Prom Season is Upon Us

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I’m not going to lie to you. We NEED money. Hosting a prom each year is expensive. But STARRY NIGHT PROM is doing everything in its power to continue keeping this event cost-free for the Arlington ISD high school students with significant disabilities and their chaperone. It truly isn’t easy. But here’s how you can help.

Donate: If you could just provide us with as much as you are comfortable with donating, it could make all the difference in the world. Each and every donation, regardless of amount, is greatly appreciated. To reach our secure fundraising site, please click on this link———————————> RIGHT HERE!

Share:  Please share this post. Circulating this blog post among your friends via your social media outlets can assist us in reaching even more potential donors. This can make all the difference in the world. Please click on the Facebook, Twitter, or email links below to help our cause.

In-Kind Donations:  If you own a business or represent an organization that would like to sponsor STARRY NIGHT PROM by in-kind donations of logo-bearing promotional items (such as pens, pennants, t-shirts, hats, refrigerator magnets, keychains, lanyards, drink koozies, etc,) please email me here———————> starrynightprom@outlook.com.

We are also accepting gift basket items to be raffled off during the event, 29 April 2017. If you have a gift basket that you would like to donate for raffle, please contact me at the email address above.

ALL DONATIONS ARE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE. STARRY NIGHT PROM IS A REGISTERED 501 (C)(3) NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION.

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STARRY NIGHT PROM 2017

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This kid right here? He’s having a blast, dancing his heart out at the Starry Night Prom last year.

2017 will mark our TENTH ANNUAL STARRY NIGHT PROM! Can you believe we’ve been doing this for an entire decade? We decided to celebrate that fact by throwing an even better prom this year than we did last year. But in order to do that, we need your help. This prom is run entirely on donations. Yes, that’s right. The invitations, corsages and boutonnieres, decorations, food, DJ, desserts, photography, commemorative t-shirts, swag bags and everything in them: ALL donated or paid for with your donations. Even the people who provide service on this night- all volunteers.

And throwing an event like STARRY NIGHT PROM each year is not cheap. So we’re calling on you to help us out. Please donate to help us reach our $6000 goal and make this magical night a reality for these kids within the Arlington ISD. Just click on the highlighted link below and you’ll be directed to our crowd-sourcing fundraiser site.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO STARRY NIGHT PROM 2017!

If you own a business and would like to donate logo-bearing in-kind donation for swag bags, please contact our Vice-President of Donations by emailing her here: starrynightprom@outlook.com

If you have other in-kind donations that you’d like to donate, such as gently used prom dresses or tuxedoes, or if you’d like to purchase and donate food items or gift cards to local grocery or department stores, swagbag items, etc., also please contact our Vice-President of Donations via email: starrynightprom@outlook.com.

Remember EVERY donation is appreciated and we will provide  you with a tax-deductible receipt.

**STARRY NIGHT PROM is a registered 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization.

Trades of Hope Charity Event

Have you heard of “Trades of Hope?” It’s amazing. This company empowers artisans all over the world and allows them to earn a sustainable living while helping their own communities.

trades-of-hope

Some of these artisans are healed members of leper colonies who would are unable to reenter their own society in order to work. Some have been removed from the slave-trade or sex-trade. Some are in extremely impoverished areas of their country. These artisans are in Kenya, India, Uganda, Haiti, Cambodia, the U.S.A., and others. What do they have in common? Amazing talent in artistry.

How does Trades of Hope help Starry Night Prom? It doesn’t directly. But we really respect the company and what they’re doing. We also truly dig that the Trades of Hope distribution center in Florida hires people to package and ship out the purchases through another non-profit, The Arc. The Arc is for people with Intellectual and Developmental disabilities: Exactly like some of our students who attend Starry Night Prom!

So when Naunie Lobaugh, a compassionate entrepreneur with Trades of Hope, came to us and suggested that we host a fundraiser with her, we were intrigued. Then when she offered to donate to us 100% of her commissions from this fundraiser, we were 100% gratefully intrigued. And here we are. Bringing you the work of some of the most amazing artisans from around the world. Please help 3 different groups with one purchase from this Trades of Hope Charity Event. (Or you know, MANY purchases. You know what your bank account looks like….go ahead. SPLURGE.)

