“Community,” more than any other word, defines Saint Louise House. Not just the mothers and children who find a safe haven on our campuses, but also our volunteers and supporters.
For many years, the Saint Louise House community has joined together annually at the Mother and Me Tea and at the Sips & Salsa Soirée. Yes, these events raised much needed funds to keep Saint Louise House operating. But more importantly, they were occasions to celebrate our spirit of togetherness.
To mark our 20th anniversary this year, we’re launching a new event – Game Changer. This event will be our biggest celebration yet to join together and “change the game” for two generations (mothers and children) experiencing homelessness.
What Game Changer has in common with previous events is the underlying theme of “community,” from the volunteers working hard to make the event possible, to our supporters who attend, to the families who benefit. We hope first-time guests decide to become part of our growing community
While we’re excited for Game Changer, we also want to pay homage to the two events that served us well for our first two decades – the Sips & Salsa Soirée and Mother and Me Tea. Both were instrumental in building today’s Saint Louise House community.
The fall Sips & Salsa Soirée evolved from a group of Latinas, some new to Austin, who met at each other’s houses monthly for breakfast, each putting a few dollars in a basket for Saint Louise House, said Letty Landa, part of the group and a co-chair of Sips & Salsa for many years. Those breakfasts morphed into a fundraising Christmas bazaar and then a cocktail party with donated food, music and venue.
“By the time we began looking for bigger ways to benefit Saint Louise House, we definitely were already a community,” Landa said of the group. “We started those breakfasts with a goal to meet each other and have a reason to get together.”
Landa’s group eventually joined with another band of friends who had come together to set up apartments for new Saint Louise families and then began hosting a “dessert before lunch” event to grow Saint Louise House.
These two groups – who had formed communities through friendship before extending those communities to help Saint Louise House – decided to join forces, and the Sips & Salsa Soirée was born.
“Even as Sips & Salsa grew, there continued to be a real sense of community in the room,” Landa said. “As we worked together to put on the event, it was like a reunion for some who hadn’t seen each other since the year before.”
Likewise, the springtime Mother and Me Tea was born from a community of friends who decided to apply their time and talents to help Saint Louise House families.
Working on the event was a labor of love, said Megan Coover, who served on the committee for four years and is now chairing Game Changer.
“Many of us on the committee were mothers of young children, so the ability to invite other moms to an event to learn about and support an organization dedicated to helping mothers really struck a chord with us,” she said.
For many years, both events were successful in developing the Saint Louise House community and raising funds. Yet volunteers at the heart of their organizing felt the events had reached their limits. So began the quest to create an event that would appeal to prior event attendees yet allow Saint Louise House to draw new members into its community.
The result – Game Changer.
As we take this next step into our future, we hope you’ll join us for Game Changer on October 23rd at the Junior League of Austin Community Impact Center. Together, we’ll introduce new people to Saint Louise House as we celebrate and support families during an evening of cocktails, dinner, music, activities, and auctions. You can learn more about the event here.