By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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During sessions from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., parents participate in activities with their kids, then join group discussions while their children play.
Child care and transportation are provided. For more information, phone 360-808-4947 or 360-457-8355.
First Step also has drop-in centers, each with a free clothing and baby equipment closet, a kids' play area, referrals to community resources, emergency baby formula and diapers, free children's books and snacks.
The Port Angeles center is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays at 325 E. Sixth St., and the Sequim center is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 525 N. Fifth Ave.
More about First Step, a nonprofit United Way partner agency, can be found at www.FirstStepFamily.org.
Peninsula Daily News
For First Step Family Support Center, the nonprofit provider of parenting classes and other programs for young families, a night in “Paris” sounded like just the thing. Especially in springtime.
Thus was born “Midnight in Paris,” the French feast and auction that are First Step's largest fundraiser of the year, which will be at C'est Si Bon restaurant Saturday.
The center's 18-member board of directors has gone all-out, putting together auction packages from the practical — a load of gravel from Lakeside Industries — to the nearly tropical, as in a week's vacation in Mazatlan, Mexico.
This Parisian-style party is a rich one, added Staci Matthes, First Step's development manager: The total value of the items is up around $12,000.
Some are hard to put a retail value on, though.
There's a Lake Ozette “fishing adventure” donated by board member Kathy Murphy-Carrey and her husband, Don Carrey, and a birthday party, with cupcakes and a ladder-truck ride, hosted by Port Angeles' volunteer firefighters.
Matthes acknowledged that Midnight in Paris is yet another dinner-auction fundraiser with a high ticket price — $80 per person — like several other fundraisers that happen on the Peninsula every year.
Putting on such an event is a tricky business, she said: The price has to be high in order for the event to raise real money but not so steep that she's looking at a half-empty room Saturday night.
Despite the name, the Midnight in Paris party will start early: at 5:30 p.m. at C'est Si Bon, 23 Cedar Park Drive, off U.S. Highway 101 just east of Port Angeles.
Tickets on sale
Tickets will be sold at the door, but Matthes urges supporters to reserve in advance via 360-457-8355 or www.FirstStepFamily.org.
About two-thirds of the tickets are sold; that's the board getting busy again, Matthes said late last week.
And “what's worked really well for us is having a lot of experiences donated by board members,” she said.
The Lake Ozette package, for example, is a day on the lake in the Carreys' boat fishing and photographing bird life, with lunch provided and the fish fry to cap it off at the Carreys' home.
Now 42 years old, First Step has an annual budget of $1,063,599, Matthes noted.
Executive Director Nita Lynn and her staff run a dozen programs. In 2013, First Step served 4,689 adults and children.
Among its most visible services are the drop-in centers for parents in Port Angeles and Sequim, which saw 2,986 visits by adults and 2,539 by children.
Other services include maternity support, the Parents as Teachers Home Visiting Program, First Books, Safe Beds for Healthy Babies, play-and-learn groups and the Parent Child Assistance Program, a home-visit program for mothers who used alcohol or other drugs while pregnant, which provided help for 75 families last year, Matthes said.
Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at email@example.com.