Laura And George W. Bush To Serve As Distinguished Chairs For 14th Annual Texas Trailblazer Luncheon

And the big, boldface names just keep coming in for The Family Place’s 14th Annual Texas Trailblazer Luncheon. Co-Chairs Stephanie and Travis Hollman, Carol Seay and Stephanie Seay just reported that former first couple Laura and George W. Bush have signed on as the “Distinguished Chairs” for the Wednesday, September 17th fundraiser at the Anatole.

George and Laura Bush (File photo)

George and Laura Bush (File photo)

But then what would you expect when the event is honoring the legacy of the late Harold Simmons?

Joe Torre*

Joe Torre*

As for Joe Torre, who will be headline “speaker”. . . okay, he’s not going to be at a podium giving a lecture. He’s gonna being interviewed by none other than WFAA’s Dale Hansen.

Well, back to Joe. In a Sunday interview with Larry King, he revealed how the domestic abuse he witnessed as a child affected his professional life:

“I probably didn’t enjoy my playing career as much as I really should have because if I didn’t get any hits I would really torture myself thinking I let everybody down. And of course if I did hit, I felt like I was worthy…It wasn’t until I went through a symposium which told me that all the abuse that was going on at my home was contributing to these feelings of insignificance and insecurity and nervousness.”

The former baseball legend’s being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this Sunday adding to the “Wow!” factor of his presence come September.

* Photo provided by The Family Place

Baseball Royals Michael Young And Cristina Barbosa To Co-Chair Dallas Children’s Theater’s Knights And Princesses Dream Ball

Former Texas Ranger Michael Young and his wife Cristina Barbosa will be part of royalty on Saturday, September 20. But instead of Buckingham Palace with Kate, William, Harry and George, it will be the Dallas Children’s Theater for its Knights and Princesses Dream Ball.

Mateo, Michael, Antonio, Cristina and Emilio Young*

Mateo, Michael, Antonio, Cristina and Emilio Young*

Cristina and Michael will serve as honorary co-chairs, along with their children Mateo, Emilio and Antonio.

Cristina said, “Our family is pleased to serve as honorary chairs of the Knights and Princesses Dream Ball at Dallas Children’s Theater. Having seen firsthand the benefits that theater has provided our own children, we are excited to be a part of raising funds for adapted performances for children with special needs. After all, every child deserves great live theater! We hope everyone will join us in bringing in the magic of live theater to all children.”

This year the DCT “presented its first sensory-friendly production for children with special needs.” What does that mean? The DCT reduced sound levels, eliminated flashing lights and kept the overall house lights up a few levels higher than normal “to provide a more comfortable experience for the families.” The DCT staff didn’t just come up with these adaptions on their own. They received the recommendations from Autism Speaks, the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities at UT Southwestern, University of North Texas Department of Speech and Hearings Sciences and Health Science Center and the Autism Center, Children’s Medical Center and the Dallas Museum of Art.”

The ball will follow a 4:30 p.m. performance of “Rapunzel! Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale”. Tickets for the ball are $50 per person. Proceeds from the event will benefit adapted performances for children with special needs.

Tiaras and scepters will be the accessories du jour.

* Photo courtesy of Michael Young and Cristina Barbosa

Loved This Update From Community Partners Of Dallas

There are times when the braggadocios of being a part of Dallas is hard to describe. Whoa! Here is a huggable reason from Community Partners of Dallas to pat yourselves on the back:

“12-year-old Bruno was removed from his mother’s home when his new baby brother tested positive for heroin. Bruno and his little brother moved to several foster parents before their great aunt agreed to take the boys in. Since moving in with his Aunt, Bruno is in the correct district to join his old football team and play with all of his old friends. Thanks to you, CPD just provided funds for Bruno to join his old football team and purchase a new uniform. Thank you!”

OK, everyone line up and sing in perfect harmony, “Dallas may not be perfect, but perfection is our goal!”

Attorneys Serving The Community Guests Were Wowed By Award-Winning Actress Viola Davis And A 2040 U.S. Presidential Contender

Law firms’ billing hours came to a grinding halt on Friday, June 20. The reason? Around a thousand attorneys, especially of the female variety, took a long, productive lunch at the Hilton Anatole for Attorneys Serving the Community’s 28th Annual ASC Luncheon.

Viola Davis

Viola Davis

It started for VIP’s,’ and practically everyone was, in the Peacock Room where featured speaker/award-winning actress Viola Davis posed for photos with guests. With her longer than a stretch limousine false eyelashes, she genuinely greeted each and moved the line along quickly, so no one was disappointed.

At 11:30 the doors to the Chantilly Ballroom opened and the crowd started moving in. Former WFAA anchor Gloria Campos sat on stage at the head table reviewing her notes. Since her “retirement” from the anchor desk, she’s become the go-to-gal for emceeing lunches. But on this day, she was hobbling a bit. Seems that she had tried out some new shoes while checking out the newly opened Continental pedestrian bridge. The shoes had a reputation for being comfy. Wrong! They resulted in a painful blister perfectly positioned at the Achilles heel. Gloria reported that as soon as the luncheon was over, she saw a flip-flop weekend in her future. In the meantime, a bandage cushioned her wound and the shoe.

Speaking of ladies of retirement, Sr. Margaret Ann Moser looked spectacular. But like Gloria, her retirement has not resulted in staying home watching “Golden Girls.” She’s still working with Ursuline 20 hours a week. BTW, construction is underway on Ursuline’s new athletic field that was named the Sister Margaret Ann Moser, O.S.U. Athletic Field earlier this year. Completion is scheduled for this fall.

Gloria Campos and Lynn McBee

Gloria Campos and Lynn McBee

By 11:55 Viola took her place at the head table. Someone in the growing crowd in the room applauded. Since the luncheon was benefiting Foundation for the Education of Young Women specifically the Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, FEYW CEO Lynn McBee was one of the guests at the head table. She was just back from the AFI salute for Jane Fonda. “I was over statted. They had me next to Meryl Streep.” Was the Academy Award winning actress a diva? “No, one of the nicest, most down-to-earth people. So were Morgan Freeman and Sally Fields.” A few of the others were “more distant.” But Lynn was officially mum on who they were.

At 12:13 Gloria recognized various judges in the audience and caught the audience up on her life after WFAA — she had sat next to 43 at a Rangers game, was grand marshal at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, prom queen at Promise House, etc.

Kelli Hinson, Dena DeNooyer Stroh and Beverly Goulet

Kelli Hinson, Dena DeNooyer Stroh and Beverly Goulet

At 12:16 ASC Co-Chair Dena DeNooyer Stroh explained what the 400-member group’s purpose and how it’s raised more than $3.9M over the years for area nonprofits. She then told this year’s recipient, Irma Lerma Rangel School.

