The smiles were as bright as the “bling” at the United Way Women of Worth (WoW)’s first-ever Blingo event on January 11. More than 160 women and men gathered for food, drinks, fun and games, raising nearly $4,000 for WOW’s Reading Pals program.
The third event in WoW’s Design Decorate Discover series sponsored by Ocala Health, the game night was a takeoff on traditional Bingo, featuring donated jewelry prizes for each round. The grand prize was a white gold and diamond necklace from Ocala’s Lady Jeweler, Nancy Porter.
Guests enjoyed a buffet prepared by Rosemary & Thyme Catering, including bourbon meatballs, tortelli skewers, lemon chicken kabobs, caprese, and fruit. Over at the bar, husbands and significant others of WoW members had donned pink bow ties and volunteered to serve wine and other libations. The ladies of WoW were blinged-out in sparkly tiaras and Blingo aprons, and caller Linda Arvanitis kept the games fun and lighthearted with her quick wit and great sense of humor.
WOW Chair Christie Casey explained that WoW is the United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council, and has been in Marion County more than 10 years.
“Our worth is what you give back to Marion County,” she told the crowd. “We celebrate the opportunity to meet the needs of Marion County families and children,” she said, adding that Reading Pals is the current focus of their commitment to early childhood literacy. Some 235 volunteer reading pals meet once a week with kindergarteners who are struggling with reading, and donations from the community allow the program to provide students with at least 25 books a year to take home and build a family library.
Speaker Rose Watroba, Ocala Health’s VP of Neuroscience, explained that game nights are a great way to promote good brain health.
“Playing games improves your brain function,” she said, adding that being social and talking with friends also help to stimulate the brain and keep it healthy.
Women of Worth is accepting new members and Reading Pals volunteers; more info at www.uwmc.org or on Facebook @womenofworth.