MySweet2018Goals: Sandi Chapman

Sandra Chapman (File photo)

According to Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas Founder/Chief Director/Dee Wyly Distinguished University Professor Sandi Chapman,

“My goal is in your head. Yes, you! Your brain. Your BrainHealth. In 2018 I want to dramatically transform the way healthy individuals of all ages think and act to keep their brain more fit. 

“We all have a stigma about our brain and fear loss of its dependability. Why wouldn’t we all strive for a healthier, more resilient brain as a major New Years’ Resolution? Because until now, people didn’t realize they could do something to improve brain performance – to physically change their brain’s ‘software’ and make it run more efficiently with greater energy.

“To tackle the grandest challenge of our time, we will launch the 3rd BrainHealth Initiative, teaming up with 25+ brain health experts from around the world. The lead goal is to translate new discoveries into actionable steps to fortify brain performance and inoculate against decline. You can, regardless of age can increase brain performance over time.

“In 2018, I’m setting out to show you, the best brain years are ahead of you! We just opened the Brain Performance Institute as part of UT Dallas’ Center for BrainHealth. That means evidenced-based brain health offerings- classes, trainings, assessments, apps, lectures, online cognitive trainings, monitoring of brain performance. My 2018 is about encouraging you to care for your brain like you do for your body.

“My vision is to energize Dallas as the epicenter for Innovative Thinkers and to attract major brain health enterprises and technologies to this region. Looking into the near future -Dallas will become the go-to place to harness our fullest brain potential.

“If you’re like me, you need an actionable step one to dive into the New Year. Here’s an idea. Starting in February we will have a lecture series every Tuesday night – ‘The Brain: An Owner’s Guide’* covering topics ranging from Sleep, to Happiness, Alzheimer’s and Technology and our Brain in our modern world.

“My goal for 2018 is to you see your face in the audience. The more we learn, the more we share, the better we can be at any age!”

* Visit to get your tickets or learn about other 

MySweet2018Goals: Kimberly Martinez

According to The Elisa Project Executive Director Kimberly Martinez,

Kim Bannister and Kimberly Martinez (File photo)

“One of my goals for 2018 is for the community to join me, alongside 13th Annual Life Lessons Luncheon Chair Kim Bannister and Honorary Co-Chairs Sandra Estess and Elizabeth Estess Hughes, for the 13th Annual Life Lessons Luncheon benefiting The Elisa Project.

“This year’s luncheon, which will be held on Wednesday, February 28, at Brook Hollow Golf Club, is not to be missed as we will welcome Golden Globe-nominated actress Chrissy Metz, star of the critically acclaimed hit NBC series ‘This is Us,’ as our featured speaker. The day will include a reception, seated luncheon and a conversation with Metz, moderated by Southern Living Editor-At-Large/author/lifestyle expert Kimberly Schlegel Whitman.  

Chrissy Metz (File photo)

“The Elisa Project is dedicated to the development of healthy children and adolescents by raising awareness of body image and self-esteem issues and the prevention of life-threatening eating disorders. We know Chrissy will truly captivate attendees as she shares her own inspirational stories of courage and self-acceptance. 

“Chrissy Metz stars on the critically acclaimed hit NBC series ‘This Is Us’ which has been renewed for two additional seasons and just received three nominations for the 2018 Golden Globe Awards, including Best Support Actress for Metz. Chrissy plays Kate, a woman struggling with her weight, eating habits, and body image. ET named her as one of six ‘breakout stars you will fall in love with this fall.’ People magazine named her to the ‘One’s to Watch.’ We could not be more thrilled to have her in Dallas!

“We expect a sold-out event, so please don’t wait! Only a limited amount of tickets will be available closer to the event. Tables begin at $2,000 and are on sale now; individual tickets will go on sale in early February if space permits. For more information, visit”

MySweet2018Goals: Whitney Strauss

Whitney Strauss (File photo)

According to new AdvoCare Foundation Executive Director Whitney Strauss, MySweet2018Goals are

  1. “Make hundreds, thousands…millions more children healthier by combatting the causes of childhood obesity in Dallas but throughout the US.
  2. “Make my own household healthier by paying attention to food labels, exercising regularly, cooking at home and cutting out sugar
  3. “Take up a dance class because no better way to stay fit then doing something you love
  4. “Travel, read and pursuit a passion
  5. “Hug my boys and read up on how to handle a teenager – because I will have one in my house this year!”

