Monday, April 21, 2008

Power of the Purse

Heroes for Children is proud to announce the final totals of Heroes and Handbags 2008! Our Houston event raised a total of $329,000, and the Dallas event held one week later raised $332,000! With a combined total of $661,000, Heroes and Handbags was a tremendous success!

Ladies and handbags really is the perfect combination, don't you think? Thank you to all the special people that made this event happen. We are very grateful to have such incredible supporters behind the organization to help create such success events such as these two.

The best part about raising so much? Helping families like this sweet little girl's, Morgan. Worth every minute of planning.

Photos courtesy of Brett Chisholm Photography

Thursday, April 17, 2008

April Volunteer of the Month

Please excuse our tardiness on this post regarding this month's Volunteer of the Month. Heroes and Handbags was all consuming! Luckily, we had volunteers like Danielle to help throughout the time! I'm so excited to share this months volunteer, Danielle Soffa, with our readers. Danielle has recently started volunteering on a consistent basis with the staff at Heroes for Children. I've gotten used to seeing her in the office every Monday morning at the volunteer computer in our workroom assisting with post event wrap details. We've had her alphabetizing, entering data, and sorting handbags. She's done it all with a smile! Besides her office volunteer time, she has also joined the Heroes for Children 5K Run/Walk committee with the Logistics groups. It's Danielle's job to make sure that we have enough snacks and goodies at the event. Not a small feat for an expected crowd of 1,500 participants, but she'll do great!

Name, Age, Occupation:

Danielle Soffa, 30, mom and wife

How did you get involved with HFC?

I followed Allie's story from very early on. I read Jenny's daily updates and was amazed by her strength and courage. I thought of Allie often and prayed for a miracle. When HFC was started I had 2 small children but I knew I wanted to get involved so when both my kids started going to preschool, I vowed to get involved and started volunteering weekly in the HFC office.

Do you have any kids and/or pets?

I have 2 wonderful kids, Brayden 5 and Kennedy 3, and two mischievous dogs.

From looking at you, no one would guess that…..

Something about me you won’t know is that I have complete 3 sprint distance triathlons and a marathon.

Favorite place to eat:

Anywhere that serves macaroni and cheese to make my kids happy so that I can enjoy my meal...I don't get out kid-less much ;)

What’s on your book shelf?

Everything written by Nicholas Sparks, The Official Guide to Walt Disney World, To Kill a Mockingbird and My Sister's Keeper by Judi Picoult will be there soon once I finish reading it.

What’s in your iPod/CD changer?

Lots of country music...Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and then a mix of others...Home by Daughtry, Bubbly by Colbie Caillat, Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, a few American Idol downloads and my most recent addition...I'm a Little Teapot (Kennedy's dance recital song).

Who’s your hero?

My hero is my sister-in-law Tracy. She is a full-time teacher as well as a professional triathlete. Just hearing her training schedule tires me out but she gets up at 4am every morning to train and then finishes what she didn’t get to after teaching all day. Her dedication, strength, endurance, courage, and charisma inspire me daily. And the fact that she puts up with my brother is a feat in itself!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Heroes and Handbags x 2!!

Wow!! What an incredible two weeks it has been!! Preparing for our largest two fundraisers to occur within 10 days of each other is quite a feat!! Luckily, we have an amazing office staff, and two amazing event chairs, Elizabeth Gambrell in Dallas, and Mary Lou Fernandez in Houston. We are also blessed with a committee of dedicated, hardworking volunteers who work hard for over 10 months to make these events the huge successes that they are!
Houston Heroes and Handbags was held on Wednesday, March 26th at River Oaks Country Club. With a silent auction of over 160 handbags to bid on, the champagne was flowing and the 500 plus women (and a few lucky men) were in shopping heaven!!
Valobra donated a GORGEOUS custom designed diamond ring with two hearts on it, especially for Heroes for Children. The hearts representing Taylor and Allie. One lucky lady won the raffle and wore it home on her finger! What a prize!! Elaine Turner and her crew were there with a huge display of Elaine Turner bags up for grabs! As I cruised by the table, many of them had already been sold with the "buy it now" option!! No surprise, as her bags are gorgeous! They also had on hand the Taylor and Allie bags available for presale, with 50% of the sale going back to Heroes! All morning line the ladies were lined up to purchase these great bags! Also, we had a special treat and surprise as Chloe Dao, the Season Two winner from Project Runway showed up with one of her sisters! Jenny was thrilled as she is a HUGE Project Runway fan!!
As we moved into the dining room for brunch, we were treated to a moving and at times hilarious speech by Brian Moreno. Brian is one of our board members, and his son, Austin, is being treated for leukemia. Brian reminded the crowd that childhood cancer could happen to any of our kids, and rallied the ladies (and gents) to fill out their donor cards for Heroes for Children!!

Dallas Handbags was held last Friday, April 4th at The Hilton Anatole in Dallas. The wind, rain and cold weather did not deter the 700 plus ladies from making it to this hot ticket event!! Once again, the silent auction room was full with over 180 vintage and designer handbags all up for grabs! From Chanel to Valentino, the choices were endless! Once again, the ladies from Elaine Turner were on hand with a slew of beautiful bags up for auction. I believe over 60 orders were taken for Allie and Taylor bags too! After the auction ended, the group moved into the Chantilly Ballroom and were treated to the moving speech of Jennifer Houser. Jennifer has been very involved with Heroes for Children in many ways. She and her husband, Doug, are our honorary chairs of the event this year. She also serves on our advisory board, and was very involved with Heroes and Handbags this year. Jennifer's son, Ryan, was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2001. Jennifer shared Ryan's story of courage with us. Thankfully, Ryan is healthy and happy. He is a grad student at California State University and is engaged to be married next year. Once again, those in attendance were moved to make a donation and make a difference in the lives of children living with cancer. Another lucky lady won the gorgeous Matthew Trent wraught iron and diamond earrings in the raffle!

At both events we had the pleasure of having several of the families and their children that HFC has assisted there. These children are the reason we work so hard to fundraise for Heroes. They are our mission, and we were blessed to have them there. We also had many of the social workers in attendance. These two events will enable Heroes for Children to continue providing families with much needed financial assistance. Thanks to everyone who attended, i know a great time was had by all! (Hopefully you left with a new handbag on your arm too!) After a long nap, I think I will be ready to start planning for next year!