Youth Opportunities’ major fundraiser ‘Stars in the Garden’ was hosted by Melanie and Robert Champion de Crespigny in their gorgeous gardens on Saturday, 16 November.
Melanie and Robert are long-term passionate supporters of Youth Opportunities, once again opening up their residence to 340 generous guests. The weather was kind, if a little breezy, and the Champion de Crespigny’s gardens were in peak Spring form, with the luncheon held in the BankSA marquee, against a gorgeous backdrop of geraniums. The highlights of the day were many – with spectacular food and wine provided by Hand Made Catering and Fox Creek Wines; a lively auction hosted by auctioneer Bernard Booth kept perfectly to schedule, and with the help by the ever professional and engaging Jane Doyle. There was a humble and humorous Q&A with Australian of the Year Dr Richard Harris OAM, who held the audience captive for close to an hour with stories of his childhood and, of course, recounting his involvement in the Thailand Cave Rescue of 2018.
With a target to raise half a million dollars, after last year’s record-breaking $472,000, we were left nothing short of speechless by the generosity received. The goal was absolutely blown out of the water, with an incredible $592,000 raised – more than any other event or activity in Youth Opportunities’ fundraising history. This means that over $2.1 million has been raised since Stars in the Garden commenced in 2014.
This fundraising will be directed back into Youth Opportunities services, giving even more young people in need the opportunity to acquire the key skills, tools and habits to overcome adversity, build resilience and lead their best lives – young people like our student speaker on the day, Rusty. Rusty’s speech outlining a life of great loss and hardship left few people dry-eyed, but ended with great hope and inspiration. Rusty shared how YO provided him with the ability to deal with some of the most difficult challenges one could imagine, and to grasp the opportunities available to him. As he told us: “With this huge change within my life I have gained the skill of self-motivation. Not only do I have the confidence to stand here today in front of you, I have also challenged myself to apply for school prefect, which I have since found out I was successful in achieving, along with house captain. This means I can use the knowledge and skills I learnt through Youth Opportunities to grow into a great leader and help others believe that they can too.”