Search Results for: "MySweetWish"

MySweetWishList: MySweetCharity

MySweetCharity

North Texas’ nonprofit old timers and newcomers made their wishes known in the MySweetWishList series for the past weeks.

Hopefully, you had time to check one, two or all of them out. And just maybe you were able to come through for one of them.

At MySweetCharity we have a wish, too. It is that if you couldn’t make one of the nonprofit’s wishes come true immediately, you’ll keep them in mind in the year ahead.

North Texas generosity is legendary for providing nonprofits with the resources to support those in need and to improve the community. While the challenges may seem never to end, there is an incredible number of dedicated people who tirelessly work in the trenches to make North Texas arise to the occasion.

Thank you for your consideration.

MySweetWishList: Young Women’s Preparatory Network

According to Young Women’s Preparatory Network CEO Lynn McBee,

Lynn McBee (File photo)

“The one wish I have for Young Women’s Preparatory Network for this Christmas, is that we would receive several $2,500 gifts that we can use to provide SAT/ ACT preparation classes for our young women at our schools across Texas. These classes are but one of the many resources we provide our students during their time with us – our public all-girls schools are sixth through twelfth grade. In addition to the preparation classes, we offer a full-time college bound advisor, STEM immersion camps and seminars as well as leadership and wellness workshops.  When these students are enrolled in a Young Women’s Prep school, they graduate from high school and are admitted into college. They are prepared and equipped to tackle the challenges that meet most first-year college students.

“This month we were notified that Carolyn Duque, a former student of the Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership Academy which opened in the Dallas Independent School District in 2004, was the recipient of The George and Fay Young Foundation scholarship. Carolyn, a sophomore education major at Midwestern State University bested 70 eligible sophomores to receive this $75,000 award. We were told that the selection committee was impressed when Carolyn was asked why she chose education as her major. Carolyn said, ‘I want to teach third and fourth grade students because I want to let them know they can change and this can change their life as it has changed my life.’

Young Women’s Preparatory Network*

“We want to keep giving the gift of education to our students. Whether it’s a STEM immersion camp or a SAT preparation class, we want to prepare our young ladies for a successful college life and career. We know that your gift can change lives too. Visit www.youngwomensprep.org or http://youngwomensprep.org/support/luminaries/ to join in the gift of changing lives. We believe in the power of education and that girls, regardless of background or socioeconomic status, can excel if given the right opportunity.

“Call us at 214.824.1400 and we will be happy to tell you more about Young Women’s Preparatory Network and the resources we’ve put in place to help our young ladies succeed.”

-By Lynn McBee, Young Women’s Preparatory Network CEO

* Graphic provided by Young Women's Preparatory Network

MySweetWishList: C.C. Young

According to C. C. Young Vice President of Development Sharon Ballew,

Sharon Ballew (File photo)

“My wish this holiday season is that the community will join together and participate in the 2nd Annual Carry the Torch 5K and Fun Run on Friday, March 3, benefiting the C. C. Young Cares program. The program provides flash frozen, heart-healthy meals to seniors in in need throughout the Dallas Metroplex, and every race registration fee helps to fund this mission.

“The race will begin at the beautiful C. C. Young campus overlooking White Rock Lake, at 6:00 p.m. and the route will feature sloping inclines, turns and scenic views. All runners also will receive a swag bag for participating in the race including a race shirt, glow kit and medals for all 5K finishers. Following the run, the after party will feature food trucks, vendors, a DJ and more. Awards will also be given in age group categories and for Overall and Masters Male and Female Finishers.

“To register yourself or a team online, please visit www.CarryTheTorchRun.com.  

“Please join me in supporting seniors in need by pledging to run in C. C. Young’s Carry The Torch 5K and Fun Run this March!”

-By Sharon Ballew, C. C. Young vice president of development

MySweetWishList: AIDS Services Of Dallas

According to AIDS Services of Dallas CEO Don Maison,

AIDS Services of Dallas*

“As the saying goes, “There’s no place like home for the holidays.” Now imagine not having a home for the holidays – or any time of the year. No place for shelter, for warmth, for safety, for a hot meal. Our holiday wish is to provide a home for the 122 economically disadvantaged individuals living with HIV/AIDS who have been on our waiting list year after year.

AIDS Services of Dallas (ASD) provides quality, affordable, service-enriched housing, food, transportation and support services for 225 men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS. The largest organization in Texas providing these kind of services and shelter, we currently have four facilities and are ready to grow in 2017. We are now raising much-needed funds to build a new housing structure to provide additional homes for residents.

“2017 will be ASD’s 30th Anniversary. Help us make it an iconic year with your donation by clicking here, or visit www.aidsdallas.org to learn more about our organization.

“Wishing you the happiest holiday season.”

-By Don Maison, AIDS Services of Dallas president and CEO

* Graphic courtesy of AIDS Services of Dallas

MySweetWishList: Dallas CASA

According to Dallas CASA Executive Director and President Kathleen LaValle,

Kathleen LaValle (File photo)

“Sixteen-year-old Daniella grew up in a chaotic environment filled with drinking, domestic violence, poverty and hopelessness. Up to 16 people lived in her tiny, wood-frame house at one time.

