Friday night, we celebrated Excelsior’s success and toasted to a bright future for all our girls at the 2015 Triumphant Faces Gala. Supporters of Excelsior, new and old, donned their best gowns and fanciest masks to attend this Black Tie Masquerade Ball.
The night began with guests perusing a stacked silent auction, sipping on complimentary cocktails courtesy of Tito’s Vodka and Coyote Gold Margaritas, listening to the New Orleans-inspired music of Peneplain Jazz, and taking tons of selfies. Our guests were then guided into the ballroom with tambourines and kazoos, played by members of the Gala committee.
The Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel delivered an incredible menu with a distinct New Orleans flair, beginning with a Louisiana-style gumbo. The main course boasted a blackened beef tenderloin and savory crab cake, flanked by antebellum grits and succotash to complete the soul food feel. Dessert lovers were in paradise with a variety of family style served bites, including delicacies like bacon bourbon pecan pie and hummingbird cake.
After guests cleaned their plates, the program began with our Emcee, Anne Trujillo, providing a brief overview of Excelsior and reminding the crowd why we were all really there – to help support Excelsior’s girls who are survivors of human trafficking and trauma. We were all moved when one of Excelsior’s success stories, a 15 year old girl, took the podium and told her heartbreaking story. Fortunately this young woman’s story has a happy ending. At the end of her speech, she expressed her gratitude and tearfully thanked Excelsior for giving her a second chance and the opportunity for a bright and promising future.
Next, Jamie Angelich introduced and honored Excelsior’s 2015 Triumphant Woman, Roseanne Barr. In attendance with her daughter, Roseanne accepted the honor with gratitude and humility. As expected, Roseanne used a bit of comedy in her acceptance speech, as she inspired and awed the crowd with a heartfelt story about her difficult childhood and professional struggles. Later she added in some motivational speaking, encouraging the crowd to never take the easy way out. She challenged guests to “take the hard road – the one that seems uphill and takes all your effort”. She continued on: “once you are up there, take time to rest before you have to start climbing another hill. Never be afraid to keep climbing or stop and rest. At the right time you will climb all the way up.”
After Roseanne exited the stage, auctioneers took the stage to conduct our Live Auction – an impressive line-up of travel packages, prestigious golf adventures, celebrity parties and more. Finally, our raffle winner was drawn out of the giant gold drum, who giddily skipped up to the stage to redeem her prize – a fabulous and fully stocked trip to New Orleans! The excitement riled up the crowd, just in time to hear the rockin’ musical stylings of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. They immediately filled the dance floor with their swing revival tunes and kept it full through their last song. But even after Big Bad Voodoo Daddy exited the stage, people kept dancing – they continued shaking it on the dance floor until the cleaning crew had to clear them out.
Thank you too all our attendees, sponsors, committee members, volunteers and Excelsior staff who made this evening possible. We are eternally grateful for your tireless support and belief in what we do. Without you, we would not be able to fulfill our mission of changing the lives of our youth.