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Silent Auction marks a "new decade of friendship and service in Mali"
December 11, 2014
by Janice Levi

On October 17, 2014, African Sky held its 8th Annual Silent Auction Benefit where over $10,000 was raised to support African Sky in its second decade of service. The event was held at the St George Fellowship Centre in Fairlawn, Ohio and was attended by both long-time supporters and newcomers, many of who donned Malian clothing and fashions. The festive evening provided dynamic entertainment including the music of Olu Manns, West African Drums who mesmerized the audience with a phenomenal cultural performance that later turned into a participatory event as he invited guests to drum with him, while others opted to clap in rhythm of the beats from their seats. Games and auction tables were a buzz with attendees excited to partake in the festivities. By the end of the night, the diverse crowd was on their feet, dancing to the jovial sounds of West African music while enjoying a piece of Mali in America's Midwest.

Executive Director of African Sky, Scott M. Lacy gave an enthusiastic presentation, which highlighted African Sky's success and its vision for its second decade of service.Lacy provided substantial updates including the completion of the Dissan Middle School, and the successful distribution of 2,500 pairs of shoes to nearly half a dozen Malian communities. To lead the organization in the next ten years, a core of volunteers have dedicated their time, energy, and passion to African Sky. A new crop of volunteers who are joining the African Sky team in order to meet the exponential growth of the organization accompany an exceptional group of veteran volunteers who have been with African Sky since its beginning years and have loyally continued with the organization, tethered to its cause and committed to its mission. With the long-standing supporters of African Sky, new volunteers, and invaluable support of the community, Lacy stated, "Together, we've built something that is poised for a new decade of friendship and service in Mali. We've never been stronger, and we've never been having so much fun."

The auction attracted a multi-generational crowd from all over the US along with many Ohio natives. James Allen, a newly appointed African Sky member, drove from his home in Kentucky with his wife to attend the event. Allen, who served as a Peace Corps Volunteer to Mali in 2010-2012, was impressed to find a vibrant community in Ohio who shared his affinity and desire to maintain a connection to Mali. Allen, who joined African Sky this year, explained that he did so due to the overall message of African Sky. Allen explains his decision for joining African Sky by stating, "after hearing about African Sky's work, I wanted to get involved so that I could continue serving the people of Mali, who are some of the most hospitable and kind people in the world. I appreciate African Sky's focus on building cross-cultural relationships, an approach that is sadly absent in many other non-profits."

The initial euphoria of the event, upon entering the doors of the St. George Fellowship Centre only increased as the night continued. The auction room was filled with warmth, fun, and a shared passion for cross-cultural advocacy and assistance. The spirit of Ubuntu, an adopted pan-African philosophy of the collective human experience to help one another, is the invisible fuel that energizes African Sky, its volunteers and its supporters. For Allen, this underlying philosophy contributed to his involvement. This sentiment also seemingly defines the invaluable role of the community who has for ten years supported the work of African Sky. This philosophy paired with the energy of the African Sky family continues to drive African Sky into another ten years of service and commitment to support and learn from our Malian counterparts.

For more pictures from this event, please visit our Facebook page.

Video provided by Wing It Photo.