North Texas Giving Day Booster: Partners For Refugee Empowerment

Partners for Refugee Empowerment (PRE), a 501(c) (3) charity, was started in early 2013 to address a critical unmet need – the mental health of Tarrant County refugees. At the time of PRE’s founding, all of the resettlement agencies were terminating their limited refugee mental health programs. PRE is currently the only Fort Worth agency to focus on the mental health needs of refugees.

Partners for Refugee Empowerment*

Partners for Refugee Empowerment*

“PRE has two primary goals: 1) to help refugees who have mental health challenges to recognize and address their needs and 2) to assist all refugees to become self-sufficient contributors to their communities as quickly as possible.

“Unfortunately, most theories, instruments, and projects in refugee mental health care have been developed in Western countries and cultures and are often implemented without the necessary adaptations to be effective. Drawing on many years of experience, PRE has developed an effective, three-component, mental health model for the refugees they currently serve. These components include: 1) group cultural orientation and education, 2) family mental health case management, and 3) mental health counseling and referral.

Partners for Refugee Empowerment*

Partners for Refugee Empowerment*

“Since its inception, PRE has served the mental health and cultural orientation needs for more than 200 refugees from central Africa and Bhutan. PRE aims to expand services to more refugee communities until the mental health needs of refugees in Tarrant County have been met.

“Apart from providing social services, PRE has distributed ten sewing machines to refugees who wanted to do small sewing projects. The sewing activities have both served as therapeutic means and the way of connecting refugees to refugees.

Partners for Refugee Empowerment*

Partners for Refugee Empowerment*

“On September 18, PRE is participating in North Texas Giving Day for the first time. We are excited to participate in this community-wide celebration of philanthropy and will use donations raised that day to continue providing mental health counseling for refugee families, and to support those who need extra help for case management. The raised money will also strengthen our community support groups, which are the backbone of the organization. These community support groups serve as a platform where refugees learn about how to adjust in the new country and how to become active members of the host communities.

“Thanks to all of the North Texas Giving Day donors and sponsors who make Giving Day a success!”

-By Justin Nsenga, MSc, Partners for Refugee Empowerment, Inc. Director

Dallas CASA’s Parade Of Playhouses Heads To Homes Sweet Homes

Alas, the Dallas CASA’s adorable playhouses are no longer lining the ground level of NorthPark. Ah, but the good news is they’re happily settling into forever backyards for youngsters. For the Sunday, August 17th raffle drawing, Parade of Playhouses Honorary Co-Chairs Angela and Jim Thompson were front and center.

Here is a feel-good field report about one of the lucky winners:

Angela and Jim Thompson and winners friend and winner*

Angela and Jim Thompson and winner’s friend and winner*

“A father with his daughter and her friend were just ‘killing time’ before a movie Sunday afternoon and were enjoying looking at the playhouses. He felt Dallas CASA was such a good cause he bought the girls a stack of raffle tickets. So the girls picked their favorites and were present for the drawing, then won the Lantern House by Bob Borson! They were all very surprised and excited – made it fun for us to have a winner present.”

Bob Borson (File photo)

Bob Borson (File photo)

The lesson learned: it just takes one raffle ticket to win the prize and to support a great nonprofit!

* Photo provided 
by Dallas CASA

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Gateway To Opportunity Luncheon

Ron and Beth Hall*

Ron and Beth Hall*

According to the Gateway To Opportunity Luncheon Co-Chairs Beth and Ron Hall,

Family Gateway‘s inaugural Gateway to Opportunity Luncheon will be Friday, November 7, at 11:30 a.m. at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Our luncheon features speaker Andre Norman and art created by the homeless children of Family Gateway with Honorary Chairs Ana and Don Carty.

“The Gateway to Opportunity Luncheon supports Family Gateway’s mission to lead the community to End Child Homelessness in Dallas by providing innovative and comprehensive housing, social and educational services to homeless children and their families.

Don and Ana Carty*

Don and Ana Carty*

“Our speaker, Andre Norman, has a compelling story to share. So much so, that he is arriving early in Dallas to meet Family Gateway residents and tell his story of desperation resulting in a life of service.

