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In the Mix: Jaden’s Ladder celebrates 10 years with “Bright Lights, Big City Black & White Gala”

Colette Greenstein | 3/28/2014, 6 a.m.
Jaden’s Ladder will host its sixth annual "Bright Lights, Big City Black & White Gala" on April 5 at the ...
Oneta Bobbett

Jaden’s Ladder will host its sixth annual “Bright Lights, Big City Black & White Gala” on April 5 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel with a star-studded lineup of entertainment and celebrity guests. The annual fundraiser will feature a performance by Will Champlin, a 2013 finalist on NBC’s “The Voice,” as well as appearances by NFL great Marshall Faulk, former NBA hoopster Charles Oakley, and former New England Patriot Patrick Pass and Harold Shaw. Mehki Phifer, who currently stars in the movie “Divergent” will also be in town to support the fundraiser. Guests will dine and dance to the music of HOT 96.9 DJ Roy Barboza, and will be able to bid on fabulous sports memorabilia and vacation packages during the live and silent auctions. Emceeing the event will be long-time supporter and local radio/TV personality Coach Willie Maye.

The mission of Jaden’s Ladder is to assist survivors of domestic violence with life-enhancing, post-shelter programs that provide support, build confidence and foster self-reliance. The organization provides care and guidance to empower domestic violence survivors to take back their lives and become active and vital members of the community. Over the past 10 years, Jaden’s Ladder has been able to help 200 women and their children to rebuild their lives.

Oneta Bobbett, one of the co-founders of Jaden’s Ladder, spoke with the Banner about her inspiration to do this work and the future of the organization.

Have your goals changed in any way from when you first started?

We’ve actually turned our goals this year to more of a children’s organization, focusing on really making the change of domestic violence and stopping the cycle.

My son helped us start up a portion of the non-profit last year called “Ballers to Scholars.” Jaden loves basketball, and we have girls in our programs for volleyball, and we have kids for soccer. Then I realized that one of the kids who came into our program, their parent came and was really concerned about their kids being bullied in school. You know, I went “that’s violence to them.” And so, I’m focusing on bullying with the children.

Will you still have the same process in terms of accepting referrals from shelters and extending the process with the children?

I think I would love to extend it. As a board we’re still developing it. It would be called Jaden’s Kids. And, then we want to really specialize in a summer camp. We’re really talking about an annual summer camp where we can donate to any kids from the shelters in the area from Boston to Rhode Island to wherever. And extend these scholarships to these kids to come up in this area and meet celebrity ballplayers and have mentors talk to them about being bullied as a child, or being abused by a parent.

How have you changed since it started?

I’ve become a better person. I’ve heard that from friends who’ve known me a long, long time. I’ve become less guarded. I’ve become more accepting. My women, my children have taught me so much. They’ve taught me unconditional love on top of my son. They light up my life.