“A lot of cities have their white scenes, but Atlanta doesn’t really have one, so we thought that this would be a fun way to have one,” says Premiere Party board member Jim Anastos of the “Festive White” attire for this year’s event.
This year’s party features a new location, moving to Mason Murer Fine Art, and a new liquor sponsor in Grey Goose Vodka. But there will be a familiar hand spinning music with DJ Chris Griswold, who’s helmed previous Premiere Parties.
The Premiere Party raises about $80,000 over the course of the evening through donations, ticket sales and a silent auction featuring items ranging from a week’s stay in a Tuscan villa to limited edition Dolce & Gabbana sun glasses. The gay bar Blake’s on the Park is also donating a portion of proceeds from its May 30 “Kickoff to Summer” cookout and June 8 turnabout show to Premiere Party.
“Premiere Party is important for a couple of reasons, number one is funds — we need funds for the great things they do [at CHRIS Kids],” Anastos says. “Premiere Party is one of the big engines that keep the good work that they are doing going and spread the word about what they do.”
The funds raised go exclusively to help LGBT youth who age out foster care.
“The last thing you want to do as a non-profit is to restrict funds, but our gay donors are so passionate that we wanted to be able to honor their wishes and give them a chance to donate directly to our GLBT programs,” says Beth Keller, CHRIS Kids director of development.
Rainbow becomes ‘TransitionZ’
CHRIS Kids serves between 200 and 250 LGBT minors throughout Georgia.
While CHRIS Kids provides housing for homeless teenagers in group homes, it also helps those in the foster care system and some who are living at home under trying conditions.
“One thing that I don’t think that people realize is that we don’t just serve homeless kids, we help kids who are beat up in foster care, we work with kids who are still in their homes,” Keller says. “There is a whole plethora of kids who are being ridiculed in school, who can’t take their boyfriends to prom, and are bouncing around from home to home and those are the kids that we get.”
Through its Rainbow Program, CHRIS Kids takes care of people who have aged out of the foster system, but need help establishing adult lives. The Rainbow Program provides housing and support to gay and transgender young adults as they enter college or other post high school training.
In March, CHRIS Kids merged its Rainbow and Independent Living programs. The agency now serves homeless LGBT youth, as well as young adults with children, in a new program named “TransitionZ.”
Young people in the TransitionZ program live in CHRIS Kids’ new $12.1 million renovated apartment community, dubbed “Summit Trail.”
Top photo: CHRIS Kids Executive Director Kathy Colbenson (right) and Development Director Beth Keller at the opening of the agency’s new apartment community, a $12.1 million project that houses youth ages 17-24, including LGBT youth. (By Danielle Bois / Courtesy CHRIS Kids)