The Wilkinson Center’s Spirit of Taos Kick-Off Party Guests Shared Chuckles And Tales Of Parking Challenges At Gypsy Wagon

Henderson Avenue is such a hot spot. Whether it’s dining or shopping, it has been the place to be and be seen. And on a Thursday night, that situation ramps up the population mega times. That’s why traffic jams can turn the avenue into a parking lot at times. A parking spot is as rare as a wrinkle on a fresh face lift. Valets tend to serve as parking life guards.

Caitlin Morris Hyatt and Anne Reeder

But on Thursday, September 28, there were no parking lifeguards in sight for the Spirit of Taos kick-off party for The Wilkinson Center at Gypsy Wagon despite the invitation promising “complimentary valet parking.” But what the heck! Like war vets, guests had chuckles and tales to tell about their ability to relieve themselves of their vehicles.

Millie Winston and Anne Conner

The Wilkinson Center Executive Director Anne Reeder was surprised. She had gotten there early and parked across the street. But that parking lot with its automatic check-in was a wee bit persnickety. Karrie Cato tried to feed it a $20 bill and it wouldn’t take it. Another guest upon receiving her receipt was informed by the readout that she had checked in a 5:51 p.m. Looking at her ticker, she saw the time was actually 6:24 p.m.

Anne Conner giggled that she had indeed valeted. But it was at The Porch and she led them to believe that she was indeed dining there.

But who cared? The weather was just a step above perfection and a little stroll never hurt anyone. Once guests got inside and saw the booty for purchase that would be perfect for the Spirit of Taos fundraiser at The Lot on Friday, November 3, their parking cares were history.

Meridith Myers Zidell, Elizabeth Wivagg and Kathy Koons

Co-Chairs AC Contreras, Caitlin Morris Hyatt and Meridith Myers Zidell have arranged for Leah and Rick Margerison to serve as honorary co-chairs for The Wilkinson Center’s annual fundraiser featuring music by Blake Martin and Downtown Fever, Matt Thornton handling the emcee duties and loads of silent auction items.

And, yes, there will be valet parking at The Lot, as well as a lot of cute clothes from Gypsy Wagon.

Sold-Out Alert!: Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 32nd Annual Luncheon

Dallas Women’s Foundation*

So sorry if you held off on getting your ticket for the Dallas Women’s Foundation fundraising luncheon on Friday, October 20, at the Hilton Anatole. Luncheon Co-Chairs Shonn Brown and Lisa Singleton just reported that the 32nd Annual Luncheon featuring Dr. Hope Jahren is sold out.

BTW, if you didn’t get your reservation in, there’s always the hefty check that just might a spot available. In the meantime, the following sponsors have their place setting locked down:

  • Platinum sponsors — U.S. Trust and Lyda Hill
  • Speaker sponsors — Suzanne Ahn, M.D. Speaker Endowment Fund at Dallas Women’s Foundation and Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt
  • Crystal sponsors — American Airlines, The Men and Women of Hunt Consolidated Inc., Texas Instruments and Young Women’s Preparatory Network
  • Diamond sponsors — EY, FedEx, Freeman, Jones Day and Kimberly-Clark
  • Emerald sponsors — AT&T Inc., Ellenore and Kirk Baker/Carter Financial Mgmt., Barings Multifamily Capital LLC, Lucy and Henry Billingsley, Cecilia G. Boone, Chatham Hill Investment Partnership, Toni Muñoz-Hunt and Dan Hunt, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Paula and Ron Parker, Service King Collision Repair, Betty and Steve Suellentrop and Toyota
  • Gold sponsors — AdvoCare International LP, Sindley Austin, Bank of Texas, Baron and Blue Foundation, Ann M. Berger, Phyllis F. Bernstein, Brunswick Group, Nancy P. Carlson, Serena Simmons Connelly, Roslyn Dawson Thompson and Rex W. Thompson, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Cindy Engles/Dodee Crockett, The Episcopal School of Dallas, Patricia W. Fagadau, Amy L. Fikes, Frost Bank, Kay Winzenried and Sheila Gallagher, Greenhill School, The Hart Group Inc., Haynes and Boone LLP, Al G. Hill Jr., The Hockaday School, Jane and Michael Hurst, JLL, Locke Lord, Lottye and Bobby Lyle, Lynn Pinker Cox and Hurst, Marty Marks, Alice and Erle Nye, Parish Episcopal School, PepsiCo, Julia Simon/Mary Kay, Southwest Airlines, Tolleson Wealth Management, Trinity Industries Inc. and Donna M. Wilhelm
  • Silver sponsors — Aetna, Bank of America Plaza, Angie Bain, Julie Bleicher and Gail Griswold, Lael Brodsky, Shonn Brown, Veree Brown, CBRE, Capital One Bank, Children’s Health, Communities Foundation of Texas, Ka Cotter and Sidney Hicks, Cristo Rey Dallas, Kaleta A. Doolin, The Enrico Foundation, FedEx Office, Melissa Fetter, Marion T. Flores and Margaret Keliher, Michelle Frymire, Sidney Hicks, HilltopSecurities Inc., Hind for Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, HudsonLake, Insperity, JP Morgan Chase, Jackson Walker L.L.P., Brenda L. Jackson, Junior League of Dallas Inc., KIPP Dallas – Fort Worth, Kristi Kastl, Margaret Keliher, Katherine Glaze Lyle and Sharon Lyle, McKinsey and Company, Methodist Health System Foundation, Neiman Marcus, Ava Norris, Cecilia and Tim Norwood, Lori Reisenbichler, Karen J. Simon, The Sister Fund, Solis Mammography, Debby Hay Spradley, Gail Warrior-Suchy and Colleen Affeldt, Texas Woman’s University, Thompson and Knight, TIAA, UT Southwestern, UTA University Crossroads, The University of Texas at Dallas, Vinson and Elkins LLP, Katrina Watland, Westwood Management and Williams Family Foundation
* Graphic courtesy of Dallas Women's Foundation

Dallas Museum Of Art’s Decorative Arts Symposium Featured Three Renowned Experts On Furnishings, Gardening And Palettes

Attendees for the Dallas Museum of Art’s Decorative Arts Symposium expanded their understanding of art on Thursday, September 21. Thanks to Symposium Chair Beverly Nichols assembling John Hays, Ann Pailthorp and P. Allen Smith, the event showcased how art is not limited to canvases and sculptures. Here’s a report from the field:

The Dallas Museum of Art‘s Decorative Arts Symposium Chair Beverly Nichols, welcomed attendees to the Symposium on Thursday, September 21, at the Dallas Museum of Art. 

Melissa Fetter and Ann Hobson*

Penny Hardie and Mollie Crow*

Janet Evans and Debbie Raynor*

Cara French and Prissy Gravely*

Guests like DMA Board of Trustees Chair Melissa Fetter, Ann Hobson, Cara French and her mother Prissy Gravely, Janet Evans, Debbie Raynor, Penny Hardie and Mollie Crow arrived and enjoyed coffee and light breakfast bites outside the Horchow Auditorium.  On view in a vitrine were two pieces from the Museum’s decorative arts collection which had served as the event’s signature pieces: a Free form shape bowl with Tropicana pattern decoration (designers Frank Irwin and Helen McIntosh), (maker Metlox Potteries), c. 1955, earthenware, Dallas Museum of Art, 20th-Century Design Fund, 1996.111) and a silk brocade (maker and date unknown, silk, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Hart Miller, 1947.21.23). 

Once seated inside the auditorium, the DMA’s Eugene McDermott Director Agustín Arteaga welcomed everyone and thanked them for attending the second annual event which supports the DMA’s Decorative Arts Acquisition Endowment Fund.  

Agustin Arteaga*

Beverly followed to introduce the esteemed line-up of symposium speakers, which included award-winning garden designer, acclaimed author, television host and conservationist P. Allen Smith; John Hays, deputy chairman of Christie’s America and specialist in American Furniture and Decorative Arts; and Ann Pailthorp, Farrow and Ball’s leader of the North American Colour Consultancy Program for British craftsmen in paint and paper.    

John Hays, Ann Pailthorp, Beverly Nichols and P. Allen Smith*

Hays took the podium first and under the theme, Commander in Chief: A Few War Stories from John Hays’ Travels, he shared stories of extraordinary pieces he has found across the United States, which were sold at auction by Christie’s. Pailthorp followed with details about Farrow and Ball’s unmatched collection of paint and wallpaper, including details on what makes their colors and finishes distinctive. Smith, who designed the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens’ new edible garden, closed by sharing a virtual tour of Moss Mountain Farm, his American Greek Rival style-home, which included his stunning organic flower and vegetable garden “rooms,” orchards, farm animals and his heritage poultry breeds.   

