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

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

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

Christopher Jackson and Hady Mawajdeh

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

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

Christopher Jackson and Kathleen LaValle

Michael Holmes, Sophia Holmes and Cathleen Holmes

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

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

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

Jeremy Coca in vest surrounded by Junior Players

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

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

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

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

Beth Bedell, Catherine New and Kara Altenbaumer-Price

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

Lisette Sandoval

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christopher Jackson

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

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

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

Calvert Collins-Bratton And Vince Bratton Announced Plans For Children At Risk North Texas Chapter’s “A Night In Barcelona” Fundraiser

Dick Collins sat in his den checking his cellphone with his longtime friend Dale Robinowitz, as the entry of his Bluffview mansion filled to capacity with guests on Thursday, June 22. Just proved that everyone hadn’t evacuated the North Texas heat.

Vince Bratton, Calvert Collins Bratton and Stratton Horres

But then, what would you expect when Dick’s blonde daughter Calvert Collins-Bratton and her husband Vince Bratton put out the shout for the Children at Risk North Texas Chapter‘s kick-off party for A Night in Barcelona, which is slated for Saturday, September 23, at Hotel ZaZa?

Standing on the winding stairway, Children at Risk North Texas Managing Director Dr. Charlotte Carlisle welcomed the crowd, including Calvert’s mom Susan Collins, Children at Risk North Texas Chairman of the Board Stratton Horres and his wife Debbie Horres, Maddy Kulkarni, Lee Papert, Angela Nash, Ron Taylor and Timmy Newsome.

Angela Nash and Lee Papert

Timmy Newsome

Children at Risk COO Dr. Katie McConnell told of her days working in the public school system when she encountered children like Umberto, who was facing challenges each day while his mom worked three jobs. It was organizations like Children at Risk that offered programs to assist Umberto.

Charlotte Carlisle

Katie McConnell

Charlotte then told about two major problems that Children at Risk deal with:

  1. Food deserts where there are areas in which children don’t have access to food beyond junk food
  2. Human trafficking — “85-90% of reported child-sex trafficking cases occur to children, who were born in the United States”

After Charlotte handed the program over to Calvert, who described the evening’s festivities, including a raffle for a five-night stay at 5-star Monument Hotel In Barcelona with air fare for two, flamenco dancers, a sangria bar and tapas and a live auction that will include a package to the NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles. VIP ticketholders will attend a pre-party poolside before joining the rest of the guests in the Uptown Ballroom.

A Night In Barcelona

After that buildup, who could resist “a night in Barcelona”?

Among the sponsors that have already signed up are

  • Las Ramblas ($15,000) — Istation
  • Arc de Triomf ($5,000) — Energy Transfer, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Methodist Dallas, Wilson Elser, Debbie and Stratton Horres, Shara McClure and Deborah and David Roylance
  • Museum Picasso ($2,500) — UMB, Steve Love, Kate and Eric Sudol and Jan and Ron Taylor

Gentle Reminder: Crystal Charity Ball 2018 Charity Selections Are Now Available Online

Any Dallas County children’s nonprofit dreaming of qualifying for the Crystal Charity Ball grants should check out the CBB website. The applications for the 2018 grants are available online now.

Claire Emanuelson (File photo)

Patty Leyendecker (File photo)

According to 2018 CCB Chair Claire Emanuelson and Charity Selection Chair Patty Leyendecker, the timeline for this year’s grant process is

  • Wednesday, September 20, at 9 a.m. — Orientation meeting for prospective applicants. Attendance is not mandatory, but strong encouraged.
  • Tuesday, October 17, noon — Applications “must be mailed or hand-delivered to the CCB office. No email applications will be accepted.
  • Thursday, February 1 — 2018 beneficiaries will be selected.

To qualify for a grant, the organizations must

  • serve children in Dallas County
  • have had a 501 (c) 3 designation for at least three years
  • have provided services in Dallas County for at least three year

Since 1952, CCB has provided more than $137M to more than 100 children’s charities, so why not take the opportunity to land one of the grants?

The Rustic Is Gonna Be Rocking In September For Voices For A Cause And The 5th Annual Concert For A Cure, But Not At The Same Time

September may be known as the start of Friday night lights, the kickoff of the State Fair and the first hints of fall in the air. But this year it’s gonna be full of singing for nonprofits. Two concerts are being held to raise funds and they’re both gonna be at The Rustic, but not at the same time!

Voices For A Cause*

First will be Dallas CASA’s Voices for A Cause with Signed Out getting things started and followed by country artist Brandon Rhyder as the evening’s headliner starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 14. The benefit concert is being hosted by Dallas CASA Young Profession, whose “mission is to increase awareness for Dallas CASA while providing charitable and social opportunities for people ages 21 to 40.” Co-Chairs Kelcey Hamilton, Reasha Hedke and Dana Swann have arranged for the $25 ticket to include the concert, two drinks and appetizers.

