A peaceful, bucolic place of beauty and art, the Historic Old North End gardens created by Rich Schell and Greg Wragge at their home were meant to be shared, the owners believe.
And on a perfect summer evening, the words of Lady Bird Johnson couldn't have been any more apropos, "Where flowers bloom, so does hope." Her mission as the country's first lady had been to spread wildflowers and hope.
Guests of The Resource Exchange, which helps those with intellectual and developmental disabilities build independence, were invited to a July 22 garden party fundraiser on the lush Schell-Wragge property, where they strolled through the flowers, ate a plated dinner on brightly colored linen beneath open white tents and toured the amazing art and sculpture collection, starting with a carved Mary Chenoweth door.
Thanking the hosts, TRE CEO David Ervin said guests had been made most welcome in "an amazing home that is not a museum."
Ervin told the nonprofit's story, saying those at TRE are encouraged to "dream big." Said Ervin, "if you go to work and you're having a bad day, at TRE you don't have to look far for inspiration."
One inspiration is Jill, daughter of Ron and Karen Rubin. Her dad said Jill had reached most of the goals she had set and had many accomplishments. She's a "model employee" at Mollica's Italian Market & Deli, he said, and many regulars go in "asking for Jill." The only negative, said Rubin, is that many others are still on waiting lists for those services that have made the life-changing difference in their daughter's life.
Guests lingered on the stone patios after dinner, sipping wine or toasting marshmallows for fire-pit s'mores beneath towering trees strung with white lights.
Upcoming: "A Positive Exposure...The Spirit of Difference," a photo gallery of national and local professional photos of those receiving TRE services, Oct. 8 through December at Chapel Hills Mall.
More photos: gazette.com/life/around-town