ASC Co-Chair Kelli Hinson joined Dena in presenting American Airlines with the “Friend of the Community Award” to AA Chief Integration Officer Beverly Goulet.

Kim Askew

Kim Askew

Honorary Chair/ASC Founding Member Kim Askew admitted that when ASC started, she never envisioned such growth. She was especially pleased that the day’s luncheon was benefiting the Irma Rangel School and “expected many of them (Irma Rangel students) to be sitting in this room one day or rooms like it.”

Vivian Taylor

Vivian Taylor

At 12:29 p.m. Lynn McBee how the school came about and recognized longtime Principal Vivian Taylor. Following a video on Irma Rangel, Gloria introduced a recent school graduate — Karla Guadalupe Garcia Ricos. If the adult speakers up to this point had been excellent, Karla blew them all out of the water. With a killer smile, positive attitude and no notes, she told of how Irma Rangel had been a life-changing experience. She was the first high-school graduate in her family. Her parents emigrated from Mexico and her mother often reminded the almost 18-year-old that if they had stayed in Mexico, Karla would probably “have been someone’s housekeeper and I would probably have two children by now.” Instead she was the first high school graduate in her family and had received a dozen scholarships to attend college.

Karla Guadalupe Garcia Rico and Viola Davis

Karla Guadalupe Garcia Rico and Viola Davis

Then she dropped an ironic note. When her father left Mexico at the age of 16 with nothing and no family, his first job was working at the power plant at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She then revealed, “Now 33 years later, through his sacrifice, through my mother’s, through my family, through the FEYW, through all the support and nourishment that I received, I will be coming back not as a laborer but a student.”

After that, she left no doubt that a presidential run in 2040.

At 12:52 p.m. Viola told how she was raised in abject poverty. At the age of five, she was told that the way out was education. Her father beat her mother constantly and Viola knew that she didn’t want to be her mother. As a child, she squelched her shame, insecurity and fear by overachieving. To prove that point, she told how by the age of 14, she received a scholarship from the Daughters of the American Revolution. Still inside she felt she was not good enough. Viola would gravitate toward competition.

Then at 28, she hit the wall. She recalled that when she was nine, her father was trying to break her mother’s legs. She ran into the bathroom and prayed to God that she by the time she counted to 10, she would disappear. When she hit 10 and was still there, she said, “I knew you didn’t exist.”

Years later at Julliard and she felt like “crap.” She won a Tony nomination and yet was depressed. Professionally and educationally, she wasn’t her mother’s daughter. But personally she was. Recognizing the situation needing fixing, she went to therapy. Two years ago when she was nominated for an Academy Award, she realized that she had a purpose — to be a voice of women of color in a male dominated industry.

That little girl, who had been so fearful in that bathroom, had overcome her fear. Then as an aside, she admitted, “I think I was low balling it when I gave God 10 seconds.”

Her advice to the room — “You’ve got to release the fear. It’s okay to be scared, but keep it moving.”

In closing, she told how she had a sister “who didn’t make it out.” Then out loud she wished an organization like this had existed for her sister.

At 1:15 Viola received a stand ovation. And who knows? She may have met a future U.S. President.

Dallas CASA Executive Director/President Beverly Levy To Hand Over The Leadership Role To Attorney Kathleen LaValle

Mondays always seem to bring good news! And this note from Dallas CASA proves it. After a nationwide search, a new executive director and president has been announced.

Beverly Levy, Caroline Rose Hunt and Dedie Leahy (File photo)

Beverly Levy, Caroline Rose Hunt and Dedie Leahy (File photo)

It’s hard to imagine that 20-year veteran Beverly Levy is stepping down from the leadership position, but she will be followed by Dallas’ own Kathleen LaValle, who has “been actively involved with Dallas CASA for more than a decades and comes into her new role with a deep understanding of the organization’s goals and a passion for its mission.”

Kathleen LaValle*

Kathleen LaValle*

“We are delighted that Kathleen has accepted this position,” said Dallas CASA Board Chair Greg May. “She has been a strong advocate for CASA for many years, and we feel fortunate to have her vision, insight and leadership in helping Dallas CASA continue to grow and fulfill its vital mission in the community.”

In addition to serving as president of the Dallas CASA’s board of directors, she has chaired the Champion of Children Award Dinner.

According to Beverly, “Kathleen has provided remarkable, selfless leadership and service to Dallas CASA and has been a tremendous advocate in the legal community for our children as well. Kathleen has been a ‘guardian angel’ for CASA, and we don’t give out that title easily.”

Before taking on this new assignment, Kathleen was a partner for more than 20 years at Jackson Walker LLP, where she was instrumental in leading the law firm’s women’s initiative, “which has helped to make Jackson Walker one of the top firms in the state in promoting women to partnership.”

In addition to the new leadership, Dallas CASA is just settling into its new digs on Swiss Avenue, where its volunteers help Dallas County children who have been removed from their homes and are waiting for the courts to decide where they can safely and permanently live.

* Photo provided by Dallas CASA

Round Robin May 21: Equest Luncheon KO, Cattle Baron’s Live Auction Preview Party And CACCC’s Sponsor Reception

Despite summer nearing the North Texas fundraisers continued on with reporting results and making plans for the future on Wednesday, May 21. Traffic crammed and jammed the freeways and the local streets and restaurant parking lots were squealing like piglets in an oversized litter.

Equest Luncheon Kick-Off

Looking like a very lost Toto searching for Dorothy, drivers drove on one of the side roads along Preston Road looking for the home where the Equest Luncheon Kick-Off was taking place.

Robin McGonigle

Robin McGonigle

One extremely well-known fundraising socialite was seen throwing her hands up over the steering wheel of her Mercedes as she tried to locate the venue.

Another very savvy type admitted, “We’ve gotten spoiled without valets. It shows we’re clueless.”

But once inside Robin McGonigle’s home, there was a pop-up shop for Trina Turk in the dining room. But guests somehow bypassed the dining room for the friends in the family room.

Sarah Losinger and Fredye Factor

Sarah Losinger and Fredye Factor

The occasion was the announcement of those to be honored at the October 7th luncheon at Brook Hollow. Event Chair Angie Kadesky revealed that buddies Fredye Factor and Sarah Losinger will be honorary co-chairs and Debbie Oates will receive the Community Service Award.

Flowery footnote: When asked about the peonies, floral designer Cara French told a guest a secret. Seems Cara had an event when she had to get the peonies to open and show off. Using a hairdryer, she tried to encourage the blossoms to come forth and nearly scorched her fingers. The next day she located another collection of peonies. They opened on cue without hesitation. Must have gotten a heads-up from their predecessors. FYI: Peonies are now really in season. They’re like roses on steroids.

