Family Development Center’s annual Casino Night Fundraiser set for Saturday | SteamboatToday.com

Family Development Center’s annual Casino Night Fundraiser set for Saturday

The Family Development Center will host its annual Casino Night fundraiser Saturday night at The Steamboat Grand.

— Change has never been an issue for the Family Development Center's annual Casino Night Fundraiser.

"We don't want to change anything, because it's worked so well," said Colleen Miller, who serves as administrative director for the Family Development Center and has helped organize the event for the past 12 years. "We do have a lot of fundraisers in town, and many are similar. But this is what works for us, and people tell us year after year that they had no idea how much fun they were going to have. From day one, this has been an amazing experience."

The annual event has enjoyed 21 years of success as a benefit for the Discovery Learning Center, Newborn Network and the ChildCare Network programs. Held in the Steamboat Grand Ballroom, the event will kick off at 7 p.m. Saturday. Gaming will be from 7 to 10 p.m.

In true Vegas-style, the event will feature blackjack, roulette, craps and Texas hold'em, with the Denver-based ACES Casino Equipment company on hand to provide a realistic experience. From 7 to 9 p.m., silent auction items will be up for grabs, including vacation getaways, massages, dining certificates, artwork, boat rentals and dog sledding adventures.

There's no pressure in this family friendly environment, and there's no way to lose large sums of money, Miller said.

"If you ever go to Vegas, it's pretty intimidating with all that money you could lose," she said. "But here, you can be a big roller or spender, because if you lose, it's OK. This is a great event to go to if you've ever wanted to play or learn how to, because there will be people there to help coach you along."

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Family Development Center's mission is to connect more than 450 families throughout the community, and this event is another way to get the community together for a fun night out.

Tami Havener, executive director for the Family Development Center, said the fundraiser has grown tremendously since its infancy and now brings in $20,000 to $22,000 each year.

The Family Development Center programming includes Newborn Network, a parent education program that includes home visits and runs toddler groups or newborn network meetings to get families together and facilitate questions or concerns; Discovery Learning Center, a child care program for children age 3 to 6; and the Child Care Network, a way to provide resources and coaching to licensed child care providers and referrals to parents.

In addition to helping keep those programs free for the community, Havener said proceeds from the event go toward classroom and curriculum supplies and scholarships for low-income families or people in crisis.

Something the kids are looking forward to this year, Miller said, is the addition to the outdoor block play structure of the playground at the Discovery Learning Center. "The Cascade Play Center" is five feet wide and eight feet long and provides developmental opportunities for children.

"I cannot tell you how excited the kids are about the playground equipment," Havener said. "The concepts the kids are able to learn from this will have impacts on the children's growth and readiness for kindergarten. The unit will provide for messy and wet outdoor play, while offering opportunities for science and math learning. It will also allow the students to work together on projects, increasing their social skills."

Tickets for the event are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Patrons will receive $3,000 worth of chips to "gamble" with throughout the night. Tickets are available at All That Jazz, The Space Station, Christy Sports in Central Park Plaza and through Discovery Learning Center parents.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@ExploreSteamboat.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

If You Go…

What: 21st Annual Casino Night fundraiser for Family Development Center

When: 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 5

Where: Steamboat Grand Hotel Ballroom, 2300 Mount Werner Cir

Tickets: $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Available at All That Jazz, The Space Station, Christy Sports in Central Park Plaza and through Discovery Learning Center parents.