“Andre grew up with an abusive father, an alcoholic mother and sisters involved in prostitution. Outside of his home Andre faced illiteracy and gang activity. As a young man he lacked the educational and familial foundation to succeed. After a criminal series of mistakes, he was sentenced to over 100 years in prison.

“While incarcerated Andre quickly rose to the top of the prison gang. As Andre’s notoriety grew he found himself in solitary confinement. The harrowing experience of solitary forced him to confront his future. He made the decision to turn his life around, and after 15 years he earned his parole. After he turned his life around Andre went a step further and became a dynamic agent for change who mentors, motivates and provides training for those who need it most.

“Join us in our vision to end child homelessness in Dallas. Please visit familygateway.org for tickets or sponsorship information.”

* Photos provided by Family Gateway

Perot Dinosaurs Taking Tuesday And Wednesday Off For Annual Museum Maintenance

It seems Time Warner’s cable and internet services had an unplanned “oops” during a “routine network maintenance” this morning, causing some nationwide hassles.

Luckily, the Perot Museum folks have their “annual museum maintenance” scheduled and are letting folks know.

Be put on notice that the museum will be closed for refreshing on Tuesday, September 2, and Wednesday, September 3.

Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall (File photo)

Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall (File photo)

Hmm, does one use a feather duster or a vacuum to clean the dinosaurs?

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Zoo To Do

According to Zoo To Do Co-Chairs Jennifer and Doug Houser and Tiffany and Paul Divis,

Doug and Jennifer Houser and Tiffany and Paul Divis (File photo)

Doug and Jennifer Houser and Tiffany and Paul Divis (File photo)

“Without a doubt, Zoo To Do is one of the best parties of the year! The Dallas Zoo has been one of Dallas’ most beloved attractions for more than 100 years. Just recently, the Dallas Zoo was included in a local magazine poll as one the best ‘Best Family Attractions’ in Dallas.

“The Dallas Zoo provides 106 acres to explore, thousands of animals to visit, and a wide variety of family activities. The Giants of the Savanna exhibit as well as Soar, A Festival of Flight presented by Kimberly-Clark in our Wildlife Amphitheater, guarantees to establish the Dallas Zoo as one of America’s best.

“Zoo To Do is a major source of funding for the Dallas Zoological Society. With the proceeds from the event, the Society is able to continue in its mission to support the Dallas Zoo as an outstanding center of education, entertainment, and wildlife conservation.

“The party on Saturday, November 1, will be in the Giants of the Savanna exhibit at the Dallas Zoo. The evening begins with cocktails, a stroll through the Savanna, and the opening of the silent auction. It continues with more than 25 of Dallas’ finest chefs and restaurants providing food at different stations throughout the event.  It is a true ‘grazing’ event.

“Music, dancing and other live entertainment continues throughout the evening and is followed by a spectacular live auction and late night dancing under the stars.

“Visit DallasZooToDo.com for additional information!”

North Texas Giving Day Booster: Creative Arts Theatre & School

Creative Ars Theatre And School*

Creative Ars Theatre And School*

“This year marks the third year that CATS (Creative Arts Theatre & School) has had the privilege of participating in North Texas Giving Day. We’ve been providing arts education and performance opportunities for young people from diverse backgrounds in Arlington, Texas for 35years; and the past two have been the most challenging in our history. We lost our 29-year-oldhome to a terrible fire on July 4, 2012, and that loss continues to reverberate through our organization, even as we recover. The boost, financial and psychological, provided by participating in this joyful day has had a rousing effect on our organization. Around our office,North Texas Giving Day feels as good as Christmas, Valentine’s and Mardi Gras all in one!

Dinosaurs Before Dark*

Dinosaurs Before Dark*

“What CATS does is unique to the theatre world, as it presents theatre BY youth, FOR youth. The children involved in our programming are educated with care and discipline. Art is used as the framework to showcase values that children will carry with them for life. CATS teaches accountability, to accept critiques gracefully, to speak clearly and loudly, to fail and try again, to make sacrifices for the ensemble, and to fulfill their commitment to a project. When we receive donations on Giving Day, we can feel the acknowledgment from our community that what we do is valued. With the just over $7,000 we received last year, two full scholarships for an entire year of classes were funded, as well as supporting the budget for our holiday production, including the rental of the performance space!