Cattle Baron’s Live Auction Preview Party
Joe Pacetti

Joe Pacetti

On the other side of the I-75 pond, the Cattle Baron’s Ball gals and their fellas gathered upstairs at Mesero Miguel for what was billed as a sneak preview of some of the live auction items.

Looking around the room with flutes kissed by a healthy dose of tequila, the only signs of auctionables were a knock-out pair of earrings from Joe Pacetti.

Another gem making the rounds was the news that Mary Martha Pickens and Tia Wynne had been named the 2015 CBB co-chairs for the American Cancer Society fundraiser.

Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County Gala 2014 Sponsor Party

North of the Bush Turnpike, more than shopping was taking place at Willow Bend’s Neiman Marcus. The Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County sponsors were high-fiving about the $615,000 raised at the April 12th gala at the Anatole. You remember that one. It was where Huey Lewis and the News provided the sounds.

Cathy Riccardi, Xavier Dominicis and Cindy Sutley*

Cathy Riccardi, Xavier Dominicis and Cindy Sutley*

In addition to celebrating the funds raised, plans were announced for the May 2 gala. It will be returning to the Hilton Anatole and the co-chairs will be Cathy and Richard Riccardi. Since Richard “could not make it” to the sponsors party, Cathy did double duty.

Tami Wadlington, Carolyn Anderson and Daryl Kirkham*

Tami Wadlington, Carolyn Anderson and Daryl Kirkham*

Among those hearing the news were Rent-A-Center’s Xavier Dominicis, Cindy Sutley, Anne Davidson, Mark Porter, Cindy and Reed Schnittker, Sharmila and Sunil Dharod, Megan and Brian Angle, 2014 Honorary Co-Chairs Judy and John Gay and First Private Bank’s Tami Wadlington, Carolyn Anderson and Daryl Kirkham.

Stay tuned. The headlining entertainment is still to come.

* Photos provided by Children's Advocacy Center of Collin County

Entrepreneurs For North Texas Inducts Dartmouth Wildcatter Trevor Rees-Jones Into Ring Of Entrepreneurship

Late-night TV hosts have really missed an opportunity to have an articulate Texan with an Ivy League degree and a down-home way — Trevor Rees-Jones.

Randall Goss

Randall Goss

That was apparent at the Entrepreneur for North TexasAnnual Spirit of Entrepreneurship at Communities Foundation of Texas, when he was inducted in to the Ring of Entrepreneurship. In the lobby and courtyard guests like Frank Risch, Randall Goss, Ellen and John McStay, Eric Bennett and Jo and Andre Staffelbach attended the cocktail reception. Bobby Lyle reminded guests that Trevor had given the largest donation ever to the Circle 10 Council Boy Scouts of America — $25M.

Jo Staffelbach

Jo Staffelbach

On a table in the lobby were opportunities for guests to bid on “Facetime” with such people as Garrett Boone, Jim Keyes, Herb Kelleher and Colleen Barrett, Bobby Lyle and Phil Romano.

Jan Rees-Jones, Trevor Rees-Jones III and Trevor Rees-Jones Jr.

Jan Rees-Jones, Trevor Rees-Jones III and Trevor Rees-Jones Jr.

Jan Rees-Jones was all in white and glowed. She revealed that son Trevor III and his girlfriend, Jenny Ebeier, were engaged and planning a fall wedding.

To dress up the place appropriately for such types, Aston Martins were parked in the courtyard with impressive price tags. Try $313,355 with a disclaimer that the average gas cost would be $3,750 per year.

Aston Martin

Aston Martin

Trevor, asked about being inducted into the entrepreneurs circle, admitted, “It feels great. The past honorees were men and women of significant talents and entrepreneurial spirit who all contributed in different ways. So it’s a tremendous honor.”

Looking around the room he said how as a 9-year-old his family had lived nearby on Centenary. It was before CFT was built and was part of the Caruth farm. Trevor and his friends would play there by “rolling tunnels” through the tall grass. When asked whether the Caruths let them play there, he said, “I don’t know that they knew! They’d-a had to find us first, and we were little kids who ran real fast!”

After he’d received a number of congratulations from friends in the VIP reception, Trevor quietly left through a door opened to the adjacent assembly hall to review the arrangements for the evening in CFT’s assembly hall.

Brent Christopher

Brent Christopher

The Dartmouth grad with his deep Texas accent was handling the staging with the finesse of a Tony-winning producer. He wanted to make sure that the youngsters asking the questions were comfortable. Yes, he would start off on stage in a chair, but he just might wander the stage.

No, he wouldn’t need a mic. His voice would carry.

On the sidelines, the ever-dapper CFT President/CEO Brent Christopher was looking a bit sheepish. Someone had recommended that he set the evening mood by his attire. After all, the evening’s theme was “Wildcatter Risk, Philanthropic Return.” Was it the turquoise chaps? The white cowboy hat? Well, at least Brent maintain his identity wearing his signature bowtie instead of a bolo tie.

Wildcatter Risk, Philanthropic Return

Wildcatter Risk, Philanthropic Return

At 6:51 p.m. the hall was filled to capacity. The Boy Scouts presented the flags. Brent welcomed the guests. EFNT Board of Advisors’ Patrick Brant subbed in for EFNT Executive Director Pam Gerber, who was under the weather. He and EFNT Program Director Sejal Desai presented Imaginuity Interactive and Montgomery Coscia Greilich LLP with the EFNT’s North Star Ward for providing “a sense of direction for others to follow for making North Texas an extraordinary place to live and work.”

Next up was Mayor Mike Rawlings, who introduced Trevor. It went off with only an itty-bitty hitch. He told of Trevor’s going to Dartmouth and his many accomplishments. Then he said that Trevor got to Dallas as soon as he could. Guess no one had told Mike that Trevor was a native son.

Trevor Rees- Jones

Trevor Rees- Jones

That’s when Trevor took his place on the stage and showed his showmanship. Only surprise was he did need the mic, because the crowd was so big that the back row was craning their necks to hear every word.

The questions were posed by young people who each represented a different organization in which Trevor and Jan had been involved. After each question was asked, Trevor thanked them by name.

