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New Milestones Foundation, Hand to Hold, Boys & Girls Clubs and more

Michael Barnes

HEALTH 1: They tipped their hats to Beverly Scarborough. That was sweet. The longtime angel of the New Milestones Foundation passed away recently. (Read more about her here.) The foundation, sometimes misunderstood, supports the initiatives of Travis County Integral Care, which oversees help for people with mental health issues or developmental problems. During the group’s gala at the Four Seasons Hotel, musical artist Sara Hickman spoke matter-of-factly about her bouts with depression and her suicide attempt, before leading the audience in a song about being grateful, faithful and loyal. Then, Dr. S. Claiborne “Clay” Johnston, inaugural dean of the new Dell Medical Schoolmesmerized the guests with data about gaping rips in the public health safety net. He thinks Austin is on it’s way to becoming a model for healthy cities. What an evening! Emotional and informative in equal measures.

HEALTH 2: Four-year-old group holds first big benefit event and nails it. Fourteen years ago, Kelli Kelley gave birth to a boy after 24 weeks of pregnancy. He weighed 1 pound, 8 ounces and, in her own words, “looked like an alien.” The boy spent four months in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which folks in the field customarily abbreviate to NICU. Medical bills reached $1 million. Her son is now slightly scarred but healthy. Four years ago, Kelley started Hand to Hold, a small group that is already making a national impact by supporting and educating parents about preemies through peer-to-peer counseling along with neatly organized websites and handbooks. For its premiere Baby Shower lunch at the Austin Country Club, the group filled the room with more than 300 well-dressed women and a handful of men. They touted another group, the Mrs., and it’s “I’m Enough” campaign and magic affirming mirror, then showed powerful video about the Hand to Hold nonprofit. Author Kristin Armstrong wrapped up the lunch talking about “the perfect plan for the perfect life” and how that rarely works out.

SCHOOL Can’t get over those Zach kids. The theater‘s fantastic pre-professional troupe — can’t we find a better name? — once again performed for the Dreams Gala at the Four Seasons Hotel. The lively event benefits Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area, another name-rebranding opportunity in the making. Both groups maintain sterling reputations. A full house heard from club alumnus Bill Noble, who talked about the lifelong ties generated by the after-school specialists, and from chairman of the board Terrell Gates, a businessman who neatly described his journey from skepticism to conversion regarding the efficiency and effectiveness of the rapidly expanding group. The clubs, you might have read in the news pages, is moving away from free-standing clubhouses and partnering instead with schools, recreation centers and public housing. Smart move. Smart group.