The event concluded with an opportunity for audience members to ask questions of the panel. Immediately following, P. Allen Smith’s book, “Seasonal Recipes from the Garden,” and Farrow and Ball’s “How to Decorate,” were available for sale and for signatures by Smith and Pailthorp. 

As guests departed, they received a Farrow and Ball favor bag with a coveted fan deck featuring all 132 Farrow and Ball colours and an Autumn and Winter Inspiration guide.  

* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron Smith

Columbus Day Is The Holiday That Isn’t A Holiday

Monday is Columbus Day and it’s a tricky one. While banks, the U.S. Postal Service and Federal offices do consider it to be a holiday, the state of Texas doesn’t.

Bad news for the kiddos. Most schools will be in session.

So why not take a long lunch and be grateful that you weren’t on the Niña, the Pinta or the Santa Maria because accommodations weren’t exactly top drawer and they weren’t quite sure where they were headed.

BTW, Monday is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada. If you know a Canadian, wish ’em a happy Thanksgiving.

Cristo Rey Dallas College Preparatory Ribbon Cuts Academic Center And Undertakes Campaign For 37,000-Square-Foot Innovation Center

Cristo Rey Dallas College Preparatory is on the march to build and grow its campus in southeast Dallas. On Friday, September 15, more than 300 area notables gathered bright and early for the ribbon cutting of the brand new 32,000-square-foot Academic Center that was brought in under budget. Before the scissors snipped the ribbon, it was revealed that the campaign for the 37,000-square-foot Innovation Center was already underway with plans for a 2018 ground breaking. Here’s a report from the field:

Cristo Rey Dallas College Preparatory “welcomed home” students, families and donors, at a ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration of its new Academic Center on Friday, September 15. 

With more than 350 in attendance, the ceremony began with a welcome by Cristo Rey Dallas President Kelby Woodard. In his remarks, Woodard recognized the generosity of Cristo Rey’s many donors for making the 32,000-square-foot Academic Center a reality, especially the Winn Family Foundation, The Constantin Foundation and the Hamon Charitable Foundation. He also extended his heartfelt thanks to the Center’s Capital Campaign Co-Chairs Mary Blake and Chuck Meadows; as well as Frost Bank; the construction companies, Hill and Wilkinson, Marcer Construction and Perkins and Will; the School Sisters of Notre Dame; and the Cristo Rey board of trustees and staff.    

Following, Cristo Rey Dallas Board of Trustees President Richard Joyner added his gratitude and shared that because of the community’s overwhelming support the $9.4 million Academic Center was fully funded and came in under budget.   

For the 375 freshmen, sophomore and juniors attending Cristo Rey Dallas, the new Academic Center means 12 new classrooms, four science labs, teacher planning space, a TEAL (Technology Enabled Active Learning) room, a Student Life commons and a Corporate Work Study Program suite.    

Student Body President Gerard Cardenas perhaps summed up the excitement about the Center best in his remarks with, “Wow, look at this building!” And then added, “This building will enable us to become men and women of faith, purpose and service. This building will help us graduate ready to succeed in college and in life. Thank you.”  

Woodard returned and directed the crowd’s attention to the open land behind them, which will be the site of the school’s next expansion project, a 37,000-square-foot Innovation Center with gym, cafeteria, fine arts and counseling. The new building, expected to break ground in 2018 will also be the permanent home of the expanded Corporate Work Study Program suite, which will include conference and training rooms.  

He was then joined by Mary Blake and Chuck Meadows, Joyner and many donors for the official ribbon cutting.  Afterwards, the doors to the Academic Center were opened for a reception and tours.  

Chuck and Mary Blake Meadows, Kelly Roach, Cheryl Joyner and Laura Einspanier*

Ribbon-cutting ceremony attendees included Mary Blake and Chuck Meadows; Melinda Winn, Chris Winn and Alicia Winn of the Winn Family Foundation; Hilda Galvan of Jones Day; Scott Moore of PwC; Katie Robbins of Hoblitzelle Foundation; Laura and Jim Einspanier; Barbara and Jack Fraker; Mary and Mike TerryCheryl and Richard Joyner; Barbara and Jim Moroney; Kelly Roach of The Hamon Foundation and others.  

Mike and Mary Terry*

Cristo Rey Dallas’ new Academic Center was designed by architects Perkins + Will with general contractor Hill and Wilkinson in the model of a cutting-edge corporate campus.  The Academic Center offers students collaborative workspaces throughout—with movable desks, conference tables, and garage-door style walls that allow spaces to be instantly configured to meet the needs of students, faculty and families. Video monitors throughout the campus broadcast updates and information and can be connected to individual laptops to allow students to collaborate on group projects.  

Alicia Winn, Melinda Winn and Chris Winn*

The LEED-certified building is home to the Winn Science Center, made possible through a lead gift by the Winn Family Foundation. The wing features state-of-the-art chemistry, biology and engineering classrooms and prep rooms.   

Academic Center donors include:  Anonymous, The Constantin Foundation, Hamon Charitable Foundation, Winn Family Foundation, Mary and Mike Terry, Anthony Family Foundation, The Theodore and Beulah Beasley Foundation, Hillcrest Foundation, Simmons Sisters Fund of The Dallas Foundation, The Catholic Foundation, Hoblitzelle Foundation, Lydia and Bill Addy, Jack Fraker, Suzy and Larry Gekiere, Beverly Goulet, Cheryl and Richard Joyner, The Kernodle and Madden Families, Mary Blake and Chuck Meadows, The Patricia L. and William F. Miller Family Foundation, Barbara and James Moroney, Margaret and Casey Olson and PwC.  

The 32-member Cristo Rey Network of schools is an innovative educational model that gives students a Catholic, college prep education while earning work experience in a corporate setting.  Cristo Rey Dallas students earn more than 62 percent of their college prep high school tuition by fulfilling clerical and administrative roles in a wide range of departments such as accounting, human resources, finance, marketing, information technology, legal, records, mail, and office services. 

For more information about Cristo Rey Dallas, visit cristoreydallas.org

* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron

Despite “Hand In Hand” Telethon, Cattle Baron’s Ball Research Symposium Reinforced The Importance Of Cancer Research And Treatment Funding

Who would have thought that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma would have impacted North Texas fundraising efforts? On Tuesday, September 12, it happened.

When the Cattle Baron’s Ball gals had arranged to have their annual Research Symposium at Studio Movie Grill at Royal Lane, the schedule seemed free and clear for that Tuesday. They had arranged for Mary Kay Inc. and the Deason Foundation to be the presenting sponsor, as well as Studio Movie Grill to host it.

But with hurricanes whopping up the Texas and Florida coasts, the renowned talents of the U.S. came together to hold a televised cross-country telethon — Hand in Hand — with Julia Roberts, Barbra Streisand, Daniel Craig, Billy Crystal, Jay Leno, Leonardo DiCaprio, Oprah, Justin Bieber, George Clooney, Cher, Jamie Foxx, Reese Witherspoon and others (wo)manning the telephone banks and encouraging donations, while George Strait, Miranda Lambert, Robert Earl Keen, Chris Stapleton, Blake Sheldon, Usher, Stevie Wonder performed on stage in San Antonio, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York City. Talk about the Super Bowl of celebs!

Sunie Solomon, Nicholas Conrad and Deidre Bacala

Raquibul Hannan and Sterling Deason

And then there was the issue of the CBB committee members being moms with car pool and after-school activities. Perhaps all those issues resulted in a less than expected 60 guests for the presentation by Dr. Raquibul Hannan and Nicholas Conrad.

Still the message was clear and inspirational — thanks to funding of research and treatments, fewer lives were being lost to cancer.

Anne Stodghill

Kim Quinn and Kris Johnson

On hand for the cocktail reception and presentation were CBB Co-Chairs Anne Stodghill and Sunie Solomon, Symposium Co-Chairs Kris Johnson and Kim Quinn (Co-Chair Isabell Novakov was away on business), Sterling Deason, Deidre Bacala, Annika Cail, 2016 CBB Co-Chair Andrea Weber recalling that it was this time last year that she gave birth to JT Weber and Nancy Gopez, who was still thrilled over winning the Bachendorf’s bracelet at the CBB Live Auction party in August.   

