Having a ball with YMCA

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By Kirsten Laskey

Whip out the evening gown and pull out the tux, it’s time to gussy up for a good cause.

The Family YMCA is hosting its Red and Black Ball to benefit the 2009 Strong Kids Annual Support Campaign.

The big event will be held from 5:30-11:30 p.m. Saturday at the Central Avenue Grill.

The event includes dinner, a silent auction, camaraderie and dancing.

The silent auction items include art pieces, vacation stays in condos, a motor scooter and other surprises.

With all the tables filled, it looks like the YMCA is on its way to achieving its goal of netting $30,000-$40,000 during the event.

“We’ve been very fortunate,” said Linda Daly, executive director of the YMCA.

Last year, the event collected just over $35,000 so Daly said the staff is hopeful that they will be able to raise at least that much this year.

The event kicks off the annual fundraising campaign, which will be held in March.

“During that time we have a team of campaign workers of board members and YMCA members who will  raise money to ensure that the YMCA programs, including youth programs, are available to everyone, regardless of ability to pay,” Daly said.

“And the funds raised in our campaign support the many youth programs both in Los Alamos and Española.”

The YMCA is a charitable organization, she explained, so it does not receive local tax dollars. As result, the organization looks to United Way and to its annual fundraiser for money.

Besides offering memberships, the YMCA offers a variety of programs that range from health and wellness, and developing leadership in youth to childcare and summer camps.

Daly said while many in the community can afford the fees for these programs, there many that cannot.

Therefore, the YMCA provides scholarships to help families and individuals, she said.

Which is why the campaign fundraiser is important, it subsidizes these programs.

The Teen Center in Española is one such program.

The center was named Youth Organization of the Year by the Española Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s a program that relies on donations and our annual campaign to make it through the year,” Daly said.