CIS Mid-Winter Gala: a break from the cold

And it helps students in need
Jan. 11, 2013 @ 11:47 AM

Communities In Schools of Thomasville hopes some hot chocolate in the middle of winter will draw more people to its largest fundraiser of the year.
On Feb. 8, CIS of Thomasville is holding its Mid-Winter Gala at 12 W. Main St. where the public is invited to attend a night of dinner, music and a hot chocolate bar that is sure to warm the soul. Tickets for the event are $50 per person and all proceeds benefit CIS of Thomasville and its programs. 
"It's our signature fundraiser," said Judy Younts, executive director of CIS of Thomasville. " We just want people to come out and break the midwinter solstice and help raise money for children in a great event."
CIS of Thomasville schedules fundraisers throughout the year, but Younts said the nonprofit wanted to do something a little different in 2013. February's gala was moved up from the spring and ticket prices dropped from $75 to $50 in an effort to attract more people to the event. CIS of Thomasville relies heavily on fundraisers to help more than 2,500 Chair City children every year.
"This event is of major importance because we need to raise money," Younts said. "We thought why not? We've done stuff in the spring and summer.  We thought let’s break this winter cold and have an opportunity for the good folks of Thomasville and our sponsors to come and offer to help children."
While last year's main fundraiser generated more than $20,000, Younts said those funds are allocated quickly in programs that feed children, promote literacy and address health issues. CIS of Thomasville feeds of hundreds of children every weekend through its backpack program and develops initiatives that encourage reading. The nonprofit also provides a mentoring program and supports pregnancy prevention.  
"The breadth of things that we do to support children in our schools is pretty amazing," said Mary Jane Akerman, CIS of Thomasville wellness coordinator. "One of the biggest ways we get funds is direct support from the community, We're so grateful that Thomasville supports what we do. I think they see the need, they see the value of what we bring to the young people in our schools. A significant part of what we do is fundraisers and the Gala is our single biggest event. This fundraiser is huge in the the money that it brings into our programs."
Greg & The Beach and Blues Quintet will provide the musical entertainment. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails and a silent auction, followed by a dinner buffet at 7 p.m. Items featured in the silent auction include gold and ruby diamond earrings, glass pieces from the New Orleans School of Glasswork and Printmaking Studio, handblown glass from the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Wash., handmade Peruvian vases, a handwoven Peruvian blanket, wood carvings, two prints from a Vancouver British Columbia artist, several framed prints of Thomasville and the surrounding area, restaurant gift certificates, Starbucks treats, manicure gift certificates and handmade scarves and quilts.
For more information, 474-4233.

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or