The Intangible

I held my phone up to my right ear and cleared my throat.


“Hi, my name is Michelle Gan and I’m a representative of Enloe Student Council. Every year we host an annual Charity Ball to benefit a local nonprofit, and our goal this year is to raise 140 thousand–”

“Sorry, honey. We already donate to many local charities. Good luck with your work.”

With that, the line clicked, and I lowered my phone in disappointment.

In the months of October, November, and early December of the past three years, this is how many of my afternoons and weekends were spent. With one hand on my phone and the other grasping a sheet of notebook paper filled with contact numbers and emails, I introduced the concept of Enloe’s Charity Ball to my neighbors, family friends, local businesses, and more.

During this phone-call and email marathon, I often encounter a problem familiar to student leaders: a struggle to be taken seriously. And while the number presented on the check at Charity Ball each year should certainly catch the attention of members in our community, Charity Ball deserves to be taken seriously because of the intangible.

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to volunteer and serve breakfast at the Oak City Outreach Center and met Jamie, a mother of two. Charity Ball is about Jamie, whose weekends spent at the OCOC provide invaluable stability. It is about countless other similar families without enough food or heat who rely on the OCOC, Urban Ministries, and more. Knowing that the beneficiaries of Charity Ball directly impact students who also consider Enloe their home reminds me of how easily the difficulties of those we work and live with are forgotten.

Whether while learning about the pastries that Jamie eventually hoped to bake for her son or spending time with Max at Learning Together, the connections I have formed through Charity Ball have allowed me to feel like a member of the community because of the strand that unites us all—our humanity.

It is because of these intangible moments that the Raleigh Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness is a deserving beneficiary. It is because of these intangible aspects of Charity Ball that I ask you to donate and contribute in any way possible.

Michelle Gan

Executive Council Member



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