Founder's Masquerade Ball to raise money for Beacon House
It’s a night that allows people to come dressed up and pretend that they’re a well-known philanthropist hiding behind their masks.
The fun is that those who attend Founder’s Masquerade Ball from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, at The Grand Piano Ballroom in downtown Hagerstown, actually are giving back to a local organization.
Anthony Williams, founder and executive director of Beacon House in Hagerstown, said this is the first fundraiser of the year for the nonprofit organization.
The Beacon House celebrated its first anniversary in January. The offices are at the Mulberry Loft at 22 N. Mulberry St., in Hagerstown.
“We’re all about STEAM education. Science, technology, education, arts and mathematics,” Williams said. “We do a lot of outreach at different nonprofits in the area.”
Williams said they focus on children from ages 3 to 18. He said they like to start early and continue to work with the children as they progress through school.
At 3 years old, they’re “developing curiosity” when it comes to STEM activities. By high school, Williams said, they’re teaching the students things such as how to use a 3-D printer.
A science and technology teacher for nearly 16 years, Williams is passionate about teaching children of all ages the importance of STEM education.
“(We are) understanding that the future of the careers are in engineering, science and technology, the arts and mathematics,” he said. “I think a lot of people think that you have to be in STEM or the arts. What we believe in at Beacon House (is) whole brain learning for the whole family.”
Beacon House has been involved in a program at Girls Inc. called Girls Who Code, which teaches young girls how to code for computers.
“Just getting the girls in and seeing how computer science can be used to help for social issues,” he said, noting human trafficking and other subjects.
He said it’s been great to see how the girls are not only grasping the information but also creating websites and other programs from what they learn.
“That’s one thing too that we’ve gotten really great moments,” he said.
For the Founder’s Masquerade Ball, Williams said there will be music by Can-Can Karaoke. Everyone is encouraged to wear a mask. There will be some to wear there, but he said there will be prizes for creatives masks throughout the night. And, he said, there will be silent auction items including a five-day, four-night vacation to Cancun. There will also be food and drinks.
The Founder’s Masquerade Ball will kick off other Beacon House events including a Spring Fling in March and a Summer Bash in June. They’ll also man a children’s zone in July at the Hagerstown Pride Festival, which is hosted by Hagerstown Hope. And in October, Beacon House will host the Western Maryland Black Heritage Festival.
Williams said they hope to raise between $5,000 and $10,000 during the ball to help with overhead and expenses for The Beacon House.
As for Founder’s Masquerade Ball, Williams is hoping to just have some fun.
“I’m just looking forward to spending time with people in the community, having a good night and raising money for a good cause,” he said.