Volunteer Ascension’s annual “Evening of Hope” fundraiser to benefit the needy in Ascension Parish is set for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. March 17 at Elegant Affairs in Gonzales. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

This year’s event includes a silent auction, live auction items such as Saints suite packages, river cruises, getaways and more, a balloon pop, live music, complimentary drinks and South Louisiana food.

Purchase a “Layne’s Box” for a chance to win a $2,500 shopping spree at Layne’s Jewelry and Design.

Admission is $50 per person, $100 per couple and $450 for a table of 10. Call (225) 644-7655 for tickets.

Free SCORE counseling

Ascension Parish Library and SCORE, of Baton Rouge, will offer free, confidential counseling for new business start-ups and mentoring for existing businesses Thursday afternoon at the Dutchtown Branch.

SCORE counselors are active or retired business owners and executives who provide help on business plans, financial forecasts, marketing and sales, legal and accounting suggestions, business insurance needs and bank loan package preparation.

To schedule an appointment, call (225) 381-7130 or toll-free (877) 381-7130 and specify the Dutchtown Branch.

Anti-Valentine’s Day parties

Valentine’s Day may be over, but it’s never too late for an Anti-Valentine’s Day party. Featuring a series of “Minute to Win It” styled challenges, parties will be held at these Ascension Parish Library branches:

GALVEZ: 4:30 p.m. Monday; call (225) 622-3339.

DONALDSONVILLE: 4:30 p.m. Tuesday; call (225) 473-8052.

DUTCHTOWN: 4 p.m. Feb. 25; call (225) 673-8699.

Gardening workshop

Ascension Parish Library, along with the Ascension Parish Master Gardeners Association and LSU AgCenter, is hosting a series of workshops for novice and advanced gardeners.

A “Create Container Gardens” workshop with Conchita Richey, a member of the Ascension Parish Master Gardener Association and past president of the Gonzales Garden Club, and a group of local master gardeners, is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Gonzales Branch. Call (225) 647-3955 to register.

Challenges of black families

Dr. Cassandra Chaney, an associate professor at LSU School of Social Work, will discuss some of the greatest challenges black families in America are facing in a presentation at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Galvez Branch of Ascension Parish Library. Registration is required; call (225) 622-3339.

The modern black woman

“Imaging Black Women in the Age of Michelle Obama” with Angeletta Gourdine gets underway at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Donaldsonville Branch of Ascension Parish Library. The presentation takes in-depth look at modern black women and the cultural impact of first lady Michelle Obama.

Gourdine, an associate professor of English at LSU, is the former director of African-American studies at LSU and author of “The Difference Place Makes: Gender Sexuality and Diaspora Identity.”

Registration is required; call (225) 473-8052.

Contact Darlene Denstorff by phone, (225) 336-6952 or (225) 603-1996; fax, (225) 644-5851; or email, ascension@theadvocate.com or ddenstorff@theadvocate.com. Deadline: noon Monday.