COLLEGE CORNER — Preble County Commissioners hosted the fifth annual Commissioners’ Charity Ball at the Houston Woods State Park Lodge on Saturday, Oct. 17.
The dinner helps raise money for charities of the commissioners choice and this year the Preble County Human Society, Miami Valley Youth for Christ, the Junior Fair Board and Triangle Therapy Services all received proceeds from the benefit.
Commissioner Chris Day selected the Preble County Humane Society as his charity of choice for the 2015 ball. The Humane Society provides temporary refuge for lost abandoned, abused, unwanted or injured animals in Preble County with the hopes of finding a permanent home for the animal.
Leslie Renner, director of the Preble County Humane Society, said the money will go to help cover veterinarian costs which total about $3,000 a month according to Renner.
“It’s absolutely wonderful, what they are doing here, it is amazing,” Renner said about the event. “The support they give is amazing, but it also lets people know that we are around, which is helpful to not only us, but the other charities.”
Commissioner Denise Robertson selected two charities for the event, choosing Miami Valley Youth for Christ and the Preble County Junior Fair Board for recipients of the funds.
Junior Fair Board President Johnathon Cottingim said the money will help the some 800 kids involved with one of the board’s several organizations.
The programs included not only the Junior Fair but also the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, FCCLA and FFA who all aim to develop kids in leadership and valuable life skills.
“Junior fair covers the vast bulk of kids in Preble County who are involved in one of the activities or the other,” Cottingim said. “It’s a good opportunity to promote leadership and allows some of the kids to win some ribbons.”
Miami Valley Youth for Christ was represented by Maria Brubaker, who explained the organization attempts to promote a positive way of life. “We offer during and after school programs because we want to see change in our community and encourage students down a good path,” Brubaker said. “Whether it is during school or afterward, we encourage making good choices, respecting good moral character and how to treat other people with respect.”
The group has about 400 students involved in the program currently; they have recently started in Twin Valley South High School, have been established in Eaton and Tri-County North, and will be starting a program a Preble Shawnee in coming months.
Brubaker says the money will go toward the continued growth of the organization here in Preble County.
Triangle Therapy Services “provides traditional occupational therapy in non-traditional settings,” according to Margie Benge, who is the lead occupational therapist with the group.
Benge explained they offer therapy for children up to the age of 21 and use animals and nature to provide a more relaxed and comfortable setting for the children who participate in the program.
Benge started the program because of her own passion for animals. “I think it just good for kids,” she said. “I think it’s very different than a traditional medical model. Instead of going to a hospital or doctors office they are coming to the farm and it’s just more relaxed for the kids.”
Benge said she plans to use the money for scholarship funds for families who are unable to afford the program on their own, or to offer more group sessions of therapy.
Benge said the group sees about 70 kids a week through the program who all have nature or animals tied into occupational therapy practices.
Day spoke to those in attendance about the sponsors of the event: “The people who are sponsors tonight, they are the ones that really need to be thanked, they are the ones who make this happen,” Day said. “We’ve been very fortunate in the five years we have done this, we started this in a downturned economy, we were really surprised by the response we got from Preble County,” Day said.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.