Saturday, April 30 was a night to remember for the HIPsters—”Hugely Important People”—who are the heart and soul of My Possibilities. Ladies were dolled up and gentlemen were looking dapper for the third annual Community Ball. The HIPsters made a grand entrance at the front of the stage as “Uptown Funk” blasted through the speakers…”I’m too hot!…Doh, doh, doh, doh, doh, doh…Don’t believe me just watch!”
Presented by Alliance Data and hosted by the Embassy Suites Hotel in Frisco, guests were treated to a plated dinner (and fabulous chocolate cake), a raffle, a mobile silent auction, a live auction, a wine pull, and dancing to the upbeat sounds of the Time Machine Band. Also highlighting the event was the Vignette Mobile Studio, a 1971 Volkswagen bus-turned photo booth.
Former WFAA reporter and currently the City of Plano’s Director of Media Relations, Steve Stoler, was the evening’s emcee. First up, HIPsters Adrienne M. and Colin H., with Music Therapist Esther Craven, sang the Beatles’ “Let it Be.”
Charmaine Solomon, My Possibilities founder and chairman of the board, recognized board members, staff and volunteers. “I cannot thank you enough for all the work that you do,” she said. The Community Ball team was also invited to the stage for recognition, as well as representatives from two Community Partners: Aqua Fit and Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
Did you know My Possibilities began as a vision from three moms in a Starbucks?
In the spring of 2006, three moms of children with special needs began to investigate opportunities for their children beyond high school. No programs or services existed in North Texas that provided full-time continuing education programs where their adult children could continue to learn, volunteer, and be contributing members of their community. After a few town hall meetings and a lot of hard work, the dream became a reality, and My Possibilities opened in June of 2008.
Today, Alliance Data is partnering with My Possibilities to help them expand to a comprehensive educational campus on 20 acres of land. Alliance Data has committed $1 million toward the expansion. Executive Director Michael Thomas gave the audience a sneak peak rendering of the campus. With the current and anticipated growth, My Possibilities is revamping their brand. Thomas revealed a new logo, which includes mountains, a plant and the slogan, “Learn Live Grow.” The logo is a nod to the former one that shows a mustard seed symbolizing that “faith can move mountains.”
Thomas had another surprise: He revealed the new logo in the form of a green tattoo on the back of his leg! The HIPsters cheered and laughed.
And the energy didn’t stop there. A live auction by Kent Crank kept the party going. Items up for bid:
- A painting of the legendary Prince titled “Legends Never Die” that was a collaboration between the Create Program lead, Casey Parrott, and some of the HIPsters.
- Diner for 10 with the My Possibilities Culinary Program
- Customized Mandujano Western Boots
- Helzberg Diamonds
- Jordan Spieth autographed and framed 2015 Masters Pin Flag
The grand prize drawing was a weekend getaway for two at The Harbor Inn at Possum Kingdom Lake. It included a chef-prepared dinner, two massages and a private cruise on a 41′ yacht. Between the live auction and grand prize drawing, over $20,000 was raised.
Audience members were also donating generously throughout the night via bidpal.net on their smart phones. When the red thermometer on the big screen reached $36,853, the excitement spurred Steve Stoler to break out into a rap. Afterwards, he joked, “That rap was worth $547.”
Finally, representatives from the Responsibility Foundation, including sculptor Gary Lee Price, recognized Charmaine Solomon with the Responsibility Award. “Never underestimate the power of a mother and never underestimate the power of this mother,” said one of the reps of Charmaine, hugging her closely.
In its third year, the My Possibilities Community Ball welcomed 1,200 guests, up from 875 last year, and raised around $340,000.
My Possibilities has the potential to serve as a model for other programs across the country to serve special needs adults. Ruth Thompson, owner of Hugs Cafe in McKinney, which staffs special needs adults, was a guest of Plano Profile at the event, and she informed us that Texas ranks 48th in the country in funding for programs for individuals with special needs. Obviously, we need to change this. But we don’t have to wait for the state to make special needs adults a priority. It is up to us to step up and give them a future.
About My Possibilities
My Possibilities is the first full-day, full-year continuing education program in Collin County for disabled Texans who have “aged out” of secondary education. These adults come with a wide range of diagnoses including Autism, Down Syndrome, Asperger Syndrome, neurological disorders, among others. Qualified staff provide education and therapy to more than 175 HIPsters every day and nearly 350 each week. The HIPsters that attend MP are as young as 18 years old or as old as 72 with all ages in between, but they all share a love of live music and a dance floor.