Thank You Carmen

It was a cold and rainy November afternoon. One of those days where you want to lay on your couch in a fuzzy Costco blanket and binge watch Netflix with a bowl of popcorn warming up your lap. But alas, the unlucky cross country athletes of Enloe High School found themselves on the track, running the most dreadful workout of the year. I was a freshman at the time, and this being the first practice I decided to skip, I was definitely feeling a little rebellious. Although, don’t be mistaken, I was not skipping practice out of fear of the tiresome workout. Trust me when I say the cause was a worthy one: a girl. And it wasn’t just any girl. It was my fourteen year old crush, in other words, the love of my life. I was asking Carmen to Charity Ball once she left practice. At that point in my life, Charity Ball was completely alien to me. Little did I know that this experience was the start of something that would serve to be an integral part in shaping my life today.

Four years and $530,000 later, I found myself at the forefront of the Charity Ball campaign. It was our annual fall retreat and I was sitting in the boys cabin, alone, thinking about what Charity Ball has done for me as well as everyone else involved.

Lifelong Relationships

Charity Ball gives you the opportunity to make the deepest relationships you could wish to experience. To start off, it gives you a group of friends like no other. I have honestly made some of  my best friends on this council and I am thankful for it every day. Something about standing in the freezing cold at the Raleigh Christmas Parade for Charity Ball are the kind of times that you don’t forget. It allows the students to form lasting bonds with the teachers they are working with as well. After months of spending time in Mr. Barilich’s room past 4pm and  going to the bank with him as he teaches me how to make my first ever bank deposit, I guess you could say I see him as more than just another teacher whose classroom I dread going to. Lastly and most importantly, we are given the chance to meet the most amazing and selfless people that work with these different charities. This year I was lucky enough to work with Shana Overdorf, the head of the Raleigh/Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness. Without a doubt in my mind I can say that I didn’t know what hard work was until I met her. Before I could even finish asking her for something I needed she would have compiled a beautifully organized and thorough list of every possibility in Raleigh. Working with people who have dedicated their lives to others is something that changes your outlook on life for the better.                         

Work through your passion

Charity Ball is limitless in terms of different avenues to help out. There is a spot for everyone, and there is never a talent that cannot be put to work. For the past four years on council, my form of fundraising is through my own personal concerts. Alongside my string quartet, I put on fundraiser concerts in support of the selected charity every year. This is simply one of the examples of someone on council implementing their own talents for the cause. In my short time alone I have seen the creativity grow tremendously as numerous new events have been formed such as the Art Auction, Charity Ball’s own sort of battle of the bands concert (Space Jam), to Socialist Kickball Club vs. Young Patriots club kickball game. Charity Ball creates an inclusive environment where its participants can do what they love for something greater than themselves, allowing Charity Ball to touch so many different people.

So what does this campaign do for its followers?  Charity Ball helps us see the limitless potential in the world. Charity Ball helps us fathom the idea that if a group of 60 teenagers can make such a profound impact on their community, a group of world leaders could make the most life changing impact on the world  if they possessed even half the motivation.  It is the experiences, from asking a girl to a dance for the first time to holding up a check for $180,000 exactly a month ago, that has given Charity Ball a special place in my heart forever.

Akul Narang

Vice President of Finance


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