Annual party raises funds for Youth Guidance


Photo courtesy of Kerry Firth | Pictured: Hiti Mahana Polynesia & Guests


Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy held it’s 45th Annual Tropical Night Luau on Friday, Oct. 7th at the Boulevard Village and Tennis Club. More than 150 guests gathered to learn about the organization and the programs offered to families of Indian River County.  

Children enrolled in Youth Guidance greeted guests with a warm welcome and adorned them with tropical Hawaiian leis upon arrival. Guests visited program tables where the children demonstrated the different activities they participate in while at Youth Guidance, including sewing, bicycle repair, leadership, and a pre-apprenticeship (HVAC, welding, plumbing, carpentry, and electric).  

The evening featured an exciting performance featuring a Siva Afi fire knife spinning finale by Hiti Mahana Polynesia followed by a thrilling live auction where lucky bidders won prizes ranging from a catered dinner for ten at one’s residence to a vacation at luxury resorts throughout Mexico. Dinner included an exquisite tropical buffet with popular Hawaiian dishes while guests enjoyed the remainder of the evening dancing with friends, old and new. 

The purpose of the event was to raise funds for life-changing mentoring programs while sharing the impact of Youth Guidance on the lives of local children and families. Speakers included Dhalani, age 7, and her mother Darmeshia Brunson who spoke about their experience. 

“If it hadn’t been for Youth Guidance, I can tell you that a lot of the things my daughter has been able to participate in, she may have never been able to do so. I’m so proud of the different programs she can be a part of at the center, from homework help and tutoring to the many other programs they offer. I cannot say all that Youth Guidance has done for me and my family.” said Darmeshia

This year’s Tropical Night Luau sponsors included: Aloha Sponsor ($10,000): Trudie Rainone; Pineapple Sponsors ($5,000): George & Elke Fetterolf, Exchange Club of Sebastian; Mai Tai Sponsors ($2,500): Mrs. Herman F. Becker, Dyer Chevrolet, PNC Bank, Perfect Stix LLC, Exchange Club of the Treasure Coast, Exchange Club of Vero Beach; Tiki Torch Sponsors ($1,500): The Rosato Plastic Surgery Center, F.V.Casano Electrical Contractor, The Hope Lives Foundation; Coconut Sponsors ($1,000): Alex MacWilliam Real Estate, Bill & Kate Antle, Archie S. Wingfield, Jr. Charitable Trust, Cypress Bank & Trust, Carolyn Butler Norton, Esq., Dental Partners of Vero Beach, George E. Warren LLC, Mary Lewisy, Minuteman Press, David & Christine Smith, Bill & Gildamar Tait, Charlie & Lynne Whipple; Hawaiian Hog Sponsor ($800): CBH Advisory Group; Hula Dance Sponsors ($500): Dede Ashby, Mark & Patricia Ashdown, Richard & Barbara Baker, Jack & Mary Berrigan, Paul Genke & Lila Blakeslee, Tom & Pam Butz, John & Tracy Carroll, Jim & Laurie Carney, Vance Houdyshell, The Hill Group, The Law Office of Brian J. Connelly PLLC, Linus Cadillac Buick GMC, Robin Lloyd & Associates P.A., R.J. MacMillan, Richard Schlitt, Evrard Spencer, Moree Principal Investment Services, Michael & Kathie Pierce, Bob & Carmen Stork, Toyota of Vero Beach, The Center for Advanced Eye Care, Vero Marine Center, and White Orchid Spa.

Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy is dedicated to enriching the lives of Indian River County youth through mentoring relationships that inspire trust, self-esteem, and positive futures. Founded in 1973, Youth Guidance provides daily meals as well as one-on-one and group mentoring programs to children and young adults ages 5-24 with limited resources.

After school, students complete their homework under the supervision of trained Youth Guidance staff. Then they participate in group mentoring programs that include vocational training, life skills, and STEAM (Science, technology, engineering, arts, and math). All programs and meals are provided free of charge thanks to the generosity of the local community.

If you are interested in learning more about Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy or making a donation, please call 772.492.3933, or visit our website at


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