“Survivor’s” Rupert Boneham to be Keynote Speaker at Hamilton Center’s Annual Dinner on October 28, 2008

Hamilton Center is pleased to announce that the Keynote Address for the 2008 Annual Dinner will be delivered by Rupert Boneham, creator of Rupert’s Kids, an Indianapolis-based program that serves youth who have received intensive services from many social service programs in the region. Through work programs such as landscaping and home renovation, members of Rupert’s Kids learn skills and values that will lead them towards stability in their lives, in housing, employment and relationships. The Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony will take place on Tuesday, October 28, at Indiana State University’s Hulman Center.

Rupert Boneham is a survivor. In a game that cuts through any pretense, he alone outlived the intense scrutiny of 38 million television viewers in 2004. That’s the year that CBS's Survivor: All Stars announced that the American public would choose which All-Star player deserved a second million-dollar prize. Mark Burnett had never done this before, nor has he since. But, it initiated a sequence of events that Rupert calls his “miracle.” On the finale of Survivor: All Stars, Jeff Probst revealed that four out of five of the 38 million votes were for a “bear” of a man with the heart of gold, Rupert Boneham.

Prior to becoming a millionaire and an instant pop culture icon, Rupert developed his winning ways working with troubled teens in Central Indiana. In 1983, Rupert began his work in the mental health field working with kids in Abilene, TX. During this time, he realized his talent with hard-edged teens whom many other mentors and caregivers had difficulty connecting.

By 1990, Rupert had followed his passion to work with troubled teens in the central Indiana area. In 1991, he purchased his first abandoned property from the city of Indianapolis to provide vocational training to a group of teens that had been expelled from school. The refurbished house was later made available to low-income families. As Rupert’s organization evolved, it became more active in local government projects that, he hoped, would benefit the entire community.

After winning his million dollars, Rupert made good on his promise to donate a large portion to create Rupert's Kids, the culmination of 20-plus years of work with at-risk teens.

The evening will also include Hamilton Awards which will be presented to businesses, organizations, and individuals that have significantly contributed to the cause of mental health and/or care of persons with mental illnesses, developmental disabilities or substance abuse problems. An award also will be given to a Hamilton Center staff member who has demonstrated a personal commitment to the cause of behavioral health and advanced the mission of Hamilton Center through service above and beyond the normal duties of his/her position.

The dinner is scheduled for Tuesday, October 28. A reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 6:00 p.m. and program at 7:00 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling Kay Skinner at (812) 231-8317. The cost is $30 per person and $240 for a table of 8.

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