Housing Crisis Center’s Colors Of Courage 2017 Patriot Party Assists Homeless Vets Affected By The ‘Hidden Wounds Of War’

It’s a disturbing fact, but Dallas is home to more than 1,000 homeless military veterans—and the number keeps rising. Every night, the Housing Crisis Center provides housing and support services to more than 100 vets and their families. 

So supporting these vets, and helping save them from a life of poverty and homelessness, was the purpose of the center’s Colors of Courage 2017 Patriot Party event Friday, November 3, at Dallas’ George W. Bush Institute.

Laura Moon

Denny and Connie Carreker

Leslie Ann Crozier

Dennis Moon, Katherine Wynne and Ken Hersh

Co-chaired by Laura and Dennis Moon, with Connie and Denny Carreker serving as honorary chairs, the fundraiser got started with a reception and silent auction in the institute’s Cross Hall.  There, guests including Wendy and Boyd Messmann, Katherine Wynne, Sunie and Steve Solomon, Leslie Ann Crozier, Lisa and Clay Cooley, and Mary Martha and John Pickens were serenaded by a guitar-strumming musician singing Beatles and Eagles songs.

Sunie and Steve Solomon

John and Mary Martha Pickens

Then everyone repaired to the institute’s auditorium, where they were formally welcomed to the evening’s festivities by Edward Berbarie, board chairman of the Housing Crisis Center. Soon enough Edward gave way to Bush Center President and CEO Ken Hersh, who proceeded to conduct an onstage Q&A with the evening’s star attraction, retired Army Gen. Peter Chiarelli.

Chiarelli, the Army’s 32nd Vice Chief of Staff, was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Army and its 1.1 million active and reserve soldiers, and at one time commanded all forces in Iraq. The retired four-star general told Hersh it was then that he first observed the “hidden wounds of war” in soldiers, including the “interconnected problems” of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress.

Peter Chiarelli

“We’ve had these problems since war began,” Chiarelli said, “but we’re just now recognizing them.”

Chiarelli is now chief executive officer of an independent nonprofit called ONE MIND, he told Hersh. The group advocates on behalf of those affected by brain disease and injury via public-private partnerships between healthcare providers, researchers, academics, and the healthcare industry.

For example, Chiarelli said, ONE MIND is working with Abbott Laboratories, which is “developing a chip and a hand-held blood analyzer that can help tell if a person has been concussed.” He added, “We want to get drug companies involved in creating targeted drugs for these diseases … and really do something to help these veterans.”

What keeps you up at night? Hersh asked Chiarelli at one point. He replied: “Those young Americans who have suffered.”

Wendy and Boyd Messmann, Sherri Ansley and Lisa Cooley

Once the talk concluded, Sherri Ansley, executive director of the Housing Crisis Center, took to the podium and announced, “Now it’s time to have a party!” With that she invited everyone into the institute’s Hall of State, where there would be dinner, dancing, and a live auction featuring artwork, out-of-state trips, and a dinner for eight prepared by Kent Rathbun.

Body Oak Cliff Founder Joel Pulis And Sheriff Lupe Valdez To Receive The Well Community’s First Founder’s Award At Recovery Live Benefit Concert

The Well Community is adding a new element to its annual Recovery Live Benefit Concert on Thursday, November 30, at The Kessler. In the past, the fundraiser to help adults dealing with severe mental illnesses has just a great time with great music.

Lupe Valdez (File photo)

But after four years, they decided to put some bells and whistles to the festivities. In addition to having WFAA’s Brett Shipp as emcee and Floramay Holliday and Over the River and The Rosemont Kings performing, they’ve added a silent auction and the Founder’s Award.

This first-time award will be presented to Body Oak Cliff Founder Joel Pulis and Sheriff Lupe Valdez.

According to The Well Community Executive Director Alice Zaccarello, “This award has been created to acknowledge those whose action have opened up new avenues of recovery and hope to individuals suffering from mental illnesses.”

Event sponsors include Good Space, Ged Dipprey Realtor, Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate, Bret and Karen Schuch, Steven and Dawn Camp, Roland Warnock, Hanes and Boone LLP, K and L Gates LLP, Beth and Wes Keyes, Jim Lake Advisors LLC, Republic Title Turtle Creek, Amy Carenza and Nathan Offerdahl, Potpourri of Silk, Soap Hope, Shirlee and Charles Bealke, Suzanne and Wayne Braddick, Diana and David Ezzell, Scott Griggs, Colleen and Ken Kelley, Cornerstone Home Lending, Masterman, La Calle Doce and El Ranchito, Methodist Medical System, Norma’s Café, RPGA Design Group, Ryan Frahm – Origins Bank Home, Lending, Square Foot and Vickie Turner.

Tickets start at $50. And if you’re already got plans that night, consider taking a tour of The Well Community and discover the various programs that are offered to help deal with an very real challenge within lives.

A Private Gala Toasts Center for BrainHealth’s New Brain Performance Institute Building

Debbie Francis and Paul and Gayle Stoffel*

The private grand opening for the Center for BrainHealth‘s new Brain Performance Institute building off Mockingbird Lane felt like a who’s who gathering of Dallas’ philanthropic, civic, and business leaders. There were Debbie and Jim Francis (she’s the center’s board chair), Laura and Tom Leppert, Richard C. Benson, Lyda Hill, Brent Christopher, Barbara and Don Daseke, Sally and Forrest Hoglund, Allie Beth and Pierce Allman, Minnie and Bill Caruth, Ann Carver, Gayle and Paul Stoffel, Keana and Morgan Meyer and Stacey and Dan Branch.

Morgan and Keana Meyer and Amanda Rockow*

Stacey and Dan Branch*

Minnie and Bill Caruth and Ann Carver*

Patty and James Huffines and Shelle and Michael Sills were among the 220 guests, too, as Patty and Shelle were co-chairing the exclusive, Thursday, October 12, gala. And at the center of it all, of course, was Sandra Bond Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas. Sandi took a pause from greeting the guests and said, “I feel like I’m on a mountaintop.”

James and Patty Huffines, Shelle and Michael Sills*

In a way, she was. The $33 million, 62,000-square-foot BPI is the headquarters of what’s said to be the world’s first institute focused on scientifically-based programs aimed at increasing brain performance, enhancing brain resilience, and inciting brain regeneration to the general public.

Larry Speck and Tom Leppert*

Larry Speck of Page, the new building’s lead architect, pointed out that the elliptical, three-story glass structure features communal as well as private areas, plus natural light throughout. Sun shades not only provide shade but are sound-dampening, and all the office desks are standing desks to promote better brain function.

Following an outdoor reception, gala-goers were ushered into the new building for a wonderful dinner of kale salad, roast beef tenderloin and crab cake, and panna cotta with gingerbread. First, though, they heard brief opening remarks by Sandi, UT Dallas Executive Vice President Hobson Wildenthal, and Ian Robertson, the Center for BrainHealth’s T. Boone Pickens Distinguished Scientist. Quipped Robertson: “I’m really honored to be Sandi’s wing man.”

Soon 30 “Distinguished Guests” swooped down from the second floor to take their place among the diners, leading each table in dinner conversation about the center’s cutting-edge work. Among the distinguished guests were Clint Bruce, Dr. Elliot Frohman, Xiaosi Gu, Daryl Johnston, and Rob Rennaker.  

Earlier in the day, Chapman had led a “Reimagined Ribbon-Cutting” for the new BPI building. As guests including Former First Lady Laura Bush and Benson, the UT Dallas president, looked on, the ceremony depicted the lighting of two glass neurons igniting across a simulated brain synapse. The neurons had been designed by artist David Gappa, who also created an “educational synapse glass ceiling” in one of the building’s rooms that’s shaped like an ellipse, representing the frontal lobe of the brain.

“This isn’t just about preventing dementia, although that’s important to so many. It’s about improving brain performance and health in everyone right now,” Leanne Young, the BPI executive director, commented about the new headquarters. “The Institute will help young people focus in school, retrain the minds of those affected by military experiences or sports injuries, strengthen mental acuity among corporate leadership, and empower each … of us to take charge of our own brains.”

