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.

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.”

MySweet2017Goals: Yvonne Crum

Yvonne Crum*

According to Fashion Stars For A Cause Founder Yvonne Crum,

“My Goals for 2017 are simple. To raise as much money as possible for Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas to help in supporting their two major programs:

“These two programs are saving lives and helping those that are left behind when a loved one is lost to suicide.”

* Photo provided by Suicide 
And Crisis Center of North 
Texas

National Suicide Prevention Week Is Commemorated With Speakers And The Reveal of 2017 Fashion Stars For A Cause

Suicide Prevention Day*

Suicide Prevention Day*

The Greater Dallas Suicide Prevention Coalition will come together from 10 to 11 a.m. on Thursday, September 15 (like tomorrow), at Dallas City Hall to support last week’s National Suicide Prevention Week. In addition to Texas Rangers’ Eric Nadel, Dallas County Commissioner Dr. Theresa Daniel and Cumulus Media Public Affairs Director Hondo Robertson speaking, there will be hundreds of pairs of shoes “representing the more than 500 lives lost last year to suicide.”

The Coalition is made up of Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas, NAMI Dallas, the Dallas VA, AIDS Arms, Bank of America, The Senior Source, Dallas Police Department Crisis Intervention, Green Oaks Hospital, Mental Health America of Greater Dallas, The Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse and ValueOptions.

To support the efforts of the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas, its annual fundraiser — Fashion Stars For A Cause — is making news. Event Founder Yvonne Crum has reported that the presentation of the FSFAC will take place on Friday, March 24, at the Dallas Country Club.

2017 Fashion Stars For A Cause*

2017 Fashion Stars For A Cause*

As for the lineup of 2017 Fashion Stars, who will be helping to grow awareness of suicide and selling raffle tickets for the next six-and-a-half months, they are Jenny Anchondo, Jordi Bostock, Debbie Stout Elchami, Abra L. Garrett, Shay Geyer, Tavia Hunt, LaToya Jones, Carinthia Kishaba, Maria Luce, Donna Richardson, Jennifer Smith and Sara Dawn Wilkins.

Suicide Center and Crisis Center of North Texas provides a 24-hour crisis call center, Teens Can Survive and Survivors of Suicide programs.

* Graphics provided by Suicide And Crisis Center Of North Texas

Fashion Stars For A Cause Is Looking For The 2017 Crop Of Fashion-Loving Fundraisers

“Nominations” for the 2017 Fashion Stars For A Cause (FSFAC) are now open. Well, it’s really not so much nominating, as much as it’s volunteering. Fashion Stars Founder Yvonne Crum is sending out notes to potential “stars” and friends saying,

“If you are interested in being considered for Fashion Stars for a Cause 2017..to benefit Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas (SCCNT) and feel you could fulfill all the requirements, check out the nomination form and return it with a good photo of you…It’s a very rewarding year of events and you will be helping us with awareness that Depression is a disease and helping get them help.”

Fashion Stars For A Cause*

Fashion Stars For A Cause*

That’s a pretty smart way for getting folks on board, because the “stars” are expected to be more involved than just wearing pretty clothes.

According to the form, candidates are required “to support the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas event fashion stars for a Cause with helping raise funds for the Center’s Programs and agree to the following in their support of SCCNT.

  1. “Representing the organization at events that are agreed on as mandatory Kick-off, Patron Party, Wrap Party. All dates will be given to you as soon as they are known (FSFAC Gala March 24, 2107)
  2. “Selling Raffle tickets — will be given tips on how to sell them to be more effective (minimum 50)
  3. “Selling sponsorships and/or tables (minimum of 1 table/sponsorship) You buy a table or sell one.
  4. “Making the public award of the mission of SCCNT: To help those in crisis, especially suicidal crisis, to find hope for the future.
  5. “Attend one of 4 mini-lunch/visits to the Center to see exactly what SCCNT does. (Very inspiring)”

The deadline for the forms to be submitted is Monday, August 15. Then a panel will “meet in September and selections will be made.”

Funds raised from FSFAC will benefit the SCCNT’s Survivors of Suicide and Teens Can Survive programs.

* Graphic provided by Fashion Stars For A Cause

Fashion Stars For A Cause Sparkled Among The Diamonds At The Suicide And Crisis Center Of North Texas Fundraiser Patron Party

While the rains of Wednesday, March 9, slowed to a trickle, so did the traffic. Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas Executive Director Margie Wright found herself stuck in traffic. She was making her way to Diamond Doctor for the Fashion Stars for a Cause reception.

Amanda Ward, David Blank and Gina Marx

Amanda Ward, David Blank and Gina Marx

Luckily the blonde made it without a drip. It had been a busy year for Margie. Despite the death of her husband Frank, Margie had thrown herself into work. No retiring for her. She proudly reported surrounded by counters of diamonds that she had added all types of bankers and executive types to her SCCNT board.

Across the way past the case gleaming with diamond goodies, the red carpet step-and-repeat was taking place with all types like 2016 Fashion Stars Amanda Ward and Gina Marx and even Diamond Doctor David Blank, who was on his way to the Mavericks game.

Jacque Wynne

Jacque Wynne

Amanda sound like a true-blue sorority sister said that at least two of the FSFC would be MIA due to spring break. (Highland Park and Richard ISDs, Jesuit and Ursuline were all on spring break)

Amanda was husbandless initially. It seems spouse Lloyd Ward had been in Arkansas and before heading to the Diamond Doctor event, he wanted to check in with their kids.

Others in the crowd for the event were Regina Bruce, Jacque Wynne, Martha and David Tiller and Bryant Tillery sans wife Carolyn Tillery, who was home in bed. When asked what ailed Mrs. Tillery, Bryant said, “It’s either what’s been going around or she’s on deadline.” What deadline? Carolyn is in the final stages of producing the Fashion stars for a Cause magazine that would debut at the SCCNT fundraiser on Friday, March 25, at the Dallas Country Club.

Untangling The Confusion About Fashion Stars For A Cause Events

There seems to be some confusion in the air about Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas’ Fashion Stars for a Cause gala. A media outlet reported

“Galleria Dallas will present the 10th annual Fashion Stars for a Cause runway show and cocktail party benefiting the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas Feb. 24 on the ice rink …. The runway show will highlight spring looks from Galleria Dallas retailers.”

