“We have a great opportunity—and responsibility—to help those in need.”
When you are encouraged by people around you to give back, it becomes second nature. For Carla Cox, Director of Marketing at NAP, it was her family who instilled a lifelong commitment to helping others. “I have memories of volunteering since when I was little. Each year my parents, sister and I would bring gifts to the homeless during the holidays, for example, and I loved delivering the presents and seeing the joy on the children’s faces,” she says. “It was such a fun and rewarding experience, and I learned that if you’re fortunate enough to have the ability to help those in need, then you should take advantage of it.” That conviction has followed her to NAP, where she and her team (Carla oversees marketing at Avalon) turned a chance encounter with a popular radio personality into a multi-year partnership with Bert’s Big Adventure, an Atlanta-based nonprofit founded by morning show host Bert Weiss. Every year, Bert’s Big Adventure gives kids with chronic and terminal illnesses and their family members the adventure of a lifetime—an all-expenses-paid, 5-day vacation to Walt Disney World. In addition to the trip, they also foster year-round programs that shift life’s focus from having an illness to having fun, planning experiences for these families that break the cycle of doctor appointments for at least a few hours at a time.
“It’s an incredible organization. We wanted to find a way to work with them and create a unique way to make the kids feel special,” Carla says. That desire sparked “Noon to Night,” an annual fashion show at Avalon that has Bert’s kids walking the catwalk alongside professional models and celebrities. “They get dressed up. They get their hair and makeup done. And they walk down the runway with more than 500 people screaming and cheering for them. They just have the time of their lives,” she gushes. “I’ll never forget the first year, the MC of the fashion show asked one of the girls, ‘What’s better, this or Disney World?’ And she was like, ‘This!’” This year will mark the third annual Noon to Night fashion show—and NAP’s growing support of Bert’s. A group from NAP goes to the big send-off party to say goodbye before the kids leave for Disney, and NAP teams hit the streets for the Atlanta Moon Ride that benefits the organization. “We’ve formed an amazing relationship with them and all of the kids.” All of this is a subtle nod back to Carla’s childhood memories of bringing a moment of happiness to a kid’s life, just amplified. “We (at NAP) have so many resources that a lot of people don’t have,” she remarks. ”We can help build things. We can create events. We have social media we can spread the word on. We have the financials that enable us to give back.”
“It’s in our blood as a company. If we can do good with what we have, we should.”