Dining In The Dark Presented By The Josephine S. Leiser Foundation Raises $175,000 For Lighthouse Of Broward

Dining in the Dark: Fire & Ice presented by the Josephine S. Leiser Foundation attracted 230 guests and raised $175,000 in support of Lighthouse of Broward, which provides free resources to enhance the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired in Broward County.  The gala was hosted by lead sponsor The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort.  Chaired by volunteers Von Freeman, Carmen Miller and Marianne Finizio, the event was emceed by LITE FM 101.5 morning show hosts Julie Guy and Tamara G., who brought both professionalism and laughter to the affair with their sparkling personalities.  Dining in the Dark provided guests with an immersive dark dining experience as well as all the benefits of a full-scale gala, including gourmet fare, silent auction, live auction featuring auctioneer Gordon Latz and entertainment from American Heritage School student orchestra and dance music from DJ Angelo.  Dining in the Dark: Fire & Ice was simply spectacular,” said Lighthouse of Broward President and CEO Ellyn Drotzer.  “All of our guests truly enjoyed themselves and appreciated the dark dining experience, where they wore blindfolds as they were led to their tables and enjoyed dinner.  The experience helped them have a better understanding of the challenges our clients face – and overcome – every day. We’re very grateful to every Dining in the Dark guest, sponsor and donor, who support this important work.” Two particularly stand-out supporters were honored during the Dining in the Dark program:  The Gore Family Memorial Foundation Trust, which has provided $402,025 in financial support over the past 25 years; and Tracy and Douglas Seaton, who made a generous contribution this past year.  The Seaton’s were inspired to make their gift because their adult daughter, Daria Symens, recently went blind.  Daria received free services from the Lighthouse and mentor support from Jose Lopez Masso, a Lighthouse VP, who went blind at 31.  The Seatons were surprised by the award and were very moved by the recognition.  With Dining in the Dark falling on Veteran’s Day, another moving moment was a special recognition of veterans. Lighthouse of Broward board members General James Monroe and Colonel Stu Stewart offered a heartfelt recognition of veterans in the room, including a blind veteran, which was followed by a compelling rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” by student orchestra musicians from American Heritage School.