Eighteen volunteer guest bartenders recently served up friends their favorite libations at the BBC Tavern & Grill to support a growing nonprofit program in Delaware – Leading Youth Through Empowerment (LYTE).
LYTE’s mission is to guide low-income middle school students into top performing Delaware high schools and then on to college, through personal mentoring, rigorous teaching and leadership skills.
LYTE was created as an after-school program in 2013 by Ankur Arya, an alumnus of Teach For America and a math teacher at Thomas Edison Charter School.
Arya himself had to overcome academic challenges in order to graduate from the elite Episcopal Academy and Haverford College, coming from an overcrowded and under-resourced middle school. As a teacher at Thomas Edison, Arya saw that many bright and capable students were not going to Delaware’s top high schools because they were not adequately prepared for admission. Since 2013, LYTE has helped students from several middle schools (“LYTE Scholars”) get admitted to and succeed at Delaware’s top performing high schools.
Guest bartenders raised approximately $7,500 in donations for LYTE scholars. “The funds raised tonight will really help bright, hardworking low-income middle school students gain access to the high-quality high school education that they deserve,” said board chair Kate Pincus.
Pincus and her team at LYTE worked hard to assemble an enthusiastic cast of guest bartenders and even harder asking the volunteers to encourage their friends to attend the event on March 1. Guest bartenders included Annie Coons, Jack Markell, Anne Connolly, Chris Lee, Stacy Gatti, Larry Drexler, Nancy Greenberg, Paul Pantano, Marisa de los Santos, Clint Walker, Bob Pasquale, Gail Stallings-Minor, Joe Westcott, Jarred Phillips, Ryan Dougherty, Cindi Viviano, LYTE Executive Director Ankur Arya and Christy Fleming.
“Thanks to our 18 dynamic, caring and very busy people who generously donated their time and money as guest bartenders and social media promoters,” said Pincus.
For those who may still wish to donate, LYTE is taking part in Gannett/USA TODAY network’s corporate social responsibility program, A Community Thrives. The fundraising initiative awards matching grants to non-profit organizations with projects focused on improving local communities through wellness, education, arts and culture.
Photo Credit: Erica Dorsett