2017 Concert For A Cure**

Two weeks later Leukemia Texas is holding its 5th Annual Concert for A Cure with Honorary Chair/former Dallas Cowboy Marco Rivera and Event Co-Chairs Jenny “New Mom” Anchondo and reality personality/marrow donor Stephanie Hollman. On the performing stage will be Grammy-Award winning Reckless Kelly. Individual tickets start at $75 and include a private VIP reception starting at 7 p.m., hors d’ oeuvres, two drink tickets, open seating and valet parking. But as you know, underwriting brings perks like additional seats with better views, recognition in signage and collateral materials and boasting rights.  

Can’t decide which one? No problemo. Attend both! The attire will be comfortable casual. The throngs of folks will be your type — generous and fun to be with. The causes are both life-changing.

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

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

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

Jubilee Park Commemorative 20th Anniversary bracelets*

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

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

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

Jubilee Park Commemorative 20th Anniversary bracelets*

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

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

* Photos provided by Jubilee Park and Community Center

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2017 Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon And Fashion Show

According to 2017 Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon and Fashion Show Chairman Beth Thoele,

Beth Thoele (File photo)

Equest Therapeutic Horsemanship was founded in 1981 and was the first riding center in Texas for children and adults with all types of physical, cognitive, emotional and learning disabilities. One of the organization’s most important sources for funding is the annual Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon and Fashion presented by Highland Park Village.

We have selected “Reins of Hope” as this year’s theme for the luncheon that will be at Brook Hollow Golf Club on Tuesday, October 3. The event will include presentation of the Equest Award for Community Service to Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne whose family has been longtime supporters of the organization. In addition, Equest stalwart and philanthropist Robyn Conlon is serving as honorary chairman and will be recognized for her contributions to the community.

Elisa Summers (File photo)

Heather Washburne (File photo)

Robyn Conlon (File photo)

Jan Strimple (File photo)

The day’s activities will include a runway fashion show produced by the renowned Jan Strimple, featuring clothes from Highland Park Village retailers, seated luncheon and raffle.  We will reveal the participating fashion partners in early September.

Help us empower, enrich and educate through horses by visiting www.equest.org.

Now Is The Time To Rise And Shine

For longer than anyone can remember, there’s seemed to be a competition between two of Texas’ siblings. The Gulf Coast boasted having one of the largest cities in the nation, the world’s most ginormous oil companies and a shoreline. North Texas laid claim to having more Super Bowl rings, a TV series called “Dallas” and the birthplace of Neiman Marcus. Both have proved to be the comeback kids. Houston rebounded from oil busts, and Dallas recovered from a presidential assassination and the Ebola virus.

In recent time when it came to weather, North Texas trumped the competition with the 2011 Super Bowl ice storm.

But be honest! Thanks to Hurricane Harvey, the Gulf Coast has won the weather woes category. This epic situation has totally redefined the word “devastation.”

(Above video courtesy of WFAA-TV)

People who have prided themselves on paying their bills have suddenly found themselves without homes. Their children, who were to start school this week, are now without even uniforms, let alone classrooms. The elderly and disabled, who have depended on others, have found themselves alone through no fault of their caretakers. Family pets that were so dependent upon their human companions are being turned in or sadly lost.

This situation has provided North Texas with a time to rise and shine. Over the years, North Texas has been known for philanthropy and generosity thanks to its residents. But now it has the chance to open its arms and provide for the hundreds thousands of evacuees seeking help, comfort and hope. Some will call North Texas home only temporarily; others will become our neighbors.

This morning when you wake up in the comfort of your snugly bed, have a warm shower and enjoy that drive to Starbucks for coffee with a blue sky above, consider those who have had to take an ax to the roof of their house to survive, who haven’t been dry in days, who have no idea if they’ll have anything to return to, and who have children asking unanswerable questions.

Luckily, this is Texas and its resilience is legendary with good reason. Thanks to Harvey, it will once again prove true.

If you’re stepping up and making a donation in any form, please make sure that the money will be used for North Texas efforts by a reputable group. Unfortunately, during these situations, there are some who just might take advantage of the kindness of others.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2017 Awards For Excellence Luncheon

According to Dallas Historical Society Awards for Excellence Advisor/Coordinator Louise Caldwell,

Josef and Louise Caldwell*

The Trustees of the Dallas Historical Society are honored to celebrate the recipients of the 2017 Awards for Excellence (AFE), which is bestowed on individuals who have demonstrated generosity of spirit, civic leadership, and ability to encourage community-wide participation in a particular phase of the growth of the city.

Award recipients will be recognized at the 36th AFE luncheon which will be held on Thursday, November 9, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at The Fairmont Dallas.  

Former award recipients JoAnne and Tony Roosevelt will serve as 2017 honorary co-chairs with Carol Montgomery and Kaysie Montgomery serving as the 2017 event co-chairs. Stewart Thomas will return as this year’s master of ceremonies. 