“Daniella was removed from home after her mother was arrested for driving drunk with Daniella’s four siblings in the car. No family members in Dallas were able to care for the child, but a cousin in Oklahoma agreed to take in the defiant and angry young woman. Removed from home, separated from her siblings, in desperate need of anger counseling, living in a new town with family she barely knew and attending a new school, Daniella felt abandoned and disconnected.

“But while Daniella felt forgotten in Oklahoma, Dallas CASA never forgot about her.

“Daniella’s Dallas CASA volunteer, Marie, visited the child often, driving to Oklahoma monthly for more than a year to stay connected. Daniella and Marie spoke often by phone, and Marie kept Daniella’s Dallas-based Child Protective Services caseworker up to date.

“Dallas CASA’s wish this Christmas is for gas cards and airline miles so no children have to go without a CASA to speak for them.

“Due to Dallas’ lack of adequate foster homes and residential treatment centers, up to 40%

of Dallas children are placed in protective care outside the county. A child might be placed in Houston, Lubbock or El Paso, but decisions made about that child still happen in a Dallas courtroom. And many of the children placed in distant locations are teenagers in the permanent custody of CPS and living in treatment centers, some of the most vulnerable children we serve. Almost half the children our volunteers serve are living in long-term foster care.

“Marie visited Daniella frequently in Oklahoma, observing the teenager settle into life with her cousin, her cousin’s husband and their two young children. She helped Daniella understand her cousin’s curfew and rules about who she could hang out with, both new concepts to Daniella. She made sure Daniella saw a psychiatrist regularly. Marie helped Daniella get an identification card and her school records transferred to Oklahoma. Marie facilitated contact with Daniella’s younger siblings, all living in foster care. And when Daniella’s parents’ rights were terminated by the court leaving Daniella in the permanent custody of CPS, Marie helped Daniella talk through her options. Should she consider being adopted? Or plan to age out of foster care? What did she want her future to look like?

“While living with her cousin, Daniella chose to attend a local vocational high school for healthcare professions and got a job at a fast food restaurant three afternoons a week. For the first time in her life, she had money to spend on herself, a home free of addictions and violence and hope for her future. Consistent love and care gave Daniella clarity for her future, stripping away her anger and defiance and replacing it with a caring heart and a big smile.

Dallas CASA*

“Today, Daniella, at 17, has been adopted by her cousin, giving her permanency before adulthood. CASA attended the adoption and sent photos to CPS afterward. Daniella is considering going to college for nursing, something Marie has encouraged with a visit to a local college with a strong nursing program. Marie even called friends in Dallas who could offer Daniella advice on different nursing degrees and the salary she could expect.

“Daniella was forced to grow up fast, but with Marie by her side, a permanent place to call home and a strong plan for her future things look bright. Dallas CASA’s wish this holiday season is that no child ever feels forgotten. With gas cards and airline miles and airline gift cards, we can ensure our volunteers can travel as far as they need to so all children know they are important and valuable.

“For more information on donating, contact Becca Leonard at [email protected] or 214.827.8961.”

-By Kathleen LaValle, Dallas CASA executive director and president

* Graphic provided by Dallas CASA

MySweetWishList: Cars For Kids

According to Cars for Kids COO Malcolm Wentworth,

“My wish is for everyone to have a safe and happy holiday season and for all our students to come back to school after the holidays ready to continue their journey. We need your help more than ever in order to help make this journey a success. Our ask is simple, donate your old vehicle in any condition to Texans Can Cars for Kids. We have our own staff that take care of the entire process.  We can pick up the vehicle for free and at a time that is convenient for you. Our tow drivers will provide you with a temporary receipt or we can email you one. We auction your vehicle at our Dallas car dealership and get you the highest possible tax deduction based on the sale of the vehicle at our auction.

Santa Tow*

“Our auctions are open to the public so we get the highest possible value for your vehicle and we have auctions every Saturday, with the exceptions of a couple holidays. Our dealership is located at 7100 Marvin D. Love Freeway, Dallas 75237. 

“You will receive a minimum of $500 tax deduction regardless of the condition of the vehicle. We are an IRS approved 501(c)3 organization. Your donation will help Local kids get back in school and you are helping save their lives because the kids are learning how to read and think for themselves. Texans Can Academies (TM) graduated 1,904 students this past school year. 

Cars For Kids mural*

“With your help we can do even more with two new schools we opened four months ago. My staff is here to help you with the process and we can take all donations up until 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2016, if you want to take advantage of the tax donation for this year. Remember to ‘Write off the Car, Not the Kid®.’”

-By Malcolm Wentworth, Cars for Kids COO

* Graphic and photo provided by Cars For Kids

MySweetWishList: CancerBlows

According to Ryan Anthony Foundation Co-Founder Niki Anthony,

Ryan and Niki Anthony (File photo)

CancerBlows was meant to be a once-in-as-life time musical event bringing together legendary trumpet players in a special concert and after party. The event sold out and raised substantial money for Multiple Myeloma patients and research via the Ryan Anthony Foundation.

“My husband, Ryan Anthony, principal trumpet of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra since 2008, was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma at age 43 in 2012. Thanks to aggressive and ongoing treatment, Ryan is in remission.  But, our passion to eradicate the disease is still strong.