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Baylor Health Care System Foundation Board Meeting

Nick Zenarosa, Norm Bagwell, Robin Robinson and Jim Hinton

Leonard Riggs and Clare Garca

In today’s world with all types of emergencies facing folks, from bad coughs to devastating accidents, the need for top-notch emergency rooms is vital to the North Texas community. On Tuesday, September 12, the Baylor Health Care System Foundation Board learned firsthand about the challenges, developments and the differences among the emergency facilities from Integrated Emergency Services Founder/CEO Dr. Nick Zenarosa at its quarterly meeting. The subject was “The First Three Hours: What Everyone Needs To Know About An Emergency Department.”

In addition to the new and old board members in attendance was Dr. Leonard Riggs, who was a pioneer in emergency room developments.

The occasion also marked Norm Bagwell’s debut as board chair and the addition of new board members.

While the post is being prepared, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for the folks who lunched and learned.

BTW, Dr. Z revealed what day of the week is the busiest one for an ER. Think about it. The answer will be in the MSC post.

2017 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Team Handed Out A Whopping $462,750 To 15 Park Cities Non-Profits

Rebecca Gregory and Nancy Monning

As the sun was slowly switching place with a perfect full moon on Thursday, September 7, the North Texas Food Bank’s Harvest underwriters were gathering at Mud Hen to celebrate the upcoming Friday, September 15 fundraiser. Across town in Highland Park Village’s Mockingbird Room, there were more happy faces. The occasion was the check distribution of 2017 La Fiesta Des Las Seis Banderas checks. Needless to say, when it comes to doling out the dough, the crowd is polished shoulder to shoulder.

Euan Blackman and Anne Besser

The biggest smiles were on the faces of La Fiesta Co-Chairs Rebecca Gregory and Nancy Monning along with Gala Co-Chairs Anne Besser and Michelle Johnson and Las Fiesta Board President Mary Hubbard. There was good reason. The take for the Saturday, June 10 black-tie fundraiser was $462,750. Just who says fundraising dries up in the summer?

On hand to accept checks and provide big old smiles were HPISD Superintendent Tom Trigg and wife Julie Trigg, The Family Place’s Paige Flink and Habitat for Humanity’s Euan Blackman.

Mary Hubbard, Michelle Johnson, Amy Hughes and Paige Flink

Tom Trigg, Kelly Walker and Jim Hitzelberger

The check presentation included:

  • Dallas Heritage Village — $5,000
  • Moody Family YMCA — $3,500
  • CARE (Chemical Awareness Resources and Education) — $12,640
  • Connecting Point of Park Cities — $19,500
  • The Elisa Project — $18,500
  • The Family Place — $10,000
  • Friends of the University Park Public Library — $30,500
  • HP Arts — $60,000
  • HPHS Community Service Council — $8,000
  • HPHS Habitat for Humanity Campus Center — $10,000
  • HPHS Science Festival — $1,600
  • HPHS Counseling Department and Student Council — $3,000
  • Highland Park Literary Festival — $26,000
  • HPHS Student Emergency Fund — $4,000
  • Highland Park Education Foundation — $250,510

More good news included the fact that Anne will cho-chair 2018 La Fiesta with her buddy Elizabeth Gambrell for the fundraiser that return to the Hilton Anatole for a summer sojourn.

Gateway To Opportunity Luncheon Celebrated The Close Of Family Gateway’s 30th Anniversary Year With Laura Bush Recalling A Little Boy Left Behind

Family Gateway’s CEO Ellen Magnis had a real challenge on her hands. Last year’s Gateway To Opportunity kicking off the 30th anniversary of the organization had really been a hit with Jenna Bush Hager on stage in a chat with WFAA’s Ron Corning in the Trinity Ballroom. The blonde former first twin had also scored points at the meet-and-greet in the Fair Park Room, where she even offered to do selfies with VIPs.

Betty Schultz, Laura Bush and Paula Miltenberger

But this year’s luncheon was to be the grand finale for  the 30th anniversary year of the organization for homeless families established by the late, former Mayor Annette Strauss. Ellen with Co-Chairs Paula Miltenberger and Betty Schultz came up with quite a recipe for success. The speaker would be former first lady Laura Bush and the honorary co-chairs would be Annette’s daughters, Nancy Halbreich and Janie McGarr. Was it a success? Evidently so, judging by the turnout that doubled the crowd from the last year and necessitating the move from the 15,418-square-foot Trinity Ballroom to the 31,733-square-foot Dallas Ballroom.

Janie McGarr, Nancy Halbreich, Penny Tower Cook, Laura Bush, Jeanne Tower Cox, Jeanne Whitman Bobbitt and Christine Schuepbach

All was set for the Thursday, September 7th luncheon with a couple of unforeseen oop’s. But what’s an event without a little challenge. For the meet-and-greet, the floorplan diagram had been created like an architectural work of art. No detail had been left out. Only problem arose when the organizers arrived to find that the Omni crew had done their own interpretation that was nowhere near the diagram. After requests to follow the original POA, Omni managers sheepishly arrived to say they didn’t have enough poles and curtains to satisfy the requirements. Seems there were two other events going on and they just ran out. Quickly, the Gateway team and the Bush folks redesigned the plan to achieve their goal with the limited resources.

Rachael Dedman and Vicki Chapman

Lee Ann White, Michael Faircloth and Gene Jones

Despite starting a few minutes later that planned, the meet-and-greet went so smoothly that it finished on time with all being photographed with Laura including Jeanne Cox, Rachael Dedman, Michael Faircloth, Gina Betts, Alison Malone, Tracy Lange, the Tower sisters (Jeanne Tower Cox and Penny Tower Cook), Jeanne Whitman Bobbitt, Christine Schuepbach, Lynn McBee, Becky Bowen and Underwriting Co-Chairs Lisa Cooley and daughter Ciara Cooley. The only one who wasn’t photographed with the former first lady was Ellen. Seems that she was in the lobby helping the check-in staff that had been flooded by the number of guests like Gail and Gerald Turner, Vicki Chapman, Gunnar Rawlings, Lee Ann White and Gene Jones checking in. But that situation was resolved, too.

Gerald and Gail Turner, Alison Malone, Ciara Cooley, Lisa Cooley and Becky Bowen

Promptly at noon, following KDFW’s Clarice Tinsley‘s welcome and Highland Park United Methodist Church Rev. Paul Rasmussem’s invocation, Ellen briefly told of Gateway’s partnering with Matthews Southwest in the creation of a complex in Hutchins with 336 units for families seeking affordable housing. When a client first works with Gateway, their case manager’s first goal is get them in housing and then to work with them on education completion, job training, financial literacy, parenting education and self-care. But she added that part of their mission was to learn and apply new strategies.

Following a video, Paula told how she had gotten involved with Gateway. It was three years ago and her plan had been to keep her boys occupied. Instead she learned the need for solutions. The boys, on the other hand, suggested that they just have the homeless move in with them.

Robert Munoz and Deanna Reyna Munoz

Deanna Reyna Munoz then provided a testimonial, telling how her mother was 16 when Deanna was born. Her father was incarcerated. That’s when they found Family Gateway and for the first time she had her own room, bed and closet. The Gateway staff then helped her mother change into a responsible person resulting in her having her own home. Deanna became the first in her family to attend and graduate from college. She got a job at the Dallas Cowboys and “bought her own home with a pool and married her boyfriend (Robert Munoz) of 10 years. My success stems from the tools provided by Family Gateway.”

That powerful presentation was followed by auctioneer Wendy Lambert’s shout out for funds with a goal to match $225,000. This awkward segment tends to cast an aura of guilt in the room among those who don’t rise to occasion. In this case, the results hauled in $154,000. Or so folks thought as they finished up their meal. But post-event checks and online donations, the challenge was met!

It was now time for the main act with Presenting Sponsor MetroPCS District Manager Brad Pott’s introducing Laura.

  • She started off by thanking all for supporting Family Gateway and provided an update on the Bushes. When Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coat, Barbara and George H.W. Bush were safe and sound in Maine, where Barb is no longer walking the shores with her dogs. Instead she’s rolling around in a golf cart with the pooches following.
  • George W. Bush’s painting has resulted in 98 wounded warriors being subjects, a book “Portraits in Courage” and displayed at the Bush Center.
  • Laura and George W.’s names as grandparents — “It’s like choosing a name for a cat.” George suggested that his grandchild just call him, “Sir.”
  • Laura Bush bobble head doll — A friend gave it to her and reported that “It was on the clearance shelf.”
  • Tabloids — “My daughters were getting engaged to persons I had never heard of.”
  • 9/11 — She was sitting in Ted Kennedy’s office.

