Karen and I had planned to attend and report on the Stu and the Kids event held at the Vibiana on July 31. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it, so I asked founder Stuart Skversky to give us some information on how the event went and the organization it supports.
On January 29, 2015 we received our 501c3 and this is when things really began to change. Getting this status showed people that we are here, here to stay, and we are going to do everything we can to help these kids. Stu and The Kids has grown from just a Word Press blog about a chef going to volunteer in Chiang Mai to now being a full blown tax-exempt, 501c3, nonprofit organization.
Stu and The Kids provide scholarships for underserved and orphaned Hill Tribe kids for continuing their education after high school in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Hill Tribe is a term used in Thailand for all of the various tribal peoples who mostly inhabit the high mountainous Northern and Western regions of Thailand, including both sides of the remote border areas between Northern Thailand, Laos and Burma. These areas are known for their thick forests and mountainous terrain. The six major hill tribes within Thailand are the Akha, Lahu, Karen, Hmong/Miao, Mien/Yao and Lisu, each with a distinct language and culture.
This year we are seeking contributions to help fund 10 more deserving kids with university scholarships. Most of our kids come from the Wat (Thai Temple) where I am a volunteer teacher. The Wat takes in all Hill Tribe kids without families or from very bad economic situations. It is very easy for the young boys to get into gangs and traffic narcotics and, for the girls, prostitution is what some of them gravitate to — lets help them stay away from this.
We provide everything that the kids need to be successful in university — not just tuition but books, uniforms, room and board as well. We feel this way they can focus all of their attention on school. The cost to help 1 kid for 1 year ranges from $3000-$4350 and this just depends on which university or technical school that they get accepted to. It costs between $12,000-$17,000 to get a good, 4 year college education.
One of this year’s fundraisers in Los Angeles was on Sunday, July 31, 2016 at the beautiful Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles. This event was like a mini food and beverage festival but Thai-style; it had worked so well last year. Some of the Chefs and restaurants involved in this years event were Neal Fraser from Redbird, Brooke Willamson and Nick Roberts from Playa Provisions, Walter Manzke from Republique, Ted Hopson from The Bellwether, Kris Yenbamroong from Night+Market, Tetsu Yahaji from Spago Beverly Hills and so on — we had 29 chefs in total.
Jet Tila and Simon Majumdar from the Food Network did our VIP celebrity chef cooking demo and they were great. Everyone had a blast all the while drinking prosecco and eating duck fried rice, Thai-style. Everyone then began to taste all of the offerings that the other chefs made. We took over the main hall and the outside patio where there were 6 grills going all day cooking corn on the cob brushed with coconut milk from Andy Ricker at Pok Pok and Thai-style beef from Scampo in Boston. Also outside was our now famous coconut bar and Warren Schwartz from Magpies soft serve handed out Thai iced tea flavor ice cream. AMAZING!
The Thai Tourist Authority helped us to decorate the place as well as helping coordinate the Thai dancers and musicians for the day. This was so nice to be able to share some of the things that I love about Thai culture with the friends of Stu and The Kids. Followed by a very successful live auction raising us over $27,000! The highlight was the trip to Thailand* (less airfare) which sold for $5500!
We sold 330 tickets, we had 40 volunteers for the live auction, zero waste management, front door, selling t-shirts and hats, directing and helping with the loading in and out, etc., we had 120 people from chefs and restaurants, wineries and cider, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, breweries, bakeries, etc. WOW! To me, I just looked at that as 500 people in a room, cooking, eating, drinking, celebrating, and helping some amazing kids that are in true, true need of help. We are spreading the word about Stu and The Kids, growing and really making a difference.
We raised $66,000 in 1 day, this will be our biggest year so far. To date our biggest year was last year at $52,000. I am currently in my home town of Philadelphia so that I can continue reaching for the $100,000 goal that we have set for Stu and The Kids this year.
*Trip to Thailand Live Auction Package
4 night/5 day stay for 2 people at Rachamanka, a sophisticated zen-like boutique hotel in the heart of historic Chiang Mai
Daily Breakfast included
Changthai Heritage Elephant Experience for 2
Feeding, bathing and playing with the elephants in the river
For lunch, learn to make pad thai or other dish and make yourself lunch.
Old ChiangMai Cultural Center Khantoke Dinner & Shows for 2
Performances showcasing traditional Northern Thailand, Lanna, Culture
Authentic Khantoke Dinner Menu
Flight of The Gibbon Zipline Canopy Tour
Thailand’s Original Zipline Tour with 5km of lines and 30 stations
Visit an eco-mountain village & waterfall
Thai style buffet lunch included
Serve a special lunch with Stu to 550 kids at the orphanage
Dinner with Stu and the foundation’s kids that are currently attending university
Car and driver for 4 days or get round on a motorbike and follow Stu
Temple and Market tours with Stu
Donated By: The kind & generous people of Chiang Mai, Stu and The Kids and organized by Stu