City of Alexandria, VA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 7, 2009
From Kenya to King Street: Servant Forge Inaugural Ball Raises Funds For City Youth Program, Humanitarian Efforts
On January 20, celebrate the Inauguration while making a difference in the lives of children in both Alexandria and Africa by attending The Servant Forge Humanitarian Inaugural Ball. Scheduled from 8:00 p.m. to midnight at the Torpedo Factory Arts Center (105 N. Union St.), the theme of the ball is “An Imperfect Offering—Serving Kids from Kenya to King Street.” Proceeds from the event will support Alexandria’s Space of Her Own (SOHO) program and Sister to Sister, a newly developed initiative that is developing garden projects for women living with HIV/AIDS in Swaziland and youth employment opportunities in Nairobi, Kenya. The mission of Sister to Sister is for women of resources to support nutritional, economic, medical, social and spiritual support to women in Africa who are living with HIV/AIDS.
The $150 ticket (50 percent of which is tax-deductible) will include dinner, drinks, and entertainment. The Kelly Bell Band, a funky blues ensemble from Baltimore, will provide the music.
SOHO is a nationally recognized art-based mentor program that originated through a creative public/private partnership between Alexandria’s Court Service Unit and The Art League. SOHO matches preteen girls with positive adult female role models to create long-term mentoring relationships. Throughout the year, the girls and their mentors meet weekly for classes in art and design and create things such as lamps, floor cloths, waste baskets and storage boxes. The program culminates in the renovation of the girls’ bedrooms, located in low income housing areas throughout Alexandria. Since its inception in 2003, the program has served 93 girls. Funds raised at the ball will enable SOHO to expand to serve more girls and to operate from two locations in the City. To learn about SOHO, please visit www.alexandriava.gov/soho.
The event’s hosts, James and Colleen Copple of Alexandria, are founders of the nonprofit Servant Forge, which promotes individual, community and organizational change to enhance service in the Alexandria community, the nation, and throughout the community of nations. James, a leader of crime prevention initiatives in Alexandria, has been a volunteer member of the Alexandria Gang Prevention Task Force for the past three years. The Copples also co-founded Strategic Applications International, a consulting firm specializing in helping organizations and communities respond to crime, violence, substance abuse, educational change, and security issues.