To wrap up the private opening gala, guests were ushered into the BPI room that’s shaped like an ellipse. There, Johnston told the crowd, “As usual, when you work with Sandi Chapman, it exceeds your expectations.” Then everyone lifted their glasses in a champagne toast to the BPI’s long-awaited, much-anticipated new home.

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

Grovel Alert: Patriot Party’s Colors Of Courage

Patriots Party’s Colors of Courage Co-Chairs Laura and Dennis Moon have just sent word that tickets for the dinner, dancing and auction benefiting the Housing Crisis Center on Friday, November 3, are getting scarce.

Housing Crisis Center 2017 Patriot Party*

Perhaps it’s because along with Honorary Co-Chairs Connie and Denny Carreker, Laura and Dennis have moved the fundraiser to the Bush Institute with retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli as the speaker.

And, of course, the Carrekers’ Jet Linx support has provided a real lift in spirits and funds.

The timing couldn’t be more perfect to set the mood for the upcoming Veteran’s Day on Saturday, November 11.

Before it’s too late, check out the tickets and sponsorship opportunities here!

Retired General/One Mind CEO Peter Chiarelli To Bring His Mission Addressing PST To Support Housing Crisis Center’s Programs For Vets

There was a time in the late 1960s and early 1970s when being a member of the ROTC wasn’t exactly cool compared to being on the football team. And then there was the country’s attitude about Vietnam that only heightened the non-cool factor.

Peter Chiarelli*

But there were those who recognized the need of the military and appreciated the structure and commitment by those serving the country. One of those was the son of a meat cutter in Magnolia, Washington. The boy’s name was Peter Chiarelli and not only did he sign up for the Seattle University Army ROTC, he was recognized as the school’s Distinguished Military Graduate.

And while others went on to office jobs, Peter was commissioned a second lieutenant at the age of 22. Over the years, he served in the United States, Germany, Belgium and the Middle East. As commanding general of 1st Calvary Division, he led it in the Iraq War and during Operation Iraqi Freedom II, as well as serving as commanding general of Multi-National Corps – Iraq.

For his years of services, he was named Vice-Chief of Staff for the Army and received numerous awards. But during his 40 years of service, he admitted that while he was prepared for injuries like the “loss of limbs and nasty injuries,” he became all too aware of the invisible injuries — “traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress.”

Unlike a heart attack or a stroke that can be detected through bloodwork and physical examination, the injuries to the mind are stealth.

According to Peter, “By 2012, the rate of post-traumatic stress was 65%.” The 2014 Defense Department Suicide Event Report revealed that “the U.S. Army [was] having the highest suicide rate among the services at 23.8% per 100,000 soldiers.”

This concern for those suffering from these “invisible wounds” led Peter to take on a new mission following his retirement from the Army in 2012. He became CEO of One Mind, “a nonprofit dedicated to speeding up research and finding better diagnosis and treatment for brain-injured soldiers and civilians.”

According to One Mind, PTS occurs in 11-20% of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

In addition to the challenge and stigma of PTS, the returning vets often become victims of homelessness due to their mental conditions. Like Peter and One Mind, North Texas’ Housing Crisis Center recognizes that vets suffering from post-traumatic stress need support. For this reason, HCC has developed the Programs Serving Primarily Veterans that include:

  • Veterans Housing Partnership — providing permanent supportive housing with intensive case management for homeless, disabled veterans and their families.
  • Permanent Housing Services — providing permanent supportive housing with intensive case management for chronically homeless disabled adults, primarily veterans.
  • All Citizens Empowered — a permanent supportive housing program for families and individuals in which heads-of-the-household has a disabling mental condition. Half of the clients in the program are veterans.

Housing Crisis Center 2017 Patriot Party*

On the evening of Friday, November 3, Peter will join forces with Housing Crisis Center for the 2017 Patriot Party – Colors Of Courage at the George W. Bush Institute to benefit the Housing Crisis Center.

Dennis and Laura Moon (File photo)

Joining Co-Chairs Laura and Dennis Moon will be Honorary Co-Chairs Connie and Denny Carreker and a host committee made up of Stacy and Jeff Blakeley, Holly Bock, Jennifer and Scott Chandler, Alesia Coffman Turner, Ashley and Danny Ellis, Megan Flanagan, Nancy Gopez, Cathy Hodges, Catherine Howell, Laura and Brent Jorgenson, April and Russ Lambert, Kelly and John Ledford, Lynn and Allan McBee, Wendy and Boyd Messmann, Mary Martha and John Pickens, Sandy Schwan, Heidi and Cole Snadon, Sunie and Steve Solomon, Cindy Stager, Leisa Street, Jimmy Westcott and Katherine Wynne.

Tickets start at $250 and are available here for the evening of cocktails, buffet dinner, live entertainment and Peter, of course.

* Graphic and photo provided by Housing Crisis Center

JUST IN: Attorney Guy Kerr To Head Up Salesmanship Club Of Dallas For The 50th Anniversary Of AT&T Byron Nelson

This is gonna be a big year for the Salesmanship Club of Dallas. They’re moving their mega-huge AT&T Byron Nelson to the brand new course at Trinity Forest Golf Club after years of being held at Las Colinas Four Seasons Resort. What a great way to celebrate the tournament’s 50th anniversary!

Heading up the 97-year-old non-profit service organization that “owns and operates Momentous Institute” will be newly named President Guy Kerr, whose day job is practicing corporate and securities law at Locke Lord LLP. A member of the Club since 1989, Guy has “held a wide variety of leadership positions for the Club, Momentous Institute and the AT&T Byron Nelson.”

According to Guy, ““The year ahead for the Salesmanship Club promises to be exciting, historic and immensely fulfilling as we transition the AT&T Byron Nelson to Trinity Forest Golf Club in Southern Dallas and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the tournament, while we continue to change the odds for thousands of kids and families through the work of our Momentous Institute.”

Guy Kerr*

Alan Walne (File photo)

Joining Guy during this transitional year will be the following new members of the Salesmanship Club Board of Directors: First VP Alan Walne, Second VP Joe Alcantar, Secretary Joseph Worsham, Treasurer Nelson DeVega, Momentous Institute Board Chair Jeff Barnes and Chair of the Salesmanship Club Charitable Golf of Dallas Board David Watson.

Start setting your GPS for Trinity Forest Golf Club for the tournament that starts Monday, May 14.

* Photo provided by Salesmanship Club of Dallas

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2017 Patriot Party

According to 2017 Patriot Party Co-Chairs Laura and Dennis Moon,

Dennis and Laura Moon (File photo)

There are many reasons why people become homeless. Sometimes it’s because of bad decisions that spiral out of control. Others end up on the streets because of factors beyond their control. Mental illness and domestic violence are two major culprits.

Housing Crisis Center works to put those who can take care of themselves back on the road to self-sufficiency. For those who are permanently disabled, we’re here to make sure they have a safe place to call home and access to the services they need. Help us make it happen.

Housing Crisis Center has been preventing homelessness for almost 40 years. Many of our clients are veterans with crippling mental disorders such as PTSD. They typically are unable to live on their own, but with supportive services can remain safely housed.

We make sure they live with dignity. Others are families with children who have recently becomes homeless due to domestic violence, an unforeseen expense, or bad decisions resulting from lack of financial education. Through financial assistance and intensive coaching, we get them back on their feet with the skills they need to avoid becoming homeless ever again. 

Housing Crisis Center 2017 Patriot Party*

You can be a part of the solution by supporting the Patriot Party on Friday, November 3, at the George W. Bush Institute. This year’s theme, Colors of Courage, reflects our respect for the brave women and men who have so ably served our country.

The evening’s festivities include cocktails, silent and live auctions, buffet dinner and entertainment. Please make plans to join us by visiting www.hccdallas.org.


* Graphic provided by Housing Crisis Center

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Meal For The Minds Luncheon

According to Metrocare Services CEO Dr. John W. Burruss,

John W. Burruss*

Emmitt Smith*

NFL and Cowboy Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith will speak to the 2017 Meal for the Minds audience this year.  Mr. Smith is renowned and respected not only for his Super Bowl championships and NFL achievements, but also for his substantial success in business and his goodwill and generosity.  His extraordinary life provides him a unique platform to influence others about mental health care issues.  Mr. Smith encourages everyone to speak openly about the need to seek help while advocating for increased access to mental health care.

