Saturday, December 3, 2016

Little Black Dress Gala - Fall 2016 Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

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Very inspiring events for Help Change My City Alliance, a local non-profit supporting homeless at-risk youth, youth out of foster care and young carers (teen parents). I attended the Youth Engagement celebration from 1:00-3:00 and then the Gala, in the evening. Alpha Kirabira, Founder/CEO and Christine Michelle, President, hosted both events and both told their own stories of overcoming challenges, becoming successful and giving back to the community. "Life is all about lessons."
I was at the first LBD Gala, held at the Vancouver Art Gallery here in 2015. Now it has many more sponsors, participants and followers. It was totally sold out, this time, and the huge ballrooms at the Fairmont Vancouver, were alive and buzzing. Lovely, organized registration and friendly efficient and delicious catering by the hotel. Beautiful new space for this very worthwhile cause.

Lauren Preston of Twist Parties, costumed dance performers, lead by Alex Tokiwa, in a variety of balloons that caught the eye of all of the kids and those of us who are kids at heart. Atlicia Ohana, Miss Petite, B.C. and Miss Petite Canada spoke about the importance of knowing you are here for a reason and finding that is so important. She didn't realize her own strength when she had to become head of her family when her father became ill. She is sharing strength and skills with the many youth she meets through her extensive speaking engagements, across Canada and the world.
Skye Natasha Lintott and Sean Millington (Former B.C. Lion) spoke eloquently about following your dreams and knowing that you can achieve them, despite challenges you may face. You are here for a reason. Surround yourself with friends who believe in you and offer you positives rather than negatives. "Always take a shot." I was very inspired by Tanya Zambrano, a Templeton Teacher, who spoke about her Girls' Club at the school and how they do Give Days, there. One such day involved putting an inspiration message on every locker. They are also organizing a socks and blankets drive and will distribute these goody bags to those in need. These were just a few of the many speakers who work, on a daily, basis to support youth at risk. I loved that so kids showed their talents by dancing, speaking and singing. Those on the stage, managed to energize the whole audience into actively participating. The Band, Her Brothers, were absolutely terrific. "Change your thoughts, change your world", was a constant refrain. Great video emphasized, "you are beautiful". Loved how the band's sister, Tiana, was there and sang, too!

So, for the afternoon, there was all of this, plus dancers and a fashion show. Students I spoke with from Templeton and Magee, said they were glad they came and really enjoyed the experience. A lot of them are volunteering, too, and endorse the messages about positive friendships and giving back to their community.

The glamorous evening event was sold, sold, sold, out! Dancing and music were options before Alpha and Christine hosted the evening. There were dancers, acrobatics, operatics, and a fabulous fashion show. A beautifully decorated Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Pacific and B.C. Ballrooms, and friendly and efficient staff, set the tone for the best welcome to an evening of celebrating how Help Change My City, and all of its volunteers, are making big changes in their support of youth.

So much more at the Little Black Dress Gala, 2016. See you next year!

Photos by Colleen Tsoukalas

Christine and Alpha 

The band - Her Brothers

Dancers dressed by Lauren Preston of Twist Parties

Alicia O'hana - Miss Petite Canada 2016

 Dancers "if only" support mental health

My little Black Dress is from My Sister's Closet
Jacket from Joseph Ribkoff
Wall art by June Ba Designs

Me and Rich Abarquez  

Alisha Kalie - Miss Teen BC

Wedding designs by Vina Guingcangco

Following photos by Dianna Drahanchuk

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