Friday, October 9, 2015

The Gala of 2015

For the last three years, I've volunteered my time with a local non-profit called House of Healing. This was the third year in a row to be a part of their annual charity gala and silent auction. Each year my role has changed a little, and this year I was the Gala Co-Chair along with my dear friend, Nikki. Our other friend, Shelley also served on the gala committee along with our directors, Kathy and Paula. A year of planning, list-making, decorating, scheming, talking, and deal-making finally came to fruition this past Tuesday night at the Denim & Diamonds Gala at Rose Creek Golf Club!

Through a mutual friend, I was introduced to the two ladies who started House of Healing. I heard their stories, I saw their passion for what they do, and I could totally get behind that! House of Healing focuses on teenage girls ages 13-18 who are struggling, hurting, or going through a difficult time. They provide many resources including a vibrant mentoring program, counseling and equine therapy. A few years ago, House of Healing purchased 25 acres of land near Oklahoma City and next month our first bunk house will be finished and ready to move in! The bunk house will serve as a retreat center for the girls in their care. Eventually, the land will include a few residential homes where girls could live on a full time basis. House of Healing is a proactive organization instead of reactive. They try to intervene before girls make more serious life-altering decisions. They stress the importance of young women getting an education and becoming self-sufficient. They teach them communication skills and build up their self-esteem. They even offer parenting classes for willing family members. It's a great program and I was honored to put in the hours of work to make their gala a success. And it was fun having an excuse to get together with my good friends often during the week!

We arrived at the golf club at 10:00 in the morning the day of the event and worked non-stop until it was time to begin at 6:30. We had to set up the silent auction, decorate the tables with the centerpieces we made, write some thank you notes, fill out bid sheets, go over the flow of the evening with our emcee and guest speakers, meet with volunteers and make sure they understood their tasks, adjust the seating chart, etc. It was non-stop movement! But I'm very pleased with the way the room looked. 

Fun Fact: We had all our dessert donated by a local cupcake shop called Cuppies & Joe. We decided to use the cupcakes as a part of our table centerpieces, but we weren't sure how to display them. Pinterest to the rescue! We went to the dollar store, purchased 20 dinner plates and 20 martini glasses, turned the martini glass over and used a silicone glue to stick the bottom of the glass to the underside of the plate and voila! Plate stand centerpieces perfect for 8 cupcakes! I wish I had taken an up close pic of them. They turned out great for $2 a piece!

Mike and I just before the event started.
With our gala being on a Tuesday night this year, we went with a business casual dress code and our theme was "Denim & Diamonds" which totally fits our program's theme. Our director, Kathy, is a country girl at heart. She is way more comfortable in a pair of jeans and her cowgirl boots than a fancy dress any day. 
The theme just worked.

Me with Shelley and Nikki
Pretty much every picture we are in has us holding our detailed gala program list. 
Nikki with our dear friend, Mona. She and her husband own a construction company, and they were our first ever event sponsors. Their generosity helped us take our event to another level this year!
Packed House!
Our evening featured 45 silent auction baskets, a DJ, dinner, dessert, an auctioneer conducting a live auction (we had six live auction items including trips to Taos and Destin and of course diamond jewelry), and a guest speaker.
Our gorgeous friend, Jamie, was our diamond model for the evening. She got to wear the earrings and bracelet and walk around letting everyone see them up close. Jamie is also a fitness instructor and about 6 feet tall. I'm on my tippy toes in this pic and she took off her heels and bent her knees.
The Gala committee with our fearless leaders, Kathy and Paula.
I love this group of women!

My dad stepped up big time and watched the kids from as soon as school was out until ten o'clock that night. As soon as we got home, chatted for a few minutes (mercifully all our kids were asleep!), I crashed into bed and was asleep in minutes. The next day I was sore, tired and really felt the weight of the day before both physically and mentally. I allowed myself a good afternoon of rest before I had to jump back into real life. 
These kids don't feed themselves yet! 
(I mean, they can make cereal and pb&j's and are generally pretty independent, but if I want them to actually eat well balanced meals, that involves me cooking). I was kind of hoping there would be a "gala fairy" that would magically appear to cook and clean for me the rest of the week.
Alas, she did not show.

Funny thing is, I'd do it all again next year!

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