Brittney Johnson, Mildred White, Juan Martinez, Ahsan Vency and Aubrey Parker

Brittney Johnson, Mildred White, Juan Martinez, Ahsan Vency and Aubrey Parker

  • Brittaney Johnson from Circle of Support Dallas asked what were the attributes of strong character. Trevor’s answer: “There seems to be a lot of people dealing in grey areas these days. But, the difference between right and wrong more often is associated with black and white. It’s either right or wrong.”
  • Mildred White from Project Transformation asked what book or story inspired him in charity. Trevor’s answer: The Bible. “We are a Christian foundation and organization. … We are stewards of our wealth. Use it in ways that glorify our lord.” He then joked, “Hope he also lets us use some for our personal use. I’m also hoping that the ‘eye of the needle and camel’ story is not literally true.”
  • Juan Martinez of Communities in Schools asked who had encouraged him to start the charity? Trevor said he was escaping being a lawyer at the beginning. “I couldn’t stand it. There’d too much in the gray. That was an unnecessary comment! … You need to find something you enjoy doing. [So he got into oil and gas] For 15 years, I lost. Only won enough to keep going.”
  • Ahsan Vency representing Boy Scout Troop 758, asked whether Trevor had been in the Scouts. Trevor said he was a Boy Scout, adding, “I did receive the rank of the Eagle.” He went on to explain that the Scouts have a time-tested model that’s been around a long time. “It helps you develop self-confidence and sense of self-worth.”
  • Aubrey Parker of Chase’s Place, asked what he had wanted to do growing up? Trevor says he loved to spend time outdoors. “I wasn’t much of an indoors guy.” He rode his bicycle everywhere. The early signs of entrepreneurship started when he caught crawdads and tadpoles, put them in a bucket and sold them to neighborhood kids: 1 cent, 3 cents, five cents (if it had four legs). He also caught birds. Cardinals went for 25 cents each. Aubrey then asked what he loved to do? Trevor answered that one by first admitting that it was going to be a “selfish answer: to spend time at our ranch. I just love being in the outdoors. Trace it back right to here: ‘rolling tunnels” at Caruth Farm!”

Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center Adds Research Institute And Dr. Jeffrey Wherry To Its Arsenal In The Battle Against Child Abuse

The Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center has been at the forefront in the battle against child abuse. While some might mistake this as a local grassroots effort, they’re so behind the times.

DCAC has been setting a leadership role when it comes to “our nation’s most critical issues” in dealing with child abuse.

The most recent component is the DCAC Research Institute that will “provide leadership on evidence-based practices, with a particular focus on the effectiveness of intervention, investigations, long-term outcomes and prevention services for child abuse victims.”

According to DCAC COO Dr. Ashley Lind, “This Institute allows DCAC to explore the gaps in understanding and lead national research focused on how CACs affect children’s lives.”

It was just announced that Dr. Jeffrey Wherry has been named Director of the Institute. Having previously served as the Rockwell Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Texas Tech, where he “founded and directed the Adverse Childhood Experiences Clinic at the Institute for Child and Family Studies,” he has “nearly 35 years of professional expertise in the field of child abuse.”

Jeffrey said, “I am confident that DCAC is one of the best CAC’s in the nation. This is a perfect marriage, as it affords me the opportunity to do more meaningful research to help children and their families not only in the present but also years down the road.”

The Institute is funded by a grant from RGK Foundation and Hillcrest Foundation.

21st Annual Genesis Lunch Showcases Champions And Victims In Dallas’ War Against Domestic Violence

On Thursday, May 8, weathercasters tossed aside their jackets for the roll-up-your-sleeves look. The day was prepping to be a real newsmaker and it didn’t disappoint. The Zoo-To-Do organizers had already decided the day before to postpone their kick-off party at the Dallas Zoo. After all, it was to be an indoor/outdoor affair.

Still the Genesis Women’s Shelter luncheoners weren’t be to dissuaded. The teasing of Mother Nature of what was-to-come later in the day was irritating. A sprinkle here. A sprinkle there. Alas, no commitment to a downpour confronted the 21st Genesis Luncheon guests. The option of self-park or valet had many hesitating as they made their way through the Anatole complex.

Pat Conroy

Pat Conroy

That slo-mo arrival may have explained why the VIP photo opp with keynote speaker Pat Conroy was not too overwhelming. Just fine for Pat. He’s the kind of fella who does more than “grip and grin”. After having a photo with him, guests were thrilled to spend time chatting with the acclaimed author. Why, shoot! He’s a southern-born gentleman and must have the longest Christmas card list since Santa.

But eventually the hundreds and hundreds made their way into the Chantilly Ballroom, despite the late arrivals still showing up. Before taking her seat at her table, Nancy Rogers told Jan that there were still people trying to arrive, like Dallas First Lady Micki Rawlings, who was seated at Honorary Chair Lydia Novakov’s table.

But schedules had to be kept and the luncheon program had a number of items to fulfill.

Following propriety, the Master of Ceremonies welcomed the group and the Rev. Dr. Sheron Patterson gave one of her powerful invocation. For lunch, Chair Bunny Cotten came up with a delicious idea — a menu inspired by “The Pat Conroy Cookbook” including an appetizer (crab Louis), main course (pan friend chicken with Charleston grits, green beans, tomatoes and pearl onions with sweet potato biscuits and jalapeño cornbread muffins) and dessert (black pepper and pear tartin) was served.

Crayton Webb

Crayton Webb

Following lunch, Mary Kay’s Crayton Webb gave a rousing talk about domestic abuse and the HeRO (HE Respects Others) program. “We have to talk to our kids about healthy relationships. . . We know who they (the abusers) are. We have to look them in the eye and say this is not acceptable. . . . What is offensive is that we have to be here today. That domestic violence in our society in 2014 is still a predominant problem.”

There are only three qualifications to be in the HeRO program. You have to be male, pay $100 and have a background check. That last item got a laugh from the crowd.

In presenting the second annual HeRO Award to WFAA’s Dale Hansen, Crayton described Dale as a person “who isn’t afraid to offend anyone.”

The longtime sports anchor, who most recently made headlines about his stand on the NFL’s first openly gay player, accepted the award emotionally recalling his childhood memory of his father breaking his mother’s nose. In addition to the award, Dale receive a standing ovation.

Susan Wells Jenevein

Susan Wells Jenevein

Genesis Executive Director Susan Wells Jenevein then recognized “special guest” Dallas Police Officer Joshua Burns, who had been shot in February while responding to a domestic abuse report. She also praised the efforts of Corporate Heroes, organizations whose leadership “share our zero tolerance for domestic violence in the workplace.”

Susan then announced that the Jane Doe Award had been presented the night before to Jennifer Staubach Gates representing the City of Dallas Domestic Violence Task Force.

Jan Langbein

Jan Langbein

Then former Genesis Executive Director/current Shelter Ministries of Dallas CEO Jan Langbein gave a personal, heartfelt introduction for Pat. Of all the past Genesis speakers, she admitted that Pat held a very special place in her memory and heart.