Metrocare Services celebrates our 50th anniversary this year! In 1967, no one spoke publicly about mental illness.  In 2017, the stigma of mental illness is lessened because of those with the courage to speak out and those with the means to support them.  Last year, as a result of this community’s willingness to battle the challenge of stigma, Metrocare helped over 57,000 adults and children with mental health needs and/or developmental disabilities, more than ever before!

The goal for Dallas must be complete elimination of this stigma.  It’s an honor to have Mr. Smith further that goal by speaking at Metrocare’s Meal for the Minds on how we can each play a role in “breaking the silence, fighting the stigma and changing minds.”

To amplify his and all of our voices, NBC 5 will be our media sponsor to assist us in promoting this year’s Meal for the Minds. Additionally, NBC 5 will continue to build awareness of Metrocare’s wide range of programs for those who need mental health care, services for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, primary care, housing, and supportive services.

The 2017 Meal for the Minds luncheon will be held Thursday, October 5, at the Hilton Anatole Hotel.  The silent auction begins at 11:00 a.m. and the lunch program begins at 11:45 a.m.  Individual tickets for the luncheon are $150 each and sponsorship opportunities begin at $1,500.  For tickets or sponsor information, please visit our website at www.metrocareservies.org/events.  For questions, contact Tameka Y. Cass at 214.743.1220 or email [email protected]

* Photo provided by Metrocare

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 8th Annual Steaks On The Lake

According to  8th Annual Steaks on the Lake Co-Chairs Polly and Mike Campbell, Susan and Evan Griffiths and Bev and Alan Vuckovich,

Polly Anderson, Bev Vuckovich and Susan Griffiths*

Imagine a crisp fall evening, a delicious steak dinner, live music by Downtown Fever, a wine and whiskey pull and an exciting auction. All landing on Friday, November 17, at the impressive Frontiers of Flight Museum. Imagine having this much fun while supporting Grant Halliburton Foundation as it works to promote better mental health for kids, teens and young adults.

We are honored to be serving as co-chairs of this wonderful event while raising money for a cause that has directly touched each of our families. We have experienced firsthand that helpless feeling of learning that your child is struggling with a mental illness. 

Grant Halliburton Foundation was established in 2006 in memory of Grant Halliburton, a Dallas teen who battled depression and bipolar disorder for several years before taking his own life at the age of 19. The foundation that bears his name exists to help prevent similar tragedies. Its mission is to strengthen the network of mental health resources for children, teens and young adults; promote better mental health; and help prevent suicide.  

According to The Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds and the third leading cause of death among 10- to 14-year-olds.  Through Steaks on the Lake, and with your help, we hope to raise awareness and erase the stigma of adolescent mental illness.

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Grant Halliburton Foundation at 972.744.9790. Tickets available in September.  To learn more, visit granthalliburton.org.

* Photo provided by Grant Halliburton

 

JUST IN: Returning Aware President Venise Stuart Reveals The Grant Recipients And Board Members For 2017-2018

Venise Stuart (File photo)

Venise Stuart’s dance card is getting full. Not only is she chairing the 2018 Mad Hatter’s Tea for the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum, she is once again going to serve as president for Aware .

Venise just revealed the following ten organizations have been named Aware grant recipients for 2017-2018:

  • Baylor Health Care System Foundation – Support for the salary of a Ph.D. Neuropsychology Intern for Baylor AT&T Memory Center.
  • Center for BrainHealth – Discovery Group – Support for the Discovery Group, a program designed to help individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias focus on preserving abilities and tapping strengths to promote meaningful engagement and slow the progression of the disease
  • Dallas Museum of Art – Memory Moments – Support for teaching honorariums, supplies, and staffing for Memory Moments, a program designed to provide participants with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias ways to engage in art that are revitalizing and gratifying.
  • Jewish Family Service – Support for the salary of a Clinical Social Worker to provide independent living services to adults with Alzheimer’s and related dementias and their families/caregivers.
  • Juliette Fowler Communities – Support for group and individual therapy sessions with a Certified Music Therapist for memory care residents, and to help purchase additional instruments and therapeutic tools.
  • NorthPark Presbyterian Church – Casa de Vida – Support the Casa de Vida program, which gives relief to families/caregivers by providing one-on-one care to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias at the church for programs involving art, music, games, and lunch one day per week from 9:30 until 1:30.
  • Texas Winds Musical Outreach – Support for two concerts by professional musicians in 87 nursing homes and adult daycare facilities that serve individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
  • Presbyterian Communities & Services Foundation – Broad Strokes – Support for the Broad Strokes program at Grace Presbyterian Village that provides music and art therapy to residents with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
  • The Senior Source – Senior Companions – Support for the Senior Companion Program matching volunteers with individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their families needing assistance with meals, light housekeeping, and companionship.
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center – Support to advance Dr. Roger Rosenberg’s research and clinical trials on a DNA Vaccine to clear amyloid plaques in the brain to prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

The Myrna D. Schlegel Aware Scholarship awardees will be Baylor University’s Nora Drutz-Rogney and TCU’s Lindsay Ross.

Part of the grant funding is achieved from proceeds from the annual Aware Affair. This year’s event — Celebrate the Moments — will take place on Friday the 13th of April with a three-course dinner, silent and live auctions and dancing. Wondering where it’s gonna be held? And who’s chairing the event? Good questions! That information is coming in the weeks ahead.

Joining Venise on the 2017-2018 Aware board will be Carol Stabler, secretary; Sue John, treasurer; Stacey Angel, membership; Myrna Schlegel, Myrna D. Schlegel Aware Scholarship Fund and Janet Broyles, past president. 

8th Annual Esteem Fashion Show Tickets And Raffle Chances Just Went On Sale For The Elisa Project

Tickets have just gone on sale for the 8th Annual Esteem Fashion Show benefiting The Elisa Project. Chairing this year’s runway action is Whitney Kutch, with Rhonda Marcus and her daughter Emmy Marcus serving as honorary co-chairs.

Whitney Kutch (File photo)

Rhonda Marcus (File photo)

Sponsored by Lisa Cooley, the event will take place at Tootsies on Saturday, September 16. Things kick off at 10 a.m. with Mimosas and Munchies followed by the fashion show featuring local celebs modeling Tootsies fashions.

2016 Esteem Fashion Show*

Established in 1999, The Elisa Project has a mission of helping “increase awareness about eating disorders and the importance of positive body images” for young people and adults.

This year’s raffle will include Elizabeth Showers jewelry and a gift card from Tootsies.

Tickets are available now with VIP seats going for $75 and students/standing placement available for $20.  

* Photo credit: Thomas Garza

Annual Genesis Luncheon Keynoter Arianna Huffington Made A Wake-Up Call For Digital Intervention

Some of the digitally connected folks looked a bit squeamish at the Genesis Luncheon on Monday, May 15, in the Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom. It wasn’t that keynoter Arianna Huffington created a great divide like Bethenny Frankel. Rather, the former grand dame of internet news outlet The Huffington Post was telling the crowd to cut the cord, or at least the wireless connection with their cellphones, tablets and laptops. It was like the head of Alcoholic Anonymous extolling the virtues of sobriety to the National Association of American Wineries. But more about that later.

Before the luncheon got underway, the meet-and-greet with 100 very special guests like Luncheon Co-Chairs Nikki and Crayton Webb, Gail and Gerald Turner, Pat Schenkel, Greg Nieberding, Melissa Cameron and Gail Davis got underway in the Wedgwood Room at 10:45.

Gerald Turner, Arianna Huffington, Pat Schenkel and Gail Turner

Melissa Cameron

Gail Davis

Right on schedule the doors opened to the gorgeous ballroom filled with huge arrangements of pink, white and red roses, hydrangeas and cherry blossoms, white tablecloths and pink napkins and a stage with a side backdrop of pink and red surrounding the main screen, with Genesis encircled by a heart. On the stage were two chairs in the center with a podium to the side, setting the scene for what was to come.

