The summer solstice is a time of celebration all over the world. And every year Hopewell takes the opportunity to do just that – celebrate with a few hundred of their closest friends and patrons. This year the therapeutic farm community held its annual fundraiser at Orchid House Winery in Aurora. This gorgeous setting has private patios, spacious rooms, and a large tent aglow with fairy lights in its “rafters.”
Guests enjoyed cocktails while scanning silent auction items. Throughout the hour was a bubbly vibe of old friends and volunteers enjoying each other’s company. A narrow, greenery-framed path that traversed a shallow brook brought patrons to the dining tent, where auctioneer Mark Schroeder of Auction Brio introduced speakers and ran an exciting, fast-paced live auction for a stay at an elegant Hilton Head house, an afternoon of Cleveland baseball history at League Park, and more. Catering the dinner was A Taste of Excellence with Orchid House
wines served as an accompaniment.
The speaker at Hopewell’s events always has a poignant story to share. Last year Chad Weisman spoke of a rudderless life before his stay at the therapeutic farm, but today is in his second year of law school. This year’s speaker was Maura Barber, mother of Jackson Barber, who had been a resident of Hopewell for several years. “His brain chemistry lied to him,” she explained as she described her son’s journey through therapy, jail, hospitals, and rehab. One hopes he found a modicum of peace at Hopewell, but eventually, “the numbers turned against him,” Maura stated, and Jackson died this past April.
As executive director David Chute pointed out, “The past year has seen
both light and dark, and both have led to hope.” When he attends workshops across the country, he says, his peers refer to their daily cost of care per person as sometimes two thousand and sometimes four thousand per day. That cost at Hopewell is $600 per person daily, making it both accessible and rare. It is the only therapeutic farm in Ohio and one of only five in the country. Founded by Clara B. Rankin, Hopewell has worked successfully with more than 1,000 clients since it started accepting residents 27 years ago. All the more reason for the 250 guests to generously support the nonprofit and its modest goal of $240,000. Organizers are still making calculations but indicate they exceeded their goal. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY RITA KUEBER