“We are so fortunate to have a second CancerBlows scheduled for May of 2017 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. We are anticipating 1,800 guests who will enjoy a performance with such headliners as Doc Severinson, Arturo Sandoval, the Canadian Brass and Dave Matthews Band trumpeter Rashawn Ross in addition to fifteen other legends.

CancerBlows*

“During this holiday season, we are so grateful to the have the endorsement of philanthropists Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger who have brought tremendous resources to our efforts being spearheaded by Chairs D’Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock with Co-Chairs Anne and Steve Stodghill.

“My wish is that everyone who has been affected by this dreaded disease finds the treatment, hope and eventual cure that is on the horizon. Proceeds from CancerBlows will directly benefit individuals in the Dallas area.  In the meantime, please make plans to join us for this important fund-raising event on May 10. Visit cancerblows.com for more information.”

-By Niki Anthony, Ryan Anthony Foundation co-found

* Graphic provided by CancerBlows

MySweetWishList: Homeward Bound

According to Homeward Bound Executive Director Douglas Denton,

Douglas Denton*

“Homeward Bound, Inc., a nonprofit Dallas drug, alcohol and mental health treatment center, is asking for support for its share of the costs of a training for and presentation of a free storytelling program at the Bath House Cultural Center on the evening of Friday, January 6. Clients and former clients who have been coached by professional storytellers will be sharing snippets of their life stories for a public performance at the Bath House. This is an exceptional opportunity for our clients to tell their healing stories. We would appreciate financial help with the production and have been awarded a Texas Commission on the Arts grant for this program. We have an ongoing gofundme campaign at https://www.gofundme.com/homeward-bound-storytellers to cover these costs.

From the left: Homeward Bound audience member, Homeward Bound audience member and Peggy and Gene Helmick-Richardson*

“Behind the scenes are Gene and Peggy Helmick-Richardson of Dallas, the Twice Upon a Time Storytellers. They have been on the Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Arts Roster since 2003.

“The Helmick-Richardsons believe in Homeward Bound’s cause as well as the therapeutic power of storytelling. Together, they have been presenting their stories to our residential clients for more than 20 years as volunteers. In addition to their usual weekly schedule in our HIV-positive unit, the Helmick-Richardsons have been working with our clients for months, helping them to polish their stories and selecting the tellers for the Bath House program.

“’Our ultimate goal is to not only assist storytelling program participants in crafting their own stories to further their personal healing but to also reach out to others wanting to break the bonds of addiction or to have a deeper understanding of what addiction truly means,’ Peggy explains.

“Note that the audience will be limited to adults only, due to adult subject matter and language. Thank you for your support.”

-By Douglas Denton, Homeward Bound executive director

* Photos provided by Homeward Bound

MySweetWishList: Interfaith Family Services

According to Interfaith Family Services’ Board of Directors Chair Ashley Blanchette,

Ashley Blanchette*

“As the chair of Interfaith Family Services’ Board of Directors and as a mom, I was shocked to learn that Dallas now leads the nation in child poverty.  While many of us are blessed to enjoy a warm meal, a bed to call our own and the knowledge our children will have gifts to open during the holiday season, this is not the case for many Dallas families.  My wish is for the community to help us provide our families, who recently experienced homelessness, a joyous and memorable holiday with some of the basic comforts needed to thrive. Many families don’t have access to items that you and I might not think twice about, including warm coats or shoes, as they come to us from incredibly difficult situations, such as fleeing domestic violence or living in a car. Through your donation, Interfaith will be able to provide our families with essential items, including a hot Christmas dinner, which we plan to enjoy with our families this month. The season of giving is all about appreciating what we have and helping others who are in need of a ‘hand up’ this holiday!

Interfaith Family Services*

“Thanks to a number of organizations and individuals, Interfaith will provide each family with a Christmas tree, holiday décor, gifts and more. Though gifts and toys are a blessing to have, many families are still in need of everyday necessities. My hope is that our community can contribute to making this holiday season less stressful for families in Interfaith’s program.  Below is a breakdown of how each donation will directly benefit a family.

  • “$25 — Give one child a new pair of shoes
  • “$50 — Give one child a warm winter coat
  • “$100 — Give a family a holiday dinner
  • “$250 — Give a family a very Merry Christmas

“As members of the community, we have the great privilege of being able to serve the working poor and provide their children with a meaningful Christmas. To all the wonderful MySweetCharity readers out there, God Bless and I hope you enjoy the holidays!

“For more information on Interfaith Family Services and how to participate in the holiday giving, contact Ashley Agnew at 469.828.1805, or visit www.interfaithdallas.org.”

-By Ashley Blanchette, Interfaith Family Services board of directors chair

* Graphic and photo provided by Interfaith Family Services

MySweetWishList: The Senior Source

According to The Senior Source‘s President and CEO Cortney M. Nicolato, CPHIT,

Cortney Nicolato*

“This year, The Senior Source has assisted, protected and connected nearly 35,000 older adults in North Texas. With 10,000 Americans turning 65 each day in the US, our wish is to work together to raise awareness about aging issues and give all older adults here in Dallas to tools they need to not just survive, but Thrive. To do this, we must first draw attention to the struggles seniors in our community, and across the nation, are facing.

