This past Wednesday, I had the opportunity to attend the SADA Charity Preview, which was the kickoff to the 109th Annual Syracuse Auto Expo. SADA, also known as the Syracuse Auto Dealers Association, is the sponsor of the Auto Expo.
The event, which takes place in the Oncenter in downtown Syracuse, is not only special for it’s display of exotic cars from around the world. It’s also a unique event that allows guests to donate their ticket purchase of $125 to a local non-profit organization of their choosing. The honored organizations included:
- ARC of Onondaga
- The Centers @ St. Camillus
- CNY Kidney Foundation
- Crouse Health Foundation
- David’s Refuge, Inc.
- Hospice of Central New York
- Huntington Family Centers, Inc.
- Learning Disabilities Association of CNY
- The Loretto Foundation
- Make A Wish of Central New York
- Maureen’s Hope Foundation, Inc.
- Meals On Wheels of Syracuse, NY, Inc.
- National Kidney Foundation of Central NY
- Syracuse Community Connections
I had been to an auto show before but this was different, as it was black tie optional and I had the chance to do social media for my favorite non-profit organization and one of the many being honored that night, Make-A-Wish. The Central New York Chapter in Syracuse was preparing to unveil a young man’s wish to have his car made over and surprise him and his family at the event. Understanding a stressful situation of securing media to the unveiling while also trying to do social media lead me to reach out to the communications/PR manager and ask if she needed help capturing the special moments. She happily agreed and I couldn’t wait for the day to come.
I arrived at 7:30 p.m., in time for the crowd being corralled into the first display room of the night featuring automobiles from Nissan, Ford, Honda, Toyota, Buick, and Chevrolet, among many others. Wish Kid Kevin’s made-over Jetta was waiting for him in the Volkswagan area, so I made my way over to meet up with a few Make-A-Wish employees to go over specifics of the surprise unveiling.
Multiple email updates had been sent out to let Make-A-Wish volunteers know of the “Wish Reveal,” as it’s referred to in the Wish community, and by 8 p.m. when Kevin arrived, there was quite a group there waiting for the young man. It was humbling to see how many people from the surrounding communities had showed up to see Kevin’s Wish come true! The president of the chapter, Diane Kuppermann, gave a small speech in celebration of the chapter’s 1700th Wish and then to Kevin’s surprise, announced that the he would not have to wait until Saturday to receive his car. A huge smile spread over his face as he watched the white sheet pulled off his newly tricked-out Jetta.
After some more photos were taken with Kevin and the community sponsors for his Wish, I joined some friends of mine to enjoy the rest of the night’s festivities. The event changed locations as the night went on–the second room contained trucks, sport utilities and conversion vans and the third and last room included the world’s finest and most expensive motor cars. I’m not a big car person, but I have to say it felt pretty cool to sit in an Audi.
There were drinks and food served at each room; my favorite was the luxury car room because it was the only room to serve dessert (which satisfied my chocolate addiction). For someone with a crazy sweet tooth, the selection was incredible!
The event ended a little after 10 p.m. It was an amazing night, getting to see Kevin’s Wish come true and having the opportunity to volunteer my time for an amazing organization. I can’t wait for next year!
Author: Lauren Taylar
Lauren Taylar is a digital marketer and blogger. She is a graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations. When she’s not volunteering her time with Make-A-Wish, you can find her reading a travel magazine and sipping a glass of hard cider or wine.