Emma Padelford

 Last month, one of the Ridge history teachers, Ms. Boland took a group of students to participate in the annual HEAL tea event. HEAL, or the Happily Ever After League, is a support system for people with cancer, started by a woman in Scottsdale. She and her friends got together and bought a house that they named the Heal House, and they transformed it into a place where people, specifically mothers or other women who have had, or have cancer, to come and get help. The Heal House provides things from canned food, to babysitting for children. They always have a pantry filled with food for these women to come and collect at anytime they need it. During the weekends, the Heal House has different events and fundraisers that people can participate in for cancer survivors.

  Ms. Boland has been participating in the annual tea event for 5 years. The tea event is a fundraiser that gives the participants a chance to get creative, earn prizes, and to help others. In order to attend, each participant must pay a $75 fee to have a seat at a table. There are 10 people who come together per table. The group must come up with a creative theme to decorate their table with. Other events of the tea event include raffles, auctions, and hearing guest speakers. The types of prizes that could be won were Coach and Chanel bags, trips to different places such as Mexico, spa packages, sports packages, and dinner reservations.

  “It is a chance for all the women and men who go, to meet other survivors, and for them to have that moment,” Boland says.

  Ms. Boland began preparing by inviting her students to participate a few months before the event. After she has enough students signed up for a table, they start to build and decorate their table. Boland had a total of 10 Mountain RIdge students participate, along with a few other students from her former school. Another thing the group did before the tea, was put together a gift basket to go along with around one hundred other baskets from the other participating  groups.

  This year, Boland’s table theme was Hansel and Gretel. The group put together a life size gingerbread house complete with a smoking chimney and lights. Each person got to add their own personal touch by creating dessert cups with gingerbread men inside. The back of their house had an evil look to it that had angry gingerbread men. Boland said that they were supposed to represent the children who had been eaten by the witch. To complete the look, Boland’s group all came in costume.

  Boland says that there were many different categories regarding the table creativity, presentation, and others that their table surpassed. Boland’s group was able to take home the Best In Show award for the third year in a row. Boland says that their prize for having the best table was a plaque and pride. They also got their picture put up in the Tea Newsletter, and an interview by News Time.

  “It’s a great organization to do, and it’s super fun. It’s always great for super creative kids to get in touch with it, and it’s great to get those community service hours for it,” Boland says.

     HEAL is a great way to reach out and help others, to get creative, and to get in volunteer hours.

For more information regarding HEAL, visit: