JUST IN: 2nd Annual Penguin Days Starts Three-Month Run Thursday

While some folks may not cotton to the upcoming drop in temperatures, there are Dallas Zoo residents that are thrilled. Okay, so maybe the reptiles don’t really care. They’re staying comfy in their heated digs in the Herpetarium. But Dallas Zoo’s Lydia Jennings just sent word that the African Penguins are beside themselves.

Penguins (File photo)

Dallas Zoo Penguins (File photo)

And as part of the wintry feel, the humans at the zoo have announced that starting tomorrow (aka Thursday, December 1) the second annual Penguin Days will commence.

What’s Penguin Days? No, it doesn’t mean that the staff dresses up in tuxedos and waddles around. Rather, it translates to bargains for Dallas Zoo guests. Until Tuesday, February 28, the price of admission will be dropped to $7 per person (kiddos age 2 and Dallas Zoo members will still be free).

Open daily except for Christmas Day, the 106-acre zoo’s hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Gingerbread Stroll Nears The End Of The Road, But There’s Still Time To Bid And Vote On A Confectionary Cottage

Thursday may be the first day of December, but, alas, it’s the last day of the 5th Annual Gingerbread Stroll in Highland Park Village. If you haven’t made it yet, stop pussyfooting around and check out the marvelously decorated cookie cottages at Betta Gallery, Bistro 31, Kiehl’s, Leggiadro, Market Highland Park, Robert Talbott, Roberta Roller Rabbit, Royal Blue Grocery, Stella McCartney, Trina Turk and Village Barber Shop.

The Gingerbread Stroll*

The Gingerbread Stroll*

The cuisine builders include A Sweet Life, Architecture Demarest, artist Evelyn J. Fallgren, Charlies, Chef Winter Lockwood-Frank, Chocolate Secrets, Hilton Anatole, Hotel Crescent Court, Hyatt Regency Dallas at Reunion, Omni Dallas Hotel and Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.

And since it is the last day of the stroll, put your bid in for one of the houses… except for one. 

Just heard from Gingerbread founding sweetie Christine McKenny that Evelyn’s  confectionary delight at Leggiadro is off the market. Seems someone snatched it up for the buy-it-now bid of $1,000. Perhaps the Dave Perry Miller folks should post a “Sold” sign out front!

Evelyn J. Fallgren's sold gingerbread house*

Evelyn J. Fallgren’s sold gingerbread house*

But Evelyn has another masterpiece over at Robert Talbott that is still up for bid. It’s quite a looker, too!

And Christine also revealed there has been a late arrival from Chef Julie Price to the gingerbread development. It’s at Nasiba Adilova’s and Miroslava Duma‘s The Tot pop-up shop. Since it is the holiday season, Christine has decided to let this adorable home stay on the auction bloc after Thursday night. But don’t wait too long to check it out and put a bid in.

Remember, all bids and votes for your favs (except the one at The Tot) end Thursday night when the stores go dark.

Since its inception in 2011, the Stroll has provided more than $40,000 for area children in need through organizations like this year’s recipient Community Partners of Dallas.

* Graphic and photo courtesy of The Gingerbread Stroll

Thanks To Spirit Halloween, Children’s Ghouls And Goblins Had Their Pick For Halloween Garb

Racks of costumes

Racks of costumes

Despite trailing mobile IVs or being chauffeured in red wagons, the Children’s patients were just typical kids warming up for Halloween in the Children’s Medical Center Dallas’ Butterfly Atrium on Thursday, October 13.

There were racks of brand new costumes just ripe for the pickings. The children were able to shop for the ultimate perfecto costume just in time for trick and treating. They also had a chance to pick up backpacks, play games, have their faces painted and, of course, test out treats.

Andrea

Andrea

Payslea

Payslea

While some like Andrew hit the tables to apply crayons to paper, others like Payslea got a new look thanks to the face painters.

Even the Children’s therapy dogs got into the spirit of the day giving licks instead of tricks to fellows like Jesus.

Jesus

Jesus

It was all made possible by Spirit Halloween’s fundraising arm Spirit of Children. In addition to providing and hosting the party for the kids, the company has provided a total of $670,816 for Children’s Medical Center Foundation. The Spirit of Children was established in 2006 to help “make hospitals less scary for kids and their families by providing fun during Halloween and funding all year long.” Joining the Spirit Halloween volunteers and staffers were members of Child Life, too.

Spirit of Children representatives

Spirit of Children representatives

To be very honest, it was hard to tell who was having more fun — the youngsters or oldsters.

BTW, the voting on the Children’s Medical Center Dallas’ cutest Howl-oween pooch is still going on. Just check out the Children’s ad on the right side of this page before it’s too late.

Even Rainy Weather Couldn’t Take The Bounce Out Of Community Partners Of Dallas’ 10th Annual Change Is Good

North Texas is the Super Bowl for meteorologists and event planners. With all of Mama Nature’s children (northers rolling down from the Rockies, Arctic chills coming down the Midwest corridor, moist winds from the Gulf Coast and Canadian blowhards), the North Texas region is a mix master of weather.

That’s why Sunday, September 25, put the area activities to the test as wet weather, threats of thunder and promises of cooler weather hit.

The Plano Balloon Festival smartly cancelled early, but the Community Partners of Dallas had the Change Is Good prepared for whatever. And whatever was put to the test.

Mason Park and Beth and Larence Park

Mason Park and Beth and Larence Park

As the doors opened for the 10th Annual Change is Good at Brook Hollow, the weather looked promising for the event to be outdoor/indoor. Still the bungee cord jump stayed still, while the outdoor bounce house and inflated obstacle course had short ones lined up. Toddler Mason Park decided to take a pass on the obstacle course and stayed in the arms of his grandparents/Honorary Co-Chairs Beth and Larence Park.

Inflatable obstacle course

Inflatable obstacle course

Inside the smell of popcorn filled the Verandah, while palm readers got handy and Rad Hatter created millinery masterpieces.

DJ Bill Cody

DJ Bill Cody

Rad Hatter

Rad Hatter

Fortune teller

Fortune teller

In the ballroom, DJ Bill Cody had both kiddos and adults dancing underneath a netted gathering of balloons. At one side of the room was a balloon creation of “10”.

In addition to the “10,” there were families who have been sponsors since its beginning including Shonn and Clarence Brown, Jessica and Jeff Burrow, Sally and George Dutter, Elizabeth and Eric Gambrell, Heather and Malcolm Hicks, Christie and Chris Linebarger, Francie and Steve Mancillas, Emily and Todd Massey, Christina and Tim Norris, Katherine Reeves and Jody and Grant Swartzwelder.

Alas, Elizabeth Gambrell feared that this one just might be her swan song for Change Is Good. Her older two kids had outgrown the event and her baby girl Sarah Rose Gambrell was starting to look like one of the oldies despite the painted face.

Sarah Rose Gambrell and Elizabeth Gambrell

Sarah Rose Gambrell and Elizabeth Gambrell

Jack Landon and Chris Landon

Jack Landon and Chris Landon

On the other hand, those with toddlers found it easier to get around with child in arm like Lindsay and Chris Landon with one-year-old Jack Landon.

Across the room was the near-to-the-ceiling bounce house. At one point there was a group gasp as the house seemed to be tilting on its side. But the kids who were old hands at bounce houses shifted to the other side and all was right.

Still as usual the ultimate popular, line ‘em up was the face painting in the ballroom. Okay, so some fellas like William Spence weren’t so keen about the cosmetic fru-fru. But others like Co-Chair Caroline Ballotta looked right at home with her painted face and Rad Hatter. Brother William Ballotta was one of the little ones who initially was a bit overwhelmed by all the commotion.

Ray Ballotta, William Ballotta, Caroline Ballotta and Lindsay Ballotta

Ray Ballotta, William Ballotta, Caroline Ballotta and Lindsay Ballotta

An hour into the festivities, the feared rain that had hit the rest of the area found Brook Hollow. And despite the overload of kids, parents and grandparents, nobody really seemed to mind. Thought one single-child parent admitted that she was grateful just to have one kidlet.

Energized by the sugary delights of Book Hollow, the kids were in overdrive. In the ballroom where debutante parties had properly taken place and the ever-so-civilized Sweetheart Ball had raised funds, the too-young-to-have-drivers-license set scampered, danced and partied.

