MySweetWishList: Frazier Revitalization

According to Frazier Revitalization Community Engagement Advisor Hank Lawson,

Hank Lawson*

“Hopelessness becomes a way of life early for children in the Frazier neighborhood south of Fair Park, where poverty and urban decay are rampant. But, when you look into the eyes of the children here, when you peer deep into them, you can see and feel them saying, ‘Show me, show me the way…. Help us to believe in ourselves, to have hope.’

“That’s why the nonprofit Frazier Revitalization started the Frazier Kids afterschool program. This program is successfully getting elementary-aged children off the streets and into positive experiences, supporting their academic and social growth. It is a part of our broader strategy to bring positive growth and change to the Frazier neighborhoods.

“A majority of the children in our program attend the Paul L. Dunbar Learning Center, where only 1 out of 5 children in grades three and above meet grade-level for reading and mathematics. Our program provides these high-need students educational enrichment and targeted tutoring programs.

“Additionally, we holistically address the complex social-emotional needs of these students, many who have faced poverty-related trauma. Our Social-Emotional Learning activities create a positive and proactive environment that enhances peer relationships and helps reduce incidents of teasing, aggression and bullying. 

Frazier Revitalizaiton*

“My wish this holiday season is for critical funding to serve the children of Frazier Kids. We will provide tutoring and literature circles; physical activity and recreation; arts and crafts; enrichment activities; and a snack and dinner to every child four days a week. We are also expanding our technology to bring students iStation, an interactive learning program that engages students in reading and math.

“You can be part of the answer for these children, as they search for hope, look for guidance and seek to believe in themselves and others. Your support of Frazier Kids will give them the opportunity to succeed in school and the skills needed to face poverty-related trauma.

“To learn more about Frazier Revitalization’s programs, visit frazierdallas.org or contact me, Hank Lawson, Community Engagement Advisor, at [email protected].”

-Hank Lawson, Frazier Revitalization Community Engagement Advisor

* Graphic and photo proved by Frazier Revitalization

MySweetWishList: Christmas In The Park

According to Christmas In The Park Volunteer Nita Clark,

“My wish is to help the SM Wright Foundation achieve its goal of securing 15,000 toys, one for each child attending this year’s Christmas in the Park event on Saturday, December 16! We are closing in, but we can always use your donations:  http://www.smwrightfoundation.org/content/donate-today/ .

Nita and Clark Cullum*

“Christmas in the Park is an annual event serving tens of thousands of residents of Fair Park and South Dallas – an area of Dallas with very high unemployment and scarce infrastructure and support. Christmas in the Park has grown beyond giving a toy or a bike to each child, but now provides winter coats, mattresses for kids who have no bed, plus books, a job fair, a college fair, hot meals, groceries, clothing, bus passes, gift cards for Walmart and help with utilities payments. 

“The Rev. SM Wright II pulls this off every year through the help from volunteers, members of the South Dallas community and corporations and donors from the greater Dallas community. Please help by supporting the toy drive.  You can also help by volunteering at the event!  Just email [email protected] to register. Like any great Christmas party, it’s sometimes chaotic, but always fun!

“The Christmas in the Park event is the best opportunity of the year for the SM Wright Foundation to reach families in the Fair Park area for the first time. Once the Foundation makes contact with a family, it can bring the adults into the computer skills training program, and kids into the South Dallas Top of the Class Community Tutoring Center. The Foundation helps people throughout the year with various immediate needs- from food at the Operation Hope Food Center, to clothes to help with rising electric bills. Again this year, there is a college expo with a dozen representatives from area colleges present, a job fair, hot meal, gift cards and bus passes. Please join us in participating in this joyous and meaningful holiday event! Christmas in the Park happens on Saturday, December 16, at the Automobile Building in Fair Park.”