 “More than 20,000 older adults in the city of Dallas alone live below the poverty line and nearly that same amount live barely above that line. More and more older adults seek to live independently, but many do not have the means or resources to do so. Additionally, we are seeing an influx of elder abuse – emotional, physical and financial. Just last year alone, older adults lost $36 billion dollars to financial exploitation, frauds and scams.

“The Senior Source works to give seniors access to a better quality of life. A great example of this is one of our amazing clients, Ms. Julie. Ms. Julie suffered a stroke in her 50s, which required her to leave her job and therefore she lost her income. She lives in her childhood home, in West Dallas, which was in dire need of repair.  The ceilings had caved in, instances of mold were a daily sight, bursting pipes in the winter were a given, and fences were so broken that stray dogs would roam into her yard regularly. No one should live like this, but unfortunately many older adults in our community do.

“Her pastor recommended she call The Senior Source, and we immediately jumped into action. We helped Ms. Julie with her budget and finances, and we worked with the city to get her home rebuilt through the city’s Neighborhood Improvement Program. This is one of the thousands of stories that illustrates how The Senior Source has helped some of the most vulnerable in our community.  To see Ms. Julie’s full story, see our YouTube video.

“As 2016 comes to a close, and we reflect on our many blessings, we hope you will consider a gift to The Senior Source to allow us to help lift even more older adults out of poverty, to work to end elder abuse and neglect, and to ensure that everyone has access to critical services. Also, help us raise awareness by referring an older adult in need to us, introducing someone to our Agency and consider giving of your time to volunteer.  Check out the variety of ways you can give back at www.theseniorsource.org or call 214.823.5700.  With your support, we can make 2017 brighter for a generation who has given so much to us.”

-By Cortney M. Nicolato, CPHIT, The Senior Source’s president and CEO

MySweetWishList: Boys And Girls Clubs Of Greater Dallas

According to Boys And Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas Chair Gerald Louviere,

Barb and Gerald Louviere*

At Boys And Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas, we have many wishes. All of which are centered on the thousands of 6-18-year-old youth served by the organization. Every day our 17 Club locations open their doors to over 1,800 youth after school, providing them with a hot meal, help with homework and quality programming. Our wish is to see more students in impoverished communities move their tassels from the right to the left in May of 2017. We wish to send more first-generation college students off with scholarships and care packages. We wish to provide high school seniors, who have no desire to go to college, with a plan and skills to prepare them for the workforce. However, our greatest wish, is that you will continue to support our efforts to ensure every child has a safe place to go after school.

Boys And Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas*

Valencia Campbell*

“’It gave me a place to go. My mom was a single mother after my dad passed when I was 12 and I never wanted to be a burden on her. Every week when I was able to go to the Club, I was able to just be a kid. I didn’t have to worry about making sure my mom was okay. I was just able to be Valencia and be a kid,’ said Boys And Girls Club Alumna, Valencia Campbell. Valencia graduated from University of Texas at Austin in May 2015 and is currently attending Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law. She credits the Club for surrounding her with peers who were going to college and mentors who could tell her about the college experience. ‘It gave me a vision of myself that I was able to walk into.’

“Boys And Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas has a holistic approach to youth development, providing programming focused on the mind, body and soul of a child. Our three core areas include: Academic Success, Healthy Lifestyles and Good Character And Citizenship.

Boys And Girls Club of Greater Dallas*

“Our final wish is that you will support us in our mission to empower dreams, awaken passion, and inspire hope within Dallas youth. Invest in great futures today by donating online at www.bgcdallas.org/donate or contacting our VP of Advancement, Laura Brown, at 214.821.2950, ext. 732.

-By Gerald Louviere, Chairman of the Board of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas

* Photos provided by Boys And Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas

MySweetWishList: Dallas Heritage Village

According to Dallas Heritage Village President and Executive Director Melissa Prycer,

Melissa Prycer*

“My Christmas Wish for Dallas Heritage Village is that we enter our next 50 years with as much vision and enthusiasm as when we got our start in 1966. This entire year has been about looking back at our own institutional history, and I think we’ve all realized what extraordinary vision our founders, such as Mary Aldredge, Ruth Ann Montgomery and Lindalyn Adams had in those early days. They set us on an extraordinary path.

“Over the past 50 years, we’ve changed quite a bit, but the core of our mission remains the same: connect the present with the past. We see over 20,000 children each year, and those field trips are often their first exposure to ‘real” history.’ We’re active in discussions shaping the future of our historic neighborhood, the Cedars.  We continue to host remarkable special events, including Candlelight (celebrating its 45th anniversary this year), Old Fashioned Fourth and the newer Jazz Age Sunday Social. Thirty historic buildings are in our care, and it’s a constant battle against the elements to keep those buildings whole—and able to teach about the past. And this is just a snapshot of all we do—and all we are to our visitors, volunteers, and neighbors.

“If you’re still calling us Old City Park, it might be time for a return visit! To find out more, check out our website: www.dallasheritagevillage.org And I hope you’ll consider moving the past forward by becoming an Urban Pioneer this year. (http://www.dallasheritagevillage.org/supporters/memberships ).”