Yes, the Galleria Dallas is hosting “Celebrat10n” to benefit Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas on February 24, on its ice rink with 500 expected to attend at $50 a pop. And, yes, there will be a fashion show with clothes from Galleria Dallas merchants. And, yes, the models will be both professional models and members of the Fashion Stars For a Cause ambassadors.

But it ain’t the big-time gala—and it ain’t Fashion Stars for a Cause’s 10th anniversary.

The actual Fashion Stars for a Cause gala including cocktails, seated dinner, a presentation of Belk fashions by the Fashion Stars for a Cause ambassadors (Sherice Lynette Brown, Francis Harrison Brito, Laura Fedock, Laurie Graham, Gina Marx, Kristy J. Morgan, Shelley Herrera-O’Neal, Shayema Rahim, Whitney Roberts-Kutch, Bridget Sommerlatte, Carmen Sargent and Amanda Ward) and the drawing for the raffle will take place on Friday, March 25, (aka Good Friday) at the Dallas Country Club. Tickets to the gala start at $250.

Another point that needs clearing up is the fact that this year will not be the “10th annual Fashion Stars for a Cause.” It will be number three.

The confusion may lie in the fact that it was 10 years ago that Suicide and Crisis Center’s Yvonne Crum created an event involving young women, fashions, a raffle, a speaker and dinner. It was called Fresh Faces of Fashion and she partnered up with Modern Luxury and Stanley Korshak. Being in the print business, Modern Luxury copyrighted the name and the event moved along for seven years benefiting Suicide and Crisis and featuring some of North Texas’ sweetest sweethearts, who diligently sold raffle tickets.

Then, a little over three years ago, Modern Luxury notified Yvonne that the decision had been made to change up the concept a bit. Instead of benefiting Suicide and Crisis, it would benefit different nonprofits, like the Salvation Army’s Echelon Group  in 2014 and 2015 and the Wilkinson Center this year.

In typical Molly Brown fashion, Yvonne regrouped and started Fashion Stars for a Cause that still had all the elements of her brainchild — women, fashion, raffle, speaker and benefiting Suicide and Crisis. Joining her in her effort was the Galleria’s Belk.

Joining Belk’s support Galleria Dallas offered to hold the February 24th event the month before the biggy gala. However, their promotional materials included “10” in “Celebrat10n” and a release was issued reading,

“On February 24, Galleria Dallas will host Dallas’ fashion luminaries in a spectacular fashion show on the center’s noted ice rink benefiting the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas. The festive event recognizes the 10th Anniversary of Fashion Stars for a Cause, the gala event created by Dallas philanthropist Yvonne Crum to Inspire Hope and Style.”

Suicide and Crisis Center's "Celebrat10n" page

Suicide and Crisis Center’s “Celebrat10n” page

When asked about the confusion regarding the 10th anniversary of Fashion Stars for a Cause on the Suicide and Crisis Center website and in the Galleria’s promotion of “Celebrat10n,” Yvonne responded that she had been unaware of the event being called a 10th anniversary of Fashion Stars for a Cause. She had been promoting “10 years of Inspiring Hope and Style” and would advise Galleria officials of the misunderstanding and have the Suicide and Crisis Center’s website corrected. (UPDATE: The Suicide and Crisis Center’s website has been updated since this post was originally published.)

The great news is that North Texas has plenty of room for events that feature fashion, females and fundraising.

MySweet2016Goals: Yvonne Crum

According to Fashion Stars For A Cause Gala Co-Founder/Chair Yvonne Crum,

Yvonne Crum (File photo)

Yvonne Crum (File photo)

“My goals for 2016 are about the same as last year:

  1. “Not to let time go by without being in touch with any dear friends that I care about … and wake up and find it’s too late to do anything about it.
  2. “To have my sweet Mayo well and driving me around to do errands … and see good friends … and, of course … sell all 1500 Raffle Tickets for Fashion Stars for a Cause … it can add an amazing about of money to Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas’ Budget for the two main programs: Survivors of Suicide and Teens Can Survive. We are making such headway with awareness that there hope and help for those in crisis … especially suicidal … here is the link if you want that to make that happen: http://www.sccenter.org/fashion-stars-for-a-cause-gala-2016.html

MySweetWishList: Fashion Stars For A Cause

According to Fashion Stars For A Cause Founder/Chair Yvonne Crum,

Yvonne Crum (File photo)

Yvonne Crum (File photo)

“Celebrating 10 Years of Providing Hope and Help to those in Crisis, especially suicidal with 12 Amazing Fashion Stars for a Cause!

“A Wish List for Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas is always the same:  Help with funding our programs and visibility. Both are equally as important.  If we can get everyone talking about suicide, the reasons and how it affects everyone that suffers the loss. (and, of course, the raffle sales)

“Our only fundraiser is Fashion Stars for a Cause 2016 and will be held March 25, 2016, at Dallas Country Club and will feature 12 amazing women that are helping with funding for Survivors of Suicide and Teens Can Survive along with our amazing sponsor for 2016 BELK Galleria Dallas for the second year. Both programs providing hope to those in need. This is our 10th year of combining fashion and fundraising for the Center. Each of the Fashion Stars cares a great deal about the center and the programs we provide. Suicide is a difficult subject to deal with when it comes to Fundraising.

2016 Fashion Stars For A Cause*

2016 Fashion Stars For A Cause*

This year’s Fashion Stars for a Cause are: Sherice Lynette Brown, Whitney Roberts-Kutch, Kristy J. Morgan, Shayema Rahim, Laurie Graham, Amanda Ward, Carmen Surgent, Gina Marx, Shelley Herrera-Oneal, Laura Fedock, Francis Harrison Brito and Bridget Sommerlatte!

Tom Krampitz and Terry Bentley Hill*

Tom Krampitz and Terry Bentley Hill**

“Our Honorary Co-Chairs this year are Terry Bentley Hill and Tom Krampitz. We are so proud of all of them and all the raffle sales which is an amazing part of our fundraising. This year it’s an amazing one!

  1. “$5,000 Gift Card from Belk
  2. “Four days in Havana, Cuba for two! Courtesy of Conscious Cuba and Conscious Cultures! http://www.sccenter.org/fashion-stars-for-a-cause-gala-2016.html

“I got my inspiration in 2006 with knowing that I wanted to be involved for years to come from a letter that Patricia Massey-Sivori wrote after her son Cal’s death. Please help with funding by buying tickets to the gala, raffle tickets (they make great gifts) or just a donation. Each of these requests will help us help those in crisis, especially suicidal to find the Hope that we provide.  You may go to our website www.sccenter.org to see what our programs DO and to donate.

