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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Stepping Stones’ Supporters Celebrate Giving from the Heart at 10th Annual Valentine’s Event

A sold-out crowd of 230 toasted the 10th anniversary of Stepping Stones’ Valentine-themed fundraising dinner, Open Your Heart, at Eddie Merlot’s Restaurant in Montgomery.  The event netted more than $100,000 to support Stepping Stones’ programs for area children, teens and adults with disabilities. 

Guests enjoy dinner at Eddie Merlot’s restaurant.
The evening featured hors d’oeuvres, a sit-down dinner, raffle and live auction of “camperships” to send children to summer camp at Stepping Stones. In addition, guests browsed a selection of commemorative plates designed by Stepping Stones’ participants, which were offered for sale at the event.

Dr. Alex Donath (Hyde Park) and Terri Hogan, a member of Stepping Stones’ Board of Trustees
In one of the night’s highlights, past Stepping Stones Board of Trustees member Mary McGraw washonored by family members in a surprise video presentation. McGraw spearheaded the first Open Your Heart dinner in 2008, and has been integral to its success. In its 10 years, the event has raised more than $600,000 to increase independence, improve lives, and promote inclusion for individuals with disabilities. 

Jeane and George Elliott (Hyde Park) enjoy the cocktail hour.
“Mary McGraw is a huge supporter of Stepping Stones programs. She volunteered here a teen, served nine years on the board, and continues her engagement through volunteer efforts like Open Your Heart,” Chris Adams, Stepping Stones executive director, said. “Her compassion for others and her ability to raise awareness, as well as resources, to ensure programming for the intellectual/developmental-disabilities population is truly amazing.”

Mike McGraw purchases raffle tickets from volunteer Sophia Caley (Mt. Lookout).
Open Your Heart was underwritten by SPA, Inc., Presenting Sponsor, and Cherub Sponsors were the Convalescent Hospital for Children, CCHMC, and the Heidt Family Foundation. Patti Zesch chaired the organizing committee. Along with McGaw and Zesch, additional committee
members were Debbie Alf, Gigi Heidt (Hyde Park), Terri Hogan,  Angelia Hutchison, Jen Parry and Dina Taylor.

Commemorative plates designed by Stepping Stones’ adult participants with disabilities were for sale at the Valentine-themed dinner.
Stepping Stones is a United Way partner agency serving more than 1,000 people with disabilities in day and overnight programs. The 54-year-old agency provides educational, recreational and social programs at campuses in Batavia, Indian Hill, Monfort Heights and Norwood. For more information:

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