-Nita Clark, Christmas In The Park volunteer

* Photo credit: Dana Driensky

MySweetWishList: Educational First Steps

According to Educational First Steps Board Member and Chief Secret Santa Coordinator Jennifer Mosle,

Jennifer Mosle*

Educational First Steps*

“Everyone likes a Secret Santa! Educational First Steps does the extraordinary: transforming low income childcare centers in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods into nationally accredited early learning centers that serve thousands of children in North Texas. Our ‘one wish’ for this holiday season is to help grant a Secret Santa wish for each of the centers that have worked over a three-year period to reach national accreditation – that would be 53 wishes! 

“You see, these centers are so financially strapped they can’t afford vans to transport the children, shade structures for the playground, playground equipment, or even that new stove for the kitchen where they cook up to three meals a day for the children in their care while their parents work. 

“We hope you will decide to be an Educational First Steps Secret Santa and grant a wish for one of our deserving accredited centers.

“Wishes are available in three Secret Santa levels:

  • “$5,000 – will get a Gold Star on our Holiday Tree and 10 books donated to the center in your name
  • “$2,500 – will get a Silver Star on our Holiday Tree and 8 books donated to the center in your name.
  • “$1,000 – will get a White Star on our Holiday Tree and 5 books donated to the center in your name

Educational First Steps*

“Monetary or in-kind gifts like those mentioned above will make a lasting, meaningful gift to these centers that will allow them to create safe and nurturing learning environments for generations of children.

“To become a Secret Santa for Educational First Steps, simply visit www.educationalfirststeps.org or contact Educational First Steps Senior Development Director Judy Schecter at 214.824.7940. Thank you!”

-By Jennifer Mosle, Educational First Steps Board Member and Chief Secret Santa Coordinator

* Photo provided by Educational First Steps

MySweetWishList: Community Partners Of Dallas Toy Drive

According to Community Partners of Dallas CEO/President Paige McDaniel,

Community Partners of Dallas’ annual Toy Drive is now underway!  I wish for the community to help us in providing more than 12,000 holiday gifts for abused and neglected children in the care of Child Protective Services. CPD is accepting donations of new toys through Friday, December 8.

This year we have received 1,000 more wish requests for abused and neglected children in Dallas County, and need the support of the community to ensure that every one is filled. We can send you 2 wishes, 20 wishes or 200 – all donations are welcome!

Paige McDaniel*

Community Partners of Dallas’ Toy Drive is unique in that the wishes are brought to the agency by CPS caseworkers on behalf of the children in their care, and those same caseworkers will have the wonderful opportunity to deliver the gifts personally. For many of the children, these might be the only gifts they receive, and for some the first holiday gift they have ever been given.

A significant need this year is gift cards, valued at $25 or more, for the teens we serve.  Gift cards from retailers such as Target, Wal-mart, Bath & Body Works, Forever21, GameStop, Academy, Old Navy, Ulta and Best Buy are always appreciated as every teen should have the experience of shopping and selecting something for themselves.  As well, popular wishes for kids of all ages include Paw Patrol toys, African American Dolls, Sophia the First toys, Batman, Spiderman, learning toys for toddlers, bath and body gift sets, anything from Disney’s Frozen, light up toys, MP3 players, LEGO Sets, remote control cars, toddler push toys, tablets, LeapFrog toys and basketballs/footballs/soccer balls.

Toys and gift cards can be provided by companies, churches, scout troops, business offices, or individuals. Organizations and individuals can also organize a new toy drive for the undesignated toy collection used to serve additional children who come into CPS’ protective care after the wish list deadline and to fill wishes not selected by donors.

All gifts should be new and not wrapped. Toys must be delivered to the Community Partners of Dallas’ Toy Drive Warehouse at the Peacock Alley Warehouse located at 2050 Postal Way, Dallas, Texas 75212, no later than 3:00 p.m. on Friday, December 8.  For more information on participating in the Toy Drive or for warehouse hours, contact Corinne Karp, 214.624.7588 or visit www.communitypartnersdallas.org.”

-By Paige McDaniel, Community Partners of Dallas CEO

* Photo provided by Community Partners of Dallas

Bethenny “Skinnygirl” Frankel Served Up One Of The Season’s Most Talked-About Presentations At The Annual Chick Lit Luncheon

On Friday, April 21, the annual Chick Lit Luncheon became the scene of two social earthquakes that split the Anatole’s Grand Ballroom. But more about that later. First, let’s set the scene.