-By Yvonne Crum, Fashion Stars For A Cause founder/chair

* Photo provided by Fashion Stars For A Cause 
** Photo credit: Danny Campbell

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Fashion Stars For A Cause

According to Fashion Stars For A Cause Founder/Chair Yvonne Crum,

Yvonne Crum*

Yvonne Crum*

Margie Wright*

Margie Wright*

“I met Margie Wright, Executive Director of the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas, when doing an event for Mental Health Association in 2006. She asked me to do an event with the SCC. I knew I loved my work and wanted to help any that had lost a loved one to suicide. Loving fashion as I do, I decided to combine my talent for fundraising with fashion, and I enlisted the help of some amazing young women in the community. The rest is history. In nine years, we have raised over $1.8 Million!

“When I met with the board of the SCC for the first time, I was stunned to see three people I knew well who had each lost a child, spouse, or sibling to suicide, and frankly I was stunned.

Patricia Massey Savori* (File photo)

Patricia Massey Savori* (File photo)

“Below is a letter from Patricia Massey Sivori, one of our amazing speakers and someone I knew and loved dearly. She is a survivor, a board member of the SCC, and her message is one of hope. She says what the SCC does best.

“Dear Friends,

“Our paths have now crossed and brought us together. Perhaps for this moment, or in the future, we may remain connected. Forever after we will have been changed.

“The Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas gave me a ‘safe’ place to share my grief. My story is of loss. In shock and total despair, the SCC was open for our entire family and for our friends. We are the survivors; the ones who are the blank faces of grief and suicide. A survivor named in the obituary column of our local newspaper, the ‘ones’ defined as beloved and remaining alive.

“Before that November years ago, I don’t know if I had ever known anyone personally who had committed suicide. Putting a face and name to the then ‘taboo’ word, suicide was previously kept in the closet, under the rug, in the whispers of the deep-dark archives of family secrets. And was I naive to think that suicide was not occurring at that time, in my city, my neighborhood, in my grandchildren’s home? The door of the SCC opened to rooms filled with stories! Families speaking of ‘there is no one to talk to at the worst time in my life,’ ‘no one speaks to me.’ I feel that’s the beginning of my dance. Two steps back, one step forward! Now this brings me to today!

“I am passionate for the awareness of suicide. The SCC is representative of people passionate to help families through their grief with groups. They are passionate about screening young teens for signals of suicidal tendencies in a private ‘safe’ environment. The crisis call lines are answered around the clock, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and holidays, by courageous trained volunteers sacrificing comfortable surroundings to be the help a desperate soul reaches for in the darkest of hours.

“My revelation is to have realized I went through the grief enduring extreme loss and learned ‘to live to dance’ with what remains. To really hear the music, really cry when it hurts, and really grieve when I miss my Cal.

“My name is Patricia Massey Sivori. I am married and raised three children, Cal, Blake and Jennifer. I have precious grandchildren. I am a realtor specializing in residential real estate in Dallas, Texas, and a Certified Interior Designer of Texas, and it is an honor to be on the Board of the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas. Please accept my sincerest appreciation for your support of the non-profit Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas.

“This is Patricia’s story, and each year we hear another like it. So, now you know why these young women, these FFF/Fashion Stars for a Cause, mean so much to me. They help me and the SCC to give hope to people who have lost someone and do not know where to turn. Our message is simple: We offer hope. www.sccenter.org

“As Trish says above, you can learn to dance again!

Fashion Stars For A Cause (File photo)

Fashion Stars For A Cause* (File photo)

“Fashion Stars for a Cause 10th year Gala will be held at Dallas Country Club on March 25, 2016, with Belk as Presenting Sponsor.

Fashion Stars for a Cause Gala was founded to benefit Suicide and Crisis Center – all proceeds are used to fund the two major programs of Suicide and Crisis Center.

  • Survivors of Suicide — program offers those who have lost a loved one to suicide a safe, caring place to grieve and learn how to go forward with their lives.
  • Teens Can Survive — the center is able to help teenagers struggling with mental health issues and see that they are given appropriate assistance. In addition, the agency offers a 24 –hour Crisis Line staffed with crisis counselors, as well as various community outreach programs all at no cost to the Community.

The Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas receives no government or United Way funds; we rely on the generosity and shared concern of the community and Fashion Stars for a Cause Gala.

“For additional information on the gala, sponsorship and how to be a part of the 10th Year Celebration, please contact me.”

* Photos and graphic provided by Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas

JUST IN: Fashion Stars For A Cause’s Raffle Package Is A First In These Parts

Maybe it’s because of the heat, but things have been cooking among the nonprofits. They’ve been brewing up some remarkably imaginative items to get fundraising to new levels. A couple of them have just been revealed and you’ll want to budget some funds for raffle and live auction items.

The first one is a trip, but it’s not the same-old getaway. After all, how many times can one go to Paris without thinking of it as a suburb?

No, this one is timely and chances are that none of your buds have been there.

Havana*

Havana*

It’s a trip for two to Cuba complete with airfare, hotel and transportation. Yup! You read it. Just imagine exploring an island that has been verboten for a half century. Ah, but before that relationship ended, Cuba was known for its natural beauty as well as its cigars, the food, the music, the architecture, the fishing, the culture and the rum.

It was in Cuba that the late Ernest Hemingway spent the ’30s and ’40s writing “For Whom The Bells Toll” and “A Moveable Feast.” He also enjoyed chilling at El Floridita, where he drank  El Papa Doblesuch, his namesake Daiquiri.  According to Ernest, “I drink to make other people more interesting.”

Francis Harrison and Laurie Harrison*

Francis Harrison and Laurie Harrison*

Think how it would be to be one of the first to rediscover the society that is still driving cars built in the ‘60s.

It sounds as if the Cubans and Americans, like Conscious Cuba President Francis Harrison, are ramping up for visitors to reacquaint themselves with Cuba.

Relatively new, CC’s mission is to “facilitate the opportunity to discuss commonalities and differences through meaningful interactions.” Francis and her team are putting together all types of tours to the island just 90 miles south of Florida.

