Anyone who has a Crescenta Valley High School student knows that last Friday was the homecoming football game (go, Falcons!) and Saturday was the homecoming dance. Many of the local kids were looking forward to both, though some were not sure that they could attend the dance due to the cost.
Between a new dress/suit, tickets to the dance and transportation costs, it got rather pricey. In response, one of the Prom Plus Club students began raising money to offset those costs. Then Mary O’Keefe lent a hand.
Mary is one of the founders of the Fire House youth center and can be found there most Tuesday nights from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Other regulars are newly crowned volunteer of the year by the CV Chamber of Commerce Julie Dowse and CV Town Council president Cheryl Davis. Along with a solid support crew, they oversee the feeding of about 60 to 70 kids every Tuesday night, offer homework help and pretty much make sure no one gets into trouble and while having fun.
When Mary learned that some of the kids couldn’t go to the dance and, in fact, some had never gone to a dance, she reached out to the community asking for financial help to pay for a limousine so the kids could get to and from the dance in downtown Los Angeles safely.
She then asked her son’s girlfriend (who is an actress) to help with make-up. PTA president Monna Johnson volunteered to do the girls’ hair.
On Saturday evening I joined Cheryl and Mary at the Fire House to begin assembling corsages and boutonnieres for the 21 kids who were heading to the dance. (Mary had bought several dozen white roses that she then colored to match the kids’ clothes). The girls were in an adjoining room in various stages of preparedness – dressed without shoes or waiting for Monna to begin working on their hair or looking over Sabrina’s shoulder as she finished someone’s make-up. The air was electric with the excitement of these kids and I felt so privileged to be a part of it.
One of the best parts of the evening was the opportunity to meet many of the parents whose kids have been hanging out at the Fire House on Tuesday nights for the last several months (if not years).
When the boys arrived, all 21 kids gathered in the rear courtyard for pictures. What a good-looking group! They kidded each other as friends do while striking a pose.
Then it was time to pile (literally) into the limo for the ride downtown. The grown ups headed over to the Davises after cleaning up, waiting until the dance was over. All the kids were dropped off at the IHOP in Tujunga for a late night snack before being ferried home.
I was so glad to be able to share in their special night and was impressed by how appreciative they were for all the effort put forth in their behalf.
Thank you to those who dug into their pockets or volunteered their time to make a very special night for some very special kids.