Lisa Catravas, Aiden Catravas and Jimmie Catravas

Lisa Catravas, Aiden Catravas and Jimmie Catravas

Shelly Slater, Hutcheson Huffstutter, Hawkins Huffstutter and Clay Huffstutter

Shelly Slater, Hutcheson Huffstutter, Hawkins Huffstutter and Clay Huffstutter

Snapshots: Aiden Catravas with a white streak in his brown hair broke from the herd and dined on carrots and veggies… While juggling her two sons Hawkins Huffstutter and Hutcheson Huffstuffer with husband Clay Huffstutter, Shelly Slater reported that she was still doing parttime work for WFAA as well as advising nonprofits and organizations. But, no, rumors that she was doing PR were so very wrong… Poor Spider Man. Upon seeing the comic superhero, two tykes burst into tears. Hey, it’s rough to be a rejected comic strip hero.

Despite the super-duper sugar high, the party wound down and just as the end came, the net holding the green and white balloons was let loose with balloons falling on the waiting guests.

BTW, the final count for the kids’ collection of change? How about a whopping 87,582 coins adding up to $19,617.55! That means that in its 10 years, 922,526 coins have been turned in resulting in $147,830 for Community Partners of Dallas. What is done with money? It goes to buying supplies, toys and clothes for children who are removed from neglectful and harmful situations.

But Change Is Good does even more than support the Community Partners of Dallas mission. It also is an opportunity for youngsters to learn about fundraising. This year’s efforts resulted in awards being given out including:

  • Most online — Harper Hinds and Haven Hinds ($1,195)
  • Most quarters — Brooke Gray, Cate Gray and Caroline Gray (1,383 quarters)
  • Most change collected —
    • 1st place — Harper Hinds and Haven Hinds ($1,598.01)
    • 2nd place — Brooke Gray, Cate Gray and Caroline Gray ($1,033.63)
    • 3rd place — Sydney Bonfield and Lola Bonfield ($953.25)

For more photos, head over to MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2016 Change Is Good

Those folks at Community Partners of Dallas don’t let pending rain warnings dampen their plans. That was the case for their 10th Annual Change Is Good at Brook Hollow Golf Club on Sunday, September 25. While other events might suffer due to drizzle, these kids and their seemed to thrive.

Inflatable obstacle course

Inflatable obstacle course

The outdoor inflatable obstacle course was even more slippery-slidy; bounce house went in-house; the face painters had ’em lined up; the sugary delights filled tables; and, of course, there was a drop of green and white balloons.

Ray Ballotta, William Ballotta, Caroline Ballotta and Lindsay Ballotta

Ray Ballotta, William Ballotta, Caroline Ballotta and Lindsay Ballotta

Kennedy Moore, Sandy Moore, Ryan Moore and Barry Moore

Kennedy Moore, Sandy Moore, Ryan Moore and Barry Moore

While the post is being prepared, check out some pretty cute folks at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Esteem: A Fashion Show Had Celebs And Community Leaders On The Tootsies Runway For The Elisa Project

As if fundraisers were worn out by the Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show and Luncheon, Hope’s Door Fashion Show and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala on Friday, September 16, they were up bright and early Saturday for Esteem: A Fashion Show benefiting The Elisa Project. Here’s a report from the field:

Co-chairs Melissa Rountree and her daughter Morgan welcomed more than 250 attendees to Tootsies on Saturday, September 17, for Esteem: A Fashion Show. In its 7th year, Esteem helps increase awareness about eating disorders and the importance of positive body image, Esteem encourages people to love themselves while striving to be healthy.  Proceeds support The Elisa Project (TEP) and the important programs dedicated to fighting eating disorder illnesses through awareness, education, support and advocacy.

Morgan Moore, Lynn McBee and Melissa Rountree*

Morgan Moore, Lynn McBee and Melissa Rountree*

As attendees perused the store’s fall fashions and accessories, with 10% of sales going to TEP, they enjoyed mimosas and tasty bites courtesy of True Foods Kitchen.  The raffle table was the place to be with a chance to win amazing prizes: including a $250 gift card to any Lombardi Family Concepts restaurant, Glamboxes acrylic makeup designer box; Elizabeth Showers earrings; 3-month membership to Veranda Health Club at the Hilton Anatole; a gold necklace with lemon-green quartz and diamonds from Pratiksha Jewelry; gift cards to get fit at Meredith Boyd-Camp Gladiator; six months unlimited classes at Bar Method, a $100 gift card to Tootsies and much more!

The crowd then moved upstairs for the much-anticipated fashion show. As patrons took their seats, co-chairs Melissa and Morgan thanked everyone in attendance before introducing TEP’s Board President Dr. Stephanie Setliff. Stephanie added her thanks and recognized Honorary Chair Lynn McBee and TEP Co-Founder Leslie McCall. She also shared details about the important work The Elisa Project is doing throughout North Texas through advocacy, education and support, which touches the lives of more than 31,000 individuals suffering from eating disorders each year.

Holly Pellham Davis, Rhonda Sargent Chambers and Landry Davis*

Holly Pellham Davis, Rhonda Sargent Chambers and Landry Davis*

Emcee Gloria Campos then took the stage and recognized TEP Executive Director Kim Martinez, the TEP staff and board of directors, as well as ESTEEM Founder/Event Coordinator/Board Member Rhonda Sargent Chambers. Tootsies store director Nerissa von Helpenstill, joined Gloria to kick-off the two fashion scenes, “Borrowed from the Boys” and “She’s a Lady” featuring local celebrities and notables in fall fashions from Tootsies, with children’s fashions provided by KidBiz/The Biz.  DJ Blake Ward provided a cool vibe as the models walked the runway.

2016 models were: jewelry designer Amanda Sterett Albritton with daughters Anna and Olivia; FOX4-TV’s Emmy-award winning news anchor Jenny Anchando; author, community volunteer and co-founder of Sawyer Collection Kim Bannister and daughter Sawyer; sisters Erin Bulcher, Sr. SEO and content manager for farecompare.com, and Nicole Bulcher, former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader; WFAA-TV’s Alexa Conomos and daughter Annick; community volunteer Yvonne Crum with granddaughter Samantha; organic lifestyle and healthy living expert Holly Pellham Davis with daughter Landry; Jazmyn Dorsett, daughter of Dallas Cowboys legend Tony Dorsett and super mom Janet Dorsett; Lauren Foreman, community volunteer and communications manager for Thompson and Knight; Roshawnda Foster, Kim Dawson model, and daughter Logan; Pam Skaggs Frank, veteran Kim Dawson Model and owner of Gloss Luxury Rentals and Gloss Interiors; community volunteer Alissa Ferguson Gearing and daughter Ansley; community volunteer and 26-year Brinker International employee Nancy Gopez; designer and creator of Bahz jewelry Britt Harless; Tiffany Hendra, wife, television host, lifestyle mentor and creator of Sanctuary of Style blog;  founder and creator of Model Behaviors, writer and activist Toni Munoz Hunt and daughter Darlington; lifestyle management consultant Jackson; host of nationally syndicated morning show, Eye Opener, blogger and fashion expert Hilary Kennedy; Whitney Roberts Kutch, TEP board member and founder of Hello Whitney blog; Carlotta Lennox, Kim Dawson model and entrepreneur, and daughter Alle; LeeAnne Locken, author, actor, model, producer and community volunteer; wife, mother grandmother and co-owner of Lombardi Family Concepts Vivian Lombardi and granddaughter Sarah Taylor; healthcare professional and Bar Method instructor Candice Wynn Mason; Jane McGarry, host of WFAA-TV’s “Good Morning Texas;” fashion stylist and blogger Dawn Mellon; sportscaster and TV host Gina Miller; Allison Mitchell, designer and founder of her namesake line of clutches; model and former Miss Texas and Miss USA Courtney Gibbs Mokarow and daughter Everett; Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist Scott Murray; Dawn Neufeld, reigning Mrs. Frisco and former cast member of VH1’s “Football Wives,” model and on-air host, with daughter Bryn; Jamie O’Banion, co-founder and president of luxury skincare line Beauty Bioscience and daughters Aubrey and Ava Grace; licensed clinical social worker Jennifer Passanante and daughters Morgan and Taylor; fashion stylist and spokesperson for Galleria Dallas Holly McCracken Quartaro and daughters Sophia, Sara and Emily; legendary Dallas real estate agent Ralph Randall; Esteem co-chairs Melissa Rountree and daughter Morgan; Amy Vanderoef, lifestyle expert and former WFAA-TV “Good Morning Texas” co-host; model and hair stylist Gary Walden; Kathryn Wahlstrom, medical marketing and media relations expert; and community volunteer Kameron Westcott and daughter Hilton.

Vivian Lombardi and Sarah Taylor*

Vivian Lombardi and Sarah Taylor*

Logan Foster and Roshawnda Foster*

Logan Foster and Roshawnda Foster*

As a thank you, attendees received a swag bag featuring items from Tootsies, Vita Coco, The Hair Bar and Scout Guide Dallas.

