Fund-raiser for athlete Saturday |

Fund-raiser for athlete Saturday

Jennifer Davoren

Hit an authentic Mexican food buffet, dance a few salsa steps and shoot some hoops this weekend – all while giving to a good cause.

Manos Unidas/Hand In Hand, a collaboration of 15 Basalt residents, has organized a fund-raiser this weekend to help a community member in need. The event, from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, will include an evening of dinner and dancing at Basalt Middle School.

Inspiration for the fund-raiser came from a former Basalt High School basketball player, said Mary Ann Morning, a counselor at Basalt Middle School. The BHS senior suffered what could have been a career-ending knee injury last year, but he opted for surgery – without the benefit of medical insurance.

“The boy couldn’t live without basketball, but you can’t play basketball with this kind of injury,” Morning said. “He went ahead and had the surgery and played another season.”

Soon after the boy’s surgery, his father fell ill, and the family’s mounting medical bills moved members of the community to step in and lend a hand, Morning said.

“That boy has become a role model for so many Latin children. He’s a serious basketball player and helps a lot of the smaller kids with basketball,” she said. “The whole community loves this boy, so there was no trouble bringing people together to help.”

The event has pulled in a large number of volunteers, Morning said, with all food donated by local restaurants and families.

“This thing has become bigger than a fund-raiser. It has become a unifier, a community builder,” she said.

More volunteers will be available after dinner, as children take pointers from BHS basketball players during open gym time and adults take advantage of free salsa dance lessons with Jose De Villa from 6 to 8 p.m. Sonora Juvenil, a nine-piece Latino band, will be playing throughout the evening. Jimmy’s American Restaurant will also help out with its Youth Talent Search, a look at local art with a Latin theme.

Attendants can also give a little extra to the Manos Unidas/Hand In Hand cause by entering a raffle for the chance to win a television, VCR, dinner at a local restaurant or the grand prize: a full day of golfing at the Roaring Fork Club.

The cost of the dinner is $8 per person or $20 per family, up to five members. Donations, outside of the overall fee for the evening of food and entertainment, can be sent care of Basalt Middle School.

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