Project Hope to host Hawaiian gala after three year hiatus

Project Hope will finally be hosting their luau-themed gala three years after it was originally scheduled, now that COVID-19 pandemic concerns have largely disappeared.

Vice Chair and Secretary, Alaina Heming, said the team is excited to be returning to the community after its hiatus.

“We have been planning this gala since September when we reconvened school this year, but we have known that we were going to do a Hawaiian gala for three years,” she explained. “It was scheduled to be our 2020 gala and we all know what happened there. We were 10 days out when the world shut down so it is nice to see those plans come to fruition and just get everybody back out.”

According to Heming, Project Hope has been in the local community for nearly 30 years, offering services such as music therapy and adaptive physical education for kids with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and other challenges.

She said the upcoming gala should serve as a reminder that Project Hope is still around and is looking to raise some money for their programs.

“I know in the past we have been able to raise upwards of $40,000 and if we are super successful, that would probably be where we would love to go,” she said. “The goal this year is just to get everybody back out and spread the word one more time that we are here.”

Participants in Project Hope range from kindergarten age all the way through Grade 12, with six schools throughout Strathmore and Wheatland County being supported.

Heming added through their partnership with Golden Hills School Division, there are currently around 90 families who utilize Project Hope’s services.

“To not have these therapies would be devastating for a lot of our families, and because we have been around so long, we are kind of a household name now,” she said. “People seem to be super excited. Folks I have spoken to have said they are pumped and have saved their outfits from when we were going to run this three years ago.”

The gala will host a DJ in lieu of a live band this year, a 50/50 draw, and a box-pull fundraiser throughout the event. Both a live and silent auction will also be held.

More information about the gala is available at the Project Hope website or via their Facebook and Instagram pages. The event is scheduled for March 25, starting at 5 p.m. at the Strathmore Civic Centre.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times