By Samantha Pogue
Match.com, eHarmony, Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, OkCupid – there are so many dating apps, social media platforms and websites. Many have proven results with successful relationships developed.
Jefferson City resident Talesha Fowler has tried online dating before but felt so many people don’t show their true colors or the interactions fizzle before the pair can meet in person. She prefers to get to know people face to face.
“We are so stuck in our phones all the time. People can put on such a front and not really reveal who they are or be interactive when they are on their phone or computer. … We need to put the social back in social,” said Fowler. “We need to build relationships. … let’s get face to face and get to know people in our own town.”
Those thoughts have fueled her new passion to meet more people in the city and to give back to her community, organizing the first “Meet UR Match” singles night event, which also raises money for the HALO Foundation.
On April 22 at Bones Banquet Room in downtown Jefferson City, “Meet UR Match” is more than just an open socializing event. It allows singles to learn about each others’ personalities, face fun, but challenging, situations, test body language through dancing and meet new people in a safe, no pressure environment.
The event begins with a cocktail hour at 6:30 p.m., followed by an open activity where singles can then sit down, ask questions, and develop first impressions of other participants.
Fowler said personality compatibility is also important in developing a connection. Enter Candy Whirley.
A international speaker, author and former NFL Kansas City cheerleader, Whirley will lead “It Takes 4 To Tango,” an interactive game that takes participants through her four C’s of leadership and relationships: confidence, communication, creativity and change. The singles will explore personality styles that make them think, laugh, dance and so much more in this open and honest way for all personalities to hear from one another and communicate better with each other.
“We did this in a conference, and it was so fun to match up personalities,” said Fowler, who works in commercial insurance at Naught-Naught Agency in Jefferson City. “This lady has so much personality, and I’m so excited she is able to come and lead this activity.”
The Break Out Room from Columbia will then offer a 15-minute escape room experience at the event, allowing singles to delve even deeper into personal connections while being highly entertained.
“So you match your personalities, but you also are going to test your struggles in a developing a relationship with someone,” she said. “If you want to get to know someone, you are going to get to know how they handle situations – how they act, react and are they playful or serious. You can look all day long at a profile picture and think you may not even think twice about that person, but when you are around them and get to know them, you see how they become more attractive … in this activity, you are struggling and you have to work together to escape the room.”
The final activity allows singles to examine their body language. A dance instructor will guide men in a few dance moves. Then, the guys have to use what they learned on the dance floor with the women.
“Throughout the night, singles will exchange a given registration number, having an envelope with a stack of that same number given to them when they arrive. This allows them to mingle with different people and keep track of those they felt connections with,” Fowlers said, noting singles locally and from across the state have already signed up for this unique event. “We will also offer door prizes and have giveaways throughout the night.”
At the end of the event, Fowler will announce two singles who organizers felt matched up the most throughout the evening’s activities. That couple will win a special date night complete with a helicopter or airplane ride over Jefferson City, a classic car donated for transportation and dinner.
With the main activities ending at 10 p.m., singles are then invited to stay at the venue to enjoy DJ Curtis and dancing, drinks and socializing until closing time.
“We really want people to be silly, be themselves and have fun. I love to laugh and take things lighthearted, and we are trying to incorporate that into this event,” she said. “I encourage singles to get out of that comfort zone, take risks and do something different. Bring fun back into your life. There is no pressure to meet someone but really find out what you are looking for; it is a fun, social event for singles that raises money for a great cause.”
The event will benefit HALO Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides a safe place for youth who are homeless or in high-risk situations. Its mission is to support youth in the greatest need and fill gaps in the community, starting a home in Jefferson City and having other branches and programs in Kansas City, New York and Portland.
Fowler’s mother adopted children when she was young, and her three children would like her to adopt a child and give him or her a good home. She decided giving back to her community’s youth in need, the HALO Foundation and its home in Jefferson City would still support giving area children a safe, nurturing place to live.
“Our youth are our future. If you have guidance and that nudge in the right direction, who knows what is possible in your life. If you don’t have anyone teaching you about that self-belief or your own worth, you are not going to believe in yourself. To me, it is an important cause,” she said.
Her motivation from talking with HALO Foundation representatives and young people receiving help from their services inspired her to do even more with her philanthropy. She is developing the Lemonade Life Foundation, in which she plans to offer life coaching, assist youth in need in the area and create more fundraising events that can help local charitable organizations in communities throughout the state and beyond.
“It is in your mindset, life is all about how you handle it. We are all going to have issues and chaos, when you are squeezed, your true self comes out. … I want to help people through their struggles reflecting on my own personal self growth to get through circumstances like that,” she said. “People don’t know how to communicate with each other anymore. … Hurting people hurt people. They keep it inside and project it out. … The world needs to be healed. I hope with this foundation I can reach out to people, guide people, help people and do different events where I can raise money for charity, especially in helping youth.”
To create the best experiences for singles attending the “Meet UR Match,” Fowler is asking participants to register prior to April 22. A registration fee of $25 is available through April 8 or $35 from April 9-14. She is also accepting sponsorships and donations, which will support the event and the HALO Foundation. Cocktail attire is recommended.
For more information, to donate, be a sponsor or to register, contact Fowler at 573-619-8627 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the HALO Foundation, visit HALOworldwide.org.