Yvonne Crum (File photo)

Yvonne Crum (File photo)

And that’s exactly how the trip came about. It seems Francis and Yvonne “Raffle Queen” Crum came up with the package to celebrate the 10th anniversary of fashion showing for Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas. This year Yvonne has arranged for the fashion show presented by Belk and the raffle to take place the same night (Friday, March 25) at the Dallas Country Club.

If you’re feeling lucky, check with Yvonne about how many tickets you want to buy. There will only be 1,500 tickets sold for $100 per. On the other hand, if you’re not lucky enough to win the raffle, then give Francis a call.

BTW, if you’re wondering whether CC knows a thing or two or three about hospitality and international travel, scratch that adorable noggin of yours. Francis’ grandest mama is none other than Caroline Rose Hunt, who opened The Mansion on Turtle Creek in 1980 and developed the Rosewood empire.

* Photos provided by Conscious Cuba

A Passing: Mardi Jones

It was just in March of last year that Dallas lost 94-year-old Dr. Cliff Jones, who founded the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas in 1966. Despite dealing with the people struggling with suicide, Cliff’s personal life was filled with happiness thanks to his “too-good-to-be-true family including his adorable wife Mardi.”

Bill McGowan,Bridget Boggess, Summer McGowan, Trip Jones, Robin McGowan, Mardi Jones and Summer McGowan (File photo)

From the left (back row): Bill McGowan, Bridget Boggess, Summer McGowan and Trip Jones; (front row) Robin McGowan, Mardi Jones and Summer McGowan (File photo)

 

 

Now just 15 months later, the Jones family, including daughter Robin McGowan and son Trip Jones, has lost their matriarch Mardi at the age of 91.

In addition to being Cliff’s life partner for more than 65 years, Mardi was her own person and lived a remarkable life that seemed at times to be overshadowed by Cliff’s leadership in bringing suicide out of the shadows.

Her love of the theater spanned from her pre-Cliff days of playing Peter Pan in an off-Broadway production to being one of the Dallas Children’s Theater’s original board members. It was that musical talent that brought Mardi and Cliff together, when he spotted her “singing with her guitar in an ice show at the New Yorker Hotel” in the 1940s.

Of course, Mardi supported Cliff in his crusade to help others deal with suicide. Whether it was working the phones at the Suicide and Crisis Center or moderating the Grief and Response committee at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, she was a hands-on partner.

For all those family members and friends who are adjusting to the loss of Mardi, they should take heart knowing that she is with her Cliff.

At 11 a.m. on Monday, July 27, Mardi’s life will be celebrated in Wynne Chapel at Highland Park Presbyterian Church. The family has requested in lieu of flowers that gifts be made to the Dallas Children’s Theater in Mardi’s name.

Royal Chef Darren McGrady Can Be Yours For A Feast If You’re Lucky

Darren's delicious tidbits

Darren’s delicious tidbits

IMG_4329Ran into Royal Chef Darren McGrady, who was holding court at Debbie and John Tolleson’s Wednesday night for the Center for BrainHealth gathering.

Lucky were those who ventured into the kitchen, where Darren was having a jolly good time with the staff laughing as he whipped out delicious items that got gobbled up the moment they were put before the guests. But more about the evening later.

For anyone who would like to have a Chef Darren experience, it can happen in a big way. He will provide a four-course royal feast for 10 and so much more, like wine pairings and butler service. That’s what the winner of the Fashion Stars for a Cause raffle benefiting the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas will get. But time is getting tighter than a size 6 Jimmy Choo on a size-9 foot. The drawing is Thursday, May 21, at Belk.

And speaking of Belk, the retailer has included a $5,000 gift card as part of the raffle package. After all, such a dinner demands a new outfit, shoes and “accessories.”

Chances are selling for $50 each or three for $100. They can be purchased online or by contacting Yvonne Crum.

Despite Some Oops, Fashion Stars For A Cause Shone At The Dallas Country Club For Suicide And Crisis Center Of North Texas

At the Dallas Country Club it was the very real issue of suicide that attracted nearly 250 guests for a seated dinner on Friday, March 20. The occasion was Fashion Stars for a Cause with its runway presentation of the 2015 Fashion Stars (Jennifer de Socarraz-Fleming, Jamie Fowler, Leah Frazier, Rebecca Harper Hallam, Caroline Harrison, Naila Malik, Dawn Mellon, Charmaine Marshall, Jessi Moreau, Dawn Neufeld, Melissa Rountree and Cathy Williamson), as well as the debut of the Fashion Stars Magazine.

Unfortunately, one of the stars was unable to shine. Dawn Neufeld was away due to the death of her grandmother.

Jean Lattimore and Carolyn Lupton

Jean Lattimore and Carolyn Lupton

Jill Rowlett

Jill Rowlett

The reception preceding the dinner filled the lobby with the likes of Carolyn Lupton, Jean Lattimore, Jill Rowlett, Dee Wyly, Sami Arslanar, Terry Bentley Hill, Caroline Rose Hunt, Vodi Cook, Laura Reeder, Louisa Oberman, Christina Notzon, Elizabeth Ellenwood, Francis Harrison, Jessica Watts Ayers, Sydney Thompson, Bailey Harrison and Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas Executive Director Margie Wright, who was receiving condolences over the death of her husband just a month ago.

From the left (back row): Louisa Oberman, Laura Reeder, Christina Notzon, Caroline Harrison, Elizabeth Ellenwood, Francis Harrison, Jessica Watts Ayers and Bailey Harrison; front row: Vodi Cook and Sydney Thompson

From the left (back row): Louisa Oberman, Laura Reeder, Christina Notzon, Caroline Harrison, Elizabeth Ellenwood, Francis Harrison, Jessica Watts Ayers and Bailey Harrison; front row: Vodi Cook and Sydney Thompson

Toni Munoz-Hunt

Toni Munoz-Hunt

Dan Hunt

Dan Hunt

Standouts in the crowd were Honorary Co-Chairs Toni Munoz Hunt, who proudly showcased her baby bump, and husband Dan Hunt.

Another standout was Chef Darren McGrady, who will be preparing the dinner for the winner of the Sunday, May 21th raffle.

John Clutts was still reeling about news regarding his dad, architect James Clutts. It seems that the AIA Dallas had just announced that James will receive the AIA Dallas – Lifetime Achievement Award on Thursday, April 2, at Celebrate Architecture for his years of leadership and accomplishments. In addition to serving as president of both the Texas Society of Architects and AIA Dallas, his numerous projects have included Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church.