Esteem models and leadership*

Esteem models and leadership*

The event would have been possible without the generosity of this year’s Esteem sponsors:

  • Fashion Sponsor: Tootsies;
  • DIVA Sponsor: SAP;
  • Super Model Sponsor: Acute Center for Eating Disorders in Denver, CO;
  • In-kind donors – Bob Manzano Photography; Center for Discovery; DJ Blake Ward; Eating Recovery Center; Kid Biz/The Biz; Laureate ED Program; Lawson Event Rentals; RSC Show Productions; Scout Guide Dallas; The Hair Bar; Timberline Knolls; True Food Kitchen; Vita Coco; Elizabeth Showers Jewelry; The Bar Method; Pratiksha Jewelry; Amanda Sterett Jewelry; Abi Ferrin; Veranda Health Club; Lombardi Family Concepts; Level 3 Active; Meredith Boyd/Camp Gladiator; Tootsies; Glamboxes; and City+Sky.
* Photos provided by The Elisa Project

Come Rain Or Shine, Sunday’s “Change Is Good” Is On

If you believe the weather guessers, lower temperatures and wet stuff are coming to the ‘hood this weekend. It will be nice to have the cooler weather. As for the rain, lawns will appreciate it, but event planners like the Plano Balloon Festival, the 6th Annual 5K “One Run” and Flight of the Monarch Festival may be tapping into their back-up plans.

Just heard from Community Partners of DallasJoanna Clarke about the status of Sunday’s 10th annual Change Is Good. Usually the outdoor/indoor kids’ fest turns Brook Hollow Golf Club into a mini-Six Flags Over Texas complete with mammoth bounce houses and bungee jumping.

Change Is Good Come Rain Or Shine*

Change Is Good Come Rain Or Shine*

Okay, so maybe the bungee jumping won’t be work in the ballroom, but the CPD team has managed to have a bounce house be bopping in the ballroom. In addition, there will be loads of face painting, sugary delights, games, prizes, music by DJ Bill Cody and the Rad Hatter, who will be making super-duper hats. BTW, both Bill and Rad have been part of the fun since it started ten years ago.

Cellphone photo alert: There will a huge “10” in balloons that will be a perfect spot for a photo of the munchkins.

It will be the perfect way to spend a wet afternoon (3 to 6 p.m.) with the kids just before the Cowboys play the Bears at 7:30. And do try to stay until the end because there’s gonna be a surprise.

So typical of CPD, they’re turning a rainy day into a play day. After all a little “change is good.”

You Did It Again: North Texas Giving Day Busts Previous Records With A Whopping $37,307,196 For 2,518 Nonprofits Thanks To 142,892 Gifts

Well, dang it! Once again Communities Foundation of TexasNorth Texas Giving Day broke all past records hauling in $37,307,196. Gee, don’t you just love the 142,892 North Texas givers who made it happen? Whether its multi-million-dollar buckeroos or the legions of $25 donors, this neighborhood shines in the world of giving.

North Texas Giving Day

North Texas Giving Day

You simply can’t even fathom the appreciation of the nonprofits for folks and organizations coming through on this legendary day.

By the way, this year’s record breaker is the very first in its eight-year history without former CFT Executive Director Brent Christopher, who announced his departure for Children’s Medical Center Foundation earlier this summer.

For a giggle, MySweetCharity contacted Brent about NTGD’s continuing its record-breaking record in the astrosphere of fundraising without him. His reply:

“The team behind North Texas Giving Day is incredible, not to mention all the participating nonprofits. But, I had no idea that I was holding everyone back all these years! This over-the-top total is nothing short of astounding. And, of course, all of us at Children’s Health are thrilled that donors to Children’s played a big part in that success, too.”

Congrats to Communities Foundation of Texas, the 2,518 nonprofits and Brent for creating one of the nation’s most remarkable fundraising accomplishments.

May the fundraising continue. But let’s let the emailboxes take a rest for a day.

North Texas Giving Day Booster: NorthPark Center

North Texas Giving Day*

North Texas Giving Day*

“To celebrate the philanthropic spirit of our city and the wonderful work of our local nonprofits, NorthPark Center is honored to partner with Communities Foundation of Texas for a special Donation Station event for North Texas Giving Day on Thursday, September 22, 2016.

North Texas Giving Day is the one day each year when donations of $25 or more are amplified by bonus funds and prizes. This event has grown over the years into the largest giving day in the nation, raising over $119 million since its inception in 2009. Last year, an astounding 118,000 gifts totaling $33 million benefited more than 2,000 worthy nonprofit organizations.

Ballet Folklorico dancer (File photo)

Ballet Folklorico dancer (File photo)

“In celebration of this day, NorthPark will welcome many important nonprofits as well as showcase special entertainment by some of our region’s best performing arts organizations, such as Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico, Dallas Black Dance Theater, Dallas Children’s Theater, Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts Dance Company, Junior Players, Lone Star Wind Orchestra, Shakespeare Dallas, and The Singing Girls of Texas and Texas Boys Choir from Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts, among others.

“Save the date now to attend KidsGive, which provides children with a chance to donate their loose change and help with nearly a dozen hands-on, philanthropic activities like stuffing goodie bags with toiletries for Attitudes and Attire and writing notes to deployed soldiers with Patriot PAWS Service Dogs. Children can also engage with animals from Dallas Zoo, SPCA of Texas and Equest.

Nancy Nasher*

Nancy Nasher*

“We hope to see you at NorthPark Center on Thursday, September 22, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in NorthCourt, on Level One between Nordstrom and Macy’s.”

Nancy A. Nasher, NorthPark Center President and Owner

______

In seven years, North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $119 million into the North Texas community. In 2015, $33 million was raised through more than 118,000 gifts benefiting over 2,000 nonprofits.

On Thursday, September 22, support North Texas Giving Day by linking here and spreading the word. #NTxGivingDay

* Photo provided by NorthPark Center

North Texas Giving Day Booster: Friends Of The Mansfield Public Library

“When Ingrid Villar decided to stay home to raise her three children, one of her girlfriends told her, ‘You’ve got to find a library. You’ll be amazed to see how many things they offer for kids.’ So Villar did, and now she wishes everyone was aware of what a gem the Mansfield Public Library is.

“’I don’t think people realize how much the library offers,’ said Ingrid, a weekly patron. ‘They think it’s just books without realizing how much there is to enrich their lives.’

“Since moving to North Texas from California about two years ago, Ingrid and her three kids – now three, five and seven – go the Mansfield Public Library nearly every Wednesday for story time and, of course, to check out books.

Friends of Mansfield Public Library*

Friends of Mansfield Public Library*

“The weekly visit has become an anticipated event in the Villar household and is a big part of Ingrid’s parenting. She loves the learning opportunities that story time provides for her children beyond reading comprehension, which is crucial in education. ‘This is all preparing them for school, so when their teacher says, “You have to listen to me,” they’ll know what to do.’

“The Villar family story underscores an important message librarians have been spreading this year –libraries change lives, whether that’s through child literacy programs, free Internet access so people can search for job opportunities, or adult art classes that foster camaraderie. Libraries are more than places to check out books.

“Earlier this year Mansfield Public Library became one of the first libraries in Texas to offer WiFi hotspots for checkout. The community institution is also establishing a Family Place Library for early childhood development, and will soon offer U.S. citizenship classes.

“To aid the hard-working staff of Mansfield’s only library, the all-volunteer nonprofit Friends of the Mansfield Public Library was established to support the library through fundraising, promotion and advocacy.

“The Friends believe in the library’s power to transform lives, which is why we raise money to purchase things that aren’t in the normal budget. This year our donations went toward many things – a one-year public performance movie license, tables and board games for family programs, supplies for new adult programs – with the biggest donation helping to fund the summer reading program, which can be one of the busiest times at the library with students on summer break.

Amanda Eyre Ward talks at the annual Mansfield Reads! program put on by the Friends of the Mansfield Library at the Evening With The Author event.

Amanda Eyre Ward talks at the annual Mansfield Reads! program put on by the Friends of the Mansfield Library at the Evening With The Author event.

“The Friends also host Mansfield Reads!, an annual award-winning program where they bring authors like Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler and New York Times best-sellers Sandra Brown and J.A. Jance to speak to the community. With the tagline ‘One City, One Book,’ the free event fosters a sense of community through reading and public dialogue about the selected literature.

“’This is our first year to participate in North Texas Giving Day, and we are so excited,’ said Carol Ann Grantham, president of the Friends. ‘Mansfield is growing quickly, and our organization needs to keep up with the city’s development to continue to support our already fantastic library and its services.’

“By participating in Giving Day, the Friends hope to increase awareness about their group, the library’s services, and raise more money to purchase items for the library that aren’t funded by the regular budget.”