Cristal Champagne

To kick off the Community Partners of Dallas fundraiser, the VIP reception was held in the Plum Blossom Room and, thanks to hosts Nancy and Richard Rogers, guests celebrated with Cristal Champagne. At the opening there were grand silver punch bowls filled with the elite champagne bottles chilling in ice. By the time the chimes called the guests to the luncheon, only a trio of partially filled bottles remained.

Tricia George, Paige McDaniel, Gail Fischer and Mary Martha Pickens

Lara Tafel

Nancy Rogers and Bethenny Frankel

Alas, keynote speaker Bethenny Frankel didn’t enjoy the bubbly, thanks to a non-stop of step-and-repeat photo session with folks like Co-Chairs Tricia George and Mary Martha Pickens, Presenting Co-Sponsor Lara Tafel, Honorary Chair Gail Fischer and daughter Elizabeth Fischer, Lisa Cooley with daughter Ciara Cooley and soon-to-be daughter-in-law Bela Pjetrovic and her sister Sabina Pjetrovic, Dee Simmons and daughter D’Andra Simmons Lock, Elizabeth Gambrell, Margo Goodwin, Cheryl Joyner, Tiffany Divis, Claire Emanuelson, Christie Carter and Cindy Turner.

Tiffany Divis and Bela Pjetrovic

D’Andra Simmons Lock and Dee Simmons

Elizabeth Gambrell, Margo Goodwin and Cheryl Joyner

As the guests literally filled the grand ballroom, Bethenny was whisked off to a private spot for some quiet time. But little did anyone know that in the hour and a half to come, the grand ballroom would be the scene of two distinctly different attitudes.

Some claimed it was a generational separation. One guest snorted, “It’s those millennials!” Another declared the other side of the great divide to be behind the times. It was just that “the times they are a-changin‘” for the decade-old luncheon featuring authors.

The old days of the Chick Lit at Brook Hollow with pecan crusted chicken and G-rated speakers like Stacey Ballis, Julia Reed, Gigi Levangie, Allison Winn Scotch, Emily Giffin and Jen Lancaster were in the rear-view mirror.

Last year’s move to the Anatole with Tim Gunn charming one and all in an on-stage chat had shifted the program to a new level. It was like moving from grade school to high school, from Shirley Temples to Cosmopolitans or from Boy Scouts Camp to Quantico.

But when the announcement of Bethenny’s being the keynoter came, lovers of reality TV were ecstatic. For them, it was like having the Pope serve mass at the local parish. For those who only considered the word “Bravo” to be what was said after a stellar performance, Bethenny was a rather unknown commodity. Didn’t matter. The Chick Lit Luncheon had always been fun and a fundraiser for a good cause.

Still, there were warnings that Bethenny might raise some eyebrows and that the uneducated might need to be forewarned and study up on the Skinnygirl.

Despite warnings that Bethenny was not your same-old, same-old, CPD loyalists signed on. In the meantime, new world reality TV lovers bought in with hopes of a “tell-it-like-it-is” presentation.   

So, what happened? Well, the first “earthquake” took place before Bethenny ever arrived on stage.

Mary Martha Pickens, Mary Ella Bitzer and Tricia George

To kick things off, CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel presented the 2017 Partners for Children Award to Mary Ella Bitzer representing The Bitzer and Needleman Families and Peacock Alley. Unfortunately, whether it was due to poor acoustics or to all the chatter in the room, the presentation seemed to take place without much fanfare.

Faith Johnson

When Dallas District Attorney Faith Johnson provided the invocation, she was heard throughout, thanks to the lack of talking. But the chitchat kicked back in once Paige returned to the podium, and the first of the divides created a Grand Canyon among the guests. Looking like unhappy emojis, some strained to hear Paige, while others held steroid conversation to such a point that even those frowny-faced guests close to the stage had to rely on lip reading to “hear” Paige talk about the importance of the organization’s annual Christmas toy drive and how Peacock Alley had supported it. Some tried to silence the chatterboxes by clanging their silverware on their glassware, but even that couldn’t be heard above the racket. Perhaps the talkative guests had never attended a fundraiser before?

