“Much like Austin City Limits, the Austin Child Guidance Center is a true Austin Original,” declared Terry Lickona, executive producer of Austin City Limits and emcee of the Austin Originals Benefit Concert and Live Stream on Saturday, August 19, 2017. This sixth annual event benefited the Austin Child Guidance Center, a local nonprofit that has been dedicated to improving the mental health of children and their families for over 66 years and annually serves over 3,500 clients regardless of their ability to pay.
Upon arrival, guests stepped into the Austin Originals Tasting Grove presented by Lexus of Austin & Lexus of Lakeway and an open bar reception. The Tasting Grove featured ten local caterers and restaurants offering tasty bite-size morsels to guests and vying for votes to receive a write-up in Austin Monthly magazine. Silent auction items were also available for bidding and event volunteers circulated offering raffle tickets for a chance to win a ride on the Tito’s Bus.
As the Tasting Grove wound down, guests transitioned inside the ACL Live at The Moody Theater for presentation of the sixth annual Phyllis Richards Austin Icon for Children Awards which honored Ryan Therrell in the Community Activist category and Dr. Libby Doggett in the Community Professional category. After event co-chairs Colin Pope and Heather McKissick expressed gratitude to supporters of Austin Originals, Heather invited her eleven-year-old son, Iain Mitchell, to the stage.
“I am going to admit: I used to have anxiety,” began Iain. “[I used to] get extremely nervous in some school situations, however, when I went to ACGC, boy did I change!” Iain’s candid words and willingness to share his story with over 700 strangers warmed hearts and helped to “bring home” the cause for attendees of Austin Original. Iain concluded his speech with the words, “I also want to thank you all for being out here tonight to support ACGC and help kids like me.”
After receiving a well-deserved standing ovation, Iain welcomed “Cowboy Auctioneer” Heath Hale to the stage to facilitate the live auction portion of the evening. ACGC exceeded the evening’s “Fund a Need” goal by 125% and in total brought in $475,000 in support of children’s mental health in Central Texas. The evening was capped off with a live benefit concert featuring ten-time Grammy Award-winning band Asleep at the Wheel. This year’s Austin Originals hit record totals of event attendees and funds raised, all going to support ACGC’s mission of improving the mental health of children and their families in Central Texas.