MySweet2018Goals: Lynn McBee

Lynn McBee (File photo)

According to The Dallas Opera Board of Directors Chair-Elect Lynn McBee,

“Get on top of the clutter and piles that are everywhere!”

MySweet2018Goals: Donna Arp Weitzman And Herb Weitzman

Donna Arp Weitzman and Herb Weitzman (File photo)

According to Donna Arp Weitzman and Herb Weitzman,

“Herb and I have competing goals: 

“First, he wants to gain weight (how disgusting). I have wanted to lose 7 pounds for now 31 years.   

“Our second goal is to promote more awareness and raise more money for our charitable organizations. We are national fundraising chairs for the MD Anderson Neurodegeneration Initiative. It is a coordinated effort between MD Anderson, MIT and Baylor. They are partnering to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.”

MySweet2018Goals Series Kicks Off Tomorrow

Donna Arp Weitzman and Herb Weitzman (File photo)

Brent Christopher (File photo)

To kick off a brand new year of 365 days, the annual MySweet2018Goals series kicks off this week thanks to Donna Arp Weitzman and Herb Weitzman and Brent Christopher. Some goals will be funny; some will probably be impossible to achieve; some will be great food for thought. They keep coming in.

But what if during this year  

  • a cure for just one form of cancer was found
  • first responders actually had a stay-at-home day because there were no incidents requiring them
  • a local won a Pulitzer Prize
  • having an animal was a privilege
  • a diabetic never had to test their blood sugar again
  • we aimed for the stars instead of selfies
  • all museums had one free-admission day
  • no parent had to have “a meeting” about their child
  • hunger was replaced with fulfillment
  • being color blind was more than a state of eyesight
  • a vaccine was created for Alzheimer’s and other diseases
  • nonprofits were overwhelmed with volunteers
  • a child was born who could heal the discord of the ages

Sure, those are pretty hefty goals, but little goals eventually lead to bigger ones.

MySweetWishList: 2018 Crystal Charity Ball

According to 2018 Crystal Charity Ball Chair Claire Emanuelson,

Claire Emanuelson (File photo)

“There is a saying that ‘no one stands as tall as he who stoops to help a child.’ That summarizes my wish for the holiday season and the new year. The Crystal Charity Ball committee’s sole purpose is to serve the children of Dallas. 

“Since 1952, the Crystal Charity Ball has benefited 167 children’s charities in Dallas County with more than $145 million distributed. Beneficiaries have ranged from Children’s Medical Center to The Salvation Army. The common thread is that children are the future and they need everyone’s help. Every child deserves an education, healthcare, safety and positive reinforcement.

“In February, the Crystal Charity Ball Committee, after weeks of extensive research and vetting, will identify several children’s charities as the 2018 Beneficiaries. Charity Selection Committee members, along the accounting firm Deloitte, have carefully studied dozens of requests and proposals that will be presented to the entire Crystal Charity Ball membership. The campaign to fund these worthy recipients will begin in March.

“Please help us secure the future of the children of Dallas by visiting”

-By Claire Emanuelson, 2018 Crystal Charity Ball chair

MySweetWishList: Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon And Style Show

According to Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon And Style Show Chair Heather Randall,

Equest has enhanced the lives of children and adults using horses to bring hope and healing through equine assisted therapies for thirty six years. In early 2018, we will reveal details of the annual Equest Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show and Luncheon which will raise much-needed funds for Equest’s unique therapy programs.

Heather Randall (File photo)

Louise Griffeth (File photo)

“Today, Equest is the leader in equine assisted therapy and serves hundreds of riders annually. These riders include those with cerebral palsy and autism as well as orthopedic ailments. Additionally, Equest serves our country’s brave veterans through our Horses for Heroes program.

“When Equest Women’s Auxiliary founder Louise Griffeth started the organization 30 years ago, Equest was known as Freedom Ride and many people were unfamiliar with the cause and how to become supporters. A lot has changed in the past three decades as Equest has received national recognition for its work and the Women’s Auxiliary is a thriving organization comprised of hundreds of dedicated women who work tirelessly to provide invaluable funding.

