The hype for Counties and Red and Whites begins long before the little white invitation arrives at every junior and senior girl’s mailbox. Dresses and shoes have been ordered, appointments have been made and escorts have been claimed.

However, there’s a crucial factor that gets lost in much of the planning and preparation for these black tie events- these dances are truly charity balls.

“Our charter and activities work to support the charities that serve the needs of children and families in Fairfield County,” said Gabby Stevenson, President of the County’s Assemblies.

According to the tradition of many years, the County’s Assemblies dances are organized with the objective of fun while also largely supporting and benefiting local charities.

Charities apply to the organization each year, and then are carefully considered by board members and student ambassadors.  The board members are mothers who volunteer from each of the five schools, and the student ambassadors are their daughters.

“We moms are all volunteers who work, worry & sweat a million tears to put on such a nice event,” said Stevenson.

Even though the charitable aspect is clearly indicated throughout the invitation and numerous reminders and informants sent out by the board, it seems that it is not enough.

“Of course if Staples would allow us more access, we could do more to get the word out. It is very difficult to get access to put posters up and generally talk to the kids. It took me over a week to get a piece in the bulletin,” said Jennifer Talbot, a board member from Westport.

This year, the board plans to feature more reminders at the dance itself, such as large pictures of the charities who received funds from the event. While students are enjoying themselves, they can keep in mind that they are also helping local charities and people in need.

“Continuing with this spirit of giving, we have also discussed a dress collection drive after the dances to donate to girls in less fortunate towns for their junior and senior proms,” said Marie Marcante, another board member from Westport.

Overall, the board members just want the participants of both dances to receive their hard work with enjoyment, as well as respecting the charitable aspect.

“We are trying to instill old manners & values that were the crux of this organizations beginnings,” said Stevenson. “The founding members hoped to raise money for worthy causes as well as running a wonderful Ball that would hopefully create inter-town friendships.”

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