The purpose of life is a life of purpose. – Robert Byrne
As I walked into the lovely home of Monique and David Stamps, the sweet scent of freshly baked chocolate cupcakes still lingered in the air. I began the interview as David frosted the tiny treats with his own concoction of peanut butter and cream cheese. Being a novice to the wonderful world of cupcakes, I was quite interested in how his organization came into fruition. These particular mini cupcakes were going to be gobbled up at a Burbank High event, in just a few hours.
DD: When did your love of cupcakes begin?
DS: I wish I could pinpoint the date, but I can’t. I have always loved them, even as a kid. I have loved them so much, that I started a blog about them. That’s when baking lead me to the path of helping others.
DD: So, tell me how baking cupcakes helps to raise money for charity?
DS: Two years ago, I was surfing the web and I stumbled upon the website, www.CupcakesForCancer.com. It was started by a Santa Barbara girl named, Blake and her mother, Stephanie. After reading up on Blake, I learned that she was diagnosed with cancer at age 12. During her own recovery, Blake noticed that other children didn’t have the resources she did. Being a very special and selfless child, she started baking and selling cupcakes in order to raise money to purchase games and toys for the other children in the cancer ward. She’s now in high school and her charity has grown tremendously. I became a Cupcake Angel, which is someone who helps to bake, sell and raise money for Blake’s charity. I feel it’s the right thing to do. My wife and I have been very fortunate. We both have good jobs and we love what we do. I work in marketing and my wife is 1st grade teacher. We might not have millions to give away, but it’s just as valuable if you can use your talent and skills to help other people. So, this is my way of making a difference. And I am glad to tell you that Blake is cancer-free.
DD: What an amazing kid. I think it’s great what you’re doing. Tell the readers how you got involved with helping fundraise for Burbank High School?
DS: We are partnering with Burbank N’ Beyond.com, the Burbank High baseball team and the high school to help raise money for student organizations. Craig Sherwood, is a coach for the baseball team, as you know.. so that is how our partnership came together. My wife and I started the our website in September of 2011 and in the past three or four months we have raised over 5,000 dollars for about seven different charities. I really wanted to be a part of the community and do what I could to help.
DD: Which charities have you helped recently?
DS: Just to name a few, we’ve helped; The National Breast Cancer Association, Moovember.org, Sheppard’s Pantry, Toys For Tots, The Peacock Foundation and Alex’s Lemonade, which is another foundation for children with cancer. Our website is: www.CupcakesEverywhere.com and 100% of the money raised goes to charity.
DD: What a beautiful way to do what you love and help others in-need.
DS: I told my wife, ‘We live in Burbank. This is where we want to start our family. We can we do in our own hometown?’ I went to Craig and he mentioned the
baseball team and introduced me to the booster club. While talking to the baseball team, we discovered that we could help other organizations at Burbank High. I realized that we could make our upcoming dessert festival into a fundraising opportunity for the dance team, the vocals, student government, etc.. I played the violin for 10 years. I was a jazz and hip-hop dancer for 15 years. When I was going to school in Chicago I danced with two different companies….while going to school full-time. The arts are very important in a child’s development.
DD: You’re a lover of the arts, obviously.
DD: Tell me about college.
DS: I went to Columbia in Chicago and my undergrad was in Non-Profit Administration; writing grants, fundraising…..
DD: So you’ve always had a heart for charities?
DS: Yes. There were people along the way who cared for me and went out of their way, when they didn’t have to. I am the first generation to graduate from college. My parents didn’t go to college. No one had experienced the transition from high
school to college. People helped me out of the kindness of their hearts. They gave their time, talent, energy and their funds to make it possible for me to go to college. I always knew it was MY JOB, to do the same thing for others; to help someone else. My wife and I have made it our mission to help other people. I believe that arts are important. I believe students being involved in athletics is important. It builds teamwork and social skills.
DD: Where are you from originally?
DS: St. Louis, Missouri and my wife is from Glendale, California.
DD: A local girl! Does she cook?
DS: Nope! I am the cook of the house.
DD: What’s your specialty?
(Monique walks into the kitchen and stands back while David continues frosting the cakes. She joins the conversation)
MS: His specialty is mac & cheese. But he can make anything and everything.
DD: Mac & cheese? A far cry from cupcakes. What makes it so special?
DS: I use five kinds of cheeses… It’s delicious.
MS: I didn’t even like mac & cheese until I tasted his.
DD: (To Monique) Do you do any of the cooking?