Tickets for the 36th annual Awards for Excellence Luncheon begin at $125, with table sales/underwriting levels beginning at $1,000 and award sponsorships beginning at $2,500. For more information or to purchase a ticket or sponsorship, visit http://www.dallashistory.org/support/awards-for-excellence/ or contact Nora Lenhart, 214.421.4500 ext. 106 or [email protected]

The Dallas Historical Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Dallas and Texas history. Offering free education programming, lectures, historic city tours, museum exhibitions, and other special events, this organization strives to be the preeminent resource for exploring, and instilling appreciation for the diverse history of Dallas and Texas. We endeavor to encourage historical inquiry and maintain the importance and relevance of history today. Our collection of archival material- including historic photographs, diaries, journals, papers, periodicals, maps, and books- is available to researchers. Formed in 1922, the Dallas Historical Society is the oldest organization in Dallas County committed to preserving the history of the region, and presenting it to the public in innovative and informative ways.  For more information, visit dallashistory.org.

* Photo provided by Dallas Historical Society

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Center For BrainHealth

According to Center for BrainHealth Board Chair Debbie Francis and Vice Chair Joel Robuck,

Debbie Francis (File photo)

Joel and Linda Robuck (File photo)*

Our brains were not something that we thought much about until the last couple of decades. However, we now know that it is changeable and there are things that we can do to take charge of it. Here’s your chance to learn how.

We are extremely excited about the grand opening of the Brain Performance Institute on Thursday, October 19. The Center for BrainHealth will open its new, exquisitely designed, Brain Performance Institute building for a full-day public open house from 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. and a ticketed evening lecture featuring internationally recognized neurologist, scientist and humanitarian Dr. Geoffrey Ling.

The day will be an incredible opportunity to experience and understand the brain in new ways and learn about research-based trainings and assessments at the Brain Performance Institute. You will have a chance to meet the scientists and clinicians behind the research and innovations.

Everyone wants to make keep their brains strong throughout their lives. For that the institute offers and in-depth brain performance assessment as well as clinician-led high performance brain training programs. Specific brain training programs also have been tailored for warriors, corporate executives, athletes and others – looking for a cognitive edge.

Sandra Chapman (File photo)

The programs are unique and the media is taking notice. Our socialization lab for teens was recently featured on “The Today Show.” We were so pleased that the Dallas Morning News followed our mindfulness and high performance brain training program with the Dallas Police Department. Other programs provide support, strategies and information for people recently diagnosed Alzheimer’s and dementia as well as their caregivers.

The opening of the Brain Performance Institute represents a lifelong dream come true for Dr. Sandra Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth as well as the many board members who have worked tirelessly to make this day happen – none of which would have been possible without tremendous community support.

Pre-registration is not required for the free classes and trainings throughout the day. The breakfast and lunch lectures are free, but registration is required. The evening event will begin at 6:30 p.m., cost $40 per ticket and include hors d’oeuvres, drinks and inspiring remarks from renowned Johns Hopkins neurologist, Geoffrey Ling, MD, PhD. Dr. Ling is a retired US Army Colonel and former US Department of Defense agency director for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Dr. Ling championed the development of responsive, brain-controlled, artificial limbs.

For further details about the Brain Performance Institute’s public open house or registration, visit www.brainperformanceinstitute.com/go or contact Nina at 972.883.3417 or [email protected].

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Dallas CASA’s Champion Of Children Award Dinner

According to Dallas CASA’s Champion Of Children Award Dinner Co-Chair Priscilla Anthony,

Corey and Priscilla Anthony*

My husband Corey and I got involved with Dallas CASA when Corey joined the board of directors on behalf of AT&T in 2013. Once we learned about the organization, its mission and the tremendous benefit to children in our own community we were ready for more.

Corey went through 30 hours of training and became a volunteer court-appointed special advocate in 2015. I joined as a CASA volunteer advocate in 2017. Corey’s work on the board continues and he serves as vice president of community outreach.

Dallas CASA Champion of Children Award Dinner*

And now we’re honored to co-chair Dallas CASA’s Champion of Children Award Dinner Thursday, November 16, at The Fairmont Dallas.

Dallas CASA has truly become part of our daily lives and we hope you’ll join us for the dinner and feel the same connection to CASA that has enriched our lives. We are co-chairing the event with Laura and John Losinger. Laura also serves as a Dallas CASA board member and works for the Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence at Children’s Health.

John and Laura Losinger*

The event gives Dallas CASA a chance to honor and recognize the many tremendous people and organizations who dedicate their time and attention to the most vulnerable children in our community. This year’s Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award will be presented to the Junior League of Dallas (JLD) for their 95 years of dedication to making our community one that supports and nurtures our children. The award is named for the late Judge Sanders, a revered federal district court judge, past award recipient and a steadfast supporter of Dallas CASA.

Christie Carter (File photo)

Our honorary chair for the evening is Christie Carter, who’s been an active member and supporter of both the Junior League and Dallas CASA for many years.

