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Never Miss a Chance to Dance: Inside the Sandbox Prom

Remember when you were a little kid playing in the sandbox?

The sand was soft to the touch as you dug your hands down deep, only to lift them up and feel the sand flow gently through your fingers. The sandbox is a place for fun, and a great memory of childhood.

That is exactly what The Sandbox, a nonprofit in Charlotte, North Carolina, aims to do – create lifelong happy memories for families facing life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, rare or terminal illness. And in 2019, The Sandbox received the help of some special Erie Insurance agents and employees.

What is The Sandbox?

Since its creation in 2010, The Sandbox has helped more than 5,000 families. The organization works with others in the community to meet the practical, social and emotional needs of the families during those difficult times. Their continuum of care model, called the CARRE (Caring About Real Relationships Empathetically) program, is the umbrella under which all support is offered.

The Sandbox is there to walk alongside families who face the realities of having a child with a diagnosis. This can mean helping with basic needs, arranging special days to get a break from the rigors of their treatment or even assisting with the emotional transition in the grief and bereavement process.

Never Miss a Chance to Dance

In 2011, a social worker at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, asked Executive Director Mara Campolungo if The Sandbox could host a dance for patients who were admitted at the time and would be missing their own school prom.

And so, An Evening of BelievingSM Prom was born.

This red-carpet gala, complete with limos, makeovers and more has become The Sandbox’s signature event. And it’s all done with no cost to the families.

The Evening of BelievingSM Prom gives attendees and guests of all ages a chance to dance the night away, smiling ear to ear. It’s a night to focus on fun instead of the battle they face every day.

“The purpose of the prom is to force the diagnosis to the back seat,” Campolungo said. “It helps our families create wonderful memories with a night of fun, food, fellowship and family.”

How ERIE Helps

In 2019, the Erie Insurance Charlotte Branch helped cover a portion of the cost for prom guests, with a $5,000 Giving Grant through ERIE's Giving Network to help pay for tuxedos.

Erie Insurance agent Beth McDuffie, of the Mark McDuffie Insurance Agency in Charlotte, volunteered as a "go-getter" to help with the night’s events.

“The prom was such an amazing night,” McDuffie said. “To see the children and their families step out of limo dressed in beautiful gowns and tuxedos, walking the red carpet, the crowd cheering... It was so touching. It was a night all about them.”

At ERIE, our employees and agents realize service means more than just handing over a check – it means rolling up our sleeves and getting the work done for the communities in which we serve.

The Giving Grants at Erie Insurance help our field offices fund causes they care about across ERIE’s footprint – 12 states and the District of Columbia.

Find out more about ERIE’s longstanding commitment to our local communities by visiting our Giving Network page or following #ERIEforgood.

ERIE® insurance products and services are provided by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home offices: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (home office: Rochester, New York).  The companies within the Erie Insurance Group are not licensed to operate in all states. Refer to the company licensure and states of operation information.

The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are in effect as of July 2022 and may be changed at any time. 

Insurance products are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions not described in this blog. The policy contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions. 

The insurance products and services described in this blog are not offered in all states.  ERIE life insurance and annuity products are not available in New York.  ERIE Medicare supplement products are not available in the District of Columbia or New York.  ERIE long term care products are not available in the District of Columbia and New York. 

Eligibility will be determined at the time of application based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time.

Your ERIE agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy.