Monica Marshalonis and Tyler Ryan, members of the team, said the group discussed possible events and decided Rodano’s provided a central location, and the restaurant would draw a good crowd.
“They do a lot of these types of events,” Marshalonis said.
The leadership program starts anew each September. Participants are split into groups and each group chooses a project to execute throughout the year. For Helping Hands, Marshalonis said they decided on the Child Advocacy Center.
The center is a nonprofit organization in the city that works with children who have been or are believed to have been abused. Children are interviewed at the center by professionals in the field, and center staff work with police and prosecutors in investigations of suspected child abuse.
Through their project, Helping Hands is refurbishing parts of the house, including a waiting room, an interview room and a donation room.
“These children have to go through some really difficult things,” Marshalonis said. “We really wanted to make sure it was a warm area.”
In addition to ticket costs, the group raised money through basket raffles, a 50/50 drawing, a door prize and T-shirt sales. Local businesses donated baskets for the event, as well as renovation supplies such as paint, lighting and furniture.
“We had a lot of area businesses give for the raffle baskets,” said team member Linda Tessier.
Shannon Peduto, executive director of the Child Advocacy Center, said she appreciates the team’s commitment to the center and the community’s support.
“This event is amazing,” Peduto said.
Andricks, who was selling tickets at the door, said a restaurant patron even made a hefty donation when walking into the event.
“We just feel it’s touching people within the society,” she said. “We want them to know we appreciate it.”