Our guest speaker is Jackie Davis, a former foster child whose Dallas CASA volunteer made such an impact on his life that he pursued a degree in social work and is right back at Dallas CASA serving as a volunteer supervisor. Jackie’s CASA volunteer was there for him through the termination of his parents’ rights at the age of five, a failed adoption, numerous foster homes and a permanent adoption at age 13.

Dallas CASA has been on a pattern of growth for several years as the organization moves closer towards its goal of serving every child in need. In 2016 for the first time, Dallas CASA had more than 1,000 volunteer advocates serving children. But Dallas CASA remains a nonprofit with a personal touch. Our volunteers know our children. They know the attorneys and judges, caseworkers, foster families and therapists assigned to the cases. They work closely with the professional staff at Dallas CASA. And the personal touch is what children like Jackie remember.

“Through it all I had my CASA volunteer. Caseworkers changed, homes changed, attorneys changed, but she was my CASA volunteer and stayed. She was always happy, always glad to see me, always ready with her arms flung wide and her hands flipped just so for a hug that somehow embraced my body and soul. She brought light into my darkest places.”

The Dallas CASA family has become part of our family and we hope you’ll join us and get to know and love Dallas CASA and the children we serve as much as we have.

* Graphic/photo provided by Dallas CASA

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon

According to Celebrating Women Luncheon Chair Tucker Enthoven and Underwriting Chair Ola Fojtasek,

Ola Fojtasek and Tucker Enthoven (File photo)

Celebrating Women is the premier breast cancer luncheon in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Every year, it brings together more than 1,200 supporters to increase awareness and generate funding for breast cancer research, diagnosis and treatment. Together, we can find a cure for this disease that affects so many women and families in our community.

Over the past 17 years, Celebrating Women donors have raised more than $28 million for the fight against breast cancer. These donations provide the women and men who pass through our doors access to advanced diagnostic equipment, innovative clinical research, and most importantly, safe, quality, compassionate care.

In the past 17 years, gifts to Celebrating Women have had an impact in four areas:

CAPITAL AND TECHNOLOGY

  • Funded a new, technologically advanced, mobile mammography van with the ability to screen more than 5,500 women each year at their place of business, in small communities and school districts throughout the Metroplex.
  • Advanced digital technology for breast cancer screening, diagnosis and interventional procedures including digital mammography, Positron Emission Mammography and MRI breast biopsy.

MEDICAL EDUCATION

  • Funded a Celebrating Women Oncology Nurse Educator to develop ongoing education, training and certification for oncology nurses to meet the changing and specialized needs of cancer patients.
  • Created a Celebrating Women Education Fund. We are making investments today to secure the future health of our daughters and granddaughters by training medical leaders with the ability to treat, and maybe even cure, breast cancer.

PATIENT-CENTERED PROGRAMS

  • Expanded the genetics counseling program in order to empower patients with the information they need to better evaluate their treatment options, earlier than ever before. These advances will allow physicians and scientists to develop more targeted treatments and save more lives.
  • Funded a patient navigation program to assist breast cancer patients with their emotional and educational needs as well as with coordinating their care throughout their journey. Since 2008, this program has provided services to more than 4,000 breast cancer patients.
  • Increased access to breast cancer services through the Gift of Life Fund, raising nearly $1.5 million for services to women throughout the region who could not afford to pay.

RESEARCH

  • Funded innovative work to find a cure. Baylor is currently involved in several research studies to determine better ways to diagnose and treat breast cancer, including a gene sequencing trial that could result in more personalized therapies and treatment options for patients.
  • Created a Celebrating Women Chair in Breast Cancer Research. The chair holder developed a pilot study to test the efficacy of a vaccine on triple negative breast cancer, an aggressive form of the disease.

Make plans to join us on Thursday, October 26, at the Hilton Anatole Hotel with featured speaker Jamie Lee Curtis.  Visit the Celebrating Women website for tickets and sponsorship information.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Jubilee Park And Community Center’s 20th Anniversary

According to Jubilee Park and Community Center’s 20th Anniversary Gala Co-Chairs Lydia and Bill Addy,

Ben Leal and Lydia and Bill Addy*

Jubilee Park and Community Center, a national model for community revitalization and enrichment, will celebrate its 20th anniversary this fall! 

 

To commemorate this milestone, Jubilee will host its first-ever gala on Saturday, November 4, at the Omni Hotel in Downtown Dallas. The black-tie optional evening will include cocktails, a seated dinner, party games, dancing to live music by Dallas’ renowned Emerald City Band, and an oversized surprise unveiled by Jubilee’s Young Friends Host Committee members. 

Jubilee Park is in the short list of organizations nearest and dearest to us. It’s a great example of how partnership and hard work can turn a neighborhood around, and set the standard for other organizations.  We’re excited that our kids, our friends, our friends’ kids, and a whole bunch of great people are coming together to celebrate Jubilee’s 20th anniversary. Jubilee doesn’t usually do these sorts of events, and there won’t be a 21st anniversary gala, so we’re doing this one right.

