Texas Scottish Rite Hospital For Children’s Amputee Ski Trippers Geared Up At St. Bernard’s With Tony Herring Smiling And Ruthie Chilling On The Floor

For the usual Sunday Breadwinners brunch crowd in Inwood Village, the parking lot on Sunday, January 21, seemed a little more crowded than usual. The reason was that St. Bernard’s across the way had opened earlier than its usual Sunday noontime start.

The reason was the gathering of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children’s patients who would be on the slopes of Winter Park at the National Sports Center for the Disabled in February for the 36th annual Amputee Ski Trip. They were at the ski-friendly store to get fitted for gear.

Crutches

Ruthie

The scene inside the store was like a pre-Christmas holiday party. Crutches were quickly stowed so kids could settle on the floor to cuddle with Ruthie, the laid-back St. Bernard mascot.

Across the way, a white-haired fella with a camera was capturing the activity. He could have easily been mistaken for one of the 14 youngsters’ grandfather. But actually he was TSRHC Chief of Staff Emeritus Dr. Tony Herring, the father of the annual ski trek. It was 37 years ago that Tony had started the TSRHC Amputee Ski Trip after hearing about a Denver program for youngsters with orthopedic challenges to head to the mountains for skiing and snowboarding.

Tony Herring

Over the years, Tony had sent off dozens and dozens of kids who had faced the loss of limbs to do more than just learn the art of skiing and snowboarding in Colorado. It was also an opportunity for the youngsters to be with others who have gone through surgeries, therapies and the emotional adjustment to being a bionic. To Tony’s delight the kids have returned with a sense of great self-esteem.

Cody McCasland and Tony Herring

But being ever the professional, he couldn’t help but check out the newest gear for the amputee patients like rock star Cody McCasland, who was born without shinbones due to Sacral Agenesis resulting in the amputation of both legs at the knee. He got his first set of prosthetic legs at 17 months and, over the years, he’s proved to be an extraordinary athlete, as well as scoring appearances on “Oprah” and “Ellen.”

Ryanne Carr

In fitting the kids with their gear, one staffer asked second-timer Ryanne Carr what size sock she would like. She smiled and said she didn’t need them. The staffer looked a little baffled. Then she pointed out that her prosthetic legs weren’t in need of socks. It seems that the 14-year-old had lost both of her legs and part of her right arm due to being born with amniotic band syndrome. A St. Bernard staffer quickly responded asking if she had a sister or brother. The answer was “Yes!” The sibling got a nifty pair of socks. Like Cody, Ryanne has earned quite a reputation in overcoming her physical challenges. The former Junior Race Director for the Dallas White Rock Marathon admitted seven years ago that, “I like to swim; I like to bike; I like to climb trees; I like to build Legos; I like to ride horses.” Now, she’s added snowboarding to that list.

This year’s junket takes place on Monday, February 12, with TSRHC pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dr. Henry Ellis on board, as well as TSRHC Director of Prosthetics/double amputee Don Cummings and other staffers to advise on the type of equipment that would be needed. As Tony pointed out, the trip also provides an opportunity for the staff to better understand the challenges that their patients encounter outside the hospital.

The trip is free for the kids, thanks to the Stephen M. Seay Foundation, American Airlines and St. Bernard.

Starting March 6, Nasher Prize Celebration Month Sets In Motion The Excitement For The Presentation To Prize-Winner Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates*

The Nasher Sculpture Center folks really know how to set the wheels in motion for the 2018 Nasher Prize Laureate presentation to Theaster Gates on Saturday, April 7. During the Nasher Prize Celebration Month, organizers have arranged for all types of free activities in celebration of the American artist including free general admission and family activities during spring break (Tuesday, March 13, thru Sunday, March 18)

  • Tuesday, March 6 at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza (7 p.m.) — Nasher Prize Dialogues: Sculpture And History panel discussion including panelists Alfredo Jaar, Jill Magid, Paul Ramirez Jonas and Lauren Woods with moderator Ben Davis.
  • Tuesday, March 13-Sunday, March 18 at Nasher Sculpture Center — Free general admission
  • Friday, March 16 at Nasher Sculpture Center (6 p.m. to midnight) — Midnight At The Nasher 
  • Sunday, March 25 at Nasher Sculpture Center (1 p.m. to 4 p.m.)— Student-Centered Festival
  • Thursday, April 5 at Nasher Sculpture Center (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) — Nasher Prize Dialogues: Graduate Symposium   with presentation at 3 p.m. by Matthew Jesse Jackson.
  • Friday, April 6 at Horchow Auditorium at the Dallas Museum of Arts (10 a.m.) — Nasher Prize Dialogues – Jury Conversation with jurors decribing judging process moderated by DMA Director Agustin Arteaga.
  • Friday, April 6 at Wyly Theatre (1 p.m. to 4 p.m.) —Nasher Prize Dialogues: Laureate Town Hall with Theaster Gates discusses his sculptural practice with interlocutors and the general public.