“My wish is that you visit Equest Women’s Auxiliary to learn how you can become of a part of this amazing organization. You don’t have to wait for the Fashion Show to become involve! We hope you will join us for this worthy and life changing cause.”

-By Heather Randall, Equest Women’s Auxiliary Luncheon And Style Show chair

MySweetWishList: Hope Lodge Dallas

According to Hope Lodge Capital Campaign Co-Chairs Jennifer and Richard Dix,

Richard and Jennifer Dix (File photo)

“When we were asked to chair the Hope Lodge Capital Campaign, the only question we had was ‘Why hasn’t this already been built?’  Did you know that Dallas is ranked #7 in the nation for cancer care?  What a point of pride for our city and an amazing resource, not only for the residents of DFW, but for the thousands of people who travel annually to Dallas for cancer care.  

“Hope Lodge is the missing component for these patients and their families. It is the ultimate resource-providing patients and caregivers a free place to stay during treatment.  Financial burdens are reduced and patients and caregivers can focus on their priority-getting well.

“We fervently believe Dallas needs this vital asset. Our wish is that everyone who has the capacity to support this important campaign will dig deep and give! 

“Hope Lodge will be constructed on a parcel of land southeast of Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at the intersection of Elm and Hall.   The use of the land, valued at approximately $4 million, was donated by Baylor Scott And White Health.

“Hope Lodge Dallas will include 50 suites for guests and caregivers, an outdoor garden, common kitchens, dining room, common living area, meditation room, laundry facilities, library with computer access, meeting space and access to transportation to all cancer treatments center in the Dallas area.

“As we became actively engaged in studying Hope Lodges across the nation, one fact we loved emerged:  those served by Hope Lodge always give back, either financially or through volunteer service.  This is a powerful testament to the dramatic impact that the Hope Lodge Dallas will have providing compassion and care for those who enter its doors. 

“Please join us in worthy mission by visiting”

-By Jennifer and Richard Dix, Hope Lodge Capital Campaign co-chairs

MySweetWishList: University Of North Texas Fashion Design Program

According to University of North Texas alumnus/fashion designer Michael Faircloth,

Lisa Troutt and Michael Faircloth (File photo)

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

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

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

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

-By Michael Faircloth, University of North Texas alumnus/fashion designer

MySweetWishList: 2018 Dream Gala

According to Greater Dallas JDRF Executive Director Amy Camp,

Amy Camp*

“The Greater Dallas Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation recently announced its annual Dream Gala, which raises funds for research to find a cure for type 1 diabetes, will be held Saturday, April 28, at the Omni Dallas Hotel. The JDRF Dream Gala is a night of celebration and inspiration for all those living with and affected by type 1 diabetes. The theme of the 2018 Dream Gala is ‘Oh, What a Night!’ and it will honor 7-Eleven CEO Joe DePinto. The evening will feature silent and live auctions, seated dinner, inspiring program, Fund A Cure appeal, and live entertainment by the Midtown Men. Event chairs include: Joe DePinto, Dave Strauss, Harold Gernsbacher and Scott Paul.

“Founded in 1970, JDRF is the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. JDRF’s goal is to progressively remove the impact of T1D from people’s lives until we achieve a world without T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners and is the only organization with the scientific resources, policy influence, and a working plan to bring life-changing therapies from the lab to the community. As the largest charitable supporter of T1D research, JDRF has invested nearly $2B in research over the past 45 years, and is sponsoring scientific research in 17 countries worldwide. The Dream Gala itself helps raise a large portion of funds to support the ongoing research.

“We hope you will make plans to join us for the 2018 Dream Gala. For more information, as well as underwriting opportunities, please visit: contact the Melissa Pinkerton at [email protected] or 214.764.6770.”

-By Amy Camp, Greater Dallas JDRF Executive Director

* Photo provided by Greater Dallas JDRF

MySweetWishList: Boys And Girls Clubs Of Greater Dallas

Joyce Williams*

According to Boys And Girls Clubs Of Greater Dallas Board Chair Joyce Williams,

“I do not have many wishes this holiday season. However, as the new chair of the board of directors at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas (BGCD), I can only wish for more opportunities and more resources for the thousands of youth served by BGCD.