Then she tied her talk back to the subject of the day — early childhood care can change the cycle of poverty. Among the 400 families served by Family Gateway last year, there were 900 children.

Laura recalled that long before her husband was governor of Texas or president, she had worked at an inner-city school in Houston and discovered a remarkable level of poverty. Such conditions result in one in three young people dropping out of high school each year, with single-parent families becoming the norm and one or both parents in jail.

When she had completed her work at the school, she decided to take some of her students to AstroWorld. In picking them up, she arrived at one house where the student came to the door in his underwear. His mother never came to the door to provide permission for him to join the group. Before Laura left, she gave the tyke a long hug.

As Laura concluded her talk at 1:04 p.m., she admitted that she often wondered what happened to the youngster. Was he still alive? Did he have a family? What had happened to him over the past decades? She said the challenge is not to forget that little boy or any of the children in need of compassion and assistance.  

‘Draft Day’ Celebrates Cristo Rey-North Texas Business Work Study Partnership

Bishop Edward J. Burns of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas gave the invocation. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings served as emcee for a while. Mike’s son, Gunnar Rawlings, executive director of the Cristo Rey Corporate Work Study Program, also helped out. Sports personality Michael “Grubes” Gruber and Erin Hartigan, Fox Sports Southwest host, provided commentary. Even Rachel Lindsay, star of TV’s “The Bachelorette” series, put in an appearance.

Kelby Woodard, Rachel Lindsay, Edward Burns and Mike Rawlings*

The occasion: Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep‘s third annual, NFL-style “Draft Day,” presented by Frost Bank. The event, attended by more than 500 guests, was held at the school on July 28 to match the school’s 148 incoming freshmen and sophomores with their corporate work assignments for the 2017-2018 school year. The students earn more than 60% of their tuition by working one day each week at such iconic North Texas companies as Mary Kay, AT&T, Hunt Oil, Deloitte and Jackson Walker.

Mike “Grubes” Gruber, Erin Hartigan, Mike Rawlings and Gunnar Rawlings*

CEOs or senior leaders from these and more than 100 other companies turned up for the event at Cristo Rey, which is one of 32 Catholic prep schools in the Cristo Rey network. Under the work study program, the school’s economically challenged students receive work experience as well as leadership training.

David Leach and Melanie Duarte*

Noah Barron, Scott Moore and Daisy Garcia*

With top business luminaries in the audience including Greyhound CEO David Leach, PWC Managing Partners Scott Moore and CBRE Vice Chair Jack Fraker, the students were called to the stage one by one to meet their new employers. As they did so they exchanged high-fives and hugs and checked out a variety of “swag” items from their new companies, including logo t-shirts and ball caps.

“This year we are welcoming more than 35 new partners to the Corporate Work Study Program, with job teams now working in Downtown, Uptown, Richardson, North Dallas and beyond,” said Kelby Woodard, Cristo Rey Dallas’s president. “In addition to contributing more than $3 million toward the cost of tuition, the Corporate Work Study Program provides students with hands-on work experience in a real-world setting and a chance to develop leadership skills that will last a lifetime.”

BlueCross Blue Shield of Texas at Cristo Rey Draft Day*

Other companies participating in the school’s Draft Day program included HKS, BlueCross BlueShield of Texas and Tenet Healthcare.

* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron Smith

Attorneys Serving The Community’s 31st Annual Luncheon Scored A Summer Hit With Junior Players And “Hamilton”‘s Christopher Jackson

Inside the Hilton Anatole’s Carpenter Ballroom, organizers and VIP guests were starting to arrive before 11 a.m. on Friday, June 23. Even the most “been-there, done-that” boldfacer had a look of anticipation. In an adjacent room, fewer than a handful of chairs were set up for an interview with the keynote speaker for the Attorneys Serving the Community’s 31st Annual Luncheon benefiting Junior Players.

KERA reporter Hady Mawajdeh had all his equipment set up as Tony Award-nominated and Grammy Award-winning Christopher Jackson arrived. It was obvious from his height and demeanor why he had scored a Tony nomination for his portrayal of George Washington in “Hamilton.” As Chris settled back in the chair, he proved even more so with his articulate responses to Hady’s questions. Highlights included:

Christopher Jackson and Hady Mawajdeh

  • Junior Players — “They (children) have the distinct perspective of seeing the world as it should be perhaps and as is. Who better to hold up that mirror than the children, especially organizations like the Junior Players, where you’ve got kids from all over the economic spectrum and who are learning what it means to communicate with and express themselves? It’s an organization that can provide a palette for that. There is no higher pursuit in our society than giving kids the opportunity to experience something like that.”
  • The first role —“I grew up with middle-child syndrome. So, acting was pretty much my only way to garner any kind of attention in the house… I participated in every Sunday service every week. So getting up in front of people was never really something I had a hard time with. Pretty much I was the ham. [Laughter]”
  • Career — “A career in the arts is not for everyone. But I would say that 90% of what I get to do is to have fun with my friends. Who doesn’t want to do that for a living? But the same could be said about someone who works in social sciences or teachers or engineers or astronomers. Once you find that passion and a way to it, that’s it right there… For me, it’s as much the pursuit of what I don’t know as it is seeing the finished product on the show or in the song.”
  • Hip Hop — “Hip Hop rap is probably the best form of modern-day storytelling and maybe the latest great, pure American art form… But it depends on what part of the country you come from. Hip hop is very regionalized and that happened very, very quickly toward the end of the ’90s, where every market, every group wanted to have their own sound and created their own sound. The same could be said for rock; the same could be said for gospel music. It’s a testament to how big our country is. And it’s a testament to the different kinds of cultures within our society and there’s room for all of that.”
  • Hamilton — “You’d be amazed how many people have come up to me said, ‘I’m a little nervous about the rap.’ But it’s much like Shakespeare. If you’ve ever seen a Shakespeare play, the first five minutes you have no idea of what’s going on. You don’t know what anybody is saying. You’re not accustomed to people speaking in iambic pentameter. And yet in that first five minutes your ear gets attuned to it and off you go.”
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda — “Lin has been regarded as a modern-day Shakespeare in the way he uses verse to communicate the story and I honestly believe that it certainly descends from that.”
  • Sesame Street — “The idea of writing for ‘Sesame Street’ was a dream come true.”

Peter Altabef, Kara Altenbaumer-Price, Christopher Jackson, Jennifer Altabef, Rosaura Cruz Webb and Beth Bedell

Christopher Jackson and Kathleen LaValle

Michael Holmes, Sophia Holmes and Cathleen Holmes

With that the interview ended at 11:10 a.m., as one of the organizers said, “He’s got a long line out there.” They were speaking of the people lined up along the Carpenter Ballroom wall for the meet-and-greet. Without hesitation, Chris posed for a photo with Hady and headed straight to the sponsor backdrop. Chris accommodated one and all including Co-Chairs Beth Bedell and Kara Altenbaumer-Price, Honorary Co-Chairs Jennifer and Peter Altabef, Junior Players Executive Director Rosaura Cruz Webb, and Kathleen LaValle with autographs, cellphone snaps and chats. Ten-year-old Sophia Holmes’ twin sister, Addison Holmes, couldn’t attend, but Sophia had brought along a “Hamilton” book for Chris to sign. After seeing, “Hamilton” in NYC, Sophia fessed up that Chris’ George Washington was her favorite character.

At 11:30 the doors to the Grand Ballroom opened for nearly 1,000 guests including Ellen Magnis, Joanna Clark, Angie Kadesky. Shelly Slater arrived to be prepped for the onstage chat. Had she met him? No, but she had seen him on YouTube.

The Junior Players arrived and approached the production platform rapping, “Hamilton.”

Jeremy Coca in vest surrounded by Junior Players

, who had been in the first Junior Players musical production three years before when he was attending Booker T. Washington, reported that he had seen Chris in “The Heights.”

Rosaura Cruz-Webb told how the night before, when they were setting up for the luncheon, Chris had come down from his room and chatted and charmed them all.

As the guests started to take their seats, Junior Players one at a time popped up throughout the room performing. Seamlessly, they grabbed everyone’s attention that the program was underway. Chris watched with a smile of admiration at the young performers pulling off a perfect launch for the day’s affair.

At 12:06 Shelly welcomed the group and introduced Kara, who was joined by Beth in presenting the ASC Friend of the Community Award to the Hilton Anatole Senior Catering Sales Manager Catherine New, who has orchestrated many of the area’s major fundraisers.

