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'McFarland, USA' coach to speak at local foster family agency fundraiser tonight

Agape Villages hosting third-annual Dinner/Auction at Pleasanton Marriott

San Ramon-based Agape Villages Foster Family Agency is holding its annual Dinner and Auction Event tonight with the real-life coach who inspired the film "McFarland, USA" set to deliver the keynote address at the fundraiser in Pleasanton.

Jim White, a former teacher and cross-country coach in the Central Valley, restarted the once-defunct McFarland High School program and led the team to nine state championships between 1980 and 2003. Walt Disney Pictures turned the team's story into a feature film released earlier this year with Kevin Costner portraying White.

The coach is set to share his story during the Agape Villages fundraiser, which benefits the organization's efforts to recruit, train and supervise foster families. The nonprofit, which serves children and families throughout Northern California, also works with counties to place abused and neglected children -- who are removed from their homes -- into caring foster homes.

"We are so excited about our third-annual Dinner and Auction Event," said Jennifer Oxe, Agape Village community engagement director. "The money raised will go towards critical foster-care programs to help these abused and neglected kids heal, grow and eventually become productive members of society."

The fundraiser is set to run from 6:30-10 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Pleasanton Marriott, 11950 Dublin Canyon Road.

The event will include dinner, dancing to the music of Bay Area band Blue House, a silent auction and wine raffle, as well as White's speech -- all to support Agape Villages and its ongoing work in the community.

According to its mission statement, the organization strives to "mobilize community resources to provide quality homes, innovative solutions and the highest of professional services to disadvantaged children and their families to meet their needs, maximize their potential, and lead toward a better and brighter future."

Fundraiser tickets are still available, at a cost of $75 per person. To buy tickets or to contribute an item for the silent auction, contact Oxe at jenoxe@agapevillages.org or visit the Agape Villages website.

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