Social Media Adds Pizzazz to Local Charity Gala

Why The Home is Encouraging Attendees to Take Out Their Smartphones to Share Their Voices & Visions

When more than a thousand guests enter The Home for Little Wanderers' Voices & Visions gala at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston on Wednesday, May 25, they’ll be encouraged to take out their smartphones. After more than three years of using social media sites including Twitter and Facebook, The Home has seen an increase in attendees making online posts, checking in, and uploading photos or videos about its events. They decided it was time to build a social media campaign around this year’s fundraising gala.

"Guests are always amazed by the exhibit of children's artwork that transforms the Seaport into a magical evening," said Lisa Rowan-Gillis, The Home's Vice President of Development and Public Relations. "Since it is a tradition for attendees to leave written comments in message books for our young artists, why not give them an opportunity to share their thoughts and photos with friends and other attendees on Twitter and Facebook?"

Debuting more than 20 years ago as a small display of children's artwork by the young residents at the Knight Children's Center in Jamaica Plain, Voices & Visions has evolved into The Home's signature fundraising gala and now includes hundreds of works by children in all of the organization’s residential and special education programs, together with many of its community-based programs. Art program staff and the children chose "Cultures of the World" for this year's theme to reflect both the diverse cultures of children and families in our care and bring to life bygone civilizations.

According to art teacher Brian Barresi, "As guests begin their multicultural adventure through the exhibit, which includes a thousand origami paper cranes, a 10-foot Statue of Liberty, Hope for Haiti masks, totem poles, Egyptian cartouches, and more than 100 cultural shoes, signage will remind them to take out their smartphones and start Tweeting and Facebooking."

"Emily Post may not agree with our decision to encourage guests to use their smartphones, but this is a great opportunity to raise awareness about The Home's work in addition to giving people a virtual experience of the evening," Rowan-Gillis explained. "It’s amazing to think that we’ve come to the point in our long history when supporters are using hashtags and Twitter arms to talk about silent auction items, sponsors, honorees, and general information about The Home, all in 140 characters or less."

Twitter followers can track what people are saying about The Home and Voices & Vision by using the hashtag #VV11 or @thehomeorg. On Facebook, visit:


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