The Hope Supply Co. Teddy Bear Was Parked Out Front Greeting Supply Hope Guests

It may have seemed like the Hope Supply Co. team was taking the night off on Thursday, October 19, to party the night away. Actually, they were raising funds to provide homeless children with supplies at their 3rd Annual Supply Hope party with the Hope Supply Co. truck parked out front of Heather and Robert Murphy‘s home. Here’s a report from the field:

Hope Supply Co. truck*

On Thursday, October 19, Hope Supply Co. hosted its third annual Supply Hope! fundraising event to continue awareness of its mission of meeting the critical needs of homeless children in North Texas. 

150 guests attended Supply Hope! at Heather and Robert Murphy’s home. Guests dressed in casual, uniquely Texan attire, enjoyed Southwestern food from Mexico Lindo food truck, appetizers donated by Chili’s Restaurant, cocktails and desserts donated by Norma’s Café and Nothing Bundt Cakes.

Guests were treated to an exciting live auction featuring a trip for eight in a private jet to a destination of the winner’s choice, box seats for 4 to the upcoming Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles game and a weekend for four at Lajitas Golf Resort near Big Bend.

More than $80,000 was raised from the live auction, sponsorships and admission tickets.

Paula Beasley and Becky Oliver*

George and Susan Hardie*

Ginger and Allan Billingsly*

Tyler and Brenda Pierson*

Hope Supply Co. Board Member Kristin Simenc served as the event chair. Attendees included Hope Supply Co. President Barbara Johnson, former KDFW reporter Becky Oliver, Stream Energy Founder/Hope Supply Co. Board Chair Rob Snyder, Ginger and Allan Billingsly, Judy Luby, Debbie Gray, Susan and George Hardie, Kim Hext, Brenda and Tyler Pierson, Paula Beasley and Samantha and Tim Durst.

Judy Luby and Debbie Gray*

Barbara Johnson, Rob Snyder and Kim Hext*

According to Barbara, “95% of the funds raised from Supply Hope! go directly toward programs for homeless children. These funds will be used to purchase much needed critical items for homeless children such as diapers, hygiene, school supplies and toys. We will also be able to continue our quality recreation activities to get them out of their homeless shelters. Although we focus on North Texas, this year we were proud to be involved in hurricane relief, and sent over $400,000 worth of critical items to Houston for Harvey victims. We want to help wherever we can.”

Guests departed the event with a Hope Supply Co. T-shirt featuring Hope Supply Co.’s beloved teddy bear mascot.

Hope Supply Co. thanks its sponsors including top sponsors: Insperity, ML Gray Partnership LLC., The Snyder Foundation and Pam and Richard Squires.

Hope Supply Co. is a part of the National Diaper Bank Network and was named as a 2016-2017 Crystal Charity Ball recipient.

To learn how to become a volunteer or sponsor for Hope Supply Co., please visit hopesupplyco.org.

* Photo provided by Hope Supply Co.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Community Partners Of Dallas’ 24th Annual Back To School Drive

According Community Partners of Dallas President and CEO Paige McDaniel,

Paige McDaniel (File photo)

Back to school is just around the corner and Community Partners of Dallas needs your help!  

We are gearing up for our 24th annual Back to School Drive, benefiting abused and neglected children in Dallas County. Beginning Tuesday, August 1, through Friday, August 25, CPD, individuals and organizations throughout Dallas will collect new school supplies for abused and neglected children served by Child Protective Services, and will prepare more than 3,500 children to start school with school supplies and uniforms.

The Back to School Drive is one of the most important activities we do all year and our goal is to serve a record-breaking 3,500 children to ensure they are ready to start school with brand new supplies, backpacks and uniforms. Each year the support we receive from the community continues to grow, and we are so grateful for their commitment to improve the school year for abused and neglected children in Dallas County.

Pencils (File photo)

In addition to supplies, such as scissors, colored pencils, glue sticks, markers, and construction paper, CPD especially needs backpacks, pencil sharpeners, block erasers, manila paper and pencil pouches. Those interested in supporting the Back to School Drive can do so through in-kind or monetary donations through Friday, August 25. All donations can be delivered to Community Partners of Dallas’ Central Location, 1215 Skiles Street in the Wilson Historic District  or visit  www.communitypartnersdallas.org for additional supply drop-off locations.

