Community News Blackjack fundraiser benefits Rivermont, Kids on the Block

Community News Blackjack fundraiser benefits Rivermont, Kids on the Block

November 1st, 2017 by Emily Crisman in Community North Hamilton

Chattanooga's Kids on the Block deliver handmade cards by local children to children hospitalized at T.C. Thompson's Children's Hospital. The cards were made at the ninth annual Pinwheels for Prevention event.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Chattanooga's Kids on the Block, Rivermont Elementary School and the Chattanooga Breakfast Rotary Club are hosting a fundraising event called "Boots, Beer and Blackjack" at 2 on the Roof Friday, Nov. 10 from 6:30-10:30 p.m.

The event features heavy hors d'oeuvres, boot and belt buckle contests, a DJ, dancing and, of course, blackjack. Though no money will be exchanged for the blackjack games, guests should be sure to bring their wallet for the silent auction.

Proceeds will go toward Chattanooga's Kids on the Block and a new playground accessible for all pre-K students at Rivermont, including those with special needs. Of Rivermont's 250 students, 30 percent are considered to have special needs.

Tiffany Anich, left, talks with Rivermont Elementary teacher Barbara Crosslin about improvements made to Crosslin's classroom. Anich, along with Sam Young from Green's Eco-Build and Design, adopted Crosslin's classroom to improve it for the new school year.

Tiffany Anich, left, talks with Rivermont Elementary teacher...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

The school's existing playground for students with disabilities, built by volunteers in the early 1980s, is at the end of its life, said Rivermont principal Nikki Bailey. About 10 years ago, the Breakfast Rotary Club funded a playground accessible for both students with disabilities and their typically developing peers, but it does not meet the safety requirements for students younger than age 5 because some features they could fall from are too high from the ground, Bailey explained.

So the school, along with the Rotary Club and Kids on the Block, is raising funds for a new playground for all the school's 3-, 4- and 5-year-old students. It will be designed by Chattanooga-based playground equipment supplier PlayCore, which also designed the recently opened Miracle League playground at Warner Park, said Bailey. The school's playground, which will be located in the field next to the other playground funded by the Rotary Club, will also meet the sensory needs of students with autism spectrum disorder, she said.

The estimated cost of the new playground, including leveling, sidewalks and fencing, is $300,000. Once complete, the space will be dedicated in honor of Taylor Bynum, a Rivermont student with several disorders who passed away from surgery complications last June, just before her fourth birthday, Bailey said.

The school plans to demolish the old playground for students with disabilities that was built by volunteers and replace it with an outdoor nature classroom, Bailey added.

Funds raised through the blackjack event will also go toward Chattanooga's Kids on the Block's "Accepting Differences" educational programs, which use puppetry to teach kids in area schools about accepting differences.

VIP tickets for the event are $80 per person or $150 a couple, and general admission tickets are $60 per person or $100 per couple. All tickets include 5,000 blackjack "dollars"; complimentary beer, wine and buffet; and a bourbon ticket. VIP tickets also include $5,000 more blackjack dollars, access to VIP blackjack tables and complimentary bourbon drinks.

The event is being held at 2 on the Roof, located at 313 Manufacturers Road, Suite 217. For tickets, visit