January 2013 Volunteers of the Month
Anthony Vennera and Marybeth Keyes
A good party does not just have music and food. It has energy. Anthony Vennera and Marybeth Keyes, our January Volunteers of the Month, feed off of that energy to create special events for everyone affected by ALS.
Anthony and Marybeth brought Hot Hot Hot Entertainment to The Greater Philadelphia Chapter after providing entertainment at staff member Joan Borowsky's daughter's Bat Mitzvah celebrations. They did not know much about ALS at the time, but when they learned about the disease and the services that the Chapter provided, they immediately asked “How can we help?”
Joan and Anthony made positive impressions on each other from the start. Anthony listened and learned about how ALS devastates whole families and Joan saw how Hot Hot Hot Entertainment could brighten up a room. What she didn’t know at the time was how The ALS Association would brighten up the lives of Anthony and Marybeth.
The first thing that Anthony and Marybeth did was bring Hot Hot Hot Entertainment to the Greater Philadelphia Walk to Defeat ALS®. The teams at that walk were impressed by the professional sound and the fun that the group brought to the walk, but it was Anthony and Marybeth who were most impressed, amazed at the team signs, shirts, passion, and friendship shown by the thousands who came to strike out ALS in honor of a loved one.
After that first day, our January volunteers of the Month asked “What else can we do? Surely there’s more.”
We mentioned, “Well, we have a Holiday Party and…”
Before we could finish that sentence, they were on board, and a wonderful relationship was born.
Through the annual ALS Holiday Party, Marybeth began working with Julie McKeever and the team began to learn more about ALS, how it impacts families, and how important it is to give people with ALS a day to just have fun. They decided that music alone would not be enough. Hot Hot Hot Entertainment brings a whole host of materials, including tattoo artists, photo favors, dancers and several DJs to handle a crowd of over 400 people to make the whole event a special occasion. They don’t feel that their job is done until they’ve put a smile on everybody’s face.
“The Holiday Party allows us to get personal. We talk to the kids, high fiving them, giving them hugs, and then we see the parents and patients, who make the day mean so much to us,” said Anthony. “One woman in a wheelchair has so much unbelievable energy that it is inspiring. She is the motivator. We see her every year and look forward to dancing with her. Putting a smile on those faces is so rewarding.”
DJ’s feed off of the energy of the crowd, and Hot Hot Hot gets as much back from the ALS families as they give, and maybe even more. They bounce back and forth with the patients and children and create a real chemistry.
After volunteering at the Holiday Party each year, they know a lot of the songs that people like and can make the event even more personal. Families don’t even need to make special requests because it’s already planned to make sure the event itself is special.
“We take this very seriously,” said Anthony and Marybeth. “It means the world that we have the ability to touch someone’s life in a meaningful way. It’s priceless to us. It’s great to have these special moments for people.”
It is also priceless for the literally thousands of people affected by ALS who have shared a moment with Hot Hot Hot Entertainment. We are grateful and fortunate to have Anthony and Marybeth sharing their talents with us and giving us the energy we need to defeat ALS.