Monday, August 24, 2009

Night Under the African Stars Gala

The Night Under the African Stars Gala was held this past weekend! Earlier this summer Jake and I were referred by our social worker for our adoption to become involved with this event and to help with the planning. Specifically our job was to secure auction items for the gala. The purpose of the gala was to act as a fundraiser to help raise money for the Cornerstone of Hope Orphanage in Benin City, Nigeria. I've done a few earlier posts about the COH Orphanage, its Iowa connection, and the efforts of the founders to expand the orphanage which would allow many more waiting, orphaned children to live there. Jake and I learned so much in helping to plan this gala. It was a blessing and inspiration to see how the founders are putting forth so much effort to make their orphanage a success.

Set up for the event began on Friday....

To create the stars, an architectural lighting guy offered his services and projected the stars on the ceiling through cut out stensils and special lights. They turned out perfect.

Set up is finished and looking beautiful...let the night begin!

Jake and I were both assigned jobs for the evening of the gala. Jake's job was to pick up the volunteer ISU students from campus and transport them to the gala. The student volunteers were all from different countries throughout Africa and were asked to wear their traditonal African attire. Nana Yaw helped as well. Here is Jake explaining to them what their jobs would be for the night.

By the way, Jake is wearing his African shirt that Esi (Nana Yaw's mom) gave him. :) The main job of Jake and the ISU students was to serve the food and drinks to all the guests. Jake enjoyed getting back into the fast-paced groove of restaurant work like he did in the old college days.

Jake was the go-to guy between the cooks and the servers.

Nana Yaw serves up some food.

At the beginning of the night my job was to SMILE and check in the guests as they arrived.
My next job came after the silent auction. Us check-er-in-ers moved into auction check-out mode and got everything set up for the guests who won the item bids to pay up. It was pretty nifty how it all worked....there was a system to call in credit card payments over the phone and it went smoothly. We had some GREAT auction items for the event! A few of them were: one week stay in ocean view suite in Maui, Hawaii, 10 week Farrell's extreme body shaping course, hot air balloon ride, hire a handy man for a day, wine tour for 10, massage/manicure/facial/haircut package at a salon, tennis lessons, U of Iowa & UNI football tickets, etc. etc. There were also lots of items direct from Nigeria and Ghana like artwork, jewelry and clothing.

Other than the silent auction there was also a live auction and amongst other things, many guests made monetary donations to support a child in the orphange for one year (which takes $720...this covers food, clothing, and education).
Numerous musical acts peformed throughout the evening...
Jannay Towne and Dan Winters from News Channel 13 were the m.c.'s for the evening...

I snapped a picture of the founders of the orphanage, Eric & Emily Idehen. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about these two. They are so approachable, loving, and passionate about their cause. You can just see it in their eyes when you talk to them. They are willing to answer any and every question about the orphanage.

We had a fun night!

Eric & Emily have created a google video of the orphanage and their cause. To see it and learn more about the Cornerstone of Hope Orphange, click on the following link:


renee0576 said...

awesome... it looks like everything turned out perfect!

Jon and Jennifer said...

All your hard work payed off the place looked beautiful an sounds like it was a successful event!