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Fun and fundraising held for local charities

ElgAcademy held its annual Gal“Extravaganz36” March 16 The Stonegate Banquet Center Hoffman Estates.  Among attendees were from left Fred

Elgin Academy held its annual Gala “Extravaganza 36” on March 16 at The Stonegate Banquet Center in Hoffman Estates. Among attendees were, from left, Fred Masnato, chair of Elgin Academy’s Board of Trustees; Margie Ward, trustee and chair of Elgin Academy Development Committee; Seth Hanford, Elgin Academy head of school; Marnie Kut, events coordinator; and Dani and George Smiley, chairs of this year’s “Extravaganza 36”. Betty Brown photo for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 25, 2013 6:53AM

Local charities in action:

Academy Extravaganza

The Elgin Academy “Extravaganza 36” on March 16 provided a memorable evening. Themed “Experience,” it was filled with excitement as guests were thrilled about bidding with their Bid Pal, which allowed guests to bid from anywhere, anytime. The delicious gourmet dinner was followed by silent and live auctions celebrating 36 years of raising bids and paddles to provide mission critical support for Elgin Academy.

In his comments to those in attendance, Seth Hanford, head of school, extended great appreciation to the Smileys, staff, and parent Marnie Kut, stating, “Experience is what it’s all about. Your responsibility is to give generously. We owe to our 432 students the best education we can give them. Thanks for your support to the Academy.”

Among those enjoying the evening were Austin Doree (the man who started Extravaganza 36 years ago); Trustee Laura Anderson; Alan and Sandy Kirk; Andrea Kastor from Oswego, who donated the natural beef to the auction; Carole Krohn, landscape architect; Pat Francissen and his wife Ann, Dr. Raju Ray, nephrologists; Bruce and Peggy Dahlquest; Merrie and John Derderian; Keith and Dr. Cindy Rauschenberger; the Gavins of Dundee Township; Jackie Johnson, director of development; and Janet Hughes, director of admissions and marketing, to name a few.

‘For The Child’

CASA Kane County’s annual Children’s Champion celebration took place on March 2 at the Q Center in St. Charles. This year’s theme, “I Am For The Child,” also celebrated the organization’s 25th anniversary.

The evening began with a warm welcome from Gloria Bunce, executive director. Guests enjoyed a grand raffle, silent and live auctions, a formal dinner as well as complimentary professional photos and dancing to the music of Soda with special entertainment from Jim Peteric of Ides of March fame.

This year’s co-chairs were Beth Mooncotch and Vicki Morcos and the honorary chairpersons were Doris Hunt and Jennifer Hunt. The Children’s Champion Award recipients were Martin and Mari Pierce of St. Charles.

The event raised just over $335,000 for CASA, which benefits abused and neglected children in the Kane County Juvenile Court system.

CASA Kane County is a nonprofit organization that trains and supervises Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers who advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in juvenile and probate court. Last year, the more than 250 CASA volunteers served over 550 children throughout Kane County. For more information, contact Lorie Hewitt, director of development, at 630-444-3107.

‘Bear Tie Ball’

Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation held its 20th annual “Bear Tie Ball” at the UIC Forum, celebrating 20 years as the foundation dedicated to eliminating pediatric cancer and to providing hope and support to those who are touched by it. With over 850 guests in attendance, $750,000 was raised to support children battling cancer.

This year’s event, “Passion for a Purpose,” co-chaired by Nina Mariano and Tracy Scurto, included cocktails, dinner, dancing, auctions and an award ceremony with emcees Roe Conn and Val Warner. The 2013 William J. Casey Hope Award was presented to Invest for Kids, accepted by Ben Kovler, co-founder, for their dedication to assisting local causes and Bear Necessities in its mission.

CEO/Founder Kathleen Casey spoke about her son Bear and who he might be today if he were still alive. Eight year old Theo Yianas, the honorary Bear Hug Ambassador, shared his heartwarming story of strength and was followed by the inspirational stories from 19 childhood cancer survivors.

“This year’s ball gave us a chance to celebrate all the amazing people and sponsors who have helped us grow over the years, but more importantly to celebrate the thousands of families who we fight for through our research and support programs,” Casey said. “We took a look back at the impact we’ve made over the last 20 years and looked ahead to the possibilities of the future.”

