HUDSON — A crowd of 290 people raised their glasses — and $90,000 — for the Toast of Hudson Feb. 23, hosted by Hudson Community First at Western Reserve Academy's Murdough Athletic Center. Money raised will go toward Hudson Community First programming.

The event featured food catered by A Taste of Excellence and select wines by Alexandria Nicole Cellars and craft beers from Flying Monkey, thanks to Esber Beverage.

The evening highlighted more than 100 auction items, including braces by Dr. White, a condo in Hilton Head, an Ohio State fan package, a lottery ticket tree and Cavs and Indians tickets.

Keys were sold throughout evening to open a special treasure chest that held two beautiful bracelets donated by Jewelry Art. Ellen Malson was the winner of the treasure chest raffle.

Hudson High School student Katharine Roegner, president of the Drug Free Clubs at the high school, gave a presentation on opioid addiction and how her family has been touched by a relative's addiction.

High school students Holly Pappano and Feyza Mutlu produced the “Raise Your Hands for Kids” video that proceeded the evening fundraising.

Community members raised their hands in support of Community First programming that focuses on drug and alcohol education and awareness, safety, resiliency, bullying, self-esteem building and leadership.

Cheryl Rauch, outgoing co-executive director, was recognized for her years of service. She moved to Florida at the end of 2017. Hudson resident Laura Jones was introduced as the new co-executive director and will work alongside Laura Gasbarro, current co-executive director.

The evening culminated with the official toast to the community by Mayor David Basil, and was led by 20 community-minded volunteers who worked for six months to create the premier gala.

Hudson Community First is a local non-profit that promotes positive youth development. It follows the philosophy of the 40 developmental assets developed by educational researchers at the Search Institute in Minnesota. To learn more about Community First visit

To volunteer to help with Hudson Community First call 330-807-1517.