Who: Young professional group Propel and friends of the Jeremiah Program What: Jeremiah’s Wine Tasting with Propel Where: The Living Room at the W Hotel in the Foshay When: July 28, 2011 Why: To raise funds for the Jeremiah Program Bathed in pink light from a nearby chandelier at the W Hotel’s luxurious Living Room, I reclined in an oversized brown leather chair as members of the Propel steering committee arranged flower vases and stocked sparkling wine for the 2011 Jeremiah Program Wine Tasting event. I had just begun to write my name tag when the Jeremiah Program’s annual fund director Stephanie Payne handed me a tasting notes pamphlet. Looking elegant in a green wrap dress and diamond stud earrings, Payne was not shy about sharing her passion for the Jeremiah Program, an organization that supports single mothers and their children. “I would love to engage a whole new generation,” Payne said as she introduced me to Propel steering committee members David Saber and Jeff Frye, “Jeremiah aims to help women from all backgrounds unlock their potential. It also gives them the tools they need to not only survive, but to thrive independently.” As more of the evening’s guests arrived, Payne directed individuals to various tasting stations where they could sample a variety of red, white, and sparkling wines. Jeremiah Program supporters were also encouraged to bid on items in the silent auction. Some of the most coveted items included two Twins tickets in the Champion’s Club for a Twin’s vs. Sox game, a Boutique Sampler, A Restaurant Sampler, and the Be Well Sampler. After I bid on the Be Well Sampler in anticipation of a relaxing trip to the spa, I enjoyed some stuffed crab cakes and ate a few too many basil shrimp with dedicated Propel member Christine Snodgrass. Taking a brief respite from her wine pouring duties, Snodgrass explained what makes Propel, the young professional volunteer and fundraising arm of the Jeremiah Program, unique. “Propel is all about opportunities. It brings people you never thought would be in the same room together,” Snodgrass said. After I refilled my plate with gourmet sharp cheddar cheese and butterfly-shaped crackers I made my way to the back and much quieter part of the Living Room, where I met the evening’s real guests of honor: Jeremiah women and their families. Initially soft-spoken, Jeremiah participant Mikesha Barnes opened up when she began to mention the many friends they had made through the program. Barnes shared how the Jeremiah Program had changed her outlook. “The best thing about the Jeremiah Program is the environment that it creates” Barnes said, “It combines everything together. I know I’m doing what’s best for me and for my son. I plan to take the spirit of the Jeremiah Program with me wherever I go.” “Me, too.” I said. “And perhaps a few more of these crab cakes!” Save the Date: The 13th Annual Jeremiah Program Bullfrog Bash is November 12, 2011. The event will be held at The Depot in Minneapolis.