Siblings John Fay and Mariane Sanders

The Sunbeam Board and Vocational Guidance Services (VGS) came together for an evening to support Ohioans with disabilities on April 12, at its Friday Night on 55th benefit. The event raises funds to benefit VGS, which has served individuals in the region since 1890. The organization works to create pathways for individuals with disabilities to engage in the community, achieve greater independence, and attain employment.

The organization’s history stretches back 134 years when a group of women known as the Sunbeam Circle joined together to support disabled patients in Lakeside Children’s Hospital. In 1986, the name Vocational Guidance Service was adopted with a commitment to serving those in need.

Event Co-chairs Elizabeth Horvitz and Sarah McWhorter

With a festive tropical theme, approximately 180 guests dressed appropriately in springtime attire with florals, whites and bright colors. Live music was performed by Brazilian musician Moises Borges.

Emcee Bob Hale led the organization’s “Call to the Heart” raise the paddle giving portion and attendees participated in a wine pull. Guests enjoyed cocktails and noshed on passed hors d’œuvres and food from stations provided by Marigold catering.
Elizabeth Horvitz and Sarah McWhorter served as co-chairs; McWhorter created the eye-popping floral displays that evoked a lush tropical landscape, complete with palm trees and colorful lighting.

Marianne Sanders and her brother John Fay, a recipient of services from VGS, spoke of their personal experience. Fay had the misfortune of suffering a traumatic brain injury from a car accident when he was 16 years old. Because of this, he developed memory issues and lost much of his executive functioning and organizational skills — leading to poor treatment

VGS Board Chair Liz Gillmore, VGS President & CEO Susie Barragate and Sunbeam Board President Sarah Guyuron

from peers and potential employers. Sanders, his guardian for 17 years, explained how VGS provided her brother with the skills to secure a job and maintain a career where he could be successful and work alongside others. Because of his dedication and work ethic, he was promoted to a peer support leader, a cause for great pride in their family. Fay summed up his VGS experience by stating, “I feel comfortable here and I feel respected.”

The event’s main sponsors were Swagelok, Zeeba Clinic, Trish and John Dorsey, and Elizabeth and Matthew Horvitz. For more information, visit vgs.org.

STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANDREA C. TURNER