Don’t Miss the Event of the Year: Designing Bright Futures at The Carmel Gala

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March/April 2024

Join us at The Carmel Gala, where we’ll be “Designing Bright Futures,” on Saturday, April 27, 2024, at Ritz Charles.

Since its inception, the Carmel Youth Assistance Program (CYAP) has been dedicated to raising funds to support students by providing camps, recreational activities, and essential assistance like food, clothes and shelter to families facing hardship. Through CYAP’s efforts, it has witnessed remarkable transformations in behavior, academics and social skills among the youth it serves.

Your support ensures that CYAP can continue reaching more families and offering vital services. Be sure to get your tickets before they sell out at

Carmel Monthly is honored to be a longtime supporter of CYAP and a sponsor of this event. Join us in making a difference in our community’s future!

Reinvesting in Your Community

Amidst the constant barrage of distressing news stories, it’s natural to wonder about the impact of individual efforts. Yet, as early intervention advocate Maggie Figge from CYAP suggests, the success of initiatives like CYAP can be measured not just in data but in the tangible transformations of the youth they serve. These youths, in the process of healing and growth, along with those who have achieved remarkable success post-high school, stand as a testament to the program’s effectiveness. However, meeting the needs of this vulnerable population requires ongoing support from donors, mentors and volunteers.

The Carmel Gala 2024

Established in Fall 2015, CYAP endeavors to bolster youth and families through community engagement. Partnering with the Carmel Clay School District, the City of Carmel, and the Hamilton County Superior Court, CYAP offers professional coordination and referral services to students and families, ensuring their privacy and dignity. Working hand-in-hand with various stakeholders, CYAP facilitates access to a wide array of resources, including mentoring, tutoring, mental health support, and basic necessities like food and clothing.

Your support is vital to sustaining CYAP’s mission and making a tangible difference in the lives of those it serves.

Mayor Sue Finkam reaffirmed the city’s steadfast dedication to CYAP and recognized the increasing demand for support among our community’s at-risk children.

“The city has been a primary sponsor of the organization and of this gala since their inception,” Finkam said. “We’re proud to continue on that tradition, making sure that we’re helping our community’s kids in need. The needs continue to grow, and CYAP continues to provide more services by way of the community’s support. My goal is to continue that support and to increase awareness about it. In 2023, 170 [Carmel] youth were referred to CYAP and 15% of those are homeless or at risk of homelessness. I thought that was a troubling statistic in and of itself. Of those 170 referrals, 17% of the parents don’t speak English, 76% of the youth receive free or reduced meals at school, 62% were referred by the schools, 26% were referred by the prosecutor, 10% were referred by other agencies, and 2% were self-referrals.”

Mayor-Elect Sue Finkam

Finkam added, “Despite everything CYAP is doing, we still need to do more to reach these kids who are at risk of failing and falling through the cracks. At the end of the day, this is all about ‘community’ … our Carmel community. We have to show compassion, empathy and open our hearts to these kids whose futures will be negatively impacted if they don’t get help and if we don’t intervene today. I want to make sure that by my involvement as mayor, we reinvigorate investment into this program.” Finkam went on to stress, “I encourage members of our community to join us at this year’s gala. It’s a wonderful opportunity for all of us to come together and engage in something enjoyable with a meaningful purpose.”

Maggie Figge and Melanie Brewer, event chair and ex-officio CYAP board member, shared that this year’s goal is to raise $100,000 for CYAP.

“One thing we would like [to] focus on with the money raised this year is transportation,” Figge expressed. “In terms of families getting out of their situation, efforts are impeded by a lack of transportation for them to get their kids to an activity, to mental health appointments, summer camps, tutoring sessions—and [the] parents can’t get themselves to work. Additionally, the scale of job opportunities available to them if they don’t have a reliable car is limited.”

Figge added, “It is one of our biggest problems. We would like to drill down and explore how we can put services in place that really empower a family to get to a better place, and transportation is our main focus. We’ve got a lot of ideas but need additional funds to get to a solution and finalized plan.”

Exciting Additions to This Year’s Gala

“For starters, we’ll have our new mayor at the gala,” Brewer stated. “Mayor Sue Finkam will be part of the event, and we’ll have Tim Griffin [Carmel Fire Department] and Jeff Worrell [City Councilor] co-hosting again. Tim is looking for crazy suits and shoes … something flashy for the Dessert Dash! You don’t want to miss this because Tim’s going over the top! We’ll have The Bishops perform again and a silent auction, but we’re not doing a raffle this year. We’re doing something different and a little more meaningful.”

Figge added, “We’re doing a ‘Wishing Well’ this year. It’s similar to a ‘Giving Tree,’ if you’ve seen that at other events. It’s another donation opportunity that will hopefully have a little more impact. Attendees can pull a ‘wish’ off of the well for mental health sessions, tutoring sessions, clothing, shoes, summer camp, and things like that and throw it into the well, fulfilling somebody’s wish. That will happen during the after-party.”

Besides individual or “Bring a Friend” ticket opportunities, non-sponsors can also purchase tables of eight. Sponsorship opportunities are still available for those who would like to get their companies involved.

“You don’t have to be a sponsor to get a table,” Brewer stated. “This is a fun night with a wonderful meal and open bar, live music by The Bishops, and exciting activities like boozy ring toss and a photo booth, where you have a reason to dress up and enjoy a night out with your friends … and it’s for a great cause!”

For more information on the Carmel Youth Assistance Program, visit

Event details:

Date: Saturday, April 27, 2024

Venue: Ritz Charles

12156 N. Meridian Street, Carmel, IN, 46032


5:30 p.m. EDT – VIP Cocktail Hour Begins

6:00 p.m. – General Admission Cocktail Hour Begins

Attire: Black tie optional, but we encourage you to wear bright colors in alignment with our theme, “Designing Bright Futures.”

Purchase tickets at: