the streets. We coach them in  life skills such as  health and nutrition maintenance, self-awareness, conflict resolution and personal financial management.

I have been involved with TLP for three years now.  And for each of those years, I have served on the Board of Directors and the annual gala committee. Every year, our gala is an amazing evening we create to thank our supporters, share our success stores, and celebrate our accomplishments and goals for the future.

Here’s How You Can Help

Support the TLP spring gala on Saturday, March 22, 2014 at the Raddison Blu hotel in downtown Chicago. 

There are many ways to become involved:

  1. Attend the event – $350 for individual tickets
  2. Become a sponsor – Starting at $3,500
  3. Donate an auction item – Most popular amongst our donors are dining and theatre experiences, sporting events, vacation packages and luxury items.
  4. Buy a raffle ticket – $100 for a chance to win $10,000

In addition to the gala, we have many ways to connect with our supporters. There are fun events throughout the year in addition to youth volunteer activities and committees which could use your knowledge and energy.

The Red Carpet

TLP Gala 2013 - Board of Directors

The wonderful TLP Board of Directors joined by the Executive Director, Jeri Linas
(second from the left). I missed this photo op.

TLP Gala 2013 - Eric and Ken

Two of our fabulous gala committee members with friends. Front row, far right is Erik Kolacz, this year’s gala co-chair and Ken Tremback; a long-time gala committee member.

TLP Gala 2013 - the leisurely jumpers

These gentlemen are part of the Neuberger Berman crew. They are loads of fun.

TLP Gala 2013 - couples

One of our newest Board Members, Levoi Brown [right] is pictured above with his lovely wife and some guests.


The wonderful Michelle Goldberg, former TLP Development Associate, my friend David Lewis and myself. Smiling and having a great time.

2013TLPSpringGala - Golden Group

Some very stylish TLP supporters.

2013TLPSpringGala - Staff and Youth

Left to Right: TLP Staffers Megan Wickman and Alexis Allegra along with two TLP youth.

TLP 2012 - Reception 4

Recognizing Our Partners

We present our Partners of the Year with an award at each gala. United Airlines was our Partner of the Year in 2013. They donate thousands of airline miles to our gala every year. Allstate Insurance is our 2014 Partner of the Year. In addition to sponsorship, their staff has been very involved with TLP youth and hosting a variety of fundraising drives within the Chicago office.

2013TLPSpringGala - United Airlines Partner of the Year Award

We gave a great thanks to United Airlines for their constant support.


During the dinner is when our supporters get to see and hear directly how their support has impacted the agency and our clients. It’s also a time for new friends to learn about TLP and meet our wonderful staff, Board Members and donors.

TLP 2012 - Youth Speaker

Each year, we have a TLP client share their story of how they lived before TLP and their journey with the TLP family. It is always a touching moment. And it enables our supporters and donors to see the results of their generosity.

2013TLPSpringGala - Chairman Gerald Pauling

TLP Board Chairman, the esteemed Gerald L. Pauling, II

TLP 2012 - Dinner 1

Dedicated supporters such as Stephan Braun, TLP Board Member, and his lovely wife Leslie Braun (pictured above) enjoy hearing from our clients and leadership. We are thankful for everything they do for TLP.

Raffles and Other Fun Moments 

We have a lot of fun activities throughout the evening. Everyone may be dressed in their finest but we are still there to celebrate and have fun.

TLP 2012 - Heads or Tails 2

We play Heads or Tails during dinner and the finalists take the stage to determine the ultimate winner.

TLP 2012 - Heads or Tails 1

The winner of this Heads of Tails game was very excited.

TLP 2012 -Game of Chance

We have a variety of games during cocktail hour. With games of chance, guests pay $25 to pick a coin for a chance to win a prize. It’s a very popular game and a fun way to give.

TLP 2012 - Silent Auction 4

And we have a winner in the Game of Chance.

Silent Auction

Our silent auction items are amazing. They include luxury vacations, fine dining packages, sports memorabilia tours and more.