What made it more obvious was how the room went into a vacuum state of silence after Community Partners of Dallas Board Member Greg Nieberding introduced Bethenny and she arrived on stage. How quiet? At one point in her talk, a cell phone in the room rang and Bethenny interrupted her talk saying, “Somebody need to take a call?”

The svelte brunette, who had risen to fame thanks to reality TV and her “Skinnygirl” business empire, was both charming and disarming. On one hand, she couldn’t have been more upbeat and complimentary about North Texas women and the CPD. She even did a shout-out to “my friend Fancy Nancy Rogers” at a front row table with pals Dallas Snadon, Leisa Street, Michael Flores, Cindy Rachofsky and Niven Morgan and Shelby Wagner.

Dallas Snadon

Lori Jones, Nancy Rogers and Cindy Rachofsky

Leisa Street and Michael Flores

Shelby Wagner and Niven Morgan

On the other, she raised even the most heavily Botoxed brows with comments about “guano” (she didn’t use that word) and describing rich Dallas women as having Texas tea flowing from a particular body part (she put it much more colorfully). If you don’t get it, ask one of the thousand-plus who were there. They’re bound to recall the exact words.  

Some of the highlights of Bethenny’s talk included:

Bethenny Frankel

  • After having a rough childhood, she focused on “breaking the chain” in raising her daughter. She was not going to be “chained” to what others thought or what she had experienced as a child.
  • Finding balance in her life being a mother and a businesswoman.
  • Everyone has a great idea, but it’s the execution that matters, she said. Too often they get bogged down with the business plan or other aspects. “I would have never gotten into the liquor business had I known.”
  • Stay focused on your goals and don’t “look at the other lanes… I do my own thing.”
  • “25 years ago I was a bartender and had no idea I’d end up being an alcoholic… just kidding… I would end up founding a liquor company.”
  • She has founded an organization called “B Strong” to help women in crisis. “As women, we make a lot of decisions out of fear.”
  • “You can’t be pretty, tan, have sex, rich and sleep…I’m not tan, I don’t have sex and I’m  rich, but not like Dallas rich…. What the hell was I talking about?”
  • The night before on “Real Housewives of New York,” Bethenny had been confronted by another housewife over how she was dealing with her 6-year-old daughter about the fact that Bethenny had done a nude scene 27 years ago. “I just sat there and just took it and just said, I have no shame in my game. This is who I am. This is my past and I was an actress and I needed the money and I’ve done so many things in my life that got me to where I am, so I think that’s part of my owning it.” She went on, saying how “crazy it was for women trying to tear each other down.”

    Bethenny Frankel

  • “The least favorite element [of being on a reality show] is you get mired in something that you don’t even care about…You can’t believe that people can be so nasty and malicious. I think it’s a comedy. I see it as a satire. You can’t believe how fake people are. It’s amazing. You look around and any five people. You believe they are totally normal. ‘She’s so down to earth; she’s  so normal.’ She’s ‘guano‘ crazy!”
  • “I want to give you one tip. It’s changed my life. At night before you go to bed, for like five to 15 minutes, put in as much hot water as you possibly can in your bathtub and just your feet—not your whole body—in Epsom salts. It’s like a drunk. I don’t know what happens. I used to take something to sleep, but this knocks you out. It’s like detoxing and it’s crazy and it’s the simplest and oldest thing and has changed my life.”
  • Being an entrepreneur “is really hard. You’ve got to be out there. But it’s good. It’s like the ocean. It keeps changing and moving all the time.”
  • “I’m really a homebody. I like being with my daughter.”
  • When asked what the one thing she keeps in her refrigerator to make a meal, Bethenny responded, “I’m a big fan of the freezer. I travel so much that when I get home there’s always a frozen organic broccoli.”
  • Kale — “You can’t walk on the street without being assaulted by kale. I want to meet the kale publicist. What’s so great?”
  • The future for Bethenny — “I’m focused on this charity [B Strong]. I’m able to help women. Now that I’m not struggling and white-knuckling it anymore, I want to inspire women.”

