Raise a cup and a putter

At the 9th annual SPLURGE! Night

Written by Karen Long

The warmth of the sun. The green of the fairways. Tphe delectable dinner and chilled drinks, the thrilling contests — and of course the people — a who’s-who of movers and shakers in Wichita. Must be time for the SPLURGE! Night party to kick off the Wichita Open, a Web.com PGA Tour event (formerly the Air Capital Classic) and a week of giving back to our community.

Jody Klein, SPLURGE! publisher, says all the signature elements of the evening are returning at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, June 15, including the BKD air-conditioned suite on the 18th green at Crestview Country Club.

“The putting contest with local celebrities is always fun to watch,” she says. Teams will consist of KWCH staff and residents of this year’s charity partner, Raise My Head Foundation. Another crowd pleaser is the helicopter ball drop: Purchase a raffle ticket for $50 each, and claim a golf ball. Whoever owns the one dropped closest to the hole walks away with a $1,000 shopping spree or a Porsche Driving Experience.

A mouth-watering catered meal of Italian specialties will be prepared by Joe Parten, owner of Carrabba’s. “We are always thankful when Joe commits to returning the following year,” says Klein. “And Crystal McDonald, her brother Cody Lathrop and the staff from Xclusive Events are always smiling while providing the best service. Rarely will you find a glass empty. The SPLURGE! drink is always a big hit!”

Emcee Don Hall of KEYN will crank up the energy early, and keep it high throughout the evening with his golden voice, all the way through 9:30 p.m. But just when you think the evening is about to wind down, the after party begins. Stroll across the parking lot to the clubhouse of the Crestview Country Club, where you can dance the night away to the DJ stylings of Another Dimension and nibble desserts by Sweetly Scrumptious.

Klein gives a shout-out to all of these companies — and many more who make the evening of fun and generosity possible. “Of course, SPLURGE! couldn’t do this without all the help from our generous partners, sponsors and friends.”

Raise My Head Foundation

Where else can you have such a fabulous time, and feel so good about doing it? Proceeds from the evening go to support Raise My Head Foundation and their mission to provide a safe haven for survivors of sex trafficking.

The two-year program offers housing, food, medical and dental care, therapy, education and job training — all free of charge to the residents and without receiving government funding, according to founding director Vicki Bond.

“The residents share in recovery,” she says, “and are supported within a healing and highly structured community.”

In less than a year the first two residents, Kristi Dean and Carol Wilson, have completed outpatient therapy through the Women’s Recovery Center. They’ve re-established their identities with new social security cards and birth certificates, as well as completing various classes such as a 13-week course through the WSU Center for Combating Human Trafficking. In addition, Wilson will finish her training in medical and billing coding in March, 2019, while Dean is working towards her high school diploma at Chester Lewis Alternative High School.

Recently Raise My Head Foundation added two more residents and are expecting their fifth soon. They’re planning to bring on an executive director and a VISTA worker this year to help build even more capacity.

Cottage industry manufacturing

Funds from this year’s SPLURGE! Night will go toward renovating a detached garage, which will be transformed into a 21st-century workspace where program participants will learn how to run their own cottage industry developing personal care products, from soaps and lotions to body scrubs and lip balms.

The foundation has raised $26,000 towards a projected total cost of $58,000, and Craig Sharp Homes has already donated architectural plans and specs for the building, which includes a small kitchen next to an expansive island work surface, in addition to a separate meditation space.

“Raise My Head Foundation is the only two-year residential program in Kansas for woman with a desire to transition out of lives of trafficking and abuse into a better lifestyle,” says Bond. We’ve adopted the #loveisgreater hashtag. Love is greater than the broken communities, broken systems and broken relationships we come from. We are forever thankful for the Wichita community for wrapping us in love.”

Tickets to SPLURGE! Night are $75 each. For more information and to purchase tickets visit WichitaOpen.com. There you’ll also find a complete guide to the Wichita Open schedule for the week, in support of Wichita’s youth.

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