Reflections from the Gala

Alas! After much hard work, planning, support, and donations… the time had come to celebrate REAL LIFE’s 2nd Annual Portraits of Hope Art Gala and Silent Auction.

On the evening of May 22nd, guest began to arrive at the Science Museum of Virginia. As attendees registered, they were welcomed with laughter and live music from Apricity (a fun side note, the lead singer of the band is the son of our case manager, Thomas Young, who also played later in the evening with his group, Groovespot).

The outer edge of the venue was lined with tables to encourage guests to learn more about REAL LIFE through our staff, volunteers, and participants. It was an opportunity to share stories of trial and tribulation that developed into thriving lives through the guidance of REAL LIFE. These stories are what fuel our mission… it is real life in context.

In addition to the informative tables and silent auction previews, a special area near the stage was designated for fun pictures with props, the “Photos of Hope” booth! Those who came over for pictures should have felt like stars—there was quite the paparazzi snapping shots!

Over the next hour, bids were placed on our silent auction donations (a HUGE thank you to every single donor!) while hors d’oeuvres and cocktails were served. The live music continued as Groovespot took the stage to play hits from James Brown and KC and The Sunshine Band.

Before silent auction winners were announced, success stories were shared by REAL LIFE recipients Scottie Wood and Peggy Crawford, who were able to reclaim their lives and overcome adversity through REAL LIFE.

Dr. Sarah Scarbrough concluded by sharing the journey to and purpose of REAL LIFE… all of which could not be fulfilled without the generous support and donations given from an endless list of contributors—a “thank you” isn’t enough!

Scarbrough took a moment to ask all present graduates, alumni, or current clients to raise their hands, and without hesitation the crowd gave a loud applause. She continued to say, “We support you. We are proud of you and really honored to be a part of your journey.”

As an intern/volunteer with REAL LIFE, I do a lot of observing. What I saw at the 2nd Annual Portraits of Hope Gala was a room filled with respect, compassion, and initiative. Simply witnessing the applause for REAL LIFE clients had me choked up… because they truly deserve it. I feel as if I can speak on behalf of REAL LIFE and say there are simply no words to fully express the appreciation for every single person involved—all the volunteers, donors, sponsors—we could not do it without you all. Thank you not only for your support, but for being the pillars behind our mission.


Written by REAL LIFE intern, Alison Brown

Picture: Alison and RL client Darrell