‘Night Out for New Haven’ raises $3,175 in donations

This year’s “Night Out for New Haven” was one of the most successful in the event’s five-year history according to director Collett Cross. The event is a primary fund-raiser for New Haven Center for Special Needs Adults.
“We sold 201 tickets, which is probably the best ticket sales we’ve had or certainly close,” Cross said. “As of today (Wednesday) we have received an additional $1,165 in donations for a total of $3,175.”
She said quite a few people purchased tickets strictly as a donation even when they could not or did not attend the performance.
“The clients and their families worked hard to promote Night Out,” she said. “The families bought tickets and received donations from family members and friends. Community members were also generous with donations. Some individuals purchased one, two, or four tickets and wrote checks for $100.”
In addition to the financial success of the program, it was also successful as an entertainment venue and celebration of volunteer service, according to Cross.
“’High Hopes,’ New Haven’s chorus is always well received,” she said. “Approximately 25 of the 35 clients who currently attend New Haven sang at the beginning of the show. Lanta Craig volunteers her time each week to provide a music program for the center.” A special highlight this year was the celebration of client Justin Bates’ birthday and birthday cake was served to everyone following the program.
The performance by “Moonstone and Friends” was again underwritten by Ingomar native Curtis Downs and Cross said “Moonstone” continues to be a popular part of the annual fund-raiser.
“Following the show Saturday night, attendees described the performance by Moonstone and Friends as outstanding,” she said. “Throughout the week I have received many positive comments praising the wide variety of instruments that were played, the quality of the musicians, and the musical selections.”
Another annual part of “Night Out” is the presentation of the Faith, Hope and Love awards, which went this year to First United Methodist Church, BancorpSouth and Anne Darden Holmes, respectively.
“Night Out for New Haven” has been used to raise money for specific needs in the past, such as a new bus or van, but this year’s focus is much larger.
“New Haven has an immediate need for additional space,” Cross said. “The building is near capacity with the 35 clients currently attending. There are students who will be completing their high school programs who plan to attend next year and we are holding applications from families who would like for their family members to begin before this year ends.”
Enrollment has steadily increased for the past few years, and it has been obvious that an expansion would be necessary in the future, Cross said. Therefore, New Haven purchased adjoining property when it became available. “Two options have been discussed including construction of a larger building on the new property that would connect with the current building and a second option of expanding the current building,” Cross said. “Because of lack of funds due primarily to increased operating costs, an expansion of the current building is probably the only option at this time.”
New Haven operates on a very lean budget, she said. “There is no waste of money. The essential costs associated with utilities, transportation, food, transportation, and personnel consume most of the annual revenue.  The staff consists of only four full-time employees, therefore, volunteers are relied on to meet many of the personnel needs,” she said.
Financial support for New Haven comes from a variety of sources. Since it was established in 1961 the Union County Board of Supervisors has been the primary means of support.
The board allocates less than one mill of county taxes to New Haven. The City of New Albany has contributed $10,000 annually for the past few years. Annual grants from UNITE, United Way, and the Wal-Mart Foundation have been added in recent years. Other donations come from businesses, clubs, churches, and individuals, Cross said.
“The center also generates money by recycling aluminum cans,” she said. “The recycling program began in June, 2009 and since that time more than $7,000 has been earned.”
New Haven does not receive any state or federal money. Tuition for the year is $250.
“Communities around us are astounded by the operation of New Haven,” Cross said. “We have been asked if we could offer a satellite program outside of Union County. Union County is fortunate to have New Haven and it is vitally important that funds remain available to sustain the current operation and for expansion.”
Volunteers assisted Saturday evening by selling tickets (Betty Sims, Brenda Pannell), donating refreshments (Patsy Livingston) and doing set-up (Dorothy Harris, Amy Livingston, Jennifer Livingston, Edurado Rangel, Hector Rangel, Patsy Livingston). The Pilot Club of New Albany served refreshments.