For a full list of school supplies needed, visit www.communitypartnersdallas.org or contact Corinne Karp at 214.624.7588.

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

 

Friends Of Wednesday’s Child Is Closing

Sorry to start the week off with some sad news, but The Friends of Wednesday’s Child is ceasing operation.

Whoa! Before you go thinking that WFAA’s Cynthia Izaguirre won’t be doing her “Wednesday’s Child” segments, stop thinking that. These are two separate organizations dedicated to supporting foster children in need of permanent homes.

Friends of Wednesday’s Child (File photo)

Founded by a couple in 1985, Friends of Wednesday’s Child “provided for all their unmet needs while they are in foster care. These unmet needs include many of the things that establish a healthy, productive childhood; from tutoring to medical/dental care to summer camp to birthday gifts.”

According to the Friends of Wednesday’s Child’s website,

“It is with heavy hearts we write that Friends of Wednesday’s Child is closing its doors. We do not have the financial support to continue. The good news is North Texas has some outstanding allies in the community of people who serve children living in foster care. We are in discussion with these great groups who are interested in absorbing Friends of Wednesday’s Child programs and services. We hope to announce something in the coming weeks and months. An education can transform the lives of these children and put them on a path to success in school and life. Thank you for your support in making it possible. It is an honor and a privilege. Please continue supporting them. You are the difference.”

It must have come as a surprise for the staff, since they had just recently submitted a MySweetCharity Opportunity about its Top Kids at TopGolf fundraiser in November.

On the other hand, WFAA’s Wednesday’s Child program is still in operation finding adoptive parents for foster children. As a matter of fact, WFAA will be holding a phone-bank drive today at 4, 5 and 6 p.m. to raise money for Community Partners of Dallas’ annual “Back to School Drive.”

Stock Up To “Stuff The Trolley”

Jan Pruitt (File photo)

On the heels of last Friday’s Empty Bowls that filled the Meyerson with restaurateurs and hungry patrons to raise funds for the North Texas Food Bank, NTFB’s Anna Kurian sends word about another foodie project. According to Anna, “Longtime Food Bank friends Janet and Phil Cobb are organizing a special food drive: ‘Stuff the Trolley’ to honor our late CEO Jan Pruitt. I know the Cobbs really want to make sure that this drive honoring Jan is a success.”

Stuff the Trolley*

Here’s the plan: On Saturday, March 25, and Sunday, March 26, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., food will be collected at the Trolley Turntable at the West Village, 2700 City Place West Blvd. That’s the DART Transit Station on City Place West Drive.

Sponsored by the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority, both monetary and food items such as canned goods like tuna and peanut butter will be collected. If you were gonna donate your favorite jar of caviar, it’s a nice thought, but doesn’t quite fit the need for those in need.

If you can’t make it by, you can always donate here!

* Graphic provided by 
North Texas Food Bank

The 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Bus Tour Of The Eight Beneficiaries Resulted In Flowers, Tears And Inspiration For The $5.8M Goal

Like many nonprofits, there comes a once-a-year decision of how the raised funds will be distributed. For 65 years, Crystal Charity Ball has had that come-to moment for the Dallas area children’s nonprofits. To think. There are grown-ups who have survived devastating diseases and overcome miserable home lives and then have had amazing lives, thanks to the committee of 100 women.  

On Thursday, February 16, CCB Chair Pam Perella, CCB Underwriting Chair Leslie Diers and a busload of ladies undertook a day of visiting the eight beneficiaries thanks to Briggs Freeman | Sotheby’s International Realty’s Layne Pitzer‘s and Joan Eleazer‘s underwriting the tour. It was at one of those stops where the membership saw firsthand how one child and his mother represented the thousands of faceless and nameless other kids who were in need. More about that later.

Before the tour got underway with Andre in the driver’s seat, though, tour director Fredye Factor reminded the group that this year’s “working theme” was TV shows. Since the tour had been tagged as “All My Children,” they had arranged for Susan Lucci‘s cousin Pucci Lucci to address the ladies. Pucci turned out to be CCB member Pam McCallum, whose Pucci was more Blanche Devereaux than Erica Kane.

