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Young professionals ‘give opportunities’ to a younger generation through GOTO

Posted by Alex Pearlman  May 6, 2012 09:22 AM

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goto boston spring gala.JPGBy Kaily Nash

When you sit down with down with Meaghan Louise, Lindsay Ting, and Sarah Williams, you immediately feel at ease. Each young woman has a very different personality, yet when they get together at the same table, everything just seems to mesh together perfectly.

You could say the same thing about GOTO (Giving Opportunities To Others), the volunteer organization that the trio spends a significant amount of time promoting. Although the organization is made up of five different committees -- scholarship, event, marketing, membership, and development -- and has over 20 volunteers, all of those involved continually come together to achieve their ultimate goal: enriching the lives of a younger generation.

To that end, GOTO Boston is hosting their “Guys in Ties & Girls in Pearls” spring gala on Saturday, May 19, at Space with a Soul. If you’re over the legal drinking age, get out your Nantucket Reds and best polo for a night full of preppy fun (and an open bar).

Established in New York City in 2001, GOTO “is a community of young professionals volunteering to enrich the lives of underprivileged middle school students by funding transformational summer camp experiences in the arts and acting as supportive role models,” according to its website. The organization expanded to Boston in 2005.

“The arts are an extremely important part of who I am,” said Williams, GOTO’s events chair. “I was fortunate enough to have access to an amazing arts program growing up, which really shaped me into the person I am now, so working with GOTO is my way of making sure other kids have the same chance to connect with the arts and help shape them into creative and well-rounded people.”

As with any type of scholarship organization, prospective GOTO students go through a process to be accepted into the program. Local sixth grade teachers provide nominations, and each student must fill out an extensive application, but GOTO’s scholarship committee has the final say.

Accepted GOTO students spend three consecutive summers at a four-week arts camp at Camp Med-O-Lark in Washington, Maine. During each camp session, the students define and improve their artistic skills, which could mean anything from the performing arts and fine art to the culinary arts and circus arts. Campers can also participate in sports and evening activities that help them bond with other campers.

“Seeing [the students] transition into camp and watching them grow year after year from the opportunity that they were given” is the most rewarding part of volunteering with GOTO, said Ting, a member of GOTO’s marketing committee. “[Seeing] the kids on their first day, it made me want to go back to summer camp!”

Based on the program’s proven results, GOTO’s Boston president, Greg Schultz, has high hopes for the organization.

“I would like to see the organization continue to grow in Boston and NYC, as well as expand to one or two other cities,” he said. “Over time, we will be able to spend more time cultivating larger corporate donors or sponsors that will significantly impact our fundraising ability and, consequently, our ability to provide more scholarships, which is our bottom line.”

Tickets for GOTO Boston's "Guys in Ties & Girls in Pearls" spring gala are $75 per ticket individually or $65 per ticket if you buy four at a time. In addition to the open bar, admission includes dancing, music, and raffles.

About Kaily -- Kaily is president of K Group, a Boston-based event branding company. You can reach her at kaily.nash@gmail.com.

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