LEAP PHOTOS BY MELANIE EVE BAROCAS-MAYER
Imagine combining fascinating conversation with a special guest, a delicious banquet of food, stimulating dinner guests and a worthy cause, all in one evening. Mark your calendar for the 22nd Annual LEAP Year Event being held on Thursday, February 23. The night begins with a cocktail reception and six book signings by a half dozen guests of honor from 5 to 7 p.m. at The Hopkins School, 986 Forest Road, New Haven, followed by an elegant evening of dining and discourse at an individually hosted home in the area at 7:30 p.m.
LEAP, founded in 1992, works with a 1000 children and teens from ages 7 to 15 in the poorest sections of New Haven and pairs them with 200 area high school and college students for enrichment and stimulation. Programs in literacy as well as art, computer sciences, athletics, cooking, camping, swimming and team building are encouraged. 100% of the proceeds of this unique fundraiser will benefit this “Create a New Haven for Our Children” event.
The hardest part of this evening will be deciding where you’d like to dine, of the over thirty interesting selections. Perhaps you’d like to go to Guilford to the home of Eileen and Andrew Eder for “East Meets West” and get a personal peek at the life of Syrian artist and architect Mohamad Hafez who was forced to emigrate from his homeland. His Middle Eastern streetscene sculptures reflect his individual struggles.
Select the New Haven home of Nancy and Rick Antle for a conversation with author, agent and former book editor Betsy Lerner whose recent book “The Bridge Ladies” reveals her challenging relationship with her mother in a highly personal, contentious and often humorous way. Musically inclined? How about an evening with pianist and songster Andy Rubenoff at the home of Patricia and Davis Gammon of Hamden.
If politics push your buttons, then you might like to be stimulated by a talk by Yale historian Beverly Gage who promises to make our current political scene understandable. Sign up for the evening at Lawrence and Paulette Fox’s home in Woodbridge. Want to rub elbows with a Pulitzer Prize- winning playwright, then go to the home of Thomas and Susan Duffy of New Haven where Donald Margulies will provide insights on his past and current literary endeavors.
For a step in a familiar direction, attend Anthony and Joanne Scillia’s Branford home where Gordon Edelstein, Long Wharf Theater’s Artistic Director for the past 15 years, will discuss two world premieres he has helmed, Steve Martin’s “Meteor Shower” and the soon to be seen “Napoli, Brooklyn” in conjunction with New York’s Roundabout Theater.
Whether your interests are political science, sculpture, journalism, history, food and restaurants, economics, biography, affairs of state, college campus issues, civil rights and the Supreme Court, museums and memories, international law, veterans and legal services, education, medicine or Albert Einstein, you’re sure to find the perfect dinner and companionship for your specific tastes. An additional dinner will be held on Saturday, February 25 and again on Saturday, March 4. Check them all out online. For tickets ($50, reception alone, $150 for reception and dinner as well as sponsorships), go online at www.leapforkids.org/lye
Select a guest of honor who is knowledgable in an area that will stimulate your conversational skills and then sit back and enjoy all the food - for edible enjoyment and for tantalizing thought.