This past Saturday, Feb. 27 was the 2nd annual Nursing Students’ Association Masquerade Gala benefiting Family House in San Francisco. Approximately 80 students, as well as alumni, were in attendance at the event in the McLaren Conference Center. The night kicked off with a number from the SIX ASUSF Voices a capella group, which was followed by various other performances, including one from hypnotist Dave Hill. The money from the guests’ admission and raffle tickets all went to benefit Family House.
Family House is a local organization which provides housing to children who are currently in treatment at UCSF, as well as their families. “They’re able to house about 34 families a night without charging them a penny,” said Nichole Vasquez, a junior at USF who is an Advocate for Community Engagement (ACE) and the liaison between Family House and USF. Family House aids these families immeasurably, allowing them to cut the costs of travelling and abetting much of the stress involved with treatment. It has just expanded to allow for 80 families to be housed every night and the ribbon cutting for the new building occurred on Mar. 2. The organization is looking for more volunteers for once the new building at Mission Bay opens, as it is expanding its capacity greatly.
The gala was created to benefit various non-profit organizations and charities. Senior Denise Burns, who has been the president of the Nursing Students’ Association (NSA) for the past semester, described the process that the NSA goes through in choosing a charity. “After taking a vote from the board, Family House actually won by a majority vote, so we visited them and got to learn about what they do. Learning about what they do made us want to do something great.” The NSA looks to create relationships with the organizations that they choose each year through volunteer programs, aiming to give something back to the community through the connections they make.
The tickets that were sold online raised over $670 for Family House alone, and overall over $1,000 was raised. The event also featured a raffle, and many items were raffled off entirely to the benefit of Family House. These items included a dinosaur onesie and a MDF stethoscope, which were both won with great enthusiasm as they were some of the most popular items.
The other performers included members of Vitality SF, VarCity SF, and the Hawaiian Ensemble. Two members of Vitality SF performed an emotionally charged dance to “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran, while VarCity did a much more upbeat dance to a mashup of hip hop music, including “B***h Better Have My Money” by Rihanna. Senior Kaitlyn Armas, a member of the NSA and part of the NSA Community Service Committee, said “I have a soft spot for VarCity, that was my favorite performance.” VarCity was followed by the Hawaiian Ensemble, which did three different dances, finishing off with an intricate group dance with all of its members.
The hypnotist show was also a success, despite some technical difficulties. Dave Hill proved that he could lead a fantastic show even without any music. The show began with 18 audience members on stage. However, several left, as they were not hypnotized, including graduate student Christina Nguyen. “I felt like I was hypnotized for a minute, but I couldn’t help laughing,” she said. The finale of the show was a performance of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing, and those hypnotized sung and played air guitar for the entire audience.
At the end of the gala, everyone turned to the photo booth for their post-event photos, while the friends of those who were hypnotized relayed the absurd performance to the clueless victims, and it was all in support of Family House.
Nichole Vasquez can be contacted for volunteer opportunities at [email protected]