Every spring, more than 600 people flock to Perkins' campus for the most inspiring evening of the year. It's the Perkins Possibilities Gala, and it's full of music, laughter, entertainment, fine food and good news. Gala Co-Chair Corinne Grousbeck, a Perkins Trustee, Trust Board Chair and parent to a Secondary Program student, sat down with Perspectives to discuss the 2013 Possibilities Gala.
What's the Gala experience like?
It's incredibly uplifting, fun and inspirational. It's a real goose-bump affair. Not only does it take place right on campus—our students' home—but it showcases their talents in a way that dramatically changes perceptions about what a child who is blind or deafblind is capable of doing.
Why is the Gala important for Perkins?
Is it our single largest source of unrestricted funds, and it gives Perkins the ability to demonstrate the powerful work we do on campus and internationally. To me, it's a way of connecting the community to our children so everyone can see that our kids are very much like theirs.
What is your most memorable moment from past Galas?
I would have to say the year Natalie Merchant performed with our student chorus. During my remarks, I talked about being a young mother of a newly diagnosed infant who is blind and the fears I had surrounding his future. I said her song "Wonder"—with its premise that this special child "will be gifted with love, patience and faith"—gave me much-needed hope and inspiration. When I looked at Natalie in the audience she was sobbing. It was a real mom-to-mom moment, and forever changed the way she perceived her own song.
How has the Gala helped Perkins students?
To give just one example, the Gala's Technology Challenge has been absolutely transformational. Eight years ago our students were still using mechanical braillers. We simply did not have the money to buy computers. Today, thanks to the Challenge, every child has access to state-of-the-art technology in their classroom, home or at the Center for Students & Technology.
Why should someone consider attending the Gala?
Attendees tell me it's their absolute favorite event of the year. Experiencing the passion our audience has for Perkins' work gives me so much hope for the future of our children... my child included.