HALO art auction meets goal before event even begins

Ken Barnes/News Tribune photo: 
The ringman alerts the auctioneer to a bid Saturday night, March 9, 2024, at the Capital Bluffs Event Center in Jefferson City during the HALO Art Auction.
Ken Barnes/News Tribune photo: The ringman alerts the auctioneer to a bid Saturday night, March 9, 2024, at the Capital Bluffs Event Center in Jefferson City during the HALO Art Auction.


Hundreds gathered Saturday evening at the Capital Bluffs Event Center for the Helping Art Liberate Orphans (HALO) art auction.

The funds raised, at least $100,000, will go toward benefiting youths experiencing homelessness in Jefferson City. HALO founder Rebecca Welsh said her organization raised $100,000 raised before the event even began Saturday.

"There's so many kids who are at risk in our community and who really need support," Welsh said.

Kayla Keller, director of HALO Jefferson City, said the funds from the event will go toward several local HALO programs, including a transitional living program for girls ages 16-20 and a tutoring program for boys in high school.

"The Jefferson City funds stay in Jefferson City," Keller said.

The auction's attendees, dressed in their best cocktail attire, perused items supplied by local artists during the silent auction before convening on the first floor for the live auction.

Items for the 16th annual event included a painting of the Capitol building on the Fourth of July by former mayor Carrie Tergin, a guitar signed by Taylor Swift and Kansas City chiefs merchandise, one item being a framed photo signed by Patrick Mahomes that had a starting price of $300.

Sponsors included Solid Rock Church, Amigoni Urban Winery in Kansas City and Verslues Construction.

This year's theme was "defying the odds," which was exemplified in a short video about a HALO success story, a young girl named Caylin. In the video, Caylin talked about her days as a struggling teenager.

"I was drinking a lot of alcohol and got sent to jail at 13, 14. I found out I was pregnant, like, a month before my court date and it was hard to find a place for me," Caylin said.

Soon after, she found HALO and was able to turn her life around in order to support herself and her daughter.

"Once you're in HALO, you become family. And even when you leave HALO, you're still family," Caylin said.

Christina Cummins, HALO's operations coordinator, stood near the back of the center with a basket of small plastic bags, each filled with enough supplies for a friendship bracelet. Anyone can request a starter kit through HaloWorldwide.org/club-HALO and send bracelets to the HALO Jefferson City organization.

"When HALO kids come to our home for the first time, they get a nice reminder that someone's in their corner," Cummins said.

Cummins said this activity helps promote community and empowers younger generations to help their peers.

"We have projects that are relatable and easy to do, so it's not a daunting task ... it's accessible. We feel we can empower kids and teens, we don't turn anyone away," Cummins said.

One example of youths looking out for their peers in Jefferson City is the high school Z-Club, a group for young women and men that promotes empowering women through service and advocacy. The club is open for students at high schools across Jefferson City and meets once a month in the Hy-Vee community room.

Ramona Huckstep, Z-Club's advisor, said she's proud of the students who are heavily involved in Z-Club, which has helped to make bracelets and cook meals for HALO.

"It's important they learn about their community, they learn about giving back, they learn about things that can go right and things that can go wrong," Huckstep said. "Some people need help, some people their age. Not everything is as easy for everybody, and I think getting to see that encourages them to give back starting now."

Huckstep said the club does something to be of service at least once a month.

Emily Rodriguez, a senior at Helias Catholic High School, is the Z-Club president. She said it's been eye-opening to learn more about philanthropy organizations and to meet people so involved in service, such as those working at HALO.

"I've met so many people here tonight that are really passionate about HALO ... we're really committed to service and so are they. Everyone here knows the importance of empowering young people and having role models," Rodriguez said.

  photo  Ken Barnes/News Tribune photo: HALO founder and CEO Rebecca Welsh welcomes the crowd to the HALO Art Auction held Saturday night, March 9, 2024, at the Capital Bluffs Event Center in Jefferson City.
 
 
  photo  Ken Barnes/News Tribune photo: The ringlady helps work the bidders Saturday night, March 9, 2024, during the HALO Art Auction at the Capital Bluffs Event Center in Jefferson City.
 
 
  photo  Ken Barnes/News Tribune photo: An attendant displays a piece of art for sale Saturday night, March 9, 2024, during the HALO Art Auction at the Capital Bluffs Event Center in Jefferson City.
 
 


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