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May 7, 2008 > A 'wild west' casino

A 'wild west' casino

By Shari Wargo
Photos By courtesy of Alan Nagy

Find out if you're a high roller on Friday, May 9. Even if you lose a game or two, you will most likely feel like a winner when considering how attendance at the Viola Blythe Casino Night will help so many in need. A friendly evening of gambling and dinner will help the Viola Blythe Center in Newark continue daily assistance to families in need with care, food, clothing, shoes, uniforms, baby formula, referrals, and more.

"The mission of the Viola Blythe Center is to support and advocate social and human services to any person in need," said Executive Director Debbie Caravalho, daughter of Viola Blythe. "We served 6,500 people last year," she added. Blythe, a sibling to nine other children, lost her mother at the age of nine. In the care of her sister and later an orphanage, she quickly learned what it is like to be in need. In 1946, she and her husband Stanley moved to Newark. With his help and her friend Louella Kellermen, Blythe began to assist people with emergency services.

Over time, this effort grew larger as families, men and women would knock on Blythe's door to ask for help. For 40 years, Blythe helped those in need - 20 with the Salvation Army, five as their Welfare Chairperson. "She would provide shelter, a shower if needed and a hot meal. Thousands of people have been helped because of what she started," Caravalho said of her mother. Blythe moved to a house down the street and continued her work through home.

In 1989, the City of Newark offered Blythe a building across the street from where she had lived; she moved most of her operation to the building that is now the Viola Blythe Center. "The City of Newark provides the [Viola Blythe] Center with a building for only $1 per year," said Caravalho. Blythe retired and the position of executive director was offered to her daughter.

The center relies on the support of our businesses, schools, organizations, and individuals for supplies and financial support," said Caravalho. "However, without our two major fundraisers per year, we would suffer a negative impact on our services." One of those fundraisers, Wild, Wild West Casino Night, will be held on Friday, May 9, at 7 p.m. in the Newark Pavilion.

Wild West Casino Night is "still in need of sponsors, auction and raffle prizes, and would like the community to come and support this event," said Caravalho. Tickets to Friday's adventure are $45 each, including dinner and $30 in Vegas casino money. Caravalho added, "In addition, we are holding a Texas Holdem tournament for an additional $25, and our grand prize for the tournament will be a $250 VISA Gift Card."

For more information about the Viola Blythe Center and buy tickets, call (510) 794-3437.

Wild, Wild West Casino Night
Friday, May 9
7 - 11 p.m.
Newark Pavilion
6430 Thornton Ave., Newark
(510) 794-3437

Tickets: $45
Texas Holdem Tournament: $25

Viola Blythe Center
37365 Ash St., Fremont
Monday, Wednesday & Friday
Noon - 4 p.m.
(510) 794-3437

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