CATS North Texas Giving Day*

CATS North Texas Giving Day*

“Not every kid can be a star on the football field or experience acceptance at school, but at CATS, creating theatre together leads to transformative outcomes. The misfit at school becomes the star on the stage or the behind-the-scenes leader, and finds a safe place. We’ve loved watching our alumni become professionals in the performing arts, and are equally thrilled at the teachers, bakers, and lawyers that cite their experiences at CATS as their most positively formative. Our goal is to educate children in the performing arts, with the longer-term goal being the creation of better human beings. In its history, it is estimated that well over 10,000 children have been directly touched and educated through our programming. This year, we eagerly wait for September 18, 2014, when our supporters log on to www.NorthTexasGivingDay.org and show their love!”

-By Heather Simmons, CATS Executive Director

* Graphic and photos provided Creatives Arts Theatre And School

The Stands Were Bowled Over For The 7th Annual BvB Dallas Powder-Puff Football Game And Whopping Big Check To Tackle Alzheimer’s

If yesterday’s story about BvB DallasCatelyn Cappelman resulted in tears, then the recap of the BvB Dallas’ game at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday, August 16 will make you wish that you had been there to cheer. Despite the rain earlier in the day, the gals and guys on the field and in the stands weren’t about to let a little water dampen their spirits. Here is a field report:

“The rain didn’t keep the fans away from the 7th Annual BvB Dallas Powder-Puff Football Game and Fundraiser at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday night. By the time the Sirois Bros and Ty Walker from 1310 the Ticket took their places on the sidelines, the stands were full of pink and blue signs and spirited fans in matching T-shirts and colored fauxhawks.

Blondes getting charged up for game*

Blondes getting charged up for game*

Brus teammates and natty coaches touching base*

Brus teammates and natty coaches touching base*

Brus checking strategy*

Brus checking strategy*

“Ready for redemption, Team Brunette scored early and rushed the field as a team and took an early lead of 7-0.  In BvB history, The Bru Crew has only one win on the record books and they wanted the fans and Team Blonde to know this was not going to be an easy fight. The Blondes made a promising drive only to throw an interception, and the Brus used it to their advantage making the score 14-0.

2014 BvB Dallas record-breaking check*

2014 BvB Dallas record-breaking check*

“At halftime, the Giant Check was presented by 2014 BvB Chair Greer Fulton and BvB Board of Directors President Jen Bergman to Kimber Hartmann and Audette Rackley from the Center For BrainHealth and Carol Hall,  Dr. Ann Stowe and  Dr. Mark Goldberg from  UT Southwestern Medical Center, this year’s BvB beneficiaries. BvB Dallas is dedicated to Tackling Alzheimer’s disease and these two organizations are leading the way in research to find a cure.

“The check, however, was the big news of the night. The fundraising goal was already lofty– $400,000 — a good $50k over last year’s fundraising total. But, with a new crew of Rookies and MVP fundraisers, BvB Dallas raised over $440,000 in 10 weeks leading up to the Big Game.

Blondes hoist the trophy in victory*

Blondes hoist the trophy in victory*

“In a tough battle, the Blondes won the game (32-27). But, with giant grins on their faces, each player and coach on Team Blonde and Team Brunette left the field to listen to Kyle Park and his band play some Texas Country out on the plaza of the Cotton Bowl presented by Bud Light. Even Kyle’s drummer spontaneously donated $300 to the cause remarking he had never witnessed a group so passionate, dedicated and fun in one place. Once the two stepping was complete, DJ Joe took the stage for an impromptu dance party.

“The following awards were presented:

“MVPs of BvB 2014 (top Fundraisers): BvB MVPs aren’t graded by their talent on the field, but by their fundraising skills off of the field. These men and women have gone over and beyond the call of duty.

