HOLYOKE — The ninth annual Adult Spelling Bee fundraiser in support of the Holyoke Homework House programming is returning on Thursday, April 25 with plans to spell s-u-c-c-e-s-s for Holyoke kids.

Hosted at Gateway City Arts, the event will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will feature a cash bar and hors d’oeuvres. The bee has become a yearly opportunity for the city to come together in support of the free tutoring and mentorship programs that the Homework House offers.

Homework House Executive Director Virginia Dillon told Reminder Publishing that the adult Spelling Bee fundraiser is one of their top events each year as it is not only a great time for the community, but it also helps support the work of the Homework House who make ends meet on a lean budget.

“We are a free program, so the money that we raise in the spring [fundraiser], with the bee or our fall event where last year we did karaoke, those are significant funds that help keep our program going,” said Dillon. “Because we don’t charge for programming, we have to fund it some way, like individual donations, foundation grants and events like the spelling bee are really what kind of float our boat.”

The Homework House works to promote educational success through providing free tutoring and mentoring for children living in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, in a safe and nurturing place for children to grow and learn.

Contestants must enter as a team of three and pay team registration of $200. General tickets just to attend the event will be $25 in advance and $30 at the door. To register a team or purchase tickets, visit homeworkhouseholyoke.org/spelling-bee/.

The event’s formation nearly a decade ago came from brainstorming ways to improve the Homework House’s fundraising efforts, according to Dillon.

“We wanted to do something more fun, more community oriented and something that was really explicitly tied to our mission of education,” Dillon said.

That mission has been accomplished as the fundraiser has grown since and serves as a fun and entertaining time for adults and families.

“One of the things that stands out to me always at these events is just how engaged everyone is. People are involved, the audience is involved, all the teams are involved, and it’s just a lot of people having a good time,” Dillon said.

Dillon added feedback is often great with many expressing how much fun the night was, something she takes away and appreciates from each year after the fundraiser.

“Ultimately, they come because they want to support Homework House for sure, but they have a really good time doing it so it’s a win-win,” Dillon added.

A team trophy will be presented to the winners as well as medals to other contestants following the competition. Teams are encouraged to come up with clever team names as well as dress in uniform or costume for a chance to win additional awards under those categories.

There will also be a raffle available during the event for various raffle basket prizes, as well as four Boston Red Sox tickets up for grabs.

Dillon hopes those participating in the spelling bee as well as those attending are ready for a fun-filled evening all for a good cause.

“I think my expectation is people are going to come in and have a good time. Ultimately, I think it’s important that we convey the message that this event is supporting critical services for kids here in Holyoke,” Dillon said. “This is a community event, we are a community organization. I think it’s really important that we continue to make the connection between the bee and the money that we raise and the services that they are supporting and the kids that its supporting.”