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Annual Mardi Gras ball raises $135,000 for Twin Cedars

They let the good times roll for a cause Saturday night. 

As they typically do, tickets sold out almost immediately for Twin Cedars’ eighth annual Behind the Mask Mardi Gras Ball and financial support rolled in as well.  

Twin Cedars Youth and Family Services raised $135,000 for all its Troup County programs through the annual ball, a new record. Josh O’Neal and Nicole Crane were named the 2020 Behind the Mask Queen and King.

“We operate in three communities in Georgia,” Executive Director Sheri Cody said. “LaGrange is the smallest, but they always give the most. This community gets behind taking care of children.” 

Programs include Bradfield Center, Therapeutic Foster Care, Team Building, Circle of Care, Darkness 2 Light, Troup County Children’s Advocacy Center, and Safe Families for Children West Georgia.

“We have some funding from grants from per diem’s since we are caring for the state’s children,” Director of Development Jennifer Shawa said. “But, that money that we already have as a regular revenue stream doesn’t cover all the expenses. We have to do this event to help us fill in those gaps, and that’s what this money is used for.” 

This year voting donations for the queen and king of Behind the Mask brought in $119,000. 

Local personality Carol Cain, dressed as Marquis de LaFayette, conducted the Investiture Ceremony live at the event.

“These nine candidates went out, and they had to tell the story of Twin Cedars,” Cody said. 

Shawa said they received support of major business sponsors from WellStar West Georgia Healthcare, LaGrange Grocery, Medicine Cabinet, Hometown Family Medicine and TDI Pain.

“Last year, we had 14 sponsors for this event, and this year we had 43,” Shawa said. “That’s because our candidates were out seeking those sponsorships this year so they were touching parts of the community that we didn’t have a connection with yet.” 

The record-breaking funds from the event will go directly back into residential programs, prevention, advocacy, foster care, mental health and other areas that provide services for youth and families in the LaGrange community.

“The message that we’re sending to people in this community is this community cares about what happens to children,” Cody said. 

“We don’t just put our money forward, but we get trained and put our eyes and our minds forward too. This is just one of the many ways that LaGrange really steps up.”

For more information about Twin Cedars or its programs, visit twincedars.org or call (706) 350-0642.