HOUSTON—It is a sight that seems more like the Kentucky Derby than a mansion near Willis.
The hundreds of ladies in their finest head wear are here for a common goal: helping those who can’t help themselves.
At the tea on the lawn, each greeting brings more than a smile.
“It is just a joy. Nice to be a part of it,” said Sammie Scott, the owner of Shepard Hill Estates.
The sixth annual event draws high society ladies from all over the area to support a development called New Danville.
Stephanie Milstead is the Chair of the board of New Danville, she does this because of those New Danville serves.
”Those that truly cannot help themselves and can be taken advantage of so easily. I just want to protect and serve,” she said.
In six years Tea on the Lawn has grown from about 50 supporters to hundreds with the event sold out this year. It is easy to love the cause.
The mission of New Danville is to serve adults with Down Syndrome, Autism, even brain injuries, people who are so often the forgotten, closely watched by the state at least until they turn 18.
”Once they become an adult what is out there. There is nothing. This is really such a unique community,” said Jamie Kraft from under the brim of her huge hat.
Kathy Sanders is the founder of New Danville.
”Without a place like New Danville they would be in custodial care. They want more than that they want a challenge they want a life,” she said.
Many simply work at New Danville Monday through Friday, others actually live here full time, carving out a life they could not have anywhere else.
The residents work making a number of products that are sold to the public, not just at the event, but in the community, everything from beauty products to fine pens.
The event will raise more than $300,000, used to expand New Danville, making room for more who need it to have a place to live and work.
“All you have to do is meet a few of the Wranglers that benefit from this charity, and if it speaks to you, you are hooked. That is what happened to me,” Kraft says.