The Ruth Ellis Center hosted its second annual benefit Voices with special celebrity guest Wanda Sykes on Sept. 20. Voices, held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), celebrates the resilience of the more than 4,000 homeless, runaway and at-risk lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth the Ruth Ellis Center serves annually.
The event also included two major announcements: this year's recipients of the Ruth's Angels Award, and Sykes' surprise announcement that she had donated $15,000 to the Ruth Ellis Center, matching a $15,000 grant announced by PNC Bank earlier in the evening.
The Ruth's Angels Award began last year and is given to individuals in the community who demonstrate dedication to helping provide safe space for homeless LGBTQ youth. Two of the Ruth Ellis Center's founding and current board members, Dr. Kofi Adoma (Amorie Robinson) and John Allen, received this year's Ruth's Angels Award. Adoma, a clinical psychologist at Michigan Third Circuit Court Family Division Clinic for Child Study, and Allen, a partner at Allen Brothers PLLC Law Firm, were instrumental in the formation of the Ruth Ellis Center in 1998.
Wanda Sykes, comedian and actor
Frank Hope, Brooklynn Peterson, Khristal Wren, Ruth Ellis Center clients
Sabin Blake, dealer organization manager for the Northeast region at GM, and his partner Jeremy Fulwiler
Michael Perkins, Corporate Sales Manager at WDET, and new board member of the Ruth Ellis Center
Mark Blanke, Chief Financial Officer at Delfingen Industry, and Board President of Affirmations
Elliott Broom, vice president of operations of the Detroit Institute of Arts, and new board member of the Ruth Ellis Center
Dr. Jeffrey Wesolowski, radiologist
About the Ruth Ellis Center
The Ruth Ellis Center is solely dedicated to serving homeless, at-risk and runaway youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender or questioning. The Center's mission is to provide short-term and long-term safe space through:
Ruth's House — a full-time residential program that is a State of Michigan licensed Child Caring Institution.
Second Stories Drop-in Center — A facility that offers youth resources such as full meals, gender identity support groups, on-site mental health therapy, laundry facility and clothing, a cyber center, and recreation.
Street Outreach Program — a peer-driven model that uses harm reduction and community involvement to authentically connect with LGBTQ youth who are experiencing homelessness.
For more information, visit www.ruthelliscenter.org or www.facebook.com/RuthEllisCenter