As the 2014 CIAA basketball tournament draws near, much will be said and written about the parties and social events that accompany the five days of festivities. But this year, one after-party will be different, at least in its purpose.
On Feb. 28, BLT Steak in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel will host “Party With a Purpose” to benefit A Child’s Place, a charity that works to erase the impact on homelessness on Charlotte-area children and their education. (More info: achildsplace.org and click on “make a difference.”)
The event is the brainchild of husband-wife team Rudy and Natalie Brown and radio host Ramona Holloway. She talked about the party and the progress she has made since undergoing gastric bypass surgery two years ago.
Q. What is this “Party With a Purpose”?
A: For a couple of years now, I have been on the board with Natalie Brown for A Child’s Place. She is another African-American who, like me, has served a decade on the agency’s board. And one of the things we realized was that, when you take a look at a lot of the client children in the homeless community, there are a lot of those children who look like us. But when you take a look at the breakdown of the people who are supporting A Child’s Place, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the African-American community. We felt we needed to step up and take care of our kids.
Q. What can partygoers expect?
A: Dirty Eight Productions will be providing our music. We’ll have a photographer with red carpet and VIP treatment. And we have the most upscale location that the city has to offer inside the Ritz-Carlton.
Q: How much is admission?
A: $40 in advance, $50 at the door.
Q. What does A Child’s Place need? How can individuals get involved?
A: When you take a look at the homeless kids in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools alone, there are over 5,000. Most of them are on free and reduced lunch. So what happens after you get a little breakfast at school and a little lunch at school? What happens after school when you don’t have a place to do your homework? What happens when you go home and you don’t have WiFi to connect to? What A Child’s Place does is try to identify those gaps that keep a homeless child from being successful educationally and respond to those gaps.
Q. How’s your health?
A: It’s been two years. I’m still diabetes-free. People keep saying, “Stop losing weight!” I stopped losing weight in 2012 – I think I lost my last pound in October of 2012 – and in January 2014 I celebrated two years of keeping the weight under control and keeping the diabetes in remission.
Since I had my surgery, two cousins have conquered their diabetes with the help of gastric bypass surgery, and another cousin is having her surgery in two weeks. So I feel like I took a bold step that isn’t just helping me but helping my family, because diabetes is our plague.
Q. When did you know this would be the right move for you?
A: I knew it was right for me when a friend’s brother in-law died of diabetes complications, and he was probably eight years older than me. I had tried everything – every diet, everything I read in the women’s magazine that told me was gonna work that week. I knew that when people were checking out and losing the quality of life that I was enjoying because of diabetes, I knew that if I didn’t do something different I was going to be just like them.