King City hosts first Freedom Gala

© 2017-King City Rustler

New fundraiser for military families, ProYouth program set for Saturday

KING CITY — Through a partnership with Fort Hunter Liggett, King City will host the inaugural Freedom Gala this Saturday, June 17, to celebrate the U.S. Army’s 242nd birthday while raising money for military families and a local program to end youth violence.

The City of King, Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture and Salinas Valley Fairgrounds have joined together with Fort Hunter Liggett to organize the formal event, which is intended to help build a stronger connection between the Army fort and King City.

“This gala is one of many opportunities we’ve partnered with King City in order to foster the long-standing and positive relations we enjoy,” said Fort Hunter Liggett Commander Col. Jan C. Norris. “I will be departing for my next assignment in July, so I look forward to this event to engage with friends and supporters of Fort Hunter Liggett.”

The Freedom Gala features a dinner, silent auction, a brief program led by Master of Ceremonies King City Police Chief Robert Masterson, Americana music provided by the Monterey County Pops brass quintet and dancing at the fairgrounds’ Orradre Building. Social hour begins at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

Half the proceeds will support military families, while the other half will go toward providing startup costs for a new after-school expanded learning program at elementary school sites.

“Studies show that the most effective way to prevent youth violence is to help children to be successful in school during the critical period of first through third grades, particularly in reading and language skills,” said City Manager Steve Adams. “This helps keep them engaged in school and to resist gang involvement.” 

As part of the City’s Comprehensive Plan to End Youth Violence, King City Unified School District and the City have contracted with ProYouth, a non-profit agency, to bring its school program to King City. If enough money is raised, Adams said the program could serve up to 280 children in its first year.

“That will represent a great beginning,” he said. “Our ultimate goal is to expand the program to make it available to every elementary school child and to permanently bring an end to the violence our community has been experiencing.”

Tickets for the Freedom Gala are available at Lynn’s Too, Kasey’s Fitness Academy, Fort Hunter Liggett and the King City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture. Call City Hall at 831-385-3281 for more information.

“This will be a great way to honor our military and assist in making our community safer, so it is an event you won’t want to miss,” Adams said.