In addition to all the activities, private collectors and Theaster have loaned five of his works for viewing at the Nasher through Monday, April 30.

* Photo provided by Nasher Sculpture Center

Dallas CASA Young Professionals Weren’t Just Playing Around At 2018 CASAblanca To Raise Funds For Abused And Neglected Children

It was a pretty darn gorgeous and fun-loving crowd that hit the gaming tables on Saturday, January 20. No, it wasn’t in Vegas. It was at The Hall on Dragon. And the high rollers weren’t Ocean’s 11. They were Dallas CASA‘s Young Professionals for the Third Annual CASAblanca. Here’s a report from the field:

The glittering young were out in force for Dallas CASA’s third CASAblanca casino night, hosted by Dallas CASA’s vibrant and growing Young Professionals group to raise funds for and the abused and neglected children Dallas CASA volunteers serve.

Clad in gorgeous gowns and dapper tuxedos, the young people played casino games and danced the night away to ten-piece Special Edition Band. The event sold out the day before the event, held at The Hall on Dragon on Saturday, January 20.

2018 CASAblanc*

2018 CASAblanca games*

Guests munched on hearty appetizers, with passed macaroni and cheese balls coated in crispy panko and topped with truffled ranch being a main hit. The third annual event featured a silent auction for the first time, with a beautiful diamond and gold necklace from Susan Saffron Boutique and restaurant gift cards from Water Grill, Del Frisco’s Grill and Jalisco North drawing top bids.

But it wasn’t all fun, games and food – the “fund the need” board allowed guests to fund specific needs for kids living in foster care and raised nearly $2,500 for things like coats for cold weather and cribs for babies.

Kathleen LaValle, Emma and Mark Hiduke and Hannah and Greg May*

Bloggers Lexi and Kelsie Aziz of Pizza and Champagne were there, along with sponsors Emma and Mark Hiduke, Angela Yotides, Melissa Bednarz and Bela and Chase Cooley. Sponsors this year enjoyed a VIP area with their own blackjack and poker tables.

Kay Weir and Nick Barr*

Angela Yotides and Melissa Bednarz*

Carlos and Carla Zarazua*

Nick and Melissa Bednarz, Nate Bednarz and Alyssa and Chase Mayeux*

Also in attendance were Dallas CASA Executive Director/President Kathleen LaValle, Austin Fennema, Hannah and Greg May, Carla and Carlos Zarazua, Kay Weir, Nick Barr, Michele Morris and Tucker Robinson.

The Dallas CASA Young Professionals is a vibrant and growing group of professionals under 40 interested in supporting abused and neglected children living in foster care. Last year, more than 1,300 Dallas CASA community volunteers advocated for the best interests of these children in court.

Reasha Hedke, Kelcey Hamilton and Dana Swann*

The event was co-chaired by Kelcey Hamilton, Reasha Hedke and Dana Swann.

Sponsors included Presenting Sponsors Emma and Mark Hiduke, Christine and Jonathan Bassham, CultureMap, Angela and Chris Yotides, Bela and Chase Cooley, Kay and Bob Schleckser, Sewell Automotive Companies and an anonymous donor.

* Photo credit: Steve Bither

“Farewell Founder’s Luncheon” Celebrates Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s Supporters And Launches The Ann Williams Legacy Society

Back in 1996 the Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s Founder’s Luncheon was the brainchild of DBDT Founder Ann Williams to raise money and to honor “civic and business leaders of Dallas who have impacted Dallas Black Dance Theatre and the Dallas arts community.” Over the years, dozens and dozens of people and organizations like The Meadows Foundation, Liz Minyard, Juanita Brown, former first lady Laura Bush, Isabell Cottrell, Target, Nancy Hamon, Helen Giddings, Ruth Altshuler, JC Penney, Annette Strauss and Mary Suhm were honored.

Since Ann’s announced retirement in 2014, changes started taking place. In addition to the departure of two artistic directors, it was decided that funding for the organization should go in a different direction. Instead of the luncheon event going quietly into the night, it was decided to hold a send-off event — “Farewell Founder’s Luncheon” — at which time the new fundraising program would be revealed.

