Imani Gala celebrates work with school children


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The flower-filled East Club Lounge at Heinz Field and a glowing Pittsburgh skyline provided the perfect backdrop for the 11th Annual Imani Gala to benefit Imani Christian Academy on Friday. More than 400 guests were serenaded by Etta Cox and Al Dowe while the schoolchildren greeted guests and stole the hearts of all who attended. Honorary co-chairs for the evening were John and Becky Surma, Morgan and Kathy O'Brien and Billy and Kara Guerin with WTAE's Andrew Stockey perfectly filling the emcee role.

The evening served as an opportunity to introduce new principal Terri Ayers and celebrate the work that was done under former principal Marilyn Barnett Waters. A silent and live auction and funding a wish list for the school combined with corporate sponsorship to raise $650,000 -- a testament to Imani's work, which means "faith" in Swahili. Applauding the effort were Candi Castleberry-Singleton, Bob Sendall, Curt and Kim Tillotson Fleming, Leslie Braksick with Matthew, Jorge and Lisa Milo, Diane Lazzaris, Dave and Laura Hardwick, Erikka Jones, Dusty Elias Kirk with Bill Caroselli, Maryann and Frank Reabe and Lonnie Silver, who coordinated the evening's festivities.

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