“Cinderella never had it so good,” exclaimed Bobbi Henderson, one of seven women from N Street Village selected to attend the first-ever People’s Inaugural Ball on January 20. “It was a dream I could have never dreamed,” she said.
Our clients were invited by the Stafford Foundation to attend the noteworthy Ball to celebrate the Obama Inauguration. Elaine Webber said that “it was a once in a lifetime event.” She reflected on the special invitation: “Two years ago, I was homeless on the streets, and now I was a guest at an Inaugural Ball!”
The People’s Inaugural Ball, the brainchild of technology entrepreneur Earl Stafford and his family, brought together over 300 folks to the JW Marriott Hotel from across the country—the homeless, disabled, veterans—so many of the forgotten in society. The Stafford Foundation organized and paid $1 million for several inaugural events, including a prayer breakfast, two balls, hotel rooms, and evening wear and beauty/grooming treatments for attendees.
On Sunday, January 18, the women went to the hotel to select evening gowns, shoes and accessories. They returned on Tuesday afternoon before the Ball to get their hair styled and their nails done for the premier event that evening. “It was so powerful and moving to be part of the Ball,” said Mary Abe, a selected attendee. There was a unique mix of people from all walks of life at the event, she observed.
The women feasted on salad, prime rib, salmon, vegetables and chocolate mousse at the Ball dinner. “It was a delicious dinner in a beautiful setting,” said Betty Brantley. Renee Moore agreed that the entire evening was a “breathtaking” experience.
The two-day fest garnered national media attention. N Street Village clients were featured in an Associated Press article sent to 700 news outlets and a National Public Radio story, along with mentions in several other publications.
“Mr. Stafford is a blessing to so many people,” said Laurie Williams, N Street Village’s Food Services Manager, who accompanied our women to the Ball as well as Evelene Duhart, Transitional Case Manager. “Our women will remember this for a long time to come,” added Evelene.