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Showcase of the Stars helps ensure girls have a safe place

March 09, 2013|By MAGGIE WOLFF PETERSON | Special to The Herald-Mail

For 129 years, children in Washington County have had a safe haven in times when home life is untenable, or trouble is in their way. That place, since 1927, has been known as the San Mar Children's Home in Boonsboro.

Here, girls whose homes are too difficult to navigate, and girls whose paths are leading them into danger, find shelter and programming that gives them a chance at a better future.

And the future, for those who attend the home's upcoming annual Showcase of the Stars, might include a ride in an L-39 Albatros military jet.

The showcase is on Friday, March 15, at Hagar Hall Conference & Event Center, and will feature six amateur groups competing in a lip-synch contest, with judging akin to that on "American Idol," said Daniel C. Day, director of development and marketing for San Mar.

Lawyers, doctors, clergy and business leaders will compete for judges, including radio and television personality Lou Scally, District Court Judge Dana Moylan Wright and attorney Carl Disque, who is also the organizer of the annual Western Maryland Blues Festival.

Emceeing the event will be Tom Riford, president of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Tickets are $40 individually, or $35 each for a table of eight. In addition to entertainment, the evening includes dinner: tilapia Florentine or chicken roulade. The fish dish will be baked tilapia on a bed of sautéed spinach with garlic, shallots and lemongrass. The chicken meal will be a boneless chicken breast pounded and filled with sundried tomato cream cheese and fresh baby spinach, rolled and topped with a pesto cream.

San Mar was established in 1883 as the Washington County Home for Orphans, and is now a campus of group homes for girls placed by social services or juvenile authorities. Additionally, the home operates four programs "of differing levels of intensity," Day said. The largest is treatment foster care placement for 44 children, both boys and girls.

"They're kids that are at risk," Day said. "They have greater needs than regular foster kids."

Programming offers structure and nurturing to children, and the home boasts many successes. "They turn their lives around," Day said. "Many of them have life-changing experiences."

This will be the fifth Showcase of the Stars for the home, which will use funds to underwrite operations. At the event, raffle tickets will offer a chance at the jet ride, which is first prize, as well as prizes including a week at a Deep Creek chalet; a weekend at the Mercersburg Inn; and tickets and transportation to an Orioles game.

The jet ride was secured through Falcon Air Services at Hagerstown Airport. The L-39 was developed in the 1960s, designed in Czechoslovakia and used in battle by the Soviet military. Today, the model is collected by elite airplane enthusiasts and used as a training aircraft. Individual airplanes sell for more than $200,000. The craft travels at speeds above 500 miles per hour.

Riding in one "would be a once-in-a-lifetime event," Day said.



If you go ...

What: San Mar Showcase of the Stars

When: Friday, March 15; doors open at 6 p.m.

Where: Hager Hall Conference & Event Center, 901 Dual Highway, Hagerstown

Cost: Tickets are $40 individually, or $35 each for a table of eight

Tickets to the event, as well as the raffle, are available from San Mar board members or by calling the home at 301-733-9067. Buyers need not attend the event to purchase raffle chances


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