Mack invited me to be a guest at the second annual RestorAction Charity Gala on Saturday. As a volunteer for the Youth Restorative Action Project (YRAP), Mack had been helping with the organization of the gala for a number of weeks, so it was nice to finally be able to see the culmination of their efforts.
The event was formal, so decked out in a suit and party dress, respectively (haha), Mack and I headed out to the Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel. While he set up the slide show he had put together, I perused some of the silent auction items up for bid in the hallway. Among the goods were an Oilers jersey that had been autographed by the entire 2007-2008 team (which ended up fetching $675), and two gold section seats to an upcoming Oilers game donated by Mayor Mandel (who was in attendance at the gala, at least initially), sweetened to include access to his exclusive parking spot.
Dressed and ready to go
Dinner was served right on time, and included two appetizers of Italian style tomato, basil and gin soup, and a salad of market field greens in a cucumber ring with balsamic vinaigrette. The soup was regrettably on the sour side, and tasted more like pasta sauce or flavoured tomato paste as opposed to soup, while the salad was all right but unremarkable. The main course, a roast supreme breast of chicken stuffed with spinach and ricotta cheese, was dry, and try as I might, my aversion to cooked spinach continues. For dessert, we were served a chocolate croissant pudding with caramel sauce. This was my first sample of a bread pudding style dessert, and though it wasn’t bad, I think I’d sooner choose a cake or tart of some kind in its place.
Market field greens in a cucumber ring
Roast supreme breast of chicken
Chocolate croissant pudding
After dinner (or to be technical, during dessert), the program began. A number of people were invited to speak about their involvement with the program, but the most memorable speech of the evening belonged to Mark Cherrington, the adult advisor to YRAP. He presented a heartfelt poem of experiences drawn from real mentors of young offenders that chronicled the cultivation of trust leading to change.
The entertainment portion of the evening consisted of a variety of dance demonstrations from the University of Alberta Dance Club instructors, spliced with comedic sets. The second comedian, Dawn Dumont, used Native stereotypes as a launching pad for her jokes (she is Cree herself), but more often than not, the audience wasn’t certain whether it was politically correct to laugh at all.
Dance demonstration (the rest of Mack’s pictures are here
Thanks for the invitation, Mack! It was fun!