Cheers to a Night of Success!

This past Saturday, February 8, 2014 I hosted my first fundraiser and young adult dating violence awareness event and it was an absolute success. I am still coming down off of my high, that’s how awesome things turned out!

I first came up with this event idea in October 2013, as a teen dating violence survivor I really wanted to do something special for the upcoming Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. I decided on hosting a fundraiser for Break the Cycle, our primary national teen dating violence prevention program.

The whole planning process was full of up and downs; I reached out to business after business only to be met with a “no” more often than a “yes”. Some business owners were on board, but offered me a time that would barely bring out 20 guest, other businesses declined and said that they were very selective with their donations. I am guessing teen dating violence awareness is not their thing.

In December I had just about given up and started brainstorming new ideas to commemorate the awareness month. During the New Year holiday I reached out to the Dyckman Bar-- I had just been for the first time as a guest of a friend’s birthday celebration. I knew that Dyckman Bar was a fairly new and happening bar in Washington Heights so I gave one last shot in the dark. The very next day they were on board for the event, asked me what day I wanted to invite my guest and even offered each guest with a paid donation a complimentary cocktail.

After securing the venue I called on friends and family to help assist in making this night one to remember. My close friends donated printouts, cookies and lollipops for the gift bags and these cute white raffle tickets with purple ribbon. Just nights before the event I sat in the kitchen with my grandmother, stuffing and closing bags. I reached out to nearly 90 businesses located in New York City for raffle prize donations and received prizes from 9a Kitchen, Nail Lounge, Land Yoga, Creme de la Creme Nails by Angie, Mike Oliver Digital, and Harlem Shake. By the end of January everything came together for a successful event.

I was very nervous on the day of the event, unsure of who would should up but it was a great turnout; I had the support of friends, family, colleagues, strangers, and agencies that I have worked with in the past. Collectively we raised $1,710 for Break the Cycle. Our guest enjoyed an evening of cocktails and music while participating in our "Love is..." activity and listening to the MC, Lacey, highlight teen dating violence and myself give a survivor's testimony.

You can view our photo album for photographer J. Hernandez here and another album from photographer Mike Oliver here.

I look forward to hosting future events and working with Dyckman Bar again!