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The saddest sign of the times we live in is the desperate need for a place like The Children's Center. The 33-year-old organization treats children ages 18 months to 7 years old. It's a difficult fact to swallow, but preschoolers come to The Children's Center emotionally and behaviorally disturbed. Problems treated include hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, even suicidal tendencies.

But the bright note is that with early intervention the children's behaviors can be modified, enabling them to get back to just being kids.The Children's Center has three treatment facilities: day treatment centers near the University of Utah Medical Center and in Kearns; and a therapeutic group home for children who have been removed from their parents' custody.

For 15 years a fund-raising dinner has been held at La Caille at Quail Run. All proceeds go toward helping children under 7 with emotional and behavioral problems. This year's event will be held Friday, June 21, at La Caille.

Besides the gastronomic enticement of a gourmet dinner, music lovers will enjoy a Broadway-themed night titled "Stars in Their Eyes," with performances by Corliss Dale and her band.

With help from presenting sponsors Nordstrom and American Express, spirited bidding is expected for a raft of unusual and exclusive auction items. A trip to Zurich, Switzerland, as well as other trips to such U.S. destinations as Boulders Resort in Arizona and San Francisco/Carmel will tempt would-be travelers. A cruise to the Caribbean will also be auctioned off - you choose an eastern or western cruise on the Royal Caribbean line. The seven-day trip includes airfare to Miami and all port fees.

For those still suffering from Jazz-mania, a great fix would be winning a pair of autographed Karl Malone shoes that he wore during the Barcelona Olympics. KUTV is donating an evening sitting in the press box at a Jazz game next year, including dinner with the press. But basketball isn't the only game in town. Another auction item will be a Pioneer Day party with the Buzz, including a suite from which to watch the action, and lots of food. And how about a trip to the Super Bowl in New Orleans next year? That prize will also include airfare.

There will be great jewelry at the live and silent auctions and four VIP tickets to the James Taylor concert June 25. Tickets are $100 per person. Patron tables can be purchased for $1,500. For reservations and more information, call The Children's Center at 582-5534.

- THE EASTER SEAL SOCIETY OF UTAH is another nonprofit organization with a fund-raising event. The organization will celebrate its 50th anniversary at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 13, at Memorial House in Memory Grove. For half a century, Easter Seals has helped Utahns with disabilities achieve maximum independence.

The group will honor KUTV Ch. 2 anchor Terry Wood with the Maurice Warshaw Founder's Award for the 22 years of service he has donated to Easter Seals. Wherever his career has taken him, including a stint anchoring in Louisiana, Wood has served on the board of Easter Seals. In addition to serving on the Utah and Louisiana boards, Wood served a term on the national board.

Also during the evening of light buffet and desserts, a Philanthropist of the Year award will be presented to Don and Nancy Wilson. John Johnson, development coordinator for Easter Seals, said the Wilsons are being honored for raising $200,000 for Easter Seals through their Amway organization, Wilson Enterprises. "Nancy is a person with disabilities herself," said Johnson, noting that she is in a wheelchair.

"The Wilsons encourage their employees to support the Easter Seals Christmas Card program. They've had rallies where they pass the hat and gathered $40,000. They raised $80,000 in the Easter Seals 24-hour relay event," he said.

In future years the philanthropist award will be named the Nancy Wilson Philanthropic Award in honor of her achievements in supporting Easter Seals.

A silent auction will feature 100 fine gifts, including an auto-graphed Jazz basketball, a week's stay on a 50-foot houseboat on Lake Powell, river rafting trips, dinners and hotel stays and a weekend at the Rocking R Dude Ranch, among others.

Tickets for the June 13 event are $25 per person or $200 per table, reserved seating for eight people. For more information or for reservations, call the Easter Seal Society of Utah at 486-3778.

- THE AMERICAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION, UTAH AFFILIATE, will be sending children with diabetes to Utada, a summer camp located in Tooele. The camp allows children to socialize and participate in group sporting events while becoming comfortable with their disease. Family members are involved in activities with their children and receive educational advice on coping with medical treatments and a changing lifestyle.

This year 3-year-old twins Karly and Kelsy Symonds from Farmington will attend camp. The identical twins were diagnosed at different times this past year. Their mother, Debbie Symonds, said now that they know both twins have diabetes, it will be easier to deal with treatment, diet planning and emotional struggles.

Utada serves more than 400 campers and is accredited by the American Camping Association. It is entirely supported by private donations and camper fees. Counselors at the camp have diabetes themselves and often were campers when they were children. The counselors donate their time in helping diabetic children gain confidence and a sense of security in managing their disease.

Two camp sessions are offered: June 7-9 and Aug. 17-19. For more information about Camp Utada or about diabetes, call the American Diabetes Association, Utah Affiliate, at 363-3024 or 1-800-888-1734.

- THE UTAH AIDS FOUNDATION'S Walk for Life is a 10-K pledge walk scheduled for Saturday, June 15, beginning at the City-County Building, 400 South State.

The eighth annual Walk for Life will begin at 7:30 a.m. with registration and walk check-in. After an opening ceremony, unfolding of an AIDS quilt and warm-ups, the walk will begin at 10 a.m. There will be a post-walk picnic, music, recognition awards and closing ceremony beginning at noon.

Walkers raised an average of $100 each in 1995. This year's walkers will vie for a Disneyland vacation compliments of Travel Zone and the Anaheim Marriott and one year of unlimited video rentals at Video One.

Pledge and registration forms are available at all Wasatch Front 7-Eleven stores. For more information, call Walk Central at 487-2323.

As of December 1995, 1,178 people have been diagnosed with AIDS in Utah, 710 of whom have died. AIDS is the leading cause of death for Utah men between the ages of 25 and 44. However, the HIV infection rate is increasing faster among Utah women. Proceeds from the walk will support people affected by HIV/AIDS and provide prevention education.