Northwest Indiana Comes Together for a Good Cause

By: Caitlin Vanlaningham Last Updated: February 1, 2014

The month of February was started on a good note at the Valparaiso Family YMCA Bash. The Y Bash was held at the Porter County Expo Center on Saturday evening and despite the less than agreeable weather, patrons came out in droves to enjoy the evening at this annual affair.

"Our purpose in life is to serve Northwest Indiana as [the Expo Center] is large enough to hold events so that the people will be comfortable," Marcia Hoyt, Director of the Porter County Expo Center said. "The Expo Center is self sustaining, so we are the location for great events throughout the year like this one which generates enough income for us to remain open. The Valpo Y was very satisfied with the venue last year so they came back to us this year."

The aim of the Y Bash is to benefit their Annual Campaign that raises funds to provide financial assistance and scholarship programs. The funds help nonprofit organizations and human service agencies like The Caring Place, Hilltop House, Porter-Starke Services, Christian Haven Homes, Shults-Lewis Home, and Opportunity Enterprises.

The evening was filled with things to excite all five of the senses. Delicious hors d'oeuvres provided by Strongbow Inn were served to the guests which gave them the energy to dance to the rhythmic sounds of the Latin Satin Soul Band as they played hits from the past and present. The innards of the Expo Center were covered in lovely decorations that proved to all to be a most impressive winter wonderland.

Tom Newton, Co-Chair for the YMCA Bash (the other Co-Chair is Rob Thorgren), was at the event. He has been helping get the Y Bash going for many years.

"This is the kickoff to our annual campaign," Newton said. "This year we have the most sponsors that we've ever had-over 22 headlining sponsors with over 150 people that bought tickets to come tonight."

One of the sponsors was Bargain Barn Inc., a wonderful shopping establishment located in Valpo. Tevlyn Schwerd, Creative Director for the Bargain Barn was there along with her brother Nick who is the General Manager for the same establishment.

"We are so grateful for the community support that we have received and we wanted to pay homage to the rest of the community and be part of this awesome event," Schwerd said. "This is the first time we have been a table sponsor and we are excited to be here. And we are having a great time even though the weather is horrid. It's a beautiful event."

A large silent auction was held at the Y Bash and guests perused the offerings that littered the tables. Items up for bid were: Park Hopper Passes to Walt Disney World, tickets to sporting events, beautiful jewelry, autographed memorabilia, artwork, and a lot more. A 50/50 raffle was available as well.

"We've been doing this for about 12 years now, and this is our sendoff for our annual campaign to help out families that can't afford a Y experience. This helps us to provide financial assistance," Bob Wanek, CEO of the Valparaiso YMCA, said. "We've had the kickoff at other places but we needed to expand the venue. You have to evolve these kinds of events or else they'll get stale...we were growing from 250 to 300 and then 300 to 350 and it started getting tight. The Expo Center gave us a chance to expand the space."

The night was one to be remembered as so many came together at a local landmark to give of themselves for a good cause.

{valpo}Click here to see photos from the Y Bash!{/valpo}{nwindiana}Click here to see photos from the Y Bash!{/nwindiana}

Click here to see more events happening at the Expo Center! And find the Expo Center on Facebook!

Sponsors for the YMCA Bash:
Presenting Sponsor: Methodist Hospitals
Entertainment Sponsor: 1 Guy With Tools
Gold Sponsor: United HealthCare
Silver Sponsor: BMO Harris Bank
Decorations Sponsor: Jacki Stutzman
Beverage Sponsor: Indiana Beverage
Hors d'oeuvres Sponsor: Urschel Labs
Venue Sponsor: Allegius Credit Union
Table Sponsors: Academy Mortgage, Bargain Barn, Bodensteiners & Friends, Centier Bank & The Kotys Group, Dawn Collins - Century 21 Executive Realty, Douglas, Family Express, Glaros Family, Golden Tech, Koeppen & Hurley, NIPSCO – Bailly Generating Station, TCU, Thorgren Tool & Molding Co., Inc.
Friends of the Y Bash: Citizens Financial Bank
Java Wave Coffee Bar provided by: Family Express