May 15, 2024

Masquerade on Main fundraiser for mental services set for June 1

Posted May 15, 2024 10:01 AM
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Hays Post

Mask up for an evening of mystery and enchantment in downtown Hays for the inaugural Masquerade on Main fundraiser.

High Plains Mental Health Center, dedicated to providing mental wellness across northwest Kansas through various programs, is sponsoring the fundraiser.

James Gerstner, development officer at High Plains, said the dance is a fun way to support their programs and raise mental health awareness.

"The idea is since mental health is a topic that often involves things both seen and unseen, a masquerade gala would lean into the struggle of people not necessarily wanting to talk about mental health openly," Gerstner said.

The 21-and-over event celebrates High Plains' 60th anniversary with nostalgic music, inviting guests to "dance through the decades."

"We're going to start in the 1960s with some of the biggest hits of that era," Kayley Conner, marketing manager of High Plains, said. "We're going to chronologically move to the '70s, '80s, '90s and into the 2000s."

The Masquerade on Main will be from 7 to 11 p.m. June 1 at the Strand Event Center, 1102 Main St.

Tickets are available online at Eventbrite for $50, which provides admissions to the event, including appetizers from Gella's Diner and LB Brewing, complimentary drinks and music.

The magical night will feature auctions and activities for items from donors, along with raffle games for wrapped books and hidden surprises.

"They may not know what it's about or who the author is, but some of the books will have gift certificates to local businesses, and in one of the books will be a large cash prize," Gerstner said.

KZNC Party DJs, a music service based in LaCrosse, will provide musical entertainment and a photo pod for guests to capture and remember the night.

The inaugural event adopts a masquerade ball theme, encouraging cocktail attire and optional opera masks. Attendees who choose to wear one will be provided with masks.

The Masquerade on Main fundraiser benefits the High Plains Mental Health Center Endowment Association. Proceeds will support medication assistance for clients and initiatives to expand the center's manpower.

"We're sending any of our bachelor's level staff back to school who are interested in pursuing a master's degree to grow our clinical workforce," Gerstner said.

The nonprofit operates in 20 counties in northwest Kansas, supporting these communities through school outreach events and various forms of assistance.

Founded in 1964, High Plains began with a staff of three full-time individuals in rented offices. The center has grown to 140 employees across six full-time service locations.

"That's a story of really big growth that has happened in the last 60 years, and we felt that's something worth celebrating," Conner said.

The High Plains Center in Hays provides services for therapy, substance abuse disorder support, community-based support and operates a 24/7 crisis hotline at 800-432-0333.

Craig Poe, executive director of High Plains, said increasing discussions around mental health and substance abuse will help normalize these conversations and reduce stigma.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, statistics indicate that 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience a mental illness each year. On average, adults in the U.S. wait 11 years before seeking treatment for mental health or substance use issues.

"It's a big hill to climb, and we certainly hope to have an impact on that the more we have public events like this," Poe said.

The event is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas, United Healthcare Community Plan, Vyve Broadband, Commerce Bank, Conrade Insurance Group, Genoa Healthcare, Insurance Planning, Midwest Energy and Werth Wealth Management.

"I think attendees for the first-ever Masquerade on Main are in for a night to remember," Gerstner said.

To RSVP for the event or make donations outside of the fundraiser, contact Gerstner at [email protected] or call 785-628-2871.

You can learn more about High Plains Mental Health Center and its services on its website.

You can also follow the organization on Facebook.