“Boys And Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas is more than a place for kids to come to shoot hoops in the gym. Because of BGCD, kids have a safe place to go after school and are no longer susceptible to the risk of walking alone through neighborhoods in the evening to an empty home because mom has to work late. BGCD provides transportation from school to the Club, where kids are greeted by a caring youth development professional, a hot meal for dinner, and help with homework. Furthermore, Club members are able to participate in impactful programming meant to meet the needs of every child and teen.

Teens excited to receive laptops at annual graduation celebration*

Club member at one of the holiday parties at the Club*

Club Member at BGCD’s annual math competition*

Club member at a holiday party at the Club*

“At Boys And Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas our mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. My wish is that more people join us on this mission. Why? Because without the help of the community, how can my other wishes come true? For instance, my wish to witness more youth in low-income neighborhoods graduate high school with a plan for their future. Or my wish for youth to break generational curses and be the first in their family to go to college. Or my wish for more kids to have a safe and productive place to go after school.

“Most importantly, my wish is that tomorrow’s visionaries do not fall short of their potential because we did not invest in them today. Invest in great futures today by donating online at or contact our VP of Advancement, Laura Brown at 214.821.2950 ext. 732.”

-By Joyce Williams, Boys And Girls Clubs Of Greater Dallas board chair

* Photo provided by Boys And Girls Clubs Of Greater Dallas

MySweetWishList: 2018 Cattle Baron’s Ball

According to 2018 Cattle Baron’s Co-Chairs Katy Bock and Jonika Nix,

Jonika Nix and Katy Bock“Cattle Baron’s has raised more than $75 million for cancer research projects in North Texas since its inception 45 years ago.  We plan to reveal our plans for continuing this important battle in early February and our wish is that the community will join us in our goal to eradicate cancer by becoming underwriters of this 2018 Cattle Baron’s Ball. 

“The first Cattle Baron’s Ball was as a full-fledged Texas barbecue under the chairmanship of Patti Hunt and Jacque Wynne.  The event was a sellout with more than 500 guests attending the western theme party at Toddie Lee Wynne’s Star Brand Ranch.  Through ticket sales and an auction, the Park Cities Branch of the American Cancer Society raised $56,000.

“Decades later, more than 100,000 guests have been entertained at the annual event which has become the world’s largest single event fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. The Cattle Baron’s Ball Committee and the American Cancer Society have expanded the ball’s purpose to include a myriad of services that provide services for cancer patients and their families.

“We hope you will join us by becoming an underwriter of the 2018 Cattle Baron’s Ball. Visit”

-By Katy Bock and Jonika Nix, 2018 Cattle Baron’s Ball co-chairs

MySweetWishList: After-School All-Stars

According to After-School All-Stars Advocate Gina Betts,

Gina Betts (File photo)

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

“As our name recognition grows in North Texas, we are eager to demonstrate the need for the programming that After School All Stars provides.  My wish is that more corporations and individuals will become advocates and donors to ASAS in 2018.

“Our students do not have to pay to be members of ASAS nor are they charged annually dues to fees to receive programming and services.  Our programs only take place at Title I schools where more than 50 percent of students qualify for federal Free and Reduced Lunch program, a proxy for poverty.

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

-By Gina Betts, After-School All-Stars advocate

MySweetWishList: Girl Scouts Of Northeast Texas

Gail Chandler*

According to Girl Scouts Of Northeast Texas Committee For Community Engagement Co-Chair Gail Chandler,

  1. “Every girl deserves the chance to be successful.
  2. “Everyone benefits when we help girls take an active part in charting their futures.
  3. “The future of our communities and society depends on our ability to break down gender barriers that inhibit girls’ success.

“These are the three reasons I volunteer for Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas.  As a mother and grandmother, I can wish for and support the success of my daughters and granddaughter. As a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas though, I can extend that support to others in our community who deserve success no matter their background, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity or ability.

“Today, there are many opportunities for girls and women to contribute to a better future through the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.  However, women remain vastly underrepresented in these fields.  Girl Scouts is reducing the gender gap in STEM fields by bringing millions of girls into the STEM pipeline over the next eight years. In November, Girl Scouts of the USA announced a bold pledge to get 2.5 million girls into the STEM pipeline by 2025. Locally, Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas is leading the charge through a $14M capital campaign to build a STEM Center of Excellence in southwest Dallas.

