EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have a minute or two, please check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for the photos of the children, who inspire the 100 members of Crystal Charity Ball.
Remember last Thursday. Sure you do. It was that day when the early morning was pretty soggy. Not the best day to have more than 65 women on a bus tour. But the Crystal Charity Ball gals’ annual tour of beneficiaries has experienced a lot worse — ice storms, tornado warnings, etc. Absolutely nothing was going to deter them from checking out the organizations they will spend the year raising funds for.
Just as the ladies in their rain gear started boarding the bus in front of the Highland Park Village Theater, the sun came out and the rain went away. With tour director Lisa Longino keeping to a very tight timeline (only a half-hour stay at each location), they headed to Education First Steps/Braswell Children Development Center, Good Street Learning Center, Park South YMCA, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, Network of Community Ministries and Parkland Hospital. Along the way, the ever so proper CCB-ers sounded like teenagers headed for summer camp. There was catching up, meeting new members and discussions about the beneficiaries. As the bus approached each location, a CCB member would explain the needs that would be met with the funds raised.
While some site visits — New Friends New Life, Suicide and Crisis Center and Parkland Hospital — were prohibitive, requiring representatives to come to the bus to describe their organizations and answer questions, others opened their doors wide for the CCB-ers to get a firsthand look of their operation and facilities.
Along the way, the faces of the children were as memorable as the facilities’ needs. On their tour of Good Street Learning Center, all CCB heads bent back to look at the cracked skylights and leaks in the ceiling in the gymnasium. Just as quickly the heads shifted downward as the guide pointed out places on the floor where buckets were placed on rainy days.
At the Park South YMCA, the locker room definitely made an impression with sinks backed up, dark hallways due to out-of-commission light fixtures and walls peeling back. But the knowledge shared was even more impressive. Waiting for the ladies to return to the bus Lisa told how the Dallas Independent School District sends their students to this Y to learn how to swim. So, what’s the big deal? Everybody knows how to swim
like everyone knows how to ride a bike. Oh, so wrongo! What many may take for granted, learning to swim is literally a life-saving experience that is not easily accessible to low-income children. The number of children lost to swimming accidents is amazing. With assistance from CCB’s contribution, classes will be undertaken with greater results and in much improved conditions.
Walking down the hallway of the Good Street Learning Center and looking at a row of children in uniforms, CCB Chair Caren Kline spoke with the calm and confidence of a Fortune 500 CEO. There was no hesitation or doubt in her voice that they will meet their goal — $4.7M. After all their shareholders are the children of Dallas.