About The Columbus Young Professionals Club

Date Auction and Fashion Show will make January 27th 'A Date 2 Remember'

Two Local Charities to Benefit from Fundraiser in Downtown Columbus
January 1, 2007
By Michael Peterson

Putting yourself on stage in front of a large audience takes a healthy dose of moxie that not everybody can claim to possess. Chad Weinman can make that claim.

"If I go for at least $4, I can keep my dignity," jokes Weinman, a 25-year-old IT Security Consultant for Deloitte.

Weinman will take the stage along with other bachelors, bachelorettes, couples and celebrities on Saturday, January 27th, as part of A Date 2 Remember, a charity date auction and fashion show, presented by the Columbus Young Professionals Club.

In place of models strutting the catwalk, date participants will be dressed in local fashions, provided by Columbus-area boutiques and designers. The charity event will raise money for two organizations: the Miracle League of Central Ohio and United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Central Ohio.

A date-auction novice, Weinman says he decided to take time out from his weekend hobby, rock-climbing, because of the chance to help two deserving causes at once.

"As long as some money is raised, that's the point,” he says. “I’m not too worried about it. I think it will be a fun event, and I love meeting people."

As a twist on the traditional charity date auction, couples also will be participating, allowing other couples the opportunity to go on a double date. Date packages range from dinner and a movie, to a tour of Columbus and a show. Event organizers say each package will match the personalities of the couples and singles.

"As a young couple, I have my guy friends and she has her girlfriends, but we don't always have couple friends," explains Abe Nixon, who along with his fiancee, Jennifer Hronek, will be participating as a couple. "It's fun to find neat couples. It's the most fun way to help a charity that I’ve ever heard of."

The pool of date candidates varies from an altruistic accountant and a good-hearted graduate school researcher, to philanthropic dance instructors and a benevolent vice president. Companies represented include a veritable 'power list' of local employers. A few of those are: American Electric Power, Cardinal Health, Limited Brands, JPMorgan Chase, Nationwide, The Ohio State University, the State of Ohio, and Worthington Industries.

All proceeds from the event will be split equally between the Miracle League and UCP.

Formed locally in 2004, the Miracle League of Central Ohio began as an effort to raise money to build the area's first-ever baseball field for children with disabilities who have limited mobility.

The following year saw the opening of the Miracle League field at Darree Fields Park in Dublin. A cushioned synthetic surface serves as the canvas for the bases and pitcher’s mound — they're painted on to eliminate potential barriers for players.

Along with the baseball fields, the Miracle League saw a second opportunity in creating a handicapped-accessible playground. Miracle League Board Member Christy Henegan says the playground brings families closer together.

"A lot of people don't consider the fact that these children don’t have the ability to participate [in playing]," Henegan says. "(The playground) will bring a new level of involvement for children with disabilities. Those kids can finally play with their brothers and sisters, be incorporated and not have those limitations."

The Miracle League plans to use its share of the money from A Date 2 Remember to maintain the ball field, and to help build the playground.

UCP Director of Development and Marketing Gina Ginn says the proceeds they receive will support the Adult Day Program that provides social interaction, as well as the supportive living and employment programs. The three programs serve adults with Cerebral Palsy, aging conditions, and other disabilities.

"From our name, people assume we only serve those with Cerebral Palsy, when in actuality, the population that we serve is much larger than that," Ginn says. "Our goal for the event is not just money. Our goal is to raise awareness in the community for what our organization does."

Henegan and Ginn look forward to creating a future date to remember. Plans are in the works for attendees from the evening and the Central Ohio community to unite for a volunteer opportunity to enhance both organizations.

"I would hope (A Date 2 Remember) turns people on to volunteering [outside of the event]," Henegan says. "If you don't have money, you can donate your time."

Complementing the date auction and fashion show will be a series of silent auction packages and raffle prizes designed to give attendees extra incentive to take part in the charitable fundraiser; as well as music and food catered by Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, Alta on High and Sher-Bliss. Celebrity dates will include former Ohio State University athletes and firefighters from the city of Columbus. One of the hosts is even getting in on the act herself. ABC6/FOX 28 news reporter Mary Jedlicka will co-host the date auction with Mix 97.1 personality Mark Dantzer, and has agreed to participate as a celebrity date.

Henegan and Ginn both serve on the Columbus Young Professional Club's event-organizing committee, and say the evening will be just as entertaining for those who watch from the crowd, as it will be for those on stage.

"It will be interesting to just watch and be a bystander in the background," Henegan says. "(Being on stage) is something a lot of people would love to do, but don't have the guts. So it's kind of fun to live through their experiences, and see how it unfolds.

"I think it will be a great time to get friends together and do something different than just going out to a bar. Plus, it's for two great causes."

A Date 2 Remember, presented by the Columbus Young Professionals Club, takes place Saturday, January 27th, from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at The Vault, 35 East Gay Street. Pre-sale tickets are $20 ($35 for two tickets); or $25 at the door. To purchase tickets call Gina Ginn at 614-279-0109. More information is available at www.cypclub.com.

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