Believe in Tomorrow’s annual gala, April 11

(March 27, 2015) The Believe in Tomorrow Children’s House by the Sea will be celebrating its 15-year anniversary on Saturday, April 11 with a gala at the Holiday Inn Oceanfront.

The event will begin at the Children’s House By the Sea on 66th Street at 5 p.m. with an open house and cocktail party that will last about an hour. A unit will be on display for the tour and beer and wine will be offered.

“Some of the people who attend our events have never set foot on this property,” said Wayne Littleton, coordinator for the Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Respite Housing Program. “Our goal is to showcase how the place has changed in 15 years and what the community’s donations have gone towards.”

At 6 p.m., the celebration moves next door, where a red carpet will lead guests up to the door of Holiday Inn.

“Jason [Gulshen, general manager at Holiday Inn Oceanfront] is a huge supporter of our organization. He wanted to host the event and after thinking it through, change is good, especially with their new restaurant, Touch of Italy. This year we wanted to think of ways to make our event unique and special,” Littleton said.

A family-style dinner from Touch of Italy will be included, in addition to entertainment from the Evasons and black ties are optional.

Tickets to the event usually only pay for expenses, which makes the activities and auction vital to organizers.

This year, guest can expect to see a martini bar, wine wall, mystery boxes, a chocolate fountain and photo booth, Littleton said.

There are numerous auction items up for grabs, including a wave runner donated by Pete Cycles, autographed sports memorabilia, a dinner for 10 provided by Sunset Grille and specialty dinners, including an open bar from Seacrets, to name a few.

The theme of this year’s event will be the memories made by children who have stayed at Believe in Tomorrow House in Ocean City the past 15 years.

“It’s serious, but a very happy place and the good thing about our video is it shows the success stories,” Littleton said. “You get to see the children all grown up, good looking and in college.”

Instead of a guest speaker, a video presentation will show attendees the year each child visited, their names, what Children’s House meant to them, their favorite activity in Ocean City and what activities they participated in while staying in the resort town.

Littleton has been sending emails, calling children and collecting pictures to illustrate their memories.

Believe in Tomorrow will bring back five families who have stayed there in the past, in addition to having a full house for the weekend.

“It’s been neat to contact the families,” Littleton said. “Some I have developed bonds with and we have kept in touch through the years, while others I have reconnected with. What a cool thing to bring back families.”

Each year, Believe in Tomorrow gives out its Hero by the Sea award. Gabby Mancini, owner of Mancini’s Brick Oven Pizzeria & Restaurant in Fenwick Island, will be honored at the gala this year.

“He’s been a part of our organization for at least eight years and feeds two of our families every week at the restaurant,” Littleton said. “He treats our families like gold and will take the kids in the back to learn about pizza making. They add a personal touch and are extremely special people up there.”

All families who have stayed at the Children’s House in Ocean City were invited to attend the event on April 11.

The Believe in Tomorrow House by the Sea has received a Christmas card every year since 2002 from one of the families it has hosted and seeing these children grow up through the years helped Littleton determine this year’s theme.

Other stories such as David and Kelsey Neith, who fell in love with Littleton’s late dog Summer six years ago and whose favorite memory is the dolphin mailbox outside the 66th Street escape inspired the evening.

Only 200 tickets will be sold and the cost is $75 per person or $150 per couple. For more information or to buy tickets, call Littleton at 410-723-2842.

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