Germantown Alderman John Barzizza was presented a commemorative plaque and wine bottle for his years of service during Shelby Residential and Vocational Services’ (SRVS) 20th annual Sparkling Nights fundraiser, held Aug. 11 at Hilton Memphis.
Barzizza’s commitment to SRVS spans more than two decades. When he first became a SRVS volunteer in the late 1990s, his son, John, was supported by SRVS. His other son, Justin, also was supported in SRVS’ residential program. Determined to find a way to raise money for the group that helped his family, Barzizza and SRVS board members founded the Spirit of SRVS auction, food and wine tasting fundraiser. The event name was later changed to Sparkling Nights in 2016.
“I wanted to give back,” said Barzizza, who also sits on SRVS’ Board of Directors. “SRVS has made a major difference in my sons’ lives.”
The first Spirit of SRVS was a success, Barzizza recalled, with nearly 100 people attending and approximately $10,000 raised. Twenty years later, the event continues to grow and attracts more than 700 attendees and raises an average of $200,000 each year.
Sparkling Nights is SRVS’ largest fundraiser of the year and has raised more than $2 million to support SRVS programs, including children’s services, residential supports and employment. SRVS is the state’s largest provider of services for people with disabilities and provides services to more than 1,600 annually.