Concert goers raise thousands for children's mental health therapy

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Saturday, November 21, 2015
Image courtesy of Shawn McElveen.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A tented upscale country music concert brought together music lovers and advocates for children's mental health this month.

The locally founded charity, Susie Bean Gives, held its fourth annual fundraiser at a private residence in the Memorial Villages in a cowboy-chic affair. The evening dubbed, "Hope: Be the Light," featured a private concert by Robert Earl Keen, and art by Tad Lauritzen Wright. More than 100 thousand dollars was raised by the nearly 200 attendees.

"What I have learned after founding and running Susie Bean for four years, is Houstonians have the biggest hearts and are willing to donate funds, support, time and energy for a good cause, " said Dr. Layla Salek, the child behaviorist who founded Susie Bean Gives in 2011. Salek says SBG currently funds mental health care for 219 families in Texas, and every dollar raised by the organization goes directly toward patients' mental health therapy.

Along with the music and dancing the guests also got a chance to hear from a family receiving counseling because of Susie Bean. Susie Bean's clients have diagnosis which range from autism, to oppositional defiant disorder, to bipolar disorder. "The SBG family is incredibly loyal and our families in need, greatly benefit, " Salek said.

The University of Houston Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities and Harrison Center for Music Therapy are two of the service providers who have clients that are funded by Susie Bean Gives. Representatives spoke about how their clients' lives have improved because the children had access to mental health care.

Those in attendance at the fundraiser included, Holly Waltrip, Rick and Tiffany Smith, Milton Townsend, Ursaline Hamilton, Shannon Hall, and Monica Pope.

If you're interested in learning how to apply for mental health care scholarships or contributing to Susie Bean you can learn more about them at