Missing in the crowd were Fashion Stars mother hen Yvonne Crum, the Fashion Stars and emcee Suzie Humphreys, who were prepping for the program.

Terry Bentley Hill and Margie Wright

Terry Bentley Hill and Margie Wright

Following the reception, Margie welcomed the guests and introduced the red-haired Suzie, who could have easily salvaged “Fashion Police” with her wit, compassion and hint of naughtiness.

The former “Broadcast” co-host/motivational speaker warned guests the evening was not going to focus on loss but rather on hope. And it did.

She then introduced the Fashion Stars. Each walked the runway and took her place on the catwalk. It seemed to be going smoothly as Suzie described a little background on each of the gals modeling fashions from Belk. That is, until it got to Rebecca Hallam. Suzie called out her name. No one appeared on the stairway. She said her name a couple of times, still no Rebecca. Suzie then hinted that perhaps she had gotten confused, shuffled through some papers and announced that she wasn’t confused. Yep; Rebecca was supposed to be up next. Someone in the audience pointed to a small blonde standing on the floor at the base of the runway at the far side. Suzie regrouped saying, “Oh, you’re the one that can’t walk.” Seems Rebecca had injured her leg and strutting was just not possible.

The rest of the introductions went without a hitch. As the 10 women stood to applause, Suzie asked, “Now, what? [Pause] … Turn around and walk off.” With that the ladies left the stage and settled down with friends and family for a dinner of poached pear salad, apple cider brined chicken with winter squash risotto, asparagus and natural herb jus.

Next up was Yvonne, who reviewed the past of the fundraiser and recognized who had helped to keep the effort going. She then invited Fashion Star Magazine Editor Carolyn Tillery to say a few words about the debut issue. Like a new mom, Carolyn described the behind-the-scenes plans, efforts and people involved in the creation. At the 3-minute point, she noticed that some of the table conversations were preventing others from hearing her. So, she simply snapped to, saying, “Excuse me. I’m talking here.” It didn’t do much good, as the chatterers kept on chatting as she enthusiastically talked on for five more minutes.

To bring home the underlining meaning of the evening, keynote speaker/Suicide and Crisis Center Board Member Debbie Murray told of how she had survived suicide in her life — her father and the best man in her daughter’s wedding had both killed themselves. Like many survivors of such tragedies, Debbie outwardly gave no sign of the past losses, but she advocated the importance of seeking help if others sensed such turmoil in family and friends.

Debbie Murray

Debbie Murray

Kyle Hughes and Anne Hughes

Kyle Hughes and Anne Hughes

To conclude the evening, Kyle Hughes, the daughter of Anne Hughes and the late Tom Hughes, who led the Dallas Summer Musicals for decades, sang “For Good” to Toni and Dan. It was a touching way to end the evening.

Female Superiority Is Not Always A Good Thing

Women are outstanding in so many areas. After years of efforts, they have earned so many equalities with their male counterparts, both professionally and personally. In some cases, they’ve even outdone the gents.

Unfortunately, along with the good points, there comes the not-so-great.

Women are leading the number of deaths caused by heart disease . Now, another killer is taking more women’s lives than men. It’s the suicide rate for girls and young women.

If you suspect a person — man or woman, young or old — seems to be a little off kilter, seek help from such resources as the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas. Their services are free because of donations and fundraising programs like Fashion Stars For A Cause.

In future days, do not regret that you didn’t seek help for them.

Fashion Stars For A Cause Shone Among The Diamond Doctor Gems

Across town at Diamond Doctor, another fashionable group was partying on Thursday, February 12. But there were no hangars or mannequins. Instead there were delicious gems filling cases throughout.

Stacy and David Blank

Stacy and David Blank

Despite Diamond Doctor David Blank’s having a rough month or two (the Blank family all suffered the flu and David’s mom had a stay in ICU), he and wife Stacy were all smiles over the new DD sign out front. The light sign was allowing DD to tastefully showcase causes and specials while not going Vegas Strip.

At one point, Fashion Stars for a Cause Founder/Chair Yvonne Crum tried to assemble the 2015 crop for a photo on the stairs. A couple were missing, but the photo opp took place anyhow.

Toni Munoz Hunt

Toni Munoz Hunt

The normally slim, trim Honorary Co-Chair/model Toni Munoz Hunt looked fabulous in a red lace gown. However there was a slight bulge. Was it a big noontime lunch? Nope. She and husband Daniel Hunt are expecting a baby Munoz Hunt.

At one counter, Nita Hudson looking like a Fashion Star was decked out in electric blue cocktail dress and a fabulous diamond necklace with incredible opal stone pendant. Nita was telling about her rescue St. Bernard/Great Pyrenees, when husband Chris appeared. When some noted Nita’s ring, she told how she had admitted it for a while at DD. One day she was surprised to learn that it had been purchased. Heartbroken she was. That is until Chris presented it to her. Seems sneaky David had met Chris off premises and arranged the purchase including paperwork naming a “faux” purchaser.

Carolyn Tillery and Nita Hudson

Carolyn Tillery and Nita Hudson

As for Fashion Stars, the event will showcase fashions from Belk at the Dallas Country Club on Friday, March 20, with the Suzie Humphreys as emcee and Debbie Murray will be the speaker.

Front row from the left: Yvonne Crum, Toni Munoz Hunt and  Daniel Hunt with the Fashion Stars for a Cause

Front row from the left: Carolyn Tillery, Yvonne Crum, Toni Munoz Hunt and Daniel Hunt with the Fashion Stars for a Cause

Known within fundraising circles as the Raffle Czarina, Yvonne told the crowd “I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the raffle.” She reported that raffle tickets for a Royal Raffle Dinner Party are available from any of the 2015 Fashion Stars (Jennifer Fleming, Jamie Fowler, Leah Frazier, Rebecca Hallam, Caroline Harrison, Dr. Naila Malik, Charmaine Marshall, Dawn Mellon, Jessi Moreau, Dawn Neufeld, Melissa Rountree and Cathy Williamson) or by contacting Yvonne. The drawing will take place on Thursday, May 21, with proceeds from the event and raffle going to the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas.

Royal Chef Darren McGrady Is Cooking Up A Regal Deal For The Fashion Stars For A Cause Raffle

Like birds twittering in the spring, so raffles are abounding. Every fundraiser seems to have ‘em. The trick is to make the item(s) extra special to take a chance. The area’s FLOR (First Lady Of Raffles) is Yvonne Crum, who sells them in her sleep…when she does sleep.

