Captivating International 6th Annual Gala & Auction

“I can beat the night, I’m not afraid of thunder
I am full of light, I am full of wonder

Woah, oh I ain’t falling under
Woah, oh I am full of wonder

Though our feet might ache, the worlds upon our shoulders
No way we going break, cos we are full of wonder”

Saturday, October 11 marked Captivating Internationals 6th Annual Charity Gala & Auction at the Futian Shangri-la, Shenzhen China. Attended by 530 guests largely from Shenzhen’s foreign community, the event started with an amazing high energy dance performance by students from local international schools, QSI & SIS, along with several girls from the Seng Girls Vocational School and Home program. This wonderful dance choreographed and performed by Adrian Blackstock with the help of Talia Sills and Cassidy BeckfordMoore set the tone for the night to the theme, “We are full of Wonder” – testament to the fact that all children around the world have so much to offer, and yet many cannot do so because of poverty, injustice or prejudice. Thanks to amazing sponsors, donors and auction winners, RMB 1.56 million was raised to support work in Western China through approved local charities.

In attendance and celebrating the art of dance were 29 girls from Western China of which many belong to the celebrated Sengcham Drolma Opera Troupe who have been recognized by the Chinese Government as the first Qinghai based Girls Opera Troupe to dance the approved China’s Tibetan King Gezar Opera.  A shortened version of the King Gezar Opera explaining the history and culture of this important historical figure was performed in front of captivated guests, including Professor Jangba Gymtso, China’s leading expert on the King Gezar Opera.

We are full of wonder and satisfaction of the growth and maturity of many of our Seng Girls who we’ve shared our lives and experiences with.   Watching Alice and Tyler banter on stage and visiting with her at her place of employment is so gratifying.

This year, we exceeded last year’s result by 20% and this would not be possible without the “wonderful” Shenzhen and Hong Kong businesses and our Shenzhen community.

They say, it takes a village to raise a child and this is so true.  Our village of volunteers, donors, and supporters are helping to raise Captivating International to its fullest potential.

Lynn Velez has been the driving force from the beginning of this Annual Charity event and this year she was supported by co-planning committee lead, Dana Milne.  Together, they put countless hours  into planning every step leading up to this glorious night; special thanks to Jill Bieber, Lauren Hesterman, Bonnie Horibata, Lauren (Noyes) Ridder, Julie Ponthier, Susanne Salg, Claire Taylor, Yvette Taylor, Carrie Turner, Vivian Yuan, Katie Zelhart who were part of the auction planning committee .  And, thank you to our dedicated Captivating staff who spent months preparing, and over 100 volunteers who were involved in helping to make this night something to remember.  You are all full of “light and wonder” from beginning to end.

For the 5th year in a row, David Shomaker has been our gala’s “ Master of Ceremonies” and is truly wonderful.  Thank you to Greg Schultheis and Gustavo Velez who were amazing auctioneers.  We credit these fine gentlemen for all the praise we received on how well-timed our event was this year.  Thank you to our auction spotters, Lynn, Kate Rowan, Thomas Salg, Jeff Armstrong, and Nathan Lochola who helped us to highlight our bidders and to keep the high-level action continuing through the night.   Julie and I are still amazed at the outpouring of love and empathy for the “Set a Girl Free” auction item’s success story of the night.  Over 92,000RMB was raised by selling “Set a Girl free” balloons attached to mini-medical kits that were donated by International SOS.

We also want to thank our local International schools and secondary students from QSI, SIS, and Recognize Academy who manned the Golf and Wheel of Fortune game center, check-in, auction runners, set-up and break-down,. and Set a Girl Free auction.  These kids are full of wonder now and in our future.

Achieving our financial goals would not be possible without the sponsorship of these amazing companies:


Also, thank you to the following companies who supported our event:

Graphic Design team:  Yoha Shi and Stephen Lau
Event Planning Company:  Riviera Events
LED Screen: MasterPiece PR Asia Ltd

And most of all, Julie and I would like to thank all of our guests for attending this year’s event – Captivating International cannot do what we do without your support and generosity.  Thank you.

Andrew Colquhoun, Co-Founder and CEO of Captivating International – a Hong Kong registered charity (#91/9723) states, “Captivating strives to find registered partners like LOVEQTRA (the NPO running the Seng Girls Vocational Training School) and to help them turn good work into great work.  Our experience in China is that there are wonderful grassroots organizations with a passion to bring relief to the suffering in their communities and we are very excited to partner with them.  It’s a thrill for us to know that thanks to amazing corporate sponsors and donors, great NPO’s and partners, and dedicated volunteers and supporters, we will see 1,000 children and their families progress into a brighter future this year”.

Finally, although it was without a doubt “the best auction ever” it was missing the presence of a very special man.  Ken Whalen will be remembered for his generosity, encouragement and friendship.  150 girls who are part of the Seng Girls Vocational Training School program owe their very lives and futures to him.  Ken – we miss you.  You will not be forgotten.


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