It’s time to party!

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By Kirsten Laskey

Los Alamos Family YMCA has taken the community to Paris, paradise and the tropics. This year, the community can travel with the organization to Las Vegas.

The theme for this year’s Red and Black Ball is “Viva Las Vegas.”

This is not just a short jaunt to Sin City, it is a kick off to the YMCA’s Strong Kids Annual Support Campaign.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Central Avenue Grill. A dinner will be served and a live and silent auction will be held.

The kids from the Española Teen Center have contributed a number of items to the auctions including jewelry and a wooden bench – all handcrafted by the teens at the center.

Items from Don Quixote Distillery, artwork by Annie Bard, Shari Mills and Michelle Ferran, vacation stays at condos and a motor scooter will also be up for bid.

YMCA Executive Director Linda Daly said the goal is to raise $50,000. The YMCA seems to be well on its way to reaching this goal. Daly said all the tables have sponsors. Plus, the Black and Red Ball has a history of raising a lot of money.

Last year’s ball, Daly said, raised the most money in the event’s 10-year history – $60,000.

Plus, “We are so very fortunate that our returning sponsors came back and wanted to support us again. We also have a new sponsor; we’re thrilled about Energy Solutions,” Daly said.

The members of the chairman’s roundtable will also be there. Los Alamos Medical Center, Los Alamos National Bank and Lou Santoro State Farm Insurance, TRK Management make up the roundtable.

Financially supporting the YMCA is money well spent, Daly said. “I believe we have a really great story to tell,” she explained. “The funds we raise are reinvested back into the community. We raise money for our scholarships to help families with childcare expenses so that kids can participate and learn skills in programs like basketball, volleyball and wrestling.

“It helps support our youth programs in Española and our environmental programs such as YES Corps., a YMCA youth services corps program both here and in Española.”

Plus, she said, attending the ball is chance to get the formal attire out of the closet.  

“It’s a chance for us to dress up and dance (and) have a wonderful time all while helping a great charitable organization,” Daly said.  

The Family YMCA has been in Los Alamos since 1955. When people think about the YMCA, Daly said she hopes they know “that we are a community resource for youth, adults, seniors, families; that we’re (focused in areas such as) health, wellness and youth development. And that it is our policy …  that the Y is for everybody. Nobody is turned away due to inability to pay.”

This is why the campaign is critical, Daly said. It ensures that everyone can continue to utilize the YMCA’s services without worrying about the costs.

Plus, it’s an opportunity to have some fun.

“We make it fun,” Daly said. “It’s fun and exciting. There are old friends and new friends.”