Bethenny lived up to her honest, no-holds barred comments about her life, both past and present. She was true to herself. Some loved her words; some were perturbed by her presentation. Hey, when you go to a Mexican food restaurant, you can’t expect meat loaf to be the featured item on the menu.

Dallas AfterSchool’s 5th Annual Recess Netted $125,000 Thanks To Fun And Games

Robyn Siegel and Regina Merson*

Dallas AfterSchool’s 5th Annual Recess just took place Friday at the Arboretum and the bean counters have been busy, busy, busy.

Recess Co-Chairs Regina Merson and Robyn Sieger just reported the results. Thanks to digging for goodies in the sand pile, bag toss, playing musical chairs, balancing tumble tower, and dining on off-the-diet goodies, $125,000 was netted. BTW, that’s not the gross. It’s the real deal.  No kidding.

Musical chairs*

Dallas AfterSchool is celebrating its 10th anniversary and this is a sweet way to celebrate.

* Photo credit: Steve Wrubel

Keep An Eye On Santa

Around here Santa is considered the top-shelf elf of the season. Starting Saturday evening, the jolly old fellow and his team of reindeer will be making the rounds.

Santa Claus (File photo)

Just for fun, here is a link to him on his journey to deliver.

BTW, there are a heck of a lot of local organizations like Community Partners of Dallas, S.M Wright Foundation, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Command, Toys for Tots, Santa’s Helpers and North Texas Food Bank that helped Kris Kringle fill his bag with toys, bikes, clothes, food and all types of goodies.

Thank-you notes are not necessary, but milk and cookies would be appreciated by the North Pole resident.

MySweetWishList: Family Compass

Whitney Strauss (File photo)

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

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

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

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

MySweetWishList: Young Friends of Wilkinson Center

According to Young Friends of Wilkinson Center Co-President Kristen Johnson,

Kristen Johnson*

Kristen Johnson*

“As a volunteer and Co-President of the Young Friends of Wilkinson Center, I love helping at our annual Toy Distribution Party. I know that we have many more Adult Education clients this year who will struggle to provide Christmas gifts for their children.

“My Sweet Wish is for more toy donations, especially for older children ranging from ages 7-14 years old. 

“Some suggestions for girls and boys in this age group are: Minecraft toys, Easy Bake Ovens, remote/radio-controlled cars, skateboards, MP3 players, digital cameras, flat irons and curling wands. 

“This Toy Distribution happens this year on Saturday, December 17.  If you’d like to help, please email our volunteer coordinator, Adrienne O’Connor, or by calling her at 972.284.0301. 

“To donate online, please visit the Wilkinson Center website, www.wilkinsoncenter.org, and click donate.  We will be accepting toy donations until Thursday, December 15.”

-By Kristen Johnson, Young Friends of Wilkinson Center co-president

* Photo provided by Wilkinson Center

MySweetWishList: Community Partners Of Dallas’ Annual Toy Drive

According to Community Partners of Dallas President/CEO Paige McDaniel,

Paige McDaniel (File photo)

Paige McDaniel (File photo)

“Community Partners of Dallas’ annual Toy Drive is now underway! I wish for the community to help us in providing 11,000 gift wishes for abused and neglected children in the care of Child Protective Services. CPD is accepting donations of toys through Friday, December 9.

“For thousands of abused and neglected children in Dallas County, the holidays are just another day; one more day that they are reminded that no one cares. By supporting Community Partners of Dallas’ Toy Drive, individuals, organizations and companies can grant specific gift requests to children most in need of holiday joy.

“Community Partners of Dallas’ Toy Drive is unique in that the wishes are brought to the agency by CPS caseworkers on behalf of the children in their care, and those same caseworkers will have the wonderful opportunity to deliver the gifts personally. For many of the children, these might be the only gifts they receive, and for some the first gift they have ever been given.

