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O’Hara woman makes time to plan Oktoberfest at community center

July 24, 2018

Board president Kirsten Powell, event chair Dana Rofey and staffer Sarah Stalling are working on Oktoberfest, this year’s fundraiser for Lauri Ann West Community Center. The Sept. 15 Oktoberfest includes feasting, craft beer tasting and live entertainment.

Planning is underway for the Lauri Ann West Community Center’s grand fundraiser, Celebrate the Center.

This year’s theme is Oktoberfest but Chairwoman Dana Rofey jokingly calls it the “L-A-W-C-C-toberfest.”

Her committee is brewing up fall food, craft beer and live music by local group Asphalt Rodeo for the evening event which runs 7 to 10 p.m. Sept. 15.

“It’s a big celebration,” said Rofey, an O’Hara resident.

It’s where residents can connect and build a stronger community -- and community center.

Outdoor tents promise nothing will dampen the partygoers, many of whom grew up at the local site.

Rofey said, “Many of us take it for granted. It’s the epicenter of so many aspects of our lives.”

The center, which sits along Powers Run Road in O’Hara, serves the six communities that comprise the Fox Chapel Area School District. Rofey said it’s a huge asset and one that she frequents.

“It’s a home away from home; a special place,” she said. “They asked me to chair the event because of all the different ties I have.”

One tie is professional. As an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, Rofey works in pediatrics, psychology and clinical and translational science. She coordinated a recent research project using the local site and has devoted much of her professional work to the well-being of youth. She sees the opportunities offered to families at Lauri Ann West as a significant benefit. The gym, the classes and the events help the community, Rofey believes.

Her view is based on her professional knowledge but also her personal experience.

The Fox Chapel Area High School graduate remembers how much time she spent at the former Boyd Community Center, an elementary school turned community center which was razed to make way for the new and modern Lauri Ann West.

“I grew up at Boyd going two to three times a week my entire life,” she said.

It is one reason she moved back to the area and goes above and beyond as a volunteer at the center and in the community. She just finished a term as president of the O’Hara Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization and will continue on that board.

A soccer standout through the FC Area Youth Soccer Association, FCA high school and on through Bucknell University, Rofey gives back as a girls’ coach, too. She’s also a Girl Scout leader.

Sometimes it’s stressful, especially once you throw in the family’s energetic puppy. To maintain balance, Rofey relies on what she learned from her parents, Nancy and Perry Rofey: “Keep your priorities straight, as easy as it sounds and as difficult as it is to do.”

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