To the editor:
Johanna thought the best part of coming to Opportunity Works was the respect she receives as an artist, but when she sold her first piece of artwork, she became a professional artist on her way to independence. Mike likes the way people at Opportunity Works respect each other. He enjoys his co-workers, and he likes to work. He never misses a day if he can help it. Johanna and Mike value these experiences while giving back to the community. Your support leads to the success of programs and services, which leads to individual successes.
The Greater Newburyport and Greater Haverhill communities again joined Opportunity Works on the journey of empowering and changing lives of people with disabilities. The support of sponsors, volunteers, auctioneers, donors, bidders and businesses was amazing. Opportunity Works' Board of Directors, staff and the people we serve are very grateful. Opportunity Works' annual Lend-a-Hand Auction, in partnership with Comcast, was the most successful in its 28-year history, raising $80,000 to help continue our much needed programs and services.
We literally could not undertake the auction without the time and efforts of hundreds of volunteers. For the month before the auction, many volunteers spend their time preparing for the auction, soliciting items, writing descriptions, cooking for other volunteers and staff. During auction week, volunteers worked nonstop. We cannot thank them enough. Our volunteers are crucial to the success of the event; we are fortunate to have too many wonderful volunteers to be able to name each and every one. They know who they are, as do we! Congratulations to John Delorey, our 2012 Auction Shining Star!
Auction week brought in more than 600 donated items and certificates. On Saturday, Feb. 25, the Nock Middle School cafeteria was again transformed as several hundred volunteers worked in shifts throughout the day to ensure a smooth live broadcast of our unique auction. With the efforts of each city and town's cable access station, the auction aired on nine Comcast cable TV stations throughout the Merrimack Valley and was streamed live through www.portmedia.org.
A very special thank-you to our Premier Sponsors, Institution for Savings and The Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank. We also thank our Corporate Sponsors: Rochester Electronics, Mersen and Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation. So many other sponsors have our gratitude as well: Amesbury Animal Hospital; Amesbury Lions Club; Ancient Order of Hiberians; Anna Jaques Hospital Aid Association; Appleton Eye Associates; Arthur S. Page Insurance; Bernier Physical Therapy; Brian Charon; Chase & Lunt Insurance; College Planning Services; Connolly & Connolly; Donald M. Greenough; Dwan-Pelletiere Family; Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation; Economised Time Services; Elliot, Rogers and Woodworth Funeral Home; Explorers Club; First National Bank of Ipswich; Friends of Newburyport's Council on Aging; Fritz, Deguglielmo LLC; Hampton Coach; Haverhill Bank; Haverhill Community Television; ITW Foilmark; Joppa Flats Running Club; Karen Holmes Physical Therapy LLC; Knights of Columbus, Newburyport; Kohl's; Label Print America; LeBaron Bonney; Merrimack Valley Federal Credit Union; Merrimacport United Methodist Church; Mike and Peg Taranda; Newburyport Art Association; Newburyport Chamber of Commerce; Newburyport Fire Fighters Local 827; Newburyport Lions Club; Newburyport Society for the Relief of Aged Women; Nick's Pizza; Parker River Dental; People's United Methodist Church; Mark Romeo; Rotary Club of Newburyport; Salter Transportation, Inc.; Strem Chemical, Inc.; Swasey Fund; Peg Taranda; The Governors Academy; The Loring Family; The Odd Fellows of Newburyport; The Provident Bank; W.C. Cammett Engineering Inc.; Packaging Specialties, and Mike and Mary Zerigian.
Thank you to Comcast, Haverhill Community TV, Port Media, and WNBP 1450 AM for their support and technical expertise; emcees Richard Eaton, Win Damon, and Anne Savage; The Daily News of Newburyport, The Current, Newburyport Today, Wicked Local, the Eagle-Tribune; the Newburyport and Amesbury Chambers of Commerce for spreading the word. Encompass Apparel; Chococoa Baking Company; and the Nock Middle School. We also thank all of our auctioneers: Ann Ormand; Dan DeBruyckere; Brian Charon; Chris Skiba; Claude Woodward; Congressman John Tierney; Dr. Jenna Dieter; City Councilor Ed Cameron; Elena Bachrach; Esther Sayer; Sheriff Frank Cousins; Jane Yandell; Judy Lacroix; Kathy Eaton; Kathy Haywood; Donn Kelly; Ken Thibodeau; Lucien Lacroix; Mary Ann Clancy; Mary Zerigian; Mayor Donna Holaday; Mayor Thatcher Kezer; Melissa Foley; Alice McLeod; Mike Volpone; Nancy Hartman; Pete Falcone; Raven Perley; Ray Nippes; Dr. Robin Blair; Rusty Davis; Scott Eaton; Sen. Steven Baddour; Sue Christ; and Tim Foley.
The Lend-a-Hand Auction is Opportunity Works' principle fundraiser and outreach event, and the proceeds are an important source of operating revenue for an array of employment, specialized therapeutic day, community and recreational programs and services for more than 200 adults with developmental disabilities throughout the Greater Newburyport and Haverhill communities. We thank you for your support and invite you to continue the journey of empowering people and changing lives. Every one of you makes a difference!
Executive director, Opportunity Works