Yesterday afternoon, I received an invitation in the mail to the 2015 Cinderella Charity Ball. This is the 55th annual charity ball to raise money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Arlington, TX. Can you imagine my surprise when I saw the photo on the front of the invitation? It was my daughter’s friend, Shelby Mayo.
Shelby’s mom, Sara, is one of my good friends. I met her in 2013 when we first came to the U.S. from Egypt and I first registered my daughter, Randa, in the Alternate Curriculum at Sam Houston High School. Randa has autism and had never been in school during the twelve years we lived in Egypt. It took her a long time to adjust to the rigorous schedule at school and while she seemed to get along okay (sort of) with the teachers, she wasn’t making any real friends.
Shelby also attends Sam Houston High in the general education classes. But since her mom is a special ed. teacher, she spends a lot of time on the Alternate Curriculum wing, be it for lunch with her mom or just to say hi or to help out by reading or talking or joking with the AC students or even just pushing a wheelchair to help with the lunch crowd. Randa hit it off with Shelby almost right away. And when we attended the Starry Night Prom last year, it was Shelby who grabbed Randa’s hand and pulled her to the dance floor where they played air guitar to the guitar solo in Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” I’ve never seen my daughter dance or smile that much in my life. She came back to the table for a rest and some water and announced to me, “Shelby’s friend. Shelby’s pretty.” Randa’s right. Shelby IS her pretty friend.
Beyond the pretty face, Shelby has a beautiful soul. She participates in events and clubs that matter to her and that support the community that is not only Sam Houston High, but Arlington as a whole. She is a member of Young Life, supports the Starry Night Prom and Special Olympics, is the class representative for Texas Support for RSD/CRPS (an excruciatingly painful and progressive disease of the Autonomic Nervous System, which she suffers,) and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Arlington. Following is an excerpt of Shelby’s letter inviting us to participate in this fundraiser:
“…As a student at Sam Houston, I have friends that benefit from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Arlington. Adrian is one of these friends. When Adrian came to Sam Houston in 2013, his mom did not have after school arrangements for Adrian. While sitting in the parking lot during the first week of school, Adrian’s mom saw the Boys & Girls Clubs of Arlington bus arrive to campus and pick up students. She called and was able to enroll Adrian for daily after school care at a minimal price – a true blessing, as she was able to keep her job, provide for Adrian, and all at an affordable yearly fee for a single parent. I help Adrian board the bus every day at school and, because of his story and so many like it, I am honored to be a 2015 Cinderella Candidate.”
Shelby is always thinking with her heart for the good of her school, fellow students and community. I am so proud of this amazing, young woman. And I just want to say, Shelby, you will always be MY Cinderella. ❤