Mayor’s annual formal event quite worthwhile

As we were preparing to go to press for this issue of Current in Westfield, the finishing touches were being applied for the annual Westfield Mayor’s Yellow-Tie Ball, which was held last Friday at The Bridgewater Club. We were proud to help sponsor it. The beneficiary of ticket fees and silent auction earnings again was the Westfield Youth Assistance Program. The event is a significant fundraiser for the program, which brilliantly was developed in 2009 by Westfield Mayor Andy Cook (he of the yellow tie) and Hamilton Superior Judge Steve Nation. Their idea, plain and simple, was to find a way to keep youth out of the juvenile court system. The idea is to prevent at-risk kids from even remotely approaching the cusp of entering that system. Well, more than 300 children, as a result of the program, have Cook and Nation to thank, to speak nothing of the selfless donors that help to keep the program funded. These events are equal parts nights of celebration of the program’s success, an opportunity to provide awareness and social. It all goes to support a system that reorients kids, ages 3 through 17 years, to the meaningful path to adulthood. Opportunities for the youth include mentoring, community volunteering involvement and family education, among others. It’s all very upbeat and positive – but not without hard work and dedication from the youth and those who work with them – as opposed to what could await them in a courtroom and beyond. And so we salute not only Cook and Nation, but also the legions of supporters who have joined the party through the years. Keep it going! For more information, you can call the city at 804-3000.