We remember signing up with other members of St. Michael and All Angels to help build the first two houses in Jubilee Park. We had no idea at the time what the future held for the Jubilee neighborhood, but we couldn’t help noticing the incredible energy, cooperation, and sense of purpose amongst the people of the neighborhood and the volunteers. This can-do spirit on the part of so many people is the reason that Jubilee Park is now a place many are proud to call home. We are honored to be a part of the 20th Anniversary celebration. We are bringing together all of the generations of volunteers and neighbors who have made Jubilee what it is today and we’re just looking forward to a fantastic party!

Proceeds from the gala will help launch a new Specialized Student Support (S3) Program for children with special learning needs. The S3 program will combine teacher training, adaptive technology, specialized curriculum and parent empowerment to make high quality education accessible for more families. The gala will raise $1.3 million to fund the first eight years of the program, building a model for other organizations around the country.

The 20th Anniversary Gala will be held on Saturday, November 4, at 6 p.m. at the Omni Dallas Hotel, located at 555 S. Lamar in Downtown Dallas. Tickets are $250 each; sponsorships begin at $2,500. For more information, visit www.jubileecenter.org or contact Lindsay Abernethy at 469.718.5702 or [email protected].

Jubilee Park and Community Center is a catalyst for community renewal and enrichment to the Jubilee Park Neighborhood, a 62-block area in southeast Dallas. Founded in 1997, Jubilee Park and Community Center helps families and other members of the community identify and access resources that help to provide stability and enhance their quality of life through five pillars: education, affordable housing, public health, public safety and economic development.   For more information, visit www.jubileecenter.org.

* Photo provided by Jubilee Park and Community Center

Equest Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show And Luncheon List Of Highland Park Village Merchants Participating In The Annual Fundraiser Revealed

Equest Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show and Luncheon Chair Beth Thoele just revealed the list of Highland Park Village merchants for the Equest fundraiser “Reins of Hope” at Brook Hollow on Tuesday, October 3.

Lela Rose (File photo)

Hadleigh Shaikh (File photo)

Equest finale (File photo)

Six of ’em are returning with the latest fashions of the season — Carolina Herrera, Escada, Etro, Hadleigh’s, Lela Rose and Market. Joining the veteran retailers will be first-timer Veronica Beard.

The fashion show will be produced by Jan Strimple with Robyn Conlon serving as honorary chair.

2017 Salesmanship Club Charitable Golf Of Dallas Provided A Record $6.8M For Momentous Institute

Despite hurricane Harvey making this weekend seem pretty darn miserable, the Momentous Institute folks are all smiley facing it.

Salesmanship Club of Dallas, AT&T Byron Nelson and Momentous Institute*

Thanks to the Salesmanship Club Charitable Golf of Dallas tournament that was held this past May, the Institute received “a record $6.8 million in net proceeds.” That translates into Institute’s being able to support “social emotional health for all children, so they can achieve their full potential.”

According to 2017 Tournament Chair Tim Costello, “This year we set out to make the AT&T Byron Nelson’s final year in Irving our best yet, and to celebrate our long relationship with the Irving community and the Four Seasons. We are grateful to the countless people who came together to make sure we raised the most we could for the kids and families we serve through Momentous Institute.”

The 2018 Tournament will be held at Trinity Forest Golf Club and will again benefit Momentous Institute.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: One Childhood One Chance Luncheon

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

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

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

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

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

Sonia Manzano*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JUST IN: 2017 Awards Of Excellence Luncheon Honorees Announced

Office Depot is the currently frontline of activity as schools are kicking back into gear. Just as soon as school supplies empty the shelves, retailers will start displaying Halloween paraphernalia. Yes, fall is on its way and along with it, one of the season’s favorite celebration — Awards For Excellence Luncheon.

Louise Caldwell (File photo)

Event Co-Chairs Carol Montgomery and Kaysie Montgomery with the help of advisor/coordinator, history-loving Louise Caldwell and Honorary Co-Chairs Joanne and Tony Roosevelt, have just announced this year’s lineup of honorees for the Dallas Historical Society fundraiser on Thursday, November 9, at The Fairmont Dallas.

The 2017 recipients include:

  • Arts Leadership – Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller (This award is given to that individual(s) who has enriched the cultural life of Dallas as planner, organizer, fundraiser, collector or art historian.) 
  • Creative Arts – Carolyn Brown (This award is given to that individual whose prominence as a practitioner of the fine arts as artisan, architect, writer, composer, producer or performer has enriched the cultural environment of Dallas.)
  • Education – Hobson Wildenthal, Ph.D. (This award is given to that individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the field of education as a teacher, administrator or benefactor.)