  • “Team Blonde (for the first time ever, a Coach!) Shane Hannabury (he raised over $10,000!)
  • “Team Brunette: Captain Rachel Anderson (Over $9,000!)
  • “Team Purple: Helen McDaniel (Over $4,500!)

“Miss Blonde/Brunette/Purple: Voted on by their coaches, The Miss Blonde and Miss Brunette, and now a Miss Team Purple awards are given to the women who show the most enthusiasm at practices and events and promote BvB Dallas on a daily basis.

  • “Miss Blonde: Lindsey Kluempers
  • “Miss Brunette: Rachel Anderson
  • “Miss Team Purple: Maetzi Caminos

“Rookies of the Year: Rookies of the year are voted on by veteran players and coaches. These rookies stood out this summer as leaders and were dedicated from day one. They showed enthusiasm for the cause and were committed to attending events and practices this summer.

  • “Blonde: Kelsey Wasmer and Shane Hannabury
  • “Brunette: Darby Chalko and Simon Leung
  • “BvB Dallas Caregiver Award: Catelyn Cappleman

Editor’s comment: When some of the older folks grumble, “What’s this younger generation coming to?”, they just need to look at the BvB Dallas teams to put their minds to rest. These young women and men give up time and effort to help the older generations in the battle against a debilitating and deadly disease.

* Photos provided by BvB Dallas

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Concert For A Cure

According to Concert For A Cure  Tri-Chair Lori Seinera,

“In 2002 my best friend Terri Fishman was vacationing and became ill during her travels. When she returned she received the devastating diagnosis that no one wants to hear – ‘You have leukemia.’ Terri fought and beat leukemia. Today, years later our friend Alyson Feaster, Terri and I jumped at the chance to chair an event that would kick off Texas/OU weekend in Dallas, but more importantly raise critical funds to support the mission of Leukemia Texas.

Lori Seinera, Alyson Feaster and Terri Fishman*

Lori Seinera, Alyson Feaster and Terri Fishman*

“The 2nd annual Concert for a Cure will be held at The Rustic on Thursday, October 9, from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. to kick off the Red River Rivalry between our beloved schools — UT and OU. During this celebration with Jack Ingram on stage, we will offer a VIP experience like no other including valet, private entrance, bites, beverages, swag bags, and private seating for Jack’s performance. One lucky attendee will also win 2 game day tickets! The event is hosted by Title Sponsor McGladrey.

Concert For A Cure*

Concert For A Cure*

“We are also proud to recognize Alicia Landry and family of the late Tom Landry. Not only was Coach Landry a fighting Longhorn, but he fought leukemia. It is an honor and privilege to Chair the 2nd annual Concert for a Cure to benefit our favorite charity, Leukemia Texas and we can’t wait to see you there!

“Tickets are $75 each and sponsorship starts at $1,000. Tickets must be purchased in advance at www.LeukemiaTexas.org or by calling 214.265.7393. Attire is country/collegiate chic! Follow us online for exciting updates.

“Leukemia Texas is dedicated to improving the lives of those with leukemia through the funding of research and patient aid. We are the only organization of its kind in Texas where 100% of our funds remain in Texas. Our current program awards up to $1,000 per patient, ten times more than any other similar organization in Texas.”

* Photo and graphic courtesy of Leukemia Texas

Just In: Dallas Film Society Announces Big Changes For Art Of Film

The Dallas Film Society has been cooking something up for the past few months. Despite threats or pleas, nobody would reveal plans for the 2014 Art of Film. When asked what all the secrecy was about, the response was a twinkle in the eye and a smirk.

Hmm, something was definitely up.

What was up was a lot of changes! Tonight an announcement reception chaired by Pam and Mark Denesuk was held at the Tesla store at NorthPark. Well, goodness! Those DFS-ers have facelifted the whole event!

Toni Collette*

Toni Collette*

First of all, this year’s headliner on stage with Elvis Mitchell will be a woman for the very first time —Toni Collette. If you have to ask who she is, your brain cells are just a little worn out from getting the kids back to school. You really know her. Here are some gentle reminders to energize your gray matter:

Ah, now you remember. How about some more trivia to prepare for this red-haired Aussie’s appearance and get-to-know-better?