“STEM professions are the fastest growing careers in our country – with women in STEM earning 33% more than women in other careers.  Over the next decade, the U.S. will need 1 million more STEM professionals than we are projected to produce. Where will our future chemists, botanists, electrical engineers, programmers and coders come from?  With your support, they will come from Girl Scouts.

“Girl Scouts are almost twice as likely as non-Girl Scouts to participate in STEM activities (60 percent versus 35 percent), and 77 percent of girls say that because of Girl Scouts, they are considering a career in technology.

Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas*

“Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas’ STEM Center of Excellence is serving as a model for the development of regional STEM Centers across the country.  The STEM Center will afford girls the opportunity to explore these careers, connect with mentors and break down perceptions about the industry.  Programs will run year-round and the facility is expected to serve 4,000 girls in our area.

“We need your help to help girls develop their curiosity, problem-solving and leadership skills. From an all-girls astronomy club to summer camps that teach girls to build and fly drones, to field trips which get girls into nature to explore earth sciences to high school programs where girls are discovering and developing antibiotics, there is truly an opportunity for every girl to discover, explore, build, create and dream.

“My holiday wish is for more STEM opportunities and success for North Texas girls.  You can create those opportunities by giving to the Gears4Girls campaign.  Your gift will be commemorated on an acrylic gear on display on our supporters’ wall at the STEM Center. Gears make the perfect holiday gift to commemorate that special leader, mentor, role model, colleague or family member. 

Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas*

“By ‘getting in gear’ this holiday season, we help Girl Scouts help girls break down barriers , find countless opportunities to discover themselves, connect with the world around them, take action in their communities and empower themselves for life. 

“Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas serves more than 26,000 girls in our community, helping them learn computer coding, get hands-on experiences in the STEM industry, connect with female career mentors, explore nature at our STEM Center of Excellence, build confidence through leadership programs, challenge their fears through outdoor adventures and much more.

Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas*

“Please help girls throughout our community try STEM and discover skills and interests that will lead to their success and ours. You can learn more and connect as a volunteer or donor at ”

-By Gail Chandler, Girl Scouts Of Northeast Texas Committee For Community Engagement co-chair

* Photos provided by Girl Scouts Of Northeast Texas

MySweetWishList: Go Red For Women Luncheon

According to 2018 Go Red For Women Luncheon Co-Chair Lisa Cooley,

Lisa Cooley (File photo)

“Go Red for Women is the American Heart Association’s movement to celebrate the energy, passion and power of women to stand together to wipe out the #1 killer of women and men. The Go Red for Women Luncheon is the cornerstone event of the Go Red for Women movement.

“This empowering event focuses on preventing heart disease and stroke by promoting healthy lifestyles and raising awareness through the support of the Dallas community to fund education and research of heart related science in women.

“My wish along with my Co-Chair Janelle Walker is to get more women and men involved in the event on Friday, February 23, at the Omni Dallas. Supporting the Go Red for Women Luncheon allows corporations and individuals to come together to raise awareness and fund research, especially in women.

“The luncheon is an opportunity to share this educational message with women’s leadership groups, executives, neighbors or friends and anyone who can impact the life of a woman by lending a voice for heart health.

“For every $1 raised, 90 cents directly funds research and education for heart health.  I believe that is money well spent.”

-By Lisa Cooley, Go Red For Women Luncheon co-chair

MySweetWishList Series Triples Up Next Week


MySweetCharity has been totally swamped with “Wishes,” so once again an apology is owed to you. We’re going to extend the series to next week and triple up with wishes from various people and organizations that are in need.

What’s that? Christmas falls on Monday? Yes, it does. But it’s never too late to grant a wish, especially since the donation could be made before the end of the year and included in 2017 tax reports.

If you have spent every last cent on gifts, at least consider keeping these good people and programs in your thoughts.

And if you find yourself in need of assistance, you just might a wishful group that might help you.

MySweetWishList: Art Ball 2018

According to Art Ball 2018 Chairman Rebecca Enloe Fletcher,

Rebecca Enloe Fletcher*

“We recently announced Art Ball 2018, themed ‘Horizon – Now. New. Next,’ will be held Saturday, April 21, at the Dallas Museum of Art. Proceeds from the 53rd  annual Art Ball will directly affect the DMA’s ongoing commitment to providing free access to its world-renowned collection, as well as various exhibitions and educational programs throughout the year.

