What a special, magical night!   We held our annual fund-raising dinner for Asian-American LEAD tonight at the fabulous China Garden in Rosslyn.  We had 450 guests in attendance tonight!

As a member of AA LEAD’s board of directors and co-chair of the development committee, this is our most visible event of the year.  And, thanks to so many wonderful people, including the excellent AA LEAD staff, the event was a smashing success.

Chancellor Michelle Rhee, who graced the cover of Time Magazine in December, was our keynote speaker.   And, she delivered a fantastic and thought-provoking speech.   Washington, DC is fortunate to have someone with that type of vision and leadership in charge of the DC public school system.  There’s so much hard work and improvement that’s needed — and we need this type of visionary leader to help make the changes.

We also had in attendance many business leaders from the Asian-American community, local politicians, bankers and a variety of terrific supporters.   We also had a few special guests, including the Military Attache from the Embassy of China; an executive from the Tiger Woods Foundation; and the reigning Ms Washington DC, Kate Marie, who just finished in the Top 10 of Miss America last month.

There were many highlights, including the five student performances, from elementary school to high school age.   My favorite was the great solo of “Proud to be American” sung by our 4th grade star, Sally.   That takes a lot of guts to stand up and sing a solo in front of 450 people.   She nailed it – and I’m so proud of her (pictures on my Facebook page).

The four hour dinner flew by … I am so grateful to the many friends that supported our dinner.   And, the great thing about the dinner is that we raised even more awareness about AA LEAD and raised funds to help the very deserving children from low-income Asian families.

The students know clearly the importance of education.  And, it was wonderful to have one of the nation’s leading educators, Michelle Rhee, drive the message home with a great speech.

It’s about creating a more level playing field, especially for the youth from the low-income and disadvantaged families.  Is there anything much more important?

Lastly, many, many people are going through tough economic times.  And, there’s plenty of griping and complaining.  But, if you’re in that situation, I implore you to get involved with community service and mentoring.  Give a little bit of your time — I promise you — you’ll get much more back than you give.   I came home with a beaming smile because of the magical night we had tonight — and I know we’re continuing make a strong, positive difference in the lives of many deserving and wonderful children.   Peace.