Hobson Wildenthal (File photo)

Nicole Ginsburg Small (File photo)

  • History – Willis Cecil Winters (This award is given to that individual who has researched and chronicled aspects of the history of Dallas and Texas as a historian, journalist, researcher, folklorist or author.)
  • Humanities – Nicole Ginsburg Small (This award is given to that individual whose active sense of civic duty has provided leadership in achieving specific community goals.)
  • Health/Science – Steven M. Pounders, MD (This award is given to that individual who has made an outstanding contribution through prominence or public service in medicine, scientific research, the behavioral sciences or public health.)
  • Philanthropy – Jorge Baldor (This award is given to that individual whose vision and personal generosity has greatly benefited this city.)
  • Sports Leadership – Tony Dorsett (This award is given to that individual who has brought distinction or achievement to team or individual sports as an athlete, coach, journalist, promoter or sports advocate.)

David Brown (File photo)

Tony Dorsett (File photo)

  • Volunteer Community Leadership – Peggy Carr (This award is given to that individual whose generous gift of self has enriched the community.)
  • Jubilee History Maker – David O. Brown, Former Dallas Police Chief (Created in 1991 and given in recognition of “Jubilee Dallas!,” this award recognizes an individual whose achievements extend to more than one of the award categories.)

Starting at $125, tickets for the 36th Annual Awards for Excellence Luncheon are $125, while table sales/underwriting levels begin at $1000. Check with Nora Lenhart, 214.421.4500 ext. 106.

And don’t scoot out of the luncheon early, or you’ll miss the annual A.C. Greene toast.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Cattle Baron’s Ball

According to 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill,

Anne Stodghill and Sunie Solomon (File photo)

The Cattle Baron’s Ball relies on the spirit and generosity of the Metroplex to fund the fight against cancer. Since 1974, we’ve raised more than $71 million for cancer research, the majority of which is conducted right here in DFW. True to Texas’ history of rising to the challenge, we’ve become the world’s largest single-night fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

While some might be hand-wringing at the prospect of continuing a legacy of ensuring more cancer research dollars are spent in Dallas than anywhere else in the country, they probably aren’t familiar with the members of the Cattle Baron’s Ball. Fortunately, the Cattle Baron’s Ball Committee is not comprised of the faint-of-heart – as evidenced by the fact that the CBB is the largest single-night fundraiser in the nation for cancer research through the American Cancer Society.

Join the fight and help us continue to make a difference! Cattle Baron’s Ball continues to support the American Cancer Society in the following incredible ways:

  • Provided more than 30,000 services to cancer patients in North Texas
  • Gave 7,414 rides to and from treatment
  • More than 1,500 free wigs were provided free of charge to cancer patients
  • More than 1,000 breast cancer patients were visited by our Reach to Recovery volunteers
  • Helped to enact strong state and local smoke-free laws that protect workers and the public from the dangers of secondhand smoke
  • Connected patients with more than 64,000 different treatment options, through our Clinical Trials Matching Service
  • Found the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer

Brooks and Dunn*

Dust off your boots and join us at Gilley’s on Saturday, October 21, for some serious Texas barbecue, the best silent and live auctions in town, followed by a heart-stopping performance from award-winning country and western entertainers Brooks and Dunn.

Everyone knows someone affected by cancer. From attending the ball to purchasing a raffle ticket, get involved with Cattle Baron’s Ball however you can and help us continue making a difference. 

Visit www.cattlebaronsball.com.

* Photo provided by 
2017 Cattle Baron's 
Ball

Anna And Raj Asava Kick Off The Newly Established North Texas Food Bank Indo-American Council With A $100,000 Donation

The North Texas community is a tapestry of amazing people representing a cornucopia of cultures. The main common denominator is that they all share the desire to make the lives of their neighbors and strangers better.

Anna Asava, Trisha Cunningham and Raj Asava*

How about an example? Aradhana “Anna” and Raj Asava. They are part of North Texas’ Indo-American community which “has grown exponentially over the years, with nearly 200,000 people in our region.” The Asavas recognized a great opportunity to have their fellow Indo-Americans partner up with the North Texas Food Bank.

According to Raj, “Anna and I are passionate about the work of the North Texas Food Bank and we wanted to raise awareness around the issue of hunger that exists right here in North Texas.

In addition to creating the North Texas Food Bank’s Indo-American Council (NTFB-IAC), they put their money where their hearts are by pledging a $100,000 donation to the NTFB “in conjunction with the launch of NTFB’s Indo-American Council, which the couple will co-chair.”  

With “prominent members of the community” already signing on board to support the initiative, “the NTFB-IAC has set its sights to fund one million meals per year.”

Anna added, “We are excited to launch the NTFB-IAC to raise hunger awareness, community involvement, as well as channel the resources and contributions of the Indo-American community towards the mission of NTFB.”