Big Brothers Big Sister Lone Star — $500,000

Bill Chinn

But it was time to get down to work and things started off with two representative making presentations on board the bus. First up was Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lone Star President Bill Chinn, who told how the July 7th shooting in downtown Dallas had spurred them on with a project — Bigs in Blue, which would connect first responders like policeman, fire fighters and city personnel as mentors for at-risk children to “establish strong and enduring one-to-one relationships.”  

Rainbow Days — $500,000

Tiffany Beaudine

Next up was Rainbow Days Director of Development Tiffany Beaudine, who reported that the CCB’s contribution would span three years to purchase a new van for transporting supplies to children living in motels, as well as adding “one new full-time program manager and a portion of four staff members who will assist in implementing programs, and partial salary for the program director.” Rainbow Day’s Project Hope program would also “deliver food weekly including snacks, school clothing and hygiene products as well as an opportunity for homeless children to attend summer day camps and holiday celebrations.”

The children whom they serve often suffer from fear. Too often their lives are filled with gunfire at night and the fear of playing outdoors.  

The Autism Treatment Center — $582,020

Neil Massey

Then the ladies were driven to the Autism Treatment Center to learn firsthand about its Early Intervention Therapy and Educational Capital Campaign. Thanks to the contribution, 101,100 square feet of the present facility will be “reconfigured and remodeled to increase the number of educational classrooms, therapy rooms, counseling offices and other important spaces.” The additional space will allow the Autism Treatment Center to quadruple the number of students who will receive help.

In showing the outdoor playground with its misting umbrella for hot days and the growing garden that provides both education and accomplishment, Development Director Neil Massey looked at the open lot next door. Having outgrown their current facilities, he said that they had tried to buy it from the present owner but had had no luck.

Autism Treatment Center

But it was the classrooms where the ladies learned that patience was a key to working with autistic boys and girls. Structure and patience were not just paramount for the children’s learning to adjust to their special conditions. But those lessons were important to being included in the family life. One lesson was that when an autistic children got frustrated and got physically upset, it was important for them to be ignored until they realized that their actions would not produce results. One CCB-er, upon hearing the comment said, “That probably proves true in all our lives.”

Presbyterian Communities & Services Foundation — $541,098

Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation board member Mary Ann Hyde

Next on the itinerary was the T. Boone Pickens Center. The timing of the visit was perfectly planned. It just so happened that the Center’s board was meeting that day with Board Trustee Mary Ann Hyde backed by the board members to greet the ladies in front of the magnificent facility.

So, it may have initially seemed curious to have CCB that benefits children to be providing funds for a hospice facility, but there was a very important aspect of the Pickens Center that affected children — the Faith Presbyterian Hospice Child and Family Bereavement Program.

Breaking into groups, the membership was shown the facilities that would assist not just those completing their lives, but would also help family, especially children, to be part of the final farewell and adjust to the loss. The 36-bed facility featured suites especially designed to comfort the patients with breathtaking views of the lake, doors that could accommodate the patient’s bed being moved to the room’s patio, and the out-of-sight medical equipment.

Presbyterian T. Boone Pickens Center guest suite

But the main point of the tour was how the Faith Presbyterian Hospice Child and Family Bereavement Program would help children through the process of grieving the loss “in a healthy and healing way.” There were the Marnie and Kern Wildenthal Education Center and the Harold Simmons Foundation Inpatient Care Center that provided both areas of play and adjustment to loss.  

Faith Presbyterian Hospice Child and Family Bereavement Program play room

In one room was a playhouse with super heroes on the walls. While in other rooms were materials for kids to vent their feelings regardless of their ages to social workers, counselors, music therapists and art therapists, who “will encourage healthy emotional growth, and bring unique comfort to children who have lost a sibling, parent or grandparents.”  

Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance — $527,770

The next stop was the Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance in the West End. While it was perfectly planned to coincide with a group of students, it reinforced the need for the Holocaust’s need to expand to a larger facility. CCB and high schoolers found themselves on top of each other learning about the horrors of World War II and the demonstrations of remembrance.

Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance’s Paul Lake

One such example was the placement of stones representing the persons who were victims of the Holocaust. One teenager’s attempt to place a stone found their effort falling on the floor, resounding throughout the room. Ironically, the sound of the stone hitting the hard stone floor seemed to draw attention to the solemnity that had filled the room.

Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance

For a three-year period, the CCB contribution will allow “thousands of Title 1 and economically disadvantaged students to the Museum, free of charge, and will provide their teachers necessary curriculum support.”

Children’s Medical Center Foundation — $1,111,735

Just blocks away from Children’s Medical Center, the CCB-ers donned hard hats and safety glasses to tour Children’s Health’s Comprehensive Gait and Mobility Program that was under construction. Planned to officially open with full services in May, it allows youngsters with movement challenges resulting from injuries or chronic illnesses to access all the treatments in one facility. The rooms would provide everything from aquatic treatments to padded rock climbing.

Comprehensive Gait and Mobility Program aquatic facility under construction

Thanks to CCB’s contribution, it would be possible to purchase “five pieces of state-of-the-art robotic gait and mobility training equipment: The ErigoPro early mobilization tilt-table, the LokomatPro robotic based partial-weight-bearing treadmill system, the Andago body weight supported mobile robotic gait system, the Natus balance and gait assessment system and the HydroWorx therapy pool. Training for staff and robotic software upgrades are included with the purchase of this equipment.”

Thanks to this “centralized accessibility, thousands of Dallas County children will be able to seek services designed for patients from two to 18 years of age.

As the committee gathered in the main room, they were told of a surprise. It was indeed a surprise. Britt Cupp, who had suffered a trauma to his brain due to a skateboard accident years ago, arrived with yellow roses and a personal note for each of the women. As his mother, Angela Cupp, looked on, Britt handed out the flowers. Unfortunately, when Britt had his accident, he and his family were forced to seek assistance at different facilities throughout the country. Many of the CCB-ers who had children Britt’s age looked on in amazement at the mother and son who had been through so much and were spearheading the creation of such a facility.

Pam Perella, Angela Cupp, Britt Cupp and Brent Christopher

After a massive group pic with Britt, the CCB-ers with flowers in hand gathered outside for the traditional group picture. Inside Angela had one request — a photo of Britt with 2017 CCB President Pam Perella and Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher. Little did she know that Brent had made a similar request, saying, “Britt is my hero.”

Hunger Busters — $1,192,500

The CCB bus now headed to West Dallas for the Hunger Busters operation behind a tall wrought-iron fence topped with razor wire. On the side of the small building, the air condition units were padlocked.

Iron fences topped with razor wire at Hunger Busters

New father/Hunger Busters Executive Director Trey Hoobler explained, “We’re in a turf war here caught between two groups.”

But despite the Spartan and tight conditions, Production/Volunteer Manager Gumaro Castillo in the kitchen’s prep area explained how Ford would be proud of the assembly line of volunteers prepping the meals for DISD schools and after-school programs. Having been there eight years, Gumaro pointed with pride as volunteers put together sandwiches.

Hunger Busters volunteers

Thanks to the CCB contribution that would be used over a three-year period, the Feed the Need program would be expanded, “representing a 150% increase in the number of children served, from 2,000 to 5,000 daily. An additional new delivery van and staff support will allow Hunger Busters to serve children and schools on their waiting list for a total of 300,000 additional meals each year.”

Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy — $850,000  

Sandra Helton

The final stop of the day was Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy, where Sister Sandra Helton pointed to an open lot adjacent to the school where a cafeteria would be built. She then showed why the new facility would be needed, as she led the group to the present room where children eat. If the current lunchroom was needed for another event, the tables and chairs had to be removed and then replaced afterwards. If a funeral was to take place in the nearby sanctuary, meals would have to delayed.  The kitchen was barely larger than a jet liner’s kitchen.

Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy

While the tour was going on, some youngsters took naps on the classroom floors, some practiced in the music room under Brandon McDannald‘s direction and others were hard at work at desks in classrooms.

