Culminating with the crowning of both a prince and princess of Brandon May 23, the Royal Highness Race to benefit the Sylvia Thomas Center is under way.
The prince and princess are determined by the subjects who successfully raise the most money over a 30-day time period.
This year’s contestants are Anthony Caligiure, sponsored by ; Cathy Smead, sponsored by GMS Landscaping; Angela Stone, sponsored by the Oaks Bar and Grill; and Simone Tolley, sponsored by Uncle Mike’s Smokehouse Grill.
The Sylvia Thomas Center is the only agency in Hillsborough County funded to assist adoptive families after the adoption has been finalized. The agency provides support groups and services to adoptive families, including Teen Scene, which serves as a support group for adopted teenagers.
“We are the agency charged with keeping the ‘forever’ in forever families,” said Denise Jamieson, the group’s president and chief executive officer.
According to center officials, the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, the center’s prime source of funding since its inception in 2000, has changed priorities, cutting the Sylvia Thomas Center’s funding by $73,000 this fiscal year. No funding is earmarked for next year.
“We look at the Royal Highness Race as a key fundraiser to enable us to continue to serve these hurting children and struggling families,” said Gerard Thomas, the chair of the center’s board.