We’re holding this Trades of Hope Party on Facebook. So if you want an invite to this party, hit me up in the comments section below and I will send you an invite. OR…you can click HERE TO SEE THE CATALOG AND ORDER!

If you’re local in the DFW area and would like to see some of these items showcased, then you are cordially invited to the Elks Lodge #2114 at 601 W. Pioneer Parkway, Arlington, TX 76010 this Saturday morning from 10a.m. to 12noon. Naunie will be showing samples of the Trades of Hope items for sale. You can place orders there and there will even be drawings and prizes. Come on out (or online) and SHOP WITH PURPOSE! Support Trades of Hope and Starry Night Prom.

(This fundraiser will be open until 11:59pm on 1 February 2017. That way your purchases will arrive before Valentines Day!)

 

 

 

6 Days Left

Starry Night Prom 2015 SWAG BAGS

These are STARRY NIGHT PROM goodie bags from our 2015 prom. These customized backpacks were donated to us by the Elks Lodge #2114 in Arlington, Texas. We stuffed them full of swag for each of our attendees; AISD High School students with significant disabilities. The swag included a customized Starry Night Prom 20-ounce cup, pens, pencils, keychains, compact mirrors, coupons and gift certificates from many local businesses, toys, stickers, magnets, and other cool items. Each backpack also contained a STARRY NIGHT PROM commemorative t-shirt with all of our big sponsors printed on the back.

So all of that stuff inside the goodie bags? FREE for our students who attend. You know what else is free? The meal for each of them (and for one attending chaperone guest per student,) the prom portrait photography, the prom fun photo booth style photography, the boutonnieres and corsages, the beautiful custom made invitations, the dessert fountain, the DJ and big dance floor where they can dance and have a wonderful time. All of this is paid for by the donations of kind and generous people who want to see these kids have a magical Starry Night Prom.

And even though a lot of the swag, backpacks, venue, services including cooking and catering are donated as in-kind donations, we still need money to pay for the photography, DJ, printing of invitations, shirts, cups, decorations, additional swag, and a large portion of the food items that are purchased each year.

Our ongoing FACEBOOK fundraiser event is still active for 5 more days! Facebook has waived all of their usual fees for registered  501 (C) (3) nonprofit organizations with Facebook pages during the #GivingTuesday fundraiser drive. This means that 100% of all donations made via the Starry Night Prom Facebook page will be donated to our noble cause.

Won’t you please consider donating to Starry Night Prom and give these kids their magical night this Spring 2017? All donations are 100% appreciated. Thank you for your support.

 

 

Starry Night Prom Fundraiser in Progress

Randa and Hamo Prom 2014

So, what’s it been? About 12 minutes since I wrote about Starry Night Prom? I can’t help it. These kids are so stinkin’ precious and seeing them celebrating their prom in a safe and accepting environment is just a truly moving experience.

We are currently in the middle of a Facebook fundraising drive. What’s awesome about this one is that Facebook has waived all of the usual fees they collect during their #GivingTuesday campaign. This means that 100% of all donations contributed through the Facebook fundraiser through 15 December 2016 will go directly to Starry Night Prom. And since Starry Night Prom is completely run on the generosity of others, this is HUGE.

As some of you are not already aware, I’ll explain a little about Starry Night Prom. We are a registered 501-C3 nonprofit organization serving Arlington ISD high school students with significant disabilities. We host an annual prom for these kids and a chaperone and all of it is paid for 100% with donations. So their invitations, corsages and boutonnieres, photographs, food, deejay, and goodie bags complete with commemorative t-shirt (sponsors printed on back) are all FREE. A lot of these kids would have to miss out on their high school prom. There’s usually not a lot of accommodations for those who have feeding tubes, oxygen tanks, wheelchairs, or need for assistance in the bathroom, etc. Starry Night Prom takes all of that kind of stuff and makes it the norm. The social playing field is leveled and everyone is “at home” in their gorgeous ball gowns and tuxedos. Spring 2017 will be our tenth year hosting Starry Night Prom.