-By Melissa Prycer, Dallas Heritage Village president and executive director

* Photo provided by Dallas Heritage Village

MySweetWishList: Girl Scouts Of Northeast Texas

Jennifer Bartkowski*

According to Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas CEO Jennifer Bartkowski,

“The holidays always evoke a spirit of gratitude for the simple things in life with which we’ve been blessed. I am fortunate to have been given the opportunity to join extra-curricular activities that helped me explore the world around me at a young age. I was able to go to college and pursue a career. Many girls in our community, however, are not. Their dreams often fall short not because of the lack of desire, or lack of financial aid, but because they simply haven’t been given the opportunity to even see the possibilities available to them.

“Girls need to hear at a young age that they are smart, their ideas are valid and they can accomplish big things in life. They need opportunities to see who they can become by connecting with women who are industry leaders and by giving them the chance to experience career possibilities outside of their neighborhood footprint.   

“Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas serves more than 26,000 girls in our community. Our mission is to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. We’re building girls into leaders in their schools, communities and future careers.

Young creative Girl Scouts*

“But did you know that 86% of the girls we serve are from low to moderate income families? Accessibility to opportunities that can have a profound impact on a child’s future are limited. That’s why we’re committed to providing girls relevant 21st century experiences that are free or low-cost. 

“Girls in Girl Scouts today are learning computer coding, getting hands-on experiences in the STEM industry, connecting with female career mentors, exploring nature at our STEM Center of Excellence, building their confidence through our leadership programs, challenging their fears through outdoor adventures and more.

Girl Scouts at STEM Center of Excellence*

“We need public support to help make these opportunities possible to even more girls. We know that girls who participate in Girl Scouts are more likely to advocate for themselves and others, are less likely to bystanders, are more likely to stand up for their ideas, self-identify as leaders and take on leadership roles, are more financially literate, negotiate for themselves, and set ambitious goals for their future.

“These are attributes parents want to instill in their girls and that employers aspire to attain in their workforce. They’re also critical to positively impacting the culture of our society.

“My holiday wish is that girls throughout our community would be given opportunities to try. Girls need access to opportunities that allow them to take smart risks in safe spaces. They need a chance to build their courage, find their confidence and grow into leaders who think critically and can step up to make a difference. Learn more and connect with us as a volunteer or donor at gsnetx.org.”

-By Jennifer Bartkowski, Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas CEO

* Photos provided by Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas

MySweetWishList: Trinity River Mission

According to Trinity River Mission parent Edith Diaz,

“In an area like West Dallas, home to the county juvenile detention center, third highest teen birth rate in Dallas County, and “cradle-to-prison pipeline” stigma, there can be a lot to worry about for a parent like me.

Trinity River Mission*

“But the first time I walked through Trinity River Mission’s (TRM) doors, I felt something I hadn’t felt in a long time: hope.

  • “Hope that my sons, Andrew and Alexander, won’t end up like other West Dallas students who fall prey to the alcohol, drugs, and gangs in our community.
  • “Comfort in knowing my sons are in the safest place they could be: their [second] home.
  • “Faith that TRM and the treasured support received from MySweetCharity and its readers are playing an important part in my sons’ journeys to become the successful adults they deserve to be.

“At TRM, over 550 at-risk K-12th grade youth just like my sons are receiving the daily academic, personal, and social-emotional support they need to graduate, pursue post-secondary education, and end the cycle of generational poverty that plagues West Dallas.

“When you’re a stepmom like me (or any parent), raising your kids is not always easy. I came into my sons’ lives when they were still quite young (ages 4 and 6). But there are things that happened earlier in their lives that still bring them pain today. Personal experiences that continue to affect my sons emotionally, socially, and even academically. The kind of deep-seeded pain from people who were supposed to love and take care of them but, in the end, just let them down.

“But because of TRM, MySweetCharity and readers like you, I have hope.

“Because of TRM and readers like you, my son, Andrew, now receives the targeted one-on-one academic support and tools he needs to conquer his ADHD, improve his focus, and develop his social skills.

“Because of TRM and readers like you, my son, Alexander, runs home from school in excitement because he actually can understand his math lessons now.

“Because of TRM and readers like YOU, I know that, even though I can’t erase the pain from my kids’ past — no matter how much I wish I could – there are people like you who teach my kids that they are loved, that they are worth investing in, and that they can achieve their dreams.

“And you make that possible.

“This holiday season, I hope you’ll join me in supporting TRM’s special Holiday Hope campaign for TRM students and families.

Hope Family collage*

“As you can imagine, the holiday season can be a difficult and intense time for TRM families, filled with many hopes and wishes deemed seemingly impossible: The Ortiz Family wishes they could make their kids’ Christmas wish come true: to have a real Christmas tree. The Garza Family hopes one day to own their own home. The Mota Family wishes they knew how they were going to pay for their kids to go college.

“But, with your support, we can make some of those wishes come true and give TRM families that extra reminder that hope, faith, and love do exist in this world. And that, even in our darkest times, something good may be just around the corner.

“There are two ways you can get involved:

  1. “Give the gift of hope at www.TrinityRiverMission.org/donate. Your gift in any amount will provide immediate and critically-needed academic, personal, and social-emotional support for 550+ students and their families who are striving every day to keep their hope alive.
  2. “Send a special message of hope to TRM students and families like my own using this special holiday card, found here OR send Dolores Sosa Green, TRM’s CEO, an email at [email protected].