Commenting about the Asavas’ mission, NTFB President/CEO Trisha Cunningham said, “The Asavas are determined leaders. Having just one of them help would be transformational. I count us doubly lucky to have them both by our side. Anna and Raj, have a clear vision for the Indo-American Council and with their donation, they have already put 300,000 meals on the table for our hungry neighbors. I am certain that their share enthusiasm and drive will be a draw for their peers, helping raise awareness for the critical issue of hunger and ultimately will help the NTFB reach our goal of providing 92 million meals by 2025.”

Operation Kindness Pet Food Pantry And Royal Vaccination Fund To Assist Pets Of Financially Strapped Families

This past Saturday area animal shelters were busier than a bee at the Arboretum. The occasion was “Clear The Shelters,” that literally adopted out a lot of the pooches and felines. The Dallas Animal Shelter alone found new homes for 324 dogs and cats.

Of the thousands of animals at area shelters, some are strays, but many are family pets that have been turned in due to lack of funds. According to Operation Kindness CEO Jim Hanophy, “Economic reasons account for 25% of the pets surrendered per year.”

That’s right. Many man’s best friends and felines had to be turned in because the money just wasn’t there for food and health care.

Adopted cat (File photo)

In the past the North Texas Food Bank’s Food 4 Paws and the North Texas Food Pantry have helped provide food for pets whose human companions are strapped for funds.

Recently, the North Texas Pet Food Pantry has relinquished its program to Operation Kindness. The new program will be called Operation Kindness Pet Food Pantry.

North Texas Food Pantry President/Founder Cheryl Spencer reported, “I’m so honored that the hard work and effort that went into the North Texas Pet Food Pantry will be sustained by Operation Kindness. This pet food pantry is such a vital part of the community and I’m grateful that it will be continued on.”

In addition to providing free pet food, cat litter and flea and tick prevention for up to three months, Operation Kindness is “launching the Royal Vaccination Fund to help provide low-income families with access to rabies, parvo and distemper vaccinations. This program is inspired by an Operation Kindness foster family who experienced the devastation of distemper, when their foster dog Princess lost six puppies to distemper.”

Survivor of distemper (File photo)

To get things rolling Artist for Animals has “matched the first donation of $2,500.”

Anyone who has seen a dog suffer from this incredible painful and contagious disease knows that this undertaking is an excellent idea.

Of course, Operation Kindness is eager to have donations of money and dog and cat food from individuals and companies. But the Carrollton-based, no-kill adoption center is also looking for volunteers “to assist with donations and supply pick up and pet food distribution.”

Any pet owner in need of the services provided by Operation Kindness Pet Food Pantry or the Royal Vaccination Fund can apply online. Once they qualify for the programs, they can pick up for the food at Operation Kindness on the third Saturday and Second Wednesday of every month between noon and 3 p.m.  Eventually, the plan calls for distribution locations throughout the community.

Jim’s vision is “a world where all cats and dogs have loving, responsible, forever homes and this pantry is going to help keep pets out of shelters and in their homes.”

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Hope For Humanity Dinner

Sarah Losinger (File photo)

According to Hope for Humanity Dinner Co-Chair Sarah Losinger,

Each year, the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance honors local Dallas/Fort Worth Holocaust survivors and pays tribute to an Upstander whose actions personify the Museum’s mission to teach the history of the Holocaust and to advance human rights to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference. Net proceeds from this inspirational evening directly support the important work the Museum does throughout the year.

Both at home and across the world, our community has witnessed many acts of violence where hatred and prejudice prevailed. The Museum’s commitment to fighting hatred has never been more important than it is today.

Lauren Embrey (File photo)

Education is at the heart of the Museum’s mission. In 2016, the Museum shared the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides along with the costs of hatred and fear of the differences between us with more than 83,500 visitors, almost half of whom were students. The Museum inspires students to become “Upstanders.” Upstanders speak out and stand up against acts of prejudice, hatred, and indifference.

On Tuesday, October 24, at the Fairmont Dallas, the Museum will honor Lauren Embry for her tireless and inspirational work in human rights. As one of the nation’s most influential philanthropists and advocates for gender and racial equity, Lauren reveals her heart by generously sharing her time, talent, and spirit with the city she has called home her entire life, Dallas. Lauren believes that every day provides a new opportunity to be the meaningful change we desire to see in the world.

2017 Hope For Humanity*

The dinner’s honorary co-chairs include Rebecca Bruder, Kelly Hoglund Compton, Rebecca Fletcher, Carol and Don Glendenning, Dr. Rick Halperin, Helen LaKelly Hunt and Harville Hendrix, Lynn and Allan McBee, Karol Omlor, Frank Risch, Barbara Glazer Rosenblatt and Joanne and Charles Teichman.

Please join my Co-Chair Trea C. Yip and me for a memorable and inspiring evening of hope.