“A significant need this Christmas is gift cards, valued at $25 or more, for the teens we serve.  Every teen should have the experience of shopping and selecting something for themselves.  Gift cards from retailers such as Target, Walmart, Bath & Body Works, Forever21, GameStop, Academy, Old Navy or Best Buy are always appreciated. As well, popular wishes for kids of all ages include bikes, African American Dolls, learning toys for toddlers, bath and body gift sets, ANYTHING from Disney’s Frozen, light up toys, MP3 players, LEGO Sets, remote control cars, toddler push toys, small tablets, LeapFrog toys and basketballs/footballs/soccer balls.

Community Partners of Dallas Toy Drive*

Community Partners of Dallas Toy Drive*

“Toys and gift cards can be provided by companies, churches, scout troops, business offices, or individuals. Organizations and individuals can also organize a new toy drive for the undesignated toy collection used to serve additional children who come into CPS’ protective care after the wish list deadline and to fill wishes not selected by donors.

 “All gifts should be new and not wrapped. Toys must be delivered to the Community Partners of Dallas’ Toy Drive Warehouse at the Peacock Alley Warehouse located at 2050 Postal Way, Dallas 75212 no later than 1:00 p.m. on Friday, December 9.  For more information on participating in the Toy Drive or for warehouse hours, contact Corinne Karp, 214.624.7588 or [email protected] or visit www.communitypartnersdallas.org.” 

-By Paige McDaniel, Community Partners of Dallas president/CEO

* Graphic provided by Community Partners of Dallas

yCPD Field Day Had Hershey Kiss Relaying And Booties And Bobble Heads Shaking For Community Partners Of Dallas

Forget camps Longhorn and Waldemar. The summer camp action was at The Rustic on Saturday, May 21, and the campers were of voting age. Leave it to Community Partners of Dallas to take its annual kids-friendly “Change For Good” and create an adult version — yCPD Field Day. Only there were no bounce houses or bungee jumping.

Paige McDaniels and Joanna Clarke

Paige McDaniels and Joanna Clarke

Taking place in the heat and humidity of Saturday, May 21, mist fans were in high roll and icy beverages were just a hand off away. Funny as it may seem, the coolest millennials were gangbusting the are-you-serious activities which were dreamt up by CPD Funmeister Joanna Clarke and Event Chair Sarah Carbonnet. Adding to the off-the-wall antics was KDFW (FOX) meteorologist Jennifer Myers at the mic. (Folks didn’t realize that red-haired Jenny was at the mic-helm. She had doffed her straight auburn wig to let loose her glorious “Annie” red curls and donning Jackie-O shades.)

Jennifer Myers

Jennifer Myers

Another head-turner was the A-Team that may not have won the games, but they sure knew how to pose!

Angela Edgell, Karie Kieffer, Diana Leach, Crystal Lightbody, Bobby Martin and Paige Martin

The A-Team team members Angela Edgell, Karie Kieffer, Diana Leach, Crystal Lightbody, Bobby Martin and Paige Martin

Here’s an eyewitness report from the shenanigans:

As they checked in, the 102 participants shopped the Mystery Bag station, which featured a variety of “mystery” prizes valued at $50 or more. For $25 each, purchasers were surprised with items including Texas Rangers and Dallas Mavericks tickets; a four course meal for 6 people in your home by The Cuisine Counselor; gift cards to Dallas favorites spots, such as Neiman Marcus, Javier’s Gourmet Mexicano, The PilatesBarre, Trinity Groves and St. Bernard Sports; Fossil Smart Bracelets; and bottles of liquor and wine.

Sarah and Cameron Carbonnet

Sarah and Cameron Carbonnet

Emcee Jennifer welcomed participants before introducing Field Day chair Sarah Charbonnet followed by CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel, who thanked all for their support of the 2nd annual event, which is hosted by the organization’s young professional’s group, yCPD. She then shared a recent example of the incredible work CPD does in partnership with Child Protective Services, made possible by the support from the community, including those in attendance.

After Jennifer reviewed the format of the day, the competition began with 17 teams of six competing for the title of “yCPD Field Day Champion.” DJ Andrew Figueroa of Everlasting Sounds provided the vibe as competitors took the field.

