Several young girls and their families got to participate in a real live tea party this weekend.
On Saturday, an American Girl Christmas Tea Party took place at Jamestown's Moon Brook Country Club. The event was organized by Jeanette Ostrom, Nina Bell and Michele Constantino and was held to benefit and raise awareness about the Western New York Kidney Connection, a regional nonprofit organization. According to Ostrom, founder and president of the Kidney Connection, hosting an American Girl tea party has been long in consideration.
"I've been wanting to do it for years," said Ostrom. "We buy American Girl dolls for our granddaughters every year and I know how much the girls love them so I've always wanted to do it. This year, I finally decided to give it a try and I'm obviously very happy about that."
Attendees of the American Girl Christmas Tea Party are shown during Saturday’s event.
The American Girl company manufactures dolls and corresponding stories representing girls who lived during different eras throughout American history. The tea party allowed girls to come dressed as their American Girl dolls, go to an on-site beauty salon to have their hair and nails done and have their picture taken with live action American Girl characters.
Attendees enjoyed a buffet luncheon, a giveaway, a silent auction and live music performed by local recording artist Brielle Edborg. Also on hand was a boutique selling doll clothes.
The Western New York Kidney Connection, founded in 2006, functions as an online location for those in need of a kidney transplant and potential donors to meet.
"The person in need posts a profile on the Kidney Connection (website)," said Ostrom. "Then we promote it by things like this to make people aware of the Kidney Connection. Someone who might decide they would like to be a living kidney donor can go there, read the profiles, find someone who is the same blood type and contact them directly about testing for them. Because of the awareness there has been in increase in living donations, friends and family have come forward rather than just strangers."
To learn more about the Western New York Kidney Connection and hear some of the life-saving stories it has produced, visit their website at: www.wnykidneyconnection.org.
The actresses portraying the American Girl characters were volunteers from the Jamestown High School drama enrichment program, headed by Michele Constantino. The on-site beauty salon was provided by Serenity Salon & Spa. Tops Friendly Markets provided food and snacks.
This was the first year that the WNY Kidney Connection has hosted the American Girl Christmas Tea Party. There were more than 200 people in attendance and, based on that, the Kidney Connection is considering making it an annual event.