TLP 2012 - Silent Auction 1

TLP 2012 - Silent Auction 2

TLP 2012 - Silent Auction 3

We offer a variety of ways for guests to make bids on silent auction items, including workstations setup at various points throughout the cocktail area.

2013TLPSpringGala - silent auction on iPhones

Guests can also download the silent auction app to their smart phones and monitor and submit bids throughout the evening until the close of the auction. We have wonderful volunteers who are on-hand to answer questions.

Live Auction

Live auction is when things really get interesting. We have amazing donors who donate luxury vacation home stays, year-long car leases, access to exclusive golf resorts, walk-on roles to TV shows and much more.

2013TLPSpringGala - Cheryl Harris and Allstate

TLP Board Member, Cheryl Harris bids on a live auction item.

TLP 2012 - Live Auction 2

It warms my heart to see all of the generous donors bidding on our auction items.

2013TLPSpringGala - gala suspense

Erik Kolacz and friend trying to identify their live auction competition.

TLP 2012 - Live Auction 1

Some live auction items are so exceptional that you just have to yell when you win.


TLP 2012 - Dancing 3

The dancing lasts for hours. The Gentlemen of Leisure is an amazing band that keeps the party going. Some of our great guests are dancing with a TLP client above.

2013TLPSpringGala - Gentleman of Leisure

The Gentlemen of Leisure band keeps the party going all night. We always look forward to the costume changes. At least 5.

TLP 2012 - Band

Gentlemen of Leisure has been our band of choice for the past several years.

2013TLPSpringGala - dance floor is full

The dance floor fills up quickly.

2013TLPSpringGala - Love our New York crew

There’s no rule saying you have to put your glass down while you boogie.

And the Party Goes On

The red carpet photo station remained open all night. After dinner is when the photos became really interesting.

TLP Gala 2013 - love them volunteers #4

These amazing gala volunteers from Booze Allen Hamilton’s Chicago office were a smash hit. What an amazing group of people!

TLP Gala 2013 - Elegant Fun

TLP Gala 2013 - running

TLP Gala 2013 - The Boys

My favorite photo of the night.

TLP Gala 2013 - Eric and Carol

Erik and Carol are such a hoot!

I hope you enjoyed this post and will join us for the TLP Spring Gala 2014.  Here are the ways you can become involved.

  1. Attend the event – $350 for individual tickets
  2. Become a sponsor – Starting at $3,500
  3. Donate an auction item – Most popular amongst our donors are dining and theatre experiences, sporting events, vacation packages and luxury items.
  4. Buy a raffle ticket – $100 for a chance to win $10,000

If you have any questions, please contact me at or @Sherry563.



Categories: Activism, Charity

Tags: , , , , , ,

3 replies

  1. Hi Sherry,   I have been receiving your emails blogs for a few weeks now and today was the first day I stopped to sit and really read instead of looking over the topic and key paragraphs and I was not only excited, but it came at a right time.   After reading about homelessness and knowing what I deal with on a daily basis with homeless students as well as being homeless myself, it touched me to read the entire article because I could relate.   I saw that the tickets are $350 and I am going to try and secure one to benefit another…   Thank You so much for all you do and I will now take more time to sit and read because I know now it can help somebody if not me.   

    Sheila Sterling  
    “You can have everything in life you want, if you would just help other people get what they want” -Zig Ziglar-    Visit the Princess Club Organization of Chicago Website


    • Hi Sheila,

      Thanks for your thoughtful and heart-warming message. I would like to know more about you and your interests. Particularly, about the Princess Club Organization and the person you are seeking to help by purchasing the gala ticket. I’m always interested in meeting new people for coffee and exploring how we can help each other.

      Thanks so much for subscribing to my blog. My hope is that each post reaches at least one reader who can use the message. I’m glad it was you.

      Contact me when you are ready. I can be reached via this site or email at

      Have a wonderful holiday season.



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