Society / The Seen

Bryan’s House Celebrates 35 Years of Providing Care For Children With Special Needs At Its ‘Power of You’ Luncheon

Inside the Colorful, Afternoon Fundraiser

BY // 11.06.23
photography Danny Campbell and Rob Wythe/Wythe Portrait Studio

What: Dallas-based non-profit organization, Bryan’s House, held its annual luncheon on Monday, October 23, 2023. The organization celebrated 35 years of providing children with special needs and their families with trusted case management, educational, therapeutic, and medically-supported care.

Where: Dallas Country Club

The Scene: Upon entering the Club, guests were greeted and each given a live auction paddle. The check-in desk was accompanied by all of the silent auction items, including jackets from Informal Modeling Sponsor and designer Andre Yabin. Books were also available to purchase from featured speaker Mickey Rowe, an autistic Broadway actor who published “Fearlessly Different: An Autistic Actor’s Journey to Broadway’s Biggest Stage” in 2022.

The luncheon began with co-chairs Regina Bruce and Dr. Carla Russo introducing themselves and nine-time Emmy award-winning senior reporter of WFAA-TV Rebecca Lopez, who emceed the event. A showpiece on stage, an incredible six-tier cake made by Shane Morgan of Posh Cakes, was also introduced evoking “oohs” and “aahs” across the ballroom. We were told that we would receive a slice at the end of our meal.

Bryan’s House Luncheon (Photo by Danny Campbell and Rob Wythe/Wythe Portrait Studio)
Shane Morgan of Posh Cakes designed the 35th anniversary cake. (Photo by Danny Campbell and Rob Wythe/Wythe Portrait Studio)

Awards were presented to several partnering businesses like Santander Consumer USA and Liberty Mutual Insurance, as well as clinical partner Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The community award went to Debra Villarreal, a board member and former luncheon chair of Bryan’s House. And Rose Family Foundation received the philanthropist award, while the volunteer award was given to NORCO Moving & Storage.

The live auction was the most energetic part of the luncheon as guests bid on various high-dollar items and experiences. Led by auctioneer John Rieger and Auction Chair Elizabeth Smith, tens of thousands of dollars were raised from winning (and many matching) bids. Dallas chef Kent Rathbun was in attendance to feature his private backyard barbecue with brews from Kingsville Brewery. Owner of the brewery and former Dallas Stars goalie Marty Turco was also there to present a VIP experience to an upcoming Stars game with a meet and greet with the players.

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Other auction items included a weekend in Broken Bow donated by Crystal Lake Ranch Resort, entry to Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament 2024 in Cabo, a wine reception for 100 people at Samuel Lynne Galleries, and an escape to Breckinridge, Colorado.

Bryan’s House Luncheon (Photo by Danny Campbell and Rob Wythe/Wythe Portrait Studio)
Mickey Rowe, featured speaker with his book. (Photo by Danny Campbell and Rob Wythe/Wythe Portrait Studio)

After the live auction, Mickey Rowe spoke about growing up with autism and wishing how he had a place like Bryan’s House to support him. “My mother never told me I had autism. My grandma was my Bryan’s House,” he says. He went on to star as the first autistic actor to play the lead role in the play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Also legally blind, he goes on to tell the audience about how he was judged throughout his life and told he would never get married. He now has a wife and four children. He leaves the stage encouraging the audience to always be brave.

The Seen: Power of You 2023 Awards Luncheon Co-Chairs Regina Bruce and Dr. Carla Russo, Honorary Chair Stephen Hoyl, Underwriting Chair David Andrews, Auction Chair Elizabeth Smith, Board Chair Dr. Keith Mankin, Agency Founder Stephanie Held, Speaker Co-Sponsors Geoff and Kelly Schorr, Rhonda Sargent Chambers, Anna Berman, Bodii Lim, Shane Morgan, Diane Moten, Dr. Julia Fielding, Howard Brown, Andre Yabin, Thomas Weigl, David Westerfield, and Esé Azénabor.

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