A Gift to Thousands

Where art thou?, I have heard the last few weeks.

Well, the last week I have been living at a hotel downtown to help a pro-bono client my firm took on. We offered to take on the Staf.ford Foun.dation in the middle of November after Ear.l Staf.ford explained to us his vision and calling to help hundreds – even thousands – of disadvantaged people from across the U.S. to see an inauguration and be part of parties and ceremonies they would otherwise never be part of.

His vision was one of giving and hope, regardless of what I thought of who we were celebrating. Mr. Staf.ford is such a great example of giving in the spirit we are called to give – without the expectation of receiving anything in return, and making known the reason you are giving.

The whole story, and how we and others are involved, is here.

Two and a half million of his own dollars later, there were so many great events over the three days, but as you can imagine I am exhausted! Exhausted and also completely behind on friend correspondence, paying bills, house cleaning, doing dishes, laundry, mail, grocery shopping (what, you want me to stop now?! Okay.), you name it. But it was all worth it.

Overall the events were amazing. First there was the Prayer Breakfast, as 7:30 a.m. on Monday morning – the day before Inauguration Day. Let me just not shock you by actually giving away the time that we held a staff meeting at the hotel for a 7:30 a.m. event.

After that, the MLK Jr. Tribute Luncheon, where MLK III spoke. There were gospel choirs, children reciting “I Have a Dream,” disabled people sharing their stories of triumph, formerly-battered woman who have come so far. I wasn’t in the room the entire time since I was working, but the times I was, it was powerful and moving. That concluded the events for Monday, except for a team dinner at a great Italian restaurant at 13th and F that I have never been to. More on that one in another post!

Tuesday started with a special event from the 12th floor terrace of the JW Marr.iott where people could watch the swearing in on large TVs, and then watch the Parade as the Obamas walked down Pennsylvania Avenue. After that was done, the real fun began!

First, the young Youth Ball – a bunch of 4 – 12 year olds dancing, eating, playing, and dressed up having a great time. After that, the Teen Ball for tweens and teens to do the same – but with a little different music. And… drumroll… only a few chaperones!

All during this the [adult] Inaugural Ball was going on downstairs where a thousand disadvantaged people that would never otherwise even be able to wear the dress they were in, were given dresses, hair styles, make-up appointments, and dinner, were celebrating something they believed in. It was a moving three days, and one that I’m glad I was part of.

I am still recovering from being around so many people for so many days in a row (the plight of a closeted introvert!), but I hope you read the article and are moved by the Staf.ford’s generosity as much as I was.


Kara said...

Very cool. Sounds like it was a really neat thing to be involved with!!

Not to diminish the impact these events had... BUT, I want to see pictures of you in all your different Inauguration festivity dresses!