Gwaltneys leave their mark on RochesterBetter Chance
Story by Karen Rorie • Photos by Michele Jokinen • email@example.com
Supporters of Rochester Better Chance gathered March 6 for the group’s annual gala fundraiser. In addition to raising money and celebrating more than 35 years of service in the Rochester community, this year’s event honored Scott and Robin Gwaltney, who have served as resident directors at the RBC house for the last 16 years. The Gwaltneys will retire this summer.
RBC brings talented minority students from troubled communities to Rochester, where they live with the Gwaltney family and attend John Marshall High School.
Guests at the event, held at the Rochester International Event Center, included 20 program graduates who came to honor the Gwaltneys.
"To have that many of my kids in one room at the same time was awesome," said Robin.
These past scholars have gone on to graduate from college and have successful careers in teaching, engineering, architecture and many other fields. Many now have families of their own.
Steve Moa, a 2003 graduate, was one of the returning scholars. He recalls that the Gwaltneys made him feel at home when he was living at the RBC house.
"I wasn’t just a student, I was part of a family," he said.
Moa, originally from Oakland, Calif., is now a student at Brigham Young University.
Also attending was Adam Lenter, community schools program manager in the national office of A Better Chance. He said most resident directors stay in the job three to four years, so for the Gwaltneys to have served for 16 years is phenomenal.
"They have lived this organization. I can’t say enough how we appreciate them," he said.
The annual event, which included dinner and a silent auction, is the group’s primary fundraiser. Money raised goes to the house’s operating expenses, including transportation, utilities and food.
Kathy Gunderson, a family and consumer science teacher at John Marshall, attended the event because she has had some of the RBC scholars in her classes.
"They are such model students," she said.
A total of 340 people attended the event, which raised nearly $30,000.
Denise and Tom Moody, who will take over as resident directors, also attended the event.
"I wish them as much happiness and joy from the program as we have had," said Robin.
The Rochester Walmart stores sponsored the event.
Karen Rorie is a Rochester freelance writer.