Won’t you consider making your #GivingTuesday contribution to Starry Night Prom? Please follow this link for our Facebook Fundraising Campaign———–> CLICK HERE

And if you don’t have a Facebook account or would prefer to donate through a different site, you could follow this link for our YouCaring.com account* by clicking –> HERE. (*Donations to the YouCaring site will have transaction fees added by YouCaring, but will remain open through May 2017.)

Thank you so much for your sponsorship. We also accept In-Kind donations, so please drop me a line in the comments section and I can provide information on how to sponsor us in this way. And for those of you who are in Texas and Louisiana, you can link your Kroger Plus shopping card to Starry Night Prom under their Community Rewards program, so that Kroger will donate to Starry Night Prom with every swipe!

(ALL donations, big and small, money and in-kind, are GREATLY appreciated and tax-deductible.)

Gearing Up for Starry Night Prom 2017

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See these bright smiles and happy faces in this photograph? They belong to some of the participants in the Starry Night Prom 2016. Starry Night Prom is a registered Non-Profit 501 (C) (3) organization that annually holds an all expense paid prom for Arlington ISD High School students with significant disabilities. Starry Night Prom is heading into its tenth year of hosting proms for these amazing kids and we want Starry Night Prom 2017 to be better than ever.

Throwing a prom at no cost for the students and their required chaperone requires donations, both money and in-kind. So the Starry Night Prom Vice-President of Donations has decided to start early this year. And our first fundraising event is already set up! With the help of the amazing, tasteful, and trendy: Charming Charlie (located in the Arlington Highlands.)

Charming Charlie is already having an awesome sale this entire Labor Day weekend. Why not do your shopping the first night of their sale to take advantage of their discount prices, fabulous selection, AND help a worthy cause? Think of the great Christmas gifts you can score ahead of the crowds! And don’t you think it’s time you got a new purse for yourself? Charming Charlie has bling, accessories, clothes, shoes, handbags, scarves and more.

How does your shopping help Starry Night Prom? It’s easy. If you show up this Friday, September 2, 2016 between 5:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. and shop, then you mention, “I want to support Starry Night Prom,” to the associate at check out. The associate will key in our special Starry Night Prom Chic Charity Event code into the register and then Charming Charlie will donate 10% of your total purchase price to Starry Night Prom. That’s it.

So, when and where and how is this again?

WHEN:          Friday, September 2, 2016
TIME:             From 5:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
WHERE:        Charming Charlie located at 3901 Arlington Highlands Blvd,

                         Suite 101

                        Arlington, TX 76018

HOW:            Just go to Charming Charlie at the address above. Buy from their entire selection of amazing products and mention STARRY NIGHT PROM to the associate at check out. PLEASE be sure to mention STARRY NIGHT PROM at the beginning of your check out process to ensure that they code the transaction properly so that STARRY NIGHT PROM will receive a donation in the amount of 10% of your total sale.

We at Starry Night Prom thank you in advance for coming out to support our worthy cause. Helping to give an Arlington ISD high school student with significant disabilities the opportunity to enjoy the Prom experience that they might not have been able to have is definitely a reason to smile. Don’t believe it? The proof is in those smiles in the photo above.

 

 

 

 

 

More Starry Night Prom 2015 Photos

In my previous blog post about the Starry Night Prom 2016 , I published before I could locate my cd with photos from last year’s prom that weren’t just snapped with my very lousy camera phone. So I thought I would post a few photos of some of our awesome participants at the Starry Night Prom 2015 so that you could see the FUN on their faces.

Enjoy.  And to all of our supporters from last year and years past, THANK YOU!

Anyone who would like to support our efforts to host Starry Night Prom 2016, please
CLICK HERE ——————-> FUNDRAISER LINK!

Anyone who wishes to donate items for the “goodie bags,” or corsages/boutonnieres, decorations, gift cards, or anything else, please contact us via email at:
StarryNightProm@outlook.com. Or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/starrynightprom  and post there.  Thanks again for your support!