As guests like Ashlee Kleinert, Ken Altshuler, Nancy Best, Ros Dawson Thompson and Paige McDaniel took their seats, a man arrived who was immediately surrounded by folks wanting to have their photo taken with him. The gentleman was the man of the hour — HeRO Awardee/former Dallas Police Chief David Brown. When asked if rumors about his new book “Called To Rise” were true, that pre-release sales were skyrocketing, he smiled and said, “I hope so.”  

Crayton and Nikki Webb

Immediately signaling that the luncheon program was underway was a recitation by three Lakeview Centennial High School Young students enrolled in Young DFW Writers that was followed by Crayton telling how one in four women would face physical violence at some point in their lives. He stated that until that situation of abuse ends, “We have Genesis.” To carry on the support of Genesis, he reeled off the various raffle items available and then introduced Rev. Dr. Sheron Patterson to provide the invocation.

Following lunch, Nikki and Crayton arrived on stage to introduce various dignitaries, thank the luncheon committee members and recount stories of women who’d told them just that morning of being in abusive relationships. Adding a touch of humor and “Aw,” Crayton told how Nikki had said 18 months ago that, in addition to their three sons, she’d like to have a fourth child. To this Crayton responded, “I hope you and your next husband will be very happy.” As laughter filled the room, Crayton added, “But I’m still here.” The fourth child ended up being a little girl they name Lucy, who also brought a renewed concern and determination to the couple in helping women in danger.

At 12:20 p.m. Genesis Women’s Shelter CEO Jan Langbein, whose dress matched the day’s pink, white and red floral setting, told the audience that the Junior League of Dallas had received the Jane Doe Award the week before at a private reception.

Jan Langbein, Arianna Huffington and David Brown

Then she introduced David Brown, emphasizing his support of Genesis’ mission in fighting abuse against women. As he approached the stage to officially receive the HeRO Award, the room erupted in cheers and a standing ovation. David once again proved his skill at addressing the crowd and told how as a youngster he had witnessed the devastation of drugs and violence within his community. This experience resulted in his committing himself to public service. As he explained, if you do something for other people and expect something in return, then that is a business deal. But if you do something for other people who cannot return the favor, it a true reward.    

At 12:27, Jan then introduced Arianna, telling of her many accomplishments including being the author of 15 books, the most recent being “The Sleep Revolution.”

Arianna Huffington

With a Greek accent that at times made her sound like Zsa-Zsa Gabor, Arianna recognized Jan (“What a force of nature!”), Nikki and Crayton and Genesis Senior Director of Development Bianca Jackson, before revealing that she indeed did have a Texas connection — her former husband, millionaire Michael Huffington, had been born in Dallas. She recalled how, years before, she had served on the board of Points of Light, and Genesis was one of the organizations spotlighted.

While some guests may have expected her to talk politics, they were sorely disappointed. Nary was a Republican, Democrat or Whig mentioned.

Okay, so she did recall Madeleine Albright’s saying, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support women. But I think there’s a special place in heaven for men who support women.” The first sentence caused some guests to think that it was going to be a political ride, but the follow-up sentence quickly put that idea to rest.

Instead of controversial issues dealing with politicians, she sounded like a tent preacher on the subject of improving one’s well being. Her epiphany took place in 2007 when she collapsed and passed out due to sleep deprivation.  When she regained consciousness, she found herself in a pool of blood, with a broken cheekbone and a cut over her eye. It was literally a wake-up call. She asked herself, “What is life about?” In the past it had meant 18-hour days striving for money and power. But now she was re-examining her definition of the “good life.” Her answer was to put the priority on taking care of one’s self. As an example, she recalled the age-old oxygen mask theory.

Feeling so strongly about her discovery, she left The Huffington Post this past August and launched Thrive Global to encourage people to “look up from our phones and take care of ourselves, our loved ones and our community. Otherwise we’re in serious trouble.”

Arianna Huffington

She wondered aloud how the assembled group would handle time away from their cellphones, laptops, etc. Ironically, just as Arianna was encouraging guests to take a “digital detox,” guests in the room were seen snapping shots of Arianna on their cellphones and checking their watches about appointments.

Touching on the importance of giving and connecting with the community, Arianna said that Genesis was doing just that for women and their families.

On the lighter side, Arianna recalled how God created the world in six days and “she” rested on the seventh. Her point was that rest is vital to well-being.

After her talk at the podium, she was joined on stage by WFAA’s medical reporter Sonia Azad at 12:46 p.m., where they chatted about how people could indeed take better care of themselves through meditation, yoga, fly fishing and brushing off the problems of the day in the shower. All of those activities required leaving distractions like cellphones elsewhere. “We need to disconnect from our phones.”

Arianna Huffington and Sonia Azad

To emphasize the point of ending the digital addiction, she asked how many in the audience slept with their cellphones on their nightstands. This statement resulted in a chatter at tables and hands raised throughout the room. One guest sheepishly ‘fessed up that he did, “But I use it as an alarm clock.” Without hearing the comment, Arianna had evidently heard that one before and was prepared: “You can buy an old-fashioned alarm clock.”

Arianna Huffington and Sonia Azad

Feeling so strongly about this situation, Arianna’s Thrive Global has created a “phone bed,” so the phone can recharge on top of a satin-clad mattress outside of the bedroom.

When asked by Sonia about her advice to her daughters, Arianna told how her daughters were well “aware of the dangers of becoming addicted to social media presence in our lives.” She went on to say that the main goal for countless engineers at the social media companies is to feed this addiction.

Admitting she has an Instagram account, she reported how just that morning she had received a note asking if she would like to know each time someone likes her post or follows her: “That sounds like hell.”

As the guests waited for their cars following the luncheon, one person was overheard laughing that AT&T was not a luncheon sponsor.

Canine Companions For Independence Graduation At Kinkeade Campus Changed Lives For Both Humans And Their New BFF

Linda and Terrence Marler

May is filled with graduations and that applies to pooches as well as youngsters. On Friday, May 5, Canine Companions for Independence held a graduation ceremony at its Canine Companions for Independence Kinkeade Campus at the Baylor Scott and White Health facilities in Irving. It was overflowing with humans like Jan Rees-Jones with Susan McSherry, Baylor Animal Assisted Therapy Coordinator Linda Marler and her husband Terrence Marler as well as four-legged types.

Before the graduation took place, U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade, who had been the driving force for Texas’ only CCI, teased new Baylor Scott and White CEO Jim Hinton, who had just recently arrived in North Texas from New Mexico: “When Jim first got here, he asked me what are those green objects. I told him, ‘Jim, I know you’re from New Mexico, but those are trees. We have a lot of those here.’ ”

Jim and Kristen Hinton and Ed Kinkeade

Following Ed, Jim told the crowd, “I love my wife first, I love my dogs second and I love my kids third and I’m completely unapologetic about that.”

Despite the Hinton dogs still living for the time being in New Mexico, Jim confessed that he does Facetime with them. “The good news is that they recognize my voice and I’m still a little bit of a wag. I miss those dogs terribly. To me this effort is a convergence of two things that I am passionate about: one is dogs and the other one is healthcare, taking care of people. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Judge Ed Kinkeade. It is his vision; it is his passion; it is his unique way that has caused this to exist.”

Jim recalled his attending the previous graduation and “I asked the question that all first-time guests ask, ‘Why are all these Kleenex boxes sitting around?’ And so for the past several months, I’ve been building up this moment with my wife [Kristen] and she is with me today. I’ve noticed that she’s already getting a little teary and we haven’t even started the darn program yet. So, she’s going to be a mess before this thing is over. ”

Luckily, there were boxes of tissues placed throughout the room. Sure, it was Cinco de Mayo to the rest of the world, but it was a parting of relationships for some in the room and for others it was the coming together for a lifelong journey.

Canine Companion for Independence puppy in training

Canine Companion for Independence puppy graduate Dutch II

One group consisted of young Labradors that for two years had been raised through the “awkward years,” thanks to volunteer puppy raisers. These dogs had been loved, hugged and been exposed to the world. Now, they were leaving the comfort of their homes and stepping up to a new level of education that would take place at the facility for months by skilled trainers. Their goal was to become the “companions” for those in need.  

