Inaugural Boots & Bling Gala Raises Autism Awareness | Local News


BULLARD – Elijah’s Retreat hosted its first Boots & Bling Gala at Bullard’s Eagles Bluff Country Club on Saturday.

The event focused on a live, silent auction to raise funds and awareness for children with autism and also included dinner, dancing and live music.

Elijah’s Retreat nurtures the bond of families dealing with autism through outdoor adventure and interaction with therapy animals. They strive to create a beautiful and peaceful setting for families to disconnect from schedules and simply see the world through their child’s eyes as they explore nature and animals with new excitement.

Elijah’s retreat served 240 families and more than 400 children with autism in 2021, according to Elijah’s retreat director Cheryl Torres.

Torres said she wanted to create an elegant event but with a twist.

“We thought Boots & Bling would be a fun way to combine Elijah’s Retreat ranch life with a gala event,” Torres said.

The event sold out a few days before with 150 guests in attendance.

Patty Rivers, Bullard resident and gala host committee member, said she fell in love with Elijah’s Retreat and was passionate about its cause.

“I fell in love with the retreat the first time I was invited. I instantly connected with Cheryl and fell in love with Elijah’s Retreat mission,” Rivers said.

Rivers said events like these benefit everyone involved.

“Going out for a fun fundraising night is always a win-win!” When you find a cause that you know helps others, especially children, in a way that cannot be matched anywhere; you can’t help but want to get involved,” she said.

Torres said the evening was a huge success and she couldn’t be more grateful.

“It really meant everything to us that the community supported us! The gala was a smash hit and sold out,” Torres said. “It was amazing to see the level of support from the community. Elijah’s Retreat and families dealing with autism are fortunate to be surrounded by such a community.

Torres said she plans to make the event an annual event.

At $45 a night and a $30 booking fee, the retreat offers a two-bedroom cabin with a full kitchen, washer and dryer, bonfire, grill, hammocks, and amenities for families struggling to get away. due to travel with an autistic child and expenses.

All retreat activities are included in the cost of cabin rental. Free Wi-Fi is available in the Visitor Center and Activity Barn.

For more information on Elijah’s Retreat, cabin booking and volunteer opportunities, visit or call 713-294-0690.

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