Posted by greg cullen on May 25, 2012

Carley Buchanan is one of those great people who just gets things done.  She came to us several months ago with a wonderful idea.  She wanted to do something to brighten the day of the many children who come to the Children’s Specialty Center of Nevada, a program of Cure 4 The Kids Foundation.  She planned a Super Hero Lunch that won’t soon be forgotten. Perhaps ever.   We asked her to write a little bit about the event, how it came about and some of the things she learned along the way.

And now, here’s Carley:

Carley Buchanan and Annette Logan surrounded by kids and performers. The really big check represents the donations gathered from co-workers from some of the wonderful circus performing shows on the Strip! Thanks for your support!

What can you do with $100?  $100 doesn’t seem like it really goes that far for most of us these days, it can take a couple out to a fancy dinner, or maybe buy you about 25 Starbucks’ coffees, but in the “big picture” it’s hard to realize how far $100 can go.  Recently I was given a unique challenge of trying to stretch a $100 to give back to our local Las Vegas community and make a difference in a way that feels much larger than the humble budget.  I started thinking of different ways that I could help or things that I could do and stumbled upon the Cure 4 The Kids Foundation.  The thing that I think that is so unique about the Cure 4 The Kids Foundation is that they turn no child away for their treatment with cancer and blood disease for being uninsured, under-insured, or the inability to pay.  After meeting with the director of their facility I realized that they spend almost $5 million dollars out of pocket each year; and somehow it was still hard to think of how this $100 budget could make an impact with the organization.

The facility agreed to allow me to put together an event for their kids who have or are currently receiving treatment.  I work with a bunch of superheroes (really it’s not a figure of speech) I am in entertainment at a large show on the strip as a technician.  After speaking with a couple of the superheroes and performers from the show I decided to pitch the idea of a superhero luncheon.  We gained approval through the appropriate artistic channels to have artists participate in costume, and then the ball really started rolling.  I was surprised about the enormous response I received after speaking to the company about the event.

People volunteered to perform, paint faces, set up cape making stations, take photography and video, make a toy box for the facility, donate their time to help decorate and execute the event, and most of all the donations that we received for the toy drive and the monetary donations for the facility were vastly impressive.

The toy box that was built was over flowing with toys so much that we couldn’t fit them all inside.  We rose almost $1000 dollars for the facility and over 116 hours pooled from all of the volunteers that participated equaled a $1000 dollar grant donation from our global citizenship department.  We turned $100 budget that was unused by the day of the event into almost $2000.  The left over $100 budget is going to be spent for books for the kids at the facility for a book reading event in the future.

The one and only Carley Buchanan, showing her true Super Hero abilities!

The day of the event was really magical.  I was nervous about kids showing up and realized I had nothing to fear quite quickly.  Over 50 capes were made that day of all shapes and sizes that the kids created and then they were stitched within minutes for them to wear.

The pure joy of the grilled cheese sandwiches can’t be overemphasized. Here, Chef Dawn Marie, also of Circus Couture fame, took a turn at grill!

More than 50 little faces were painted that day; and the amount of smiles that were created was endless.  Volunteering and planning this event helped me realize a few things.  Firstly, that acts of service breed more humble acts of others.  In an economic time of uncertainty I received so many donations of toys, time, and money that it exceeded any expectation I could’ve ever hoped for.  Secondly, that acts of kindness break down barriers.  I believe that this event helped break down some barriers that I had previously had with others.  I believe that it has allowed them to see a different side of who I am, what I really care about, and what I work for in this world; that it’s not all about the job and the paycheck but about what you can achieve to make a difference together as a group for the greater good.  I will always try to continue my service with the Cure 4 The Kids Foundation and want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart that came together for one day, to put so many smiles on children’s faces for a moment, to allow them to escape their reality.

OK. Isn’t Carley amazing?

We wanted to add a little bit more about the toy box Carley mentioned.

We’ll have a constant reminder of the graciousness of these many, many volunteers and Carley’s planned event.  Carley was able to get some of the construction folks she works with to make us something we’ll always cherish.  It’s a one-of-a-kind toy box that will remain at the Specialty Center.  It came to us the day of the Super Hero Lunch loaded with so many toys that they didn’t all fit!  We’ll keep it here and when appropriate we’ll allow a child to retrieve a toy.  Thank you to Carley and all the volunteers who made this day memorable.

And if this has inspired you to help, we have some great ideas!  Every weekend in September, which is Childhood Cancer Awareness month, there are businesses and restaurants at Town Square who are helping Cure 4 The Kids Foundation.  By simply buying a specific item on the menu or spending money at a specific business, Cure 4 the Kids will receive a donation.  Here are the details: Town Square September