More than 1100 people attended our 21st New Year Charity Ball held on Saturday (11.01) in Krosno. The guests had the opportunity to enjoy themselves, receive gifts and meet celebrities: this year we invited outstanding sportspeople. The biggest surprise, however, was a special task our guests received from none other than… Robert Lewandowski.
The first New Year Charity Ball was organised by Nowy Styl in 2000. The idea behind this party was to help kids from children’s homes and other institutions in and around Krosno. The première edition saw 150 guests, but the initiative was soon about to grow. For the past few years at each of our balls we have hosted 1100-1200 young people from about 40 local institutions. An important aspect of this event is integration with the disabled, who were invited to join the party in 2004 and have been our regular guests ever since.
This year the subject of disability was particularly compelling. The motto of our ball was “Pre-Olympic Practice with Champions” (each year the leading motif of the ball is different; this year we decided to refer to the Tokyo Olympics). That’s why we invited outstanding sportspeople, including paralympic champions. On Saturday the Krosno sports hall saw a bunch of celebrities such as a multiple paralympic and World Championships medallist Rafał Wilk or Mateusz Ślusarczyk, member of the Polish amputee football team. There were also others who presented their skills: Aleksandra Kozubal, Polish Championships medallist in chess, or rugby players from Juvenia Kraków and members of the basketball school from Krosno, who showed their training practice and sample games.
Each of the institutions received a New Year gift from us. This year Santa had an extraordinary helper: Jerzy Krzanowski, vice-president and co-owner of Nowy Styl and the originator of the ball. ‘The first thing we decided was that the gifts for the institutions will be something extra for the kids, something that could never be included in the budgets. We wanted them to feel special. And we’ve stuck to this idea ever since,’ explains Mr Krzanowski.
Elżbieta Urban-Janusz, head of the Children’s Home in Żyznów, recalls that thanks to the support from Nowy Styl her institution got its first modern computer equipment and more. ‘We also received furniture, household equipment, bikes or money for holiday trips for our kids. The latter was always at the bottom of our list due to the lack of funds. What I value most is the regularity of this support. For many years I’ve been able to take it into account in my plans, because I’m sure I will receive it,’ emphasises Ms Urban-Janusz.
An element of surprise has become another tradition of our annual ball. In the previous editions the children saw the singer, Majka Jeżowska, and some performances of the participants of the popular programme ‘Dancing with the Stars’. Last Saturday we played a movie shot by Robert Lewandowski, the best Polish football player and a world football star, who decided to check on our own pre-Olympic practice. ‘I think some of you have a chance of going to the Olympics one day. You just have to believe in it and persistently work towards your goal. And whenever you have a bad day, never, ever give up! It happens to everyone. Myself included’ – that was the message our guests heard.
The Bayern Munich striker also announced a contest for the mascot of Nina’s, the sports restaurant in Warsaw, which is a joint initiative of Robert Lewandowski, Jerzy Krzanowski and Jacek Trybuchowski, who also attended our ball. The mascot created by the participants of the ball shall promote fair play, courteous cheering and respect for the rivals.
‘I am happy, encouraged and optimistic when I see the young people having fun at the ball. It’s wonderful to see them mingle together and catch the sports bug from our champions. It’s a great idea that Robert Lewandowski entrusted them with designing the mascot. The fact that the toy will be created here, in this community, which has been with us for years, is simply amazing. I am also convinced that many children will find Robert’s words motivating,’ said Jerzy Krzanowski.