Florida Center for Early Childhood to host 34th Annual Winter Gala on Dec. 3 at Michael’s On East

Public may participate online in silent auction beginning Nov. 26

Image courtesy Florida Center for Early Childhood

The Florida Center for Early Childhood will host its 34th Annual Winter Gala, with the theme Lighting the Way, at Michael’s On East in Sarasota on Friday, Dec. 3, the Center has announced.

Formerly known as the Festival of Trees, the event “is the organization’s primary fundraiser,” helping to ensure services are available annually for more than 3,500 children and families, a news release explains.

“Guests attending the winter gala will enjoy a gourmet dinner, chance drawing, live and silent auctions, and entertainment by the band Ovation, all for a very worthy cause,” the release adds.

The silent auction, which is open to the public, will go live on Black Friday, Nov. 26, the release notes. It will offer “something for everyone with exciting packages featuring some of the area’s best restaurants, spas, sports, entertainment and unique experiences,” the release points out.

“We are so glad to be celebrating the successes of our children and families with this fun event,” said Florida Center CEO Dr. Kristie Skoglund in the release. “Even those not attending in person can participate through online options. Our supporters can feel good knowing all proceeds benefit the children and families we serve.”

Among the live auction’s features will be “a private Happy Hour Cruise for 20, a John Lennon statue created by esteemed sculptor Jack Dowd,” a week’s stay in Key West, and the organization’s signature Wall of Wine, the release adds.

New this year will be “an opportunity to recognize people who have been lights in your life with a $25 donation,” the release notes. Each “Luminary” will have his or her name showcased in a light display at the event, on the Center’s website and on social media.

“We all have people in our lives who really helped us become who we are,” said Skoglund in the release. “This opportunity to recognize them with a small donation will provide a brighter tomorrow for children with special needs.”

To participate in the event or contribute, please visit www.TFCWinterBenefit.org.

“For more than 40 years, The Florida Center for Early Childhood has been the leading provider of therapeutic services, early education and healthy development” for young children in Southwest Florida, “offering a seamless delivery of services for the whole child and their family,” the release explains. The Florida Center provides developmental therapies, mental health counseling, the Starfish Academy preschool, the Healthy Families home-visiting program, and the state’s only Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders clinic, the release notes.

For more information, visit www.thefloridacenter.org or call 941-371-8820.