Two hundred guests, 20 Team members, 12 weeks’ preparation, two really big bottles of booze, and over $10,000 raised for Kwantlen’s President’s Ambassadorial Team’s very own Scholarship Endowment Fund.

Friday evening proved to be a huge success for the PAT: Our second annual fundraiser, held at Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino, essentially tripled the total raised at last year’s event. Our toonie toss was a profit machine, our 50/50 raffle saw one lucky guest walk away with $928, and the all-you-can-eat buffet kept everyone happy and well-fed. Plus, our goodie bags were a hit, and the fast-paced horse-racing, and betting, kept everyone entertained.

Planning an event can be incredibly stressful, but when most of the problems you have to deal with are relatively positive, the only thing you can do is take a deep breath and smile: We ran out of seats because too many people wanted to attend, we barely had enough table space for our silent auction items because so many generous businesses supported our endeavour, and not every PAT member got the opportunity to participate as much as I’m sure they would have liked to, because the ones involved were just too good at what they were doing.

In the grand scheme of things, I’m walking away from the evening with a lot of pride for what we managed to pull off.

I’m also walking away having learned several life and event-planning lessons: Some I learned the hard way, but others I’ve discovered after having had some time to reflect on the whole process.

But at the end of the day, the purpose of the event was not only met, but exceeded. The PAT is now well over half-way to meeting their original $20,000 goal. So really, the fun is just beginning: A third annual event would definitely get us past that mark, and then we get to hand out scholarship money to another generation of students, and maybe even future PATs. For me, that’s the best part.

In the meantime, a shout-out to my irreplaceable current PATs, and wonderfully supportive friends and family. “The nice thing about teamwork is that you always have others on your side.” — Margaret Carty

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Friday night, I had the opportunity to attend the Mayor’s Gala, hosted by Surrey mayor Diane Watts as a fundraiser for the Firefighters Association.

The ball was a black-tie event, with approximately 650 of the city’s elite in attendance. After all, it cost guests $1,000 a seat to go, so you knew you were among business royalty.

You also knew that it had to be a spectacular evening.

And it was.

Held in an abandoned shopping mall that had ceased construction several years ago due to a lack of funding, the space was decorated with Andy Warhol-like prints and living statues covered in body paint. An open bar served cosmos and an assortment of colourful cocktails, while dozens of chandeliers lit the space, and men in uniform sold tiny gold boxes at $100 a piece for the chance to win a $10,000 diamond ring.

Dinner began at 7 p.m., although I’m pretty sure the main course wasn’t served until 9 p.m. So for a couple of hours, diners were entertained by emcee Mark Madryga, host Diane Watts and the world’s fastest painter, Dan Dunn.

I didn’t recognize his name at first, but I knew who he was as soon as he began to paint what seemed to be an abstract doodle. But in about the time it took to play one-and-a-half songs, he spun his canvas around, and the accurately-detailed face of Elvis was clearly visible. His second painting was a portrait of Marilyn Monroe, done in Warhol colours.

After the filet mignon, we were each served a plate with several dessert samplings, most of which involved sparkles of some kind. And while I enjoyed something very chocolaty while just a little too much gusto, the Canadian Tenors performed.

It was certainly a night to remember, and maybe one day, if that mall is ever completed, I can walk through the shops while telling my grandchildren that the floor where we’re shopping once hosted the most unbelievably extravagant party I had ever been to.

I also hope that I’ll be able to tell them that I was invited back the year after…

But despite the frivolities and perks of it all, the best part of the evening was that everything, from the open bar to the VIP RiverRock show tickets, was donated, so that every penny raised went to the Firefighters Association, which supports over 80 local charities and organizations.

So assuming that there were 650 people there, I’m sure that close to three-quarters of a million dollars was raised for Surrey that night.

That has the power to do a lot of good.

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Yesterday, I held my second fundraiser garage sale for Free The Children, and to great success.

As British Columbia Ambassadors, my team and I have dedicated our reign to raising funds to build a school in Kenya, through Craig Kielburger’s Free The Children organization.

The school has been a two-year projec started by our ambassador predecessors, and the goal is close to being achieved with the help of family, friends and the generous communities of B.C.

At the beginning of my reign, we had several grand left to raise. Now, the three of us have about $1,000 each left to fundraise.

My first fundraiser garage sale was in my hometown of White Rock a couple of weeks ago. And despite the lousy weather, I managed to raise $450.

Yesterday, we (my family and I) took the same trinkets and treasures we hadn’t managed to sell in White Rock to Pitt Meadows for a second attempt. We set up shop in my Aunt and Uncle’s garage, and sold over $350 in just a few hours.

I have only $200 or so left to raise!

Thank you’s to all of the people who have helped me and my team out:

@BobSongs, UB and AL thank you for the garage sale items, generous donations in both dollar amounts and time, and your unwavering enthusiasm.

Thanks to my grandparents for the handmade birdhouses and boxes upon boxes of garage sale stuff that made me a goldmine at both fundraisers.

Thank you to my parents and sister Chloe for all of your help, time and effort, and for keeping me in check when the crown and all of the attention it attracts starts to go to my head.

A special shout out to Jude Remedios for donating some beautiful pieces of art for my garage sale.

(You can check out her work at www.juderemedios.com).

To reach my $1,000 goal, I will be selling homemade birdhouses and craft kits at the White Rock Farmers’ Market on Sunday, June 27.

You can find answers to the five W’s here:

www.whiterockfarmersmarket.ca

Tweet me!

@HayleyWoodin

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