The Family Place‘s Executive Director Paige Flink was a busy gal Tuesday and Wednesday. Well, she’s always busy, but this time she barely had time to change earrings.
Tuesday night she was at NorthPark for the Partners Card Southern Sellers Soirée. The Northern one took place last Thursday at Shay Geyer‘s IBB Design in Frisco. The Soirées “celebrate and honor cards sellers and sponsors like jeweler Jerry Szor that make it possible to continue Partners Card and bring hope to local victims of domestic violence.”
But Tuesday night it was outdoors in NP’s center courtyard and the weather couldn’t have been better. With The Road Crew playing “Rock with You,” “Car Wash” and “Let’s Stay Together,” guests found themselves dancing, dining and drinking. But not Paige. She doesn’t let a little thing like a party stop her campaign to curb domestic violence and abuse. She reminded folks that last year volunteers sold 16,000 of the precious discount cards resulting in $1M, which in turn helps The Family Place grow its programs.
Long-term, Paige has her sights on two goals:
1. Expand education programs for youth. This include bullying prevention and teen-dating violence prevention.
2. Expand economic empowerment of women who come to The Family Place. This includes education, jobs skills, job training and job placement.
For the PC’s 20th anniversary, Paige and PC Co-chairs Gay Donnell, Kathryn Henry and Dawn Spalding have raised the stakes with the hope of selling 20,000 which would haul in $1.4M. Paige is very good with round numbers.
To sell that number, it takes volunteers like Robert Weatherly, who joined The Family Place board this year. In trying to sell more than 100 cards, he’s already selling them via Facebook, where he has 1,000 friends.
Robert also has another goal in mind. He wants to raise around $70,000 for The Family Place to have a full-time nurse-practitioner on its “Safe Campus” full-time. Currently they only have a nurse part-time, who can only see about 20 patients while there.
It seemed like Paige was leaving her house just as the paperboy was delivering the morning paper. She had to hustle to the Omni Dallas for the 2012 Trailblazer Awards Luncheon benefiting The Family Place. 600 were expected and some were greeted by an Omni staffer in the Omni driveway who advised guests as they approached, “If you’re going to valet park, you’re going to have a wait after the lunch.” Hmm, not a good sign.
But once inside the crowd in the reception area outside the Trinity Ballroom grew and grew. One of the highlights was Ebby Halliday all in white seated on a couch, that soon took on the look of a throne as guests lined up to pay homage to the 101-year-old. Have you noticed that both centenarians Ebby and Margaret McDermott, who is a year younger than Ebby, are partial to white? It almost makes them glow.
Ah, but what many didn’t realize was that just a few floors upstairs, an ultra-private reception was taking place with the Trailblazer honorees (Liz Minyard and Kathryn Hall, Lynn Goldstein and Verizon’s David Russell), Event Co-chairs Anh and Dr. Loc Trieu and Amanda and Lloyd Ward), Honorary Co-chairs Diane and Daryl Johnston with their old friend and guest speaker Don McPherson.
Only one missing was Dr. Kenneth Cooper, who was to receive the Man of Influence Award. He had a good excuse. Had to be in China.
After loads of coffee and photos, the VIP’s moseyed on to the Trinity Ballroom, except for Amanda, who had to scamper back upstairs. Seems she forgot her purse. Hey, it happens.
Before the program began, CBS-11’s Brendan Higgins did a very nice job of emceeing. When Dr. Jackie Roese did not appear to provide the blessing, Brendan did a shout-out for someone to sub in. From the front row, Honorary Co-chair Daryl brought Fr. Stephen Swann to the stage. Just as Fr. Swann concluded the invocation, Jackie arrived. She had been in a car accident. Not to worry. She was safe and apologetic for being late.
At 12:22, Paige (“I don’t know why you’re scripting me?”) reported to the room of people that at that moment there were 87 women and children in the shelter and emphasized how much these “clients” and others depended upon proceeds from the luncheon and donations.
Then it was time to hand out the awards. All went seamlessly.
Verizon’s David Russell accepted The Family Place Advocacy Award saying that Verizon accepted no-longer-needed cellphones to be recycled for victims of domestic violence. “We’re the only ones doing that. We’ll take the other guys’ stuff.” AT&T’s Holly Reed, sitting at a table just a row away, must have loved that. (Editor’s note: AT&T has a similar program, but their phones go to the military serving overseas.)
Real-Life Hero Lynn Goldstein simply said, “I’m not a hero,” despite having been one of the original people to start The Family Place.
Liz and Kathryn accepted their award for their work at the North Texas Food Bank saying, “We were very young when we started the North Texas Food Bank 30 years ago. Our goal was to eliminate hunger. That didn’t work out” due to growing demands on area resources. Naturally, they also plugged Art in the Park, their October 11 fundraiser in Frisco with Emerald City.
At 12:28 Daryl introduced his former college teammate, saying that Don had deserved to have won the Heisman Trophy instead of Tim Brown.
The former NFL player/radio talk show host/social advocate admitted that he couldn’t see the people in the room because the lights were turned down and the spotlight on him was rather blinding. Someone must have heard him, because the house lights brightened.
During the next 18 minutes, Don told the group:
- “To prevent family violence, you’ve got to work on it every day.”
- “I don’t think we should wait for bad things to happen to act.”
- “Trayvon Martin was shot [and murdered] and there were marches about it. We don’t march about the women who are murdered every day.”
- Addressing the men in the audience: “Men, make this your issue. We need to raise the next generation of men not to be abusive.” (Applause)
- “We raise boys not to be women. Language from an early age (‘You throw like a girl’) tells boys not to show emotions or that he cares.. . . It also says that women are less than.”
- “I am not going to build up my son by degrading my daughter.”
In the audience, Paige and 600 heard the message. Now, they must spread the word to others.