by Marlene Berlin
Last Monday’s fundraiser for Forest Hills Connection was a success on so many levels.
Acacia Bistro, our home for the event, was packed with people and excellent conversation, music and art. People connected – neighbors with neighbors whom had not seen each other for many years, and newcomers with longtime residents. And it was wonderful to celebrate our neighborhood’s talented artists who so generously donated tours, a class, and pieces of their art.
A big thank you goes to Uzi Turker, the owner of Acacia, and the staff who worked hard to get food and drink to the hungry and thirsty crowd. Turker allowed us to rearrange the seating into long communal tables that enabled more mingling and sparked many a conversation that might not have happened otherwise. For example, Ann Elkington is now planning to organize a Lego night for the community with Sandy Douglass of Forest Hills of DC (the former Methodist Home). Stay tuned for more on this.
I also want to thank Mary Beth Ray, my adviser in putting the silent auction together. She told me which space at Acacia would work for displaying the auction items. I worried about the lack of light, though, especially after artist Robin Rose explained to me the importance of display. So I recruited three lamps from my house. Ann Elkington, who has also been involved in many school auctions, calmed my jitters with practical advice as I proceeded to put the event together. Dzenita Saracevic and Mary Beth came early to host the event and help me tie up any loose ends.
At ten o’clock, sitting at a table filled with some Van Ness Vision Committee members and starting to feel bleary-eyed, I realized I had not thought about breaking down the event. Turker, who was already talking about planning another event in September, graciously told me I could come back in the morning. And in the morning, Turker and I packed up his SUV (my car is not big enough) with the donated art, my lamps, and Mary Beth’s outdoor heater, which she had loaned for the occasion.
So what came out of the event? We raised money to keep Forest Hills Connection chugging away, more than $3,000. We made more than $2,600 from the auction items and checks written on the spot. Turker donated a percentage of the proceeds from the evening. But more than that, we emerged thankful this opportunity to connect with our incredible friends and neighbors. I got many emails of thanks, and Dzenita let me know she got two requests for more events.
To make that happen, Forest Hills Connection needs an events committee and someone to chair it. If you love social events and opportunities to meet more of your fascinating neighbors, please let me know if you are interested in being an active member of this committee.