Walden Celebrates 'A Night of Hope'

January 2012, from the archives

Occasionally a community event is so inspired that we can hardly contain our excitement in sharing the details with everyone who missed it. A Night of Hope brought the Walden community together for an evening steeped in inspiration. The mid-week gala kicked-off with a runway show that featured survivors of various plights (they tell it better than we ever could video below). Local businesses, community members, political figures, friends and survivors joined at Walden Social Hall to take part in their powerful message of hope.

Runway at the Social Hall in Walden

The evening was a triumph for event organizer Kristina Lambros who set out to make a little girl's dreams come true. 'A Night of Hope' was primarily a benefit to raise money to grant Ellie's wish to go to Disney World. Ellie, 14, has Down Syndrome and is currently scheduled for a 4th Open Heart Surgery.

Ellie gets her Disney wish

Lambros was visibly excited when she asked Ellie and Mom Jessica to join her on the runway in front of the anticipation soaked crowd. "Ellie," she asked, "where have you always wanted to go? Where do the Disney princesses live?".  Ellie's eyes grew wide with amazement as the realization of Disney came over her.  With the help of the community Kristina was able to grant Ellie's Orlando-gettaway-wish. Audience members looked happy, brushing tears from the corners of their eyes, myself included!

Carly, 15, at her tye dye booth

Thanks to all of the participating businesses and individuals that made this possible : Tie Dye by Carly, Tutus by Rachelle, Pampered Chef, Body Power Inc., Make up and More by Janine, Healthy Heart at Orange Regional Medical Center, JBeth Designs, Heaven on Earth Massage and Wellness, Faith on 2 Motion, Black Meadow Orchids, and M'Lanie Hunter Dance School. In the giving spirit of the event some local businesses made their services available at no cost. They were : Margarita's Hair Salon. Lilo's Pizzeria, The Walden Diner, Guido's Pizzeria, Franco's Pizzeria, Carmella's Pizzeria, Nicole Karr, Pat a Cake, and Carmine's Bakery. Orange County Rentals donated the runway for the fashion show.

Centerline Studios donated a castle for staging purposes and decor.

DJ NYO (Not Your Ordinary DJ) charged up the room with his party-to-go.

Mayor Brian Maher was there to show love and contributed a speech at evening's end.


The $7,000 goal amount was not reached only $4,776 was raised, so Dan Teutul stepped in to cover the difference. The event was made possible by some generous local sponsors including : Calvary Chapel of Orange County, Paul JR Designs, Mikey Teutul's Wolfgang Gallery, Jucobowitz and Gubits LLC, Orange Regional Medical Center, Global Trading Services, New York School of Music, Smith Seaman Quackenbush and the Walden Savings Bank. Additionally, Dan Teutul, owner of Orange County Ironworks. The fashion show was sponsored by Style Counsel. The radiant runway models were stunning in garments from the Winter line currently available at the Warwick boutique. Each of them, a symbol of hope.

Runway Model Ellen in faux leather

Runway Model Donna with an over-the-shoulder move

runway model Christina in a beautiful knit hat

Briana lights up the runway

Guest speaker, Ashleigh Howard, a world famous model came to share the touching life story of her childhood in South Africa where she battled a rare cancer. Still fighting, Howard now faces complications of Colon Cancer. She got personal with the crowd, inviting everyone to share in her unwavering faith in the face is disparage. Her optimism was palpable and her story came as a reminder of the fragility of life and the precious nature of time itself.

Thank you to all of the participants, the brave faces on the runway and Kristina for all of your hard work. All of us here at HappyHudsonValley.com wish Ellie a wonderful time on her Disney vacation this summer! Congratulations on a successful event!

All photos courtesy of Ryan Photography

Article by Stefanie Pearl