On April 30th, the Denver community came together to celebrate Excelsior’s success and toast to a bright future for our youth and families at the 2016 Triumphant Faces Gala chaired by Tina Lovelace Sporkin and Ashley Prust. Supporters of Excelsior, old and new, dressed in their swankiest duds for this unforgettable Speakeasy Soiree. Even amidst the fedoras and fascinators, the most awesome accessory was the bright purple wheelchair donned by our 2016 Triumphant Woman, Amy Van Dyken Rouen. Recently paralyzed in an ATV accident, Amy plans to ‘rock it out’ in that wheelchair until, and only until, she walks again. This determination, grit and unending optimism is precisely why Amy was honored as our 2016 Triumphant Woman. In front of 540 of Denver’s community leaders, Amy Van Dyken Rouen vowed that “the next time I’m on this stage, I will be walking”.
The 2016 Triumphant Faces Gala – From Start to Finish
The 2016 Triumphant Faces Gala began with guests perusing a stacked silent auction, sipping on complimentary wine and champagne courtesy of Breakthru Beverage Group, listening to the incredible 20s-themed music stylings of the Paul Shinn Trio and taking turns getting fun group photos in the glamorously themed MiHi photobooth. Click here for our favorite pics!
When it was time for dinner, guests got their first surprise of the evening as a trumpeter descended the escalators flanked by eight beautiful flapper girls leading everyone into the Ballroom. After delving into a delicious dinner including melt-in-your-mouth mushroom-stuffed beef tenderloin, the program began when former Denver Bronco and friend of Excelsior, Reggie Rivers, took the stage. After commanding the attention of the audience as only a former Denver Bronco can, he introduced Excelsior’s CEO Susan Hébert to the stage.
Hébert reminded the crowd why we were all really there – to support the struggling youth and families in our community that Excelsior serves, many of whom have been torn apart by abuse, human trafficking, substance abuse and other traumas. Hébert also announced some exciting updates about Excelsior, including the opening of a new Community-Based Services office in Englewood and the addition of boys into our programs.
Inspiration from one of Excelsior’s Favorite Success Stories
Guests were moved by the next two speakers, Kylie (a former Excelsior client) and her mother, who told their heartbreaking, but inspiring story of rebuilding a broken family that had been traumatized by physical and sexual abuse, bullying, depression and suicide. Although tears were shed as Kylie courageously shared her experience, the story ended with a smile as Kylie thanked Excelsior for helping rebuild her family and her life, then waved goodbye to the crowd – she had to hurry off so she could get to prom!
2016 Triumphant Woman – Amy Van Dyken Rouen
Jamie Angelich took the stage next to present our 2016 Triumphant Woman, Amy Van Dyken Rouen with her award. With her infamous optimism and contagious smile, Amy began her acceptance speech in the most humble of fashions – by making fun of herself. Amy had recently tore a tendon in her leg during physical therapy and found it hilarious that she was in a leg cast as well as a wheelchair. Amy’s speech was not only inspiring and charmingly comedic, but was so genuine it felt like her words were pouring straight out of her heart and into yours. Needless to say, after she finished, the crowd roared with applause and a standing ovation.
The Fun’s Not Over Yet!
Next was an incredible Live Auction followed by a raffle conducted by Zonta Club of Denver II. The lucky winner of this prize won Four In-Home Dinner Parties for Ten, featuring Denver’s best restaurants and chefs – Chef Dana Rodriguez from Work & Class, Chef Jesus Silva from Osaka Ramen, Sushi-Rama and Silva’s Fish Market, Chef Tim Kuklinski from Rioja, and Chef Adam Branz from Bistro Vendôme.
Still the night was not over! As Queen City Jazz Band took the stage, four Specialty Speakeasy Lounges were unveiled in the back of the ballroom, captivating guests with unexpected entertainment and top-shelf wines, whiskey, tequila, and even cigars rolled right in front of you. These lounges were sponsored by Infiniti of Denver, Syntrinsic Investment Counsel, The Woodhouse Day Spas – Denver & Littleton and Excelsior.
It goes without saying that this year’s Triumphant Faces Gala was the cat’s meow.
HUGE thanks are due to all our incredible sponsors – we couldn’t do what we do without you.
Fearless Faces Sponsors: Colorado Homes & Lifestyles Magazine, John Madden Company, MDC Richmond American Homes Foundation, Reign Magazine, Sheraton Denver Downtown, Sir & Sport Magazine, Southwest Airlines
Transforming Faces Sponsors: Arrow Electronics, Infiniti of Denver, Lamar Advertising, Syntrinsic Investment Counsel, Triple B, The Woodhouse Day Spas
Another HUGE thanks goes to all our committee members, volunteers and attendees 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.