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Hilltop Children’s House plans Mardi Gras Gala

A GALA TIME — This photo from the first Mardi Gras Gala held at the Fort Steuben Ballroom in 2019 to benefit the Hilltop Children’s House of Steubenville shows Olivia McKitrick LaMantia, center, mistress of ceremonies, with Thomas and Noelle Crowe, who run the nonprofit. This year’s Mardi Gras Gala will be held Feb. 22, again at the Fort Steuben. -- Contributed

STEUBENVILLE — Hilltop Children’s House in Steubenville will be holding its second-annual Mardi Gras Gala, presented by Trinity Health System, on Feb. 22.

The fundraiser will run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Fort Steuben Ballroom on Fourth Street in downtown Steubenville in support of the Montessori Program that Noelle and Tom Crowe started in recent years in the LaBelle neighborhood to help children in need.

The event is open to the public with tickets available at $50 per person from Eventbrite, accessed through the Hilltop Children’s House Facebook page.

Dress requirement is evening cocktail — nice dresses and suits — with Mardi Gras masks encouraged.

A gala ticket includes “incredible New Orleans style food prepared by Stetson Food Co. and drink, including beer and wine,” according to Noelle. Beer will be provided by Dungeon Hollow Brewing. Gala attendees are encouraged “to move around, mix and mingle, dance and enjoy themselves.” There will be include a silent action, a Chinese auction, a 50/50 drawing, a lottery ticket tree drawing and a Chuck-a-luck wheel.

“There will be King Cake for dessert ordered from New Orleans with extra game tickets as a prize for those who find a baby in their piece of cake.”

Event tickets can be purchased up to one week prior to the event.

“We also have three sponsorship levels: Green for $250, purple for $500 and gold for $1,000. The title sponsor of the Gala is Trinity Health System. All sponsorships come with tickets to the gala and ads in the program. Purple and gold sponsors get reserved tables. There will be a special pre-reception for gold sponsors and the title sponsor,” according to Noelle.

In line with the event, the Crowes are running a competition through Feb. 14 to crown a king and queen of the gala, their “prizes” bragging rights and a crown and scepter.

Guidelines include teams registering on this Mightycause event: https://www.mightycause.com/event/T2z3zf.

Then they raise money through fundraisers they organize. The team with the most funds raised for Hilltop Children’s House by Feb. 14 will be crowned king and queen of Mardi Gras and be announced at the gala.

Teams who raise at least $150 will receive half-price tickets to the gala, and teams who raise at least $250 will receive fully comped tickets.

For information, visit the website hilltopchildrenshouse.org; the Facebook page; e-mail to hilltopchildrenhouse@gmail.com; or call (703) 517-8735.

“Our goal with the king and queen contest is two-fold. Of course, we want to raise some money for Hilltop Children’s House, but we also want people to have fun,” Noelle explained. “Our hope is that people will host some creative fundraisers and thereby will add to the list of fun, wholesome events that have been happening in Steubenville. One such event is the Make Your Own Mardi Gras Mask fundraiser being held by Ohio Valley Handmaids.”

The Hilltop Children’s House, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation, was founded by the Crowes in December 2017.

According to information provided, Noelle moved to the LaBelle neighborhood of Steubenville in 2017 after she and Thomas got married in July 2017. Noelle has 10 years’ experience working in Montessori environments, primarily through the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a Catholic religious education program based on the Montessori method.

Thomas has lived in the LaBelle neighborhood since 2008 and has long sought a way to have a more significant impact on the city, he noted. When he and Noelle got married, the opportunity to help her establish a program for the youth of the hilltop neighborhoods became obvious.

The board of directors of the Hilltop Children’s House include others who live in the hilltop neighborhoods of Steubenville and “have a passion for education and seeking ways to improve the lives of those around them,” they noted.

Hilltop Children’s House, located at Maryland Avenue and Pittsburgh Street, welcomed its first class in October 2018. Classes are for children ages 2.5 to 6 and meet from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. every weekday.

Proceeds go toward building renovations, classroom materials and “to cover subsidies for children whose families do not meet income requirements to pay full tuition,” according to information provided.

The mission statement of the Hilltop Children’s House reads: “Motivated by our Catholic faith and following the principles of the Montessori method, Hilltop Children’s House provides children with an environment where their natural curiosity, desire for order, longing for beauty, ability to concentrate and capacity for growth within a society can flourish, so that they might more fully realize their potential as children of God. Situated in and intended primarily for the children of the hilltops neighborhoods of Steubenville, Hilltop Children’s House endeavors to make the life-changing Montessori and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd formation experience available to all regardless of means.”

“This is our major fundraising event of the year. We have a variety of wonderful prizes for auction, including handmade items from the community, gift certificates from places like the zoo and Aviary in Pittsburgh and Cleveland, music festival tickets, photography packages, hotel packages, and even a pool table,” Noelle noted. “And, while we want to raise money we also want people to have fun. We want this event to be a positive not just for us, but for the people of Steubenville.”

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