Dale Hansen and Pat Conroy

Dale Hansen and Pat Conroy

And rightly so. The New York Times best-selling author, who looked like he and Dale had been separated at birth, talked about his childhood of witnessing domestic abuse time and time again thanks to his father. Even as an adult, Pat’s and his siblings’ suffering didn’t end.

There was his sister who at her father’s dying bed still regretted never having heard her father say he loved her. When Pat told her that there hadn’t been a day when their father hadn’t told Pat the he loved her, she nearly blew a gasket. Realizing that he had truly hit a nerve, Pat told her that he was kidding.

And then there was his youngest brother Tom’s suicide in 1994. It only seemed to be a continuation of the childhood violence and fear that haunted the family of the Great Santini.

For some it was hard to see this likable fellow acknowledge a childhood of pain that had taken a toll, but as Pat reminded them, there had been no Genesis for his family to turn to for help. All the more reason for the day’s lunch and the Genesis’s advocacy.

Round Robin May 7: Can Do! Patron Reception, Genesis Luncheon Patron Dinner And Cattle Baron’s Trailblazer Party

Just before thunder, lighting and buckets of rain hit Dallas on Wednesday, May 7, the non-profit swell-egants were in high spirits.

Can Do! Luncheon Patron Party

The Wilkinson Center’s Anne Reeder was thrilled. Her Can Do! Luncheon had its inaugural year in 2013 and had been such a hit that the upcoming May 13th event was within two tables of being sold out. Last year’s luncheon really tested guests with tornado warnings in the area, but still they came, they saw and they had such a great time, they signed up for this year’s event.

Anne and Terry Conners

Anne and Terry Conner

The secret to this year’s near sell-out success? Perhaps it was due to the fact the “unsung heroes” like Anne and Terry Conner and the Women of St. Michael were this year’s honorees. Like last year’s awardees — Ellen and John McStay and Highland Park United Methodist Church — this year’s group are well-known for amazing deeds but especially known for flying under the radar. And doesn’t everyone love to celebrate hardworkers, who rarely get appreciated?

Bryan Diers, Susan Hardie and Missy Huber

Bryan Diers, Susan Hardie and Missy Huber

And since it was such a beautiful evening, Milagros and Horacio Moros opened the backyard terrace and yard of their Preston Hollow home for Leslie and Bryan Diers, Susan Hardie, Missy Huber, Luncheon Chair Christie Carter and Tiffany and Paul Divis to party with Hunter Sullivan crooning away with his musicians.

Genesis Luncheon Patron Party

Jan Hegi, Pat Conroy and Ellen McStay

Jan Hegi, Pat Conroy and Ellen McStay

Just blocks away on the other side of the Tollway, Nancy and Randy Best hosted a seated dinner for 73 patrons of the 21st Annual Genesis Luncheon. (BTW, Nancy is president of the Genesis Women’s Shelter Board of Trustees.)

Parties at the Best estate are the best, don’t you know! The cocktail reception took place in the entry hall spilling into the living and dining rooms. At one point, a blonde gent appeared at the front door. He was none-other than the guest of honor/luncheon speaker Pat Conroy. Looking more like your best buddy from high school, he quickly was surrounded by new BFF’s and eased into conversation.

Leslie McCabe, Jan Langbein and Barbara Walker

Leslie McCabe, Jan Langbein and Barbara Walker

Jennifer Staubach Gates and John Gates

Jennifer Staubach Gates and John Gates

But soon it was time for supper. But before settling back in the fabulous dining room with its stage and grand piano, a little exercise was in order. So, guests like Ruth and Ken Altshuler, Marianne and Roger Staubach, Jennifer Staubach Gates and John Gates, Jan and Fred Hegi, Ellen and John McStay, Jan Langbein, Susan Wells Jenevein, Barbara Walker, Leslie McCabe, Sidney Powell, Victor Sperandeo and Di Johnston took the stairs leading to the “best” collection of antiquities. And we’re not talking Marie Antoinette chairs. Each time one gets to visit the upstairs museum, it’s like discovering new OMG treasures that date back to prehistoric man.

Ruth and Ken Altshuler, Sidney Powell and Victor Sperandeo

Ruth and Ken Altshuler, Sidney Powell and Victor Sperandeo

Cattle Baron’s Ball Trailblazer Party

Max Stallings band

Max Stallings band

Before the sun even tried to set, The Rustic was maxed out with all types of Cattle Baron’s Ball sponsors for the Trailblazer to hearty party.

Isabell Novakov

Isabell Novakov

Sponsored by PlainsCapital, the venue could handle the overflow crowd of 400 thanks to the outdoor picnic tables and party grounds with a wall of lanterns and a stage for Max Stallings and his band.

CBB-er Lisa Ogle admitted their timing was perfect realizing that the next 24 hours of storming weather would have created an entirely different scenario.

Gibbs Henderson and Marjon Zabihi Henderson

Gibbs Henderson and Marjon Zabihi Henderson

As Max sang on stage and soft drinks cozied up to Miller Lites in a canoe filled to the brim with ice, the crowd included Isabell Novakov, Janie and David Condon, Nancy Gopez, Anne and Steve Stodghill, Katherine LaLonde, D’Andra Simmons and Jeremy Lock, Marjon Zabihi Henderson and Gibbs Henderson, Elizabeth and Alex Laurenzi, Joanna Clarke, Lauren Chapman, Kristi Hoyl and Dee Simmons looking forward to picking up her new puppy, Maddie, on Saturday.

Comerica Bank Joins Up With Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center For “Give Back, Buy A Backpack” Program

With school winding down, no self-respecting school kid wants to think about returning to the grind in the fall. On the other hand, the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center and Comerica Bank are already making plans.

The two are partnering up for DCAC’s second annual Give Back, Buy a Backpack with Comerica being the title sponsor. Starting officially in June, they’ll undertake a month-long effort to raise enough money to provide “backpacks and necessary supplies for a successful school year” for 1,000 youngsters.

DCAC President/CEO Lynn Davis reports, “This campaign is a quick and easy way to make a difference in the life of a child, by providing them with the tools and resources they need to be successful in school.”

So, exactly what are “necessary supplies”? In the olden, golden days, they were things like a #2 pencil, a fountain pen, paper book covers, a Pink Pearl Eraser, Elmer’s glue, a ruler, a mini-stapler, blunt-tip scissors and, of course, a Big Chief Writing Tablet.

Nowadays, supplies are basically the same. School kids still need writing utensils, paper and stuff. But these backpacks extend beyond the basics. They also include “school uniforms and gift cards for any extra items the children may need, including basics like underwear, shoes and socks.”

