First annual event will benefit Big Brothers, Big Sisters

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Berrien and Cass has organized fund-raising auction dinners in the past.
And, apparently they have been quite successful.
But the mentoring organization, which has been represented locally since 1965, is stepping up their act a notch this year.
On Dec. 5, Zazou, located at 219 N. Front St., will be the venue for the mentoring organization's first annual Crystal Ball.
Kris Beauchamp, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Berrien and Cass president, said the Crystal Ball is an effort to up-scale from previous similar fund-raising events.
The ball will feature food by Dragonfly, a cash bar, music, dancing, a luxury gift basket raffle and a silent auction.
Beauchamp said Zazou will be decorated next week and made ready for the evening gala.
Beauchamp said the biggest raffle prize is a week's stay - not including flights -in a time share apartment in the caribbean island of St. Martins that can be used throughout 2004.
Other gift items include crystal, body and bath products and a cooking basket, as well as several other prizes.
Beauchamp said the organization has used mailing lists and sent out 2,500 invitations.
She hopes to sell as many as 300 tickets for the event, which, if successful, will provide the organization with a nice chunk of money that can be used to maintain and improve their services.
Beauchamp, who said the organization is fortunate to be able to work with Zazou, hopes the mailing lists will help the organization reach a wider audience and also draw people from surrounding communities.
Todd Wakevainen, the organization's vice-president, said he is grateful for whatever turnout there happens to be at the Crystal Ball.
He also said the organization would like the ball to become one of its annual premiere fund raisers.
Wakevainen said the organization is trying to have fewer but larger fund raiser each year.
Local businesses and individuals have donated gifts and been supportive of the event.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Berrien and Cass prepares children for the future by enhancing their strengths through new experiences and friendship with qualified volunteers supported by professional staff.
Each year, the organization is involved with, and organizes, several fundraisers.
Big Brothers Big Sisters serves hundreds of thousands of children in $5,000 communities across the country, and the organization is continually growing.
The goal is to provide Big Sisters Big Brothers to 400,000 children by 2004, which is the year of the organization's 100th anniversary.
The organization hopes to reach 1 million children by 2010.
For tickets to the event, call 684-1100
Tickets are also available at the door.
Cocktails begin at 5:30 p.m. and the live auction begins at 7 p.m.
Advance single is $30 and $60 for couples.
At the door the tickets are respectively $35 and $70.

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