Record Attendance At Urban League Gala

November 21, 2010 Updated Nov 22, 2010 at 12:23 PM EDT

By WKBW News

November 21, 2010 Updated Nov 22, 2010 at 12:23 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY ( WKBW ) Over 1,100 people gathered in the Grand Ballroom of the Adam's Mark Hotel Saturday night to celebrate the centennial of the Buffalo Urban League, and support the mission to be "Part Of The Solution" of one of the area's top social service organizations.

Channel 7's Joanna Pasceri with co-hostess Elizabeth Lewin welcomed CEO Brenda W. McDuffie and Board Chair James F. Dentinger to celebrate the mission of the organization, and present several awards.

McDuffie embraced the audience with a powerful message of hope for the community, stating that the key strategies the Buffalo Urban League have for Western New York include Education and Youth Empowerment - Economic Empowerment - Health and Quality of Life - Civic Engagement and Leadership Empowerment - and Civil Rights and Racial Justice Empowerment.

Youth Awards for academic excellence and social service to the community were presented to Mercy Walelo who attends International Preparatory School at Grover and Shaquille Valentine who attends City Honors School.

Community Service Awards were handed out to Eric Mower and Associates Advertising Agency for their work in preparing public service announcements and billboards to promote the message of the Urban League, plus the University At Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center for teaching technological applications.

Family Life Awards were presented to Mr. and Mrs. Scott Gehl and Minister Dr. Michael and Mrs. Ina R. Chapman for their selfless work to help others.

The William L. Evans and Whitney M. Young Jr. Humanitarian Award was presented to John N. Walsh III in recognition of the community work he and his family have contributed over the years. Walsh is owner of the Walsh Duffield Insurance Agency. Rod Watson, columnist for The Buffalo News also received an award for his journalistic work covering urban issues.

Music was provided by The New York City Dimensions Band.

Sponsors for the event included AT&T, HSBC Bank USA, Independent Health, National Fuel, and WKBW Channel 7. For more information on the Buffalo Urban League you can go to

The Buffalo Urban League helps people of all race, age, and religion