After 3 months of intense planning, critical detailing, and constant promotion, the day of my Free The Children Fundraiser Gala finally came…and it was a success!
When I first heard that prior to the national pageant, I would need to raise money for Free The Children, I started jotting down many ideas. Though they were typical, small fundraisers- car washes, bake sales etc. Though those can be very effective, I wanted to do something different…and something a lot bigger. My family attends a lot of banquet hall parties- for New Years, and traditional Albanian celebrations, so my mom actually gave me the idea of hosting my own gala event!
I have to thank her for all her help; without my mom, this event wouldn’t have been as successful as it was! We got to work right away- choosing a location, choosing a time, choosing the food, handling prices and deals etc. I started promoting my event right away through Facebook (on my pageant page and by creating an event page) and all my other social media. I even created, printed and handed out flyers containing all the information to attract more people!
I knew it would be a night full of music, dancing, and fun, but I wanted something more- I wanted performances! Thanks to Miss Teenage Peel 2014, Emilia Nowiki, and the Mississauga Arts Council, I was able to get live performers for the gala! I got in contact with someone in charge of the Mississauga Arts Council, and after telling her about the event, she posted a blast on their Facebook page. Within a day, I got so many emails of people wanting to perform! My mom and I chose our favourites and these talented performers made the night great! 🙂 I got to introduce them, telling the crowd of their work. Thank you to the Gigi Sisters, Cat Bernardi, and the Samuels Brothers for your wonderful performances and support to the cause.
As the date was approaching, things were getting more stressful; planning a large event like this is actually a lot of work! (Thanks again to my mom for her amazing organization skills that kept us on track! <3). We created the tickets for the event and many people bought them ahead of time. I had many family friends that came out for this great cause and I appreciate all the support they gave me. In fact, I had a lot support from the Albanian community (Albanians love a good party); I even got the interest of the president of the Albanian-Canadian Community Association, Ruki Kondaj, who attended my event (stay tuned as I’ll be attending one of her events very soon!). Word spread, and by the day of the event, we had over 120 people come out for the gala!
My event was held on June 1st at the Woodbridge Banquet Hall. I got to dress up like a princess, and I felt like a celebrity because everyone wanted to take a picture with me that night. I was definitely in the spotlight! 🙂 I hosted the event, making a speech in the beginning telling the crowd a little bit about me, the Miss Teenage Canada pageant, and about the event. I also got to host the activities that my mom and I created (dancing games with prizes), and also choose the winners for our raffle! We had wrapped prizes, and put a number on the event tickets for a raffle. I randomly chose corresponding numbers from a bowl, and the person holding the winning ticket won the prize! Everyone loved the interactive activities (and the prizes 😉 ).
The rest of the night was filled with music (English and Albanian music- thanks to Niko Busho for being our awesome DJ), and A LOT of dancing! I had a great time, and everyone else did too! Not only was it a very fun night, but the most important part of it all was that we raised money for Free The Children. It was my first time holding such a large fundraiser and I was very happy with the way everything turned out!
I love attending charity events and fundraisers and I hope to create and host more events for Free The Children, and other charities as well. Being Miss Teenage GTA 2014 has been giving me many opportunities to give back, and I can’t begin to imagine what I will be able to do if I win the title of Miss Teenage Canada 2014; I can make a huge positive impact in many areas. Overall, my Free The Children Fundraiser was a great experience and taught me many valuable skills. I believe it was a success because what better way to raise money than in an environment where everyone is having a good time? 🙂
Thank you to everyone who came out for the Gala- you truly supported a great cause. Thank you to all my family and friends for all the support you’ve been giving me throughout this journey. Thank you to Woodbridge Banquet Hall for your services; the hall was beautiful and the food was delicious! And a HUGE thank you to my mom, who was there every step of the way with me, organizing all the fine details of the event and making sure everything ran smoothly; this event wouldn’t have been possible without you!
See you soon!