by Katie Orlando



Nadine Marino is on a mission to make over more than 200 faces before June 4.

The Mary Kay representative is vying for $5,000 to donate to The Sandbox, a Charlotte-based organization that supports families of children with cancer or other life-altering illnesses.

Beauty consultants across the country are making over women who could win a shopping spree and a $5,000 donation to a charity. The consultant who performs the most makeovers for the contest will also win $5,000 to donate.

Marino offered free makeovers May 16 at FiFi’s fine resale in Cornelius to rack up makeovers, collect donations and spread the word about the Sandbox.

Marino asked FiFi’s customers to donate gently used purses, shoes and jewelry to help create a magical night for Sandbox teenage girls.

The Sandbox is getting ready for its Sept. 28 prom,  “An Evening of Believing,” for 13-to-21-year-olds battling cancer and other illnesses. The organization will provide prom-goers with dresses and tuxedoes, hair and makeup, limousine transportation and red carpet arrival.

Marino said the girls make appointments to pick out donated dresses, which seamstresses alter and fit to the individual. Men’s Warehouse has donated tuxedoes.

Marino has organized 70 Mary Kay representatives to do prom makeup at the Aveda Institute in Charlotte.

“Anybody needs the opportunity to give your child those memories,” Marino said. “It’s so easy from the makeup standpoint. You put on some makeup, and they put on that dress, and they feel like a princess for an evening.”

Sandbox co-founder Mara Campolungo said the organization is planning a Girls Night Out on June 7 at Founders Hall. Women can enjoy free champagne if they donate gently used handbags, shoes and jewelry.

Other events, fundraisers and donation drives will take place throughout the greater Charlotte area leading up to the fall prom.

The Sandbox serves families all over the Charlotte area, including Mooresville, Cornelius and Huntersville.

“Outside of the prom, we work with families on a daily basis with children suffering from life-altering illnesses,” Campolungo said.

The Sandbox fed 373 families last Thanksgiving and fulfilled wishes for 42 families for Christmas.

Campolungo will speak at Lake Norman High School on June 4 about partnering for a fundraiser. She said initiatives are the best when it’s kids helping kids.

“There are so many great teenagers in this community,” Campolungo said. “Teenagers have been our best volunteers.”

Want to go?

Upcoming events supporting The Sandbox’s “An Evening of Believing” include:

• The Experience Send-Off Party, The Big View Diner, 16637 Lancaster Hwy., Charlotte, Thursday, May 24, 6 p.m. Proceeds from $10 tickets and all donations support The Sandbox.

• Girl’s Night Out, Aria’s Champagne Lounge, 100 N. Tryon St., Charlotte, June 7, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Complimentary reception. Guests are asked to donate new or gently used accessories, purses or shoes.

• Simplified benefit concert, the Saloon at NC Music Factory, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd., June 21, 6:30 p.m. $10 donation requested.