Saturday, June 7, 2014

Help One Now's Austin event: Cocktails for Education

Last night, James and I got to go to the beautiful home of Dan and Cathy Rourke for an event called Cocktails for Education, to help raise funds for 10 classrooms and teachers, or $25,000, through Help One Now. It is my understanding that the funds raised this evening will benefit schools in both Uganda and Haiti.

This time last year, James and I were on our way to Haiti on a learning trip with Help One Now and New City Church. You can read about that impactful trip on my personal blog, starting with the intro, the Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, Days Five and Six, some commentary, Day Seven, and a little adventure on the way home. I loved Haiti. I think James did, too. I want to go back; next time, we'll take Daphne.

Since we're not in a position to travel again this year (the trip is one month after our baby is due), I was excited to have the opportunity to catch up "in person" with what Help One Now is doing.

This is the Rourkes' amazingly beautiful home on Mt. Bonnell. They were extremely gracious to open it up to host the event.

When we walked in, this was up in the foyer. The "simple" part of helping the orphaned and at-risk is hosting a Garage Sale for Orphans. Now, I see the grammatical error, which I'm sure was a deliberate choice since "were" sounds stilted, and I probably just need to get with the program on that kind of thing. However, at the time, I didn't really even notice the words; I just noticed the girl. I commented to James that I'd seen this picture online and that the girl looked a lot like Dave-Kathie Mesidor, a girl in Ferrier Village that we help sponsor. Jill Stockton overheard me and told me that it *was* indeed Dave-Kathie. I was so happy to see her! We've only ever seen her in two other photos, so it was pretty exciting to get a glimpse of her life-sized.

After looking over the auction items, we went out back for some finger food from The Peached Tortilla.

Here we have an Asian Pear Bite (pear with blue cheese, honey, and spiced pecans), Hawaiian Pork Belly Bites (with caramelized pineapple, cilantro, and Chinese barbecue sauce; I'd never had pork belly before and didn't know what to expect, but I'm here to tell you that it was DELICIOUS), and Curried Chicken Tostata (with Asian slaw and lemon curry aioli).

After enjoying a few bites, we headed back to the cocktail bar so that James, at least, could have a drink.

Their courtyard, patio, or whatever you want to call it was beyond beautiful.

The cocktail bar was set up in front of the greenhouse/potting shed. I mean, seriously. It was awesome. I got a La Croix berry water and proved to myself that even if you carbonate it and add flavoring, water is still pretty disgusting. 

Almost 9:00 PM at the beginning of June in Austin? Yep, this looks about right.

This was a Brisket Jam Spoon with tomato jam, dry-rubbed brisket, and chives. Very nice.

Brennen Leigh and Noel McKay provided entertainment the first hour of the night. After that, Lamar Stockton, local musician, lead worship pastor at Austin New Church, and director of international operations for Help One Now, told us the story of Olivia in Uganda to illustrate the importance of education to those of us who take it for granted. This segued to the live auction, which was a lot of fun to watch from the sidelines. The Hank Williams, Jr.-signed guitar went for an astonishingly low final price, but people were generous and excited about making straight-out donations, and seemed to favor local offerings.

Although we stayed out of the live auction drama, we did restock our Rebo coffee supply for a while, and we finally got a Richard Cadet painting!

After the auction, Matt McCloskey performed and dessert was served.

Lick Ice Creams provided tiny scoops. Here is Hill Country Honey and Vanilla Bean and Too Hot Chocolate. They're not kidding! I could only take one bite and James had to finish it. According to their website, it is chocolate combined with cayenne pepper, chipotle, cinnamon, and local honey. Whoo! Potent! They also had Caramel Salt Lick, which was my favorite.

Also, Tiny Pies was there with Teeny Tiny pies. This one was peach. They also had apple, mixed berry, and Key lime. Although I didn't get to try the Key lime, the other three were enjoyable.

At this point, it was already 10:30 or so, and between mosquitoes, swelling, and general expectant fatigue, we called it a night... a very enjoyable night, as well as an encouraging one. I am so impressed with Help One Now and the work it helps facilitate. I adore the mindset of, "We're foreigners; we have no idea how to help... but locals do, so we're going to find locals who are already working and we're going to get them whatever support they need." If you're ever looking for a solid charity to which you can contribute, I cannot recommend them highly enough. 

The gorgeous view on our way out. Thanks for a great evening!

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