Next Purple Dance:
Hi! My name is Avra. I'm 17 and a senior in high school. I had my first seizure 4 days before my 14th birthday. Since my diagnosis of Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy, I have learned a lot about the different types of Epilepsy and how it affects so many people around the world.
I know first hand the negative side effects of the medications and the fact that so many people aren't controlled with the therapies available to them. This is why my family and I decided to fundraise for the Epilepsy Therapy Project.
I LOVE to dance and all my friends love to dance! So, it seemed like a good idea to organize a fundraising dance. I was pretty nervous at first. I thought… "what if people think it's lame?" "What if no one comes?" Well, it was crazy successful and everyone loved it!!! The first Dance itself brought in a little under $4,000.00. My parents sent our fundraising letters asking friends, family and customers to support my Dance by making contributions to ETP either online or by check. We were amazed at the response. See our fundraising page for the latest on how we are doing.
We are now hosting our 4th Purple Dance! You can do this too! It really isn't that hard and I'm happy to share exactly how we did it. Just think…dozens of teens, all over the United States, throwing dance parties to fundraise for ETP. Think of all the research we would be able to support. Let's influence our future by supporting today's cutting edge research. As a group, I think we would be so powerful!
So, read on and I'll tell you exactly what we did. You can tweak it any way you like to make it your own.
The first thing to do is check with the Sophomore, Junior and Senior class presidents to see what dates did not already have scheduled events. Once we found a Saturday night that was free, we booked a recreational hall in our town. Ours' is called the Hyde Center. We asked for a discounted price and got it. First lesson… don't be afraid to ask for a special price!
I have the date and the place, now it's time to find a DJ. I had been to other dances during the year and met a couple of DJ's who were seniors at my school. I got in touch with them, told them that I was raising money for Epilepsy research and asked them if they would be willing to donate their time and DJ the event. Another YES! Seemed like this was really going to happen.
It was now time to promote the dance. I made tons and tons of bright colored flyers that basically stated that there would be a fundraising dance, included the date and location at the Hyde Center from 8-11 to benefit Epilepsy research and the charge for admission would be $13.00. I put these all over the school about two weeks before the dance.
Next, we contacted the TAB. It is a small local news paper. I was hoping they would advertise the Dance, but they ended up doing an entire article on me & my vision (the dance)! That was really cool because I'm happy to talk about epilepsy. I really think more people should be more comfortable talking about it.
Then I sent out Facebook invitations and encouraged everyone to forward the invitation on to their friends. Right away, I started getting responses on Facebook. At first a lot of MAYBE'S then eventually more and more YESES.
The Hyde Center can only hold 250 people, and it wasn't long before we realized that there was a big possibility that we would sell out. I posted the message that it looked like we might sell out, so they should come early. I think that made people want to come even more!!!
A few days before the Dance, I had the thought that it would be so cool if everyone wore purple. I sent out another facebook message…" Let's make this a "Purple Out". You know at school sporting events they sometimes call for a "White Out" or a "Black Out" to show support for the team and everyone wears that color? Well, why not purple?
Everyone loved that idea. A couple of days before the Dance, I was in a clothing store in my city center and overheard girls (I had no idea who they were!) talking about finding purple clothes!
The day of the Dance, we called a party store and they donated two dozen purple balloons. This was our only decoration. We attached them to the stage.
We set up a table in the entranceway to sell tickets. Depending on how much you charge, you should have lots of one and five dollar bills on hand to make change.
We had a police detail at the door inspecting bags; we wanted to make sure no one brought in alcohol. We had the policy of once you leave the dance you cannot be re-admitted. This helped to control people leaving, drinking and coming back.
The Monday after the Dance, tons of people came up to me in school asking me when the next dance would be.
Not everything we did was successful and I'll tell you about these as well; My mom had a bunch of her friends bake so we could have baked goods for sale at the dance. We also got B.J's Wholesale Club to donate water bottles for us to sell. Well, we did sell some water bottles, but not much sold at the bake sale. A bake sale might work for you, it didn't for us … next time, water bottles only.
We also booked some entertainment. We had an up and coming rapper from Boston come (also at a discounted price) and two other high school performers. We thought that having performers would help bring people in. Maybe it did, we really can't be sure, but it really didn't go over well at the dance. No one paid attention to the performers and they just wanted the DJ's to start up again so they could dance. Next time, DJ only for us!
So, it's as easy as that! All you need is a space, and a DJ. Send out an open Facebook invitation, put up flyers and done!
I hope you will consider throwing your own Purple Dance. It's easy, it's fun, it's a great way to raise money for ETP and bring awareness to a condition that has been in the shadows for too long!
I'm planning my next Purple Dance for this October 20th, 2012. It will be Halloween themed, and we are expecting hundreds of classmates and friends! November is Epilepsy Awareness month … so why not join me? Maybe we could have a bunch of these dances happening at the same time all over the country.
My family and I are here to help you. If you want to throw a Purple Dance and want to talk to us directly, we are happy to help in any way. You can email us at DanceETP@epilepsytherapyproject.org
I hope you will go for it…take a chance and see what happens.
ETP Purple Dance Choreographer