Darren McGrady (File photo)

Darren McGrady (File photo)

This year for the Fashion Stars For A Cause, she’s managed to get Darren McGrady, the former chef for the late Princess Diana, to provide a “Royal Dinner Party for 10.” The package includes the following:

  • A four-course dinner based on dishes served at Buckingham Palace including food and wine pairing
  • Butler service to prepare your table, greet and serve your guests
  • Autographed copy of “Eating Royally” by Darren for each of the guests
  • Chef McGrady will greet guests and join them at the table
  • Consult on the menu
  • Food purchases, collection and preparation
  • Set up and tear down of table

So you’ll look your utmost, Belk is providing a $5,000 gift card.

Darren McGrady's Thames Kew Gardens (File photo)

Darren McGrady’s Thames Kew Gardens (File photo)

After years of being a personal chef, Darren has undertaken a new concept — Eating Royally — where he can provide that regal dining for everyday meals or OMG entertaining. Each meal is tailor-made to the requirements and taste buds of the clients. For instance, when Dale Chihuly was in town for the Dallas Arboretum, Darren prepared a fabulous buffet for the patron party that was a Chihuly of foods.

But back to the raffle. The plan is to sell 2,500 tickets ($50 each or three for $100). They can be purchased from any of the 2015 Fashion Stars for a Cause (Jennifer Fleming, Jamie Fowler, Leah Frazier, Rebecca Harper Hallam, Caroline Harrison, Dr. Naila Malik, Charmaine Marshall, Dawn Mellon, Jessi Moreau, Dawn Neufeld, Melissa Rountree and Cathy Williamson) or by contacting Yvonne.

While the gala benefiting the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas will be held on Friday, March 20, at the Dallas Country Club, the drawing will be held at a fashion show on Wednesday, May 20, at Belk. The patron level will also score you an invite to a reception at the Diamond Doctor.

You can also contact Yvonne for info on the gala and fashion show.

MySweet2015Goals: Yvonne Crum

According to Fashion Stars For A Cause Founder Yvonne Crum,

Yvonne Crum*

Yvonne Crum*

“ My goals for 2015 are simple. Make sure that I don’t let time go by and not see the people that are important to me. I lost 2 good friends this year that I had said for over a YEAR that I would call and get together for lunch. My heart hurts thinking that I didn’t get to say goodbye.. because I didn’t know what they were going thru.. See the people you love and care about before it’s too late and to continue my mission for Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas thru Fashion Stars for a Cause helping those in crisis especially suicidal… find hope!”

* Photo provided by Yvonne Crum

JUST IN: A True Loss Within The Community

Shall we talk about a true tragedy? This time of year when so many are reaching out for help in dealing with issues, this missive arrived from CONTACT Crisis Lines:

“Dear Friends:
“It is with great regret that CONTACT will cease operations on Wednesday, December 31, 2014, due to funding shortfalls.

“Our organization has grown rapidly over the last couple years to meet the needs of individuals in crisis. Unfortunately, while we have been successful funding and delivering high-quality services, we have struggled to meet the growing operational and overhead costs required to sustain them.

“Caring, positive support will always be an essential resource for individuals dealing with crisis and stress. Our focus in on referring clients and transiting programs to other organizations so these individuals can continue to access services, even if not under the roof of one organization.

“The CONTACT Crisis Lines, Teen and Spanish Help Lines will be available through December 31st. Despite their demise, the CONTACT Crisis Lines are directing folks starting January 1 to other services including the following:

“We are grateful for those who have funded our crisis lines and programs for the past 47 years, we are grateful for the hundreds of volunteers who have given their time to work with our callers and we are grateful for our devoted leadership and staff. The decision to close was not made lightly and we continue to be very proud of our history.”

The challenges of the mind and heart are not limited to any racial, financial, religious or whatever group. They confront any creature of any age. What a true tragedy that one less hand is available to help them. How lovely that CONTACT Crisis Lines in its final hours still wants to help those in need by directing them to resources in their hours of need.

MySweetWishList: Suicide And Crisis Center Of North Texas

According to Fashion Stars For A Cause Founder/Chair Yvonne Crum,

Yvonne Crum*

Yvonne Crum*

“A Wish List for Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas is always the same:  Help with funding our programs and visibility.  Both are equally as important.  If we can get everyone talking about suicide, the reasons and how it affects everyone that suffers the loss.

“Our only fundraiser is Fashion Stars for a Cause 2015 and will be held March 20, 2015, at Dallas Country Club and will feature 12 amazing women that are helping with funding for Survivors of Suicide and Teens Can Survive along with our sponsor for 2015 BELK Galleria Dallas, both programs providing hope to those that need it. This is our 8th year of combining fashion and fundraising for the Center.  Each of the Fashion Stars care a great deal about the center and the programs.  Suicide is a difficult subject to deal with when it comes to Fundraising.

“I got my inspiration with knowing that I wanted to be involved for years to come from a letter that Patricia Massey-Sivori wrote after her son Cal‘s death, it says exactly what SCC does and the impact it has. Please read her letter and please help with funding by buying tickets to the Gala, raffle tickets (they make great gifts) or just a donation. Each of these requests will help us help those in crisis, especially suicidal to find the Hope that we provide.  You may go to our website www.sccenter.org to see what our programs DO and to donate.

-Yvonne Crum, Fashion Stars For A Cause Founder/Chair

Dear Friends,

Patricia Massey Savori*

Patricia Massey Sivori*

“Our paths have now crossed and brought us together. Perhaps for this moment, or in the future, we may remain connected. Forever after we will have been changed.

“The Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas gave me a ‘safe’ place to share my grief. My story is of loss. In shock and total despair, the SCC was open for our entire family and for our friends. We are the survivors; the ones who are the blank faces of grief and suicide. A survivor named in the obituary column of our local newspaper, the ‘ones’ defined as beloved and remaining alive.

“Before that November years ago, I don’t know if I had ever known anyone personally who had committed suicide. Putting a face and name to the then ‘taboo’ word, suicide was previously kept in the closet, under the rug, in the whispers of the deep-dark archives of family secrets. And was I naive to think that suicide was not occurring at that time, in my city, my neighborhood, in my grandchildren’s home? The door of the SCC opened to rooms filled with stories! Families speaking of ‘there is no one to talk to at the worst time in my life,’ ‘no one speaks to me.’ I feel that’s the beginning of my dance. Two steps back, one step forward! Now this brings me to today!

