Despite being smack dab in the middle of summer, it’s already time to start thinking about the Fall social season. In advance of releasing our Fall Gala Guide, we’ll be previewing a few select events over the next three weeks. We kick the series off today with a first look at Ice Ball 2016, benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas. Between their world travels, we had a moment to chat with event chairs Kate and Hector Perez to get the low down about this year’s party, how BBBS is near and dear to the couple and how funds raised from the evening directly affect the community.
ASP: Kate, how did you and Hector originally get involved with BBBS?
Kate Perez: Hector has been a “Big” Brother since 2009 and was looking for a way to give back to the community. Because of his struggles growing up on the south side of San Antonio, he really wanted to help young kids who were going through the same experience. His uncle served as a mentor and inspiration to him growing up, encouraging him to pursue a college education and keeping his confidence up. As a result, Hector wanted to serve that same purpose for other young kids. I was pulled in because all the charitable work we do in Austin we try to do as a team, and I love supporting those causes that are so important to my husband.
ASP: Let’s chat about Ice Ball, specifically. Did you two serve on the committee in the past?
KP: We served on the Ice Ball committee in 2014 and 2015 and loved being a part of something so meaningful. The event is really a celebration of what Big Brothers Big Sisters (and the “bigs”) do for kids in the Austin area, plus we really like the focus on raising funds specifically targeted to help them to continue making that impact. Hector has a history with the organization – he’s on the executive board of directors and was featured as “Big of the Year” for the state of Texas in 2014 – so Ice Ball was a opportunity to share this cause we care so much about with our friends and colleagues, while also making an impact on the fundraising efforts of the organization.
ASP: What’s your favorite part of the evening at Ice Ball?
KP: I really love the “Fund a Friendship” or “paddles-up” part of the event – which consists of a donation to support the programs – and it’s awesome to look around the room and see so many giving individuals. You’re not giving for an auction item or to win a raffle or a game, it’s just about supporting the organization and the kids they serve.
Hector Perez: Being there with my “little,” Gabe. He and his family were featured in 2014 and it’s great to have him come and see how many people support him and the BBBS program. This year he will attend with us and we’ll be wearing matching bowties!
ASP: Tell us a little about what the proceeds from Ice Ball support and how it makes an impact on the community at large.
KP: Ice Ball is the largest contributing event to Big Brothers Big Sisters. The organization matches “bigs” (or mentors) with “littles” and creates relationships that inspire and create a positive influence for many at risk kids in central Texas. The impact these relationships have on the kids include increased graduation rates and college admissions, staying out of trouble and developing confidence while showing them what is possible in life. Many of these kids have never known college to be an option, or they assume their circumstance in life can’t change. Having a big to provide a positive influence and show them possibilities can change the direction of a young kid’s life.
ASP: The gala has undergone a lot of changes over the years – what kind of experience can attendees expect this year?
KP: The planning committee has done an amazing job this year. We will have more raffle items, the same great program by Gayle Stallings of FUN Auctions where we’ll reveal new live auction packages in addition to some of our best performing trips from years past. This year we’ll be sharing the story of a new “Matches” or sets of bigs and littles and the relationships that they have developed. Each of the past two years we’ve raised over a half million dollars and we hope to continue that trend with the help of our guests and members of the community. We’ll also have the after party going strong to the tunes of “Memphis Train Revue,” which can start a dance party pretty much anywhere. It’s a fun and energetic evening that certainly creates a sense of giving and we look forward to seeing many old friends and new faces.
Ice Ball 2016 takes place Saturday, August 20th at the Hyatt Regency Austin’s Zilker Ballroom. Tickets are available online while they last.