Close to 400 people from across Sumner County gathered Saturday at Hendersonville’s new Premier Centre to celebrate the founding 20 years ago of Children Are People, Inc.

The after-school tutoring program serving at-risk youth in Gallatin was started in 2001 by Hendersonville resident Fred Bailey.

“Twenty years ago, I had the idea that I wanted to take underperforming young people and push them to as great heights as they could go,” said Bailey. “And you have just heard they have gone to great heights.”

Co-chaired by philanthropists Bob and Karen Goodall, Children Are People’s 20th anniversary Hope Gala featured a live and silent auction; a catered dinner by Chef Christopher; music by the Garage Band Revival; and a special announcement by former U.S. Congresswoman Diane Black and her husband, Dave.

“CAP provides hope, opportunity, and tools for success for the greatest treasure: our children,” said Diane Black. “CAP is a program that deserves to be celebrated and deserves to be supported.”

Black noted the organization boasts a 100 percent high school graduation rate among its students, with many attending and graduating from college.

Black’s surprise announcement that the couple bought and donated a building to the non-profit group was met with roaring applause amid a barrage of confetti.

The couple purchased the 6,600-square-feet building at 805 Teal Drive in Gallatin for $1.2 million in September, according to Sumner County tax records.

Children Are People Executive Director Susan Superczynski said on Monday that the couple, long-time supporters of the organization, has since deeded the building to Children Are People.

“Diane and David had told me a while ago they wanted to help us get to the next step,” she said.

The new facility is more than double the size of their current building and will enable them to have more classrooms and serve more children, she noted. The organization serves 65-70 children in grades K-12 each school year.

A bonus of the new facility is the added outdoor space for children to “run around and be children,” Superczynski added.

She said she’s currently working with Gallatin architect Roger Matchett on renovating the building to add more classrooms, bathrooms and common areas. She said she hopes the non-profit can move into their new space in late spring or early summer.

“We couldn’t be more thankful or excited,” she said.

In addition to the announcement of a new building, Saturday’s gala raised almost $200,000 for the non-profit, making it their most successful fundraiser to date.

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