(Oct. 31, 2014) Members of the Believe in Tomorrow organization, court nominees, friends and family gathered at the West Ocean City Hooters last Saturday night to celebrate their fundraiser kickoff party. About 50 people attended the event, designed to inform community members Prom Night tickets are on sale and introduce the court nominees. They have a little over three months to raise money with the party slated for Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015 at Hooters.
“We want people to know about the event,” said Wayne Littleton, coordinator for the Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Foundation Beach Respite Housing Program. “Last year our Prom Night sold out. Saturday night was a fun, casual event to let everyone know when everything is going on and it gives people more opportunities to participate.”
The nominees this year are: Jason Eade, of Shenanigans Irish Pub; Danny Robinson, of Backshore Brewery; Todd Dundore, of American Granite and Tile; Jason Gulshen, general manager at the Holiday Inn; DJ Shirk, from Seacrets; Jackie Siejack, of Chesapeake Employer’s Insurance Company; Emily Harrison, membership director of Phi Mu Phi Delta; Brittany Raeubber, of Hooters; Tiffany Miller, of Salisbury Private School and one spot is still open for the queen court.
Eade enjoys fundraising for good causes, especially ones who support children, he said. He is excited to be doing something for children again. In New York, Eade coached and taught children for 12 years. Prom Night will give him something fun and fulfilling to do this winter. He has been involved with a local Masonic Lodge, which is part of Shiner Children’s Hospital, where they treat youth suffering from muscular dystrophy. Currently, he works for Cowboy Coast and Shenanigans Irish Pub in Ocean City. He plans to do some guest bartending events to raise money or a couple golf tournaments.
“I support anything that has to do with kids. Prom Night was tremendous last year and extremely successful,” Eade said.
Robinson was nominated by a friend who works at Hooper’s to be on the court this year, although he is “honored and excited” to be participating in the event. He has no concrete ideas on how he will be raising the money.
“It will be interesting to be working not just to pay the rent, but to help out families. This organization is important because it gives these families a vacation and takes their minds off reality for a little while. They get to come down to the beach and it benefits the whole family. What a great cause,” Robinson said.
Dundore has been on a prom court for a different organization in the past and came in second place. Last year’s prom queen, Jill Ferrante, asked if Dundore was available for Believe in Tomorrow’s event and the rest is history. He plans on talking to Burley Oak in Berlin to set up a party and silent auctions, but does not have anything definite yet.
“Ocean City is a destination. These sick kids would not be able to do this without Believe in Tomorrow. It is amazing how the parents can relax for a week, forget about the seriousness of the situation they live with every day and not have to worry about anything,” Dundore said.
Gulshen was offered the chance to participate from Believe in Tomorrow and “honored they considered me a good candidate.” Holiday Inn neighbors the Believe in Tomorrow house on 66th Street.
“We at the Holiday Inn always do what we can to give back to the community and this wonderful organization is one that we are proud to be associated with,” he said.
Raising money for Believe in Tomorrow will be personally rewarding for Gulshen, knowing the funds will be put toward continued good work. In the next few weeks, he plans on putting ideas into motion. A putt putt tournament with a twist is in the works.
“This is something many of us talk about. We do not take advantage of all the things that drive tourists to our area. This will be a fun night out while raising funds,” he said.
Gulshen could not gush more about what the Believe in Tomorrow house does for sick children and their families.
“Believe in Tomorrow provides a great service to families who are dealing with medical issues, no one should ever have to deal with. As a new father of a 7-month-old daughter, I could not begin to imagine what these families are going through,” he said. “Many people in Ocean City work in tourism, and with that we strive to provide families with a lifetime of memories during their visit. Believe in Tomorrow provides their guests, who are the most deserving of a great week’s vacation, with the greatest service anyone could offer by helping their families create a lifetime of memories.”
Shirk was asked by Littleton to be on the court, he mentioned it to his wife and that was the end of the discussion. They are both heavily involved with Believe in Tomorrow, know Littleton well and also Seacrets works with the organization.
Before the kickoff party last Saturday, he had a Robotics team fundraiser at Seacrets to raise money. In addition, the annual plant sale proceeds at Seacrets will all go toward his fundraising efforts. He plans on having a breakfast with Santa in December and a band blowout event in January, both events will be at Seacrets.
“The town of Ocean City is a small community of people, but the organization is extremely supported here and it’s a huge fundraising event,” he said. “I think we are going to have a lot of fun. I have a committee of friends and family who are completely supportive. My kids are heavily involved and give their birthday money to Believe in Tomorrow. I’ve lived here my entire life and have been working at Seacrets for 23 years. It will not be hard to raise money, I am going to win.”
Siejack has been working with Children House for several years. When Littleton asked if Siejack would participate, she said “yes.” A few ideas such as a raffle or an event where people receive a blank canvas and someone instructs how to paint will be her fundraising efforts.
“It is a pretty cool idea, people will have fun coming out and socializing,” she said.
She believes the family and children aspect is what makes Believe in Tomorrow special.
“I cannot imagine what these families are going through and anything you can do to brighten someone’s day, goes far in their lives,” Siejack said.
Emily Harrison’s sorority, Phi Mu Phi Delta, supports Children Miracle Hospitals and she has worked with Believe in Tomorrow at Johns Hopkins. Littleton asked if she would like to be a part of the prom court and since it is such a great organization, she said “yes.” She will be fundraising in Salisbury and Calvert County, either at Five Guys or Buffalo Wild Wings, but nothing is definite.
It is very early in the process, and Harrison was asked only days before the kick-off take part. She is a nursing major and it is important for her to provide support in the time of need. Believe in Tomorrow is an organization very dear to her and she is excited to be taking part in this event.
Raeubber has always loved charitable situations and organizations. She worked last year during Prom Night, thought it would be cool to raise the money on her own and was thrilled when asked to participate. Jenny Lauman, a manager at Hooters, is mentoring Raeubber through this process and she does not have any events set up yet. Guest bartending at the two Kirby’s locations are possibilities.
“The Hooters family has been working with Believe in Tomorrow for years. Wayne is an awesome guy and it is amazing what the organization does. Every Thursday night in the summer, the families would come into Hooters and eat for free. I love the events we have had here for these families,” Raeubber said.
Miller’s story hits close to home and gives her a reason to be involved in this fundraiser. Sadly, her son passed away in 2012 because of a genetic disorder. Prom Night is a way for her to “pay it forward to the community” and help other families who share her grief. She plans on doing “Romance for a Cause.” Starting the first week of February, she will deliver Valentine’s Day candy up until the day. Concerts may also happen and she said “we have a couple things up our sleeves.”
She has support from the Salisbury Private School.
“Believe in Tomorrow is very similar to the Ronald McDonald house. I could not have made it during my son’s illness without support and someone to take care of us. I truly want to help make a difference in the lives of families in their time of need, like others did for us,” Miller said.
Littleton is still looking for one more queen candidate.
To buy tickets for Believe in Tomorrow’s Prom Night, contact Littleton at 800-933-9470 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.believeintomorrow.org/housing_bythesea.html to learn more about Believe in Tomorrow’s House by the Sea.
- This year’s prom court nominees from left to right are Tiffany Miller,
- DJ Shirk, Emily Harrison, Todd Dundore, Brittany Raeubber, Danny Robinson
- and Jackie Siejack. Not pictured are Jason Eade and Jason Gulshen