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Jan Albus, Gene and Chris Hamilton
Stacey and Jim Weddle, Jan Albus
Jan Albus, Tom Caradonna, Mandy Murphy
Jan Albus, Lupe Rodriguez
Jan Albus, Ed Musen
Larry and Jan Albus
Larry and Jan Albus, Denny Reagan
On April 27, the Peabody Opera House will be filled with hundreds of guests dressed in their finest gowns and tuxes. They will enjoy cocktails and a decadent dinner before being charmed by master of ceremonies Joe Buck and blown away by the legendary guitar stylings of Carlos Santana. Dinner with the Stars, one of the biggest local nonprofit fundraisers, offers a chance for the community to support the important work of Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis, says CEO Jan Albus. “Through the generosity of the community and the great strides in technology, I’ve seen what Variety has been able to do for children with disabilities. I’ve seen children living better, longer lives, reaching their full potential.”
Jan Albus considers Variety the Childen’s Charity of St. Louis her 14,000-member family. As executive director and a national board member, she leads the nonprofit in helping children with physical and mental disabilities reach their full potential.
Patty Haeffner, Jan Albus
In 1928, a heartbroken mother abandoned her 3- week-old baby at a theater in Pittsburgh, with a note that read, Please take care of my baby, her name is Catherine. I can no longer take care of her, I have eight others. My husband is out of work. She was born on Thanksgiving Day. I have always heard of the goodness of show business and I pray to God that you will look after her. Upon discovering her, 11 entertainers founded a charitable organization called Variety Club. For five years until she was adopted, the girl stayed at the homes of producers and actors—including her favorite, ‘Uncle Walt,’ who we all know as Walt Disney.
Chantal and Keith Tkachuk, Jan Albus, David Steward
Grammy Award-winning songstress and New York Times bestselling author Patti LaBelle has been described as ‘The High Priestess of Good Vibrations,’ so it’s only fitting that she will be the headliner at what is being touted as the party of the year.
George Roman and Jan Albus
When…Dance St. Louis opened its 45th season by bringing the Houston Ballet to the Touhill Performing Arts Center? The three-part classical program included George Balanchine’s Art Deco masterpiece, Apollo, as well as Falling by artistic director Stanton Welch and Hush by associate choreographer Christopher Bruce. Pictured: Kelly Myernick
Jan Albus and Brenda Bax
Jan Albus and Brenda Bax
Not many charity fundraisers can boast raising nearly $1 million in one night, but that is just what happened last year at ‘Dinner With the Stars,’ Variety The Children’s Charity of St. Louis’ annual gala. For 44 years, the event has been one of St. Louis’ most anticipated happenings, raising funds for the nearly 19,000 local children with physical and mental disabilities served by Variety each year.
Parents try hard to give their children the best possible life, a task made even more challenging when a child is physically or mentally disabled. “Sarah suffered a five-hour seizure when she was 3 years old, and she’s had a brain injury ever since,” says Sandy Smith, Sarah’s mother. “At the time she was hospitalized for four months, and the medical bills were unbelievable.” On top of that, the family needed a wheelchair, physical therapy, and other specialized equipment and services for Sarah. “To say we were at wits’ end would be an understatement,” Smith recalls. “To have suffered such a blow with our daughter, and then have to deal with the financial consequences, was completely overwhelming.”
Tough economic times are even tougher on charities. The need for services rises, but donations shrink. If any organization can buck that trend, it’s Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis. “I cautiously brought up the economy when I was talking to one of our donors the other day,” recalls executive director Jan Albus. “She looked at me and said, ‘Some things are urgent, others can wait. Children who need our help can’t wait.’”
Unforgettable in every way. That‘s what organizers are saying about next month‘s Dinner with the Stars, the annual black-tie event to benefit Variety the Children‘s Charity of St. Louis. Eight-time Grammy award winner Natalie Cole is the featured headliner for this year‘s April 26 gala at the Chase Park Plaza. The event, held in conjunction with the annual Telethon broadcast on KMOV, is Variety‘s biggest fund-raiser, according to executive director Jan Albus. “The event has really taken off, and it has broken its record the past three years,” she says, noting last year‘s sum of more than $800,000 raised for Variety.