Suzanne Fromkin, Special to The Desert Sun
Published 12:57 a.m. PT April 30, 2021
Since creative opportunities during the pandemic have been limited for Coachella Valley students, Tools For Tomorrow’s (TFT) after-school Zoom classes integrating drama, music, creative writing and visual arts have been especially vital in supporting social and emotional learning among elementary school students. In its 21st year, TFT’s free hands-on program continues to develop new passions, confidence and resilience for children of all backgrounds.
The organization hopes to raise $170,000 to support its arts literacy program for the 2021-2022 school year at its “Keep Their Dreams Alive Event” virtual gala and auction on Tuesday, May 11. The virtual gala is made possible by event sponsor, The Auen Foundation.
Event co-producer C.J. Westrick-Bomar reported that Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss will make a special appearance at the virtual gala. Open Call winner Kaitlyn Farley will sing an original song, “Keep Their Dreams Alive,” composed by TFT board member and CVRep board President Joe Giarrusso. Additional musical entertainment will be provided by local students Abigail Carter, Ciera Carr, Bennett Creighton and Carson Tanner.
“I remember being a Tools For Tomorrow student over 10 years ago,” Carter said, “and it’s crazy to see the way the arts have influenced my life. I remember making the papier-mache dolls, talking about abstract art and being so excited to go to the program after school.”
The gala entertainment will also include excerpts from a play, “Careful What You Wish For,” written and performed by TFT’s Theatre Troupe.
The live and silent auction will feature exciting prizes, ranging from vacation stays at the Marquis Los Cabos Resort, Coronado’s El Cordova Hotel and Tahoe Ridge Resort to golf foursomes at exclusive courses like Bighorn. Gourmet auction items include a cocktail party for 20 at Karen and Tony Barone’s home-studio, a Boisset Collection wine-tasting, a gourmet dinner with premium wine for six served by TFT board members at Judy Mathes’ home and gift certificates for Eight4Nine Restaurant, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, Il Corso, June Hill’s Table, La Spiga Ristorante Italiano, Lavender Bistro, Le Paon Restaurant, Ristorante Mamma Gina, Trattoria Mezzomondo, Mitch’s on El Paseo Prime Seafood, The Nest, Si Bon, Tommy Bahama and Wally’s Desert Turtle.
Participants can also win box seats to the 2022 BNP Paribas Open, an evening of musical entertainment by “The Voice” contestant Barry Minniefield, CV Repertory Theatre subscriptions, an art tour of Jean Carrus’ home, a Rancho Relaxo shopping experience and a private tour of The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens.
Surprise that special someone with an El Paseo Jewelers’ gift certificate or sheet music autographed by Grammy Award-winning composer Billy Steinberg. Auction prizes also include a portrait of you or your pet by TFT founder Rachel Druten, landscape design by Tim Turner, floor pillows from Modern Hacienda and staycations at Idyllwild’s Silver Pines Lodge, Palm Springs’ Kimpton Rowan Hotel and The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage.
To become a Tools For Tomorrow sponsor, to bid on the silent auction online through May 11 or to attend the virtual gala “Keep Their Dreams Alive” on May 11 at 7 p.m. (pre-show 6:30 p.m.), register for complimentary admission at toolsfortomorrow.org. For more information, call (760) 601-3954.
Retired from the fashion industry, Suzanne Fromkin serves on the Tools for Tomorrow Board and is publicity chair for the Artists Council. She is an avid art and theater lover.
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