Judy Schumpert and #18

A word about the puppy raisers; they range from all types. Some are families; some are prisoners; and then there was Judy Schumpert, who was turning in her 18th dog and already training her 19th : “I’m either on a mission for God or a glutton for punishment. I’ve got to keep doing it until I can do it no more.”

It’s hard to imagine anyone living, loving and working with a puppy for two years and then giving them up. New puppy raisers Mary Catherine Lombardi and Erica Hotvedt admitted, “When we got started, I think we knew what we were getting into. But I think the final goodbyes are harder than we expected.”  They recognized that their puppy Yoshi III, however, was destined for a truly remarkable role.

That purpose became so apparent when the graduation of the new teams took place. For the past two weeks, the seven humans had arrived and lived at the facility to be matched and trained with their new best friends.

Edgar

Chosen as class spokesperson for the graduating teams, Edgar, with Chase V at his side, eloquently told of the importance of this program for the graduating humans. One was an autistic child, whose outbursts would “calm down immediately” when her pooch, Tess VI, “came to the rescue.” Thomas, whose weakened motor skills caused by cerebral palsy resulted in his dropping things to the floor, had been helped by  Atlas IV retrieving them for him. Wheel-chair-bound youngster Lauren‘s arm was subject to bouts of spasticity and limited control, but when Egan II lay down at her side, it was still and under control. Edgar himself admitted that there were times when he would fall out of his wheelchair and Chase’s bark command would sound the alert for assistance. Thanks to Dutch II, wheelchair-bound Lauren was looking forward to getting out on her own and not being “a burden on my parents.” Sara, who works with first responders in dealing with PTSD, would be assisted in the future by Aiken II, who would be “the non-judging entity in the room that helps the patients relax.” 

From the left: (seated) CCI graduate team Lauren and Egan; (standing) Puppy raisers Andrew, Ella, Mark, Angela and Lauren’s mother

Edgar continued, “These stories are a mere excerpt of what has happened in the past 10 days. Can you imagine what is going to happen in the next 10 years? All of us graduates would like to say thank you for being here today, whether you’re a donor, a puppy raiser, a volunteer. Even if this is your first time with Canine Companions, that’s how it starts. That how you get the ball rolling.”

Summing up the two weeks of team training, he addressed his fellow graduates: “We arrived as seven families, but today we graduate as one. And here we stand on the brink of a 10-year-journey. It won’t always be easy, but I promise it will be worth it. All the troubles that we deal with daily will soon be alleviated by an incredible new resource, my new best friend that is unconditionally at our side just waiting to help anyway they can. Thank you.”

As the new teams headed home for a new life of independence, the new recruits were taken to their CCI spotless digs for the next step in their education to be a life-changing partner for someone in need.   

Lauren and her mother

And that’s why the boxes of Kleenex were throughout the hall.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: Canine Companions For Independence Graduation

Canine Companions for Independence South Central Training Center

Unlike many May graduates who have diplomas but are in need of jobs, the Canine Companions for Independence graduates left the stage for a lifelong career with their human partners on Friday, May 5. Also as part of the ceremony at the Kinkeade Campus at Baylor Scott and White Health facilities in Irving were the puppies that have been raised by volunteers for nearly two years. They were turned over by their puppy raisers to CCI trainers to see if they, too, would make the grade.

As the class spokesperson said, “We arrived as seven families, but today we graduate as one.” Needless to say, there was plenty of Kleenex put to use for the standing-room-only crowd.

Lauren and her mother

As the post is being completed, check out the pooches and people at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Fashion Stars For A Cause Patron Party Had Gems, Bubbles And A “Rose” At The Doorway

As Fashion Stars For A Cause patrons arrived at Diamonds Direct on Monday, March 6, they immediately spotted FSFAC Honorary Chair Caroline Rose Hunt seated in a leather chair just to the right of the doorway.

Caroline Rose Hunt and David Blank

Thanks to newlyweds Kristy Morgan Sands and Patrick Sands (aka Caroline’s son), Caroline was john-on-the-spot when the event started. Kristy was decked out in all type of leather from the suede jacket to the smooth, black leather slacks.

Kristy Morgan Sands and Patrick Sands

With three photographers snapping away, the diamonds in the cases and being sampled by guests like Suicide and Crisis Center Executive Director Margie Wright, Carolyn Tillery, Jenyce Gush, Samantha Davies, Terry Bentley Hill, 2017 Fashion Stars Tavia Hunt and Debbie Stout Elchami, Tony Stevens, Dan Prichett and Priya Rathod caused a star burst effect thanks to Diamonds Direct hosts Amit Berger, David Blank and Yosi Mayer.

Debbie Stout Elchami

Jenyce Gush, Yosi Mayer and Margie Wright

Checking around the first floor, KDFW anchor/reporter/2017 Fashion Star Jenny Anchondo and husband Heath Oakes were checking the offerings under glass. It’s hard to believe that Jenny and Heath have just barely been married a year and they’re already getting ready to welcome a new Anchondo-Oakes.

Heath Oakes and Jenny Anchondo

David Tiller looked remarkable following spinal surgery. Wife Martha Tiller invited guests to nudge his waist, “It’s a girdle. We’ve been wearing them for years.” Actually, it was a brace to help David’s back rehab.

Martha and David Tiller

Speaking of being healthy, 2017 Fashion Star Shay Geyer was svelter than ever. She claimed that she really needed to lose the pounds and felt great.

Just back from the Bahamas, Diamonds Director Amit said that he was feeling right at home in Texas and was right at home in practicing, “Y’all.”

David Blank, Samantha Davies, Priya Rathod and Amit Berger

Speaking of being right at home in North Texas, Amit and David were preparing for Thursday night’s celebration of the newest Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Being the Dallas Cowboys right-official jeweler, Diamonds Direct celebrates the new cheerleaders with the presentation of their “class rings.”

Carolyn Tillery, Amit Berger and Tony Stevens

As FSFAC Founder Yvonne Crum in yellow greeted patrons, FSFAC Magazine publisher Carolyn Tillery was seen trying on all types of sparkly gems.

Fashion Stars for A Cause  on Friday, March 24, at the Dallas Country Club benefits Suicide and Crisis Center for North Texas.

Momentous Institute And The Lynn Lectures Offer Solutions For A Less Stressful Life Tuesday Night At McFarlin Auditorium

Love And Wisdom In A Time Of Stress — The Art And Science Of Mindfulness From The Cellular To The Planetary, By Way Of The Body And The Mind*

With all that hail and stormy weather last night and the fussing going on in Washington, stress seems to be the call of the day and that’s downright unhealthy. To help address the issue of stress, Momentous Institute and The Lynn Lectures have partnered up to present “Love And Wisdom In A Time Of Stress — The Art And Science Of Mindfulness From The Cellular To The Planetary, By Way Of The Body And The Mind.”

 

The presentation will take place Tuesday at McFarlin Auditorium on SMU campus at 7 p.m. with Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and Dr. Elissa Epel addressing “the art and science of mindfulness and living younger, including the telomere/life-enhancing effects of nutrition, exercise and meditation at any age.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn and Elissa Epel*

While Jon will “discuss the psychological, physiological and immune-enhancing effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and its remarkable effects on daily life’s challenges, as well as enhancing well-being,” Elissa will talk about “her groundbreaking results studying the effects of psychological stress and lifestyle on biological aging and how they can be modulated and possibly reversed by regular mindfulness practice, nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle practices.”

The $50- and $100-seats are already sold out, but there are still tickets available for $25 and that’s not too stressful.

* Graphic and photos courtesy of Momentous Institute

North Texas Smarty Pants — TAG And Lee Park Jr. Conservancy — Make Kentucky Derby A Two-Day Fest Of Fundraising

Tired of hearing about event collisions? You know. That’s when two or three very interesting fundraisers are scheduled at the same time like this past Wednesday, when the luncheon slam-bang — Linz Award, Planned Parenthood and the Virginia Chandler Dyke — had guests making Solomon-like decisions. Not everyone can be a Janie McGarr, who attended the Linz VIP reception in the Omni’s Trinity Ballroom and then scooted on over to the Omni’s Dallas Ballroom for Planned Parenthood.

