Since the first time I watched season one of Gossip Girl, I’ve had a mild obsession with the idea of benefit events. The thought of putting on a pretty dress, drinking champagne brought by butlers on silver trays and writing big checks for good causes was the epitome of adulthood for me. I know it sounds preverse, spending all that money on open bars and designer dresses just to raise money for a charity, but it’s a world I always dreamed of being a part of.
I was so excited to have my first experience at a benefit event this week at the America SCORES Chicago Red Carpet Poetry Slam.
The Vice President of my department at work is on the board for America SCORES Chicago, and purchased a table at the event. He invited several directors and senior managers, and me. Let me tell you, I am just about as low as you can be on the totem pole at work, so I was shocked to be invited! I was so surprised that I actually emailed his assistant to make sure that he didn’t invite me by mistake when he meant to invite a different Emily! Then, I almost declined the invite anyway, because the thought of hobnobbing with execs sounded horrifying! But after talking to my fiance and a fellow coworker, I realized that I couldn’t not go. So I accepted the invite and started picking out my dress.
A friend of mine let me borrow a dress that was absolutely stunning! It was from The Limited, satin, fitted and perfect! I loved this dress so, so much, but when I found out that another coworker that was going was wearing a cotton dress, I got nervous and thought I would be over dressed. It turned out I would have been perfectly fine, so I’m going to try to get my fiance to take me to dinner so I can have an excuse to wear it anyway.
I aslo picked up a blue satin dress from H&M for $34 that I thought might give me an excuse to wear my sequined navy pea coat from LOFT. It was a beautiful dress, but when I wore it with the pea coat, I just looked like a blueberry. And if it couldn’t give me an excuse to wear the coat, then it wasn’t worth keeping. Plus I couldn’t figure out what tights/shoes to wear. Next!
I had a black lace dress that I wore to my friend’s wedding in January (left pic) on the back-burner. I ended up going with this dress because it was fun and classy, and because I didn’t have to suck in my belly to feel pretty in it. I paired it with an old turquoise and gold necklace, black tights, and black pumps.
The event was absolutely incredible. America SCORES Chicago is an incredible organization.
The mission of America SCORES Chicago is to inspire urban youth to lead healthy lives, be engaged students, and have the confidence and character to make a difference in the world. America SCORES Chicago’s unique mix of soccer, poetry and service-learning gives students the means and the motivation to become leaders in their schools and their communities.
There was a silent auction of spa gift certificates, box seats at Chicago sporting events and catered dinner parties ranging from $50 – $2,000. I made one bid, but ended up being out-bid last minute. There was a spread of fancy cheeses, dried fruits and pita with several spreads, as well as butler-passed hors d’oeuvres. There was not champagne brought on platters, but there was an open bar and I was happy with that.
The main event was a poetry slam. I didn’t know what a poetry slam was, but I pictured it being very similar to Comedy Central’s Roast. Turns out it’s actually nothing like that. A poetry slam is typically a competition where poets recite original work. This poetry slam wasn’t a competition, and the participants were the student poet-athletes of America SCORES Chicago. The children recited poems that they wrote. They were absolutely adorable and inspiring. A poem performed by two students about violence and the death of two of their friends didn’t leave a dry eye in the house.
After the poetry slam, the students had an autograph signing. It was so great to talk to the kids and hear how excited they were to be a part of the event.
It was such a great experience! Not only did I have a wonderful time, but it was so inspiring. I left with a renewed passion for helping others and doing good things for other people. It wasn’t quite Gossip Girl style, but it was definitely something that I look forward to doing again in the future.