Get ready for takeoff, we’re free to fly

Free to Fly was the theme of this year’s annual fundraiser for Good Shepherd Gracenter. The theme celebrated and affirmed the women at Gracenter who have broken free of drug and alcohol addiction and are now free to fly to futures filled with possibilities.

The room was filled with everything from kites to flying pigs to depict the theme of Free to Fly. Gala “captain” (aka MC/auctioneer and dedicated volunteer Charles Gall) dressed as an airline pilot. His outfit caught the imagination of the audience, and the event did indeed take off!

Upbeat disc jockey music kept energy and enthusiasm peaked. The automated silent auction went live a few days before the event so guests could bid early from any location. Some guests used their cell phones to bid on items during the luncheon itself. For the less tech savvy guests, “super shoppers,” identifiable by their blue capes, stood poised to swoop in and rescue any fumbling fingers in distress.

Award recipients

After a delicious meal, it was time for awards. Gracenter Executive Director Sr. Marguerite Bartling acknowledged the gala sponsors and then introduced our Outstanding Graduate, Pali Boucher, Founder and Executive Director of Rocket Dog Rescue, an all-volunteer organization which has rescued and re-homed more than 8,500 animals. Pali also received Certificates of Recognition from the cities of San Francisco and Oakland.

Free to fly
Awardee Pali Boucher, center.

Our Amazing Grace Award went to Martha Ryan, Founder and Executive Director of Homeless Prenatal Program. Martha also received a Certificate of Recognition from San Francisco.

Our first ever live auction caused bidding wars that sent paddles flying high! After watching a video with graduates telling their stories of success, someone proposed a “Fund a Need” appeal. Paddles once again went flying as generous guests made donation pledges.

Sr. Madeleine Munday drew names for the raffle prizes as the final part of the program. After the gala, Gracenter hosted an Open House to thank guests for their generous support. The gala, held on September 16, proved to be Gracenter’s most successful fundraiser. We are grateful to everyone involved and pray for blessings on them all!

Anne Kelley

Anne Kelley

Sister Anne Kelley is an Apostolic Sister of the Good Shepherd. Her current ministry has her serving at Good Shepherd Gracenter, a recovery residence that offers a supportive and gently challenging program for women who wish to strengthen their early sobriety.