Written by Anita
May 2, 2010
Derby Day is all about the odds, so here’s one to consider: 1 to 5. At least one in five people has a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. It could be your sister, your boyfriend, your coworker, your friend—it could even be you. Most who are affected experience symptoms by their mid-twenties. But despite its prevalence, mental illness is something people still are afraid to openly talk about.
Luckily, organizations like PRS, Inc. are here to help. Founded in 1963, PRS is a community-based organization based in Northern Virginia that provides training and support to those affected by mental illness. It offers a wide array of programs and services, including day programs, home-based services, housing, and employment assistance to over 800 clients annually from Alexandria to Winchester. Its goal is to help those with mental illness to both recover and become integrated into the community.
The 15th Annual PRS Kentucky Derby Benefit (featured on gregslistdc!), the organization’s largest annual fundraiser, gave guests an opportunity to support PRS while enjoying a picture-perfect Derby Day at the home of Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust. A former PRS client, a champion in her own right, gave a touching testimonial about how the people and services of PRS have changed her life. The Run for the Roses, broadcast in the Supervisor’s theatre-style media room, a pick-your-pony contest, raffles, and the Wayward Street Players provided ample entertainment.
We slurped briny oysters (topped with choice of fresh horseradish, cocktail sauce, or Tabasco) from McCormick & Schmick’s shrimp and oyster bar and sipped refreshing Mint Juleps (the official drink of the Kentucky Derby). The post-race spread included traditional Southern fare: decadent deviled eggs, zesty shrimp and grits, and creamy spinach and artichoke dip. We loved the delicate beggar’s purses—crepes filled with a hearty chicken and mushrooms mixture and daintily tied with a fresh chive. The dessert buffet (provided by Mary Supley Foxworth of MallowDrama who is also a PRS board member) offered airy meringues, sweet pralines, bourbon peach tartlets, and an assortment of moist cupcakes (in flavors like carrot, red velvet, and strawberry). Our favorite treat was the Bananas Foster parfait—light layers of cream, banana puree, and crumbled banana bread.
The evening included an extensive array of live and silent auction items, including gift certificates to Red Hot & Blue, Mon Ami Gabi, and Dogfish Head Ale House, a Cabot Cheese gift box, and a wine tasting event for 50 at Evo Bistro. The evening’s biggest item was a photo safari at South Africa’s Zulu Nyala Heritage Safari Lodge—valued at over $4,000. End-of-the-evening swag bags included the official 2010 Kentucky Derby mint julep glass and a tasty oatmeal chocolate cookie from Spring Mill Bread Co.
Didn’t do the Derby? Then mark your calendar now for next year’s PRS event on May 7th. Or support PRS directly by donating here, providing a wish list item, or shopping online through iGive.com or Heartof.com (each site donates a portion of your spending to PRS). We’re betting that’s something that everyone can feel good about!