Western Youth Network’s annual fundraiser to benefit the Sonny Sweet Scholarship Fund will take place from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 22, at Boone’s Harvest House venue. This year’s fundraiser is “Sweet High Country Salute: An Evening with Elvis,” and all proceeds from the event will go directly to the scholarship fund, which serves to assist today’s youth in reaching their dreams.

Bricca Sweet, wife of Sonny Sweet, the scholarship’s namesake, says that this scholarship is all about “keeping the spirit of giving alive” and providing a sense of promise to the youth of the High Country.

Sonny Sweet was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 2013, and it was his wish to establish a lasting legacy to help children. Sweet chose to partner with WYN, which serves High Country youth through programs that include mentoring, tutoring, transportation, substance abuse prevention and service learning.

“The mission of the Western Youth Network is to help youth develop goals and learn how to reach them,” said Bricca in a July 2019 interview. WYN offers youth counseling that stimulates real-life situations and teaches softer behavioral skills to those who can benefit from it.

This nostalgic evening of reconnecting with youth includes a favorite Elvis appetizer and a traditional Southern dinner, just like those that Elvis loved. CR Catering will provide the meal, and refreshments from Appalachian Mountain Brewery and Peabody’s will be available.

Stephen Freeman, award-winning Elvis tribute artist will be the evening’s entertainment with his Echoes of a Legend Show Band. Guests of the event are encouraged to wear outfits reminiscent of the Elvis era, with special prizes for the best outfits.

“We were honored to partner with WYN to start this scholarship in 2015, and I hope that we can do more and more to help WYN serve these kids,” Sonny Sweet said.

Now, more than five years after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, Sonny Sweet is cancer-free and is still an active member on the advisory board of the WYN, according to WYN’s website.

“Every year we’ve been able to provide a greater number of scholarships to a greater number of youth,” said Bricca, highlighting that Sonny’s legacy of giving to youth continues through the scholarship fund. “I just hope that folks buy tickets and come have a fun, entertaining evening.”

The scholarship fund’s mission echoes the message of Elvis’ song, “If I Can Dream” (1968), with the lyrics, “While I can dream, please let my dream come true, right now.”

In addition to a fun, entertaining evening and meal, participants at the fundraiser will be able to sign up to sponsor summer camp costs revolving around experiential learning.

Tickets for “A Sweet High Country Salute: An Evening with Elvis” are $55 per person, $100 for two or $400 for a table of eight. Tickets are available online at https://SweetSalute.bpt.me. Checks are also accepted through mailing, made out to WYN-SSSF for the appropriate amount and mailed to WYN-SSSF, P.O. Box 3753, Boone. Donations are also accepted. Donations and all contributions are tax-deductible and go directly to the scholarship fund. No tickets will be available at the door.

For additional information of questions, contact SonnySweetScholarship@gmail.com or call (828) 964-8406.

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