But how about some good news about two groups that had competed for the same type of guests and managed to make it all work this year?

Horse racing (File photo)

Back story: In past years, the Kentucky Derby has had the BrainHealth’s Think Ahead Group (TAG) and Lee Park Junior Conservancy holding their fundraisers at the same time to see the Run for the Roses. Ah, but this year those brainiacs came up with an idea — a two-fer by holding their event the night before to get the momentum underway plus celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Gee, no wonder they’re so dang smart!

So, here’s how North Texas is gonna celebrate the Kentucky equine race:

  • Harold Scherrell, Alison Percy, Scott Caldwell and Dan Hunt (File photo)

    Friday, May 5 (8 p.m.-midnight) — TAG holds Cinco de Derby at Marie Gabrielle with margaritas and mint juleps complementing Mexican food. If you haven’t been to Marie Gabrielle, don’t tell a soul. It’s Dallas proper’s sweetheart of an oasis within the concrete forest. Proceeds benefit the Discovery Group, a program at the Center for BrainHealth that “works to improve quality of life after an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.” As for tickets, non-TAG member tickets are going for $87 and members save $20 for their $67 tickets.

To keep things rocking and rolling, wake up late morning and put on your prettiest frock and nattiest duds and prepare for fashionable strutting and horse racing watching. (Editor’s note: put tea bags on top of those partied-out eyes for 10 minutes before applying the makeup.)

  • Tyler Stevens, Gay Donnell and Camille Cain Barnes*

    Saturday, May 6 (4 – 7:30 p.m.) — For the big spenders, the 9th Annual Day at the Races Co-Chairs Camille Cain Barnes and Tyler Stevens announced at the kick-off party at Vineyard Vines that there will be a VIP private champagne reception at Arlington Hall and Lee Park starting at 4 p.m. But, please let the jeans, cowboy boots and leather fringe take the day off. This one demands true southern comfort sundresses and seersuckers topped off with smashing hats. Well, after all, there is a competition for the Best Dressed and Best Hat. If it’s a pretty day, there will be lawn games. But if it’s one of those drizzle days, don’t despair. (Alliteration is everything, don’t you know!). Inside Arlington Hall there will be a silent auction, a wagering table, live music and watching the Derby on major screens. Remember? You’re there for the Kentucky Derby. Tickets are available now with Lee Park Junior Conservancy members getting a thrifty $125 per person and non-members paying $150. For that VIP special, it’ll be $500 for two and it include “an invitation to attend the Patron Party in April.” Love perks!

If you haven’t been to either or both of these events, stand in the stand-out corner. There isn’t a zit in the crowd and even AARP types suddenly become young fillies and stallions.

* Photo provided by Lee Park Junior Conservancy

A Beacon of Hope Luncheon Introduced Faces Of Hope And Had Glennon Doyle Melton Mix Humor And Honesty About Mental Health

As final preparations were underway on the second floor of the Renaissance Hotel for “A Beacon Of Hope” silent auction and luncheon benefiting the Grant Halliburton Foundation, a VIP reception was taking place on the fourth floor’s City View room on Thursday, February 23.

Foundation President/Founder Vanita Halliburton was surrounded by people whose had been touched by teenagers dealing with mental health issues. She herself had created the foundation due to the suicide of her son Grant Halliburton at the age of 19 in 2005 after years of suffering from depression and bipolar disorder.

Dealing with teen mental health is very difficult issue for a fundraising event. It’s a delicate weaving of the emotional turmoil and hope for helping others overcome such challenges. On this occasion, Vanita was celebrating the launch of a new program — Faces of Hope. As Faces of Hope Chair Barb Farmer explained, the collaboration between the foundation and Gittings was to honor people within the community who “work in diverse ways to promote mental health every day.”

This year’s group of Faces included Suzie and Mike Ayoob, Senior Corporal Herb Cotner, Julie Hersh, Terry Bentley Hill, Patrick LeBlanc, Sylvia Orozco-Joseph, Sierra Sanchez and Priya Singvi.

Sierra Sanchez, Priya Singhvi, Sylvia Orozco-Joseph, Mike and Suzie Ayoob, Terry Bentley Hill, Julie Hersh, Herb Cotner and Patrick LeBlanc

In addition to pieces of crystal being presented to each of the Faces, their portraits were displayed in the lobby on the second floor.

Gittings Faces of Hope portraits

Following the presentation, Vanita had the day’s speaker author/blogger/newly engaged Glennon Doyle Melton briefly talk. Her message was that you can let tragedy drive you forward for the better or let it drive you further down.

Then, right on cue at 10:55, Vanita directed the patrons to the second floor to check the silent auction and buy raffle tickets. On the way down, Barb showed a bracelet that she got from last year’s raffle. It seems her husband bought ten tickets and claimed it was his. Luckily, he gave it to Barb.

Tom Krampitz and Terry Bentley Hill

Hailey Nicholson and Shannon Hollandsworth

The patrons discovered the lobby and ballroom jammed with guests like Tom Krampitz, Shannon Hollandsworth with daughter Hailey Nicholson. Dixey Arterburn was walking through the crowd with a Starbucks cup and a very hoarse throat. Seems she lost her voice at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Ball the Saturday before.

Dixey Arteburn and Ginger Sager

Taylor Mohr and Amanda Johnson

Taylor Mohr was with her buddy Amanda Johnson, who lost her sister to suicide resulting in Amanda’s working with others involved in such emotional crisis. Unfortunately, there were many in the audience with similar reason for being there. Luckily, they were there to not just support Grant Halliburton Foundation but each other.

Steve Noviello and Vanita Halliburton

Just past noon, KDFW reporter/emcee Steve Noviello recalled that the first year only 100 people attended the luncheon. Now eight years later there were more than 400. In introducing Vanita, he told how when he first met her in her office, he had remarked about the art on the walls, only to learn that it had been done by Grant.

Vanita told about the Foundation and its purpose to help young people struggling with mental health crises. In the past suicide had been the third leading cause of death among young people from ages 15 to 24. It is now second among those between 10 and 24. In Texas, the average is one suicide per week among young people.

After a break for lunch, Vanita and Glennon took their places in chairs on stage. Less than 30 seconds into the conversation, Glennon’s headset mic wasn’t working. A man hustled to the stage with a handheld. Despite the change of mic, there continued to be rustling noise over the PA. Another handheld was brought to the stage for Vanita. It didn’t seem all that necessary, since Glennon appeared to need no help in sharing her life of bulimia, alcoholism, drug addiction and her personal views.

Glennon Doyle Melton

She got sober when she was 25 after being in addiction for a decade and a half. Then she got married and life was good until her husband told her that he had been unfaithful. Learning that news, she just couldn’t stay in her house, so she headed to her yoga class, where they had her go to a hot yoga room. Upon entering the room, Glennon thought, “What the hell is this?”

When the question was raised about what the yoga members’ intentions were that day, Glennon admitted, “My intention is sit on the mat and not run out of the room.” The results? “It was the hardest 90 minutes of my life.”

While her talk was a mix of self-deprecating humor and brutal honesty, it was definitely not a scripted speech but rather just Glennon just being Glennon. 

But her message was clear — “My entire life is to not to avoid the pain of life.” She also said that as a parent, “It’s not our job to protect our children from pain.”

In closing, she consoled those who had suffered the loss of loved ones to mental illness by saying, “Grief is just the proof of great love.”

MySweetWishList: Homeward Bound

According to Homeward Bound Executive Director Douglas Denton,

Douglas Denton*

“Homeward Bound, Inc., a nonprofit Dallas drug, alcohol and mental health treatment center, is asking for support for its share of the costs of a training for and presentation of a free storytelling program at the Bath House Cultural Center on the evening of Friday, January 6. Clients and former clients who have been coached by professional storytellers will be sharing snippets of their life stories for a public performance at the Bath House. This is an exceptional opportunity for our clients to tell their healing stories. We would appreciate financial help with the production and have been awarded a Texas Commission on the Arts grant for this program. We have an ongoing gofundme campaign at https://www.gofundme.com/homeward-bound-storytellers to cover these costs.