“’Art Ball 2018: Horizon – Now. New. Next’ will be a fresh, inventive take on this celebrated evening full of contemporary color and artistic surprises. We will recognize a new chapter in the Museum’s history, both celebrating our current accomplishments as well as looking toward the future.

“We hope you will consider joining us for an unforgettable evening of dinner and dancing that will provide vital support to our museum. With assistance from Todd Fiscus of Todd Events, the event will feature modern, contemporary décor with a sculptural feel. Cascading color from the ceiling will mimic the vibrant horizon and will be reflected throughout in the mirrored décor. Guests will be welcomed into an elegant, seated dinner catered by Cassandra Fine Catering, and an after party for Art Ball Patrons will follow the dinner and live auction.

“Proceeds from The Art Ball directly benefit the DMA’s programs, special exhibitions and collections. The DMA’s global collection of more than 24,000 works is nationally regarded and spans 5,000 years of history, representing a full range of world cultures. Its programs are among the most innovative and robust in reaching new audiences. The DMA anchors the Dallas Arts District, and over the past fiscal year was visited by more than 800,000 people. Over the past 20 years, the DMA’s Art Ball has raised more than $28 million to support the Museum’s mission of engaging and educating the community through art. Last year’s event raised $1.3 million in net revenue, and the 2018 gala is expected to continue the strong tradition of giving, which has greatly benefited the Museum and its visitors for more than 50 years.

“For tickets or to learn more about underwriting opportunities, please visit or contact the Art Ball Office at [email protected] or 214.922.1800.”

-By Rebecca Enloe Fletcher, Art Ball 2018 chairman

* Photo provided by Dallas Museum of Art

MySweetWishList: VNA

According to VNA President and CEO Katherine Krause,

Katherine Krause (File photo)

“VNA has a long tradition serving our most vulnerable neighbors in North Texas through our Meals on Wheels and Hospice Programs.  The goal of VNA Hospice Care is to ensure quality care and compassionate support for medically appropriate patients and their families regardless of access to insurance or ability to pay.

“Hospice is a word many know but few truly understand. For our staff who work with patients facing terminal illness and their families, there is only one way to explain hospice: it’s a gift. As the oldest hospice agency in the state of Texas, VNA has many stories of this “gift” and how special it can be. Our holistic approach to care goes beyond clinical needs. Through the generosity of the Ginger Murchison Foundation, a Hospice Patient Fund was established in 2005 to help VNA hospice patients with non-medical necessities. For those experiencing financial hardship, we provide items such as bed and bath linens, basic toiletry items, assistance with paying utility bills, and during the holidays, purchase gifts for families with children at home.

Visiting Nurse Association*

“This holiday we have the joy of caring for a father (age 31) with a terminal diagnosis and providing support to his wife and three young boys ages 8, 10, and 12.  We are also making spirits a little brighter for two teen boys who lost their beloved grandfather—their primary caregiver—just two months ago.  I could go on with more wonderful stories of our courageous patients and their families.  

“We are blessed to have the Murchison Foundation and other donors contribute to this fund, but our fund is depleting quickly and my wish this holiday season is to ensure we bring joy to patients and their families at such a difficult time.  Will you join me in helping these special families this Christmas by contributing to the Murchison Patient Fund?  Thank you for your generosity this holiday and all year round.”

-By Katherine Krause, VNA president and CEO

* Graphic provided by VNA

MySweetWishList: Ability Connection

According to Ability Connection President and CEO Troy Greisen,

Ability Connection*

“When it comes to gifts, many will put a smile on one’s face, but a gift to Ability Connection has the power to change the life of a child or adult with special needs. Ability Connection creates life change across the state of Texas. We serve over a thousand individuals with disabilities through education, health and vocational training, inclusion, and housing. Children and adults with special needs have been neglected, forgotten, and turned away, even abused and with great discrimination and prejudice. Texas has among the very lowest special education outcomes, inclusion, and employment rates in the country.

“This year, we are wishing for support in helping children and adults with disabilities achieve their highest level of independence and inclusion, through education and employment. All of these individuals we serve need financial assistance in order to receive transportation, or care.

