Dinner-dance to benefit group home for girls

WEIRTON – Family Connections will present a night of food, dancing and fun on April 27, with proceeds going to the group home for girls run by the agency in Brooke County.

Joanne Dobrzanski, executive director of Family Connections, said the event will include dinner served at the Serbian-American Cultural Center and dancing to music supplied by disc jockey Rico Johnson.

Reservations should be made by calling (304) 723-3423.

Doors will open at 6 p.m., when guests may partake of appetizers and a cash bar. Dinner will begin at 7 p.m., followed by a mix of silent and live auctions.

Going up for bid, with the help of auctioneer Bennie Parr, will be a 32-inch television, several gift baskets with such themes as Ladies’ Night Out, West Virginia University and “The Wizard of Oz.”

The fairy tale has special meaning to the staff of Brooke Place, who attempt to make the group home as much like a real home as possible for the girls who live there.

Girls come to the home for various reasons but often because their own homes are troubled, Dobrzanski said, so they encourage the girls to use their hearts to learn compassion and form positive relationships, their brains to consider the consequences of their actions and make good decisions and courage to change their behavior when they return home.

Before they leave, each is given a necklace with a pendant in the shape of Dorothy’s famous ruby slippers.

In its 28th year in Brooke County, the nonprofit group home has a capacity for 12 girls and is occupied by 10 girls, ages 12-18.

Though it receives federal and state funding, the fundraiser and donations from area churches, groups and individuals help to provide for both basic and personal needs, Dobrzanski said.

She said donations ranging from white sheets and toiletries to cosmetics and prom dresses help staff to establish some level of normalcy for the girls.

Dobranzski noted the girls attend local schools while living at Brooke Place and a couple will be graduating from high school this year, so such expenses as class rings and caps and gowns are a consideration.

She said over the years many individuals and groups have given generously to the home.

They have ranged from members of Colliers United Methodist Church and others who built a picnic shelter there and the Brooke County Rotary Club, which last year donated four benches, to local churches, groups and individuals who have donated care packages and money.