The Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut’s (CGC) annual gala, Come Play! netted $439,000 in support of mental and behavioral health services for youth in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, and New Canaan.

The gala, held at The Loading Dock by Abigail Kirsch in Stamford on April 30th, was themed Come Play!…In Outer Space. Upon arriving at the industrial-chic venue adorned with cosmic décor, guests were handed a celestial signature cocktail by wait staff. To kick off the evening, attendees funneled into the Silent Auction room to mingle, enjoy cocktails, and bid on various items that were donated by local businesses. “We are incredibly grateful for the donations we received from our community partners. With their support, we generated over $66,000 in funding from both the silent and live auction. That will go a long way toward subsidizing the cost of providing critical mental health services to children who are in desperate need of our support,” stated CGC’s Development Director, Jeannine Egdorf Phelan, CFRE.

While in the dining room, guests enjoyed decadent courses, were entertained by James Daniel Entertainment, and bid on live auction items like dinner for 10 at the Skylark in NYC or a week at an all-inclusive resort. To highlight the purpose of the gala, CGC’s President and CEO, Dr. Eliot Brenner, thanked guests for supporting the mental health needs of the community’s children, and elaborated on how CGC continues to experience an increase in requests for services and severity of cases. Guests were inspired by the incredibly moving speech delivered by CGC’s Clinical Director, Dr. Jessica Welt. Dr. Welt reflected on her own experiences as a crisis clinician, and provided real life examples of the struggles CGC’s clients often experience. Her detailed account of situations CGC’s clinicians encounter and manage ignited a wave of yellow paddles to be risen, with guests donating between $100 and $20,000. At one point, a guest was moved to offer a match up to $100,000 on any donations of $5,000 or less. With that match, the paddle raise generated $272,500. These funds go directly to support the provision of mental health services to at-risk children who may be struggling with mental illness, abuse, neglect or trauma.

“We are incredibly honored to have such enthusiastic and generous supporters. Their financial support and tireless advocacy enables CGC to continue to grow to meet the needs of children and teens in lower Fairfield County,” said Dr. Brenner.

220 guests attended Come Play!. The event wouldn’t have been made possible without the tremendous support from Team Epic volunteers and members of CGC’s event committee: Gail Balcerzak, Alyssa Billups, Erica Calhoun, Karen D’Agostino, Margaret Deluca, Ginny Ertl, Michael Keady, Louise Laberge, Jasmine McCrawford, Kenda McDonnell, Jeannine Egdorf Phelan, Edward Rosenthal, Jennifer Sheridan, Maria Showman, Mireille Sibilio, Cindy Willette, and Darcy Witham.