“This message will be displayed at TRM for all families to see, reminding them day in and day out that people like you care about them.

“On behalf of my husband, sons, and entire TRM Family, thank you and Happy Holidays!”

-By Edith Diaz, Trinity River Mission parent

MySweetWishList Series Ramps Up In Hopes Of Local Santas Coming Through

Santa (File photo)

With Christmas just days away, the wishes have been flooding in for the MySweetWishList series. There’s a request for volunteers. There’s one asking for $25 for a new pair of shoes for a child. And there’s another one that hopes for a Christmas tree for a family.

So to try to get the wishes known before Sunday; we’ll be doubling and tripling up on ’em. Why not take the opportunity to check them out. Who knows? You may just find a wish that you can help Santa grant.

MySweetWishList: Spark!

According to Spark! President and CEO Beverly Davis,

Spark! is a non-profit organization on a mission to ignite the Spark of creativity inherent in all children. Since opening its doors in June 2015, Spark! has served more than 7,500 children, 45 percent from low income homes.

By the age of 16, children decide if they are creative or not. If they identify as a creative individual, they have higher self-esteem, better problem-solving skills and go further in their education. Through creative programming and play in a fully immersive creative environment, Spark! helps children, in second grade through high school, understand their full creative potential. Here is one story that illustrates the impact Spark! is making on young minds.

Spark!*

In April 2015, Spark! celebrated World Creativity and Innovation Week and invited 24 students from Communities in Schools to experience creative immersion during the first-ever Spark! field trip. These students experimented with recycled art by designing and painting hubcaps that would later be installed on a wavy bridge made of car hoods.

Spark! officially opened the week of June 9. That week, two students from Communities and Schools came back to Spark! a second time. One young lady found the hubcap she painted was hanging from the bridge, and she quickly began showing it to her friends. The confidence she gained from spending time at Spark! is precisely the result that these programs strive to produce. “It’s really amazing to know that a hubcap can be made into art and that my experience could be so great,” she said.

Give the gift of creativity this year, with a membership to Spark! This new, affordable membership program offers unique incentives including birthday party discounts and tickets to VIP events. Members will enjoy unlimited visits to the learning environment during public hours. No matter which level you choose, your membership becomes an even better value with each visit. Packages range from $75-$2,500 per year.

Through memberships and donations, you’ll help further the mission of igniting the creativity inherent in more than 6,000 North Texas children in 2017.

Visit www.Sparkdallas.org/memberships, call 214-421-7727 or email [email protected] for more information.

-By Beverly Davis, Spark! president and CEO

* Graphic provided by Spark!

MySweetWishList: New Friends New Life

According to New Friends New Life Executive Director Kelly Cruse,

Kelly Cruse*

“My wish is that Dallas will become a city free of human trafficking! The Dallas sex trade is a $99-million enterprise, and I wish for this to be fully eradicated.

“I wish for an end to the entrapment of our most vulnerable girls and women into this horrific crime. The average age of entry into the American sex trade is only 13 years old.

“I wish for the continued growth and success of New Friends New Life as this team bravely stands on the front lines each day to restore and empower formerly trafficked girls and sexually exploited women and their children.

“I wish for the increased sharing of the manKINDness curriculum in local schools to educate the next generation of young men on how to properly respect and value women and themselves, and to encourage them to become part of the solution.

“I wish for more companies to stand up and join the No Harm Network and publicly state that they will maintain efforts that protect teen girls and women from the harm of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

“I wish for a sold out New Friends New Life luncheon on Wednesday, May 10, to ensure we have the necessary funds to deliver current and expanded services to survivors in our community.

“And I wish that anyone passionate about joining this important mission acts now by donating time or resources to stand with the team at New Friends New Life as we say ‘not our girls, not our city!’ www.newfriendsnewlife.org.”

-By Kelly Cruse, New Friends New Life executive director

* Photo provided by New Friends New Life

MySweetWishList: Symphony Of Toys

According to Dallas Symphony Orchestra VP of Development Michelle Miller Burns,

Michelle Miller Burns (File photo)

“Our wish this holiday season is that no child go without a gift under their Christmas tree. How can you help? Bring a new, unwrapped toy* when you come to the Meyerson Symphony Center for a DSO Christmas concert.

“This season, the DSO is continuing Symphony of Toys, the annual holiday concert tradition begun by Dallas Symphony Orchestra violinist Arkady Fomin and New Conservatory of Dallas.

“Arkady was a violinist in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra from 1975 until 2014, and in 1978 founded and directed what would become New Conservatory of Dallas. He also taught at University of Texas at Dallas, and performed in the Clavier Trio. Born in Riga, Latvia,  Fomin was awarded Latvia’s Cross of Recognition in 2012 on behalf of his contributions to music and music education in Latvia and the United States. Fomin died on May 5, 2014, after a long battle with cancer. New Conservatory of Dallas ceased operations on September 31, 2014, after approximately 21 years.

“Symphony of Toys benefits WFAA’s Santa’s Helpers, which is celebrating its 46th year of collecting holiday toys for children throughout the DFW area. The 2015 Santa’s Helpers Toy Drive provided holiday toys to more than 50,000 needy children throughout the four-county Dallas/Fort Worth area.

