Mike and Linda McDaniel, owners of Preferred Self Storage in Highland Village, Texas, are one of four winners of the Inside Self-Storage 2009 Humanitarian Service Award. The honor recognizes self-storage companies and professionals who support charitable causes. A $2,000 grant was given to the nonprofit organizations, projects, events or programs endorsed by the winners.
It began with a Grand Ball. While principal at Lewisville High School, Mike was approached by a teacher who wanted to host a special prom for Circle of Friends, a school social club comprised of special-needs students as well as their families and friends.
“The idea was these students would feel more comfortable in that environment rather than at the regular school prom, and the kids would also have the support of their families while attending,” Mike says.
Though they planned to salvage decorations for the new event from the junior/senior prom, the foam and cardboard pieces were in pretty bad shape. That’s where Linda stepped in, rebuilding decorations with glue, tape, paint and glitter. “We have been building decorations and decorating this Grand Ball for 14 years now. It’s a magical night where the school cafeteria is transformed from ceiling to floor,” Mike says.
“With the help of Mike and Linda, we turn [the cafeteria] into a wonderland,” says Kay Sutton, chairperson for the Grand Ball committee. Themes have covered a wide range of fantasy from carnivals and castles to the Orient and pirate ships. For the past several years, the McDaniels and several committee members have created the decorations from scratch. The crew begins putting them together three months before the big event.
Community contributions—dresses and tuxes, flowers and food—help create a special night for the students. “Because our students aren’t able to have fund-raising programs, we rely on donations, gifts and volunteers,” Mike says.