Thursday night, April 28th, 2011 was one of the most touching nights of my life. Dozens of my friends, family and friends of friends who support my volunteer adventure gathered at Sushi on a Roll in San Diego for my silent auction fundraiser – Sushi, Spirits and Serving Others. I was initially nervous about the event – What did I forget to do? What if no one shows up? What if people don’t bid on the auction items? But thanks to my amazing friends – and especially Nylie Afuyog, Sandra Torres and Jeff Roberto – the event exceeded my expectations. We made more than $2,000 that night – thanks to all the donors and guests!
It almost felt like I was on the show, This is Your Life. I got to see so many different people I met since I moved to San Diego in 2005 – coworkers from Channel 4, some of the most inspirational and giving people I’ve interviewed in my career, board members from the Asian American Journalists Association, friends I met through various charity events, my cousins and even friends I met in the Bay Area! And, of course, I was so grateful my family drove down from Ventura County to support me and to meet all my friends.
During my speech, I almost lost it. That was the first moment I got to take a look around the room at everyone’s faces and realize how many people believe in me and my vision to build bridges across cultures through volunteering. My voice quivered, but I was able to hold back the tears, so people didn’t have to see or hear me slobber all over the mic. Many people came up to me afterwards to tell me how inspired they feel and what a great thing I’m doing, but the truth is – I’m inspired by them, too, and motivated by everyone’s encouragement. I really hope everyone there and those of you who read this blog feel inspired to give to others, too – whether it’s through volunteer trips or in your own way. Not only do we get to touch the lives of people we serve, but also the lives of our own friends and families through our actions and compassion.
A HUGE THANK YOU TO JEFF ROBERTO OF SUSHI ON A ROLL for sharing his time, talents and space for the event, as well as silent auction and raffle items.
Many thanks to those who donated to the silent auction:
- Dr. Trevor Irish, Monte Vista Optometry in Turlock
- Dr. Smit Patel, East County Family Optometry
- Dr. Irene Gendelman Patel, Santee Family Optometry
- Sam Zien (a.k.a. Sam the Cooking Guy)
- Nylie Afuyog, Nylie Designs
- Terry Matsuoka, Musician, Artist and Photographer
- Cox Communications
- Roi Ewell, SeaWorld
- Lori Watkins, Artist
- Darlynne Reyes, Where You Want To Be Tours
- Harki Parekh, Sofia Hotel
- Seema Sueko, Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company