“If you can’t make it to any of our wonderful concerts this holiday season, please consider contributing to our Annual Fund. All new and increased gifts made before the end of the year will be matched by a challenge gift from the Elsa von Seggern Foundation. Please click here for more information and to donate.”

-By Michelle Miller Burns, Dallas Symphony Orchestra VP of development

* Editor’s note: Toys may be dropped off at the Meyerson through Sunday, December 18.

MySweetWishList: Equest

According to Equest CEO Lili Kellogg,

Lili Kellogg (File photo)

“Our wish at Equest this holiday season is to help more people like Katelin Beyer make the impossible, possible.

“Katelin is a bright and bubbly 20-year-old, who suffered a traumatic brain injury and stroke from a car accident. After being in a coma for 2 weeks, ICU for 21 days, enduring over 21 surgeries on her head alone, followed by two years of stays in multiple rehabilitation centers, her therapists and doctors told her that she would never walk again.

“Katelin’s family discovered Equest, and after a year of hippotherapy and hard work with her Equest therapist and favorite horse, Bounce, Katelin is walking.

“This is just one of many success stories Equest has seen over the 35 years as an organization. This holiday season please consider participating in our ‘Gift of the Horse’ campaign to help continue to change lives like Katelin’s. Equest’s equine facilitated therapy and horsemanship programs are provided to over 1,200 children and adults with disabilities and Veterans who have served our country.

Equest*

“Give the ‘Gift of a Horse’ in honor of or as a gift to someone you love this holiday season, and help make the impossible possible!

  • “$5,000 gives the Gift of Strength and provides for a therapy horse for a year.
  • “$2,500 gives the Gift of Independence and covers one semester of program expenses for a client.
  • “$1,000 gives the Gift of Wellness and provides a semester of counseling for a veteran or their family member
  • “$500 gives the Gift of Confidence and provides safety equipment for our clients.
  • “$250 gives the Gift of Education to local school children through the Equine Facilitated Learning program.
  • “$100 gives the Gift of Improved Health and provides a therapist for an occupational therapy session.
  • “$50 gives the Gift of Nourishment and feeds four therapy horses for a week. 

“To learn more about Equest and give a ‘Gift of the Horse’ please visit, www.equest.org.”

-By Lili Kellogg, Equest CEO

* Graphic provided by Equest

MySweetWishList: Family Compass

Whitney Strauss (File photo)

According to Family Compass Board of Directors President-Elect Whitney Strauss,

“On behalf of the Family Compass Board, staff and families we serve, our primary wish is a world free of child abuse and neglect where are children are able to feel happy and safe. For this holiday season, our wish is to be able to give the mothers in our programs basic necessities for their babies such as diapers and sippy cups that they have difficulty affording. We also want to encourage mothers to read and play with their babies so also ask for baby books with sight words and baby toys. We have a wish list on Amazon for these items.

“Thank you for making the holidays truly special for our mothers and their children!”

-By Whitney Strauss, Family Compass board of directors president-elect

MySweetWishList: Junior League Of Dallas 2017 Ball

According to Junior League of Dallas (JLD) 2017 Ball Chair Isabell Novakov and Honorary Chair Karen Shuford,

Isabell Novakov (File photo)

Isabell Novakov (File photo)

Karen Shuford (File photo)

Karen Shuford (File photo)

“The JLD’s wish this holiday season is for the community to make plans to join us for the 55th Junior League of Dallas Ball, themed ‘Encore,’ which will be held on Saturday, March 4, in the Chantilly Ballroom at the Hilton Anatole Hotel.

“This year’s Ball theme, ‘Encore,’ will celebrate and pay tribute to our dedicated past ball chairs who are now serving as Sustaining Advisors. We plan to showcase past balls and bring back elements of our history once more for this ‘Encore’ presentation.

Junior League Of Dallas Ball "Encore"*

Junior League Of Dallas Ball “Encore”*

“For 95 years, the League has played a pivotal role in shaping the Dallas community. This milestone achievement commemorates our agencies, and, above all, our committed donors and membership. By purchasing a ticket or sponsoring a table, you allow the opportunity for us as a League to further serve the city of Dallas by cultivating leaders who collectively address the critical needs of our community. 

“In the spirit of this year’s theme, the ball will feature musical numbers from past ‘JLD Follies’ and the upbeat Georgia Bridgwater Orchestra will provide late night entertainment.

“For individual tickets and sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.jld.net or contact the JLD Development Office at 214.357.8822, Ext. 118, for more information.

“We hope to see you there!”

-By Isabell Novakov and Karen Shuford, 2017 Junior League of Dallas ball chair and honorary chair, respectively

* Graphic provided by Junior League of Dallas

MySweetWishList: 2017 Art In Bloom

According to Art in Bloom 2017 Chair Sarah Jo Hardin,

Sarah Jo Hardin*

Sarah Jo Hardin*

“My wish is that everyone will make plans to join the Dallas Museum of Art League for Art in Bloom 2017:  Seasons of Love, an annual floral symposium and luncheon, on Monday, March 27, 2017 at the Museum at 9:30 a.m. Proceeds support the Dallas Museum of Art’s exhibition and education programs and the DMA League’s Floral Endowment Fund.

