Lutheran Homes at Trinity Oaks and Volunteer Catawba Host Harvest Moon Ball
November 11, 2009
By: Devin Rodgers, Catawba Student
It was 6:00pm and primetime at the Lutheran Home at Trinity Oaks. The technicolor daisy centerpieces with the improvised yellow brick road, and the arching balloon rainbow it led to, transformed this plainly carpeted enclosure into an enchanted ballroom that clearly defined the chosen theme: Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Two bands, Polka Dots and the Salisbury Swing Band, headed by Dr. Etters of Catawba College, confirmed the impressive atmosphere. Steve Norman, a professional photographer, offered a prom-like photo op for residents at the entrance of the ball. The true attendance exceeded 50 volunteers, and 100 residents and their family members! This authenticity made the difference between an ordinary event and the wonderfully composed Harvest Moon Ball.
The Harvest Moon Ball is a running tradition for four years now. Catawba College students, organized by a joint effort from the Lily Center for Vocation and Values and Volunteer Catawba, organize a dance for the residents at the Lutheran Home at Trinity Oaks, which is part of a continuing care retirement community. Anastasia Barkova is a sophomore Business Administration major with a Management concentration at Catawba. In 2008 she managed the decorations of the Harvest Moon Ball, but was upgraded to chief coordinator of the event this year. She earned the most gratitude for her hard work managing the event. Aside from her obligation to make this a successful experience as a part of a work-study program at Catawba with Volunteer Catawba, she is delighted at the philanthropic opportunity to make the residents of Lutheran Home happy. She commented, "It brings joy and happiness to my life to know they are happy."
Every volunteer and band was dressed in their most impressive dresses and suits. The Catawba Women's Volleyball team lined the entrance of the ballroom to charm the incoming guests and extend kindness to the guests throughout the duration of the event. Likewise, the Catawba Men's Lacrosse team and the men from the Dead Athenian Society danced with and talked to the residents. I was surprised to see the cohesiveness of the Catawba community, off-the-clock staff members, and the bands, Paul Canup Videos, Steve Norman Photography, Vogue Drycleaners, Party Connections, the Dining Services and Activity Department at the Lutheran Home. Some members of the outside community donated clothing for those that no longer owned formal wear.
Valerie Leon, a Business Administration major with an Economics concentration, revealed that she was happy to serve other people for the principle. She was especially happy to act on her respect and love for the older generation. Like others that participated at the ball, she stumbled upon the chance to help. All parties that happened to stumble upon the opportunity experienced child-like joy while mingling with the guests who very much appreciated the happiness of a younger crowd.
Whether the residents in this retirement community arrived at the Harvest Moon Ball with their walkers, in wheelchairs, or came on foot, they all arrived with glorious style. Julian Manigault is an 85 year-old resident who plays bongo has attended three Harvest Moon Balls. He was by far the smoothest dancer on the floor. When asked about his opinion of the ball, he declared, "I love it. It’s invigorating. I liked to be around happy people. Lutheran Homes has all happy people." Thus the contagious happiness of the ball impresses upon all in attendance. Those unable to escape their chairs were busy with smiles and tapping of fingers and hands on the white tablecloths to the smooth, foot-tapping tunes of the bands.
I was delighted to meet a resident of Trinity Oaks — the beautiful Petie — who blessed me with a dance and some conversation. Before I was able to realize it, we were munching on hors d'oeuvres talking of her worldwide travels as a daughter in a military family. I was attentively immersed in a story where she was lucky to survive having stones thrown at her brave taxi in a remote village of Sri Lanka with 1,001 kings, which was only one part of a two year sailing odyssey around the world. It was exciting to imagine all of the interesting stories exchanged from the other residents that I had not the chance to meet.
In our uncertain, cynical, and slightly despairing times, it is comforting to know that there still exists a motivation for philanthropy that is independent of tax-dollar support and sinister ulterior motives. Maybe this is the mysterious sense of community that is so lacking in 21st century America. All the puzzle pieces came together to deliver love to those who need it most. The certainty of service to others never fails and it was delivered beautifully by Catawba College students and the Salisbury community.