* Graphic provided by Hope 
For Humanity Dinner


Patriot Party Co-Chairs Laura And Dennis Moon And Honorary Co-Chairs Connie And Denny Carreker Are Taking Fundraiser To The Bush Institute

There are so many worthy causes, both local and national, trying to help veterans. While some focus on the mental and physical needs of those who have served in the U.S. military, the Housing Crisis Center has been working with the issue of homelessness among veterans through its Programs Serving Primarily Veterans. According to HCC Executive Director Sherri Ansley, “Texas has the fourth highest number of homeless veterans.”

Dennis and Laura Moon (File photo)

Denny and Connie Carreker (File photo)

To take advantage of November’s Veterans’ Day activities, HCC is holding its 2017 Patriot Party — Colors of Courage — on Friday, November 3. Event Co-Chairs Laura and Dennis Moon have arranged to have Connie and Denny Carreker as their honorary co-chairs.

Housing Crisis Center 2017 Patriot Party*

They’ve also moved the dancing, dining and fundraising to the George W. Bush Institute.

After you get your tickets and/or sponsorship package, go shopping for something reddish, white-ish or blue. This event is just made for patriotic colors from diamonds to neckties.

* Graphic provided by Housing Crisis Center

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

Paige Flink

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

Major donors for Ann Moody Place

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

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

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

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

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

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

Children’s pantry shelves

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

Food pantry shelves

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

Dental facility

Examination room

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

Ann Moody Place signage

Ann Moody Place bed

Bedroom suite bathroom

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

Paige Flink Healing Garden in center courtyard

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

Bird Flying free of a cage sculpture

Judy Walgren’s photos

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

Lockers

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

Melissa Sherrill in Barkingham Palace

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

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

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

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

The Inspiration Of A Girl’s Grandparents Lives At The Cotton Bowl To Support The Battle Against Alzheimer’s

It was nearly 20 years ago that a teenager faced a daunting problem — her beloved grandmother, Mimi Schendle, was changing and not for the better. Over the next decade, the teenager watched her family helplessly assist Mimi’s journey into the web of Alzheimer’s. Like most diseases, this one doesn’t just impact the patient alone. It hits each member of the family. In this case, the girl’s grandfather, JosephJoe-Joe” Schendle, compassionately and tirelessly cared for his wife, as their children and grandchildren supported the elderly couple.

When Mimi died in 2008, the now 20-something decided she was going to find a way to provide funding for research to battle the disease that had touched all ages of her family. Being in the marketing business, she decided to undertake a project that would involve others her age. But to do that it had to be something that was fun while also fundraising. She had heard about a powder-puff football game that had raised some money in Washington, D.C., for Alzheimer’s. That seemed like a good idea, but fundraising vets were skeptical of her plan.

Perhaps it was the fact that she hadn’t faced such a major task like that before that she charged ahead with only the goal in her mind. The reality of the logistics hadn’t really set in that first year. Her 14-year-old sister ran the scoreboard and her close buddy Greer Fulton was quarterback for one side. And, of course, the soaring August heat made more than mascara melt. But she was driven by the memory of the previous ten years, and she had friends. Those two ingredients resulted in the first Blondes vs. Brunettes football game in 2008.

Blondes enter the field (File photo)

Brunettes enter the field (File photo)

Over the next ten years, there were changes. The name was changed to BvB Dallas. The location of the game moved all over (Griggs Field, Highland Park High School’s Highlander Stadium, SMU’s Wescott Field, Bishop Lynch’s Roffino Stadium) and finally in 2014 to its present scene at the Cotton Bowl. Some years the Blondes won. Some years the Brunettes did. Through personal experiences, it was also learned that Alzheimer’s was not limited to the elderly.

Ebby Halliday and Dan Branch (File photo)

As some players aged out, others came on board to practice all summer. And the nets changed, too, resulting in the following:

  • 2008 — $65,000
  • 2009 — $151,000
  • 2010 — $207,000
  • 2011 — $260,000
  • 2012 — $340,000
  • 2013 — $351,000
  • 2014 — $441,000
  • 2015 — $491,000
  • 2016 — $564,000

But there were also constants, like the late Ebby Halliday and her real estate empire, Bud Light and The Ticket coming and staying on board. 

And there was the girl, who was now a 33-year-old married lady, who had a full-time job at the Dallas Mavericks as Corporate Communications and Events Director. But she hadn’t ended her involvement in the event that had handed over more than $2.8M for Alzheimer’s programs.

Greer Fulton, Jay Finegold and Erin Finegold (File photo)

On Saturday, August 12, plans call for the game to pass the $3M mark and provide this year’s funds to the Baylor AT&T Memory Center, the Center for BrainHealth, UT Southwestern Medical Center, and the Center for Vital Longevity. And once again, BvB Dallas Founder/Mimi’s and Joe-Joe’s granddaughter Erin Finegold White will be on the sidelines at the Cotton Bowl and on the frontline in the war against Alzheimer’s.

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

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

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

WFAA’s melted crayons masterpiece*

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

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

Cynthia Izaguirre (File photo)

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

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

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

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

* Photo courtesy of WFAA