Thanks to the CCB commitment, a 12,500-square-fooot cafeteria and fine arts center will be built that will be “available weekends for 1,300 children who attend religious education classes and also for Science Fairs, Band and Choir concerts, fundraisers like their Fall Festival and Grandparent’s Day. Funds will also be used for a dedicated fine arts center, giving Santa Clara students many more options in band, music, choir and art with designated classrooms where they can safely secure their instruments and supplies. Additionally, funds will provide a parish office and conference room, allowing for more students in the existing school.”

It was then homeward bound and ten months of fundraising to provide $5.8M for the children of Dallas.

For more photos from the 2017 Crystal Charity Ball bus tour, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Nancy Carlson To Serve As Honorary Chair For Communities In Schools Dallas Region’s 2017 Campaign For Kids

While plans for the Great Create were taking place at Forty Five Ten, on the other side of I-35, the Communities in Schools of the Dallas Region was kicking off its Campaign for Kids at Samuel Lynne Galleries on Thursday, January 12.

Bill Guess, Blake Lewis III and Paul Stephens

Michelle Healy

John Runyon

For the 50 guests including John Runyon, Sabene Stener, Lynn McBee, Michelle Healy and CISDR Board Members Bill Guess and Paul Stephens, it was a marvelous opportunity to check out the art and the goodies provided by Bird Bakery.

But the guests were there for more than taking in the art and munching. According CISDR President/CEO Dr. Judith Allen, Nancy Carlson would serve as the honorary chair for the nine-month campaign to raise $300,000 to support CISDR’s to “address the needs of high-risk children as they struggle to make it thru the school year.”

Judith Allen

Sabene Stener and Nancy Carlson

As part of the campaign, three events are on the schedule to keep the momentum moving. In March there will be a luncheon at Thomas Jefferson High School to “hear more about the effects of poverty, mental illness and fragmented families on the children of our area.”

While school may be out in June, the second event  Campaign for Kids Re-Cycle Drive will provide an opportunity to collect “un/gently used school supplies, school uniforms, etc. for Fall use.”

The final event will take place in September at the Campaign For Kids 6th Annual Golf Tournament.

MySweet2017Goals: Mary Martha Pickens

Mary Martha Pickens (File photo)

According to Chick Lit Luncheon 2017 Co-Chair Mary Martha Pickens,

“One of my goals for 2017 is for the community to join my Co-Chair Tricia George and me for the 11th annual Chick Lit Luncheon presented by Dr. Robert and Lara Tafel benefiting Community Partners of Dallas (CPD) on Friday, April 21. This year’s event will feature best-selling author, natural foods chef, reality TV star, self-made businesswoman and mom, Bethenny Frankel, as the keynote speaker – you will not want to miss it!

Lara and Robert Tafel (File photo)

Gail Corder Fischer (File photo)

“Tricia and I, along with our underwriting chairs Katy Bock, Marybeth Conlon and Lori Anna Dees, are planning an unforgettable luncheon, whose proceeds will support the abused and neglected children served by CPD. To that end, we are so excited to announce Gail Corder Fischer as this year’s honorary chair. We are so grateful to Gail for her ongoing dedication to the children in our community and her support of the Chick Lit Luncheon.

“As well, CPD will be presenting the ‘2017 Partners for Children Award’ to the Peacock Alley Bitzer and Needleman families for their longtime support of Community Partners of Dallas. The Partners for Children Award is presented annually and celebrates the recipient’s commitment to the philanthropic needs of our community and their years of service meeting the needs of abused and neglected children.

“The 11th annual Chick Lit Luncheon will be held on April 21, at 10:30 a.m., at the Hilton Anatole. The event will include a wine reception followed by a seated luncheon and remarks by Ms. Frankel. Tables begin at $1,750 and are on sale now; individual tickets will go on sale in early April if space permits. For more information, visit communitypartnersdallas.org.  We look forward to seeing you on April 21st!”

JUST IN: Sons Of The Flag Endowment For Burn Care Supplies Is Established At Parkland Health And Hospital System

Over the years Parkland Health and Hospital has become renowned for being the only adult and pediatric center in North Texas verified by the American Burn Association. In addition to its reputation for its specialized treatments, it has provided it for those who are uninsured.