-By Lindsey Perkins Wade, Mansfield Reads! Vice President

* Photo provided by Friends of the Mansfield Public Library
______

In seven years, North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $119 million into the North Texas community. In 2015, $33 million was raised through more than 118,000 gifts benefiting over 2,000 nonprofits.

On Thursday, September 22, support Friends of the Mansfield Public Library by linking here and spreading the word. #NTxGivingDay

It Was All Painted Hands On Deck For Hyundai Hope On Wheels Presentation For Children’s Medical Center Foundation

The cancer-battling kids at Children’s Medical Center are such incredible troopers. Having faced daunting treatments, loss of hair and being hooked up to mobile IVs, they take it all in stride. With their families at their side, they trust the wisdom and advice of their doctors and the team of healthcare providers without hesitation.

But on Friday, September 2, a handful of the young patients were wondering if these wise professionals had gone a bit batty.

But more about that later.

Brent Christopher and Kern Wildenthal

Brent Christopher and Kern Wildenthal

With chairs in the Butterfly Atrium filled, Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher welcomed all to the Hyundai Hope On Wheels presentation that included area Hyundai dealers and former Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Kern Wildenthal. Brent reported how in the state of Texas, one in five children diagnosed with cancer is treated at Children’s.

Stephen Skapek

Stephen Skapek

Division of Pediatric Hematology-oncology chief/Dr. Stephen Skapek told of the advances that were being made at Children’s in partnership with UT Southwestern, thanks to generous financial support. Proudly he showed off his “lab coat of Hyundai” honor that he keeps hanging in his office.

Then Hyundai South Central Regional Manager Tom Hetrick told how this event “was the best part of [his] job.” Since 1998 Hyundai nationally has provided a total of $115M to pediatric cancer research. This year the goal was $13M, with $150,000 provided by local Hyundai dealers for Children’s.

Tom Hetrick

Tom Hetrick

This year’s contribution will support the work of Dr. Kenneth “Kenny” Chen, who gratefully thanked the Hyundai team and told how 40,000 children are annually diagnosed with pediatric cancer and one in eight will not survive. He added that “only 4% of the national cancer budget goes to childhood cancer research.” It was just four years ago that Kenny and “his colleagues at Children’s Medical turned surgically removed kidney tumors — once threats to life — into new sources of information on cancer. They sequenced the genes of dozens of tumors.” Thanks to the $150,000 grant from Hyundai, Kenny will be to build on their discoveries.

This undertaking is especially important to pediatric cancer research. The 44 genes were from Wilms tumors, “a rare kidney cancer that primarily affects children under the age of five. Also known as nephroblastoma, Wilms tumor is the most common cancer of the kidneys in children. Studying mouse models and human cells. Kenny plans to investigate whether using drugs designed for adults that put microRNAs back into cells can stop or even reverse Wilms tumor cell growth.”

Kenny then introduced “the main event”: 12-year-old cancer patient Jack Maurer, who had a Wilms cancer tumor removed surgically in 2007, came to the podium. With his mother Amy Maurer smiling on the front row, the brown-haired Coppell seventh grader, whose tumor may have been one of those used in the program, briefly told the group about his stay at Children’s and thanked the Hyundai dealers for their donation. He added later, “It’s neat to think I might have been part of that. It’s like I left a legacy at the hospital that took care of me.”

Following a standing ovation, Hyundai Van General Manager George Donaldson admitted that Jack was “a tough act to follow for sure,” but he rose to the challenge saying, “This is not a day about selling cars or promoting our businesses. This is an issue that is truly at the core of who we are… We are proud to be part of this community and even more proud to have an institution like this one serving our children every day. Children are our future. They should have a chance to grow, play and learn in a world that is cancer-free. This is why we are so committed to this cause. It is for the kids.”

Following a photo session with Hyundai fellows, the Children’s team of professionals and kids all were invited upstairs to the driveway. While the adults knew what was going to happen, the kids were a bit mystified. They knew it had to do with a car and something about paint.

Once in the driveway, they spied a white Hyundai with colorful mini-hand prints. Then they were ushered to a table with bowls of paints. Once there, the adults painted the kids’ hands with the paint and had them hand-print a large piece of paper. Hmm, this was so not the usual “adult-approved” situation.

Mackenna Rodolph

Mackenna Rodolph

Then they were taken to the white Hyundai and told to go at it. Frisco third-grader Mackenna Rodolph was the first and laughed as she was actually urged to lay her red-painted hands on the vehicle. She was soon joined by eight-year-old Conner Sides, five-year-old Tatum Teague and Jack.

Hyundai dealers and from the left Jack Maurer, Tatum Teague and Mackenna Rodolph

Hyundai dealers and from the left Jack Maurer, Tatum Teague and Mackenna Rodolph

As if that wasn’t a little unusual, the kids also were pointed to hand-print Kenny’s pristine white lab coat. One kiddo looked at the adults as if to ask, “Are you serious?” But once again the adults and Dr. Chen were all beaming as the kids got handy.

Tatum Teague, Mackenna Rodolph, Kenny Chen, Conner Sides and Jack Maurer

Tatum Teague, Mackenna Rodolph, Kenny Chen, Conner Sides and Jack Maurer

The children decided that they weren’t being punked and got into the occasion, sporting colored hands and smiles. It was a day when the best cancer treatment was kids mixing it up with paint.

Still another photo session was set up with the Hyundai dealers in front of the car. But they wanted the children in the photo. As one of the dealers put it, “This is about the kids.”

As for Jack, he was destined for even more to celebrate his conquest of cancer, thanks to the Hyundai locals. They had arranged with Children’s to have Jack throw out the first pitch at Sunday’s Texas Rangers’ game against the Houston Astros to commemorate Children Cancer Awareness Month.

10th Annual Change Is Good Kick-Off Party Turned Work Into A Birthday Celebration with Green Cupcakes, Crayons And Checks

One local nonprofit group that subscribes to the Tom Sawyer philosophy of making work seem like fun is Community Partners of Dallas. To launch its 10th anniversary of Change is Good along with prepping supplies for young clients, they held a kick-off party on the afternoon of Saturday, August 20, at CPD headquarters complete with green birthday cupcakes, loads of crayons and checks. Here’s a report from the field:

Ray Ballotta, Caroline Ballotta, Lindsay Ballotta and Williams Ballotta*

Ray Ballotta, Caroline Ballotta, Lindsay Ballotta and Williams Ballotta*

Community Partners of Dallas kicked off the 10th Annual Change is Good on Saturday, August 20, with a celebration and day of volunteering for event sponsors and members of the event’s host committee.

Chair family Lindsay and Ray Ballotta with kids Caroline and William, welcomed nearly 100 attendees for a day of fun. As families arrived, they were encouraged to create their own design for the annual t-shirt, which will be unveiled at the upcoming Sunday, September 25th event.  With “10th birthday” as the theme, participants of all ages showed their artistic talents with their original designs.

Barry and Sandy Moore, Ryan Moore and Kennedy Moore*

Barry and Sandy Moore, Ryan Moore and Kennedy Moore*

Grayson Porwell, Valerie Prowell and Noelle Prowell*

Grayson Porwell, Valerie Prowell and Noelle Prowell*

Gracie Kong, Sarah Kong and Owen Kong*

Gracie Kong, Sarah Kong and Owen Kong*

Paige McDaniel, Henry Horvat and George Horvat*

Paige McDaniel, Henry Horvat and George Horvat*

Midway through the event, President and CEO Paige McDaniel welcomed everyone and thanked event sponsors, then gave special recognition to the Change is Good chair family, the Ballottas, as well as honorary chairs Beth and Larence Park. She also thanked all the kids for working so hard over the summer as they collected change to help change the lives for other kids – whether they emptied their own piggy banks or raised money online or through other activities. As a surprise, George Horvat (age 10) and his brother Henry Horvat (age 8) made a special presentation to Paige…a check for $300, which they raised from hosting a summer day camp, which benefited CPD.  Paige wrapped up by leading the kids in singing “Happy Birthday” to Change is Good, as well as Calum Taylor who was celebrating his 14th birthday on Saturday!

Birthday cupcakes*

Birthday cupcakes*

Attendees were then separated by age to help CPD put together hygiene kits and back to school supplies for the abused and neglected children they serve.

The 10th annual Change is Good will be held on Sunday, September 25, from 3 – 6 p.m. at Brook Hollow Golf Club. The fun-filled day will feature activities for all ages, including bungee jumping, obstacle courses, a prince/princess station, a paper airplane zone, a GameTruck, the Rad Hatter, balloon artists, face painting, bounce houses, a DJ dance party and an array of fun birthday activities to celebrate Change is Good turning 10. Participating children and teens will turn in the change they collected over the summer in exchange for chances to win exciting prizes. This year’s prize for most change raised is a 3D printer!