From the left: Homeward Bound audience member, Homeward Bound audience member and Peggy and Gene Helmick-Richardson*

“Behind the scenes are Gene and Peggy Helmick-Richardson of Dallas, the Twice Upon a Time Storytellers. They have been on the Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Arts Roster since 2003.

“The Helmick-Richardsons believe in Homeward Bound’s cause as well as the therapeutic power of storytelling. Together, they have been presenting their stories to our residential clients for more than 20 years as volunteers. In addition to their usual weekly schedule in our HIV-positive unit, the Helmick-Richardsons have been working with our clients for months, helping them to polish their stories and selecting the tellers for the Bath House program.

“’Our ultimate goal is to not only assist storytelling program participants in crafting their own stories to further their personal healing but to also reach out to others wanting to break the bonds of addiction or to have a deeper understanding of what addiction truly means,’ Peggy explains.

“Note that the audience will be limited to adults only, due to adult subject matter and language. Thank you for your support.”

-By Douglas Denton, Homeward Bound executive director

* Photos provided by Homeward Bound

Interactive Artist/Activist Candy Chang Blended Art And Healing For Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 31st Luncheon

To compare last year’s Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 30th Annual Luncheon to this year’s was like comparing a trophy wife to a first wife.

Sure, the 2016 version had Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria at the podium, an A+ meet-and-greet structure, life was good and the economy was marching along. But this year’s Annual Luncheon on Friday, October 21, at the Hilton Anatole had a different set of challenges. The economy was antsy; nerves were on edge perhaps due to the political bickering; and frills of the past were toned down to satisfy the need to meet the bottom line.

Dallas Women’s Foundation President/CEO Ros Dawson admitted that they had considered a six-figure type when petite urban artist/activist Candy Chang appeared at a conference that Ros attended. With the July 7th shooting in Dallas and the luncheon Co-Chairs/art champions Joyce Goss and Selwyn Rayzor at the helm, Ros just knew they had a perfect match — their keynote speaker blending art and advocacy together … and an on-target budget.

Joyce Goss, Candy Change, Selwyn Rayzor, Ellenore Baker and Ros Dawson

Joyce Goss, Candy Change, Selwyn Rayzor, Ellenore Baker and Ros Dawson

That tightening of the budget was paramount since establishing the Unlocking Leadership Campaign goal of $50M. It was a daunting challenge to raise that type of money.  Still, thanks to sponsors like U.S. Trust, the DWF mission of investing in women and girls and empowering women’s philanthropy to build a better world forged ahead.

But the day started off with the meet-and-greet in the Anatole’s Wedgwood Room. It had all the signs of being a repeat of last year’s flawless grip-and-grin. There was a cordoned-off area for guests to have their photos taken with Candy. There were cards to be provided to guests as they arrived to hand over when their photo opp took place. There was even the metal ring on which the cards were to be placed to help identify who was in each photo. The only thing missing was the (wo)manpower to make things happen.

Candy Chang and Regina Montoya

Candy Chang and Regina Montoya

Unlike last year’s photo opp, with one person to receive the card at the line up and another to take a handbag to the exit area, there was just one person who stayed at the exit. Some guests made it to the cordoned-off area with cards filled out, but most showed up at the exit with no card. Evidently, the cards were only sporadically being handed out and some folks didn’t realize there was a meet-and-greet taking place. There were times when Candy just stood like the last gal picked at a boy-ask-girl dance. But Candy was a good sport and stayed with a smile on her lips and an artistic tattoo on her right arm.

Just outside the Chantilly Ballroom, the lobby was highlighted by large panels headlined with “A better world is …”  The panels would be put to full use after the luncheon.

In the Chantilly Ballroom, organizers admitted that the luncheon headcount was down from 2015’s 1,800—if you call 1,300 down. But the money count was ahead of plan.

Kaleta Doolin

Kaleta Doolin

Joyce and Selwyn welcomed the group including Dallas Women’s Foundation Board Chair Ellenore Baker, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Paige Flink, Nancy Ann Hunt, Rex Thompson, Robin Bagwell, Wendy Messmann, Regina Montoya and 2017 Dallas Women’s Foundation Luncheon Chair Lisa Singleton, telling them the presentation by Candy would offer hope and healing. They told of the cards at the tables that could be filled out and placed on the lobby’s panels following Candy’s talk. They added that even before the doors of the ballroom were opened, more than a million dollars had been brought in.

After they recognized Honorary Chair/artist Kaleta Doolin, a powerful video was shown about the challenges facing a single mother in need of help.

p1210391Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Paula and Ron Parker and Trea Yip were on stage to stir up the Foundation’s fundraising campaign. Over $30,793,000 had been raised, but they wanted to match the 31st anniversary by hitting the $31M mark. If folks texted to #betterworld, they could make a donation to meet the goal. Immediately cellphones were pulled out on stage and in the audience to provide the funds.

Trea Yip and Ashlee Kleinert

Trea Yip and Ashlee Kleinert

On the screen, the names of donors like Clay Jenkins and Sandra Brown were shown. And while texting may still be like hieroglyphics to some, this one caused consternation even among the savvy types. There seemed to be problem that became a topic during the luncheon.

No problem. Soon Mother Ros was on stage explaining the hiccup. It seems that some folks had put a space between “better” and “world” and heaven knows where the money was going. But not to worry. The DWF braintrust had already taken care of the misdirected funds. With a sigh of relief, the cellphones were out again and successful donations were made. Whew!

Ros Dawson

Ros Dawson

Following a film, Ros invited people to keep talking as she spoke. And that is exactly what they did. Between the chatter and the clatter of the forks on plates, the folks especially in the back of the room missed her telling of the $31K anonymous donation that had just been made in honor of the 31st anniversary, helping the texting amount to $72K at that moment. They also could hardly hear Ros describing the great need to “harness the heart of this community to address the deep divide of race, class and gender.” It was for this need to bring people together that the decision had been made to bypass a big-name celeb and go for a peaceful and thoughtful activist like Candy Chang as the keynote speaker.

As Candy took the stage, the noise level in the room had decreased thanks to the winding down of the meal. With the help of the massive screens around the room, Candy told of her journey as a community activist and artist in New Orleans and the turning point that led her to create an international movement as well as become a TED Senior Speaker. It was the death of “Joan,” who had been so influential throughout Candy’s life. Her death had been sudden and unexpected. Candy went through a period of grief and depression.  She discovered an abandoned house in her neighborhood and decided to use it as a canvas. Painting one of its walls black like a chalkboard, she wrote on it, “Before I die, I want to…” Pretty soon the wall was filled with all types of comments reflecting on the authors’ lives. The wall allowed a coming together of feelings, dreams and concerns among the people. This one wall of words caught on like wildfire throughout the world. Today there are more than 2,000 “Before I die…” walls internationally. Each wall is unique to its own community.

Speaking of her own success, she admitted that she owed it “to the generosity of others who stepped in and caught me at that critical moment when I questioned whether I had the capacity or the confidence to try something new.”

She was especially moved by the day’s program, and hoped that the audience would pay it forward in providing support and empowerment for girls and women on their journeys.

Before concluding her talk, she added that all people have mental health issues like sorrow, anxiety, stress, etc.: “These feelings easily escalate to more intense conflicts like addiction or depression or self-destruction.”  As a result, she created an interactive exhibit in which writers anonymously confessed their feelings. One such confession read: “I’m afraid I’ll die alone.”

This sense of coming together to heal led her to her latest project — Atlas of Tomorrow in Philadelphia.

It is a huge interactive mural with a 6-foot dial which people are invited to spin to possibly resolve challenges or issues facing them. The number on which the spinner stops leads them to one of 64 stories taken from I Ching, one of the world’s oldest books of wisdom. The hope is to provide “a place to pause and try and make sense of our lives together,” according to Philadelphia Mural Arts Program Executive Director Jane Golden.  

But despite the huge project in Philadelphia and the worldly influence, Candy’s message was felt on a smaller plain. As guests left the ballroom, they let it be known that they had gotten Candy’s message by filling the panels in the lobby completing the line, “A better world is…” One read, “A better world is … because of the Dallas Women’s Foundation.”  Said others: ” … full of compassion,” ” … kind,” ” … possible.”  Those panels were not just for show. Their future lay at being positioned throughout the city including at NorthPark Center, Southwest Center Mall, The Stewpot Talent Show at Encore Park and The Stewpot.  