While some might have thought the luncheon at the Hilton Anatole on Wednesday, January 17, would be a boo-hoo occasion, it was full of cheers for Ann and her organization that is “the oldest, continuously operating professional dance company in Dallas.”

Michelle Thomas

The day kicked off with a VIP Reception in half of the Grand Ballroom for folks like Michelle Thomas, DBDT Executive Director Zenetta Drew, DBDT Executive Board Member Paulette Turner, past honoree Charley Pride and his wife Rozene Pride  and the day’s honorees Andy McCarthy, Herdercine Nash and Linda Todd. Emcee Clarice Tinsley was juggling duties — reviewing script and accommodating requests for photos with Ann. Due to the day’s chill, guests were checking their coats at the door.

Speaking of coats, those heading to the Imperial Ballroom upstairs for the luncheon were finding the hallway brisk to say the least. It made some of the 650 guests opt to pass up the upstairs coat check.

At the back of the room, tables were set up for selling the DBDT’s 40th anniversary books. At the front of the room was a stage large enough for a performance. Down the center of the room was a 12-foot wide aisle with the head table set for 16 next to the stage.

Devrae Jefferson, Lindzay Duplessis, Kayleigh Eidson, Imani English and Chad Vaught

At 11:50 the VIP Reception was breaking up and the ballroom was starting to fill. Standing near the room’s entrance were five of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre Encore members (Devrae Jefferson, Lindzay Duplessis, Kayleigh Eidson, Imani English and Chad Vaught). When asked if they would be performing at the luncheon, they smiled and said, “No.”

Doug Curtis and Ann Williams

Clarice Tinsley and Lucy Billingsley

Zenetta Drew and Gilbert Gerst

Lelious Johnson

Right on schedule the headtable guests including Ann, Clarice, Zenetta, General Co-Chairs the Rev. Lelious Johnson and Kimberley Runnels, Honorary Co-Chairs Lucy Billingsley and Doug Curtis, DBDT Board Chair Gilbert Gest and the day’s honorees and their spouses Samara Kline, Joseph Nash and Frederick Todd were introduced as they entered the ballroom and took their places at the table.

Kicking things off DBDT Board of Directors Rev. Claude O. Maples told everyone to stand including Mary McDermott Cook, Regina Montoya, Marnie Wildenthal and Patricia Meadows. There was a slight hesitation as guests looked around a bit bewildered, but all complied. Then he instructed all to point to Ann saying, “Ann, you go, girl.” With smiles and laughter, the room full of guests joined in to the delight of Ann.

Clarice revealed that the Chilhuly-styled sculptures serving as centerpieces were available for purchase at $200 a pieces.

Dallas Black Dance Academy’s Allegro Performing Ensemble

Following lunch, the Dallas Black Dance Academy’s Allegro Performing Ensemble arrived on the stage and performed “Mandiba.”

Ann Williams and Linda Todd

Ann Williams and Herdercine Nash

Ann Williams and Andy McCarthy

Samara Kline and Kimberly Runnels

It was then time for the final presentation of the Founder’s Awards by Ann to Andy, Linda and Hercerdine followed by Zenetta’s revealing the creation of the Ann Williams Legacy Society that would be supported by benefactors listing DBDT in their will, trust, retirement plan or life insurance policy. Already on board as Charter Members were Norma and Don Stone, who in 2016 added DBDT to their will. 

Herman Houston III

To conclude the luncheon on just the right note, DBDT Encore member Herman Houston III took the stage dancing to Sam Cooke‘s “A Change Is Gonna Come.”

At the conclusion of his performance, Ann Williams received a standing ovation for her vision and dedication.

For more photos of the event, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: Callier Center Foundation President Announces Three New Board Members

Newly elected Callier Center Foundation President Tricia George just revealed the newest members of the foundation’s board. The are Senior VP of Grenzebach Glier Association Aaron Conley, community volunteer Lisa Cooley and philanthropist/civic leader Joyce Lacerte.

Tricia George (File photo)

Aaron Conley*

Lisa Cooley (File photo)

Joyce Lacerte (File photo)

The three will be joining current board members John Stuart, Beth Thoele, Bob Dyer, Kerry Wildenthal Fagelman, Emilynn Wilson, Tyree Collier, Ken Altshuler, Pam Busbee, Mary Cobb, Bennett Cullum, Jackson Harrell, Beth Layton, William Litton, Sara Martineau, Pat Mattingly, Mike McCullough, Tincy Miller, Richard Neely, Joyce Pickering, Carol Podolsky, Scott Purcell, Lee Ritchie, Harry Robinson Jr., Joel Williams III and Linus Wright.

