Sunset Serenade raises $50,000 for Storm Harbor programs
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -- The Sunset Serenade Celebration benefit at Slippery Rock University raised $50,000 to build the Storm Harbor Equestrian Center Endowment, expand services and provide scholarship assistance to SRU students and riders.
More than 200 faculty, staff, alumni and friends of SRU attended the Oct. 4 celebration under the theme "Presenting Horses of the World."
Retired talk show host Larry Berg from WISR radio in Butler emceed. Auctioneer Don Braham enlivened the crowd with his wit and skill while successfully auctioning items ranging from a handmade rocking horse to a diamond pendant. There were also silent auctions on more than 50 items, including SRU apparel, a cedar chest and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra tickets.
Guests enjoyed culinary stations such as the Pasofino Spanish Garden featuring chorizo stuffed grilled calamari and jumbo shrimp romesco.
The event was presented by the Storm Harbor Equestrian Center Advisory Board. Sponsors included Carolyn and Paul Rizza, SRU professors emeritus, MSA, Mary Hulton Phillips, the SRU Foundation Inc., and William Matesich of Edward Jones' Grove City office.
The Sunset Serenade has become Storm Harbor's signature fundraising event. In the past year, private support has made it possible for the equestrian center to purchase a custom made, adapted western saddle for riders who use wheelchairs; offer two new camps for children with disabilities; and hire an assistant equestrian director to help with the increase in program offerings and additional riders.
Storm Harbor now serves riders several counties, including Butler, Lawrence, Mercer, Allegheny and Washington, on a weekly basis. SRU students who work with the riders are learning how they can incorporate adapted riding activities into their future work, making adapted riding more accessible to people with disabilities.
The equestrian center supports SRU's adapted physical activity minor and graduate program.