Casino fundraiser Friday to help Steamboat's Family Development Center

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If you go

What: “Let the Games Begin” Casino Night fundraiser for Family Development Center

When: 7:30 to 11 p.m. Friday

Where: The Steamboat Grand

Cost: $40 in advance or $45 at the door; advance tickets available at Family Development Center and All That Jazz

Call: 879-5973, ext. 10

Casino-style games, a silent auction and a screening of the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony are featured in a fundraiser Friday at The Steamboat Grand.

“Let the Games Begin,” an annual casino night and benefit for Family Development Center, is from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Friday at The Steamboat Grand. Tickets to the event are $40 in advance and $45 at the door.

Casino Night got started about 15 years ago and has been presented each year except 2009 with a variety of themes, said Tami Havener, executive director for Family Development Center. The center is the um­­brella nonprofit organization for Discovery Learning Center, Newborn Network and Child Care Network.

This year’s event organizers decided to work with an Olympic theme and use a patriotic color scheme, some help from local Olympians and a broadcast of the opening ceremonies to fit the “Let the Games Begin” tag, event co-chairwoman Jennifer Shea said.

Silent auction items will fill tables lining the hallway in front of the Grand’s main ballrooms, Shea said. Casino tables staffed by professional and volunteer dealers will be the focus inside the ballroom, she said. A cash bar and light appetizers also will be available.

A “Let the Games Begin” ticket includes $300 worth of play money for use at blackjack, roulette, craps and Texas Hold ’em tables. Using fake money allows new or hobby gamers a chance to practice or try games for the first time in a safe setting, Havener said.

Family Development Cen­ter programming includes Discovery Learning Center, a child care program for children ages 3 to 6; Newborn Network, a parent education program for families with infants and toddlers; and Child Care Network, a way to provide resources to licensed child care providers and referrals to parents, Havener wrote in an e-mail. Newborn Network services and Child Care Network referrals are free to the community. Family Development Center serves about 450 families with children ages 6 and younger across the Yampa Valley, Havener said.

“Our mission is to help parents be the best parents they can be in growing confident, competent and caring children,” Havener said.

In its first year, Casino Night pulled in about $5,000 from ticket sales and silent auction items, Havener said. For the past several years, the event has netted $10,000 to $15,000, she said. Part of the proceeds from Friday’s event will go toward purchasing playground equipment and infrastructure items such as eye wash stations for Discovery Learning Center.

Learn more about Family Development Center at www.familydevelopmentcenter.org.

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