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April 18, 2013 - Laugh Yourself Blue to Raise Funds for Firefly Autism

What: An evening of laughter and award-winning food to change

Where: Mile High Station

When: Thursday, April 18, 2013

Time: 6-9 p.m.

Ticket Prices: $175 per person; tables of 10: $1,500

Beneficiary: Firefly Autism

EMCEE: Eric Goodman, Mile High Sports Radio personality and board member

Gala Chairperson(s): Gary Moore, board president

Honorary Chairperson(s): Brandon Stokley and Lana Stokley

Staff: Jason Romero, Executive Director; Jesse Ogas, Vice-President Social Responsibility / Development; Carrie Scott, Director Training / Clinical Programs; Mark Rapp, CFO / Director of Operations; Shawnie Girtler, Center Clinical Director, Jenny Blankenship, Outreach Clinical Director; Dan Hugo, Business Development Director Western Colorado; Diane Osaki, Founder Director/ Early Start Denver Model; Amanda Chaffin, Western Slope Behavior Services / Grand Junction

Speaker: Guest speaker: Lana Stokley; staff representatives: Jason Romero, executive director, and Jesse Ogas, VP Social Responsibility & Development

Entertainment: Comedians Michael McCreary and Phil Palisoul

Sponsors: The Piton Foundation, Que Bueno Mexican Grill, Holland & Hart, Autism Society of Colorado, Autism Society of Boulder, Blazen Illumuniations, MillerCoors, UMB, Harper Hoper & Assoc., MidcenturyLA, EKS&H LLLP, Blue Ribbon Home Warranty Inc, ARC Thrift Stores, Walmart, 1st Bank

Auctioneer: Adam Kevil

Menu: House salad and house-made sweet rolls; tender pieces of beef medallions laden in house-made chokecherry reduction; English-pea risotto w/ mascarpone and truffle; mixed rire-roasted baby seasonal vegetables w/ Durango honey, cardamom and brown butter; vegetarian option: orzo pasta w/ oven-dried tomato, spinach, pecorino and basil; at each place setting: lemon-and-white-chocolate mousse parfait with strawberry layers

Attendance: 300-plus

Attire: Casual

Special Thanks: Suzy Guteirrez, volunteer coordinator; Renee Ortiz, Eventful Productions; Marilyn Anderson, graphic designer, Anderson Creative, LLC

Hors D'Oeuvres:: Bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin skewered on bamboo and served with red-onion chutney; petite potato latke topped with pear-and-thyme chutney; petite white-cheddar biscuit topped w/ pancetta and jalapeno jam; four-cheese fried ravioli served w/ chipotle ranch

Information: FireflyAutism.org; 303-759-1192

Board of Directors: Gary Moore, board president; Diane Raba, past board president; Steven Gutierrez, board vice-president/development chair; Alexis Kearns, board secretary; Amy Bittner, Russell DeWitt, Eric Goodman, John Griffith, Eric Kiker, Kimberly Roy, Steve Shaffer, Emily Wey

Blacktie Photos by: Lisa Perry


 (l to r): Dane Gallivan, Todd Rinehart and honorary co-chair and former Denver Bronco Brandon Stokley
(l to r): Dane Gallivan, Todd Rinehart and honorary co-chair and former Denver Bronco Brandon Stokley

Imagine a comedy club with a heart, and you’re at Firefly Autism’s second annual Laugh Yourself Blue. Savvy guests knew they were in for a treat when they heard 17-year-old Michael McCreary’s routine was called: “Does This Make My Asperger’s Look Big?” But while laughter ruled the night, the event remained true to its purpose. The biggest impact of the night was honorary co-chair Lana Stokley speaking to the crowd in great detail about the journey and successes involved with her young autistic son. His turning point? The entire family's experience working with Firefly Autism’s educational staff and programs. 

On Thursday, April 18, more than 300 gathered at Mile High Station for an evening full of laughter—as well as a few tears. The event began with a reception and silent auction, with energetic flutist Jentry McCombs entertaining throughout. Winning emcee Eric Goodman, Mile High Sports Radio personality and Firefly board member, offered witty repartee as well as educational information during the dinner program. Living with Asperger’s Syndrome, McCreary delivered 20 minutes of laugh-inducing anecdotes about his life. Former Colorado senator and former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar was spotted in the crowd, enjoying the show with his wife Hope.

Firefly’s executive director Jason Romero and vice-president Jesse Ogas talked about the organization’s current goal to transform kids’ lives with technology—a $50,000 campaign to acquire iPads, smart boards and laptop computers. Honorary co-chair, former Denver Bronco Brandon Stokley sat close to the stage to offer moral support for wife Lana as she told the crowd about the family’s journey with autism. Then, auctioneer extraordinaire Adam Kevil directed a live auction and paddle-raiser with efficiency and enthusiasm.  The evening ended with an engaging comedy set by local comedian Phil Palisoul, whose work includes performances on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.”

Firefly Autism is dedicated to changing “can’t” to “can.”
With a purpose to transform the lives of children with autism, the organization partners with families, creating life-long relationships through thoughtful, innovative and empirical learning treatment programs for those from ages 18 months to 18 years. Specialized programs identify each student’s individualized strengths and needs across multiple developmental areas including social, emotional, behavioral, language/communication, academics and adaptive/life skills. Individual goals are created from the strength and needs assessment and progress on these objectives is assessed regularly. Children are taught how to learn from and work cooperatively with peers, and how to find more adaptive ways to communicate. To learn more about Firefly Autism, please visit www.firefly.org.
 

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