VERO BEACH — Guests bid, pledged and danced their way to supporting United Citizens Against Poverty during the fifth-annual Valentine Ball held Feb. 10 at Oak Harbor Club.

Some of the top sponsors to thank for this event are as follows: Premier Sponsors Pam Harmon & Tim Muris, along with top sponsors Jayne & Paul Becker, Barbara Lowry, Cindy & Mark Galant and our dinner sponsor The King Group ~ Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.

Enthusiastic guests kept the lively MC/Auctioneer Geoff Moore busy during the super successful live auction while quiet bidding continued on the creative selection of silent auction items. Guests worked off their sumptuous dinners by dancing to the Miami band Pangea.

Of course the true focus of the evening was on the mission of UP and how UP supports and empowers those making the difficult journey from poverty to self-sufficiency. Honorary Gala Chair Barbara Lowry proudly reported that UP’s Success Training for Employment Program (STEP) had enabled 99% of its graduates to gain employment and move out of poverty toward total economic self-sufficiency. To further make this point, Ms. Lowry introduced STEP grad Sara Williams who went from being a homeless mother of two to being hired by Piper, purchasing a car and eventually qualifying for Habitat for Humanity housing. Ms. Williams shared her story and her gratitude for the continued support of the UP family and STEP.

UP Founder Austin Hunt has said, “our guiding principle is to love others as you would have others love you. Rather than a hand-out, we provide a hand-up.”

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