Bluegrass fans had better prepare for an old-time, hand-clapping, toe-tapping experience.

Snowgrass, now in its seventh year, will feature a handful of bands including Crescent Blue & The Finleys, Frosty Hollow, Nicklebush and Jammin' Salmon on Saturday, Jan. 31.

Denny Secord Sr. is master of ceremonies. Proceeds will benefit the First Step Family Support Center.

Since 1971, First Step has worked with thousands of families and children to support parent education, family support and child development programs. Services offered through the nonprofit organization include:

_ Peer mentoring programs for teen parents.

_ Home visiting programs.

_ Parent education classes.

_ Support groups.

_ Vocational counseling.

_ Health education training.

_ Transportation.

_ Parent advocacy services.

_ Smoking cessation.

_ Resource and referral.

_ Free emergency formula,

baby equipment and clothing.

_ On-site child care.

First Step's response to community needs - coupled with follow through and commitment - has garnered a reputation of excellence locally, across the state and nationally, according to Cherie Reeves Sperr, development manager.

The agency was the 2008 recipient of the Children's Trust Foundation's "Janet Miller Award for Excellence in Family Support."

Last year, First Step served more than 4,000 low-income families with young children.

"In this economic state, we are seeing a huge increase in need for our services," Reeves Sperr said.

Snowgrass 2008 raised $4,400 - the most ever. This year, organizers are hoping to raise at least $4,000.

Part of the money will go toward First Step's $1.2 million capital campaign to expand its facility by adding a nearly 4,000-square-foot building beside the existing establishment on Sixth Street in Port Angeles.

The addition will feature a welcoming lobby, a parent and family resource center, a kitchen and two large multipurpose rooms downstairs. Upstairs will serve as counseling offices, training facilities, conference space and staff offices.

New programs will include a licensed infant and toddler care, an early learning center and one-on-one counseling.

Nearly $550,000 has been raised so far.

The rest of the funds from Snowgrass will go toward other program operation costs, wherever the need is greatest, Reeves Sperr said.

A concession stand will be available on site, and volunteers will sell raffle tickets.

"This is going to be a great time for the community - a gas of a good time," Reeves Sperr said.

"I had a really great time last year. Don't miss out on it!"

Board member Trudy Robbins encouraged community members to support First Step.

"I believe it's important for communities to have healthy families," she said.

"The center and its staff do an amazing job providing families with the resources, skills and services needed to develop healthy, happy families.

"It's a great way to pay it forward: Give to these families struggling and they will give back to the community."

Ashley Miller can be reached at

Fun for the entire family

What: Snowgrass 2009, including performances by Crescent Blue, Frosty Hollows, Nicklebush and Jammin' Salmon.

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31.

Doors open at 6 p.m.

Where: Port Angeles High School auditorium, 304 E. Park Ave.

Tickets: $10 general admission, $6 senior citizens, youths 12 and younger free

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