Sponsorships begin at $550 and are on sale now; tickets are $75 per adult and $35 per child.  For more information visit communitypartnersdallas.org.

* Photo provided by Community Partners of Dallas

2016 Junior Cattle Baron’s Ball Partied With Painted Faces And Hula Hoops Before Heading To The Circus

On Sunday, August 7, the Cattle Baron’s Ball Baronesses and their kids held the annual Junior Cattle Baron’s Ball honoring the munchkin cancer warriors from Children’s Health and Medical City Children’s Hospital at a party at American Airlines Center’s Old Number 7 before the Barnum and Bailey Circus.

There were kid-friendly swag bags and loads of food, but the real action was divided.

From the left: (adults) Craig Williams, Whitney and Todd Williams, Derrin and Mary Williams, Jamie Williams; (children) Graham Williams, Georgia Williams, Kate Williams, Andrew Williams, Lanier Williams and Phillip Williams

From the left: (adults) Craig Williams, Whitney and Todd Williams, Derrin and Mary Williams, Jamie Williams; (children) Graham Williams, Georgia Williams, Kate Williams, Andrew Williams, Lanier Williams and Phillip Williams

Thanks to presenting sponsor The Moody Foundation, Jr. CBB Co-Chairs Mary C. Corrigan and Lisa Ogle were able to arrange for a couple of activities that were ideal for the pre-show party.

Cassidy Barrett

Cassidy Barrett

Kamila Cortes

Kamila Cortes

First was the face decorating. The lineup for face painting was never-ending with four facial artists creating masterpieces. In this situation having a lack of hair was doggone adorable. Fashionista Cassidy Barrett accessorized beautifully with a pink lace headband. Kamila Cortes opted for the pierced ear look and instead of having her face painted, she had a nifty purple cat created on her left arm. When one youngster was asked if he had always been that cute, his reply was: “Yes!”

Across the way, an old-time toy became a real pacesetter — hula hoops! Who would have thought in this day and age of 3D games that the 1950’s hoop would thrill. Needless to say, the adults looked on thinking, “Someone is going to sleep soundly tonight.”

Bella Anderson

Bella Anderson

Maidie Corrigan

Maidie Corrigan

Mary and Lisa provided an additional surprise. Thanks to Luke Lange, each of the young cancer patients received a Luke’s FastBreaks T-shirt. Because Luke has been where these kids have been, these T-shirts are designed to have the cool factor as well as snaps on the side that allow for cancer treatments.

From the left: Dawn Greiner, Julie Clancy, Kathryn Henry, Jennifer Walters, Andrea Weber, Danielle Sealy, Lisa Ogle, Brynn Bagot and Mary C. Corrigan

From the left: Dawn Greiner, Julie Clancy, Kathryn Henry, Jennifer Walters, Andrea Weber, Danielle Sealy, Lisa Ogle, Brynn Bagot and Mary C. Corrigan

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for tens of thousands of cute faces, both natural and painted!

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2016 Junior Cattle Baron’s Ball

From the left: Dawn Greiner, Julie Clancy, Kathryn Henry, Jennifer Walters, Andrea Weber, Danielle Sealy, Lisa Ogle, Brynn Bagot and Mary C. Corrigan

From the left: Dawn Greiner, Julie Clancy, Kathryn Henry, Jennifer Walters, Andrea Weber, Danielle Sealy, Lisa Ogle, Brynn Bagot and Mary C. Corrigan

While many were in faraway places or sleeping in on Sunday, August 7, Cattle Baronesses Mary C. Corrigan and Lisa Ogle were hustling down at AT&T Arena for the annual Junior Cattle Baron’s Ball.

Nainga Thomas

Nainga Thomas

Nainga Thomas

Nainga Thomas

Hudson Whiteman

Hudson Whiteman

Hudson Whiteman

Hudson Whiteman

Cassidy Barrett

Cassidy Barrett

Cassidy Barrett

Cassidy Barrett

The event celebrates munchkins and their families, who are battling childhood cancer. And what were the two most popular items at the party? Well, you’ll just have to wait for the post. But until then, check out the incredibly, absolutely adorable kiddos at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

From the left: Christopher Merrell III, LaTonia Merrell, Chasity Merrell, Christin Merrell and Christopher Merrell II

From the left: Christopher Merrell III, LaTonia Merrell, Chasity Merrell, Christin Merrell and Christopher Merrell II

If you need an incentive to support cancer research via the Cattle Baron’s Ball at Gilley’s on Saturday, October 15, you’ll see it in the eyes of the wee warriors.

North Texas Giving Day Booster: Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

“As an employee at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose since the facility opened to the public in 1984, I’ve seen a lot of memorable wildlife conservation events and met some remarkable people along the way. If you haven’t do so before, we hope you will visit us sometime, but let me try to explain what we do and why we do it.

Simitar-horned oryx and blackbuck*

Simitar-horned oryx and blackbuck*

“We oversee more than 1,100 animals spanning 50-plus species on 1,800 acres, and there are some particular species with which we have found success. We’re consistently a top-three production center in North America for cheetahs, we are the top producer of Attwater’s prairie chickens, plus we are a strong producer of addax, scimitar-horned oryx, Arabian oryx, addra gazelle, sable antelope, Grevy’s zebras and other species.

Cheetah*

Cheetah*

“We strive to maintain viable insurance populations of selected wildlife according to the natural history of a species and within Fossil Rim’s environment. It is not about how many different species we work with, but rather working as well as we can to make a meaningful impact toward the continued existence of the species we do oversee.

“We place a high premium on the successful production of offspring by our animals. That helps maintain the groups that we have and then extrapolates out to boosting the broader metapopulations of the species we work with.

“Obviously the land itself provides a fantastic environment for these animals. But we are so very proud of the team that it takes to care for so many of them. And we also know that all Fossil Rim staff, interns and volunteers play a huge part of this organization’s conservation mission. We recognize that each visitor or supporter becomes a conservation partner in supporting that mission.

Giraffes*

Giraffes*

“On Thursday, September 22, every $25 donation or greater will be amplified through an automatic bonus distributed by North Texas Giving Day. I can promise that 100% of your donations to Fossil Rim will go directly to our capital needs, which will help us provide the best-possible care for these animals.

White rhinos*

White rhinos*

“For us, it’s about a long-term, sustained endeavor. The end will never come for our efforts with most of these species, because natural habitats are generally getting smaller, not larger. The lists of threatened and endangered species are not getting shorter; they are getting longer. We must have source populations to accommodate reintroduction into the wild, as well as ensure they continue to exist for many years to come.”

-By Kelley Snodgrass, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center Chief Operating Officer

* Photos provided by Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
_______

In seven years, North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $119 million into the North Texas community. In 2015, $33 million was raised through more than 118,000 gifts benefiting over 2,000 nonprofits.

On Thursday, September 22, support Fossil Rim Wildlife Center by linking here and spreading the word. #NTxGivingDay


MySweetCharity Opportunity: Dallas Children’s Theater’s “The Who? Party”

According to Dallas Children’s Theater’s The Who? Party Co-Chair Karen Travis,

Karen Travis*

Karen Travis*

“Autumn is, hopefully, just around the corner and I’m brimming over with excitement not only for cool, crisp temperatures, but also for an annual event that has a special place in my heart, one that really makes a difference for children, Dallas Children’s Theater’s annual Family Party. As president-elect of this incredible organization, I’m honored to be chairing the party with Stephanie Nelson, fellow board member. It is a fitting closure for me as I embark upon a new chapter of service – board president beginning in January 2017.

“DCT’s ’16 – ’17 season starts with a splash, ‘Seussical, The Musical,’ the timeless favorite which has been absent from Dallas theaters with a cast of equity actors for quite a while. On Saturday, September 17, ‘The Who? Party’ guests, following a matinee of the show, will thrill to a fun-ladened afternoon featuring an on stage, interactive song and dance session led by a professional actor; a Seussical chairs contest with prizes for the most agile, and backstage access to learn about the secret sauce that goes into creating the colorful set designs and costumes. These activities will be followed by a scrumptious, Seussical-themed banquet, topped off with a farewell dance party in our spacious lobby.

“Funds raised via the event will ensure the legacy of an essential DCT program, The Student Matinee Performance Series. Because of this important initiative, over 40,000 children annually, primarily from Title 1 schools (free and reduced lunch eligible), are provided the opportunity to attend performances at a very reduced cost — children that otherwise would not be able to come to the theater to see the magic of the live performance.

