On Saturday, May 30, the big event took place at the Willard InterContinental.
Upon arrival, our guests walked down a red carpet under a Marine sword arch -- a fitting start to a very big night. They were escorted to dinner tables by the Willard staff and greeted at their tables by students who are enrolled in The House’s before- and after-school program.
Once inside, our kids were met by "Cinderella" and got to have their pictures taken with her by a professional photographer who provided complimentary photos for all the students.
In the ballroom that hosted the dining hall, the students were treated just like any group that might book a dinner event at the Willard -- complete with an opening course, a main course and dessert. During the event, Washington, DC's, CBS affiliate USA Channel 9's JC Hayward emceed the event and kept things rolling.
Our special speaker, Kyle Maynard, who has attended every ball we've hosted and likes to come visit our kids at our Northern Virginia facilities whenever he's in the area, was a hit -- again. The students and their families are in love with Kyle -- he gives them real hope and encouragement. I've become friends with Kyle over the years and can tell you that he's is truly one of the most honorable men I've ever known. If your child is looking for a hero -- he'd make a great choice.
Our headline entertainment for the night was American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, who was introduced with a special video from the Jonas Brothers just for the Cinderella Ball.
After the banquet and concert, the students made their way to the second ballroom for the dance, where the DJ kept everybody moving. If you’ve never danced to “YMCA” or “Cotton-Eyed Joe” with a kid in a wheelchair, you’ve never really lived. During the dance, kids could take a break and go meet Jordin and Kyle and get autographs and copies of Kyle's book, "No Excuses," which were donated by our friends at Regnery Publishing.
I must tell you that I cannot say enough good things about Jordin. She was a class act from the moment we picked her up at the airport to the second she left. Not only did she put on a killer concert for our guests, but she stuck around after the banquet and concert to dance with the kids in the dance hall and then sign autographs for all our Cinderella kids.
Jordin wasn't just there hanging out, she truly interacted with everyone, and she refused to leave until everyone had had their chance to meet her and talk to her. She's truly a class act.
If you would like just a little taste of what went on, check out some of the coverage on CNN, the Washington Times, the Washington Examiner, and DC's Fox channel.