Sara Martineau had hardly settled down at a high-top table in the portioned off area of Rosine Hall at the Dallas Arboretum on Friday, February 12. She was told that “news” had just broken that Carolina Herrera would be the feature designer complete with a personal appearance at the 2016 Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show and Luncheon.
With that she gave out a whoop of delight and told Dallas Arboretum President/CEO Mary Brinegar, “I already have one!”
As babies in strollers were chauffeured around the grounds and flowers transitioning from buds to blossoms, Mary admitted that the day was incredible for early February. But she also knew that a late February/early March cold blast could change things dramatically.
As honoree Caroline Rose Hunt and buddy Bob Brackbill took their place at chairs in the hall for a receiving line, a guest accidently decided to sit a seat or two over. Oops! A CISDR rep suggested to the guest that the chairs were for Caroline and her family. With that the guest hopped up and moved her smartphone to another area of the room.
But it was an easy mistake to make, since other members of the family like Patrick Sands and his fiancee Kristy Morgan were making the rounds chatting with CISDR Financial Advisor Bob Scott.
At noon nearly 100 guests like Billie Leigh Rippey, past Dream Achievers Awardee Tincy Miller, Caryl Keys, Bobbie Sue and Phil Williams and Mary Frances Burleson, made their way to the other part of Rosine Hall for the luncheon program. As they entered a video was on a large screen, but it couldn’t be heard over the chatter.
With CISDR Philanthropy Officer Lisa Loy Laughlin serving as emcee, she had newly named CISDR Board Chair Blake Lewis started the program with the invocation and followed it up by reading a proclamation from Mayor Mike Rawlings extolling Caroline’s support and leadership in the community.
At 12:10 State Sen. Don Huffines led the group in the pledge of allegiance with a mammoth flag projected on the screen. Don then presented Caroline with a flag that had flown over the state capital.
While guests started eating their lunch, Lisa thanked the event sponsors and Blake returned to the podium introducing Dr. Judith Allen-Bazemore, who explained CISDR’s mission to focus on academics and attendance as well as social skills. For Judith and the CISDR team, the students “don’t just live in the city of Dallas. They are the city of Dallas.”
To provide the variety of students that CISDR works with, a video was shown with stories on three young people — a boy who overcame homelessness and is now going to college, a young mother and a youngster who had been bounced around the foster system with CISDR being the constant in his life.
Judith followed the video telling how CISDR works with kids who the state of Texas claims that they won’t do well and won’t graduate and the three in the video were proof that they could do well and could graduate. She backed that up with facts and figures. Of the 9,165 cases-managed students in the 2014-2015 school year:
- 96% stayed in school
- 89% improved academics, attendances and/or behavior
- 95% promoted to the next grade level
- 91% of eligible seniors graduated
Returning to the podium, Don told how his involvement with CISDR started when he was assigned to Madison High School back in the 1990s as a CIS mentor. Through this program and others, he has come to realize and support the fact that “Children are our future.”
At 12:37 Lisa was introduced a video interview that she had done with Caroline. It opened with “Sweet Caroline,” and revealed that Caroline’s earliest influences were teachers at Hockaday especially in the fields of ancient history, writing and Latin. When asked what value was most important to her, Caroline said, “Integrity.” She went on to say that if she had been born a man, she would have probably been a doctor. In concluding he was asked what advice she would give her children. Caroline smiled and said Corinthians 13. She added “Faith, hope and love… not just physical love but emotional love.”
As the video ended, “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” plays.
In presenting the Dream Achiever Award, Judith and Blake gave the Ansel Adams photograph “Rose and Driftwood” to Caroline that the CISDR students had selected because it was a rose and wood. Each child signed the back of the frame.
In accepting the award, Caroline admitted, “I’m overwhelmed.”
After a break, CISDR Senior Program Coordinator Rey Maldonado presented the Dream Maker Award to a surprised CISDR Area Team Manager Eduardo Pulido. He had no idea that he had been selected until his name was announced.