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Kids Just Wanna Have Fun
By: Jen Kruidbos
Date: 2006-12-04 01:59:54
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"Hey! Will everyone please be quiet! HEY!" Is what Doug Lewin, founding member of Kids for Kids and MC of this year’s gala, yelled half a dozen times into his microphone. Lewin had to compete with the incessant chatter emitting from over a third of the crowd attending the VIP cocktail on Friday November 24th at the Windsor Ballroom. While most of the crowd listened politely as Lewin presented a check for $145 000 to leader of the Autism Spectrum Disorder Program, Dr. Eric Fombonne, a significant amount of the guests kept wagging their tongues and drinking free wine.

The crowd of chit chatters maintained a volume that distracted from Dr. Fombonne’s grateful words and, in their public rudeness, seemed to reveal a lack of concern for the cause they had supported with their presence and donations.

Initially appalled with the sophisticated crowd’s lack of class, I asked myself, should I expect anything more? After all, Kids for Kids is a social event where people come to relax and enjoy themselves. The event was packaged as a sexy party, and that is what the guests came expecting. Although Autism was on some people’s mind, it was probably low on the list, preceded by mingling, having fun and looking good. Perhaps the crowd did not consist of rude individuals, but the nature of the ball provided the circumstances for them to behave impolitely.

Asking people to listen quietly at an open bar is like bringing children to La Ronde and trying to read them a story

Fundraisers, and especially fundraising galas are a type a charitable act where a large distance exists between the donor and the recipient. Maya Angelou once wrote: "It is sad when people who give to the needy feel estranged from the objects of their generosity. They can take little, if any, relish from their acts of charity; therefore, are generous out of their duty rather than delight." For this reason, perhaps the guests considered their duties’ fulfilled once they paid for their $100 ticket, and any listening efforts were unnecessary. Or maybe, drinking for two hours at an open bar made them just like wayyyy too wasted to listen, it was after all 9:45 pm.

Levin recognized that the circumstances played a role in the crowd’s noise. "The alcohol starts flowing and the conversations start and they are hard to turn off. This is something that will be changed for next year. We might even close the bar for the speaking parts."
This sounds like a smart idea. Asking people to listen quietly at an open bar is like bringing children to La Ronde and trying to read them a story. However, one assumes that the people at Kids for Kids had more self control, especially during the first quarter of a party that went until 3 am. "I personally was not offended," said Levin, "I did however feel badly for Dr Fombonne from the autism clinic. In my mind it showed a lack of respect for him and his group and what they are trying to achieve. The guests have all night to party. We are only asking for 10 minutes of their time."

This awkward situation presents the problem of where awareness fits in at charity parties. When one thinks about the contrast involved, the concept appears strange. It seems self indulgent for a person to primp his or herself and enjoy a lifestyle more lavish than usual to help another, especially if the helper fails to understand or think about the less fortunate person’s situation. However, at parties, people want to enjoy themselves, so too many facts about the sad reality of underprivileged people will kill the atmosphere, no one will come back to the next party and no money will be raised.

In further defense, consider all the extravagant parties that happen everyday where no money goes to charity. We should commend the work and creativity that dozens of committee members and volunteers put into organizing an annual chic event that supports a worthy cause. By making a charity event appeal to society’s "in" crowd, it ultimately raises more money and at least a little awareness for the cause. This event aims to help the kids, and in the end, it’s all about the kids. To learn more about how you can help visit

written by: Jen Kruidbos
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