HLGU student to take on persona of Disney's Belle for event to benefit her upcoming mission trip

Cassidy Winters, a Media Communications and Public Relations student at Hannibal-LaGrange University, smiles in her Belle outfit Wednesday, April 26. Winters is preparing for “Belle's Enchanted Evening,” a Beauty and the Beast-themed tea party for mothers and daughters, at 6:30 p.m. at the James O'Donnell Funeral Home. The evening will include prizes, trivia, treats and a photo opportunity with Belle. Proceeds from ticket sales will go toward Winters' upcoming mission trip to South Asia to support young girls who are victims of human trafficking.
Posted: Apr. 26, 2017 5:25 pm

A magical evening is coming to "Beast’s castle," as a Hannibal LaGrange-University student prepares to host a Beauty and the Beast-themed tea party destined to make an impact thousands of miles from Hannibal.

Media Communications and Public Relations student Cassidy Winters will bring years of experience hosting princess parties to James O’Donnell Funeral Home at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29, amid a whirlwind transformation into Beast’s castle — complete with canvases and an enchanted ballroom.

Winters has years of experience hosting princess parties, hearkening back to her time teaching dance at the YMCA and working as an assistant theater director in her hometown of Edwardsville, Ill. She soon started visiting hospitals and hosting No More Chemo Parties and birthday parties. Mothers and daughters in America’s hometown will soon get the opportunity to meet a princess on a positive mission.

Since she was a young child, Winters has been actively involved in mission trips — she is working to raise $4,000 for her upcoming mission to South Asia to assist victims of human trafficking. She babysits for event co-founder Amber O’Donnell, who helped her come up with a fundraiser for mothers and daughters — reflecting the impact she hopes to make for the young women and their mothers she will visit.

"What a great event for mothers and daughters and a great way to help women around the world," O’Donnell said.

Winters said this isn’t the first time the O’Donnell family helped her with her endeavors. They assisted Winters with a fundraiser for her 2016 summer mission to the Philippines. She sold raffle tickets, with the winner receiving a limo ride, pizza dinner and bowling games.

"The O’Donnells are such a big blessing in my life," Winters said.

With Belle’s Enchanted Evening right around the corner, Winters smiled with excitement about the activities that awaited daughters and mothers. She said the evening will include a raffle with "awesome prizes," Beauty and the Beast trivia, dance lessons with Belle, treats, a photo opportunity with Belle and a gift to take home.

"A lot of it is about making the girls feel special," Winters said. "Because where I’m going, the girls in the red light district feel very worthless just with the caste system in South Asia. They don’t have a lot of worth. So it’s about empowering women both in America and overseas."

Winters said there are a total of 100 spots available for the evening, but tickets are already selling briskly. General admission tickets are available for $10 and VIP tickets are $20 — which includes a storybook reading with Belle inside her enchanted library. Tickets will be available at Java Jive and the James O’Donnell Funeral Home until 4 p.m. Saturday, April 29. For supporters who are unable to attend the event but would still like to support Winters’ mission, please contact her at 618-954-6944 or at cassidyhope8@gmail.com . For more information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1842117972710943/


Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com

In Case You Missed It

Alliance Art Gallery features wood artist Kent Brown
HANNIBAL | The Alliance Art Gallery in Hannibal is featuring the work of member artist Kent Brown during July. An open house is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, July 11. A drawing for a piece of Brown's artwork will be at 5:30 p.m. You do not have to be present to win.