“For an event to be truly successful, it must instill a feeling of belonging, which in turn is an act of inclusion.” – Andrea Doyle, Skift Meetings

Inclusion is one of Community Living’s values and it became the focus of our 23rd Annual Legacy Ball held February 18, 2023, at Ameristar. Event attendees were immersed in our mission of excellence and compassion in providing innovative services and opportunities for people with disabilities.

We asked for feedback from our previous Legacy Ball patrons with a post-event survey. It became clear that the mission of our organization was not at the forefront. Guests might attend to support award honorees and our community, however they may – or may not – have heard of Community Living before.

We were missing an opportunity to share the impact that our programs have on the individuals we serve every day. We weren’t looking for the catchy, flashy gala theme of the year – we wanted to create an experience that connected attendees with our mission.

The Big Picture

According to the Oxford Standard Dictionary, immerse means to “involve oneself deeply in a particular activity or interest”. How could we achieve this with our Legacy Ball guests at a gala dinner? We needed to show them.

We built a sensory room that clients of Community Living use or need every day that attendees could walk through and interact with. They could see, touch, hear, and smell all the advantages these sensory rooms offer people with, and without, disabilities. Personalizing their experience based on what they were drawn to inside the room, offering a sense of belonging even before entering the event.

Taking it to the Next Level

Building on the idea of creating an interactive space, we took the idea a step further to include sensory in other aspects of the event.  We made the centerpieces with sensory components, lit up the dance floor with glow lights, added calming strips to event programs, kept the overhead lighting down, and even our Fund-A-Need was based around raising money for new sensory rooms.

This was a game-changer. Legacy Ball concluded and people left sharing our vision of ALL people leading fulfilling lives.

Legacy Ball 2024 is Saturday, February 17th at Ameristar.

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