Casino game night benefits education programs for rural kids in the Philippines

NEW YORK — From the ultimate game of chance roulette to poker, for one night, this Upper East Side mansion in NY was turned into a casino for a great cause.

Advancement for Rural Kids, or ARK, is a New York-based non-profit that raises money to fund feeding and scholarship programs for kids in poor areas in the Philippines.

Through this program, $15 dollars can a feed a child for one whole year, while a $50 donation can put one kid through school in a scholarship program.

But it doesn’t end there – ARK’s grade school kids who successfully reach the sixth grade may not necessarily make it to the next level due to poverty.

“How do you break the cycle of poverty if 50% of the kids are not going to high school, they don’t have the tools to get out of the struggle that they’re in, and so the idea for poker was fund the high school scholarships of these kids,” said co-founder Ayesha Vera-Yu.

And with supporters in New York who believe in ARK’s mission – more kids will be given the chance to achieve their dreams by putting them through school.

“The return on investment and how much you could do with that dollar, $5, $10, that we spend on coffee here and how impactful they are, that’s where it really catches me,” says board member Miguel Rodrigez. “It catches me because we can do so much more with so little.”

A casino game night is not complete with free-flowing drinks and Filipino food.

Lumpia Shack’s chef Neil Syham’s pork belly adobo, as well as Egg Slut’s Chef Alvin Cailan’s oxtail fried rice were big hits.

While the goal in most casinos is to win big money – losing a lot of money to ARK’s game night 2017 is not a bad thing at all for these attendees, especially when the futures of 56 high school and 4 college students in the Philippines are now secured, thanks to a night of taking chances for charity.

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