An enthusiastic advocate for Our House, Dinner on the Grounds Chairman Del Boyette hosts a Southern supper with springtime spirits in support of the shelter.
By Barrett Gay | Photography by Rett Peek | Shot on location at the Terry House
I believe that life is about relationships,” says Del Boyette, president and CEO of Boyette Strategic Advisors. “My clients are my friends. My coworkers are my friends. The lady at the dry cleaners is my friend. All these people make up my life.”
And Del doesn’t take anyone in his life for granted. One friendship dates back to the early days of school integration – Del recalls meeting and befriending an African American student in the fourth grade named Wanda. Decades later, when they met again under tragic circumstances, he realized their time as classmates had a profound and lasting impact on Wanda. “I remember when my mother was diagnosed with cancer, Wanda was her home health nurse. She said to my mother, ‘I’m going to take good care of you, because Del was nice to me in the fourth grade when a lot of people weren’t.’”
Del treasures these relationships, recognizing how empowering it can be when a person simply shows kindness or faith in someone. This kind of encouragement is shared with the residents at Our House, a shelter that helps more than 1,700 individuals and families each year avoid or lift themselves out of homelessness through its programs.
Our House focuses on building relationships, but equally as important are results. “Our vision of success is a family that has put homelessness permanently in the rearview mirror,” says Our House Executive Director Ben Goodwin. Last year, 76 percent of its residents were no longer homeless upon exit from the shelter, and 561 adults were able to find full-time employment with the assistance of Our House. For those facing homelessness, the shelter hosts the Central Arkansas Family Stability Institute, which has received national recognition as a model program and boasts a 91 percent success rate. “It wraps struggling families with resources, support and encouragement to avoid homelessness, climb out of poverty and build a better future for their children,” Ben explains.
“I toured Our House two years ago, and I was totally overwhelmed by what happens there,” Del recalls. “What I am most impressed with is the dedication of the people who work there. They are committed, and they’re changing lives.” Far from an abstract assessment, Del has witnessed the impact of Our House personally. “Friends of mine have had kids who ended up being homeless. Their lives have been rebuilt with the assistance of Our House, and they’re productive members of society as a result.”
So when Ben asked Del to serve as chairman for its signature fundraiser, Dinner on the Grounds, he simply couldn’t say no. “Del is a wonderful ambassador for Our House because he cares so genuinely about his community and makes such strong connections with people,” Ben says.
Dinner on the Grounds, a contemporary Southern soiree, will feature dinner by Ben E. Keith Foods, springtime spirits from Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits and sweet treats from Loblolly Creamery + Sweet Lavender Bake Shop as well as live entertainment by Lagniappe.
“I’m not going to be one of those people who’s going to go out and save the world, but I can do what I can here in the place where I live and make a difference,” Del says. “And at the end of the day, my life is about building a better place.”
Dining With Del
Southern Dish: deviled eggs or fried chicken
Dessert: banana pudding with meringue
Wine: Mira Pinot Noir