“Give the gift of life change this holiday season:

  • $100 Life Change Scholarship — One year of community volunteering for one adult student
  • $500 Life Change Scholarship — Transportation for job seeking for five adult students
  • $1,000 Life Change Scholarship — One-on-one vocational training and job placement
  • $2,500 Life Change Scholarship — One year of independent living activities for our after school program for children with disabilities
  • $5,000 Life Change Scholarship — One-on-one independent living training for five students

“These gifts will make a world of difference in the lives of children and adults with special needs as they strive to reach their goals of independence and inclusion. To give the gift of Life Change, visit, or email [email protected]. Thank you!”

-By Troy Greisen, Ability Connection president and CEO

* Photo proved by Ability Connection

MySweetWishList: Camp Summit

According to Camp Summit CEO Carla Weiland,

Camp Summit*

“My wish this holiday season is that every child and adult with disabilities has the opportunity to experience the joy of camp.

“Campers like Alex, whose parents struggle every month to cover the costs of required medications, doctors’ visits, and ongoing therapies, cannot give their son the camping experience. Many families with children with special needs require help with the cost of accessible recreational activities for their children. They also rarely have the opportunity for respite from the daily tasks of caregiving. Often, they are so overwhelmed with their day-to-day survival that the fun and fulfilling activities other families can enjoy every day seem unreachable.

Camp Summit*

“Over 90% of Camp Summit campers and families receive financial assistance from Camp Summit in order to attend camp. Help us continue our tradition of accepting all campers, regardless of their ability to pay, their age, or the severity of their disability, by donating in support of our 2018 “campership” campaign.

“Your donation helps ensure that our remarkable campers, like Alex and his friends, will never be turned away due to financial hardship, allowing them to experience the freedom of the outdoors, make s’mores around the campfire with new friends, and enjoy a week of adventure with no barriers.

“Support our campers by donating here, or visit to learn more about our barrier-free camp programs. Thank you for making a camper’s dream come true this holiday season. Happy holidays from Camp Summit and our remarkable campers!”

-By Carla Weiland, Camp Summit president and CEO

* Graphic and photo proved by Camp Summit

MySweetWishList: AT&T Performing Arts Center

According to AT&T Performing Arts Center Director of Education and Community Engagement Glynis Brault,

“Happy holidays, fellow Dallasites!

Motown the Musical*

“The nonprofit AT&T Performing Arts Center passionately believes that everyone deserves to experience the power and wonder of the arts. Our wish this holiday season is that you’ll join us in our efforts to educate, entertain and inspire audiences from every part of North Texas.

“The Center has a unique program called Community Partners. Working with social service agencies, we provide tickets to individuals and families who face challenging circumstances or have little to no access to the performing arts. Through this highly collaborative solution to the problem of arts access in North Texas, the Center provides approximately 1,500 free tickets each year to a variety of partner organizations. However, as a nonprofit arts foundation which presents shows rather than produces them, the Center must purchase the tickets we use for this program. Currently, Community Partners is supported by the visionary Donna Wilhelm Friendship Fund, Texas Commission on the Arts and individual contributions to our annual fund – from generous supporters like you!

AT&T Performing Arts Center **

“And the outcomes are exciting! Just ask Kamica King, a music therapist at The Bridge, a Community Partners agency which serves the homeless community. Last year she brought a group to see Grammy Award-winning blues musician Keb’ Mo’.

“’I wanted to say a huge thank you for the opportunity to bring Bridge guests to see Keb’ Mo’,’ said Ms. King, who turned the concert into a classroom and concert experience! ‘The cohort enjoyed learning about Keb’ Mo’ and his music, loved the show and had really great reflections on the experience as well. This would not have been possible without the generosity of the AT&T Performing Arts Center. You all do tremendous work to make the arts accessible and we are truly thankful. It is an honor to be a Community Partner!’

Winspear Opera House***

“Well, the feeling is mutual! We’re honored to partner with The Bridge. The same goes for all of our Community Partners which include The Family Place, HopeKids North Texas, Jonathan’s Place, Jubilee Park & Community Center, Lumin Education, Nexus Recovery Center Inc., Resource Center, Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, Uplift Education – Peak Preparatory, Vickery Meadow Youth Development Foundation, Wesley-Rankin Community Center and Wilkinson Center.