Beth Bedell, Catherine New and Kara Altenbaumer-Price

Following Rosaura’s telling how Junior Players had turned around her life as a young person, a video was shown with the audio ramped up and the house lights so dim that one guest had to use her cellphone flashlight to find her way out of the ballroom.

Lisette Sandoval

As the video ended, a young woman who had been seated at the far end of the head table took her place at the podium. Her name was Lisette Sandoval and she told how it hadn’t been that long ago that she had felt her destiny was to get pregnant by 15 and drop out of school. Instead her brother directed her to Junior Players, where her life took a different road. Lisette admitted that at one point suicide had been an option. What dashed that thought was news that she had been picked for the cast of “Taming of the Shrew.” She is now going to college on a scholarship.

Lisette was followed by Honorary Co-Chair Peter Altabef and a video of Renee Elise Goldsberry, who had originally been slated to be the keynote speaker. When she had to pull out due to scheduling, Renee arranged for Chris to sub in.

Chris started off by admitting, “Good afternoon, my name is Christopher Jackson and I am not a lawyer. I don’t even play one on TV. I don’t know any lawyer jokes. None of that would surprise or astound you…. I am an artist. A profession that is historically a few rungs lower than a garbage collector, but if all the world is a stage and all the men and women merely players, I beg your patience and indulgence today. I want to sincerely thank ASC for having me here today. Thank you very much. The fact that I have been sweating since I sat down here might be an indication that I am more than a little intimidated being in a room full of people who are clearly smarter than I am.”

Using his own journey from his childhood in Cairo, Illinois, he told of the turning point in his childhood when a teacher handed him a text from “The Crucible,” and invited him to join the speech team. “I don’t what it was that made me said yes, except that perhaps I was so desperate to distinguish myself in some way or the other. I quickly realized that this acting thing was different. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t concerned with what didn’t work. I wasn’t consumed with what I didn’t have. I began to see the world from a character’s perspective and that helped me to develop my own perspective. It was terrifying and exhilarating and it changed my life forever.”

At the age of 17, he moved to New York City to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. In 1997, he was hired to be the understudy for Simba in “The Lion King,” just an hour before the first rehearsal.   

He claimed that if it hadn’t been for that “key”—when he received “The Crucible”—he’d probably be selling caskets in Cairo. Chris was serious. “True story. My family owns a funeral home.”

Chris then praised and encouraged support for the Junior Players for their 55 years of providing a key for thousands and thousands of children “to emerge from utter darkness and seeing an entire galaxy.”

Christopher Jackson

Leaving the podium, he was joined in chairs on stage with Shelly to discuss

  • Getting the role of George Washington — “Lin allowed his imagination to run wild and he saw these characters (in “Hamilton”) in a different way. Lin is one of my best friends in the whole world. I knew very early on that he was on to something because I thought he was crazy. The story is that we were doing a performance of ‘In the Heights,’ and during one of the numbers… he had just come back from vacation and he kinda looked over at me and said, ‘Got the next thing.’ Okay, great! I said, ‘What is it?’ (He said,) ‘It’s about the treasury secretary.’ A few days later, our director Tommy Kail approached me and said, G-dubs!’ I asked, ‘What does that mean?’ ‘George Washington… GW’ I thought, ‘Oh, great! We have shorthand. What does that mean?’ He said I was going to be George Washington. I said, ‘Great! I don’t know anything about George Washington. ‘
  • “Hamilton”’s first preview — “’Hamilton literally began at the White House. Lin was asked to perform a song about the American experience at the Evening of Poetry, Music and Spoken Word. This was in 2009 and he didn’t want to do something from ‘In the Heights.” He was just getting an idea of what ‘Hamilton’ was going to be, so he wrote what would become our opening number and he performed it. Everybody including President Obama looked at him like, ‘What is wrong with him?’”
  • Bro-hug with the President — It was years later when the cast of “Hamilton” was invited to perform at the White House that following the performance, President Obama gave Christopher a “bro hug.” As Christopher recalled, “Moments like that aren’t supposed to happen to a young boy from Cairo. My grandmother, who marched and was a union organizer and civil rights organizer and a black entrepreneur when it was definitely hard to be that in the South, raised me to understand that nothing was impossible… Always be aware of limitations so you can know how to get past them. She raised me to that moment, but she didn’t dream that moment for me.”
  • As a parent — “I’m really at the point where I’m trying to get my kids to pick their shoes up. I’m trying to get them to handle some light chores. I mean, I don’t want them to live like ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ but they can take the trash once in a while and wash their hair. My kids are Neanderthals. I can’t show them how to feel…but I can show them about justice. And I can teach them about inequality and equality. And I can teach them about respect — all the things that I was given and we were all given when it comes to just wake up in the morning, put your shoes, look people in the eye, be honest, look out for someone who has less than you, take up for the kid who is being bullied, stand up for the weaker one of us. It is all of those principles that I was given and try to live by….”

While summer heat may shoo locals to cooler places, the ASC’s 31st Annual luncheon made staying in North Texas seem like the coolest place in the world, thanks to Chris and the Junior Players.

Jewelry Designer Taylor Miller Has Created A Trio Of Bracelets To Benefit Jubilee Park And Community Center’s 20th Anniversary

Jubilee Park and Community Center is celebrating 20 years of providing members of a 62-block area in southeast Dallas with “education, affordable housing, public health, public safety and economic development.” And what better way to celebrate an anniversary than with jewelry and friends.

Dallas-based jewelry designer Taylor Miller of Hazen Jewelry has created three handmade bracelets made of “natural materials, including wood and chyrsophase beads and a customer brass ‘Jubilee’ charm.”  

Jubilee Park Commemorative 20th Anniversary bracelets*

According to Jubilee Park 20th Anniversary Host/Jewelry Committee Member Marilyn Harbison, “This little trio of bracelets is so versatile and stylish. Our tagline for the 20th is ‘Celebrate, Love, Dream’ and I like to think these represent each of those words. We hope people will get their holiday shopping done early, and support this great cause.”

But before heading to one of your favorite bling-bling businesses for the bracelets, put on the brakes. These little gems are going to be available for purchase at St. Michael’s Woman’s Exchange in Highland Park Village. If you’re a member of St. Michael’s, you can also purchase the bracelets every Sunday until October 29.

And if you’re worrying about using up gas, you can always order online here!

Jubilee Park Commemorative 20th Anniversary bracelets*

With 100% of proceeds benefiting “Jubilee Park’s 20th anniversary initiative to provide educational enrichment to love-income children with special learning needs,” the bracelets cost $50 each and $125 for the trio.

Jubilee Park 20th Anniversary Chair Lydia Addy said, “Jubilee’s impact over the last 20 years has been astounding to watch, and a joy to be part of. We want more people to be a part of the celebration through these custom bracelets. With each purchase, children who struggle with special learning needs will have the chance to thrive in Jubilee’s award-winning afterschool and summer program. Plus they go with everything — a win-win!”

* Photos provided by Jubilee Park and Community Center

MySweetCharity Opportunity: After-School All-Stars

According to After-School All-Stars North Texas Emeritus Member Gina Betts,

Gina Betts (File photo)

As our name recognition grows in North Texas, we are eager to demonstrate the need for the programming that After-School All-Stars provides. Our students do not have to pay to be members of ASAS nor are they charged annually dues to fees to receive programming and services. Our programs only take place at Title I schools where more than 50 percent of students qualify for federal Free and Reduced Lunch program, a proxy for poverty.

ASAS is the largest national organization, with a strong local presence, that specifically focuses on serving middle school age students. Studies show that 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. is the prime time when unsupervised students are most likely to become involved with gangs, crime, drugs and unsafe sex. ASAS does not incur costs for daily transportation to and from our facilities or put students in a position where they have to travel to programs alone.

Every day, our program initiatives work to address the most prevalent and pressing issues facing our youth. ASAS inspires students to be healthy, graduate high school and go on to college, find a career they love and give back to their community. Please visit asasnorthtexas.org to find how you can become a part of the ASAS solution.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2nd Annual Art Of Music Gala

According to 2nd Annual Art of Music Gala Co-Chairs David Call and Jordan Roberts,

David Call and Jordan Roberts*

We are excited and grateful to serve as co-chairs for the 2nd Annual Art of Music Gala on Saturday, February 10, at Southside on Lamar Ballroom, benefiting The Warren Center, for children with developmental differences.

