For the last several weeks I have been writing about the Let’s Glow 80s Crazy dance to benefit Bona Vista Programs that my Kokomo Area Career Center intern, Jacob Moore, was putting on and executing. I’m pleased to say that the event went off without a hitch last week, and I wanted to give you just a few of my personal highlights (in no particular order).
1. The guests of honor. First, I was so impressed with some of their outfits. They were stunning and so fashionable. Second, they are some of the best humans you have ever met and their smiles made all of the work and stress totally worth it. Lastly, I never in my wildest dreams thought there would be so many people. Not because I didn’t think the cause was worthy or that the event wouldn’t be totally rad, but I know that life is busy. We had more than 100 register to attend! I’ll never be able to thank them all enough for making this event all that we had dreamed it would be.
2. The staff. Yes, Jacob and I put in some work to make this event happen. But, we are not the only ones. My co-workers, Brittnee Smith, Marcy Kistler, Brooklyn Dugdale, and Troy Bowers, helped with decorations, music, lights, emceeing, set up, tear down, and so much more. There is a reason we get so much work done at an alarming rate of speed, and it’s because they are willing to do anything asked of them. They aren’t the only ones who gave up their time, though. We have staff who work with adults with special needs all day and then came in the evening to volunteer their time to do the same. That’s because quality staff realize that what we do is more than just a job. It’s a calling. And, that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the staff from group homes who brought our persons served out in the cold and enjoyed the event with them, our CEO who came and supported our work, some of our Board of Directors who wanted to see what all of the hype had been about, maintenance who hauled, delivered and just generally did anything we asked, and I am sure many others who I am forgetting to mention who supported a cause they are passionate about!
3. The volunteers. Events like this aren’t possible without volunteers. Some take more than others, and this one took more than we were prepared for, honestly. The cosmetology, entrepreneurship, and culinary arts students and staff from the Kokomo Area Career Center made the guests of honor look amazing, created our volunteer T-shirts and kept our happy guests fed. Western seniors Jacob Jansen and Payton Irwin spent their evening capturing great memories on video and in pictures. Our Mayor’s Youth Advisory students Brayden York, Maya James, Vicky Qiu and Indya Swain helped decorate and turn the UAW hall into the magic that it was. All of our media partners helped promote the event. My daughter, Makenzie, helped create decorations, brought coffee when she could tell I was stressed, volunteered as a peer buddy and stayed to tear down. Jacob’s parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings who volunteered during the evening and in all ways supported everything we did. When you work in a nonprofit, so does your family. I can guarantee I’m leaving someone out. That’s the problem with lists. Don’t be offended, though. I’m writing this the day after the event on very little sleep and without much chance to process everything that took place.
4. The community. This community never ceases to amaze me. When we ask for something, it always gets provided. Coca-Cola stepped up to provide the drinks for our guests. Heartland Ministries Church let us borrow many of their Nintendo props from a past function. The Emergency Management Agency came and hung out with us for three hours just to give me a peace of mind. UAW Local 685 let us use their wonderful facility and didn’t charge us a dime. Last, but certainly not least, all of our sponsors. When Jacob sent out letters and started making cold calls about financial support, we had no idea the response he would receive. Big thank you to Hobson Insurance Agency, Community First Bank, Dr. Thomas Prather, Jansen’s Asphalt and Tax Service, Moore Title & Escrow, and The Wyman Group.
Did this event raise a ton of funds for Bona Vista? No. We were up front from the beginning that any money we made from sponsorships or at the door would go toward the food and other expenses of putting on an event. So why do we do it? Some experiences and events are worth more than that! We hope you’ll advocate for us and the adults and children we serve. How can you do that if you don’t know about us or meet any of the people we serve? That’s what this event was about (for me, particularly), providing an atmosphere for the community to come and mingle with some of the adults we serve in a laid back environment. Mission accomplished.