Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets recently threw its fifth annual gala, and it was their biggest yet. The Emerald Jubilee Gala drew a crowd of 340 attendees, who enjoyed a Mardi Gras themed party ain the mezzanine of Seattle Design Center’s spacious southern hall, followed by a banquet dinner on the main floor. Young and old enjoyed games and a live band and perused over 100 items in a silent auction, which included fine jewelry, activity packages, and items designed and decorated by members of the PSKS program.
When the program began 20 years ago in September of 1995, it was just a small but motivated group meeting in the living room of co-founder Elaine Simons. Their common goal was to create more shelter and support for homeless and at-risk youth in the city. Progress was incremental, and sometimes stymied by the need to find a new HQ as neighbors grew disgruntled with increased invisibility of the homeless youth population in their own neighborhood. Undeterred by these setbacks and sometimes aided by other programs and city officials, PSKS carried on and continues to be an absolutely vital resource for a population that is all the more vulnerable because it is marginalized and forced to remain invisible.
Many of these youths are LGBT. Some have been disowned or are fleeing violence. In spite of these hardships, many are caring and ambitious young minds. In addition to providing necessities like laundry facilities and overnight shelters, PSKS helps remove the barriers to education that these youth face (GEDtests, photo IDs, etc) and has intern programs that make youth into advocates and ambassadors between the homeless youth community and the organization. A program called the Donut Dialogues helps improve communication and empathy between the youth and law enforcement in Seattle.
Twenty years later, PSKS has a stable headquarters and expanding operations, but it maintains its scrappy, family energy. This was evident during dinner, when guests heard from founders Elaine Simons and Janaea Bellows, who spoke a little about the programs history and its future, along with the current Executive Director Susan Fox. There is much work to be done, but it was clear that PSKS has maintained the right vision as it has become more savvy in addressing these challenges for as long as youth need a supportive community.
Team Diva Real Estate was proud to be the first presenting sponsor for a PSKS Gala.
Members from across Seattle’s business community came out to support the organization, and between $30,000 in sponsorships, proceeds from the live and silent auctions, and 127 donations made during the Raise The Paddle portion of the night, guests raised $140,000 for PSKS. Well over a hundred attendees were there for the first time, so it is a strong indication that as Seattle is growing, it is not slacking in its sense of civic responsibility.
Team Diva specifically would like to thank our Divaland attendees who joined our tables, donated, and supported PSKS. You mean the world to us!
If you missed the event, think about attending next year. Learn more about PSKS programs on the website and consider supporting the program through the donation of goods or money. Cheers to PSKS!