Mentoring Positives, a local organization devoted to youth mentorship, will host its annual fundraiser at the Wisconsin Institute Discovery Center on Saturday, December 2, from 6-10 p.m..

It is Mentoring Positives’ 13th year in a row of hosting the fundraiser and the group is coming off of an exceptional year in 2017.

Mentoring Positives’ local youth group, Off the Block, launched a pizza-making program during this year that was quite the success. They also continued their renowned salsa making program that has taught kids some necessary business skills along with school credits for being part of the program.

On Saturday, they will celebrate their landmark year with music from a local youth Darbo-Worthington band called Wilder Dietz Trio and, of course, plenty of homemade fresh salsa that many of those same youths helped make.

“We’ll just be kind of wrapping up our year letting our funders know what we did over the course of the year and where are plans are going for the future,” Mentoring Positives CEO Will Green told Madison365. “Some of the youth will be there that have been selling the salsa and making the pizzas. We just want to use the space to celebrate and have a good time and to give the message out of where we’re going.”

Green, who recently was a finalist in a US Cellular sponsored National Coach of the Year hunt, is excited about showing funders and members of the community how much progress these programs have made.

Mentoring Positives will be handing out two community awards on Saturday night as well. Linda Ketcham, executive director of Madison-area Urban Ministry, and Aaron Perry, who has been an integral part of helping Mentoring Positives reach at-risk youth, will be honored.

“I’ve been working with Aaron Perry and he’s been helping work with the kids from Darbo,” Green said. “It’s been a good partnership. Linda Ketcham has been supporting our work, whether it’s buying salsa products or advocating for the program. We felt like those were two people that really deserved the recognition.”

Ketcham says she’s honored to receive the Muriel Pipkins community award, named for Green’s mother.

“I admire and respect Will and Becky [Green] so much both as friends and colleagues,” Ketcham said. “They do vital work in our community supporting our kids in a neighborhood often ignored in terms of services and amenities. So being recognized by Mentoring Positives, and especially with an award named after Will’s mom, I’m incredibly honored, humbled and touched.”

Green says that next year Mentoring Positives will be focusing on getting ready to participate in the public market that is coming to Madison. Off The Block salsa and pizza are going to be sold at the Madison Public Market when it opens in 2019 and provide an opportunity for local youths to learn business skills.

Anyone interested in attending the fundraiser and awards ceremony on Saturday, December 2 can find tickets at Eventbrite or on the Mentoring Positives Facebook page.