Post-Derecho Luncheon Highlights Resilience of AVDA Supporters

Daniel Ortiz
Post-Derecho Luncheon Highlights Resilience of AVDA Supporters

Courtney Harmon, Mario Gudmundsson, Jennifer Caras

THE DAY AFTER that fateful May storm that brought hurricane-force winds into the city, AVDA's network showed up for the organization's second annual New Beginnings luncheon — an event designed to highlight the resilience of domestic-abuse survivors.

But the 215 guests who attended the lunch at The Post Oak Hotel brought even more meaning to the word "resilient," having overcome weather damage and widespread power outages to join the cause. Event chairs Jennifer Caras, Mario Gudmundsson and Courtney Harmon were thrilled with the turnout, as was AVDA CEO Maisha Colter, who shared that "this year was especially poignant since we moved forward despite one of Houston's most surprising weather events in a while! Our supporters showed up despite experiencing weather-related hardships, which speaks to their dedication to our cause."

The delectable menu included a taste of Mastro's famous butter cake, and the afternoon also brought an exciting raffle of high-end items like Miron Crosby boots and a Bentley weekend getaway. The inaugural Young Advocates Award was given to teen jewelry designer Sophie-Marie Ngu, who for years has raised funds for domestic violence awareness through her jewelry sales.

Colter also introduced the Ambassador of Advocacy Honoree, Maria Barrios, who shared her moving story about a domestic-violence incident that left her temporarily wheelchair-bound. Barrios is a new member of AVDA’s Board of Directors, and intends to continue to use her platform for advocacy.

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