Last year’s event was a huge success and we were able to raise over $60,000. With the funds raised we provided scholarships for children with special needs to receive much needed therapy services. Headlining the inaugural event was three-time Grammy winner and saxophonist Jeff Coffin of the Dave Matthews Band.

The 2018 Art of Music Gala will be bigger and better than ever. It will include renowned musicians who will compose an original music inspired by this year’s theme of “Wonderland.”

Each composition will then be delivered to a world-class artists who will create an original piece of art inspired by the compositions. The result is a night of celebration and performance where each original composition and its inspired work of art will be unveiled and performed live at the Gala.

Guests will also enjoy a cocktail reception, seated dinner, live entertainment, silent and live auction and creative gallery experiences with local artists.

Melody and Rick Rogers*

This year’s title sponsors are Melody and Rick Rogers

We are inspired by the drive these children have to succeed. We encourage you to join us in helping a child reach their full potential.

Sponsorships and underwriting opportunities are still available.

Table Sponsorships begin at $2,500 with underwriting opportunities beginning at $2,500. For more information, please contact Tara Null at 972.490.9055 or 214.709.8901 or email Tara or visit the website at www.theartofmusicgala.com.

* Photo provided by The Warren Center

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Grow The Grove

According to Grow the Grove co-chairs Muffin Lemak and Susan Palma,

Muffin Lemak and Susan Palma*

The fun has already begun for the second annual Grow the Grove event, happening on Friday, November 17, at 7 p.m. as we work alongside our Honorary Co-Chairs Mary and Mike Terry on this special evening benefiting Cristo Rey Dallas.

 Following last year’s sell-out event, Grow the Grove will take place at the venue sixty five hundred, located at 6500 Cedar Springs Road. The denim to dresses event will include a chef-prepared meal, fine wine, a spirited signature cocktail, live auction and more.

 Proceeds from Grow the Grove will benefit Cristo Rey Dallas, an innovative high school located in Pleasant Grove that offers students who would otherwise not consider private school a rigorous college prep education paired with a valuable work study program.  

The important work happening at Cristo Rey Dallas is making a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of dedicated high school students and their families, as well as the Dallas community as whole through the school’s Corporate Work Study Program.

 We are thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate the great success of Cristo Rey Dallas. Grow to Grove will be a night of great fun that supports an even greater initiative—preparing hardworking students to go to and through college!

DeeDee Lee and Janie Condon (File photo)

Mike and Micki Rawlings (File photo)

Claire Emanuelson and Pam Perella (File photo)

Candace and Jim Krause

Grow the Grove host committee members include: Lydia and Bill Addy, Helaine and Dan Blizzard, Becky and Ken Bruder, Susi and Peter Brundage, Jessica and Jeff Burrow, Karen and Mark Carney, Shelly and Tom Codd, Janie and David Condon, Claire and Dwight Emanuelson, Ola and Randall Fojtasek, Barbara and Brad Fritts, Susan and Mark Godvin, Jane and Greg Greene, Jean and Erik Hansen, Julie and Ed Hawes, Candace and Jimmy Krause, Leslie and Michael Lanahan, Patty and Mark Langdale, DeeDee and Jimmy Lee, Ann and Chris Mahowald, Kiley McGuire, Karla and Mark McKinley, Susan McSherry, Tricia and Bill Miller, Laura and Scott Moore, Michelle Moussa, Angela Nash, Ruthie and Jay Pack, Pam and Gary Patsley, Pam and Vin Perella, Susan and Jon Piot, Micki and Mike Rawlings, Randa and Doug Roach, Shelle and Michael Sills, Mary and Mike Smith, Mersina Stubbs, Beth and Chuck Thoele, Debbie and John Tolleson, Piper and Mike Wyatt and Ana and Jim Yoder.

Patty and Mark Langdale (File photo)

Chuck and Beth Thoele (File photo)

Mersina Stubbs (File photo)

Angela Nash (File photo)

Susan McSherry (File photo)

Mike and Piper Wyatt (File photo)

Michael and Shelle Sills (File photo)

Sponsorships for Grow the Grove begin at $1,600.  Limited tickets will be available closer to the event at a cost of $320 each for preferred seating or $250 each for general admission. For more information, contact Lisa Brunts[email protected] or visit cristoreydallas.org.

Located in Pleasant Grove, Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep provides economically challenged students of all faiths with a college preparatory education enabling them to become men and women of purpose and service. Through a rigorous curriculum, integrated with a hands-on professional work experience, students graduate ready to succeed in college and in life. cristoreydallas.org.

* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron Smith

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Michael Faircloth Fashion Design Program At The University Of North Texas

According to Michael Faircloth Fashion Design Program at The University of North TexasMichael Faircloth,

Michael Faircloth designs (File photo)

The fashion design program at the University of North Texas prepares students for a career as a fashion designer, illustrator or for the many production positions in the fashion industry. The program educates students to create designs that are both innovative and current, while being marketable and suitable for manufacture.

Graduates have landed prestigious design positions for companies such as Oscar de la Renta, Dillards, Watters Bridal, Fossil, Ralph Lauren, Theory, Panhandle Slim, Haggar, JC Penney, Nicole Miller, Monique Lhuillier, Zac Posen and Calvin Klein. I am honored to have my name associated with the Fashion Design Program.

I am humbled and overjoyed that my friends and my alma mater desire to recognize my achievements by naming the fashion design program for me. My experience and education while studying fashion design at UNT certainly laid the foundation for my success, and it continues to support my view of fashion as a discipline of art.

Lisa Troutt and Michael Faircloth (File photo)

And, I am enthusiastically encouraging others to contribute to the fund so we continue to support the program and remind students of the success they can achieve with a degree from UNT. 

UNT’s College of Visual Arts and Design has received a gift in the amount of $500,000 that will assist in the enrichment and renaming of the already noted fashion design program as the Michael Faircloth Fashion Design Program.

My friend and alumna Lisa Troutt, with a previous career in fashion design, and her husband, Kenny, have given the first major gift that will support the $2.5 million goal to name the program. My hope is that others will follow, at any level, and help with this important educational program. Please visit https://one.unt.edu/faircloth.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: One Childhood One Chance Luncheon

According to Merry Munson Wyatt, Kathryn Munson Beach and Meg Munson McGonigle,

As sisters, we are excited to co-chair the Friday, November 17thOne Childhood One Chance Luncheon,” which brings Dallas an impressive opportunity to join Educational First Steps (EFS) in launching at-risk young lives into promising futures.

This is the fifth year of this shining event presented by an organization we’ve seen making inroads and creating quality early education centers in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods since 1990.

EFS has been a family affair for 27 years. It was founded by our great uncle, David Munson Sr., on his belief that every child, regardless of their economic circumstances or their zip code, deserves and needs a quality education.

We will join our cousins, David Munson Jr., Charles Munson and John Munson, who are serving as honorary co-chairs for the event.

Sonia Manzano*

Held at the Omni Dallas Hotel, the luncheon will feature Sonia Manzano, who inspired, educated and delighted children and families as “Maria” on Sesame Street for over 30 years. Named among the “25 Greatest Latino Role Models Ever” by Latina Magazine, Manzano broke ground as one of the first Hispanic characters on national television.

Her latest book, “Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx,” is Manzano’s tale of perseverance and courage in overcoming countless obstacles to become one of the most influential Latinas in television. She will inspire us as a community committed to supporting common sense, real-life solutions for narrowing the disparities among us in early childhood chances.  

Today, EFS partners with 93 daycare centers in at-risk neighborhoods, carrying out a results-driven plan for becoming nationally accredited preschools, at no cost to the centers, teachers or parents. These centers progress from daycares providing little more than babysitting to nationally accredited early education centers that become anchors in their neighborhoods while preparing more of our children for school and life success.

EFS, which started in south Dallas, has grown to serve Tarrant, Denton, Johnson, Collin and Grayson counties, collaborating across 17 school districts. They are continually pushing the boundaries and aggressively scaling programs to place more students in quality learning environments. We are excited to invite you to be part of furthering their work.

We have found this luncheon to be smart, streamlined, elegant and mission-critical in so many ways. Once you’ve been, you’ll find yourself returning each year!  

For information about underwriting opportunities or tickets, contact Judy Schecter at 214.824.7940. Table for ten starts at $2,000, with six levels of increasing opportunities. Corporate and naming opportunities are also available. The event is open to the public, with single tickets priced at $175. More at www.educationalfirststeps.org.

