Inspiring Minds has cocktail party fund-raiser to continue enrichment programs

Party-goers raise glasses, money for Inspiring Minds

By Bruce Walton


Simon Arias, who grew up in the city and now is board president of the Inspiring Minds chapter of Youngstown, said the organization is a godsend for the city and himself.

“It’s not what I’ve been able to do for inspiring minds, it’s what Inspiring Minds has done for me,” he said.

Arias welcomed the dozens of supporters from Cleveland, Pittsburgh and the Youngstown area who attended the Inspiring Minds of Youngstown cocktail party fundraiser Thursday night. The party was held in the DeBartolo Stadium Club at Youngstown State University with a 50/50 raffle contest, a silent auction and a merchandise table.

Lindsay Benton, executive director of the Inspiring Minds chapter, said the group chose a fundraiser in the winter instead of the spring, when it usually has a fundraising gala, a black-tie affair. Benton said Inspiring Minds hopes to raise at least $50,000, which will go back into the enrichment programming the organization provides.

“Kids are expensive not only to have, but to enrich their lives is also expensive. So that’s why we have to have fundraisers,” Benton said.

Since 2006, more than 2,000 students have participated in the after-school and summer enrichment programs. The exposure and opportunities offered through education, college and career readiness, health and wellness and personal development are life-changing, according to the Inspiring Minds website.

Inspiring Minds helps students improve their grades, take their first steps on a college campus, learn to cook, increase their self-confidence and many other goals - all teaching them to be productive members of society.

Slightly little more than a year old, the Youngstown chapter formed to have a more direct influence on the youth of Youngstown. Arias said a lot of times he is a coach and a player for Inspiring Minds, following the goals of Inspiring Minds founder Deryck Toles for the original Warren chapter and what Toles has built for the organization in Youngstown.

“Its good to have a team,” he said. “It’s good to pass the ball and not always have to be the point guard or the quarterback.”

At the end of the night, guests also were invited to come to V2 Wine Bar & Trattoria downtown, where the owner pledged to donate 15 percent of what is raised at the cocktail party.

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