The Long Table on Main - Aventure
Main Street - Jasper, GA ~ September 24, 2016
Annual Fundraiser for Prevent Child Abuse Pickens (PCAP).
The Long Table's theme was Aventure (Fr. n. an adventure, a fling; v. to dare). Guests were dazzled by Cirque du Soleil type performers from Dream Friends Entertainment. Patrons enjoyed elegantly served dinner from the collaborative offerings of 61 Main Street and Coast2Coast Catering.
On behalf of the Pickens County Board of Commissioners, Commissioner Becky Denney presented Margy Lohman a Certificate of Appreciation for her 20 years of service as Founder and Executive Director of PCAP.
PCAP, a 501(c)3 non-profit, is celebrating it’s 21st year serving Pickens county. It's mission is to prevent child abuse before it starts through early support and guidance to young families. PCAP educators are currently providing services to 81 families involving 108 children.
For further information, please visit us at PCAPickens.org or Facebook.com/PCAPickens.
The Long Table - Back on Main Street
by Dennis Santucci
Curious drivers and walkers were trying to figure out what was happening in downtown Jasper on Saturday night, as Prevent Child Abuse Pickens held its 4th annual fundraiser - The Long Table on Main – Cirque Aventure. Cirque performers - gymnasts, stilt walkers and unicyclists - circulated their way among amused guests through the gathering hour. In a unique collaborative venture, Coast2Coast Catering served mouth-watering appetizers while 61 Main provided drinks especially concocted for the evening – the Contortionist and the Fire Breather. In another first-of-a-kind venture WXJR FMM102.1, Jasper’s hometown radio station provided music for the evening with songs especially chosen to compliment the event, advertising for the evening’s sponsors and announcements about PCAP and the evenings activities simulcast throughout the listening area.
As they took their seats around the 200-foot-long table, Dennis Santucci, President of PCAP Board of Directors and emcee for the evening welcomed the guests and thanked them for their valuable support. Thanks were given to the evening’s sponsors without whom the fundraiser could not have happened. The tireless work of the Board of Directors and the indispensable work of the 50+ volunteers was duly acknowledged, as well as the willing cooperation and support from the Main Street merchants, and Mayor John Weaver and his staff.
A seriously delicious salad, including quail eggs, bacon crumbles and pears, by Coast2Coast kicked off the dinner. This was followed by 61 Main’s main course offerings including Chateaubriand and Parchment baked trout. The captivating performances of a yoga balancing act, a contortionist and flame twirling mimes appeared intermittently on the stage throughout dinner, interspersed with music and dancing.
A live auction followed dinner as Jane Neighbors of Talking Rock Realty who sponsored his trip, introduced celebrity auctioneer Myers Jackson, host of the TV show Texas Flip and Move on the DIY network. Myers kicked it off by provoking enthusiastic bidding on some excellent bottles of wine. Once he got the audience participating, generous prices were paid for a Spanish Fiesta for 24 people donated by Coast2Coast Catering and a long weekend on Lake Santeetlah in the Smokey Mountains donated by Katie Mitchell including two meals catered by Coast2Coast.
As the excitement of the auction calmed, PCAP staff and Board of Directors gathered in front of the stage. “Prevent Child Abuse Pickens is very proud of having served the children of Pickens County for 20 years. But we all haven’t been here for 20 years”, stated the Mr. Santucci. Facing the gathering, he continued “anyone not associated with PCAP for 20 years please take 2 steps backward.” There was Margy Lohman, Founder and Executive Director of PCAP standing alone “wondering where everyone had gone.” This was the introduction to a surprise celebration of Margy’s 20 years of service to prevent child abuse. Margy founded the organization in late 1995 and made her first home visit in 1996. Margy continues to make home visits with her staff, knowing there is nothing better than the personal contact. She has trained dozens of Parent Educators over the years and has influenced the lives of over 2,000 children in Pickens County. Margy beams with pride after going to a graduation or wedding of a former student or meeting one as a secure, stable adult out in the community and knowing that quite possibly her efforts saved them from abuse or neglect and a very troubled life. County Commissioner Becky Denny presented Margy with a plaque from the Pickens County Board of Commissioners thanking Margy for her 20 years of services to the county. Margy then shared some of her experiences over the past 20 years in an emotional thank you.
As the emotions subsided members of the PCAP Board and staff performed an A/V presentation on their mission statement: ‘to prevent child abuse and neglect before it starts”. It is based on the underlining message of the national Parents As Teachers Program that child abuse and neglect is an educational process for the parents. “I had no idea how to raise a child” and “all I knew was an abusive parent-child relationship” are phrases often heard by the parent educators. “The program educates the parents on how to nurture and teach their children with kindness. And that discipline is a growing process, not harmful and degrading. We try to break the cycle of child abuse,” contributed Jessica Koch, Parent Educator.
The presentation ended with an explanation of how PCAP tries to balance it’s funding among three sources: government grants, corporate and private donations and fundraising. Being that The Long Table is PCAP’s largest fundraiser, the goal for the evening was to raise one third of its annual expenses. Sponsors and ticket sales (exceeding expenses) covered most of the goal. The auction was very successful but now a final appeal was necessary. The need was explained to the patrons and left in their hands with the results to be announced at the end of the evening.
At that point servers paraded out with trays of deserts topped with sparklers for a spectacular display. Once served, the 30-minute stage show began featuring jugglers, contortionists, a balancing act, a fire act, a trapeze act and a silk aerial artist (performed on 20-foot-high rigging assembled on Main Street). The closing act featured Luke’s juggling skills accompanied by his hilarious comedic banter. Margy Lohman and Dennis Santucci approached the stage. Contrasting all the evil we see on the nightly news with what was witnessed that night, he turned to Margy and said, “Margy, look at these beautiful people, we told them we needed $15,000 in contributions tonight to reach our goal. Margy, tell them what they contributed.” Choked with emotion and love, Margy responded “$21,000.” The table exploded with well-deserved cheers and a round of applause. Everyone walked a little taller and smiled a little broader as the dancing resumed and the evening wound down.
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