To raise money for at-risk youth living in the Harlem Heights neighborhood in Fort Myers, The Heights Foundation has joined forces with local restaurants to host its third annual "Blues by the Bay" which takes place April 3 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Blue Coyote Supper Club at 1100 Par View Drive on Sanibel.
The event will feature food samplings from Blue Coyote Supper Club, Sweet Melissa's Cafe, Bleu Rendezvous French Bistro, Summerlin Jake's, Pinocchio's Original Italian Ice Cream and Timbers Restaurant.
"We have a great partnership with a lot of local restaurants who are just so generous to us," Kathryn Kelly, president and CEO of The Heights Foundation.
Jan-Erik Hustrulid, Gretchen and Mark Banks and Kathryn Kelly.
Fine wines, champagne and Blue Bay martinis will be on tap as well. Live music will be provided by The Juice, a blues band.
"We're looking forward to it. It's a great venue," Kelly said. "The drinks will be fabulous, the food will be fabulous and the music will be fabulous."
In addition to food samplings and drinks, The Heights Foundation will have a live auction. Some of those items include jewelry by Chico's, family fun packages at Fort Myers Beach, original artwork by local Sanibel artist Jolie Black, golf packages, Fort Myers Miracle tickets, culinary packages from Williams-Sonoma, World Market and Stonewall Kitchen, adventure packages with stays on Sanibel and Captiva, a private boat tour of the local islands by Sanibel Sea School's Bruce Neill, a multi-course wine dinner courtesy of Il Cielo and a five night trip to Havana, Cuba for eight people. The package includes airfare, accommodations, some meals and entertainment. The trip will be led by Gloria Cabral-Jordan.
All funds from the event will go towards The Heights Foundation's School Success program which provides Harlem Heights youth with academic tutoring, after school and summer camp programs, scholarships, tuition support, school supplies and college access assistance.
"After school, we have about 100 kids who are here for about three hours, they get help with homework and tutoring. We also have a lot of enrichment they get to do including a partnership with the Southwest Florida Symphony where they're learning to play string instruments which is really fun," Kelly said.
Kelly said that $60,000 was raised during the event last year and that the School Success program is indispensable to the kids.
"Anything that's different from what they get to do normally, they totally respond. We've had very good engagement from them and a lot of enthusiasm. I love when we're helping with homework during the after school program and you see that lightbulb go on because they've figured out a math problem or they're comfortable reading out loud when a maybe a couple months ago they weren't. That's what I like to see, it's really wonderful," Kelly said.
Tickets are $125 per person. VIP tickets are $1,000 for two people which gives individuals access to a special pre-party and exclusive benefits like access to a raw bar provided by Timbers Restaurant. To purchase tickets, go to heightsfoundation.org/blues.