* Photo credit: Richard Termine 
** Photo provided by Educational First Steps

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Mission Ole

According to 18th Annual Mission Ole Co-Chairs Ann Kellogg Schooler and Margaret Spellings,

Ann Schooler (File photo)

Margaret Spellings (File photo)

Trinity River Mission (TRM) provides educational and social opportunities that inspire K-12 students and their families to dream, believe, and achieve.   It our hope that you will join us in raising much needed funds by attending the annual Mission Ole event on Saturday, October 28, 2017 at Chicken Scratch and The Foundry. The evening will be a fun-filled Dia de los Muertos in West Dallas.  Festivities include cocktails, dinner, silent and live auctions and dancing.   We are pleased to have generous donors Lisa and Clay Cooley serving as honorary co-chairs of the event.

Mission Ole 2016 (file photo)

Trinity River Mission is a volunteer-based community learning center serving the intergenerational education needs of children, youth, and families in West Dallas. TRM began in the early 1960s by a devoted group of volunteers to help in the relocation of Native Americans from Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Various church and civic groups later joined in to provide, food, clothing, transportation, and educational assistance.

Trinity River Mission*

Since 1988, TRM’s focus has been to promote literacy, augment academic skills, and develop educational success among children, youth, and families, with the understanding that language proficiency and educational achievement opens doors to satisfying jobs and productive futures. TRM services the needs of all children without regard to race or ethnicity. At present, however, TRM’s program participants are overwhelmingly Hispanic because of the agency’s location in West Dallas.

Please visit www.trinityrivermission.org to join in the festivities for a great cause.

The Conner Gals And Julie Bagley Will Bring The Inner Child Out For Dallas Afterschool’s Annual Recess At The Dallas Arboretum In March

Even in the oldest codger, there is a kid just looking for an excuse to get out. Sure, doing a cartwheel may be out of the game plan, but there are other activities that are just too good to resist. And those activities and food groups will be part of 2017 Recess according to Event Co-Chairs Anne Conner and her daughter-in-law Ryan Conner, who will be joined by Honorary Chair /former Co-Chair/Recess Co-Founder Julie Bagley.

Ryan Conner and Anne Conner (File photo)

Julie Bagley (File photo)

The trio has arranged to have the Dallas After School fundraiser at the Dallas Arboretum’s Rosine Hall on Friday, March 23. If you’ve ever been to Recess, the you just know it will be a total kid event for big kids with a night of music, games, food, and adult juice boxes. And even the most gelled nails will be digging in Recess Sandbox for prizes galore.

Recess*

While school uniforms will not be the dress of the night, neither will business attire. This one is strictly comfy clothes.

Proceeds will support Dallas Afterschool’s mission “to improve the quality and availability of afterschool and summer programs in our community.”  Sponsorships are available now!

*Graphic courtesy of Dallas Afterschool

 

 

Girl Scouts Of Northeast Texas Celebrates National S’mores Day With News Of Last Year’s Winning Cookie Return And Online Purchasing

The Girl Scouts scored a new big hit last year, and they ain’t gonna let it be a one-time wonder. It was the debut of Girl Scout S’mores Cookie. Not only was it a hit, but it was “the most popular flavor to launch in the 100 years of Girl Scouts selling cookies.”  

And the Girl Scouts are smart cookies themselves, so  they’ve taken advantage of today being National S’mores Day with news — the S’mores Cookie will return to the cookie lineup in 2018.

Girl Scouts S’mores*

Jennifer Bartkowski (File photo)

According to Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas CEO Jennifer Bartkowski, “We are excited for the return of Girl Scout S’mores, which our girls and hungry customers alike have loved! S’mores have strong ties to our organization’s history, and this cookie brings a new delicious way for consumers to support girls and the experiences that help them develop leadership skills through Girl Scouts.”

To celebrate the day and the return of the marshmallow, chocolate and cracker cookie, GSNT will host 100 Girl Scouts at its STEM Center of Excellence today from 10 a.m. to noon “to make traditional campfire s’mores, creates s’more GORP, invent a s’mores recipe and more” s’mores stuff.

There is just the slightest hiccup in the news. The S’mores are going to be a tad bit more expensive than some of the other Girl Scout cookies. The reason? In addition to being embossed with the Girl Scout’s Outdoor badge, it “contains no artificial flavors or colors, high-fructose corn syrup, or hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, making it the first cookie of its kind at Girl Scouts.” Oh, how much more? Relax. It will just be a dollar more, making the price $5 a box.

Old-fashion S’mores*

Girl Scouts S’mores and Somoas*

It will be interesting to see the Samoas fans ramp up their purchases to top S’mores.  Maybe the two cookies could get together for a “S’moroas”?

Funds netted from the GSNT 2018 cookie program that runs from Friday, January 12, thru Sunday, February 25, will stay put in North Texas.

Girl Scout at computer*

Another new development for the GSNT cookie program will be the availability of the cookies. In addition to personalized customer service from every Girl Scout in the neighborhood, all the cookies (Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Trefoils, Do-si-dos, Savannah Smiles, Toffee-tastics and Girl Scout S’mores) will be on sale at the online portal Digital Cookie that will be up during the cookie sale-athon. That means you can stay in your jammies while ordering a couple of crates of cookies. Stock up because as you have learned from years past, they seem to be gobbled up within weeks.

BTW, the GSNT have provided some “fun facts” about their cookie program:

  • In 2017, our girls donated over 90,000 packages of cookies to military troops
  • In the past five years… our girls have sold nearly 16 million packages of Girl Scout cookies
  • In 2017, the average troop profit in Northeast Texas was almost $1,200
  • In 2017, over 140,000 boxes of S’mores were sold throughout Northeast Texas

Girl Scouts around the campfire*

P.S. — The GSNT provided loads of photos for the announcement. However, most of the girls were bundled up in down vests, knitted scarves and sock caps. Evidently, they weren’t photographed in Texas recently.

* Photo provided by Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas

The Family Place’s Dream Of 50,000-Square-Foot Ann Moody Place Became A Reality For Those Escaping A Nightmare Of Abuse

Paige Flink

While gobs of women gathered in the Anatole’s Imperial Ballroom to learn about leadership and opportunities at the D CEO Women’s Leadership Symposium on Friday, June 2, The Family Place CEO Paige Flink was standing on a couch in the Ann Moody Place lobby. She had wanted to attend the Anatole event, but on this day her priority was leading the army of workers and staffers in preparing for the Sunday reception for the new Ann Moody Place, with an expected attendance of 300. At this moment she was personally placing the artwork so it was just right.

Major donors for Ann Moody Place

But the artwork on two other walls in the reception area were Paige’s pride and joy. They were masterpieces — simple signs with the names of the major donors who had made this remarkable place come into being.

When TFP opened in the 1970s, domestic abuse was still in the closet and remained there for a couple of decades. According to Paige, who first volunteered at TFP and then was named executive director in 1997, that all changed dramatically in the mid-1990s. When asked what the turning point was, Paige explained, “Thanks to OJ Simpson, the world changed.” It was a wake-up call that if “a celebrity, who had made a phone call and tried to get her husband arrested and couldn’t,” how could a regular human being get help? As a result, domestic violence “became a household word,” laws started to change and “then our visibility grew starting in 1996.”

The need for shelter spurred TFP to create its Safe Campus with 110 beds in the early 2000s, but more was needed as the number of clients and their needs grew. It was in the early 2010s that Paige and TFP board undertook a daunting project to build another campus — a $13M, 40,000-square-foot facility in the medical district that would provide shelter, office and programming areas and child-care facilities. In May 2015, TFP acquired the site for their 2.42-acre dream child. Then on Thursday, October 1, 2015, it was announced at the annual Texas Trailblazer Luncheon that the The Moody Foundation had donated $5M for the project’s “The Legacy Campaign” chaired by Lynn McBee.

But as they delved into the effort, they realized more square footage and funding were needed. The size was increased to 50,000 square feet, and the goal was a whopping $16.5M.  And then there were construction surprises, like having to drill down 70 feet to hit bedrock. Still, TFP team and board directors not only managed to meet that goal, they raised $16.898M.

The facility is projected to handle 2,000 clients a year. Paige said that while the average age of their clients is 29, they do get seniors — “The oldest person we have ever served was 78 years old.”

But back to the tour of the three-story buildings that now make up the compound of safety and education.  On a wall there was a healthy smudge, evidently resulting from the non-stop moving of equipment and furniture. Paige was not a happy camper spying the imperfection. TFP VP of Development Melissa Sherrill understood, saying, “It’s like a new car. You don’t want to see the first imperfection.” But then she assured Paige that it would be gone with the final sweep of the touch-up crew.

