Earlier this week, NY Social Status was honored to be present for The Fortune Society’s annual fall benefit and presentation of The David Rothenberg Achievement Award to New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
Surrounded by well-dressed New Yorkers with glasses of wine and fistfuls of cheese, The Fortune Society presented a shining example of what their foundation can do for youth in our city, awarded our mayor with their highest honor and provided entertainment for the entire crowd.
Eager to share his story and The Fortune Society’s place in it, Haitian-Brooklynite, Roodbenson Pascal took the stage to reinforce the need for organizations like The Fortune Society in New York City. As a recipient of The Fortune Society services and now successfully reformed member of upper management, Pascal is a perfect example of what can be accomplished when we are willing to dedicate time and effort to individuals struggling through our prison system.
As such, it was appropriate that he be the one to present Mayor Bloomberg with The David Rothenberg Achievement Award for his support of The Fortune Society’s goal to provide assistance with re-entry to individuals returning to society from jail or prison. Bloomberg was present to accept the award and more than willing to speak about his efforts and intentions to further help these members of society. In addition to his work with the Young Men’s Initiative (YMI), Bloomberg expressed the need to focus on incarceration prevention as well as ensuring that those who are in jail are kept in close proximity to their families and support systems.
Indisputably, the highlight of the night was actor, Charles Dutton, and the riveting story of his journey from jail to the prestigious Yale University. Arrested and imprisoned in his early years following a fatal fight, Dutton recalled his experience in jail, including his time in “the hole,” where he “accidentally” discovered a passion for plays and acting. As my guest noted, Dutton was quite obviously “made to be an actor.” Any struggle to quiet the crowd experienced earlier in the evening was a thing of the past with Dutton on stage. Aside from his voice, the only sounds in the room were laughter and other responses from audience members in relation to his tale.
If The Fortune Society can help bring talent like this to light despite the odds that many of our youth face, there is absolutely no reason not to support the organization. Plus they provided yummy hors d’oeuvres, a photo booth and an interesting, worthwhile way to spend a Wednesday night. Everyone give them money right now.