Friday, May 27, 2011

May 27th, 2011--Hospice Ball 365 event

Hospice Ball 365 event

Sometimes the best advice we get in life is the advice from older brothers and sisters, who have been around the block a few more times than us.  My sitemate (Jeremy) works at an organization called Angelus Taraclia, a hospice care center located in our small town in the south of Moldova.  Since this organization started about a year and a half ago we have consulted and advised the Director on numerous occasions.  As much as Jeremy and I can help the center out, a lot of help comes from our partner organization in Chisinau named Angelus Moldova.  This organization started over 10 years ago from the convictions of the Angelus Moldova Director/Doctor who recognized the need in Moldova from end-of-life care. This organization has been an invaluable partner to hospice care in Taraclia since the beginning.  By giving us advice, giving free training and helping to secure funding they have continued to act as an honest friend and partner of our organization. 

The Princess and I:

Jeremy after eating the Prime minister's cake (princess to his left):
Last Friday Peace Corps volunteers:  Jeremy Taglieri, Laquia Burt, Jessica Kerbo, Derick Tisdale and I had 
the chance to return a little bit of the favor by volunteering at their hospice ball/auction.  The point of this event was not only to raise money but to continue to spread awareness about hospice care which after 10 years is still a relatively inchoate practice, especially in rural areas. The event itself went swimmingly raising four times the amount of money that was originally aimed for, all but cementing this event’s longevity.  Of course such successful fundraising events do not simply become successful all by themselves.  The lion’s share of planning was organized by John McKellar, the event planner at Angelus Moldova.  He definitely deserves hearty congratulations for his efforts and successes.

Laquia showing off her brutish selling skills:

The Scot (lion's share owner) himself:

A few of the volunteers:

Me making jerseys sexy:

The event was sold out and populated by many expats and VIPs from Moldova (including the prime minister) and Romania.  A few people spoke including the former princess of Romania who is a big advocate for causes such as hospice care.  After the champagne was served the volunteers spread throughout the crowd and competed with each other in selling as many raffle tickets as possible.  It was obvious that my group sold the most tickets in our contest, although Laquia wanted the world to know that she actually collected the most money though by getting a 200 euro bill in her collection bowl somehow. Congrats lady J.  This collection was followed by an auction that garnered the most money of the night other than Laquia. It went incredibly well especially when bidders outbid themselves either out of confusion or exorbitant generosity. To close out the night the auction was followed by a concert by a Moldovan band playing American classics.  They played very well and our guests enjoyed themselves thoroughly with a good round of dancing lasting until the end of the night.  All in all the event went by without a hitch, at least only hitches that maybe the organizer himself would notice.

Selling tickets like our life depends on it:

Vanna White showing off an auction item:

Volunteerism at an event like an auction can make a volunteer feel a little insignificant seeing the large amounts of money being thrown around—a single night can and in this case did glean enough money to fund the organization for a considerable amount of time—but it is important to remember that volunteers can and do play a large role in these events.   Non-profit organizations change the way we as a society look at the world.  They draw attention to problems and focus thoughts and wallets toward causes that change our world.  Sometimes they need help to achieve their goals and objectives and that is where volunteers can lend a hand. Although volunteers aren’t the be-all and end-all of progress in the world I would say that they embody an integral piece of the human existence.  In an age where near everything has a price tag on it, it is essential to remember we are a part of a greater community and being there for one another is exceedingly important both in the calm periods and the times of need.  


Aaron Eisenbarth