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Fans can cheer on the Suns and help Children's Village

September 04, 2005|By MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

What began as a casual conversation at a Hagerstown Kiwanis Club luncheon a year ago has resulted in a new fundraising source for Children's Village of Washington County.

On Tuesday, the Hagerstown Suns will sponsor a Playoff Pep Rally at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center on Dual Highway. The event, which will take place in the grand ballroom from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., will give guests and fans a chance to cheer on the team as they prepare for the playoffs.

Players will be available to meet with ticket holders, who may get autographs and have pictures taken with them. A dinner of hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorn, peanuts and soda is included in the ticket price.

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Tickets cost $7 in advance and $8 at the door. At least $3.50 from each ticket sold will be donated to Children's Village, according to Executive Director Rochelle Morrell, who said she is thrilled with the collaboration.

"The Suns contacted us about this," Morrell said.

The pep rally partnership sprang from that Kiwanis luncheon, where Morrell had the opportunity to chat casually with Suns general manager Kurt Landes about the mission of Children's Village.

The resulting liaison was forged earlier when the Suns sponsored a tree at a previous Children's Village event, long before the pep rally was planned, Morrell said. The rally was organized after the Suns finished first in the South Atlantic League's North Division in the first half of the season.

Morrell has been with Children's Village since 2000. Established in 1991, the not-for-profit education organization provides elementary schoolchildren with the life safety skills necessary to make informed decisions.

Public, private and church schools are included, as are home-schooled children throughout Washington County, Morrell said.

"We get $20,000 from Washington County government each year," Morrell said.

This year, Children's Village also received $20,000 from the county gaming commission.

Additional funding is in the form of grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency. Each year, the students at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md., come to Children's Village to study the curriculum.

Thanks to a FEMA grant, Children's Village is making its facilities available to 23 elementary schools in Franklin County, Pa., for a fee.

A big part of her job is to be out in the community representing Children's Village - to show what it is and what it does, Morrell said, a strategy she said is working.

The three major Children's Village fundraisers include the upcoming Sept. 9 golf tournament, Kids Alive Fest and a VIP waiter breakfast.

"And we receive support from several local foundations, businesses, civic organizations and individuals," Morrell said.

The Washington County Board of Education provides bus transportation to the village, which is at 1546 Mount Aetna Road.

For more information or tickets for the rally, call 301-733-4443.

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