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Children’s Charity Ball a Celebration of ‘Staying the Course’ to Benefit Children and Families

From left: Carlos Badiola, Veronica Badiola, Dorjan Puka, Mira Puka, Michael Cantor, West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor. Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Generous patrons celebrated in style at The Bridge Family Center’s annual Children’s Charity Ball, held at the Hartford Golf Club. 

Children’s Charity Ball Committee member Kara Flanagan and Sean Flanagan. Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Ronni Newton

Michael Cantor and Mayor Shari Cantor. Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The snow was swirling outside, but inside the Hartford Golf Club the atmosphere was festive and glamorous as elegantly-clad guests arrived for the West Hartford-based Bridge Family Center’s annual black tie event, the Children’s Charity Ball.

And while the ball itself was glitzy, the mission of the Bridge, which the nonprofit has been fulfilling since 1969, is very basic: supporting the children and families in the community.

About 350 guests attended the gala event– community and business leaders from West Hartford and the surrounding area supporting the Bridge’s operations that include six shelters, three mental health clinics, a family resource and teen center, and other services for the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.

As the organization enters its sixth decade, the theme for this year’s gala was “Staying the Course.”

“For 50 years, the Bridge has dedicated itself to enhancing and changing the lives of those who come to us seeking care, hope, and healing. Your participation in tonight’s event is what makes our work possible,” Board President Susan Hamilton wrote in a letter that appeared in the program.

Executive Director Margaret Hann, speaking to guests at the event, noted how critical the role of the Bridge has been in times of crisis, as well as in providing a solid foundation through its programs for children and families.

WFSB meteorologist and co-host of “Better CT” Scot Haney returned for the 19th year as emcee and auctioneer. Honorary chairs were John and Judy Bierly and Paul and Mary Butler.

Live auction highlights included a week in the French countryside, a week on a barrier island in Florida, golf for four at Shelter Harbor Golf Club in Charlestown, RI, an exclusive dinner for six at Max’s Oyster Bar, dinner for 10 at Restaurant Bricco, a Boston sports getaway (Celtics and Bruins), two tickets to a Seth Meyers taping, tickets to comedian Sebastian Maniscalco and an overnight at the Mohegan Sun Casino Hotel, an “elegant adventure” with transportation in a Premier Limousine, and a tour of WFSB and lunch with Haney. 

The “Changing Lives Challenge” also raised thousands, as did a silent auction, a “bling” raffle, and a raffle of five elaborate “Life is a Journey” basket created by committee members.

The committee is still tabulating the proceeds, but the galas typically net approximately $250,000 for the organization.

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Board member Kathy Christensen and Curt Christensen. Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

From left: Committee member Dee Newton, Jon Newton, Lynn Knight, and Doug Knight at the Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Evelyn Benoit and Tom Goodrum. Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

From left: Jon Newton, Ted Newton, Curt Christensen. Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Bridge Executive Director Margaret Hann (center) with her husband, George Hann (left) and emcee Scot Haney. Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Mira and Dorjan Puka. Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

From left: Kevin Dowd, Cathy Dowd, Shevon Hickey, Tom Hickey. Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Sophie and Andreas Kapetanopoulos. Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Emcee Scot Haney of WFSB. Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Judy and John Bierly. Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

From left: Wendy Fair, Cyndi Gutermann, Peter Gutermann. Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Bridge Executive Director Margaret Hann. Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Honorary chairs (from left) Paul Butler, Mary Butler, Judy Bierly, John Bierly. Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Kathy Christensen, Dee Newton, Ronni Newton. Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020.

Bridge Family Center’s Annual Children’s Charity Ball. Jan. 18, 2020. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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