“Our wish this holiday season? That you’ll help us continue serving all these great partners and the people they serve!

“Likewise, if you represent an agency that you’d like to see involved in Community Partners please let us know.

“Happy Holidays!”

-By Glynis Brault, AT&T Performing Arts Center director of Education and Community Engagement

* Photo credit: Nate Rehlander, courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center
** Graphic provided by AT&T Performing Arts Center 
***Photo credit: Carter Rose, courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center

MySweetWishList: Jubilee Park And Community Center

According to Jubilee Park And Community Center Community Outreach Manager Samantha Campbell,

Samantha Campbell and “Clemons”*

“I work with community members in Southeast Dallas every day, and I’d like to make a wish on their behalf.  My wish is that the people reading this will choose to sponsor a family, who is struggling just to keep a roof over their heads, the lights on, water running, and bellies filled.

“For some families, this is a time of year when heating bills run high, hours change at work, car engine troubles pop up, and any number of emergency expenses can create catastrophe. And yet, a relatively small amount of money can help them stabilize, stay on their feet, and resume a productive life.

“Jubilee Park provides emergency assistance to families throughout the year who need a little financial help to avoid a major household crisis, plus budget counseling and resource referral. The families we serve typically have five members, earning about $20,000 per year. Unfortunately, this season of joy seems to be the time of biggest need.

“Your contribution of $250, $500, or $1,000 could mean that a family remains safely housed, with electricity and running water, and the food and critical medications they need. (When families lose their footing, it can take up to 25 times as much money and resources to get them re-established—an emotional and financial drain that none of us would want to bear.)

“Southeast Dallas and the Fair Park community are filled with hardworking families who want to succeed, but like all of us, they sometimes experience an unexpected event and may have less of a safety net than other people. This year, we’ve seen more than triple the number of requests for help.  From a stolen pair of required uniform boots to job layoffs to unforeseen medical costs, crises come in all shapes and sizes.

“When someone reading this decides to make this wish come true, they’ll know they’ve lit up the holidays for a family in a way that is truly miraculous.  For more information, please click here or call 469.718.5702.”

-By Samantha Campbell, Jubilee Park And Community Center community outreach manager

*Photo provided by Jubilee Park And Community Center

MySweetWishList: Trinity River Mission

Dolores Sosa Green (File photo)

According to Trinity River Mission Executive Director Dolores Sosa Green,

“My holiday wish is for all of the 550+ students we serve to believe in their ability to succeed.

“So often the challenging circumstances in our students’ lives affect their ability to concentrate, to understand their homework and, worst of all, to believe in themselves. In fact, we know from the groundbreaking Adverse Childhood Experiences Study done by Kaiser Permanente and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that living in poverty, experiencing chronic stress or trauma, or not feeling prepared for school make students 19% more likely to drop out, score lower on tests, have language difficulties, and be at risk for an assortment of mental health issues.

“But we also have seen first-hand at TRM that, with a little TLC, our students’ challenging circumstances do not have to define them.


“Just look at Ricardo, a 1st grader at TRM who is on the autism spectrum. When he started at TRM last year, he was having daily tantrums on the floor, had to be carried to class by his mother, and his speech was incomprehensible. His mom was hopeless and desperate for a miracle.

“But because of the academic instruction, caring relationships, and targeted intervention he received at TRM, Ricardo is learning how to break through his tantrums, stimulate his mind in a healthy way, and discovering that participation and learning can be fun! In just one year, Ricardo can now walk by himself to class and is vastly improving in school.

Trinity River Mission*

“And, this holiday season, we can do even more for Ricardo. With your support this December, Ricardo (and other students like him) will also be paired with a therapy dog he can read to every week. This non-judgmental practice will allow Ricardo to build up his speech in a stress-free way and give his mom the miracle she’s been waiting for: for her son to finally believe in himself and his ability to succeed.

“I hope you’ll join me and make more miracles like Ricardo happen this holiday season. Your gift means Ricardo and his friends won’t have to wait another minute to receive the support they need to succeed in school and overcome their struggles.

“To make your gift, just go to

-By Dolores Sosa Green, Trinity River Mission executive director

* Graphic and photo proved by Trinity River Mission