By Darla Shelden
Celebrating 75 years of service in the Oklahoma community, CHOICES 2012 is an annual art sale, silent auction, and dinner benefiting Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma (PPCO). The annual event will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 27th at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. The annual event raises funds for general operations and educational programs in central Oklahoma.
“It’s more important than ever to support the critical services provided by Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma,” said Anita Fream, PPCO Chief Executive Officer. “Each year, PPCO health centers serve approximately 9,700 individuals in central and western Oklahoma with high-quality, low-cost or free reproductive health services. For one-fourth of our patients, we are their only source of healthcare.”
An additional 18,000 clients receive outreach or educational services. It gives them access to complete, honest, and research-based information.
The evening includes an art sale showcasing dozens of works by 30 premier artists, including featured artists Denise Duong, Diane Coady, Jennifer Fraase, Christina and Stephen Kovash, Bert Seabourn, Michi Susan and many more. The artists are donating a portion of their proceeds to support the essential services provided by Planned Parenthood.
Denise Duong will feature artwork made exclusively for the CHOICES 2012 event. “This piece was made for Planned Parenthood’s 75th anniversary. Time passes and things change,” said Duong. “Presidential elections play an important role when it comes to women’s health and also human rights, making this a very important year that also coincides with celebrating 75 years of victories, hardships, and education. Planned Parenthood’s struggles and accomplishments have moved forward, but have also experienced setbacks. Hopefully, the clocks will continue to move forward and not backwards.”
Guests will bid on more than 80 silent auction items and packages ranging from restaurant and retail gift certificates to sporting event tickets and themed packages.
“There’s something for everyone,” said Debby Burns event chair. “It’s also an opportunity to thank those who’ve been so generous and supportive of Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma.”
PPCO will recognize various individuals for their support. Award recipients include: Dr. Martha Skeeters – The Sally Mock Friend of Planned Parenthood Award; B.J. Law – The Margaret Sanger Legacy Award; Jimmy Goodman – The Rod Frates Choice Award; and Vicki Hunt – The 2012 Volunteer of the Year Award. The Outstanding Staff Service Award will be announced at the event.
“It is a great honor to receive this award from Planned Parenthood, which has done so much over the last 75 years to serve women and men and to support their health and wellbeing,” said Martha Skeeters, Oklahoma University Associate Professor of Women & Gender Studies and Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice President. “That this is the Sally Mock award is also gratifying since she was such a dedicated advocate of reproductive justice. I gladly share the award with all the women and men instrumental in founding the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice in 2010. The successes OCRJ has had as a plaintiff in challenging the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s ultrasound and medication abortion laws and as a grassroots organizer against the personhood bill have come through the efforts of thousands of people who support reproductive justice. This award shines right through me to all of them.”
The mission of Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma is to provide comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services in settings, which preserve and protect the essential privacy and rights of each individual.
“We look forward every year to our annual meeting and dinner so that we can celebrate and thank our many wonderful supporters,” said Fream. “The activists and donors honored at our event are just the tip of the iceberg. We are continually buoyed by the enthusiasm and generosity of our community members.”
Dinner reservations for the evening are $100, with preferred seating available for an additional cost.
For more information about this event or to make reservations, call (405) 528-0221.