Children’s Home Society rocks Rock City with festive fundraiser

VERO BEACH — Children’s Home Society (CHS) rocked the house, or in this case the magnificent Rock City Gardens, with an evening that rolled the best of their previous events, the more formal Rockin’ Vero Beach dinner party and the hip, young Tumba La Casa dance party, into one fun-filled fiesta celebration.

“A lot of young people want to come to these events, but they don’t want a sit-down dinner,” explained Marta Schneider, Indian River CHS Advisory Board Chair and a passionate, moving force behind the organization.  

Close to 350 guests attended the Latin-themed event, co-chaired by Melissa Shine and Abby Wright, with 250 opting for the five-course, tropical gourmet dinner, while others socialized over drinks and hors d’oeuvres.

Later in the evening, both groups came together for the live auction and some energetic dancing to Guatemala’s number one rock band, El Tambor de la Tribu.  The talented group attracted people onto the dance floor with a spicy selection of Latin music merged with a dynamic mix of rock, reggae and soul.

It’s hard to imagine a more spectacular outdoor venue for a party than the lush grounds of Rock City Gardens, with its trellis lined pathways oozing with fragrant jasmine, verdant tropical greenery and splashes of color from flowering plants.  Organizers had decorated throughout the gardens with bright fiesta tones to compliment Mother Nature’s own.

The warm evening saw guests, festively garbed in tropical resort wear, meandering through the lush environs into several different party areas.   A large open-air VIP dinner tent, with exquisitely adorned tables that radiated with an iridescent orange and gold table décor, was clear at the top and illuminated with hundreds of twinkling lights.  As the pink-hued Florida sunset faded from view, it was replaced with a dazzling full moon shining down on the revelers.

Brightly colored tablecloths also decorated the outdoor cocktail areas, and the greenhouses, transformed into the Tumba Time dance spot, were festooned  with large, white Japanese lanterns filled with multi-colored light bulbs.

“This is my third time on the Tumba committee,” said Amanda Robinson of Squared Studios Design.  “I got involved through Marta.  She lives and breathes the organization; helping the CHS achieve its mission and goals.  Tumba started out as a vehicle to garner the next generation of support and volunteerism for CHS.  It’s blossomed into this great event.”

Proceeds from the evening will help fund the various Children’s Home Society programs, working to break the cycle of child abuse  and to improve the lives of children and families  through adoption, education, transitional living, advocacy, case management and housing.

One of many CHS success stories, Chastity Dennis, a tall, poised young woman with strikingly beautiful eyes, was assisting at the event.   Dennis aged out of the foster care system when she turned 18-years-old in December, and one month ago made her way to the CHS Youth Transition Center (YTC).

Currently enrolled in early childhood development courses, Dennis hopes ultimately to open a daycare center.  In the meantime, this resourceful teen is taking advantage of a Workforce Development grant to begin her own cleaning business, and will soon take over the YTC cleaning contract.

“Chastity is one of my favorite people in the whole world,” said Jan Huffert, CHS Executive Director, enthusiastically talking about their hopes to market Dennis’ business to others.

“The best part about YTC is not being judged,” said Dennis.  “I didn’t know the things I was capable of doing.  Now, they’ve opened my eyes.” {igallery 376}

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