The board “serves as an advisory committee to The University of Texas at Dallas President Richard Benson and Callier Center Executive Director Dr. Tom Campbell.

* Photo provided by Callier Center Foundation

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Farewell Founder’s Luncheon

Ann Williams and Andy McCarthy

Ann Williams and Linda Todd

Ann Williams and Herdercine Nash

Samara Kline and Kimberly Runnels

The “Farewell Founder’s Luncheon” on Wednesday, January 17, at the Hilton Anatole may have closed the chapter for one part of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s fundraising, but it also introduced the next chapter — The Ann Williams Legacy Society.

Dallas Black Dance Academys Allegro Performing Ensemble

And, of course, the event couldn’t just be a sit-down award ceremony. In addition to presenting the final Founder’s Luncheon awards to Andy McCarthy, Herdercine Nash and Linda Todd, there were also performances by the Dallas Black Dance Academy’s Allegro Performing Ensemble and DBDT Encore member Herman Houston III.

Herman Houston III

While the post is being prepared, check out the guests and dancers at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: Jan Rees-Jones To Receive 2018 Partners For Children Award At Community Partners Of Dallas’ 12th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon

Chick Lit Chair Mersina Stubbs is adding to her all-star lineup for the Community Partners of Dallas 12th annual fundraising luncheon on Friday, April 13, at Hilton Anatole. In addition to having Katie Holmes on stage, Nancy Perot as honorary chair and Presenting Sponsors Lara and Bob Tafel, she just revealed that the 2018 Partners For Children Award recipient will be Jan Rees-Jones.

Mersina Stubbs (File photo)

Jan Rees-Jones (File photo)

According to CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel, “We are truly honored to recognize Jan Rees-Jones with our Partners for Children Award this year. Through her work on behalf of The Rees-Jones Foundation, Jan has helped CPD and more importantly the children we serve, in countless ways. As longtime supporters of our emergency resource center for children entering protective care, the Rainbow Room, and as one of the lead donors in our capital campaign, The Rees-Jones Foundation has been with us for every step of our agency’s growth. There is no one more dedicated and committed to this sector of the social services community; The Rees-Jones Foundation is the leader and strongest voice in support of abused and neglected children in the Metroplex. No one is doing more for child protection.”

Having grown up in Richardson, Jan is well aware of the needs of North Texas and has been a driving force in The Rees-Jones Foundation with a focus on “helping children suffering from abuse and neglect and children and youth facing mental health challenges and other disabilities, providing young people with opportunities for enrichment and character development, and promoting the humane treatment of animals.”

The results have been major funding for the Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence at Children’s Health, the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at TCU, the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s Rees-Jones Center for Child Protection, and the Rees-Jones Behavioral Health Center at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth.

A graduate of Texas Tech, she is currently serving as co-chair of the National Advisory Board for the Laura W. Bush Institute for women’s Health at the Texas Tech University Health Science Center, as well as an honorary member of the SPCA of Texas Board of Directors.

Presented annually to “an individual or an organization that has shown an ongoing commitment to the philanthropic needs of our community and whose years of service meet the needs of abused and neglected children,” past recipients have included The Bitzer and Needleman Families and Peacock Alley, Jill C. Bee, ORIX Foundation, Junior League of Dallas, Lynn McBee, The Container Store, Fidelity Investments, Cheers for Charity, Northwood Woman’s Club, Attorneys Serving the Community and Mersina herself.

Sponsorships and tables are available now, with individual tickets not being available until late March.

No Need To Chill About Thursday’s St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon And Fashion Show Because NorthPark Has It Covered Literally

Sure the overnight chills sent some sillies into willies about Thursday’s St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon and Fashion Show. In defense of those hand-wringing types who thought the fashion extravaganza for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of North Texas would have them feeling like they were in Minneapolis for the Super Bowl, they can cancel their 911 calls to their stylists and therapists.

Honorary Chair Nancy Nasher has all bases covered.

Nancy Nasher (File photo)

Kristen Gibbins 9File photo)

According the NorthPark Center Executive Director of Marketing and Strategy Kristen Gibbins, “We have prepared for whatever Texas weather comes our way. Our tent in CenterPark Garden is outfitted with heaters (as well as air-conditioners), so we are able to keep our guests comfortable, no matter what the forecast. 

