At First Fund-raiser, Youth Design Serves Up Teen-Inspired Decor and Menu

By Erin L. Souza February 8, 2011, 4:52 PM EST

Photo: Aviran Levy for BizBash

Youth Design's Winter Warm-Up
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While weekly snowstorms hitting Boston since the end of December have put a damper on the city's social scene, partygoers didn't let the weather stop them from attending the aptly named Winter Warm-Up, the first annual fund-raiser for Youth Design, in the Liberty Hotel ballroom on February 1 (which we first reported on here). The youth mentoring and internship program, which connects city high school students with paid summer internships at design-related businesses, celebrated its official nonprofit status and drew in about 100 guests for a ticketed cocktail party, followed by a free after-party that prominently incorporated the reason for the evening: the young designers.

“Here’s the trick: The audience was an adult audience. They're the movers and shakers and heavy hitters and thinkers in the community who are moving the dial,” said Youth Design founder Denise Korn of Korn Design, whose team created the decor. “We wanted it to be fun and speak to them, but the organization is for teenage kids. To immerse [guests] in Youth Design, we had to immerse them in the teenage things.”

That youthful, warm influence and orange-and-white Youth Design branding was present all over, from the varsity-inspired “Y” name tags for Youth Design mentors and partners, to the chalkboard welcome sign that mimicked the event's invitation, to the orange pennants on tabletops that gave shout-outs to design firms and the mentors hosting interns there.

“It started with the invitation design; it has the highbrow, kind of academic reference, so we thought of it as a winter warm-up pep rally,” said Korn. “As we moved into the event design itself, we came up with different ways to bring that to life.”

The event included an open bar, self-serve buffet dinner of sliders, pizza, and mini grilled-cheese catered by the Liberty Hotel, and a video featuring Youth Design mentors and interns. A “speed giving” session, where guests learned what each dollar amount would fund for Youth Design, was followed by a meet-and-greet period that had guests interacting with students involved in the program.

The aim was to make the event accessible to everyone and to champion volunteerism, which led Korn and her team to pair with A.I.G.A., formerly known as the American Institute of Graphic Arts, for a free after-party, dubbed the “AFTA party", on the Liberty's fifth-floor rotunda with a cash bar and networking.

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