“In my mind, there is nothing quite as fulfilling as seeing wide-eyed youngsters, ecstatic with anticipation, skip through hallways festooned with scores of brightly colored Truffula trees, hundreds of Hortonian clovers, and bouquets of Mayzie approved feathers. After seeing literature come to life on our stage, students always depart with a rewarding glow.  I’m honored that Dallas Children’s Theater has embraced my penchant for decorations of this sort, and they even let me put my darling husband, Ken Travis, to work for the cause as well. 🙂

Ken and Karen Travis*

Ken and Karen Travis*

“Everyone at Dallas Children’s Theater truly believes in the words of the sweet sage, Horton… ‘a person’s a person, no matter how small.’ These words perfectly reflect our mission — all children truly do deserve to experience the magic of live theater!

“While after three years, I’m proud to say the party is always sold out, right now, sponsorships and tickets are still available for this wonderful and worthwhile event. So, anyone interested should not wait another minute to sign up.  To learn more, go to our Who? Party web page or call DCT at 214-978-0110. Your presence and your contributions help us keep feeding the minds and souls of young people with boundless creativity.”

* Photos provided by Karen Travis

2016 North Texas Giving Day Booster Series Starts Tomorrow

Susan Swan Smith*

Susan Swan Smith*

“For the past seven years, our community has come together for 18 hours in September to celebrate the amazing nonprofits that fuel North Texas. North Texas Giving Day started in 2009 with 345 nonprofits. That year, the community raised an impressive $4 million. Since then, the day has grown exponentially, pumping more than $119 million into local nonprofits.

“Next month on Thursday, September 22, North Texas Giving Day is back for its eighth year with the hopes of another banner day of giving. More than 2,000 nonprofits stand to benefit this year from more than $2 million in bonus funds and prizes.

“Here at Communities Foundation of Texas, we are planning another record-breaking 18-hour Giving Day. Across the 16-county region, exciting events are being planned to celebrate and rally for participating nonprofits and their generous donors—you! Official Donation Station events, which are filled with nonprofit prizes, performances, and local entertainment, are being planned in Arlington, McKinney, Dallas, Denton, and Fort Worth. The third annual DFWChild Kids Give is also back and will take place at the Dallas Donation Station inside NorthPark Center.

North Texas Giving Day*

North Texas Giving Day*

“North Texas Giving Day is so lucky to have the generous support of donors, sponsors, and bonus funders. So far, bonus funds and prizes have been charitably donated by Arlington Tomorrow Foundation, Bank of America, Bank of Texas, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, Dallas Women’s Foundation, Hunt Consolidated’s Hunt Cares Campaign, Gene and Jerry Jones Family Arlington Youth Foundation, Meadows Foundation, The Miles Foundation, The Granville C. and Gladys H. Morton Fund at CFT, Neiman Marcus, North Texas Community Foundation, Rainwater Charitable Foundation, Rees-Jones Foundation, Sid W. Richardson Foundation, Harold Simmons Foundation and an anonymous donor.

North Texas Giving Day*

North Texas Giving Day*

“Thanks to our North Texas Giving Day blog sponsor, MySweetCharity, from now until Thursday, September 22, you can learn more about some of the effective local nonprofits participating in Giving Day. Throughout the next four weeks, MySweetCharity will be publishing guest blog posts from a handful of nonprofits representing communities throughout North Texas.

“As a reminder, donations can be made from 6 a.m. to midnight on September 22 to more than 2,000 certified nonprofits listed on www.NorthTexasGivingDay.org. Donations $25 and above will be boosted by $2 million in general bonus funds and prizes.

“Whether online or in-person at the many Donation Station events, please join me Thursday, September 22 in giving to the nonprofits that make our community one of the most philanthropic and caring communities in the nation.”

-By Susan Swan Smith, Communities Foundation of Texas North Texas Giving Day Team Lead and Chief Relationship Officer

* Graphic and photos provided by Communities Foundation of Texas
______

In seven years, North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $119 million into the North Texas community. In 2015, $33 million was raised through more than 118,000 gifts benefiting over 2,000 nonprofits.

On Thursday, September 22, support more than 2,000 North Texas nonprofits and spread the word. #NTxGivingDay

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Behind Every Door’s Bowl-A-Rama

According to Behind Every Door’s Bowl-A-Rama Co-Chair/Board Member/volunteer Lori Turpin,

“Behind Every Door Ministries is hosting its Bowl-A-Rama on Sunday, September 18, at Bowl and Barrel. In addition to fun, food and football watching, this year’s event will include two bowling tournaments (one for families with children), open bowl, a silent auction, and a raffle.

Behind Every Door's Bowl-A-Rama*

Behind Every Door’s Bowl-A-Rama*

“Behind Every Door was founded in 2009 to transform lives in underserved neighborhoods by being intentional and present, believing the best about those who live there, and building healthy community. “They serve at two apartment communities, one in Southeast Oak Cliff and one on the edge of Vickery Meadow. To date, they have seen a 70% decrease in neighborhood crime.

Behind Every Door's Bowl-A-Rama*

Behind Every Door’s Bowl-A-Rama*

“Behind Every Door cultivates dignity, optimism, inspiration, and hope in everything they do. They believe in the ability of the love of Jesus to transform lives.

“They do this by focusing on:

  1. “Relationships — they learn the stories behind every door by knocking on them one at a time.
  2. “Collaboration — they welcome other non-profits, churches, businesses, community members, and individuals to assist in offering helpful services, programs and events, targeting these six areas:
  • “Education
  • “Employment/financial health
  • “Physical/emotional health
  • “Spiritual health
  • “Mercy/social issues
  • “Role models
  1. “Gospel: they demonstrate and proclaim the love of Jesus through acts of service and love

“Funds raised at Bowl-A-Rama will enable staff, volunteers, and ministry partners to continue this powerful impact.

Behind Every Door's Bowl-A-Rama*

Behind Every Door’s Bowl-A-Rama*

“For information about tickets, sponsor opportunities, raffle, and auction items, please visit our event webpage at www.behindeverydoor.org/bowlarama.”

Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep Held Its Draft Day With Mayor Mike, Mav Maniacs And Media Types For Corporate Work Study Program

Despite being the busiest man in North Texas, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings once again was on the spot to promote education at the Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep Draft Day on Friday, July 29. Unlike last year when he had to video his comments, Mayor Mike was in person along with other well-known types. Here’s a report from the field:

On Friday, July 29, Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep transformed its gym into an NFL Draft-inspired venue, as it announced students’ Corporate Work Study Program partnerships for the 2016-2017 school year!

Draft Day 2016 kicked off as students were lead into the gym by the Mavs Maniacs, whose energy was infectious and quickly got the entire crowd on its feet. The Maniacs proceeded to launch Mavs gear into the roaring crowd as students took their seats in the gymnasium bleachers, cheering and squirming in anticipation of being “drafted” by some of the city’s biggest corporations.

Kelby Woodard*

Kelby Woodard*

Event emcee and Fox 4 Weekend Sports Anchor/Reporter Edward Egros took the stage shortly after 2:30 p.m. to welcome families, charitable executives and students. Cristo Rey Dallas President Kelby Woodard spoke briefly, thanking the inaugural Corporate Work Study Program partners and donors for their support and vision, then introduced Corporate Work Study Program Director Gunnar Rawlings. Rawlings shared details on Cristo Rey’s innovative high school model, which features some of the country’s most recognized businesses hiring students to work entry-level positions in exchange for tuition assistance. He also praised the students for earning “more than $2 million” in tuition aid from the school’s Corporate Work Study Program partners, which include: Hunt Oil, Ernst & Young, CBRE, KPMG and The Boston Consulting Group.

Mike Rawlings*

Mike Rawlings*

Rawlings then introduced his father, Mayor Mike Rawlings, who spoke on the importance of “pulling our city together” and bridging neighborhoods and communities, particularly in light of the recent and tragic police shootings. Mayor Rawlings also addressed recent growth in South Dallas and sited Cristo Rey Dallas and the education it is providing its students as an integral part of the positive transformation taking place within the community.

Mike Gruber, Mike Doocy, Gunnar Rawlings and Edward Egros*

Mike Gruber, Mike Doocy, Gunnar Rawlings and Edward Egros*

Mayor Rawlings then turned things back over to Egros, who introduced the Draft Day panel including: Gunnar, Fox 4 Weeknight Sports Anchor Mike Doocy and sports personality and Music Director for the Dallas Mavericks Mike Gruber. The trio provided color commentary on students as they were “drafted” and eagerly welcomed to the stage to meet representatives from their assigned Corporate Work Study Program company.

A reception for CEOs and company executives followed the festivities. Corporate Work Study Program partners, Cristo Rey Dallas faculty and board members gathered in St. Therese Hall to enjoy post-Draft Day barbeque and refreshments.