**Photographer credit: Amber Inman Photography. All photos used with permission of Starry Night Prom.

 

 

 

Starry Night Prom 2016

Randa SNP2015
It’s that time of year again! That’s right. It’s Prom Season. And the Starry Night Prom 2016 is coming up on us….fast!

“What’s the Starry Night Prom?” you ask. Let me tell you by including part of our Starry Night Prom donations request letter:

“The Starry Night Prom started in 2008 with a vision to create a once-in-a-lifetime prom experience for Arlington ISD high school students with significant disabilities.

Taking the vision from AISD special education teacher, Sara Mayo, Chase Christensen developed his Eagle Scout project around creating the Starry Night Prom, along with Boy Scout Troop #396 and the Arlington Elks Lodge #2114. Now an annual event, the Starry Night Prom is heading into its NINTH year of throwing an all-inclusive prom! Students with significant disabilities and their chaperones are treated to beautiful invitations to attend prom, a sit down dinner, professional photography, corsages and boutonnieres, dessert fountain, a prom king and queen, goodie bags, and, of course, a huge dance floor with a DJ, all at no cost to the student or their chaperone.”

randa-and-hamo-prom-2014

You see at an average prom, there is little in the way of accommodations for those students who have significant disabilities. Some of these students cannot eat without assistance or the use of a feeding tube. Some need assistance in using the restroom or cannot swallow and must use a suction machine. Then there are those who have dietary restrictions or sensory issues that must be taken into consideration. Add into the mix the peer pressure and “everyone is looking at me” feelings that most high school students are experiencing at this time of their lives, and you have kids with disabilities bowing out and missing out on one of the most memorable nights of their school years.

The Starry Night Prom helps make this night special for these kids. My daughter is a junior this year. She is severely autistic and has sensory issues, mostly related to noise. She wears noise canceling headphones that block 21 of every 23 Db of sound. This is because she has incredibly sensitive hearing and too much sound or too loud sound can cause her head to ache and this hurts and frightens her. So to see my daughter in a formal gown with her bling and sequins veil in a pair of pink headphones is just the norm at Starry Night Prom. The DJ takes these types of sensory issues into consideration of our Prom participants, and never blasts the music too loudly and never uses strobe lights.

Shelby and Randa dancing SNP 2014

Starry Night Prom is a recognized 501-C3 Non Profit Organization and all donations are tax-deductible. Would  you consider donating to the Starry Night Prom 2016, being held Saturday, April 30, 2016? Over 300 people attended Starry Night Prom 2015. In kind donations are needed in every area, from items for our prom “goodie bags” to food to serve 300 guests. Financial donations of any amount are also needed, as 100% of all financial donations go to purchasing items for the Starry Night Prom. A tax deductible receipt will follow your donations, as will a public thank you letter supplied to all prom attendees and donors.

This is a program that I believe with all my heart. I never thought that my daughter would be able to participate in her prom. But Starry Night Prom leveled the playing field and, as you can see from the photos shown here, she just sparkles like a princess and thoroughly enjoys herself in a social setting that she would otherwise have to skip.

Please consider donating to the Starry Night Prom 2016. You may click here to be directed to our fundraiser website—–> STARRY NIGHT PROM 2016 DONATIONS

If you would care to contribute to goodie bag items, please contact us via email:
StarryNightProm@outlook.com or like us on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/starrynightprom .

**All photographs are property of Nikki Mohamed-Fawzy and Sara Mayo and are used with permission.**

 

 

 

 

 

Today Is 123-Friday!

In honor of my 123rd post on Squarer Pegs, Rounder Holes, I thought I’d mix it up a little bit and just write about all of the little blurb-y type things as they pop into my head. How is that different from my usual postings? Well, ordinarily I would have to scrunch up my eyebrows a bit and squint my eyes and focus really hard to stay relative-ish to the one subject. And what is the relevance of the 123rd posting? I like simplicity, counting, and while the number 123 is NOT a prime number, it does consist of the first 3 prime digits and so I like that. I like math. And I do hate round numbers so much, unless it’s a string of zeros on the left of a decimal point as it relates to a check made payable to me.

