For 62 years, the Hinsdale Auxiliary of the Children’s Home + Aid has hosted an annual Kentucky Derby-themed fundraiser to provide much needed services to children across Illinois. On May 6, that grand old tradition continues with Derby Day event at Ruth Lake Country Club in Hinsdale.
“Children’s Home + Aid has so many wonderful programs,” says Christie Helm, president of the Hinsdale Auxiliary of Children Home + Aid and co-chair of the Derby Day event. “The ultimate goal is to get the children into good families and homes.”
The Hinsdale Auxiliary of the Children’s Home + Aid was formed in 1955 with the core belief that every child deserves a safe and happy home. Currently, Children’s Home + Aid serves more than 40,000 children and families through direct and indirect services across Illinois. Such programs include Foster Care, Adoption Support Services, Intact Family Services, Child and Family Counseling, Parent Support, Residential Services, Youth Services, and Early Childhood Academic and Care Services.
says Rawea Schwalb, vice president of the Hinsdale Auxiliary of Children’s Home + Aid and co-chair of the Derby event. “They do their best to keep families together.”
Yet because of the state budget crisis, this state-funded program hasn’t received money from the Illinois government since the summer of 2015.
“In the past we picked a center to support and directed funds there,” says Helm. “But now because of the lack of funding, the money we raise will go wherever it’s needed. The funding shortfall makes what we do that much more important.”
The Derby Day soiree begins at 6:30 p.m., where guests will enjoy a cocktail hour filled with specialty Bourbon cocktails like Mint Juleps and Sazeracs and hors d’oeuvres. A sit-down dinner followed by a live auction and dancing to a DJ will cap off the festivities.
And what’s a Derby party without fascinators or big flouncy hats? Guests are welcome to wear Kentucky Derby appropriate outfits, but any cocktail attire will do.
“We definitely have ladies who like to wear hats, which is so much fun,” says Schwalb, crediting the hard work of 25 auxiliary members and local sponsors such as Sweet William and The Green Goddess for making the event possible. “And the men like to dress for the Derby as well.”
The event will also include a wine auction and paddle raise. CBS News Anchor Rob Johnson is the Master of Ceremonies as his wife Stacey is a member of the Auxiliary. During dinner, guests will hear speeches from participants or families that have benefitted by the Children’s Home + Aid programs.
Many exciting items will be auctioned off including a package to see the Ellen show in Los Angeles as well as a private, in-home cooking class and dinner with Paul Virant.
“We also have a White Sox package for twelve people. It includes great seats and the opportunity to meet some players,” says Helm, explaining how the event has changed over the decades. “Years ago it was a daytime party with horse betting and all, but it has recently morphed into a nighttime gala. Every member of the Hinsdale Auxiliary participates in helping make the event fun and memorable.”
Auxiliary members Meg Berger and Eydie Jarosz are heading up the wine auction and underwriting. Natalie Ryan and Lisa Barbier are credited with all print materials.
The elegant event is sure to raise a lot of money for this worthy cause. Helping those less fortunate is one of the many reasons Helm and Schwalb joined Children’s Home + Aid in the first place.
“A friend told me about the organization and that’s how I got involved,” explains Helm. “The more I learned about it, the more compelled I felt to help.”
For Schwalb, seeing children benefit from the programs is so rewarding.
“The Hinsdale Auxiliary of Children’s Home + Aid is smaller, so it’s easy to meet people and to get involved,” says Schwalb. “When you visit those sites and see those children, you realize how lucky our kids are to have such support. Just knowing you’re helping other children is worth everything.”
For more information or to purchase tickets or to donate to the event, please visit childrenshomeandaid.org/