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PEI Kids > Press Releases & Media > PEI Kids’ 25th Annual Dinner & Auction Brings Out the Brass

PEI Kids’ 25th Annual Dinner & Auction Brings Out the Brass

PEI Kids’ 25th annual Dinner & Auction draws the participation of two local mayors, one County Freeholder, and hundreds of friends and supporters.


Lawrenceville, NJ – April 27, 2016 – In the crisp night air on Friday, April 8th, nearly 200 guests, friends, supporters, clients, and dignitaries gathered at Greenacres Country Club in Lawrenceville for PEI Kids’ 25th Annual Dinner & Auction. The event included a packed agenda which was kicked off with an invocation, given by The Honorable Mayor Eric E. Jackson of Trenton, followed by recognition of honorees Nola Bencze and Thurman Gates, who were presented with a proclamation by Freeholder Pat Colavita.  The dinner and live auction were attended by Mayor of Lawrenceville, Dr. David Maffei, along with a host of guests, bidders, and participants.

Roz Dashiell with Trenton Mayor, Eric Jackson and Trustee, Loni Hand

Executive Director Roz Dashiell with Trenton Mayor, Eric Jackson and  PEI Kids Trustee, Loni Hand

With the support of over 30 sponsors, this event is PEI Kids’ biggest fundraising effort of the year, and generates an important share of the agency’s operating and program revenue for its child abuse prevention and intervention programs which serve abused children and at-risk youth in Mercer County.

Attendees browsed more than 80 donated auction items which inspired friendly competition among bidders; and the evening integrated spontaneous moments with memorable ones—including a special appeal from a former client of PEI Kids’ counseling program for child victims of sexual abuse. Live auction items donated by community members and local businesses included:

  • Six box seats with VIP parking to a Philadelphia Phillies home game donated by David & Marlene Thompson
  • Original, hand-crafted retro electric guitar donated by Michael Virok of Bordentown Guitar Rescue plus private guitar lessons donated by Jean Cheaumont of Princeton.
  • Behind-the-scenes tour of the Hopewell Valley Police Department, including a police ride-along, donated by Chief Lance Maloney
  • A hand-carved, wooden bear—a 19-year PEI Kids tradition—donated by Thurman Gates
  • One-week luxury-condo vacation in Williamsburg, VA donated by Eugene Coughlin
  • Luxury-condo vacation in Beaver Creek Olympic Village, CO donated by Nicholas and Michelle Ventura plus air travel for two donated by George Meyer
  • Pair of St. John originals – clutch purse and shoulder tote – donated by Nicholas and Michelle Ventura
  • Dedication and naming of PEI Kids’ Infant/Toddler Family Visitation room made available by PEI Kids
  • Two tickets for a NY Giants home game with field seating and VIP parking at MetLife Stadium donated by Tom and Fran Bartlett
  • Two tickets with field seating to NY Yankees home game plus 4 tickets with VIP package to a Trenton Thunder home game donated by Szaferman Lakind & Craig Hubert, Esq.
  • Spa package consisting of 10 luxury treatments at area salons and spas plus a basket of premium Shiseido beauty products made available through various donors.

Additionally, a surprise auction item was donated on the spot by Dianne Pepe, Director of Sales & Marketing for Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel, who was so moved by the agency’s mission

Honorees Thurman Gates and Nola Bencze receive a proclamation from Freeholder Pat Colavita

Honorees Thurman Gates and Nola Bencze receive a proclamation from Freeholder Pat Colavita

and work that she donated a weekend stay at the penthouse suite of Renaissance’s newest location in mid-town Manhattan.  The book value for a one-night stay is $10,000; and the lucky bidder received a full weekend stay with breakfast for a winning bid of $4,000.  This and other deals were successfully orchestrated by high bidders at the leading of auctioneers Patrick Kendig and Michael Paglione, Esq.

“I always look forward to this special event,” said Roz Dashiell, PEI Kids’ Executive Director. “It’s one of the few times during the year that we are able to bring together our PEI Kids family to celebrate our work while supporting the mission.” Consistent with the theme of the event, which was “An Eye Toward the Future,” Dashiell spent a portion of the evening discussing the agency’s legacy and the vision for moving PEI Kids forward.

Sponsors of the event included AAA Mid-Atlantic, Nola R. Bencze & Thurman Jay Gates, Customers Bank, Szaferman Lakind Blumstein & Blader, P.C., Dave & Marlene Thompson, Borden Perlman Salisbury & Kelly, Marcus & Loni Hand, Hopewell Township PBA Local 342, Mark Mucciacciaro of Morgan Stanley, PNC Bank, PSE&G, Capital Health, Margaret A. Chipowsky, Credit Union of New Jersey Foundation, Michael & Brenda Cseremsak, Fennelly Associates, Inc., First Choice Bank, Michael & Lisa Hayden, Hill Wallack, Hopewell Township Police Superior Officers’ Association, Horvath & Giacin, Investors Bank, Kalavruzos Mumola Hartman & Lento LLC, George C. Meyer, Nottingham Insurance, Mr. & Mrs. Vincent A. Piacente, Jennifer M. & Paul D. Pierson, Ivan & Shelly Punchatz, Mr. & Mrs. Chris and Denise Pratico, Stark & Stark, and Taco Bell.

Click here to see event photos.  To learn about sponsoring or participating in PEI Kids’ events, please contact Janina Akins at 609-695-3739 or at


About PEI Kids

Since 1985, PEI Kids’ mission has been dedicated to promoting and maintaining a safe environment for all children by providing Prevention/Education and Intervention programs relating to personal safety, sexual abuse, bullying, delinquency and gang prevention, and the overall well-being of the child.  PEI Kids provides school-based prevention education workshops reaching over 13,000 students, teachers and parents annually is the lead agency for Greater Mercer Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse which spearheads the Enough Abuse Campaign in Mercer County.  Intervention services include crisis counseling for child victims of sexual abuse, as well as anger management for at-risk youth, a juvenile offender diversion program for first- and second-time offenders, and family support services for children in foster care and their families. PEI Kids currently serves approximately 14,000 children and their families each year.  To learn more about PEI Kids and how you can support their work, please call 609-695-3739, visit, or email


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