Yesterday afternoon, the Sons of the Flag established the Sons of the Flag Endowment for Burn Care Supplies with a $12,500 contribution that was matched by anonymous donation via Parkland Foundation.

Mary Meier-Evans, Herb Phelan, Ryan Parrott, Steven Wolf, Stephanie Campbell, Kathy Doherty and Beth Dexter*

The results? The $25,000 total will “support and enhance burn care at Parkland Health and Hospital System by providing wound kits and supplies for uninsured burn patients.”

According to Sons of the Flag President/CEO Ryan Parrott, “This is an exciting opportunity for Sons of the Flag to live out its mission and expand access to critical supplies and treatment for many in our community who cannot afford them. To partner with Parkland Foundation in supporting the Parkland Burn Center through this endowment is an important step in ensuring we are doing everything we can to improve burn care throughout North Texas.”

On hand for the announcement in addition to the media were Sons of the Flag Director of Development Mary Meier-Evans, Parkland Foundation Development Officer Beth Dexter and Parkland Burn Center’s Dr. Herb Phelan, Dr. Steven Wolf, Stephanie Campbell and Kathy Doherty.

The Sons of the Flags has also provided more than $10,000 in in-kind donations of Go Bags, clothing, toys, snacks and holiday decorations thanks to its supporters and volunteers.

Parkland Foundation President/CEO David Krause said, “We are grateful for the ongoing generosity of Sons of the Flag and their commitment to helping the patients in Parkland’s burn center. Their most recent gift to establish an endowment to support the burn center will help Parkland provide life-saving care to burn patients for generations to come.”

Sons of the Flag “is a nonprofit organization committed to supporting military, first responder, and civilian burn survivors by providing funding for innovative research, technology and education. We bring together passionate community leaders, pioneering physicians, experienced military service members, dedicated first responders and purposeful civilians to complete our mission.”

* Photo provided by Sons of the Flag

MySweetWishList: Family Compass

Whitney Strauss (File photo)

According to Family Compass Board of Directors President-Elect Whitney Strauss,

“On behalf of the Family Compass Board, staff and families we serve, our primary wish is a world free of child abuse and neglect where are children are able to feel happy and safe. For this holiday season, our wish is to be able to give the mothers in our programs basic necessities for their babies such as diapers and sippy cups that they have difficulty affording. We also want to encourage mothers to read and play with their babies so also ask for baby books with sight words and baby toys. We have a wish list on Amazon for these items.

“Thank you for making the holidays truly special for our mothers and their children!”

-By Whitney Strauss, Family Compass board of directors president-elect

Seasonal Dip In Temperatures Approaches

Some folks have been complaining about temperatures hitting the upper 80s this month. After all, it is November and it just seems downright unnatural to wear shorts when you have a herd of woollies in your closet bleating to come out.

February 2015

February 2015 (File photo)

Well, pack up the shorts and pull out the cashmeres because today the temps are going to be dipping like a debutante on stage. Word has it that Saturday night, it just might hit the upper 30s. But this first cold front of the season ain’t going to be anything like the freezers of 2011 or 2015. Still, why not prepare now for what probably lies ahead in the weeks to come?

For oldtimers, you know the drill. For newcomers, here are some suggestions:

Snow covers neighborhoods (File photo)

February 2011 (File photo)

  • Bundle up with gloves, caps and jackets, if you’re going to catch a Friday night lights game.
  • Remember to take care of the three P’s — pets, plants and plumbing. It’s not going to freeze, but why not prepare those pipes now?
  • Put a blanket and some water in your car. Who knows? If you get stuck, you just might want a gulp of water and a wrapper until you get a tow.
  • Have your HVAC checked. It’s been a while since you turned on the heating element.
  • Check on your senior buds and physically challenged folks. Cold weather seems to hit them harder than you hardy types. See if their windows and doors are sealed to keep out the cold. And while you’re at it check yours, too.
  • It’s not too late to have a chimney sweep check your fireplace. You might also want them to clean your clothes dryer, too. After all, you don’t want the holiday glow to be your home going up in smoke.
  • Stock up on all those comfort foods. Homes just seem to handle the chill when hot chocolate is served or brownies are in the oven.
  • Remember those old blankets that you replaced with brand new ones? Why not donate the older ones to Goodwill or Dallas Animal Services?
  • Stock up on batteries, candles and matches.
  • Get a book and a couple of board games and/or jigsaw puzzles. If you lose electricity, you’ll find high tech goes down the drain and these old-timers can come in handy to handle the boredom.
  • Buy a toy. No, it has absolutely nothing to do with staving off the cold, but you just know you’re going to want to donate to a toy drive, so why not buy something now!