Draft Day 2016 attendees included: PwC Vice Chair Tom Codd, Cristo Rey Dallas Board Member/CBRE Vice Chair and Managing Director Jack Fraker, Dieste Chair Tony Dieste, EY Managing Partner Michell Vopni, Firebird Restaurant Group CEO and Owner Mike Karns, KPMG Managing Partner Manny Fernandez, President and CEO of Greyhound Dave Leach, Jackson Walker Managing Partner David Moran and President and CEO of Vogel Alcove Karen Hughes.

* Photos provided by Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep

Children’s Medical Center’s Butterfly Atrium Was Transformed Into A Pooch Party Room Thanks To PetSmart Paws For Hope

Children’s Medical Center’s Butterfly Atrium should have been renamed Pooch Palace on Thursday, July 14, thanks to the Second Annual Dog Days of Summer Party. With pooches from the PetSmart CharitiesPaws For Hope pet therapy program, kiddo patients, their folks and all types of canines from Pugs to Goldendoodles partied big time. Rising to the occasion, the pooches were dressed to the nines in all types of accessories from sunglasses and T-shirts to tutus and leis. They were joined by faux dogs and the Children’s facility dogs like Beauty and Blair, who works in Children’s oncology department alongside their mom/primary handler Caitlin Arndt.

It was a dual celebration. First, it provided the opportunity for the patients to play games, visit with all types of dogs and just party. Second, it also was to commemorate the Children’s Medical Center and PetSmart relationship in which PetSmart has helped to provide additional animal-human therapy teams for the facility.

Posing for photos

Posing for photos

Photo opps

Posing for photos

And while some of the four-legged crowd seemed a little surprised at the turnout, they wagged as if it was a normal day at Children’s Medical Center. Across the room near the popcorn cart, nearly two-year-old William Knupple looked right at home among the four-legged types. Maybe it was because he lives with a three-year-old miniature Australian Shepherd, Marly.

William Knupple

William Knupple

Tucker

Tucker

Bark for Blue

Bark for Blue

Over in one part of the room English Cream Golden Retriever Tucker was patiently having Ellen Aster dip his white, furry paw in blue paint and then apply his paw print on a “Bark For Blue” banner supporting the Dallas Police. As soon as the print was done, Blair’s paw was washed and dried.

While patients were posing for photos with pooches, Children’s Director of Solid Organ Transplant Services Bill Pelley looked as happy as one of the kids as he reported that, during the past year, Children’s performed about 50 liver, kidney and heart transplants. Since performing its first pediatric kidney transplant in 1979, Children’s transplant program has provided more than 350 kidney transplants, 480 liver transplants and 150 heart transplants.

Bill Pelley

Bill Pelley

Dr. Nerse

Dr. Nerse

Adoptable pup

Adoptable pup

Jose with stuffed friend

Jose with stuffed friend

But on this day it was games, clowns like Dr. Nerse, tons of treats including a never-ending chocolate fountain (aka Mud Bath) and even adopting new best friends of the stuffed variety. Even Jose in his stroller found a perfect stroller mate.

Except For A Few Tardy Escorts, La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Went Off With Perfect Bows By the 2016 Duchesses

It was the last black-tie hurrah of the 2016 spring season. While temperatures proved summer was indeed setting up residence, La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas types were dressed to the nines on Saturday, June 18. The honoree of the day should have been the person who created A/C.

At 5:40 p.m. as family and friends gathered in the Chantilly Ballroom’s lobby, the ballroom itself was a flurry of activity. All the staging was nicely in place. Two large screens faced each other from the far side of the ballroom. A multi-tiered stage with columns and a huge fan featuring the six flags of Texas served as the backdrop. Across the way at the back of the room was a stage for the band, a dance floor and platforms for videographers and production crews. In a corner to the side of the stage was a small stage for the presentation band and a mic for the speakers.

But the videographers, bands and speakers were not to be found at this time. No, it was time for the official photographs of the Duchesses and their escorts. As the Duchesses stood to the side of the stage, the escorts assembled on stage for the first photo of the night. Well, most of the escorts that is.

Like a vet wrangler of cats, photographer James French stood on a ladder hollering orders first to the group of escorts on stage. “You on the top row on the end. No, the top row. Yeah, you. Step down.”

Finally all with gloved hands clasped standing like a team of football players in white tie, the photos were taken.

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas escort

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas escort

Then it was time for the photo of the couples. That’s when the problem was discovered. Standing among the couples were a handful of beautiful Duchesses without escorts. An adult shouted to one of the girls, “Where’s your escort?”, as if the Duchess has hidden him in the storage room. The Duchess raised her shoulders and motioned with her hands, “I don’t know.”

Before that reality hit home, three white-tie escorts came bounding in the room and hustled to the ladies in waiting. As French and the rest of the advisors did a quick check, they realized they were still three escorts short. As if on cue, the last three rushed into the ballroom, just as French realized that the “done” escort photo was going to have to be “redone.”

2016 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses and escorts

2016 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses and escorts

Finally the group photo, the Duchesses photo and the redo escort photo were done. French hustled off hollering to the escorts, “If you’re going to have a family photo done, go now.” Escorts scampered.

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses

By 6:16 p.m. the ballroom was now devoid of Duchesses, escorts, and French.  In their place were servers setting up tables. One organizers was heard to say, “Get ready for round two.”

In the meantime the crowd in the lobby had become a selfie extravaganza. While some might think it was due to the overload of collegiate types home to support their former classmates, the adults were into the memory-making photography, too. One leggy young thing with a thigh high slit sprinted across the lobby on nose-bleed stilettos like a gazelle to greet her pals.

Chris O'Neill, Isabel O'Neill, Connie O'Neill, Pierce Allman and Jack O'Neill

Chris O’Neill, Isabel O’Neill, Connie O’Neill, Pierce Allman and Jack O’Neill

La Fiesta Co-Founder Pierce Allman was with Connie and Chris O’Neill talking about their son, Jack O’Neill, escorting his granddaughter Allie Beth Cowan. All-dolled up Gala Co-Chairs Elizabeth Gambrell and Rebecca Gregory didn’t show any signs of having coordinated the day’s preparation. Others in the crowd included Linda Shiffer, Karen Young, Catherine Magee, Mary Kumpf, Jillian Daber, Cecily Work, Duchess mama Mary Humphreys Parker, Amy Hughes, MaryMichael McCartin, Emily Anwar, Lily Cockerell, Arden Wynn, Leah Lambert, Regan Tate and Brooke Wilson.

Catherine Magee, Mary Kumpf, Jillian Daber and Cecily Work

Catherine Magee, Mary Kumpf, Jillian Daber and Cecily Work

Erin Egan, Elizabeth Cooper, Megan Giotes, Tate Giddens and Ellie Gosnell

Erin Egan, Elizabeth Cooper, Megan Giotes, Tate Giddens and Ellie Gosnell

Mary Humphreys Parker, Leah Lambert, Regan Tate and Brooke Wilson

Mary Humphreys Parker, Leah Lambert, Regan Tate and Brooke Wilson

Soon the signal was given that the main event was getting ready to start. Running a couple of seconds late, the lights in the ballroom dimmed at 6:45, the A/C cranked up, so even the wooliest tuxedoed guest would feel right at home and the crowd of guests moved into the ballroom.

The doors opened and initially only five or six senior types ventured in, but within minutes they were followed by a flood of guests making their way to their assigned tables for dinner and applauding. Watching the various generations of guests make their way into the ballroom, the questions of heels was noted. Some guests took long strides and looked like they had been born in stilettos. Others looked like they’d had their feet bound as they hobbled their way to their tables.

But these guests weren’t finished chatting. At 6:52 “the voice” over the PA asked guests to “take their seats. The program will being in 15 minutes.”

As some heeded the call, it was noted that the video crews were outnumbering the still photographers.

Three minutes later “the voice” warned “the program will being in 10 minutes.” Still the guests had a lot of hugging and talking to do and one couldn’t really blame them. After all, some of these collegiate types hadn’t seen each other since graduating from high school last year.

But “the voice” was not to be ignored. At 6:59 sounding like a call to arms, “the voice” announced for guests “to take your seats. The program is about to begin.” No more of the minute countdown. The time had come and there was no turning back.

Well, that may have been well and good, but the masses kept pouring in and not settling down to business. Over the PA, “Chicago That Toddlin’ Town” played. Interesting choice.

Uh, ho. At 7:04 the doors closed, the music stops and still a few stalwarts keep standing and talking. “The voice” returns. His credibility is on the line. He repeats that the program is about to begin. There’s just the slightest tinge of a sounding like a father, who isn’t falling for his kid’s excuse for being past curfew. This time the message came across and seats were almost filled. Alas, at 7:07 he gave it one final effort. Evidently there were a number of people with hearing challenges.

