All About Kids

Annual dinner raises $202,000 for Portland area youth.

by Constance Grecco –

Kaylee Sullivan, Hailey Rowden and Michael Allen Harrison play a song together on the piano. [Photo by Teresa Engel]

More than 300 people gathered in Portland, Ore., at the Oregon Zoo on Oct. 7, 2010, to attend The Salvation Army’s annual fundraiser, the “All About Kids Dinner.”

The program began with a performance by a combined children’s choir from the Gresham and Moore Street corps. Major James Sloan, Portland Metro coordinator, and Portland television station KGW’s Drew Carney welcomed the crowd; then Carney signaled the start of a video.

The video told the story of Hailey Rowden—a 14-year-old pianist from the Gresham Corps—who had advanced beyond the scope of her teacher. When the teacher contacted pianist Michael Allen Harrison about Hailey, he agreed to mentor her. Still mentored by Harrison, Hailey, in turn, mentors 11 youth in the Gresham music program.

During a break in the video, one of Hailey’s students, Kaylee Sullivan, performed; soon Hailey, and then Harrison, joined her. After these three generations of musicians and mentors played together, Harrison performed his own rendition of George Gershwin’s “Summertime.”

The video began again. In it, a young boy talked about how The Salvation Army has taught him “you can do anything you want to if you put your mind to it.”

The evening presented portraits of kids in the Portland metro community and how The Salvation Army augments their lives through music, art, sports and more.

Doug Fish—former Salvation Army Metro Advisory Board chair—closed the event.

“Think of a donation that feels slightly uncomfortable to your pocketbook, then double it,” he said.

By evening’s end, $202,000 had come in.

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