The long-awaited Pasadena rain abated just in time for an evening filled with laughter, learning and storytelling during IEA’s “Imagine the Impact” fundraising event at the Brookside Golf Club. Long-time IEA supporters and advocates were joined by new faces as we welcomed friends and family to learn more about our programs and services from the experts – the children! Academy students Arden and Henry were on hand to discuss their favorite Academy classes and showcase their passion for astronomy, film and other myriad topics. Joining them were CDB Scholars Kaitlin, with a curated collection of original artwork, and Aeden, who demonstrated his homemade robot’s ability to shoot hoops. CDB Finalist, Academy alumnus and Yunasa camper Xander shared his passion for theatre by talking to guests about his roles in productions of Beauty and the Beast and Shrek. We even had representation from the east coast in the form of an original song, “Castaways”, written and performed via video by Yunasa camper Zoe, who lives in Philadelphia.
Also providing music throughout the evening was long-time Academy student Calvin and newly-selected CDB Scholar Sarah, who each played selections of classical repertoire while guests socialized and enjoyed wine and light fare.
The evening was emceed by CDB Parent Rick Rosner, who added humor and insight (as a gifted adult, himself) interspersed throughout testimonials given by IEA program participants, parents and alumni. Delighted chuckles followed 7-year-old Academy student Henry’s declaration, “One of my favorite things is that my Academy teachers are flexible about going off-plan…Sometimes when we go off-plan unexpected questions come up, and we don’t always know the answer. When we don’t have the answers we all have to work together to figure it out, which is fun!”
Henry’s enthusiasm was echoed by former Academy student and new CDB Scholar Ellie, who stated, “IEA inspired me to take charge of my education… I will be forever grateful to everyone at IEA who showed me that learning is joyful, who inspired me to take charge of it and who have now lit the path ahead by giving me the resources to make it happen.”
CDB Alumni Anna and Kiran also offered perspective by addressing the pressing need for support of gifted education. A recent high school graduate, Kiran is the founder of the nonprofit “Waste No Food” and flew from San Francisco to speak at our event, where he lauded IEA’s ability to encourage and inspire its students. He said, “By supporting IEA, you are supporting the growth of the next generation of thinkers, innovators and leaders. You are supporting a better tomorrow for all of us.”
Guests were able to observe this phenomenon firsthand during an exciting flashlight demonstration overseen by IEA president and co-founder, Betsy Jones, where each individual held up a light representing a percentage of the over 3 million gifted students in the United States and watched as, one by one, the lights went out due to misidentification, lack of resources, depression, and failure to engage and stimulate gifted minds. “In our attempt to raise the basic standards of our schools and leave no child behind, we have forgotten those that are beyond the basics, those that have a voracious desire to learn,” remarked Betsy. “At IEA we have seen that success springs from engaging the energy and the imagination of the mind. At IEA we have removed the ceiling and turned on the lights.”
As the house lights came back on, guests were encouraged to take what they had learned over the course of the evening out into the world and to share on behalf of the children who cannot advocate for themselves. Heartfelt thanks to the many guests who contributed to IEA’s 2015 fundraising efforts and for your continued feedback and support, which helps us continue to serve the gifted community intellectually, spiritually, physically, socially and emotionally.
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