Australian-born Toni has gained and dropped more weight than Matthew McConaughey or Tom Hanks. Why, in “Muriel’s Wedding,” she put on 40 pounds in seven weeks. Then after taking the weight off and swearing she would never gain weight for a movie role again, she went and added 25 pounds for “In Her Shoes,” because she believed it was important to her character’s personality.

Her very first feature movie had her opposite Anthony Hopkins and Russell Crowe.

When she was just a tyke at the age of 11, she demonstrated her acting skills by faking appendicitis. The doctors were so convinced by her performance, they remove her healthy appendix.

Steve and Barbara Durham (File photo)

Steve and Barbara Durham (File photo)

But enough about Toni. There were still more changes announced. Instead of heading to Fair Park’s Hall of State, guests for the Friday, November 21st fundraiser will head to the Perot Museum. Oh, boy! Imagine the cocktail reception in the Lyda Hill Gems  and Mineral Hall, enjoying Elvis and Toni chatting it up in the Hoglund Foundation Theater and then having dinner with the Dallas skyline in the background plus a dinosaur!

2014 Art of Film honorary co-chairs will be Barbara and Steve Durham.

Oh, one last thing about Toni. If you remember her as being rather dowdy in her movies, forget that. Take a look at Toni when she’s not playing a role. Wow!

Looks like this one is destined to have a SOS (Sold-Out-Status).

* Photo provided by Dallas Film Society

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2014 Partners Card

According to 2014 Partners Card Co-Chairs Lisa Bhattacharya, Andrea Cheek and Diana Hamilton,

Andrea Cheek, Diana Hamilton and Lisa Bhattacharya*

Andrea Cheek, Diana Hamilton and Lisa Bhattacharya*

“Partners Card is upon us! We are thrilled to announce the most highly anticipated shopping fundraiser of the year, presented by Bank of Texas and benefiting The Family Place, will be held October 24 through November 2, 2014. When you shop, you save money and save lives by supporting Partners Card and The Family Place, Dallas’ largest family violence service provider. With more than 750 wonderful participating retailers and restaurants this year, we guarantee Partners Card will satisfy all of your shopping needs while supporting a good cause!

Shelle Sills (File photo)

Shelle Sills (File photo)

“We also are excited to have local retail expert, Shelle Sills, as our honorary chair this year. For more than 35 years, Shelle has been an integral part of the retail industry in various capacities. She owned and operated The Gazebo, a popular women’s specialty store, for 18 years. In 1999, she joined Neiman Marcus as the vice president and visionary general manager of the historic downtown Dallas store, where she dedicated her time to various groups seeking to revitalize and reinvent downtown Dallas. She currently works as the director of retail and project development with Headington Companies and oversees business development and special projects.

“The 10-day shopping spectacular rewards cardholders with unbelievable savings at some of Dallas’ top stores and restaurants. With the purchase of a $70 Partners Card, shoppers receive 20 percent savings at more than 750 participating retailers in Dallas, Arlington, Grapevine, McKinney, Plano, Southlake, Richardson, Frisco, Coppell, Flower Mound, Denton, Colleyville, Las Colinas, Irving, Mesquite, Addison, Garland, Rockwall and Lewisville.

“Over the past 21 years, Partners Card has become the largest fundraiser for The Family Place and is one of the most popular shopping events in the Dallas Metroplex. And, although this is the largest fundraiser, it represents only a tenth of the overall operating budget needed to provide a safe haven to victims of domestic violence. Our goal this year is to sell 15,500 cards!

“Behind the sale of each $70 card is a woman and child, who with help from The Family Place, will have a safe place to retreat. Individuals may purchase a Partners Card from any participating retailer or restaurant, card-selling individual, through direct mail or by visiting www.partnerscard.org. Partners Cards will go on sale September 1, 2014. For more information, contact the Partners Card Hotline at 214.443.7754 or email [email protected].

“We hope you will buy a card and shop during the 22nd Annual Partners Card fundraiser!”