Booty Shaking

Booty Shaking

After the initial Qualifying Round, where all teams competed at 10 different games, including, Egg Race, Suck it Up, Wheel Barrow Relay, Booty Shaker, Gatorade Flip Cup, Bobble Head, Hershey Kiss Relay, Face the Cookie, Noodle Toss and Social Media station, scores were tallied to whittle down the field to the top 10 teams. The top 10 teams then competed in a Potato Sack Race to identify the top 5 teams, but the initial race was too close to call between 7 of the 10 teams and so a “sudden death” potato race was conducted in order to confirm the top 5.

Bobble Heading

Bobble Heading

Hershey Kiss Relay

Hershey Kiss Relay

The top 5 teams lined up for a classic field day game – the Three-Legged Race. Teams “Beer Pressure” and “McGuire, Craddock & Strother” took the top two spots for a place in the final.

Beer Pressure Team from the left (front row) Tara Callahan, Brianna Riddell and Katie McDaniel; (back row) Nic Waldron, Kevin Allen and Ron Johnson*

Beer Pressure team members from the left (front row) Tara Callahan, Brianna Riddell and Katie McDaniel; (back row) Nic Waldron, Kevin Allen and Ron Johnson*

Where last year’s final round, Tug of War, showed who had the most brawn, this year’s round, the Obstacle Course, required a different set of skills. The round started with a Brain Teaser, where teams had to solve a word puzzle before moving to the next station. Station 2 called for each team member to leap frog over the other to the 3rd station – Tunnel Crawl. After each member of the team crawled through the tunnel to the other side, the team moved to the final station, which brought back one of last year’s favorite qualifying round activities – Sponge Relay. Both teams rushed to fill up sponges full of soapy water and wring them out in an adjacent bucket, but “McGuire, Craddock & Strother” quickly took the lead and finished well ahead of “Beer Pressure.”

McGuire, Craddock and Strother team from the left (front row) Claire Carroll and Jack Gannon; (back row) Grant Blair, Jon Mitchell, Michael Trecha, Erin Dowell, Clair Gannon and Walt Prudhomme*

McGuire, Craddock and Strother team members from the left (front row) Claire Carroll and Jack Gannon; (back row) Grant Blair, Jon Mitchell, Michael Trecha, Erin Dowell, Clair Gannon and Walt Prudhomme*

The 2016 winning team (and last year’s champions as well) was McGuire, Craddock & Strother (Claire Carroll, Jack Gannon, Grant Blair, Jon Mitchell, Michael Trecha, Erin Dowell, Clair Gannon and Walt Prudhomme).

Championship prizes for each team member: $50 gift card to The Container Store, a massage at COREhealth Wellness Center, a 2-week pass and swag bag from Orange theory Fitness, 2 class passes from Flywheel Indoor Cycling and trophy.

With the final round complete, all participants stayed for the after party featuring the Rustic’s cocktails and savory fare including double queso, brisket quesadillas, boar meatballs, onion-y rings and French fries.

2nd Annual Field Day sponsors were:

  • Blue Ribbon Winner ($2,500) – Brunswick Group and Apex Clearing;
  • Red Ribbon Runner UP ($1,000) – Orange Theory Fitness, Riveron Consulting and Shackelford;
  • White Ribbon ($500) – Embassy Suites Dallas Park Central, The Hartnett Law Firm, Sarah and Cameron Charbonnet, McGuire Craddock & Strother, Greg Beane Family Law, Premier Transportation and Paige McDaniel and
  • DJ Sponsor – COREhealth Wellness Center.

Despite the heat and humidity, this event was one that proved fundraising is cool.

* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron Smith

Fashion Guru Tim Gunn Packed ‘Em In At Forty Five Ten’s T Room For Community Partners Of Dallas’ Chick Lit Patron Party

Tim Gunn

Tim Gunn

Not since Rob Lowe and Kevin Costner hit the North Texas area has a man been swarmed like New York Times best-selling author and overall fashion arbiter Tim Gunn was at the 10th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon Patron Party.

