Beyoncé gives hundreds of North Texas teens a night they won't forget

ARLINGTON — It was a pretty pricey show... unless, of course, you had a personal invitation from the star of the show herself.

"When I received it through the website, I was like, 'Is this for real?' 'Is this a joke or a scam?'" said Raina Clark, the founder of a charity called Hanna 4 Hope.

The e-mail she received, inviting her charity to be Beyoncé's special guest at her AT&T Stadium show, wasn't a joke or a scam as Raina feared. It was real.

So Tuesday night, minutes before walking in, dozens of teens involved with Hanna 4 Hope posed for a group picture. All of them wore white shirts with the charity's logo and big, broad smiles.

Those smiles were good to see after 15 months of tears.

In April 2013, Hanna Clark of Rockwall took her own life. She was just 15 years old.

"She had a bad day over the breakup of a boyfriend," said her father, Tim Clark. "We made a decision that we could either let this affect us in a negative way, or we could take it in a positive way and do something about it."

So they immediately founded Hanna 4 Hope.

"This could happen to any family," Raina said "We want to be out there saying, 'Hey, these kids are talking about it, it's in their heads.' The stats are alarming. It's the second-leading cause of death among our teenage youth in the state of Texas alone."

They created committees of teenagers in communities across North Texas who aren't afraid to learn and talk about suicide.

"It's something that can happen to everyone, and everyone needs to know that it's the real thing," said Patara Ogunc, a friend of Hanna's from Rockwall who is involved with the charity.

For each community Beyoncé visits, she donates tickets to local charities. Hanna 4 Hope was just one of the charities chosen in North Texas, and the way they were selected was a bit of random luck — and a good website design. Beyoncé's representatives searched for groups that spread positive messages to teens. Hanna4Hope was one of the first hits.

Clark found out Friday they were getting a couple dozen tickets. By Monday, it was up to 100 — enough for teens and some chaperones.

"I mean, we're completely thankful for just having the honor of being invited," Raina said.

Tim added: "If we can come in and somebody see our shirt, see what we're about, look at our website, we've served our purpose."

"Every time we look at these teens, its a representation of Hanna," he added. "It touches our hearts. They have a passion for our mission and to see the joy on their faces when they walk in this place, and when they hear Beyoncé... it's awesome, just awesome."


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