On Friday, March 25, Full-Time Mason School of Business MBA students, faculty and staff participated in the annual Mason Idol, a talent show and charity auction that raised $6,700 for Kidz ‘N Grief. This year’s event was one of the most successful in its history, doubling the amount that was raised by the students last year.
During the evening, participants had the opportunity to bid on a variety of items and experiences donated by William and Mary faculty and staff. Popular offerings included a dinner cruise with Mason School of Business Dean Larry Pulley and Dean Ken White, a night out with Professor Deborah Hewitt, wine tasting at the home of Professor Bud Robeson, and a tennis match and dinner with Professor David Murray. The Mason School’s Executive Partners, senior business professionals who mentor and guide students, were also invited to take part in the evening’s festivities raising an additional $200.
This year's winner of the student talent competition was Brian Fuller, an accomplished and talented violinist. Other student performers included Damilare Fayombo, Drew Hoover, and Amber Templeton. The final act, performed by Richard Smyth ‘16 - who also organized this year’s Mason Idol, paid homage to the Class of 2016 with a tribute to boy bands. “It wasn't about us, though,” said Smyth. “This was a night to bring the Mason family together in support of an incredible local organization that empowers courageous kids.”
The charity, Kidz 'N Grief, is part of the Bereavement Program of Bon Secours Hospice at Mary Immaculate Hospital. It is a unique support group program for grieving children and their parents or caregivers, providing concurrent grief support for children who have lost a loved one. Beth Pile, Director of Kidz 'N Grief, along with some of the children who have received services from the program, attended this year's Mason Idol and graciously shared their incredible stories. "We are beyond grateful to the students who made this event happen," Pile said. "Without the financial support from the Mason School our program would be in jeopardy. These funds make it possible for grieving children to heal in a safe place."
Besides financial contributions, Mason MBA students also volunteer at Mikey's Camp, a Kidz ‘N Grief weekend camping trip for grieving children where their self-expression is heard, valued, and honored. “I was one of the four volunteers from Mason who spent a weekend last fall sharing time with the kids,” said Smyth. “To say that they have incredible stories is an understatement. These kids are brave, inspiring children, and their personal stories resonate every year with our students.”