Just in time for the holidays, I got to give away some holiday cheer. With the help of Camp Mighty, I and ten other lucky people were hooked up with AT&T, who, along with the Make a Wish foundation, awarded us each $3500 worth of gift cards to spend on a charity organization in our communities.
My donations went to the All Stars Project, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting human development through education and performing arts activities.
They wanted to reward some of their kids for their efforts, and asked for portable speakers and headphones--fun stuff to give kids who don't often get stuff just because it's fun. It was an easy (and, well, fun) wish to grant. Do you know how many speakers and headphones you can buy with $3500? I brought Scott and Henry along for the trip, for their muscle as well as cab-wrangling abilities.
I told Henry he had to carry all of these. He didn't buy it.
AT&T gave me 35 $100 gift cards, which took a while to process in the store. In the time it took I became friends with Julio at the AT&T store in Union Square. We're quite close now. If you head over there, tell him Alice sent you. Alice BRADLEY. Then mime using many, many gift cards.
When we arrived at All Stars, Antoine Joyce (Development Officer, aka "Diddy of Development") was kind enough to give us a tour and introduce us around to the hardworking staff and volunteers.
He was quite busy with fundraising work, not to mention attempting to eat lunch while we hurled questions at him.
Here he is, after he finished his sandwich, explaining to us that the kids were not, in reality, posing with German avant garde dramatist Heiner Müller. I'm all, "What's a 'Photoshop'?"
All Stars is an amazing organization. In addition to helping kids and adults through performance, they run the Development School for Youth, a leadership training program for older kids, and work with the NYPD on Operation Conversation: Cops and Kids, bringing together the police and inner-city kids in positive interactions. In 2011, the NYPD incorporated Operation Conversation into their training.
They also let my kid stand on the stage and perform some German avant garde for us. Or, okay, just stand on the stage. (This was one of many stages. They have quite a set-up at the All Stars Project.)
We were supposed to return to see the kids getting their gifts, but we were all under the weather. Bummer. Antoine sent over some pictures, and maybe they made me cry a little, whatever, I don't know, shut up.
According to Antoine, the gifts were awarded to the youth and young adult teams. In his words: "these are the people who volunteer every week to guarantee our programs are a success. Some of them are on the load out team that heads to storage at 7 am to load equipment and then work the entire event and return at 9 pm at night."
I think they're hamming it up just a touch. Oh, theater folk!
YOU GUYS ARE SO CUTE AND YOU KNOW IT.
I am so grateful to the All Stars Project and Antoine for showing us all of the excellent work they do, and to AT&T, for making this whole thing possible. This was a gift for us, truly. Thanks, guys!