Laverne Nieberding and Greg Nieberding

Laverne Nieberding and Greg Nieberding

Yipes! Taking place at Chick Lit Honorary Chair Brian Bolke’s Forty Five Ten, the place should have been big enough for the guests, the fashions and Tim. But with Tim meeting-and-greeting guests like Luncheon Chair Kristi Hoyl, Melissa Sherrill, D’Andra Simmons, Anne Stodghill and Greg Nieberding with his mom Laverne Nieberding in the T Room, the place was as tight as a stamp on an envelope.

What made it more challenging was Tim somehow managed to locate himself against one of the bars. Goodness, bubbly and Tim together resulted in celebration and selfie-action as everyone wanted a flute of champagne and a photo with Tim.

One lovely evidently was new to celebrity get-togethers and decided that she was Tim’s one-and-only, resulting in more than her fair share of special time with him. But Tim proved as proper and charming as his attire, chatting it up with the gal until someone suggested that others might like some quality time with Tim, too.

Lara and Robert Tafel

Lara and Robert Tafel

Organizers were amazed at how generous Tim was. His contract limited his time at the patron party to 45 minutes, but he stayed way beyond the time limit.

Paige McDaniel and Juilette Coulter

Paige McDaniel and Juilette Coulter

Another couple of Chick Lit celebs were Lara and Bob Tafel, who have been on board in supporting the Community Partners of Dallas fundraiser since its inception. But their involvement is more than being the presenting sponsor of the annual get-together. In the midst of all the partying, Bob voiced genuine concern that recent legislative developments were increasing the need for CPD’s efforts.

And speaking of the 10th anniversary, CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel proudly wore a new piece of jewelry, a necklace spelling out sparkly Chick Lit in its signature font. She told how she and CPD Director of Development Joanna Clarke had had the necklaces especially made for those like Lara, Juliette Coulter and Kristi Bare who have attended all 10 years of the CPD fundraiser.

And while the guests kept coming and coming, it was still an early night because the luncheon was the next day at the Hilton Anatole.

MySweetWishList: The Warren Center

According to The Warren Center Director of Development Tara Null,

Tara Null*

Tara Null*

The Warren Center*

The Warren Center*

“The Warren Center is hosting their annual Christmas Family Fun Day on Saturday, December 19, at the Dallas Arboretum. Our wish is that each child receives a donated wrapped gift to take home and enjoy.

“The Warren Center’s Family Fun Day is a free event offered to the families served by The Warren Center.”

-By Tara Null, The Warren Center Director of Development

* Graphic and photo provided by The Warren Center

Gentle Reminder: Community Partners Of Dallas Toy Drive Deadline Nears

The Community Partners of Dallas had quite a goal for its Toy Drive to provide “two gifts each to more than 5,500 abused and neglected children in the care of Child Protective Services.”

Just in case you thought you could wait until Christmas Eve to drop the goodies off, rethink that. The drop dead deadline for delivering the toys is 1 p.m. tomorrow (aka Friday, December 11).

Community Partners of Dallas Toy Drive*

Community Partners of Dallas Toy Drive*

As CPD’s Paige McDaniel reported, “This year’s most popular wishes include bikes, African American dolls, items from Disney’s ‘Frozen,’ Easy Bake Ovens, boom boxes, riding toys for toddlers, Buzz Lightyear Action Figures, Barbies, basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, learning toys for toddlers, like a Vtech Learning Laptop, Dora dolls, MP3 players, LEGO sets, Tonka trucks and Bath and Body Works sets.

“All gifts should be new and not wrapped. Toys must be delivered to the Community Partners of Dallas Toy Drive Warehouse at the Peacock Alley Warehouse located at 2050 Postal Way, Dallas, Texas 75212, no later than 1:00 p.m. on Friday, December 11. For more information on participating in the Toy Drive, contact Corinne Karp, 214.624.7588 or visit www.communitypartnersdallas.org.”

BTW, want to bet that money will be accepted, too?

* Graphic provided by Community Partners of Dallas