Bay Area Champions Benefit 2019: Celebrating Mentors and Students with Style and Substance

On March 31st, iMentor Bay Area held our second annual Champions Benefit gala at the Silicon Valley Capital Club in San Jose, Calif., raising significant funds to help expand our work in the Bay Area. We’re truly grateful for all the support that came from our volunteers and individual donors throughout the month of March, beginning with our iMentor Challenge and culminating with our Champions Benefit.

As enjoyable as it was for our 130 guests to partake in delectable hors d’ oeuvres, bid on incredible auction Items (we had BOTH SF Giants and Oakland A’s suites available!), and party at a rooftop bar with their peers, our gala would not have been complete without our mentors and mentee pairs sharing the impact of their relationship.

Several pairs of mentors and students—Justin Wojcik and mentee Rich, Chazlee Azevedo and mentee Daisy, and Alex Adams and his mentee Isaac–took turns sharing stories of how their relationships have grown over time. Capturing the spirit behind what we do at iMentor, Alex reminded everyone that this program not only helps change lives for our students, but changes mentors themselves.

Bay Area mentor community
From left: Mentors Tony Pham and Clara Vo, and attendees Annie Luu, Veronica Dang, and Aimee Vo

Bay Area Executive Director Felix Flores closed the evening’s speeches with an impassioned plea for our guests: “We have a finite set of heartbeats on this earth. We’re not remembered by our GPA, the balance in our checking account, or how many Facebook friends you have. We’re remembered by how we made others feel, the time and attention we gave, and ultimately how we made people’s lives better.”

Felix encouraged our guests to “honor your people” and pay it forward. And with that, we kicked off our fund-a-need effort, which offered everyone the opportunity to pledge donations at multiple levels. By the end of the night, we had raised nearly $11,000 in donations alone for this campaign. Learn how you can support iMentor in the Bay Area.

Mentor Chazlee Azevedo and student Daisy
Mentor Chazlee Azevedo and student Daisy

Mentor Justin Wojcik and student Rich
Mentor Justin Wojcik and student Rich

Our students are bright and insightful young people with real talent and big ambitions. They’re the reason the iMentor Bay Area community comes together every year to support this work—so we see more and more of our students graduate high school, attend college, and realize their full potential.

David Porter, principal at James Lick High School, a New Tech School and our campus partner in San Jose, was in attendance. We also had some amazing student volunteers from James Lick—Hugo, Leslie, and Jerricho—who helped set up our event and boost our raffle ticket sales.

Bay Area Champions raffle
iMentor’s Kathy Tran and James Lick student Jerricho collecting a raffle ticket purchase

This team-signed Golden State Warriors basketball generated quite the bidding war! Congratulations and thank you to mentor Tony Pham for finally snatching it at $1,400.

This is the face of a winner! Not only did attendee Sandra Kwan win the bid for Oakland A’s Luxury Suite, but she also left the night with a custom iMentor Bay Area lettermen jacket and a Google Home Mini through our raffle!

Sandra Kwan
Sandra Kwan getting the good news!

Apparently, $250 was the magic number! We had a slew of donations come in at this level during our fund-a-need effort.

Finally, a special shout-out to our development director Annel Aguayo and our Bay Area staff, who not only made this beautiful event happen seamlessly, but are also the backbone for the work we do in San Jose and in Oakland year-round.

iMentor Bay Area supporters
iMentor Bay Area’s Annel Aguayo with supporters
iMentor Bay Area’s Talisha Evans and Christene Manglal-lan
iMentor Bay Area’s Talisha Evans and Christene Manglal-lan