Children’s pantry shelves

As busy as the move-in scene may have sounded, the years of planning, designing, discussing and fundraising were coming together, with the results being bigger and better than even Paige had first imagined. Nothing had been left out. There were various dining, food preparation, counseling, training, meeting, quiet and groups rooms, as well as a computer lab, a one-chair hair salon (“JoAnn’s Room”) and a wing for children’s needs provided by Crystal Charity Ball. Proudly, Paige pointed to a large storeroom with shelved walls for canned goods and toys. Why would canned goods be needed? Paige explained that for clients making the transition out of an abusive home life, they might have to explain their whereabouts to their abuser upon returning home and could simply say they went to the food bank.

Food pantry shelves

Thanks to a relationship with UT Southwestern Medical School, second-year residents will be brought to the Place by a doctor to see the clients at the in-house mini-clinic that includes examination and dental rooms. But, always searching for more, Paige adds, “The other volunteer opportunities here are for medical doctors to come to give me some night-time clinic. I have a pediatrician, but I could use more pediatricians and general medicine and gynecology.”

Dental facility

Examination room

Throughout the multiple levels were signs re-enforcing the purpose of TFP — “Take a breath. You are safe,” “The best thing to hold onto in life is each other” and “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” Even the pillows from the Pillow Bar are embroidered with “Dream BIG.”  

Ann Moody Place signage

Ann Moody Place bed

Bedroom suite bathroom

The residential area of apartments were painted in a blue that Paige had discovered in Charleston, South Carolina, because it was both soothing and timeless.  There are family suites and individual rooms with bathrooms and closets.

Paige Flink Healing Garden in center courtyard

In the center of the campus was a two-level courtyard. The upper level was the Make It Count Children’s Playground. The lower was the Paige Flink Healing Garden. When asked if the children’s area could use a misting system to combat the summer heat, Paige didn’t hesitate, “If someone would give me one, I wouldn’t hesitate!”

Bird Flying free of a cage sculpture

Judy Walgren’s photos

There were interior designers  like Jan Showers, Mecox, Shay Geyer, Wisteria, Christy Drew and Mary Cates, who had provided directions and resources to create a safe and nurturing environment. Utilizing art as therapy for both adults and children, Moody Place showcases local talent. In addition to encouraging artists to contribute, art-loving Joyce Goss curated “Retail is Art” for high school students to provide the collection of art showcasing food in one of the dining rooms. It turned out that all the artists were women. Rebecca Aguilar helped get Latina artists to contribute. A former client had given two sculptures. One was a woman holding an open cage in one hand and a freed bird in the other. On the wall of Paige’s corner officer overlooking the campus were photographer Judy Walgren‘s Pulitzer Prize winning photos of past TFP clients.

Lockers

Travis Hollman and his company had created walls of lockers for the clients to safe keep documents and paperwork. Paige admitted that the need was the result of client focus groups.

Melissa Sherrill in Barkingham Palace

The SPCA had been a fabulous resource on how to run the Barkingham Palace, a kennel that included a washing machine, dryer and even a quiet room for families to spend time with their pets. While that had been underwritten, Paige admitted that the food was still in need of financial support.

Looking out on the grounds from a third-level terrace, Paige limited photography of the exterior of the building or the surrounding area. No photo could be taken that might hint of Moody Place’s location. Security had been a priority in every aspect of its creation because that was the first step for her clients’ recovery from lives of fear and abuse. As Paige said, “Once you’re behind the walls, you’re totally secure.”

Ann Moody Place is breathtaking and unfortunately so needed. That’s why Paige admitted that her future will be filled with fundraising for its operation. Her hope is you will support Moody Place, but never need it.

For more photos of Ann Moody Place, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: Ann Moody Place

For years, the Ann Moody Place was just a dream for those living in a nightmare. It was the hoped-for place of safety, where women could escape lives of domestic abuse and learn how to make a new and better life for themselves and their families.

Paige Flink Healing Garden in center courtyard

But thanks to The Family Place’s CEO Paige Flink, her staff, Legacy Campaign Chair Lynn McBee, TFP board and the North Texas community, Ann Moody Place became a 50,000-square-foot facility in the Medical District. Just before the Sunday, June 4th reception for supporters and the full-blown opening in July, a tour was conducted of the three-story complex with everything from an mini-clinic, kennels, a center courtyard, pillows embroidered with “Dream BIG” to artwork throughout.

Bird Flying free of a cage sculpture

While the post on the tour is being prepared, check out pictures at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery. Chances are you’ll never need Moody Place, but it needs your support to provide annually for the estimated 2,000 clients.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Community Partners Of Dallas’ 24th Annual Back To School Drive

According Community Partners of Dallas President and CEO Paige McDaniel,

Paige McDaniel (File photo)

Back to school is just around the corner and Community Partners of Dallas needs your help!  

We are gearing up for our 24th annual Back to School Drive, benefiting abused and neglected children in Dallas County. Beginning Tuesday, August 1, through Friday, August 25, CPD, individuals and organizations throughout Dallas will collect new school supplies for abused and neglected children served by Child Protective Services, and will prepare more than 3,500 children to start school with school supplies and uniforms.

The Back to School Drive is one of the most important activities we do all year and our goal is to serve a record-breaking 3,500 children to ensure they are ready to start school with brand new supplies, backpacks and uniforms. Each year the support we receive from the community continues to grow, and we are so grateful for their commitment to improve the school year for abused and neglected children in Dallas County.

Pencils (File photo)

In addition to supplies, such as scissors, colored pencils, glue sticks, markers, and construction paper, CPD especially needs backpacks, pencil sharpeners, block erasers, manila paper and pencil pouches. Those interested in supporting the Back to School Drive can do so through in-kind or monetary donations through Friday, August 25. All donations can be delivered to Community Partners of Dallas’ Central Location, 1215 Skiles Street in the Wilson Historic District  or visit  www.communitypartnersdallas.org for additional supply drop-off locations.

For a full list of school supplies needed, visit www.communitypartnersdallas.org or contact Corinne Karp at 214.624.7588.

WFAA Provides $46,000 With Melted Crayons And Ringing Phones For Community Partners Of Dallas’ “Back To School Drive”

WFAA was on a tear the past week. Last Thursday they wanted to do something different to showcase North Texas three-digit weather. Sure, they could have tried cooking some food product on the sidewalk, but that’s been so overdone (no pun intended). Somebody got the bright idea of positioning a 22” by 28” white canvas against a wall in the afternoon sun between a clock and a thermometer. At the top of the board were 64 crayons pointed downward. As the clock ticked and the mercury rose, the crayons drooled down the board creating a waterfall of rainbow colors.

So, that was nice, but what do you do with this hot (okay, so this pun was intended) artwork? The WFAA brain trust decided to auction off the artwork with the proceeds going to help Community Partners of Dallas’ Back to School Program that provides school supplies for children who are in the Dallas County Child Protective Services.

WFAA’s melted crayons masterpiece*

The winning bid of $3,150 came from Create Church, but when they arrived to pick up their new masterpiece, they pumped the number up to $5,150!

Then word arrived that the Friends of Wednesday’s Children was shutting down operation on Monday. The folks at WFAA realized that the timing was right to rally viewers to pick up where the Friends had left off in providing for children in need. So, they held a phone bank on Monday at their 4, 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts to start the wheels turning for the CPD drive that would officially start on Friday, August 4. The receivers rang off the hooks to the tune of $40,850!

Cynthia Izaguirre (File photo)

Those two undertakings brought in a total of $46,000, all of which will be used to provide backpacks, construction and manila paper, colored pencils, folders, pencil sharpeners, block erasers, glue sticks, highlighters, markers, pencil pouches, red pens and scissors.

According to CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel, “We are so grateful to WFAA, and especially to Cynthia Izaguirre, for their longtime commitment to and tireless advocacy on behalf of the foster children in our community. Additionally, to everyone who called in with their generous donations, thank you! We had so many wonderful donors support this cause — with gifts from a grandmother on a fixed income to people with charitable foundations. Dallas really stepped up to help children in foster care and we are appreciative!”

Congratulations to WFAA for connecting the dots to provide assistance for children in need. In the wake of the Friends closing, WFAA managed to help fill a void financially and spread the word.

If you would like to join the supply-the-kids program, here is a list of what they need. But if you don’t have time to shop, you can always donate money.

* Photo courtesy of WFAA