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posted: 4/23/2014 12:33 PM

Lake County Haven to host 22nd annual gala

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Lake County Haven submission

The Lake County Haven Women's Auxiliary announces its 22nd Annual Gala titled "A Little Night's Magic ... Can Make a Big Difference" Saturday, May 3.

This fundraiser at the Exmoor Country Club in Highland Park is the largest event produced by the Lake County Haven and raises 25 percent of the agency's operating budget.

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Since 1992, the Lake County Haven has been helping homeless women and children transition to independent living. Residents of the Haven receive professional services focusing on long-term housing and independence. The agency's vision is that its residents will never be homeless again.

The event is produced by the Lake County Haven Women's Auxiliary Gala Committee and co-chaired by Stephanie Toral, Debbie Simmons, and Beth McKenna. For information on the event, a list of corporate and individual sponsors (updated daily), a full list of committee members, to purchase tickets, or to become a sponsor, call (847) 680-1870 or visit www.lakecountyhaven.org/happenings/annual-gala.

"When you walk into the gala and look around the room, you know that every person there supports and believes in the services the Haven provides. That feeling is incredibly rewarding. In a beautiful setting the gala has found a way to communicate that women and children make up the majority of homelessness and that homelessness can happen to any person in any community," Simmons said.

The Haven's gala is an elegant evening that provides a live band, food, fine wine, auctions, and dancing. The more than 250 guests who attend agree the highlight of the evening is when a Haven resident takes the microphone and tells her story.

Last year, Haven resident Danielle told her story of what it was like to be homeless, hopeless, penniless, and pregnant. She spoke of giving birth to a baby girl, falling in love with her after gazing into her perfect, little face, and then having to give up custody of her because Danielle could not care for her.

But soon afterward, Danielle came to the Haven, and her life started to turn around. She received case management, financial coaching, and career counseling. Soon, she got a job and began saving 80 percent of her income so that she could move on to independence.

"Danielle is very smart, capable, and, like most of our residents, able to live independently. She just needed help to turn things around in her life. The Haven provides that help. We've done so for over 900 women and children thus far, and the vast majority have moved on to safe, stable, independent lives," Executive Director Laura Sabino said.

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