‘The Power of One’ educational fundraiser set to be a ‘fun night’

Attendees check out auction items at the 2014 “The Power of the One” gala. This year's event is Saturday at Dover's Biggs Museum for American Art. (Submitted photo)

Attendees check out auction items at the 2014 “The Power of the One” gala. This year’s event is Saturday at Dover’s Biggs Museum of American Art. (Submitted photo)

DOVER — Organizers of a multi-cultural event Saturday at the Biggs Museum hope to raise money to support children in Dover and around the world.

The annual “The Power of One” fundraiser is a partnership between the Dover Cultural Exchange and the Be Educated Movement.

The Be Educated Movement is a nonprofit that raises money to bring libraries, schools and resources to communities around the world.

Maria Ruffin, who founded the Dover Cultural Exchange more than 20 years ago, said that she met Be Educated organizers, Sanjay Kumar and Mahendra Kumar, through the exchange.

The Cultural Exchange meets a few times a year to promote understanding between cultures and bring communities closer together, she said.

After they met, Mr. Kumar and Ms. Kumar approached Ms. Ruffin and asked if she would be interested in helping raise money for Be Educated.

Ms. Ruffin was interested — but she wanted to bring in a local aspect, too, so she decided to also help raise money for arts programs at Dover High and Central Middle schools as well. The funds pay for needs like supplies, books and field trips, she said.

“The money goes directly to (art teachers’) program so they directly benefit,” she said.

Ms. Ruffin, who said she does acrylic drawings of nature and portraits, has a deep affinity for the arts.

“I’m an artist. If I was a sports person, I’d be supporting this for sports,” she said.

“It’s just my interest. The arts have been left behind in education now.”

Ms. Ruffin grew up in an Air Force family and she traveled to places like Korea and the Philippines. She started the Dover Cultural Exchange as “a celebration of diversity of culture, really trying to understand people through music, food and dialogue.”

“It was really organic,” she said.

Now, “The Power of One” gala is in its eighth year and the event also aim to celebrate diversity through food and music.

“We try to do a little bit for everybody,” Ms. Ruffin said.

The evening includes music, silent and live auctions, door prizes and food from local restaurants.

Restaurants participating include Doc Magrogan’s, Flavor of India, My Roma II, Cajun Queen, La Delicia, Noodles & Company and Texas Roadhouse.

Also on hand will be Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Fordham & Dominion Brewing, and Painted Stave Distilling.

The event will also raise money for Sharon Katz & The Peace Train, a multicultural South African band known for its humanitarian work. The money will help found a school in South Africa, Ms. Ruffin said.

The gala started off as “a little get together,” she said. It was held at the Dover Art League with home-cooked food.

Eventually, though, “The Power of One” outgrew its space and moved to the Biggs Museum, where it draws about 175 people.

For Ms. Ruffin, the event is all about paying it forward.

“We get to help children and they in turn will be community leaders in the future because they were helped,” she said.

The event will include live music throughout, with performances from guitarists, classical ballet dancers and, from Delaware State University, a Chinese dance group.

“It’s just a fun night,” Ms. Ruffin said.

The keynote speaker is Darren Guido, Capital School District supervisor of instruction; distinguished guests include state legislators, Dover Mayor Robion Christiansen and Miss Delaware Brittany Lewis.

The event is 5:30 to 10 p.m. at the Biggs Museum of American Art, 406 Federal St., Dover.

Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. They can be purchased online at www.beeducated.org or by calling Ms. Ruffin at 242-9795.


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