Austin: Champions Helping Children

November 16, 2023
1 min read

Helping Hand Home Champions For Children Awards Luncheon Honors UT Alum And NFL Linebacker Derrick Johnson

By Rob Giardinelli     Photography by Buster Jetter of Jetter Photography

THE SCENE: The JW Marriott Hotel in Austin was the recent setting for an afternoon of fun and fundraising for one of the most anticipated luncheons in the Capital City of the fall. The Helping Hand Home’s 24th annual Champions for Children Awards Luncheon brought out over a thousand sociables and community leaders in an afternoon that featured great friends, touching tributes, and a beloved University of Texas Football alum who was honored for his tireless work for children’s causes.

THE VIBE: The cocktail chic crowd began the event in the foyer outside the JW Marriott ballroom for a reception where old friends reconnected and new friendships were formed. The action then turned to the ballroom for the main program. Chet Garner, the host of the popular Texas PBS program, The Day Tripper, emceed the luncheon and kept the festivities flowing at a brisk, fun, and informative pace.

While guests dined on their lunches they were treated to words from the organization’s leaders and touching testimonials and tributes showcased how Helping Hand Home has positively impacted the Austin community. Next, came an inspiring speech by three-time GRAMMY nominated musician, SaulPaul, who shared emotional details of his life story that moved from tragedy to triumph, which can also be seen in his documentary Tower to Tower and his memoir Be The Change.

The luncheon was capped off with honoring the 2023 Helping Hand Home Philanthropic Award to University of Texas alum and former Kansas City Chiefs Linebacker Derrick Johnson. Through the Derrick Johnson Foundation, which provides low-income and inner-city youth to reach their potential in school and life, the athlete shared his gratitude and thanks for the award and brought the crowd to its feet, capping off a magical afternoon those fortunate enough to be a part of will not soon forget.

THE NON-PROFIT: The event, co-chaired by Laura Mauro Landers, Kathy Mauro, and Brian Liverman, raised funds for the Helping Hand Home for Children. Serving the Austin community for over 130 years, the organization is a safe haven for children dealing with physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Proceeds raised from the luncheon will go towards providing trauma-informed and therapeutic care for residential, foster, adoption, and support programs.

The Gentleman Racer by Michael Satterfield

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