According to Texas Market President for Comerica Bank J. Patrick Faubion, “We heard about DCAC’s successful inaugural backpack donation drive in 2013, and wanted to step up, support and add value to this critical program that helps local children have a better chance at success in the classroom. In addition to Comerica sponsoring the back-to-school drive, volunteers are excited about helping stuff the backpacks with brand new supplies and clothing, and presenting the children and their families with their back-to-school kits in July.”

While the program doesn’t start until June, why not get your kids involved by collecting money now to contribute to the effort. Every $25 donation will provide a child with the backpack and supplies. It’s never too early to start learning about fundraising.

JUST IN: Baseball Legend Joe Torre To Headline The Family Place’s Texas Trailblazer Luncheon On September 17

Gene Jones, Laura Bush and Charlotte Anderson

Gene Jones, Laura Bush and Charlotte Anderson

Ran into Carol Seay at the Salvation Army Fashion Show yesterday at Brook Hollow where former First Lady Laura Bush was honorary chair and the “experienced” clothes were disappearing from the racks.

But more about the show and luncheon later. What was pried out of Carol is that former All-Star baseball player, four-time World Series champion manger of the New York Yankee Joe Torre will be the headliner at The Family Place’s September 17th Texas Trailblazer Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole.

This summer Joe will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Oh, what’s the connection between the baseball legend and domestic abuse? Margaret’s Place.

What’s Margaret’s Place? So many questions, but good ones!

Joe and his wife Ali created Safe At Home Foundation and established Margaret’s Places in New York, New Jersey and California, where middle and high school students are provided with a “’safe room’ to talk to each other and a professional counselor trained in domestic violence intervention and prevention about violence-related issues.”

The reason for creating such a program was because as Joe puts it, “When I was growing up, my father was a bully. My mother [Margaret] faced verbal and physical abuse from my father. If he didn’t like the food mom made, he would throw it against the wall. He used to make her get up in the middle of the night to cook for friends he brought home.

“Although I did not get phys­i­cally abused myself, I grew up in fear because my mom did. I was shy and dad would make fun of me. When­ever I saw his car in the dri­ve­way, I didn’t want to go home. One win­ter, when I was 12, my older brother Frank (20) said to my father, ‘We want you out of the house. We don’t want any­thing other than the house we live in. We don’t want any­thing from you. Just leave.’ And he left.

“Grow­ing up in a home where there was domes­tic vio­lence was very dif­fi­cult and left last­ing scars. Although I didn’t real­ize it then, I used to feel like the abuse was my fault. I felt help­less and alone. For many years, I felt ashamed and worthless.

“In those days, no one in my neigh­bor­hood knew what was hap­pen­ing in my home, or if they did, nobody talked about it. I did not talk about it because I was afraid. I didn’t know who to turn to for help.”

Carol along with daughter-in-law Stephanie Seay and Stephanie and Travis Hollman are co-chairing the event.

More news will be developing. Stay tuned.

Round Robin April 22: Crystal Charity Ball Theme Reveal And Trinity Trust’s Trails & Ales

The night of Tuesday, April 22, was one of those rare evenings when the outdoor Dallas was simply beyond perfect and Dallasites were taking full advantage of it. For instance, the Community Partners of Dallas celebrating the Dallas County Child Protective Services Caseworkers and their families at the Dallas Arboretum. It was a very special evening for those who are on the frontline of protecting children in neglectful and abusive situations.

Other activities in the area included:

2014 Crystal Charity Ball Theme Announcement Party

The first clue should have been the location of the Crystal Charity Ball theme announcement party — The Joule. As guests exited their cars curbside, they were directed to the glass elevator that took them to the rooftop terrace. Perhaps it was the weather being so spring-like, but the ladies in attendance had their brightest colors on. And those jewels!

Stacy and David Blank, Robyn Conlon and Linda Secrest

Stacy and David Blank, Robyn Conlon and Linda Secrest

CCB Chair Robyn Conlon, Linda Secrest, Patty Leydendecker and Shelle Sills were diamond dolls from the tips of their fingers to their ear lobes.

As soon as they got out of the elevator into the open-air terrace, word was passed, “Have you seen the model in the back?”

Mariah Wilcox

Mariah Wilcox

A couple of guests decided they would wait for “the model” to mosey in their direction. Wasn’t going to happen. The model was as stationary as the big eye across the street. In a scene akin to Dallas Blooms was model Mariah Wilcox lounging in an elevated garden setting with fern eyelash extensions and Mother Nature bustier from the brains of Jan Strimple, Tom Addis and Junior Villanueva. Twinkling among the greenery was around  $3 million worth of jewelry. Yup! As Diamond Doctor David Blank looked like a proud papa, the jewels were spectacular rings in the shape of butterflies and flowers and sweeps of diamonds draped from her ears. In her up-swept brown hair were broaches and around her neck was an OMG diamond necklace.

Diamond Doctor "Jewels in the Garden"

Diamond Doctor “Jewels in the Garden”

Jeweled broaches, earrings and necklace plus fern eyelash extensions

Jeweled broaches, earrings and necklace plus fern eyelash extensions

Midway through the evening Robyn told the gathering, “I wanted to do something that had never been done before, something important to me that involved family, friends, summer in California, and Christmas. The last thing you want from Tom Addis is to have his eyes glaze over, though, so it was back to the drawing board! Then we came up with something every woman loves: flowers and jewelry. The theme is Jewels of the Garden.” The announcement was met with approval as the ladies already were thinking jewel-tone gowns and new gems to go with them.

Earlier, Bank of Texas’ Bob White thanked the group for their tireless work to help the children of Dallas and said how pleased he and his team were to be part of the effort.

Also speaking was new Joule General Manager Justine Fields, who had previously been the hotel’s chef. He joked that if they enjoyed the food being served, they could attribute it to him.

After her announcement, Robyn told the group to get back to partying.

Instead of long, drawn-out speeches, the whole reveal and follow-up lasted less than five minutes. The CCB ladies have to raise more than $5M, so there’s no time to waste.

Trails & Ales

Report from the field about the Trinity Trust’s Trails & Ales.

The Trinity Trust Rat Pack and River Rats members held the second event of its Trails & Ales series on a perfect spring evening. More than 150 people and pooches met underneath the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge to explore the soon-to-be-completed Trinity Skyline Trail that runs along the Trinity River for 4.6 miles in the Trinity River Corridor. Guests enjoyed beer and wine with sliders from the Butcher’s Son, while they played corn hole and took many photos of themselves along the skyline. Daniel Rodriguez, an acoustic guitar player, played music that set the mood for this outdoor party.