“Honorary Chair Jill Goldberg and I, along with the DMA League, are delighted to have world-renowned floral designer René van Rems as our featured symposium speaker. As a highly regarded ambassador of the floral industry, René has led design shows, workshops, and seminars throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Asia on the styling of fresh-cut flowers.

“Following the symposium attendees will enjoy a seated lunch, a style show by Luxury Fashion Show sponsor, St. John, a silent auction and a raffle, and the inaugural Live Blooming Art Exhibit in the Dallas Museum of Art’s Level 2 European galleries featuring a unique display of floral arrangements, created by local floral designers and inspired by works of art from the Museum’s permanent collection. Art in Bloom patrons will be the first to preview the show, with the exhibition remaining on view for DMA visitors through Wednesday, March 29.

“Sponsorships begin at $2,500 and individual tickets are $250.  For more information, please contact the DMA’s Office of Special Events at 214-922-1249, or visit the Art In Bloom webpage. I hope to see you on March 27 in the new year!”

-By Sarah Jo Hardin, 2017 Art In Bloom chair

* Photo provided by Dallas Museum of Art League

MySweetWishList: “In Grandma’s Garden”

According to “In Grandma’s Garden” author Brenda West Cockerell,

Brenda West Cockerell*

Brenda West Cockerell*

“My wish this holiday season is that everyone will consider giving the gift of hope with ‘In Grandma’s Garden,’ an imaginative story about the joys to be found in a grandmother’s garden. ‘In Grandma’s Garden’ makes a great gift for a child, parent, teacher, grandmother or breast cancer survivor, and 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to breast cancer research.

“Current beneficiaries include Baylor Health Care System Foundation. In conjunction with The Beacon Family Foundation, these gifts will support Celebrating Women for the purpose of breast cancer research, specifically Dr. Joyce O’Shaughnessy’s revolutionary work. Celebrating Women is Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s annual luncheon to raise funds for Baylor Scott & White Health – North Texas’ fight against breast cancer. More than $26 million has been raised through Celebrating Women over the past 16 years, and we hope to donate as much as possible through the sales of ‘In Grandma’s Garden.’

"In Grandma's Garden"*

“In Grandma’s Garden”*

“’In Grandma’s Garden’ was written as a tribute to my dear friend Holly Horton, who passed away from breast cancer in 2009, and it was always a dream of ours to write an imaginative children’s book together that would bring readers laughter, joy and feelings of peace.  Written in simple rhymes and verses, children will delight in the unexpected surprises found the beauty and sanctuary of Grandma’s garden.

“By working with Baylor Health Care System Foundation, I hope to support Celebrating Women by increasing awareness and funding for the breast cancer research of Dr. Joyce O’Shaughnessy, medical oncologist at the Breast Cancer Research and Treatment Center at Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Dallas, Celebrating Women Endowed Chair in Breast Cancer Research, and one of the best oncologists in Dallas. Dr. O’Shaughnessy specializes in breast cancer treatment within Texas Oncology, serves as Chair of Breast Cancer Research for the US Oncology Research Network, and is the founder of The School of Breast Oncology.

“To purchase the book, please visit www.grandmasgardenbook.com.

“Please join me in honoring Holly, and all those affected by breast cancer, by purchasing a copy of ‘In Grandma’s Garden.’ Your gift to a child gives the gift of hope to a woman and her family praying for a cure!”

-By Brenda West Cockerell, “In Grandma’s Garden” author

* Graphic and photo provided by "In Grandma's Garden"

MySweetWishList: North Texas Food Bank

According to North Texas Food Bank Interim President Simon Powell,

Simon Powell*

Simon Powell*

“For many, the holidays are a magical time. But sadly that isn’t always the case, especially for the 1 out of every 4 North Texas children who is food insecure.

“The good news is that the North Texas Food Bank is here to help. With so many ways to make a difference, there has never been a better time to get involved. This year, MySweetWish is to have the North Texas community come together and feed our hungry neighbors. It’s easy to donate! 

  • “Purchase a gift for hungry neighbors at ntfb.org/holidays, our holiday giving guide gives your readers an opportunity to donate to feed hungry children, families and seniors.
  • “Shop at area Whole Foods stores between Dec. 1-15 and make a donation to benefit the Food Bank at the register. Remember $1=3 meals for those in need.
  • Get your tickets to go see the Dallas Theater Center’s “A Christmas Carol,” and give your food or funds donation to Tiny Tim and other cast members when you leave the theater!
  • “Order your Christmas gifts online and use Amazon Smile. Simply select the North Texas Food Bank as your charity of choice.
  • “Host a canned food drive at your faith community or place of business and make a difference for the 1 out of every 6 North Texans struggling with hunger. Click here to see our wish list of healthful items.   
North Texas Food Bank*

North Texas Food Bank*

“Regardless of how you choose to give back, know that your efforts will help the more than 853,000 food insecure people living in North Texas. At the NTFB, we believe that nourished people create communities that flourish and thrive.  That belief fuels our work and influences all that we do.  Thank you for championing our mission.”

-By Simon Powell, North Texas Food Bank interim president

* Graphic and photo provided by North Texas Food Bank