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'Stepping Out' event kicks off fund's 10th anniversary year

SPRINGFIELD MaryAnne's Kids, a charitable fund that benefits children in CHD's foster care program, is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2010 and kicks off those festivities on March 6 with its eighth annual "Stepping Out" Dinner Dance at the Hampden Country Club, 128 Wilbraham Rd., Hampden. The fundraising benefit for MaryAnne's Kids begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are available for $45 and sponsorships from $100 and up. All proceeds from the event will benefit MaryAnne's Kids (MAK), a special fund established in 2000 in memory of MaryAnne Sadak-Eklof, who cared for many foster children before passing away just before Christmas in 2009 at the age of 46. The fund, established by MaryAnne's sister, Eva Santaniello of Longmeadow, who died herself in 2007, is managed by the Center for Human Development (CHD). "I'm proud of the work that the staff and volunteers associated with MaryAnne's Kids provide to children and I congratulate them for 10 years of giving hope to families that we serve," said John Roberson, vice president of CHD's Children and Families division. This year's event will follow a New York City theme, complete with a live five-piece band, Full Circle, and many exciting and fun activities, including a silent auction, raffle and, of course, dining and dancing. MAK provides funds so children in CHD's foster care program can participate in activities not typically paid for through the state foster care system. By giving these children the means to pursue special interests in music, dance, art, sports, summer camps and other extra-curricular activities, CHD hopes to offer a positive influence that will remain with them throughout their lives. The "Stepping Out" Dinner Dance is one of MAK's two signature fundraising events that take place each year. The 10th Annual MaryAnne's Kids Golf Tournament will take place Sept. 20 at the Hampden Country Club. Registration forms for "Stepping Out" are available online at www.chd.org/MAK/stepout.asp. For more information, to register by phone or to donate an item for the silent auction or raffle, please call Chris Cradock, CHD foster care homefinding supervisor, at 781-6556.

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