“I coordinated a masquerade charity ball for the non-profit Call to Freedom. Their goal is to provide a safe place for survivors of human trafficking to reintegrate into society by offering counseling, trauma management, and helping victims regain their confidence and identity.
“I began by seeking business donors who were interested in sponsoring this event mission, and I created an Eventbrite page to sell tickets. My main method of advertising was through paid Facebook ads, through others organically sharing various postings on social media, and through some print media. There will be both a live and silent auction at the event to help raise funding, so I contacted several local businesses to see if they’d be willing to donate items or services. I also have seven chefs from various restaurants/caterers providing appetizers and desserts. Lastly, it wouldn’t be a ball without music. I hired a live band to bring some high-energy entertainment for dancing and enjoyment for the end of the evening. We are currently one month prior to the Ball, and I’ve been able to secure $21,200 in cash donations and $7,000 in donated auction items/services. After paying expenses and adding in projected ticket sales, I hope to provide Call to Freedom with a check exceeding $25,000 and to have helped to educate hundreds more people about the hidden crime of human trafficking.
“[I chose this project because] I wanted to do something meaningful and memorable within my community. Human trafficking is an issue that most people think only happens overseas in impoverished, corrupt countries distant from our American shores. This could not be farther from the truth. Human trafficking is a masked crime that is closer to home than one might think. Hence why I chose to do a “masquerade” ball to help raise awareness of this hidden crime, provide an opportunity for financial giving for Call to Freedom, and unite my community in a purposeful event.
“The most rewarding part of coordinating this event was seeing people from all walks of life come together to help me create a truly memorable evening for an even greater cause. I could not have gotten as far as I did without people along the way generously giving their time, money, and talents to accomplish such a feat. I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of my community and their passion to help others in dire circumstances.
“Definitely, the hardest part of this project was constantly being out of my comfort zone. This project required me to be outgoing and to walk into businesses I had absolutely no connections with, inform them of what I’m doing, and ask if they want to be a part of this mission by sponsoring this event. I learned how to be quick on my feet, project confidence, and expect the unexpected. I learned that even if the answer was “no,” it was still a victory in that I spoke to another person about human trafficking and made them aware of Call to Freedom’s mission. It’s also been extremely difficult to balance life being a full-time student, working, and doing this project. I’ve spent an average of 20-30 hrs per week working to get sponsors, auction items, plan the event, sell tickets, and everything in between. I never knew how much time and energy it takes just to communicate with people.
“The most important thing I’ve learned is to trust God far more than myself. So many times I walked into meetings with businesses, venues, musicians, and caterers and thought, “Why would they help me?” I was often surprised that it wasn’t in my perfect “sales pitch” or or any sort of eloquence (as I sometimes fumble my words). I often prayed before talking to people, then I took action and either walked into their building or made that phone call. I realized that people are not as unfriendly as I might think up in my head. And I also discovered that the easiest way to break the ice is to make a simple connection with them, either by what they sell, who they know, or what places are nearby. God created us not only to connect with others, but also to rely on them. I could have never carried this burden alone. I also learned that the old cliché is true. It’s not
what you know but whom you know. It seems the more people I talked with, the more connections I made with other people. It was a true joy to see how often God works through simple obedience of taking small action steps. And lastly, I learned that sometimes really devastating news can actually be a blessing that I just can’t see yet. There were a few times when I was really crushed about something not working out, but then something different, and often something better, was on the horizon. An important thing I’ve had to keep at the forefront of this project was that it’s not mine. It’s the Lord’s.” – Abby