But at 7:08 the stage lights came up and the last standing guests were seated. The main doors of the ballroom opened and the escorts marched in and onto the stage. Yes, all the escorts were accounted for. They were followed by six beautifully dressed folklorico dancers, who performed flawlessly on stage. After all, this year’s them was “Viva La Fiesta! — Celebrating The Splendors of Mexico.”

Kaitlyn Gamster

Kaitlyn Gamster

Following very brief remarks by La Fiesta Chairs Eloise Meachum and Missy Rothwell, the presentation was underway. First there was the presentation of the escorts, who disappeared off stage. Then eight escorts returned to places on the multi-tiered stage. The first Duchesses were individually escorted centerstage by their fathers and joined by their escort. Each Duchess represented a unique duchy (i.e. the Duchess of Monarch Butterfly, the Duchess of Cinco de Mayo, the Duchess of Palacio de Bellas Arts, etc.) with her gown reflecting her theme. Following the Duchess’ bow, her father presented her with a white rose and she rewarded him with a kiss on the cheek. As the father left the stage, she Duchess and her escort returned to the escort’s place on the tier. Despite having 40 Duchess presented in five groups, it all came off flawlessly.

Chronicling moments was potential Duchess-to-be Kaitlyn Gamster with her cellphone.

The finale had all 40 Duchess and their escorts on stage for a standing ovation. Then they promenaded down the runway to the dance floor for the first of many dances to come.

For more photos of the Duchesses, their escorts and the whole goings-on, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery. Be prepared because there are a heck of lot of ’em.

2016 Parade Of Playhouses At NorthPark Center Marched Off With A Record-Breaking Amount For Dallas CASA

Dallas nonprofits are on a roll with good news. Now word comes from Dallas CASA about the results from the 2016 Parade of Playhouses at NorthPark. The Kappa Alpha Thetas have spent the last couple of days tallying the results. The total was so astonishing that they triple checked their findings. But the numbers added up to 15,546 raffle tickets being purchased. Adding that amount with sponsorships and text voting, “more than $200,000” went to Dallas CASA and it was a record breaker!

But the smiley faces weren’t just on the Dallas CASA staffers and volunteers. Nope. More good news was being spread all around. Here’s a snapshot of other results from the “parade” from Dallas CASA’s Rosanne Lewis:

Kid Cottage (File photo)

Kid Cottage (File photo)

Say Cheese (File photo)

Say Cheese (File photo)

The Lookout*

The Lookout*

  • “’The Kid Cottage’ by LRO Residential (copper roof) was won by a Preston Hollow family with 3 kids under three. They have two boys and a girl and the boys were hoping for the Crest CASA Garage but mom split the tickets because she wanted the Cottage!
  • “’Say Cheese’ was won by one of our new volunteers. In her email she said, ‘Winning a playhouse was almost as exciting as becoming an advocate.’
  • “’The Lookout’ was won by a family who also have three children, a little 3-year-old boy and infant twins (a boy and a girl), who were born premature and are still in the hospital. On Sunday they won their playhouse, and on Monday they finally brought their babies home.”

And how about the playhouse builders? Which ones were voted the most popular via text ballots? Here’s the answer:

  • African Safari Adventure by Harman
  • Basecamp by Redlee/SCS with Sketchup
  • Crest CASA Garage by Crest Cadillac/Crest Infiniti

 

African Safari Adventure (File photo)

African Safari  (File photo)

Basecamp (File photo)

Basecamp (File photo)

Crest Casa Garage (File photo)

Crest Casa Garage (File photo)

Tomorrow and Thursday the playhouses will be delivered courtesy of Glazers to their new homes. One of them is going to Celina!

The only question remaining is what the heck are the builders going to come up with next year?  Perhaps a playhouse with a storm shelter?

LAST CALL: Dallas CASA’s 2016 Parade Of Playhouses Raffle And Voting Ends Sunday

2016 Parade of Playhouses (File photo)

2016 Parade of Playhouses (File photo)

Those adorable little residences that have been lining NorthPark Center’s hallways have evidently been a big, old hit. In just two weeks folks have purchased more than 10,000 raffle tickets in hope of winning one of the Parade of Playhouses for their own. Thanks to Dallas CASA volunteers including Kappa Alpha Theta types, more than 2,000 hours have been invested in the raffle sales that will benefit Dallas CASA.

Insiders report that sales are ahead of last year and 2015 was a record maker.

And as for the voting, there’s been a bit of debating on which one will win. So far, pollsters claim that the Kid Cottage by LRO Residential, African Safari Adventure by Harman and Crest CASA Garage by Crest Cadillac/Crest Infiniti were in the lead.

Kid Cottage

Kid Cottage (File photo)

African Safari Adventure (File photo)

African Safari Adventure (File photo)

Crest Casa Garage (File photo)

Crest Casa Garage (File photo)

But that could easily change, since voting doesn’t end until Sunday, when the raffle winners will be revealed in NorthPark’s North Court at 4 p.m. BTW, if you’re thinking about doing an online-ticket purchase, get it in before noon on Sunday.

As for the popularity contest, the voting results will be announced via social media and the Dallas CASA website.

Chance tickets are going for $5 each and a bargain-saving $20 for five. Voting is accomplished by texting dallascasa to 41444 with each vote costing $5 and are “not included” in the raffle drawing.

2016 Parade Of Playhouses Brings Out The Competitive Spirit To Raise Funds For Dallas CASA At NorthPark

Jeff Kindig

Jeff Kindig

Jeff Kindig of Harman is bound and determined to continue Harmon’s reign as the Parade of Playhouses top builder. It was just last year when Jeff blew the Dallas CASA parade competition at NorthPark off the grid with Buckaroo Mountain Adventure house. But Friday as the 14 adorable mini-mansions were preparing for the official kick-off, the bearded Jeff found himself facing the idea of staying put in his African Safari Adventure until the “parade’s” finish on Sunday, July 31.

The reason goes back to the night before, when the 14 Parade of Playhouses were delivered to NorthPark lining from Dillards to Macys to North Court. Since the houses were to be prepared for display Friday morning, the mini-houses were literally open houses Thursday night with munchkins checking out the rock walls, slides, ladders and multi-levels.

Retro Roots

Retro Roots

Steampunk

Steampunk

Friday morning was spent cleaning up footprints and replacing doorway netting and other temporary stop measures with Plexiglas. It was the installation of the Plexiglas that found Jeff on the wrong side of the tent. But after a little work, Jeff was outside and the goodies (bunk beds, desk, chair, trunk, Harman stereo audio system and an ATV-Style Jeep, 12-vol 4X4 Electric Car) were safely behind the Plexiglas for viewing.

Looking at the Plexiglas successfully in place, Dallas CASA Executive Director/President Kathleen LaValle with camera in hand admitted that the competition had been fierce. The Crest Casa Garage had an adorable mini-Cadillac parked inside. One builder, whose entry had a metal roof, reported that his people would be out each morning to polish the roof. The “Life on Mars” was the product of the College of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma.

Crest Casa Garage

Crest Casa Garage

Kid Cottage

Kid Cottage

Life on Mars

Life on Mars

XyLophoNEhouse

XyLophoNEhouse

In the meantime, NorthParkers were chuckling about inquiries about NorthPark’s new piece of art. It wasn’t. It was XyLophoNEhouse, a work in development. On Saturday the wooden tunnel would be highlighted by musical tubes all tuned to the note of C…like CASA.

Love and Peace

Love and Peace

Steampunk

Steampunk

2016 Parade of Playhouses

2016 Parade of Playhouses

The adorable homes with amazing detailing and imagination will be on display for voting and raffle until Sunday, July 31. The timing is simply perfect with the heat and humidity getting really old. Strolling through air-conditioned NorthPark to check out the parade is free for the viewing. And if one or two or all of them strike your fancy, buy a raffle ticket! You can either do it at one of the tables set up in NorthPark or do it online. The chances are going for $5 for one or five for $20. The winning tickets will be drawn on Sunday, July 31 at 4 p.m. at NorthPark.

You can also vote for your fav by texting dallascasa to 41444. Each vote costs $5. After all, paper ballots are so yesterday.

The Lookout*

The Lookout*

However, there was one MIA. Starting yesterday, #15 (aka The Lookout) was in place at Dallas CASA.

Why not drive over to Dallas CASA in the Wilson Historic District and check it out? While there check out volunteering for Dallas CASA.

In meantime, you can check out all the NorthPark 14 plus The Lookout at Dallas CASA at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

* Photo provided by Dallas CASA