A sold-out crowd of 500 savored the heavenly chocolate that filled table after table at The Pinery at the Hill on May 3 - an event to benefit Kidpower of Colorado, which for 20 years has been empowering kids and helping to keep them safe.
Chocoholic Frolic 2014, one of the area's most popular benefits, raised more than $90,000 for Kidpower to continue the child safety training that has reached 40,000 kids. Kidpower also has programs in school districts, for parents and law enforcement, and provides educational resources reaching thousands of others.
The point of how well Kidpower can work was brought home two weeks after Chocoholic Frolic when an elementary school child in the Pikes Peak region was grabbed by men in a vehicle but got away and sought help. His was one of the schools where the Kidpower program had been taught.
Honored at the anniversary gala were the three founders of Kidpower of Colorado, Jan Isaacs Henry, Jan DeBoer and Debra Campeau. Henry is the program's executive director.
Others with the group for 20 years: John Henry, Paul Isenstadt, Bob Johnson and Nancy Saltzman.
In memory of the late Darcell Palmer,a 10-year Kidpower board member and principal at Monroe Elementary School, two awards "for integrity on behalf of children" were announced; they went to Russ Vogel, principal of Manitou Springs Elementary School and Liz Haltiwanger, news director for KKTV 11 News. Members of Palmer's family were there to meet the honorees.
Returning to Chocoholic Frolic for their third year were Kate Birkhead and Dan Thomas. The couple met at the 2012 event and started dating. In 2013, when the event was at the Garden of the Gods Club, Dan proposed. This time, they were sharing the evening with friends in the midst of preparations for their June wedding.
The Chocoholic Frolic committee included Carol Gruen, who, although living in New Hampshire now, coordinated the chocolatiers. Others included Kacy Cross, Nora Faircloth, Barbara Fanning, Jean Forsyth, Shannon Martinez-Myers, Leslie McGinn, Linda Peiffer Moyes, Hilary Vasquez and Connie Vellozzi, along with staff members.