Daniel Rodriquez*

Daniel Rodriquez*

Amber Arseneaux, The Trinity Trust events and center coordinator, led the scenic walk for the group and pointed out the Trinity Skyline Trail connects to the Trinity Overlook Park and the Margaret McDermott Bridge, currently under construction. She told guests, “The Trinity Skyline Trail stretches from Commerce Bridge in West Dallas to the Sylvan Bridge, where it crosses the river and back down to Commerce on the downtown side.”

Amber Arseneaux and Gail Thomas*

Amber Arseneaux and Gail Thomas*

Dr. Gail Thomas, president of The Trinity Trust, said, “The view of downtown Dallas and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge from the base of the Trinity was spectacular, and we want everyone to enjoy the green space we have right here in the heart of the city.”

Tierney Kaufman, Stephen Ellis with his dog Bill*

Tierney Kaufman, Stephen Ellis with his dog Bill*

Tierney Kaufman, The Trinity Trust development and outreach coordinator, said, “For those who enjoyed this event, you will want to join us for our exclusive sneak peek of the Continental Avenue Bridge on May 4. In order to do so, join The Trinity Trust Rat Pack or River Rats, and you will receive an invitation before the general public opening in June.” She thanked the sponsors of the event, Ben E. Keith, Dexter & Company and Pinnacle Financial Group.

Kaufman also mentioned several upcoming Trinity related events, including the opening celebration of the Trinity Skyline Trail on June 15:

May 13: The Trinity Trust salutes Judy Kelly for her third Emmy for Bridging The Trinity For The Love Of The City, a documentary commissioned by The Trinity Trust. The event, which is free, is from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at The Trinity Trust, 1444 Oak Lawn Ave., Suite 200, Dallas, TX 75207. RSVP to [email protected] or 214.740.1616.

May 17: Trinity River Wind Festival – A free family and dog-friendly event that celebrates the beauty and spirit of the wide open spaces along the Trinity River right in the heart of this thriving city. Activities include the spectacular Japanese Kite Makers and other wind driven recreational fun and action at the show kite arena, Frisbee dogs, bounce houses, clowns, music and more. Visit http://TrinityRiverWindFestival.com for information.

June 15: Trinity River Revel – The Continental Avenue Bridge and the West Dallas Gateway will open for pedestrian and bike use. Also opening that day is the Trinity Skyline Trail and the Sylvan Avenue Bridge. Visit http://TrinityRiverRevel.com for the latest details.

* Photo credit: Jerry McClure

Award-Winning Swimmer Diana Nyad Won Over The Appetite For Advocacy Audience With Laughter, Honesty And Compassion

Diana Nyad is a funny gal. On one hand, you think this woman is your very best pal from junior high school who covered for you when your PE teacher called you a wimp. On the other hand, she is an adult who despite winning countless accolades for her strength, determination and courage, had suffered years from childhood sexual abuse.

Lynn Davis, Carole Murray, Diana Nyad and Scott Murray

Lynn Davis, Carole Murray, Diana Nyad and Scott Murray

After reviewing the staging for the Appetite for Advocacy Luncheon Thursday, April 17, she seemed to disappear while the 900 guests like Jacqueline Anderson, Lisa and Marvin Singleton, Wendy Messmann, Jennifer Sampson, Benyae Rogers, Pam Busbee, Barbara Brice, Jill Rowlett, Jean Lattimore, Dick Collins,  Yvonne Crum, Isabell Novakov, John Clutts, Ellen Terry, Marti Carlin and Ronnie Berg, sipped champagne in the lobby at the Sheraton Dallas Conference Center’s ground level.

Wendy Messmann, Ronnie Berg and Marti Carlin

Wendy Messmann, Ronnie Berg and Marti Carlin

Once the ballroom doors opened, the guests quickly got to their chairs and lunch was underway with Debbie and Ric Scripps receiving the Ruth Altshuler Award and State. Sen. Royce West with the Bill Walsh Award.

Royce West

Royce West

At 1 p.m., Royce introduced a video of Diana, after which she headed for the stage. No need for the podium. One of the production staff had warned the others, “She’s a walker,” meaning she likes to be mobile on the stage.

She blended humor with the gut-wrenching reality of betrayal and sexual abuse by two men — her charming father and her coach.

It started with her father when she was just 5. He told her that their name “Nyad” was in the dictionary and she was special. While he was indeed charismatic, he was also a con man who made the FBI’s “Most Wanted List.” He was also a sexual predator and she was one of his victims.”

At 10 her coach/geography teacher/Olympian swimmer told her that she was going to be the best swimmer around. He was a father figure who was just like her father, unfortunately.

At 14 she went to his house, and “in a gripping, violent few minutes I suffered a rape from my coach.”

Later that night she said it was not going to let this control her. She avoided swim classes afterwards. But she continued to swim.

Years after the records were set, she tried and tried to swim the treacherous waters filled with box jellyfish, sharks and powerful currents from Cuba to the U.S. Each time she failed. Finally one of her team members said, “You know, Guam is awfully nice this time of year. Perhaps we could try something else.”

Then at 30 she started working for ABC Sports and “it was a good life.”

In recovering from her childhood abuse, she regretted that there had been no DCAC in her life to advocate for her needs. For decades the wound was there and not healing.

Then, 15 years ago, she was seated next to an older woman. There was a tattoo on her wrist. For the next half hour, the woman told how she had been a 3-year-old Jewish child in Poland during the Nazi takeover. Her father had been shot. Her mother and 6-year-old sister were taken away never to be seen again. The toddler became the SS officers’ concubine. Eventually the Allies arrived and rescued her. She was then raised by a family in Paris. One day her adopted mother took her into the garden, where the child told the mother all the details of the abuse that she had endured. The mother told her she would never forget what happened. Poet Mary Oliver’s question became her calling: “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

She admitted, “I swam with a lot of anger when I was a kid.” But now she was swimming with joy.

Regarding her successful Cuba to U.S. swim in 2013, she got a laugh from the audience telling them that people had confronted her about “looking terrible at the end of the swim.” She was proud of the way she looked.

During the swim she told how she would sing to keep a tempo going. To prove the point, she started singing Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee” and got a round of applause. Someone exclaimed, “She can sing, too!”

During the swim she was eating 700 calories an hour and still lost 29 pounds.

Finishing her talk, she revealed that during her tour of DCAC she had cried. With her eyes tearing up, she told the audience, “You call me anytime.”

As the petite swimmer stepped down from the stage, everyone else stood up to give her a standing ovation.

Writer Julia Reed Became Everybody’s BFF At Community Partners Of Dallas’ Chick Lit Luncheon

There were rumblings about writer Julia Reed. At the Chick Lit patron party on Thursday, April 3, in the Carolina Herrera boutique, Community Partners of Dallas Executive Director Paige McDaniel and her sidekick Joanna Clarke were just downright giddy. “You’re going to love Julia!”

