What could be more welcome right now than a taste of the tropics? A few hours of suspended reality that evokes the sights, sounds and sensations of a white sand beach, ocean breezes and relaxation upon a luxury liner sound like a slice of heaven after enduring the bitter cold of the past months.

What could be more welcome right now than a taste of the tropics? A few hours of suspended reality that evokes the sights, sounds and sensations of a white sand beach, ocean breezes and relaxation upon a luxury liner sound like a slice of heaven after enduring the bitter cold of the past months.

Look no further than the 2010 installment of Sundance, the annual fundraising event of Sunshine Center. A much-respected agency in Eastern Jackson County for 35 years, Sunshine Center recently came under the umbrella of the Independence School District to continue providing vital services for children and families in the community. As a program of the school district, Sunshine Center is overseen by the Independence School Board, a body that has dedicated itself to continuing the same level of professional expertise and caring that has made Sunshine Center integral to children with special needs.

Without a doubt Sunshine Center has cultivated a sterling reputation and a large body of supporters and advocates over its long history and brought those assets to the school district when the district welcomed the center and its families. The district provides support for the operations and facilities while the Sunshine Center funds programs and services. Sundance is the center’s principle fundraising event and a traditional favorite for local philanthropists and partygoers who routinely rave about the outstanding evening and the now-famous Sunshine Puppy.

The event will take place on Saturday, March 27, beginning at 6  p.m. at Riverport, Cerner Properties – the site of the former Sam’s Town Casino. The business casual event will include a silent auction and dinner followed by an exciting live auction including family-oriented items such as a trip to Disney World, a handcrafted dollhouse, artwork produced by the Sunshine Center children and that irresistible puppy. Special awards will be given to Jim Rine and IBEW Local Union 53 as well as to Sunshine Center founders Betty Snapp and Barbara Fears. Proceeds of the event will be used for special equipment, therapy, or intervention services for children served by Sunshine Center.

Reservations for “Sundance 2010: Cruising toward the Future” are requested by March 19. Individual tickets are available for $100 per guest and may be purchased by contacting the Independence School District at 816-521-5300.