“Regarding the floor of the tent, it’s elevated from the grass, so we won’t need to worry about the ladies’ high heels getting caught in the grass or getting muddy.  

“We think it will be a slightly chilly, but beautiful day – but perfectly comfortable inside the tent. We look forward to a great event raising funds and awareness in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Dallas!”

Now that the word has been passed, get those reservations for faux eyelashes in place, tendrils elongated and envied looks confirmed. You’re gonna want to be at your usual best for this one.

So there, Mother Nature.

Children’s Medical Center Foundation Benefactors And Friends Are Shown Appreciation For Providing $44M In 2017

Christopher Durovich

Brent Christopher

While the Saints and the Vikings were battling for the NFL Division title in Minneapolis on the evening of Sunday, January 14, Children’s Health President/CEO Christopher Durovich and Children’s Medical Center Foundation’s Brent Christopher, John Mitchener and Bill Braem were thanking benefactors and friends at the Dallas Country Club for their support.

John Mitchener

Bill Braem

The fact that many had the next day off, thanks to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, allowed the 200 or so guests like Children’s First Lady Christina Durovich, Barbara and John Stuart, Carol Seay, Monica Egert Smith and Susan and Dave Scullins to leisurely enjoy the buffet in the grand ballroom.

Christina Durovich and Carol Seay

John and Barbara Stuart

As the Vikings battled en route to pulling off a last-second win, Foundation President Brent was looking very pleased for another reason. Having just completed his first full year in his position, he reported that $44M had been tallied, the third-highest amount in the Foundation’s history. That sweet number was only surpassed by a whopping $71M in 2015 and $55M in 2012.

Harper’s Bazaar‘s Avril Graham To Share Spring Fashion Trends At “2nd Annual Room To Grow” In NorthPark’s Neiman Marcus Courtyard

Kim Bannister (File photo)

Jamie Singer (File photo)

Andrea Weber (File photo0

Andrea Nayfa (File photo)

The lineup of nationally known types keeps growing for this spring’s fundraising. Room To Grow Co-Chairs Kim Bannister, Jamie Singer and Andrea Weber along with NorthPark Center Chair Andrea Nayfa have arranged to have Harper’s Bazaar Fashion And Beauty Editor Avril Graham to be on the agenda for the Dec My Room fundraiser.

Avril Graham*

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman (File photo)

Avril will be “presenting trending colors of spring fashion trends with NorthPark Ambassador Kim Schlegel Whitman at the luncheon on Wednesday, April 18. Following the seated luncheon and chat, guests will after-party it up on Neiman Marcus NorthPark’s Level Two.

Where is the luncheon going to take place? That’s what separates this lunch from the usual fare. The event will be held in the Neiman Marcus Courtyard, located between Neiman Marcus and the Eiseman Jewels entrance. Talk about a beautifully landscaped setting with its towering trees and artwork.

And speaking about the beauty of the environment, the timing couldn’t be better. It coincides with NorthPark’s Spring At The Park Home And Garden Show that runs from Friday, April 13 to Monday, April 23.

According to Dec My Room – Dallas Director Karen Michlewicz, “We are so grateful to NorthPark Center and to Neiman Marcus for partnering with us to host the second annual ‘Room to Grow’ luncheon and fashion presentation. We look forward to attendees enjoying the latest spring fashions in the beautiful courtyard setting at Neiman Marcus. Most importantly though, we are so appreciative of the community for not only supporting this event, but also recognizing the impact that it has on the children served by Dec My Room.”

If Dec My Room is new on your radar, it was actually established in 2007, when Houstonians Susan Plank and her daughter Kendall Plank learned that a friend’s son would be traveling from Austin to Texas Children’s Hospital for a bone marrow transplant. That was the good news. But the problem was the youngster’s stay would be three weeks away from family and friends. The mom-daughter wanted to do more than a nice floral arrangement or a visit, so their contacted the family to learn about his favorite things. After hitting Target, they had his hospital room “decked” out with University of Texas logo and other “stuff.” His reaction was amazement resulting in hugs for Susan and Kendall. That one act of kindness gave birth to “Dec My Room” for children staying in hospitals.

When “Dec My Room” arrived in Dallas a couple of year ago, the perfect spot for the “healing place for children who are being admitted into a hospital for a prolonged amount of time” was Children’s Medical Center. The very first year a half dozen rooms were decorated by volunteers.

It’s a great program to apply your creative juices, so why not volunteer? And don’t forget to get your tickets to the luncheon!

* Photo provided by Dec My Room - Dallas