On April 22nd, 2017, Headbands of Hope hosted their first-ever prom at Duke Children's Hospital for some very special guests – kids with cancer. Jess Ekstrom, Founder and CEO of Headbands of Hope said that she noticed how many of these kids miss out on the big exciting and "normal" events of school events, dances, etc. That is what inspired her to host a prom in their honor! On April 3rd, Sweaty Bands and Headbands of Hope launched the release of Hope Blooms, a floral Sweaty Band with a cause. For each Hope Blooms band purchased, Sweaty Bands donated glitter hair ties to contribute to a fun booth at the prom where kids could make their own corsages and headbands using silk flowers. We set out with a goal of selling 100 Hope Blooms. We are excited to report that with your help, we exceeded our goal and sold 175! We were able to provide Headbands of Hope with a variety of colored glitter hair ties. The kids attached silk flowers to them and created their own corsages!
The theme of the prom was "The World is Yours" and guests received passports that they could have stamped at different stations as they took photos with cardboard cutouts of monuments such as the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower. Food at the even offered guests tastes of Italy, China, and more.
The prom was full of laughter and dancing, DIY headbands and corsages and lots of yummy food. People posed in a photo booth and even smeared whipped-cream pies on Duke staff as part of the fun! After the prom, Headbands of Hope received a letter from a patient that said, "Thank you for helping make an amazing night possible! The whole hospital was filled with joy and colors, instead of pain and hoodies. I will never forget my first and best prom!"
Watch the YouTube video about the prom:
We always love to give back at Sweaty Bands, but Autism Awareness month has had a special meaning to us ever since we hired fulfillment staff member Jack two years ago. He is always one of our top performing employees, and brings immense amounts of joy to our office. To elaborate more on Jack's role and how we became lucky enough to have him as a coworker, his wonderful mom, Therese Wantuch, has written a guest blog post for us. We hope you take a minute read through it and consider the benefits of embracing diversity at your workplace, if you haven't already! xo, SB Our son is coming up on his second anniversary of becoming an employee of Sweaty Bands, a woman-owned business that sees the value in diversity. Finding the right fit and the right company is not easy when you have autism, but it can be done with tenacity and finding the right company to take a chance. Sweaty Bands has been a great employer and supporter of autism causes. Not only do they donate to Autism Speaks, they hired a person with autism, which is not just putting lip service to the cause. The Sweaty Band headquarters is less than three miles from our home and so when we started on the job search for Jack, who happens to have high functioning autism/Asperger’s Syndrome, it was a company we knew well and had read a lot about in the local press. Our first visit to the company was foretelling. We were greeted immediately and things were buzzing at the warehouse with a mission. The staff was very nice to us and there was no “alarm” we had felt when we visited other employers when Jack mentioned he had autism and had worked at an amusement park for six summers prior to looking for this job. The supervisor we met with immediately said they would be happy to consider Jack and that she would talk with the owners and for us to contact them back in a week. A week later we contacted Sweaty Bands and Jack went in with his job coach for an interview. Before the interview, we went to www.sweatybands.com and had Jack look up each Sweaty Band category and we printed each section of each page. We wanted him to know the product well. We killed a few ink jets that day! The plethora of bands and styles were so vast, but Jack was getting the hang of it. People with autism usually are very good at recognizing patterns and counting has always been a strong suit for him. We wanted him to be prepared for the interview and know what the job would entail. He got the job and started a week later. He was on probation for 90 days and then became a full time employee thereafter. Two years later, he still enjoys going to work each day and the company and the employees have been very accepting of him. He is taking classes at nearby Gateway Community College to start to learn programming and Sweaty Bands has been great in letting him take time off when he needs a class during work hours. He is also a talented cello player and during the warehouse sale, Jack played cello for the employees and the customers. Thanks Sweaty Bands for taking a chance on an incredibly talented young man who is not your typical employee, but who wants to work hard and see Sweaty Bands succeed! -Therese Wantuch – one proud mother! P.S. Please help us support Autism Speaks by shopping our Charitable Cause awareness print here! (15% goes back!)
Over the past few months, Cincinnati has been in the spotlight thanks to the inspiring Lauren Hill and her refusal to give up, no matter the obstacle. As you've likely heard, this spunky teen is faced with DPIG, a rare, incurable form of brain cancer that predominately affects children. But rather than give up, Lauren has spent the past 14 months getting the most out of her young life as possible--from playing in nationally broadcasted basketball games, to raising record amounts of money for childhood cancer thanks to her Fight for the Cure (you can learn even more about her uplifting story here). All of these reasons and more are why we are thrilled to contribute to her cause with our special edition Lauren Hill Never Give Up bands, available online and in our warehouse! $10 of each purchase goes to Lauren's Fight for Cure, a nonprofit organization to help spread awareness and support for Pediatric Brain Cancer, specifically DIPG. To show your support and contribute to the cause, shop the style now. Of all the inspiring women we come across at Sweaty Bands, Lauren has by far been one of the most special to us. We wish her the best of luck as she continues her fight to eradicate pediatric brain cancer, and can't wait to see what other great things she accomplishes along the way!