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Gala raises $160K for children with extra needs in Delta, Surrey and Langley

Record-setting amount raised at Parisian-themed Reach Child and Development Society event June 3
MC Steve Darling on stage with presenter Rylan Keulen at the 2023 Reach for the Stars: La Belle Vie Gala benefiting Reach Child and Youth Development Society at Tsawwassen Springs on Saturday, June 3. (Reach Child and Youth Development Society/submitted photo)

A record-setting $160,000 was raised at this year’s Reach for the Stars Gala in support of local kids with extra needs.

Held on Saturday, June 3 at Tsawwassen Springs, this year’s event benefiting Reach Child and Development Society had a Parisian “La Bell Vie” theme and was focused on the society’s ability to help children with developmental challenges, autism and extra needs in Delta, Surrey and Langley live their best life, according to Reach events and fundraising manager Tamara Veitch.

“The generosity, kindness and community spirit of our amazing sponsors, donors, guests and volunteers, make our gala and events possible. Together, we really are making a difference in the quality of life of children and families who deserve to reach their potential,” Veitch said in a press release.

Attendees including Delta South MLA Ian Paton, Tsawwassen First Nation Chief sxwamisaat Laura Cassidy, Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke and Coun. Linda Annis, Delta Coun. Dylan Kruger (who is also council’s liaison to Reach) and Delta school board chair Val Windsor were entertained by returning MC Steve Darling and performances by 10-year-old Koltyn Serne, who played piano and sang, and 16-year-old Andrew McInally, who played classical guitar.

At each gala, a Reach family shares their story, which is filmed and edited by Ladner-based Eastlink Community TV producer Kevin Adlem. This year, 10-year-old Rylan Keulen joined Darling on stage to introduced his family’s story video.

Another highlight of the evening was Reach speech-language pathologist Gina Maslin’s presentation on the society’ new program, Kidz Squad, which will help small groups of children with autism and/or developmental disabilities build communication and relationship skills, as well as fostering participation in the wider community.

Following Maslin’s talk, a five-minute “Fund-A-Need” pledge drive raised $27,000 in support of Kidz Squad, including a $7,000 donation from the Rotary Club of Tsawwassen.

Also supporting this year’s gala were major donor Realco Properties, whose owners Jit Sangha and Hudge Parma were in attendance, presenting sponsors Ocean Trailer and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, and platinum sponsor Beedie.

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James Smith

About the Author: James Smith

James Smith is the founding editor of the North Delta Reporter.
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