Godwill Tandoh stuck the landing. Months ago, he set out to have the Dreamers Wish Foundation, a Utah organization focusing on youth enrichment and STEAM education for low-income, refugee, and developing communities in Utah and abroad, host a formal, fundraising gala complete with dance performances, delicious food and an auction of African-made products. On April 21, everything came together in a loud and lively celebration at the Clubhouse event space on South Temple. Tandoh raised thousands of dollars, which will support his efforts to provide school uniforms, textbooks, clothing and educational workshops to 1000 children in Kenya.
The night started with a cocktail hour from 5–6 p.m. with Danny and Adrivee providing a musical garnish. Food service began at 6 p.m., and those samosas went fast! The 100 sugar cookies from Corrine Garcia’s Cookies with a Cause (@cookieswithacause) didn’t last long, either. Once Tandoh had offered a prayer and a proverb and welcomed everyone to the gala, the fundraising started in earnest with an energetic auction hosted by Tosh Swain and Abi Goddey. After starting with chocolate bars, Goddey auctioned necklaces and clothing. By the time he started modeling colorful hats, the audience was eagerly raising paddles to place bids.
As promised, the Dreamers Wish Foundation delivered a celebration of dance for tonight’s gala. Jade J literally kicked it off with a jazzy dance duet followed by LaConga Salsa Ladies in fantastic costumes that magnified their movements. Salt Lake’s popular Bomba Marile next took the stage with confidence. With a blend of music, dance and tradition, Bomba Marile educated and entertained as they moved from song to song. Ngoma Y’Africa ended the gala’s second act with style. As they danced, they alternated between DJ-spun songs and live, drum-pounding rhythms.
With the evening’s energy running high, Tandoh brought out his Dance for a Cause Utah team of performers for two choreographed routines—kizomba and bachata. A costume change in the middle gave guests a chance to raise their arms while dancing to “Y.M.C.A.” by the Village People.
As the celebration transitioned from a fundraising gala to a DJ-dance party, Tandoh took a moment to thank his family, the gala’s sponsors and the Dreamers Wish Foundation board of directors. He also mentioned upcoming events. There’s a service trip planned to Kenya in July and a Giving Tuesday gala in support of refugees scheduled for November. Tandoh’s commitment to service is sincere, and anyone who’d like to join him on this journey is invited to come along. He quoted an African proverb as the gala began: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”