Hays, KS- Jana’s Campaign, a Hays-based nonprofit with the single mission of reducing gender and relationship violence, hosted their annual Empty Place at the Table Gala at the Rose Garden Banquet Hall in Hays on Saturday, October 20.
This year marked the tenth anniversary of losing Jana Mackey to an act of relationship violence. The event focused on celebrating the legacy that lives on in her name and all of the work that has been accomplished in her honor. The 210 attendees raised more than $70,000 – the most successful gala in the history of the organization – more than doubling the amount raised in 2017.
“This event raises awareness and needed funds for the prevention education we provide,” says Kim Cebula, executive director of Jana’s Campaign. “It is a special year and the support we received is phenomenal, it means we can serve more teens and young adults, preventing them from being in violent and unhealthy relationships.
The evening featured a festive cocktail hour, dinner and live entertainment, along with both a silent and live auction. Businesses throughout the community and country donated unique items and experiences to support the event. (For a full list of sponsors and auction donors visit the EPATT page at www.janascampaign.org.) A special performance by the Hays High Chamber Singers, featuring a video appearance of a young Jana singing the Lord’s Prayer, brought many family and friends to tears, while providing others a glimpse of the young woman who was taken from us.
The organization celebrated impacting over 56,000 students in 516 middle and high schools across eight states. They also shared they have hosted attendees from 320 colleges and universities at their regional campus safety summits. All of the numbers reflect work completed since 2013, when Jana’s Campaign formalized their data collection processes.
“To honor Jana with a room full of people who understand why prevention of gender-based violence is so important and who are fully committed to making a difference is unbelievably inspiring,” shared Christie Brungardt, Jana’s mom and organization co-founder. “We will be able to accomplish great things with the funds raised at the gala this year.”