Princess With A Cause

How to pull-off a large charity event

We sat down with, District Manager, Hannah Castle, to find out what she has learned from her experience coordinating the large charity event, Dreams Come True, A Children's Royal Ball.

How did you get involved with volunteering? 

Volunteering has always been a culture in our house whether it’s a big project or helping out in the neighbourhood. It just seems second nature to jump on board and help out.

How long have you been volunteering?

My first real memory is when my sister rode in the MS Bike Tour when she was 12. We camped out for the weekend and worked all the stations. Volunteering was also big in the dance community and that’s where my background is. We held fundraisers every year, performed in Telemiracle, went caroling, you name it. Volunteering followed me through to college where we earned credits for community involvement.

What is the most rewarding volunteer experience you have been a part of? What made it so special?

The Children’s Ball holds a special place in my heart. What’s not to love? Princesses, singing, dancing, crafts! It wraps up all the things I love and raises money for a local cause. There are so many moving parts to create this event that is a challenge I look forward to every year!

Tell us a little bit about the event.

This marked my third year with the Dreams Come True, Children’s Royal Ball. Initially I applied to be a character the first year and fell in love with the event. After participating as Princess Jasmine at our first event I couldn’t let it go. Now on the committee I coordinate all the characters, costumes and entertainment. Our committee consists of nine people to sell tickets, collect raffle and auction items, plan activities and execute the event.

With a demanding professional life, how do you manage to make time to work on an event of this scale?

Needless to say, our house is covered with glitter all year long. Being on the committee for this event means I need a lot of extra hands to help. Without everyone pitching in there is no way I could accomplish all the things I set out to do for the ball each year. There is constant rotation of sewing, costume fittings, rehearsals and crafting. It’s really something I have to work on for almost a year to be ready. There are lot’s of to do lists and an army of helping hands to get there.

What motivates you to keep coming back?

The event itself is really the icing on the cake. When you see it all come to life, there is no question about jumping on board. By the time the event happens we are already talking about all the ways to improve the next ball. We pick the theme and the characters at the end of the event and the excitement starts all over.

What is your favourite part of the experience?

My favourite part is hands down seeing the characters come to life. The hair & make-up team is phenomenal at making look-alike princesses. Once they’re dressed and ready and the doors open our guests are cast under a magic spell.

What was your greatest challenge of the experience and how did you overcome it?

I would say the greatest challenge is constantly trying to outdo ourselves. We’re such a young event that we are always learning how to improve our execution. Every year we want to be bigger and better than the year before which presents its own new and exciting challenges like new activities, different performances, new characters and different prizes.

What advice would you give other women who might find themselves in a similar position?

My advice would be to always to be gracious and thankful for everyone's time and energy to get you where you are. Being thankful and appreciative is the only way to gain the support system you need.

How has your experience benefited you from a personal perspective?

I have gained a serious appreciation for anyone who donates their time to volunteering. The amount of blood, sweat and tears put into one event is astounding.

Are there any things that you have learned along the way that you wish you would have known earlier?

I wish I would have known that ModgePodge comes in a REALLY large tub and you don’t have to buy multiple containers! And when you need something, you never know what you can gain unless you ask, so just put it out there and cross your fingers.

What other charitable events or volunteer opportunities are next for you?

My passion for helping out translates from my personal life to my career and there are always new things on the horizon through H&B for me to get involved in. I try to just be open and willing to jump on board at the last minute and be that support system that I have for other people in my life.

To learn more about Dreams Come True, Children’s Royal Ball, please click here

"My advice would be to always to be gracious and thankful for everyone's time and energy to get you where you are. Being thankful and appreciative is the only way to gain the support system you need."

-H&B District Manager, Hannah Castle