Always an eager bunch of philanthropists, Plano residents should mark their calendars for the 3rd Annual Community Ball, the major fundraising event for the Plano-based non-profit organization My Possibilities. On the evening of April 30, not only will funds be raised, but the more than 1,000 guests expected will enjoy celebrating with a pretty “hip” crowd.
Event attendees will be able to see firsthand the individuals they are supporting. These Hugely Important People, or HIPsters as they are affectionately called, are the individuals enrolled at My Possibilities, which offers educational programs for adults with special needs.
My Possibilities started in June 2008, and is the first full-day, full-year program in Collin County for Texans who have “aged out” of secondary education. Much more than a recreation center or simply a place to hang out, My Possibilities helps adults with disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome, head injuries, etc. to build independence and vocational skills in a safe and nurturing environment.
“We give them an opportunity to grow and develop past high school,” said Lauren McCormick, the Resource Development Assistant at My Possibilities. “But for us, they change our lives more than the program changes theirs. To see what they are capable of is amazing.”
My Possibilities is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and offers a very structured learning atmosphere. The day is split into two different programs. The Achieve program runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a class schedule that each homeroom team rotates through on a weekly basis. The afternoon program, Explore, is more elective based, allowing HIPsters to explore and develop their hobbies. The organization provides instruction in independent living skills, creative expression, health and wellness, as well as a variety of other enriching programs, such as developing culinary skills.
The HIPsters thrive in the programs at My Possibilities, and it’s hard to put a value on a priceless education for these adults. However, while tuition may cover a small portion of the $1.2 million operating costs, the organization still has a cost per HIPster to cover. “We serve around 175 HIPsters per day and about 350 per week, and while it does vary depending on the HIPster and their provider, we have to cover on average about $6,000 per HIPster per year,” McCormick said.
According to McCormick, Texas falls on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to providing funding for programs that benefit adults with special needs in the state. “There aren’t a lot of programs doing this because it’s so hard to keep the money coming in. We have to fundraise just to keep our doors open,” —which is why the Community Ball is such an important event.
Guests will be treated to a formal dinner, live music and dancing, and a silent and live auction. As always, the HIPsters have a chance to show off what My Possibilities has taught them and how they have grown in the program. There will be artwork, jewelry and other objects of interest created by these adults available for purchase.
The HIPsters look forward to this event every year. “A lot of the HIPsters haven’t had the opportunity to attend a formal dance,” McCormick said. “This is their chance to go all out.”
Men’s Warehouse has offered tuxedo rentals to the men in the program at a discounted rate, and My Possibilities covers the rest. The women were taken to The Prom Closet at St. Andrews United Methodist Church to shop for dresses earlier this year. Although the special attire services are only for those in the program, the ball is open for all HIPsters in the community to attend. According to McCormick, “We want to make the Community Ball the signature event for the special needs community.”
This year the cocktail-attire event themed “Unlock the Possibilities” will be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Frisco. The event starts at 6 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m. If you want to be part of this important fundraiser, tickets and tables can be purchased online at the link below. Proceeds from the Community Ball will benefit all of the educational programs at My Possibilities.Purchase Community Ball Tickets >