But a half hour into the party, the guest of honor hadn’t arrived. That was okay. There were tornado warnings in the area and bumbershoots were starting to be the accessory du jour. Perhaps Mississippi-born Julia was too dainty to broach the threatening weather. That theory would later prove to be as wrong as wearing muck boots to the Art Ball.

The next day those previous rumblings of “You’re going to love Julia” had heightened to the likes of a pep rally at Brook Hollow for the Chick Lit Luncheon. The VIP party was jammed with guests. Which one was Julia? Word had passed that she had indeed made it to the Herrera party and won a whole new crowd of fans before heading to dinner at Café Pacific with former First Lady Laura Bush.

Say, “What!” She had dinner with Laura?

Julia Reed

Julia Reed

Finally edging through the crowd, a tall brunette with poreless skin and a thick head of brown hair with excellent highlights was spotted. She was surrounded by other women, who were not budging. After all they had come to the conclusion that they were indeed the brunette’s new very best friends in the entire world.

But the camaraderie was obvious. There was an ease about her that made her appear to be comfortable whatever the situation. Let’s just face the fact that there are people who have the gift to make others feel like they’re unique and confidantes. Julia Reed is one of those rare creatures. She makes you remember those slumber parties when you and your very bestest bud shared secrets, or at summer camp, when your camper galpal taught you how to shave your legs.

But there was no time to talk during the reception. The fundraising luncheon schedule had to be respected and hundreds like Kate Rose Marquez, Skye Brewer, Elizabeth Gambrell, Sara Martineau, D’Andra Simmons, Christie Carter, Kristina Whitcomb, Liz Tankersley and Honorary Chair Jennifer Burr Altabef were waiting throughout Brook Hollow for the program to begin.

Cindrette McDaniel

Cindrette McDaniel

In the ballroom Presenting Sponsor Lara Tafel’s guests like Cheryl Brown and Amanda Ward were taking their place front and center just before the stage. To the side of the stage, Paige’s mom Cindrette McDaniel was joined by Neiman Marcus Downtown’s Marjon Zabihi Henderson and Hayley Louden. That was curious. NM presence had been present in the past. Hmm.

Marjon Zabihi Henderson and Hayley Louden

Marjon Zabihi Henderson and Hayley Louden

Before Julia took over, Luncheon Chair Jennifer Evans Morris presented the 8th Annual Partners for Children Award to the Junior League of Dallas for their “commitment to meeting the philanthropic needs of our community.” Of the 25 years that CPD has been “ensuring safety, restoring dignity and inspiring hope to abused and neglected children served by Dallas County Child Protective Services,” the JLD has been involved for 21 of them.

Lara Tafel

Lara Tafel

Before Paige led the group in singing “Happy Birthday,” she had guests don party hats. At the completion of the song confetti showered the stage. Party hats were soon removed as Paige talked about the children who are helped time and time again through CPD.

Jennifer Morris and Paige McDaniel

Jennifer Morris and Paige McDaniel

Following lunch (pecan-crusted chicken on mesclun greens, dried cherries and apricots and maple-balsamic dressing accompanied by ciabatta bread with goat cheese and Southern-style cherry pie), Paige returned to the podium, where she announced that NM had sent a birthday gift to CPD. Out of a NM box, a pair of Louboutin stilettos were pulled. The message: CPD would be the recipient of the 2015 Stiletto Strut at NM Downtown. (In checking with Marjon, it was learned that NM would be taking a pass this year on the annual strut-athon and would return in the fall of 2015.) Ah, so that’s why the two NM gals were lunching.

At 12:20 p.m. Julia took over the podium. Now, this group has seen and heard some of the country’s most popular girly-type speakers including Gigi Levangie, Allison Winn Scotch and Emily Giffin, so this wasn’t their first talk-rodeo. They had heard everything from Hollywood gossip to personal challenges. Now, their word-of-mouth, built-up expectations were on the line.

Julia Reed

Julia Reed

With a Southern drawl that is longer than the Mississippi River, Julie connected immediately with her audience. It was obvious that she was comfortable in her skin and made everyone else in the room feel right at home with her. If she name-dropped, she did it not to impress but to share. She talked about

  • her landing her job as contributing editor for “Newsweek” handling both New Orleans politics and the monthly “Food and Drink” column
  • writing for Vogue and its editor Anna Wintour and fashion guru André Leon Talley
  • and her latest book “But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria!”

Let’s face it. To have described in a post her stories would not do the tales nor Julia justice. Her delivery was just too engaging and hit the spot. So, for the first time, MySweetCharity is going to post a couple of video clips of Julia on highlights:

The first dealt with a previous Chanel fashion show in which designer Karl Lagerfeld focused on transparent skirts. Following the show, Julia, André and a movie producer from Clarksdale, Mississippi, attended a press conference with Lagerfeld. (Editor’s note: This clip includes some language that some might feel inappropriate. If so, pass on viewing.)

Following her talk, Julia took questions from the audience including what she thought of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West on the cover of “Vogue” and what would be [Julia’s] last meal. For your consideration, here is the G-rated video.

The videos are proof why MSC realized its own limitations in describing a situation. Julia in person was simply indescribable. If you were there, you know it. If you weren’t there, you missed a great time.

Record-Breaking Long-Distance Swimmer Diana Nyad May Not Be “Dancing With The Stars,” But She’ll Be At Appetite For Advocacy

Diana Nyad*

Diana Nyad*

Dancing With The Stars” followers were watching tonight to see if contestant Diana Nyad would be voted off tonight. They were worried about her being able to juggle her being the keynote speaker for the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s April 17th Appetite for Advocacy Luncheon at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel with her dancing duties. In fact, her dancing on might have only brought more attention to the focus of her talk ― childhood sexual abuse.

Darn it! The swimmer, who has faced jellyfish, oceans of seawater and doubting Thomases, danced a farewell dance that would have rated a good score even from Len.

On the other hand, she’ll be all rested up for the luncheon, where Debbie and Ric Scripps will receive the 2014 Ruth Altshuler Award for their dedication and commitment to the children of Dallas County.

According to DCAC President/CEO Lynn Davis, “The Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center is honored to call Debbie and Ric Scripps treasured friends and well-deserving recipients of this award for their outstanding contribution to children in need. You would be hard pressed to find an organization serving children in this community that they have not supported with their time, talent and resources. They have been an integral part of the growth of our agency, and we are so grateful for the active role they have played and continue to play in improving the lives of children in Dallas.”

* Photo provided by Dallas Children's Advocacy Center