Justin Bieber-  Really?! I mean, yeah, I come from the generation that brought us the likes of Milli Vanilli, Nu Shooz, and Tiffany…..but they didn’t walk into glass walls and doors and then threaten to walk off of an interview set. Dude! Your following will ALWAYS be 12 year old girls. Game over.

American Football- I don’t follow it anymore. Living in Egypt has sort of ruined sports for me since I don’t give a crap about Al-Ahly soccer team OR Zumalek soccer team. I’ve heard people talking about NFL teams that weren’t even in existence when I left the US back in 2001. So if your refs are on strike or suck now….I’d like to be concerned, but just can’t be bothered. My apologies.

I attended high school (first 3 years) in Stuttgart, Germany and right now as I type this there is an all-year alumni/faculty reunion going on IN STUTTGART in conjunction with the Stuttgarter/Canstaadt festival and some of my friends are there now, reliving memories in our old school, football field, and stomping grounds and I am SOOO jealous that I couldn’t be there with them. Hope you guys all have a great time. Go Stallions! Class of 1986 RULES!

Mosquitoes- I frickin’ hate them. Especially those little tiny beige almost invisible ones that you can’t ever kill until after they’ve drained at least 2 pints of blood from your fingertips, ears, toes, and legs! And then when you finally do, they explode with YOUR blood splattering all over the walls, curtains, and your skin where you’ve smacked ’em.

Why do we always run out of garbage bags when there is old food in the back of the fridge that needs to be thrown out? And then you leave it in the fridge because this inevitably happens at night and if you leave it on the counter as a reminder to throw it out, your whole kitchen stinks. But then you forget that it’s in the fridge and needs to be thrown out and you don’t find it again until you’re …that’s right!….out of garbage bags again. Oh. And as long as I’m on the refrigerator  path, could you please…someone, anyone?….tell me what is the friggin’ direct correlation between every member of my family and the top shelf of the refrigerator??? I use the top shelf for tall or “careful this is spillable” things or large things that won’t fit on any other shelves. My kids (and sometimes my husband) will place the following things on the top shelf:  1 egg, a tiny dessert dish with 1/2 Tablespoon of fava beans, anything that requires use of the crisper drawer (because the crisper drawer is where they apparently hide things that they don’t want to share with each other,) and the empty milk container. *sigh*

Word of Advice:  Never accidentally drop the f-bomb in front of your autistic teenager, because while MOST of her verbal skills are learned from movies and tv and books, the shit you DON’T want her to say in front of her grandmother to reinforce your shitty parenting skills, is EXACTLY what will enter (full time) into her vocabulary. *Score one more on my parental WIN card.*

Pinterest is AWESOME/DEVIL- I’ve now managed to complete 10 items from all the thousands of pinned items on my boards. Hey. That’s not so bad considering we don’t have craft stores or American conveniences here like chocolate chips, instant-ANYTHING (except coffee) or cool stuff like double-sided sticky tape or stencils. The entire DIY-concept is new to Egypt.

In a conversation on Facebook with my sister, MJ, last week, I decided that my list of favorite words included:  diphthong, bracket, penultimate, frivolous, superfluous, and sublime. My list, of course, is not limited to these. She prefers crapulence, kerfuffle, hornswaggle and canoodle.

I love my family…I want to build a garden-butterfly sanctuary in my backyard one day. Can someone tell me why leg hair after 40 is less frequently in need of shaving but some single damn chin WIRE because it’s too coarse to be hair continues to pop out ever week or so no matter how often you pull the f***er out?! Will health insurance cover operations that shave bunions off your feet using lasers so it can be done outpatient? And why can’t Rush Limbaugh just frickin’ overdose already or spontaneously explode into little tiny piles of Rush-lets that only spew minute bits of bullshit at a time and are all polarized so that they can never be in the same place at the same time like tiny magnets? I think the movie “Idiocracy” should be run as a public service announcement to get intelligent people to do their civic duty and repopulate the planet with more intelligent life and stop waiting so damn long to have kids. You’re NEVER going to be better “financially prepared” for kids. They will just suck MORE money out of you if you have more of it. Poor people know this. Just have them.

