Agape Ranch has planned a Mystery, Murder and Masquerade fundraiser from 6:30-10 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Corpus Christi Yacht Club.

Murder, mystery and money

Group plans interactive fundraiser to help foster children

A local nonprofit hopes to raise funds through a hair-raising interactive murder mystery event.

Agape Ranch, which aims to establish a self-sustaining foster care community and housing programs for young adults during their college years, has planned a Mystery, Murder and Masquerade fundraiser from 6:30-10 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Corpus Christi Yacht Club.

Guests will be treated to an interactive murder mystery, live and silent auctions and hors d’oeuvres. Everyone attending is encouraged to wear masquerade attire and a mask. However, 30 masks made by foster children will be available for purchase at the event. Donors include Southwest Airlines, HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines and many local businesses.

The idea for the masked party came from a secret donor who proposed a $50,000 donation match fundraiser. Agape Ranch has named her the “Masked Donor.”

“We wanted to create something really fun and different from the normal fundraisers. Since we have a masked donor, we thought a masquerade party would be a fun way to raise money. We have actors who will be immersed with the guests to make it more entertaining,” said Susan Klaus, executive director and founder of Agape Ranch.

Sarah Contreras, professor of speech at Del Mar College, is a co-chair for the fundraiser. Her role includes planning the mystery and procuring actors. Contreras, who has a Bachelor of Arts in theater, has experience directing shows and hosting murder mysteries.

“Not only is this an event that is for a wonderful cause, but it is a fun way to do it! It is a guaranteed night of fun plus the opportunity do do something worthwhile,” Contreras said. “I believe in their mission and I thought I had the connections and skills they needed for their fundraiser.”

According to the Agape Ranch website, the organization hopes to establish a safe environment of 19 homes where foster children can receive the support they need to mature in all aspect of their lives. The return to Agape program will provide housing and mentorship for young adults during their college or trade school career.

“In Texas, 94 percent of young adults aging-out of the foster care system will become homeless, incarcerated, sex trafficked, in prostitution or dead within two years,” Klaus said. “Our goal is to create a safe place for these families and children to live. We hope to provide resources to help them succeed into adulthood.”

There is no other community like Agape Ranch in Texas, according to Klaus. A plot of land was donated to Agape Ranch in the London School District. However, they are only one-third to their financial goal.

Tickets for the Murder Mystery Masquerade start at $150 per seat with tables starting at $1,500. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.agaperanch.org/masquerade.

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