Champions of Transformation

Last Thursday, we hosted our annual Champions of Transformation event, where we celebrated the members of our Transformations Society and our mentors, donors and supporters for being Champions of Transformation for Phoenix youth and beyond. The night was filled with laughs, cries, and delicious food and drinks.

To start the night, we hosted a raffle with prizes ranging from Stevie Nicks and Billy Joel tickets to a personalized tour at the NPFY homebase. Of course, everyone was lined up to submit their raffle tickets to see Stevie Nicks front row.

We also presented our very first Merch Pop Up shop featuring all of our new Level Up t-shirts, notebooks, and tumblers. Some of our mentors also repped their Level Up merch, which inspired some to donate and Level Up their wardrobe.

Once everyone had some charcuterie, a pulled pork slider, and a Karen (the signature cocktail, named after our very own CEO), we jumped into the program. President and CEO, Dr. Karen Johnson began by presenting our latest project: the Level Up youth enrollment video. This video aims to recruit more youth to Level Up, so we can provide them with the support, stability and skills they need to flourish. Watch below!

After premiering our youth enrollment video, Karen announced that US Bank won the Corporate Champion of Transformation Award. After years of endless and unmatched support, we wanted to recognize the tremendous impact US Bank has on our organization and mission. Representatives from US Bank accepted the award and shared some inspiring words.

Karen went on to announce that longtime mentor and supporter, Wendell Cook, won the Individual Champion of Transformation Award. Cook is the mentor for two young men, and assisted our organization in moving into our current facility and homebase. Without Wendell, our mission wouldn’t be possible. That’s why we renamed the award to the Wendell Cook Award, so he would always be remembered as the ultimate Champion of Transformation.

We surprised Wendell by bringing his two mentee’s on stage, where they shared the tremendous impact Wendell’s had on their lives. Tears were shed throughout the crowd listening to these heartwarming and inspiring stories.

Board Chair Allen Plunkett followed the awards ceremony by sharing his story as a mentor and the impact it can have on youth. He asked the crowd, “would you rather lose all of the money you earned in the last month, or all the memories you made in the last month?” This is the question he asked his mentee, to which he responded the ladder. The crowd became emotional as Plunkett shared the impact that becoming a mentor has had on his life. Mentorship is a two way street, and often times mentors gain so much more from the experience than they expect.

Our Vice President of Philanthropy and Strategy, John Patris-Browne, closed the program by thanking all of our supporters, donors and mentors for their continued support in our mission. After much anticipation, he announced the raffle winners and we handed out their prizes.

After the emotion filled program, the evening resumed with music, food and drinks. Laughter filled the room as everyone mingled and connected over our shared mission and community. Everyone left with a floral centerpiece, a Level Up themed cookie and memories to last a lifetime.

In case you missed it, below are some of the best moments we caught on camera. Keep an eye out for our next event, and thank you for your support!

View the full album here.