“I am passionate for the awareness of suicide. The SCC is representative of people passionate to help families through their grief with groups. They are passionate about screening young teens for signals of suicidal tendencies in a private ‘safe’ environment. The crisis call lines are answered around the clock, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and holidays, by courageous trained volunteers sacrificing comfortable surroundings to be the help a desperate soul reaches for in the darkest of hours.

“My revelation is to have realized I went through the grief enduring extreme loss and learned ‘to live to dance’ with what remains. To really hear the music, really cry when it hurts, and really grieve when I miss my Cal.

“My name is Patricia Massey Sivori. I am married and raised three children, Cal, Blake and Jennifer. I have precious grandchildren. I am a realtor specializing in residential real estate in Dallas, Texas, and a Certified Interior Designer of Texas, and it is an honor to be on the Board of the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas. Please accept my sincerest appreciation for your support of the non-profit Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas. You too can “Learn to dance again.”

* Photos provided by Fashion Stars For A Cause

Suicide Is Treatable

With the recent death of comedian/actor Robin Williams swamping social media, the subject of suicide has resulted in a spike of calls to crisis and suicide phone lines. That’s the good news. People are seeking help and the professionals are only a call away.

The bad news is that there are people in need of help, who are not reaching out. If you suspect someone is showing signs of depression, go ahead and call one of these organizations. They’ll help you decide if steps should be taken and how to proceed.

North Texas is fortunate to have such services like the Contact Crisis Hotline and Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas. They are free and available 24 hours a day.

A Passing: Dr. Cliff Jones

Dr. Cliff Jones (File photo)

Dr. Cliff Jones (File photo)

On Saturday, March 29, just days after Fashion Stars For A Cause benefiting the Suicide and Crisis Center, SC&CNT founder Dr. Cliff Jones died at the age of 94 of natural causes. He lived an amazing life. He wrote for the Dallas Times Herald. He served as a Marine Lt. Colonel in World War II. He was a clinical psychologist holding numerous leadership positions. He worked with his father as a furrier. He was even an independent pine-tree farmer.

Among his many accomplishments, the psychologist was organizing chair for the S&CC back in 1966. Cliff once explained that, while he had never personally been touched by suicide, he felt there was a “need back in the 60’s to address the issue that had been in the shadows.”

It was obvious from the constant smile and twinkle in his eyes that were so at home on his face that Cliff loved life. His commitment, leadership and example helped countless others to embrace the beauty of living and overcome the nightmare of suicide.

According to Cliff, “suicide represents man’s most extreme state of personal crisis, generally the most frightening possibility that professional people-helpers face in dealing with emotionally disturbed persons. But suicide also is the ultimate threat to parents who want so to help their children manage the risky issues of growing up. We have much to learn about helping people talk out their inner struggles instead of losing hope and destroying themselves.”

A celebration of Cliff’s life will take place at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, May 5, at Highland Park Presbyterian Church.

Our sincere condolences to his wife of 65 years Mardi Bryant Jones, their family, friends and those who have been touched by his efforts.

Fashion Stars For A Cause’s Inaugural Event Brought Cheers And Tears To An Overflowing Ballroom

If every fundraising event has a driving force behind it, there’s no doubt the person behind the inaugural Fashion Stars for a Cause gala at the Dallas Country Club was Yvonne Crum. Crum, who served as chair for the Friday, March 21 event benefiting the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas, was fussing like a nervous stage mother as guests thronged the club for the pre-dinner reception.

Donnie and Martha Miller

Donnie and Martha Miller*

 

John Clutts and Carolyn Tillery*

John Clutts and Carolyn Tillery*

Breaking away from the excited, black-tie crowd that included the likes of Carolyn Lupton, Jean Lattimore, Jill Rowlett, Dee Wyly, Martha and Donnie Miller, Carolyn and Bryant Tillery, John Clutts and Tiffany and Paul Divis, Yvonne dashed into the ballroom to make sure everything was perfect. And everything was—including the flowers, which had been underwritten by Linda and Steve Ivy. “We’re at 279 people now, in a ballroom made for 260,” Yvonne said. And, with a $200K fundraising goal, she confided, they were at well over $150K—and still counting.

Carolyn Lupton and Jean Lattimore*

Carolyn Lupton and Jean Lattimore*

Ten or 15 minutes later, the guests filed into the ballroom for the main event. After a welcome by Beverly Drive Editor-in-Chief Taylor Bacic, whose magazine devoted a number of pages to the Fashion Stars, the partygoers tucked into a delicious dinner of poached pear salad, breast of chicken, smoked corn puree, garlic roasted mashed potatoes and chocolate mousse cake.

Terry Bentley Hill and Margie Wright*

Terry Bentley Hill and Margie Wright*

As they did so, Terry Bentley Hill, who would be the evening’s keynote speaker, helped bring on the Fashion Stars, who’d been outfitted in frocks from Tootsies’ with the expert assistance of Priya Rathod. One by one they strode the runway: Ashley Burghardt, Britt Harless, Janee Hill, Antonio Hubert, Toni Munoz Hunt, Hilary Kennedy, Regina Bruce, Rhonda Marcus, Robin Brock, Carla Miller, Alex Small, and Cynthia Smoot.

Jill Rowlett, Toni Munoz Hunt and Dee Wyly*

Jill Rowlett, Toni Munoz Hunt and Dee Wyly*

Then it was time for the talking. Yvonne began, naturally, and introduced the evening’s honorary chairs, Melody and Rick Rogers. Said Yvonne, “I asked Melody if she wanted to talk and she said, ‘No, you’ll do enough talking for both of us.’ ” After a few words of greeting from Margie Wright, executive director of the suicide and crisis center, keynoter Bentley Hill spoke inspirationally about the recovery process after a friend or family member takes their own life.

Yvonne Crum and Rick and Melody Rogers*

Yvonne Crum and Rick and Melody Rogers*

Bentley Hill, who lost a husband and a 14-year-old daughter to suicide, said, “You never get over it, but you do get better.” She also said she believes in “Godly intervention” in some cases. One she cited: that of a Golden Gate Bridge jumper who survived the long drop into the deep water, then found himself being nudged upward through the depths by a helpful sea lion.

