A group of five seniors, with special interests in the performing arts, journalism or outreach work, recently joined more than 1,000 attendees at the YWCA of Silicon Valley’s annual fall fundraiser.
This year marked the 25th anniversary of the popular event, called the Inspire Luncheon, which featured two keynote speakers: World YWCA General Secretary Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda and Oscar-winning actress and filmmaker Helen Hunt. Both spoke to the theme of empowering women and eliminating racism, key tenets of the YWCA’s mission.
Gumbonzvanda joined the World YWCA in 2007 after a decade working with the United Nations in Africa. At the end of her speech, she received the organization’s inaugural Empowerment Award. Hunt, meanwhile, is best known for her roles in movies, such as “As Good As It Gets,” and the TV show “Mad About You.” These days she is also heavily involved in youth and environmental causes.
Harker regularly hosts a table for upper school students with a special passion for the year’s topic. Attending this year’s event were seniors Melina Nakos, Naomi Molin, Helen Woodruff, Adele Li, and Ashi Gautam. Joining them were Emma Hawley ’04 and Aisha Khan ’03. Before the luncheon, the Harker contingent had the opportunity to meet with the event’s speakers.
The annual luncheon features guest speakers who serve as role models for women and girls. Held every October at the Santa Clara Convention Center, event proceeds help support the group’s much-lauded services.
Each year, more than 40 companies and hundreds of individuals sponsor the YWCA’s luncheon. The mission of the YWCA is to empower women, children and families, and to eliminate racism, hatred and prejudice. The organization provides programs in the areas of sexual assault intervention and prevention, counseling services, domestic violence, child care, youth programs, family services, and social and racial justice.
The YWCA of Silicon Valley serves nearly 18,000 Santa Clara County residents each year, and has provided countywide services for more than 100 years. More information can be found at www.ywca-sv.org.