And I’ll leave you with one last irrelevant thought:  Kids who are wearing their very last pair of hole-free jeans three weeks before payday will ALWAYS be able to find a tree to climb and “slide out” of it hooking the ass of their pants on that single spot of tree trunk that ISN’T smooth and rip a hole in the back. Murphy’s Law? Yes. Me and Murph go way back.

My Baby Brother

Whenever I think of my sweet face baby brother, I see him as the little blonde-haired, blue-eyed cherub that he was when he was two. He was so ornery growing up but had a soft spot in his heart for his three “guhlies” (girlies) that were me and my two sisters. Mom once told me that when we had gone to spend the night at a friend’s house that Lloyd wandered the house crying for his “guhlies” to come home. We dressed him up like a girl and painted his toenails and all sorts of other torturous big sister games that only a little brother would tolerate until his dad came home one day and threatened to beat all three of his daughters if they put one more dress, application of lipstick or hair barrette on HIS boy! Good thing we still have photos, huh?

My brother was always a charming, funny, and ass-kicking machine like I was. He was only eleven when I moved out and I always felt a little guilty leaving him behind. Not because the rest of my family was totally psycho or anything. (Maybe a smidgen of psycho.) But I missed all of his middle school and high school years because I was living and working on the East Coast and he was all the way out in El Paso. (Yeah, the tee-shirt is pretty accurate. El Paso actually IS 10 miles from water and 3 feet from HELL.) And while I got to see him when I went home to visit for holidays every year or two, I missed out on all of his shenanigans and first dates and swim meets and prom and graduation. I wish I could have been there for that….sort of. I wish I could have sheltered him from some of the crazy he had to endure during the years that led to my parents eventual divorce.
By that time, I was working in Greece.

Just before I shipped out to Athens, I drove out to El Paso to drop off a bunch of stuff that I didn’t want to take with me for fear it would get lost or destroyed. So I drove for three days with my suitcase of dirty laundry (to keep my sisters from hijacking all my clothes because they CERTAINLY wouldn’t wash them before swiping them), a box filled with my high school diploma, awards from work, yearbooks and my mom all packed into my car. (Yeah, Mom only has one leg and I had a 5-speed Ford Escort so she was sort of along for the ride….and to tell me to slow down a lot.) I spent about a week with them and then my brother offered to drive back to Baltimore with me. COOL.

It was a great trip. Except when he got a speeding ticket about 4 miles outside of El Paso city limits. And except for when we stopped to eat cat fish at a truck stop outside of Nashville and they towed my friggin’ car basically because it had out of state tags and it cost me about $150.00 to get it back and delayed our arrival to Baltimore by about 6 hours. I still hate Nashville because of that. But my brother and I had the laughing-est, singing-est, fun time during those three days on the road. I haven’t seen him but about 5 or 6 times since then. Damn. That was back in 1992.

I’m thankful that we both have Facebook and Skype and email. If it weren’t for that, we’d never hear from each other. But thanks to the internets we have an awesome relationship. And the last time I saw him back in May 2010 at a mini-family reunion outside of Austin, I spent several hours just talking to him and it was like we hadn’t been apart at all. I love my brother so much. I’m very proud of him. He’s a Navy veteran. He’s a fantastic chef and butcher and has a plethora of knowledge about cheese. In fact, during the Whole Foods market 2008 “Crack Heard Round the World” attempt to break the Guinness Record for cutting the most wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese open simultaneously, MY brother “cut his cheese” in 1 minute and 36 seconds….which is TOTALLY AWESOME! (Click here to watch Lloyd kick cheesy ass!) (He’s the cute guy on the right!)

Lloyd is one of the coolest, smartest, and funniest people I ever had the pleasure to meet. I think he and I would be friends even if we weren’t siblings. He’s just that great a guy. And I miss him.