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On Saturday, June 22 (rain date June 29), the inaugural Cars and Stars benefit will take place from 5 p.m. to midnight at the Branched Oak Observatory, 14300 NW 98th St., Raymond, Nebraska.

The dual fundraiser, presented by Security First Bank, will help two local organizations -- SMILE-Center and the Branched Oak Observatory -- further their missions and better the community. Family activities are scheduled including a car show, raffles, bounce house, free pizza (while it lasts), and solar and nighttime sky viewing.

Rick and Dawn Sebek, owners of Sebek Lighting and Rolling Hills Trading, founded SMILE-Center (smile-center.org) in early 2018. SMILE-Center provides funding for battery powered ride-on cars to be modified by Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, GoBabygo! chapters, and area physical therapists for children with mobility challenges. The little cars provide mobility that greatly increases learning and independence at an early age. Funds raised will allow SMILE-Center to donate more cars to children in need.

Branched Oak Observatory (branchedoakobservatory.com) is a family-oriented astronomical observing site near (but not inside) the Branched Oak Recreation Area, 23 miles northwest of Lincoln. It is supported by science education professionals and astronomy enthusiasts who give their time and expertise to the growing facility. Funds raised will help the observatory buy a new cutting-edge telescope and mount, and increase its community outreach.

For sponsorship opportunities and more details about the Cars and Stars fundraiser, go to smile-center.org or contact Dawn Sebek at 402-477-0541.

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L Magazine editor

Mark Schwaninger is L magazine and Neighborhood Extra editor.

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