A few weeks ago I wrote about the Sock Hop & Roll event to benefit Bona Vista Programs that my Kokomo Area Career Center intern, Keegan Paul, 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 stellar, but I know that life during the holidays is busy. 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, Keegan and I put in some work to make this event happen. But, we are not the only ones. My coworkers, Brittany Reed, Brooklyn Dugdale, and Troy Bowers, helped with decorations, music, lights, emceeing, set up, tear down, and so much more that I can’t even include. 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. I appreciate them more than I will ever be able to say.
They aren’t the only ones who gave up their time, though. We have amazing team members who work with adults with special needs all day, and then they 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 and enjoyed the event with them, our CEO and Board of Directors president who came and supported our work, our maintenance team who hauled, delivered, and just generally did anything we asked and 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 and culinary arts students and staff from the Kokomo Area Career Center who made the guests of honor look amazing and kept our happy guests fed. The CNA students from the KACC who came to make sure our guests were well taken care of, Blake White who spent his evening capturing great memories on film, Addison Reckard who helped decorate and turn the UAW hall into the magic that it was. All of our media partners who helped promote the event!
My husband who ran here, there, and everywhere, held the door open for guests the entire night and stayed to tear down… he’s a Saint! Keegan’s grandparents and aunt who volunteered during the evening and made amazing signs that set the décor over the top! Troy Bower’s daughter, Shari, who stepped up to help set up, stayed to help coordinate volunteers and danced the night away with our special guests. 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 root beer for the floats and bottled water for our guests. Crazy J’s ice cream donated gallons of ice cream for the milkshakes. Kroger Maple Crest Plaza made sure we had affordable white carnations that turned our centerpieces into true works of art. Expressions Designs took my limited budget and created shirts for our volunteers that I was proud to hand out (and wear)! Last, but definitely not least, UAW 685 which let us use their wonderful facility and didn’t charge us a dime because they get what community is all about.
Did this event raise a ton of funds for Bona Vista? No. We were upfront 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! I know I’m probably the first person in this line of work to tell you that, but it’s true. 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 who benefit from our services? 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.
Now that the event is over, and we can relax (after we get everything put away)… we plan on enjoying the rest of the year with holiday parties and fun. We hope you do the same!