BTW, thanks to texting and generosity, the Foundation hit its $31M mark. Now, only $19M to go!

Momentous Institute Hosts Award-Giving Dinner With Author Glennon Doyle Melton On The Eve Of The Changing The Odds Conference

The night before the Momentous Institute kicked off the two-day Changing the Odds Conference, a very special dinner was held on Wednesday, October 5, at Sixty Five Hundred. Not only did Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones receive the inaugural  Changing the Odds Leadership Award, but author Glennon Doyle Melton was the keynote speaker. Here’s a report from the field:

Leslie Melson and J.D. McCaslin*

Leslie Melson and J.D. McCaslin*

More than 400 supporters gathered at Sixty Five Hundred on Wednesday, October 5, for Salesmanship Club of Dallas and Momentous Institute’s 5th annual Changing the Odds Dinner. Guests enjoyed a private dinner and address with speaker Glennon Doyle Melton, bestselling author and founder of the wildly popular Momastery.com. Dinner chairs for the event were J.D. McCaslin and Leslie Melson.

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Bill McClung and Guy Kerr*

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Bill McClung and Guy Kerr*

Momentous Institute Chairman Guy Kerr and Salesmanship Club of Dallas Past President  Bill McClung presented Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones with the first-ever Changing the Odds Leadership Award for their significant contributions to the health and well being of children in our community, including those served by Momentous Institute.

Michelle Kinder*

Michelle Kinder*

Momentous Institute Executive Director Michelle Kinder followed by underscoring the urgent need for social emotional health, particularly in light of national events, including the recent Dallas shootings.

“As a city, in the face of the unspeakable – we saw firsthand the difference social emotional health makes — we saw it in Mayor Rawlings and we saw it in Chief Brown. Compassion exemplified,” Kinder said. “Momentous Institute is about showing up in the lives of children so that the next Mayor Rawlings and Chief Brown can emerge. Every person we work with represents a complex story – and a sacred opportunity for kindness, compassion and the expectation of momentous outcomes.”

Glennon Doyle Melton*

Glennon Doyle Melton*

Melton inspired the crowd as she recounted years of love, hurt, addiction, bravery and healing with her trademark authenticity and wit.

Melton is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoirs “Love Warrior,” of which the evening’s guests received a signed copy, and “Carry On, Warrior.” She is also founder of Momastery.com, an online community reaching millions of people each week, as well as the creator and president of Together Rising, a nonprofit organization that has raised nearly $5 million for women and children in crisis.

The dinner preceded Momentous Institute’s annual Changing the Odds Conference (October 6-7), a two-day conference at Omni Dallas that brings more than 1,600 mental health and education professionals (from 132 cities, 29 states and 7 other countries) together to hear best practices in social emotional health from thought leaders around the world.

* Photos provided by Momentous Institute

Salesmanship Club Of Dallas’ Momentous Institute Opens Availability For Changing The Odds Conference Via Live Streaming

Changing The Odds Conference*

Changing The Odds Conference*

The Salesmanship Club of Dallas’ Momentous Institute is just now announcing that its Changing The Odds Conference — “Compassion: Brain Changer” — that will be held Thursday, October 6 (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), and Friday, October 7 (9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m.), at the Omni Dallas was sold out last April.

Whoa! That was five months ago. So, why the delayed announcement?

According to organizers, “We have been sold out since April and have had a growing waiting list. We did not announce the sellout back in April since we were exploring options for how to give more people access to the conference. Now that option has arrived.”

The option is the live streaming of the event that will allow “live stream ticket holders to watch the conference anywhere from their own devices.” Translation: you’ll be able to watch and hear the speakers in your jammies if you like.

Brené Brown**

Brené Brown**

And what a lineup they have! How about New York Times bestselling author ofEmotional Intelligence” Daniel Goleman; motivational speaker and author Lizzie Velasquez; “the happiest man in the world,” Matthieu Ricard; the emotions expert behind Pixar’s “Inside Out,” Dacher Keltner; neuroscientist and one of Time Magazine’s “Most Influential People” Richard J. Davidson; Momentous Institute experts and #1 New York Times bestselling author Brené Brown, who hit it out of the park last spring at the Dallas Children’s Appetite for Advocacy Luncheon.

There is a catch, of course. But it’s not a big one. You’ve just got to register to gain access for the live streaming. The price for the two days of live streaming is $300 per individual stream. Sign up here.

* Graphic provided by Salesmanship Club of Dallas 
** Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2016 Meal For The Minds

According to Metrocare Services Chief Executive Officer Dr. John W. Burruss,

John W. Burruss*

John W. Burruss*

“Metrocare strives to erase the stigma of mental health challenges, provide services to those in need, and educate our community on how to help themselves or a loved one. This year, Metrocare will provide services to over 52,000 adults and children throughout Dallas County. 

“One of the ways that Metrocare educates the community on mental health challenges, is through our fundraising efforts and annual luncheon – ‘Meal for the Minds.’ Metrocare is excited to share that the ‘2016 Meal for the Minds’ luncheon event is being presented by Cohen Veterans Network.  In 2015, Cohen Veterans Network selected Metrocare to be part of its national network of high-quality mental health clinics, working to ensure that every veteran and their family members are able to obtain free and effective mental health care.

“Transitioning from military to civilian life is challenging for many veterans and their families. ‘Going from a war zone in service time to civilian life – these are very different things. Metrocare is committed to helping adults and children who are transitioning to life in North Texas after life in the military.’

“Through the generosity of Steven A. Cohen and the Cohen Veterans Network, we are able to serve veterans and their families at no cost. The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Metrocare opened in May 2016.

“As part of Metrocare’s partnership with Cohen Veterans Network, this year’s keynote speaker at Meal for the Minds is Medal of Honor Recipient and Former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Pitts. In 2014, Ryan Pitts was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan in 2008. Pitts’ courage, steadfast commitment to his defense unit, and ability to fight while seriously wounded prevented the enemy from capturing fallen American soldiers.

“The ‘2016 Meal for the Minds’ luncheon will be held Thursday, September 29, at the Hilton Anatole Hotel. The silent auction begins at 11:00 a.m. and the lunch program begins at 11:45 a.m.  Individual tickets for the luncheon are $150 each and sponsorship opportunities begin at $1,500. For tickets or sponsor information, please visit our website at www.metrocareservies.org/events. For questions, contact Tameka Y. Cass at 214.743.1220 or email [email protected].

“We hope you can join us!”

* Photo provided by Metrocare

JUST IN: 2016 AT&T Byron Nelson Scores $5.8M For Momentous Institute

It seems like ages ago that the players were on the course for the 48-year-old AT&T Byron Nelson in May. But in the months since the PGA tournament at the Four Seasons Resort, the calculators have been treated like abused punching bags and with good reason.

Today the Salesmanship Club Charitable Golf of Dallas reported the amount of money that would benefit its Momentous Institute. The amount is way too big to print even on a Big Tex-type check. Ready to be impressed? The net results of the tournament was $5.8M.

Of course, the boys in red pants are all smiles.

According to 2016 Tournament Chair Tim Marron, “We are incredibly grateful to our title sponsor, AT&T, and our partners who helped make this another successful year for our tournament and, ultimately, for Momentous Institute. It is humbling to see the results of everyone’s hard work come together to benefit our Club’s longstanding mission to change kids’ lives.”

BTW, don’t go confusing Momentous Institute with Café Momentum. While they’re both very amazing programs for youngsters, the Institute “serves more than 6,000 kids and family members” by providing emotional and education support.

Momentous Institute Board Chair Guy Kerr explained, “The proceeds from this tournament yield a lifetime of change for the kids and families we serve through Momentous Institute. Every person who has a hand in making this tournament a success is part of a larger effort to ensure that more kids and family members have access to the mental health and education services they need.”

In the meantime, start thinking what you’re gonna wear for the 2017 AT&T Byron Nelson at the Four Seasons Resort. It will take place in 262 days from Monday, May 15 thru Sunday, May 21.