July 29, 2014 at 1:00 am


Party a prelude to fundraiser that helps grieving children

Van Conway with mentee Shon Powell, left. (Martin LeFlore)

Van and Lori Conway invited about 100 people to their luxurious Franklin home on July 21 for a lavish cocktail party supporting Yatooma’s Foundation for the Kids. Guests were dazzled at every turn — a half-dozen exotic cars in the driveway, an elaborate spread of Italian fare from Andiamo, two premium bars heavily stocked with top-shelf libations.

“This one is on us,” Conway said as he welcomed the crowd of Metro Detroit movers and shakers. “But the next one, the main event, is where we need your support.”

This was the launch party for the annual two-day event — a golf outing and dinner/auction called Champions for the Kids, benefiting Yatooma’s Foundation for the Kids. The main event takes place on Sept. 26 (dinner at the Townsend Hotel) and Sept. 29 (golf at Detroit Golf Club). The Conways are event chairs.

The goal of Yatooma’s Foundation is to bring tenderness to tragedy for the families of kids who have lost a parent by providing practical, professional and personal assistance at each stage of the grieving and recovery process. Metro Detroit attorney Norman Yatooma founded the nonprofit in honor of his late father, Manuel Yatooma, who was murdered in 1993.

“It’s all about the children,” Conway continued. “We have to take care of our young people. I continuously aim to make a difference in their lives. I hope that you will, too.”

With that, he introduced a young man that he mentors, Shon Powell, a standout wrestler and student from Highland Park now attending Kalamazoo College. Norman Yatooma also thanked everyone, and then the party continued with great entertainment from Royce Javan and Jennifer Christiansen.

For information go to forthekidsfoundation.org.

Chuck Bennett is the Fox 2 News Style Ambassador and the creator of the Social D, a website that represents the social side of Metropolitan Detroit. See thesociald.com.

Event co-chair Lori Conway, left, and Norman and Nicole Yatooma enjoy the ... (Photos by Martin LeFlore / Special to The Detroit)
Don MacKenzie and his wife, Evelyn, take a moment in Franklin. (Martin LeFlore)