Notable supporters in attendance included Tom and Cece Ricketts, Mario and Cheryl Tricoci, Gary Fencik, Chuck and Candace Jordan and Monsignor Ken Velo.

Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation is dedicated to eliminating pediatric cancer and to providing hope and support to those who are touched by it.

The Bear Hugs Program supports cancer patients (ages 0 to 19) as well as their immediate families who face the many challenges that accompany the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric cancer. Their outreach serves children who are being treated at one of the nine major Chicago area hospitals with pediatric oncology departments. A Bear Hug is a customized experience that brightens the life of a child going through cancer. The Bear Hugs Program also provides immediate family support for financial burden and essential needs.

Each year Bear Necessities awards support service grants across the nation to pediatric oncology facilities and organizations for programs or projects that directly impacts patients, their families and hospital facilities.

Among guests spotted enjoying the evening were Mike and Christine McGrath, Monica and Randy Morganstein of Dundee Township and Tracey Tarantino, DiBuono Fashion Show producer.

For more information about the Foundation, contact Courtney Krupa at 312-214-1200 ext. 27.

Mrs. America search

The annual search is on for Mrs. America. This is a contest exclusively devoted to seeking the views, aspirations and versatility of today’s contemporary American married women.

State finals are May 18 at Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville. To obtain a free 2013 Mrs. Illinois/America Pageant application, write or phone Classic Pageants, Inc., 2615 W. 35th Street, Oakbrook, Illinois 60523. The number is 630-325-4305.

Places To Be Scene

“All Things Chocolate” celebrates its 13th anniversary with a delightful night. Cocktails/hors d’oeuvres, dancing and, of course, chocolate will be featured on Saturday, April 20 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. The host is Brad Edwards of CBS-2 Chicago and the event takes place at St. Andrew’s Country Club in West Chicago. Proceeds will benefit Open Door Clinic. For more information, call 847-695-1093.

Tidal Wave Auction and Dinner Dance themed “Roll Through the Big Easy Mardi Gras-style” is being presented by St. Edward Central Catholic High School on Saturday, April 27, at The Pheasant Run Inn and Resort, 4051 E. Main Street in St. Charles. Honorary chairs are Jeff Swoboda, Elgin police chief and Laura Swoboda, owner of L Swoboda Cosmetics. For more information, call 847-741-7335.

Empowering Women Through Education — Purses With Purposes will be held Thursday, April 18, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Elgin Country Club, 2575 Weld Road. The theme is “In the bag.” For more information, call Monica Butek at 847-214-7377.

Barrington Chapter Lyric Opera of Chicago invites you to the spring opening luncheon on Sunday, April 21, with reception and cash bar beginning at 1:30 and luncheon at 2 p.m. The program, “The Gambling Husband Comic Intermezzo,” begins at 3 p.m. The event will be held at Wynstone Golf Club, 1 S. Wynstone Drive, North Barrington. Enjoy Peter and Kathleen Van DeGraaff, bass baritone and soprano. For directions and further information, call Nancy Hozian at 847-438-4262.

“Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair” will be held Monday, March 25, at Chicago History Museum, 1601 North Clark St., Chicago. Refreshments and networking are available from 2 to 3 p.m. with a private exhibit and tour from 3 to 4 p.m.

Chef Alain Roby of the All Chocolate Kitchen creates one-of-a-kind chocolate and sugar creations for Easter through March. ACK is located at 33 S. 3rd Street in Geneva. For more information, call 630-232-2395.

Senior Services Association presents its annual “Cheers for Everybody’s Birthday” celebration dinner on Friday, April 12, at Villa Olivia Country Club. The evening begins at 6 p.m. For more details, call 847-741-0401.

“A Taste for the Arts” gala, a celebration benefiting The Chicago Academy for the Arts, will be held Tuesday, May 14, at Harris Theatre for Music and Dance, Millennium Terrace. The honorary chair is Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. The gala hosts are Donna LaPietra and Bill Kurtis. For more information, call 312-421-0202.

For your information: Drury Lane Oakbrook has completed ballroom, restaurant and lobby renovation. It’s a must attend.

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