TR Robertson — An Evening to Remember was just that for the 551 attendees at the Solutions for Change Gala recently held at the Omni La Costa Resort ballroom. The fundraiser featured the legendary sports icons Deion Sanders, Steve Largent, Clint Bruce and Juli Vee along with other presentations centering on the accomplishments of Solutions for Change and the future aspirations the organization. Along with this, those attending took part in a Silent Auction, a Live Auction and an amazing dinner, partially supplied by the Solutions for Change Farm.
Solutions for change is described as a transformational program supplying housing, life skills training, workforce development, counseling and other services for families struggling with homelessness and searching for changes in their families situation. The highly successful program includes a 1,000 day Solutions University educational program those participating in go through to make changes in their life. Founders Chris and Tammy Megison believes Solutions for Change follows the philosophy of Serve to Solve. Solutions is a community driven program based on free market based principles. Chris stated Solutions is entering a new era, the Empowerment Era, which will cover the next 8 years.
Photos by Carolyn Robertson
People from all walks of life and business backgrounds filled the lobby of the Omni ballroom beginning at 5:30 pm with a chance to wander the lobby and view the large collection of Silent Auction items on display. These items ranged from sports memorabilia, like a signed LaDainian Tomlinson football to a variety of golf adventurers to trips to Caribbean islands and much, much more. The Silent Auction ended at 6:30 sharp with bidders with the highest bids able to pick up their winning items later. As attendees took their seats inside the ballroom, dinner was served which included a salad of vegetables supplied by the Solutions Farm. A video was shown which showed various interviews with many of the success stories, young and old, from Solutions and interviews with founder, Chris Megison. As the program started. Emcee Clint Bruce thanks those in attendance and introduced the Solutions founder. Chris spoke about the successes of Solutions, from their beginning in 2008 until today and aspirations for the future. He indicated 6 new complexes have been built over the past years with several in the planning stages. An introduction of the dignitaries in attendance then lead to the introduction of Joe and Sammie Reyas, program graduates, who spoke about the importance of Solutions for Change and what the program has meant to their family.
A special presentation was made to Congressman Darrell Issa and his wife Cathy and the Issa Family Foundation as Presenting Sponsors for their support throughout the years in assisting Solutions for Change. Next on the agenda was Mike Hogan, an auctioneer who would lead the audience through an auction of some tremendous items. First, he led the group through table auctions where a single person at each table auctioned off a 2015 Vineyard “CRU” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Now that everyone was in a spending mood, the Live Auction began featuring a Cabo trip to the Welk Resort going for $2,500, a dinner for 8 at the Heron House Estate in Carlsbad hosted by the Pamplemousse Grill going for $5,000, a VIP Hamilton Experience in Chicago featuring dinner with two of the cast members going for $6,500, a 17 inch 18K white gold necklace with 133 diamonds plus golf for 2 at La Costa going for $7,500 and a beautiful photo by Aaron Chang called “Blue Crush” going for $5,100.
The featured keynote speaker for the evening was NFL Hall of Fame and World Series participant Deion Sanders. Sanders was introduced by Pastor Omar from Dallas, Texas, who runs Urban Specialists, an organization helping the homeless in the Dallas area. He has spent 15-20 years also dealing with prison gang inmates, ministering to them and assisting them in moving back into society. Sanders gave an inspiration message to those in the ballroom, pointing out that football was what he did, not who he is. He said he has always tried to assist the homeless, beginning when he was playing in Dallas. Sanders reminded the audience that “No one wakes up wanting to be homeless”. He challenged the audience to make a difference in people’s lives and told those in the room that he had a drug addict for a father and an alcoholic step-father and he has never used drugs for alcohol. As he moved from one end of the stage to the other, Sanders told everyone to have passion and purpose in their lives and to step outside of the box they lived in because everyone could be doing so much more to help those around them. He reminded the crowd that everyone is in some kind of pain and at times needs help and assistance and he believed this is the time and moment that something can be done to make a difference.
This inspirational evening led to over $2.1 million being raised to assist Solutions for Change in their Empowerment Ear drive. Other sponsors for the evening included Leaders for Change – Cameron Family, CW Driver, Watkins Manufacturing Corporation; Innovators – John Conrad, Pacific Coast Fx Realty, Pacific Premier Bank, Sudberry Properties, Kennedy Family; Graduate Table Sponsors C3 Risk & Insurance Services, Peterson & Price, Rakkuten, Aspyrian; Community Spnsors Integral Communities, Priscilla Redfearn; and 21 Table sponsors for the evening.
A proud Vista organization assisting many families in changing their lives and helping those around them. The successful fundraiser helped raise funds to continue the amazing work they do in the North County area.