[gtx_gallery]

On April 28, Kingsley House held its first “Friendraising” Luncheon themed, “Celebrate our Past, Invest in our Future,” to show the legacy of Kingsley House through testimonials and images.

Founded in 1896 as a Settlement House for immigrants, Kingsley House has transformed itself into a social service agency that serves more than 7,000 people annually through a wide variety of nationally accredited and state certified programs such as Head Start Preschool, after school youth creative art programs, family counseling and therapists and a Health Care For All program.

WDSU’s Keli Fulton emceed the event and spoke of the house’s history and impact. Head Start preschoolers sang a song to the guests and guided them on a brief tour of the school.

Guests received a 15 percent discount coupon courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue and two door prizes, complete with a Saks gift basket filled with perfumes and cosmetics and a gift certificate for a makeup party at Saks.

The happy evening soon took a serious tone when alumni spoke of how Kingsley House and its programs impacted their lives. Bobby Cisco, who attended Kingsley House in the 1950s, referred to the house as a “treasure” and reminisced about his wedding day there, bringing him and the audience to tears. Another moving testimonial came from Kendrick Picot, a former Teen Program Participant who now serves as a volunteer. Picot said that three of his friends were killed during his attendance at Kingsley House, making Kingsley House the place that saved his life.

Sponsors included Entergy, Freeman Decorating Company, Kemper Construction, Kullman Firm, New Orleans Party Rental, Saks Fifth Avenue, Total Graphics and Portobello’s Catering, which served spinach salad with cranberries, sugared pecans, crumbled blue cheese with pepper jelly vinaigrette and grilled chicken pasta primavera along with assorted desserts.

All donations raised at the event will benefit Kingsley House’s Programs.