To close out the evening, a group of friends surprised Yvonne by arranging for something special. “It’s not a naked man, is it?” she cracked. Instead, it was a special performance of one of her favorite songs, “For Good,” from the Broadway musical The Wiz. But this song had special lyrics: “Because we knew you, Yvonne, we have been changed for good …”

Two standing ovations later, the wet-eyed chair thanked everyone for coming, then told them goodnight. “I’m not sure if I’m going to heaven or hell,” Yvonne couldn’t resist adding. “But whichever it is, I’m going to be in charge of the raffle.”

Photo credit: Danny Campbell

Round Robin February 27: LaunchAbility Sponsors Party, Habitat For Humanity Builder’s Circle And Fashion Stars For A Cause Patron Party

As the countdown for spring break neared, the non-profits were in high gear to squeeze everything in on Thursday, February 27. Communities Foundation of Texas was hosting One Crisis Away at City Performance Hall. The Salesmanship Club of Dallas was hosting cocktails and conversation with Dr. Tina Payne Bryson at the Nurses Quarters in the Old Parkland Campus. Amy Simmons was being honored at Orphan Outreach Children’s Hope Award Dinner at the Hilton Anatole.  Told ya it was a busy evening. Here are some brief recaps of three other fund- and awareness-raising events:

LaunchAbility Sponsors Party

Piper Wyatt and Lynn McBee

Piper Wyatt and Lynn McBee

Piper and Mike Wyatt’s three chocolate labs were held captive in the Wyatts’ bedroom. But don’t feel too sorry for them. Each (Godiva, Toby and Newton) had his/her own monogrammed cushy bed. Still, the party animals wanted out. Even Toby, who was going through bone-cancer treatment. wanted to squeeze through the door to visit with the LaunchAbility guests. Unfortunately, the house was filled with sponsors for the upcoming “A Special Evening 2014 with Smokey Robinson” on Monday, March 31, at the Meyerson.

With Smokey Radio playing in the background, Piper reported that the event was perfectly timed, what with the Motown sound having a resurgence recently. As proof, she pointed out that “Motown the Musical” was coming to the AT&T Performing Arts Center as part of the 2014/2015 Broadway Series.

As for ticket sales for the fundraiser concert, LaunchAbility CEO Kathryn Parsons said sales were “way ahead of our week-to-week goals.”

Blending Preston Hollow charm with marvelous antiques and framed photos of friends and family, the home was perfect for partying. Why, the moment one entered the door, they were told, “Head to the left where the kitchen and bar are. That’s where everyone is.”

Unfortunately, some like Lynn McBee didn’t make it farther than the library, due to having to rush off to other commitments like the reopening of Traffic LA.

Builder’s Circle Celebration

Just a few blocks south, the Habitat for Humanity Builder’s Circle was setting things on fire, despite a fire warning alert. But not to fear. There was a definite need for burning “the things.”

Velma Mitchell

Velma Mitchell

So, what was so important to burn on this evening? How about the names of those who had paid off their mortgages thanks to HfH?

According to HfH CEO Bill Hall, the evening at lawyer Andy Sommerman’s brand-spanking new home was a celebration for families that have purchased HfH homes and paid them off.

HfH client Velma Miller said, “I thank God for having a house. . . I think I was Bill’s first client. He put up with me. Bill is a godly man. Most of all I appreciate and thank God, because he cares and I don’t have a mortgage! Now when people say, ‘Do you own your home?’ I can say ‘Yes!’” Not only does Velma own her home, she is now the president of her homeowners association.

Juan Mercado

Juan Mercado

Another HfH client, Juan Mercado, told the guests, “I thank God, too. . . I’m just blessed.” Having been born in Florida, he was left with nothing after Hurricane Andrew. Then he and his family moved to Dallas. “We just trusted God.” But Juan got sick and depressed. He continued, “No income or credit, but we had God.. . . Sometimes we think that nobody cares, but Habitat cares!” A pastor with bilingual services, Juan summed his talk up saying, “My message to you is, don’t give up, because our reward is in heaven.”

Sarah Losinger

Sarah Losinger

Before heading outdoors to burn the names and addresses of homes that had been paid off in a portable fire pit, Builder’s Circle founding Co-Chair Sarah Losinger was presented with flowers. Her Co-Chair Kate Rose Marquez arrived just minutes later.

As the slips of papers became cinders, an HfH representative explained that HfH provides interest-free mortgages that usually take 20 to 25 years to pay off. But Velma and Juan had managed to accomplish this pay-off in just 10 years.

Fashion Stars For A Cause Reception

As the weather was cratering throughout the day back on Thursday, February 6th, Fashion Stars For A Cause Founder Yvonne Crum and Diamond Doctor’s David Blank made the gut-wrenching decision to postpone the champagne toast reception for the safety of the guests. No sooner had that decision been made and communicated than a new date was picked — February 27.

Luckily, this time around, Mother Nature cooperated and the guests filled the Diamond Doctor like carats were being handed out as favors.

As designer Darin Prejean, Tiffany Divis and Connie Miles were headed out for other commitments, Yvonne was extolling all who had helped her launch Fashion Stars for a Cause for Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas. Among the folks included were Diamond Doctor David and his lovely bride Stacy, “Beverly Drive”’s Carolyn Tillery, SCCNT’s Margie Wright, Sevy’s for providing the food and cocktails and FSFC’s Honorary Co-Chairs Melody and Rick Rogers. That last one — Melody and Rick — got a champagne toast from the crowd plus a whoop-and-a-holler.

Yvonne Crum*

Yvonne Crum*

The reception glittered with gems in the display cases and the glamorama guests in attendance. Unfortunately it was so crowded that you either huddled around Yvonne or settled back in comfy chairs along the wall, like Carolyn Lupton and John Clutts.

Carolyn Lupton and John Clutts

Carolyn Lupton and John Clutts

What was learned was the inaugural event is nearing “Sold-Out” status, but Yvonne was begging Dallas Country Club management to add just a couple more tables to accommodate late ticket buyers. She also hinted that some SCCNT supporters were “reselling some tables” since they were extending their spring breaks and not returning in time for the March 21 fundraiser.

Despite the official party-ending time being 8, by 8:30 Yvonne was like a mother flashing the porch light for errant teenagers parked in the driveway. But let’s face it, when you’re having a good time, who wants to call it a night?

* Photo provided by Fashion Stars For A Cause