Saturday, May 6, Greenacres Art Center
InRETURN is planning its second annual Big Hats and Bow Ties Derby Party at the Greenacres Art Center in Indian Hill.
Guests will enjoy drinks in the garden, dinner by Jeff Thomas Catering, silent and live auctions, live entertainment, and the live broadcast of the Kentucky Derby. Prizes will be awarded for the best derby hat and bow tie.
About 300 guests attended last year’s event. Organizers are anticipating a crowd of 350 guests – many dressed in Derby attire – this year.
Proceeds will help support InRETURN’s mission to provide employment opportunities, social services and life skills programs for adults with neurological disease, disorder or injury.
InRETURN was established 12 years ago, several years after the founder’s brother, Tom, suffered a traumatic brain injury from a near-fatal auto accident.
After years of searching unsuccessfully for employment opportunities to provide financial independence and quality of life, InRETURN was created.
Tickets are $150 and up.
Video: The InRETURN story:
Artist Jolie Harris shares a personal story about the difference InRETURN has made to her family…
The party was in full swing. Catching up with my Cincinnati friends, business pals and family after living in L.A. for six months was exhilarating.
At some point, I noticed that my very shy 28-year-old brother, who normally didn’t drink, was more than a little tipsy. Scott wasn’t at ease with those who were more socially adept, and in my heart I knew he was drinking to “fit in.”
I asked him not to leave the party without talking to me first. About 15 minutes later, he was nowhere to be found. I called him repeatedly. No answer. I hoped for the best. I left the party, and arrived at my mom’s home where I was staying. No one was there. Then I knew something terrible had happened. That was over 30 years ago.
The doctors told us Scott probably wouldn’t make it. If he did, he wouldn’t walk, talk or function without severe impairment. His Chevette was no match for the concrete bridge it slammed into. His serious head injury kept him in a coma for six months. After a year and a half of hospitals, many surgeries, physical and occupational therapies, Scott was able to move to a nursing care facility, where he stayed for two years. Against all odds, my brother’s incredible will and determination eventually led him to live independently and drive a car. Still, he lives with many challenges.
About five years ago, a friend told me about InReturn, a nonprofit organization that employs those with traumatic brain injury, disease or disorders. Our family, especially our mom, had searched for decades for any program that would help my brother – with no success.
Most programs are built for those with more severe physical or mental disabilities.
We waited almost two years for InReturn to have an opening for my brother. When he was finally accepted, I was absolutely amazed at what InReturn offered.
I assumed this was a workplace that would provide more patience and understanding than a typical employer. Not only is that the case, each day after light manufacturing duties, the associates receive two hours of life skill programming. This includes reading, computer skills, cooking classes, art, occupational therapy and more.
But more than that, the dedicated staff and volunteers at InReturn provide the associates with self-esteem, pride, and a sense of worth and accomplishment. Loneliness is diminished, friendships are formed and family burdens are lifted.
InReturn began to affectionately call my brother “Scotty,” which now has stuck with his friends and family. We know he is in a caring, nurturing environment five days a week, where he continues to thrive. We share resources and solutions with other families that deeply understand our difficulties. The biggest gift of all is the universal big heart of InReturn. We all laugh a lot more these days, especially Scotty.