Let’s have a ball with our friends while raising money for a charity

By Lee Belote | Pilot Online

What do you get when you combine beach culture with a black-tie soiree? The answer is a “Beach Ball.”

What do you call the organizers of the “Beach Ball”? Ballers. Interestingly enough, the word “baller” has several definitions. One of the meanings is an adjective used to describe someone as impressive or extremely good.

This description is a perfect characterization of the “ballers” (committee members) that plan the “Beach Ball.” You see, these “ballers” not only love the great city of Virginia Beach, but they have a desire to give back.

When I heard about this philanthropic group of young professionals, I felt a kindred spirit. Most of them are homegrown on our sandy beaches and feel a strong desire to serve the community.

The Beach Ball, which is an annual fundraiser for local charities, was the brainchild of Alexis Hionis, a Shore Drive resident.

While growing up in Virginia Beach, Alexis said she had many great experiences with numerous local charities. She was inspired to use her family’s venue, the Lesner Inn, to hold a huge fundraiser for local nonprofits. She chose the name “Beach Ball,” so the event would seem fun, yet still describe the formal black tie attire.

The event’s slogan is “Shine your shoes. Polish those nails. Press that suit and tie. Cause you know what, we’re havin’ a Beach Ball to benefit_______.” (local charities fill in the blank.)

The first event was held in 2016 and raised more than $11,000 for Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters. In 2017, the event almost doubled with more than $20,000 donated to Samaritan House.

This year, the committee decided to help a smaller organization called WeAreVB, which helps raise money for homeless and at-risk students. Their programs are 100 percent volunteer-based and help to sustain a food pantry, provide a “senior experience” for graduating seniors and implement mentorship programs.

Coincidentally, WeAreVB is similar to the “baller” committee. Both charitable efforts started with a group of friends that just wanted to make a difference in their hometown.

This year’s “Beach Ball” is from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Feb. 3 at Lesner Inn. The $90 ticket will include a full open bar, hors d’oeuvres, late night pizza from Shorebreak, a dessert bar by Twisted Sisters, and entertainment by Cheap Thrills and DJ BroBrad. Go to vabeachball.com for tickets.

Most people think the best part about Virginia Beach is the surf and sand. I do love the salty air, beach breezes and sand between my toes. However, I also have a deeper connection with Virginia Beach. As a local, I’ve grown to love the culture, the history and the relationship with my community.

The “ballers” and “WeAreVB” are perfect examples of what makes Virginia Beach great. You can have a “ball” with your friends, while simultaneously doing something positive for city residents.

© RiseVB
we are a 501(c)3 organization.