2023 Pair of Hearts Ball fundraiser to begin Feb. 11

Auction proceeds to help fund Grays Harbor organization dedicated to providing child welfare

Regardless of being a parent or not, it’s hard to find something more important than a child’s well-being and safety. This has been seen firsthand in Grays Harbor County over more than a year with the community coming together to advocate for governmental changes in child welfare in reaction to the missing Oakville girl, Oakley Carlson.

An opportunity for people to help a local organization tasked with safeguarding children among other things is approaching.

Connections, A Center for Healthy Families, will be hosting its 2023 Pair of Hearts Ball on Saturday, Feb. 11. The event, which will feature live and silent auctions, will assist the organization with obtaining the funds necessary for the business to be fully operational.

“We’re just trying to raise money for things that we can’t get grants for like overhead, electricity, management items and other day-to-day operational costs,” said Sonnya Wilkins, a board member for Connections, A Center for Healthy Families.

Originally known as Grays Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center before 2017, the organization was established in 1999 with the goal of assisting child victims of abuse and neglect, allowing children the ability to take emotional support dogs in courtrooms, and providing professionals for kids to tell their traumatic experiences only once in a safe environment to be used as testimony instead of being forced to recollect it multiple times in the courtroom.

While child safety is the top priority for Connections, other programs such as education and outreach, parent-child assistance, parent education and family time are also provided.

Although many fundraisers have reverted to in-person since the peak concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2023 Pair of Hearts will be hosting its event online through Facebook Live.

“We were hoping to do it in person this year but the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino, where we usually have our auction, is having some construction so we can’t do it in person,” Wilkins said.

According to Wilkins, the Pair of Hearts generally raises $35,000 each year, with a goal this year of $50,000. Auction items to be bid on will include Tacoma Rainier tickets, landscaping services, golf certificates and a vast number of other goods.

Contact Reporter Allen Leister at 360-463-3572 or allen.leister@thedailyworld.com