MS: No, the kitchen is his. (Smiles)
DD: With a personal gourmet chef in the house, how do you two stay trim and slim? THAT is what I want to know.
MS: We try to eat everything in moderation.
DS: We TRY… (laughs) I also have asthma and in order to keep it under control, I run three to four miles a day. That is also how I started running in 5 and 10k’s for charity. We just did one last weekend.
DD: Is there anything you can’t do? (Joking)
DS: Well, we do what we can. We just want to help other so much.
DD: You’re too modest. Tell me more about the upcoming Dessert Festival at Burbank High School.
DS: This festival is very turn-key although it’s very elaborate. Patrons pay ten dollars to come into a festival where there’s over 15 booths including; cheesecake, cupcakes, cake pops, and brownies. We will have face painters and magicians. You just go around the booths and have fun. There is a performance stage and for 90 minutes you get to watch performances from the Burbank High Dance Team, The
Phoenix Belly Dancers, and Amy Krebs, who is an amazingly talented, new artist. So, for 10 dollars you can take part in all of this amazingness and your money goes back into the school. You can make sure a baseball player can afford his cleats, or an violinist can afford to have their violin restrung. We want to make sure these kids have an amazing high school year. We don’t want them to have just books. We want them to have diversity in their education. I think it’s a no-brainer…… Bakers are giving their time and talent and in-return are getting publicity in a double-dip recession. If you bake 300 little cupcakes you get access to 1,000 people who may be able to help support your store front. Likewise, if you’re performing you will be in front of people who might “like” you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter. They can help you build that social media presence. We what we all get in return is, to help our community. This dessert festival and website were created because there is a need. I feel like we were put on this earth to fill that need in any way, shape or form. Monique and I are very excited about this weekend’s festival.
DD: Where did you and your wife meet?
MS: We were both on the dance team.
DD: That’s wonderful! How cute is that? Well, you both seem to have a lot in common.
(Pointing to a framed picture of the young couple donning flower leis while sitting on a golden beach at sunset, led me to my next question…….)
DD: Was this picture taken at your wedding?
DS: Yes, we had a very small, intimate wedding in Hawaii. When we got back, we had a big reception. We didn’t want the traditional money dance or money tree, so we had a fundraiser for Blake’s charity. We realized that we have enough and wanted to help CupcakesForCancer.com.
DD: You are an incredible couple. Burbank is so lucky to have you both. Thank you for everything you do for this community and thank you for your time today.
DS: Thank you so much. We love Burbank.
They might be young, but they’re a force to be reckoned with. This dynamic duo continues to find creative ways to help out local charities and they completely enjoy the process. Monique and David will soon be celebrating their 2nd wedding anniversary. Benevolence seems to be at the heart of their every decision. The day following their wedding reception, they drove to Santa Barbara and delivered a check for Cupcakes for Cancer. I seldom hear of people like the Stamps. Not only have they been blessed with all-American good looks, intelligence, discipline, gregariousness, and a great sense of humor, they have been blessed with kind, gracious and generous hearts. Burbank is so fortunate to be the place where the Stamps plan to create their own little family.
As I was about say my goodbyes to the sweetest people I have met in a long time, David handed me a ticket to the event for the Sweet Success Dessert Festival. I offered to pay the ten dollars but he insisted on comping the ticket. In return, I told him I would be thrilled to go to the event and shoot photos for his website www.CupcakesEverywhere.com and for www.BurbanknBeyond.com. I want our fellow Burbank residents to see the follow-up on the fundraising of the Sweet Success Dessert Festival. Before David packed up his cupcakes for the evening’s event, we each ate one. The delicious tiny cake melted in my mouth. The decadent combination of chocolate and peanut butter cream cheese frosting would awake anyone’s tastebuds. My afternoon with Monique and David, put me in the best of spirits and for that, I am thankful.
Sweet Success will be held at Burbank High, in the small gym on
Sunday February 26th, 2012 from 1pm – 4pm.
Tickets are 10.00 and all proceeds benefit Burbank High School’s student organizations.
For more information on this Sunday’s dessert festival, “Sweet Success”,
please visit: www.sweetsuccessla.blogspot.com
and you can follow the official Twitter of Sweet Success LA @sweetsuccessla.
If you’d like more information on David and Monique’s website, please visit: www.CupcakesEverywhere.com
If you know anyone, or group in Burbank that you feel would make a great ‘Spotlight’ candidate, please feel to nominate them.
You can send all inquiries and requests to: DDodge@BurbankNBeyond.com
I promise to read every letter.