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

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

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

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

Mason Park and Beth and Larence Park

Mason Park and Beth and Larence Park

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

Inflatable obstacle course

Inflatable obstacle course

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

DJ Bill Cody

DJ Bill Cody

Rad Hatter

Rad Hatter

Fortune teller

Fortune teller

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

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

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

Sarah Rose Gambrell and Elizabeth Gambrell

Sarah Rose Gambrell and Elizabeth Gambrell

Jack Landon and Chris Landon

Jack Landon and Chris Landon

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

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

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

Ray Ballotta, William Ballotta, Caroline Ballotta and Lindsay Ballotta

Ray Ballotta, William Ballotta, Caroline Ballotta and Lindsay Ballotta

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

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

Lisa Catravas, Aiden Catravas and Jimmie Catravas

Lisa Catravas, Aiden Catravas and Jimmie Catravas

Shelly Slater, Hutcheson Huffstutter, Hawkins Huffstutter and Clay Huffstutter

Shelly Slater, Hutcheson Huffstutter, Hawkins Huffstutter and Clay Huffstutter

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

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

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

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

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

For more photos, head over to MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barry and Sandy Moore, Ryan Moore and Kennedy Moore*

Barry and Sandy Moore, Ryan Moore and Kennedy Moore*

Grayson Porwell, Valerie Prowell and Noelle Prowell*

Grayson Porwell, Valerie Prowell and Noelle Prowell*

Gracie Kong, Sarah Kong and Owen Kong*

Gracie Kong, Sarah Kong and Owen Kong*

Paige McDaniel, Henry Horvat and George Horvat*

Paige McDaniel, Henry Horvat and George Horvat*

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

Birthday cupcakes*

Birthday cupcakes*

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

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

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

* Photo provided by Community Partners of Dallas

Take Advantage of Tax-Free Weekend For Community Partners Of Dallas’ 23rd Annual Back-To-School Program

Where did June and July go? That’s the thought starting to bubble in the brains of area school kids with the realization that school is just around the corner. For the Dallas Independent School District students, the very first day of the nine month education march is Monday, August 22.

Community Partners of Dallas' Back-To-School 2016*

Community Partners of Dallas’ Back-To-School 2016*

Another group that is all too well aware of that date is the Community Partners of Dallas. Their 23rd annual Back-To-School got off to a great start. Thanks to the FFA, 1,400 backpacks with schools supplies were donated. But that surge was needed because CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel and her team had created a record-breaking goal of more than 3,000. Why so high? Because there are that many Dallas County abused and neglected children in need of appropriate school supplies and uniforms.

Here’s an interesting fact provided by CPD:

“Sometimes the only difference between an A+ student and a failing student is having basic supplies to do homework and participate in class. Because 69% of the children served by Community Partners of Dallas live on a family income of less than $14,000 annually, after the most basic of needs of the family are met, school supplies may not fit into that budget.”

Pencils (File photo)

Pencils (File photo)

So, why bring this up when CPD’s Back-To-School runs through Friday, August 19? Because it’s “tax-free weekend!” That means that those items on the CPD wish list (markers, glue bottle, construction paper, manila paper, binders, backpacks, pink erasers, Kleenex, calculators, compasses, pencil pouches and other school-oriented items) can be snatched up without being taxed. Why not purchase a nifty backpack, fill it with supplies and drop it off at CPD at 1215 Skiles Street. It’s located in one of Dallas’ most treasured neighborhoods — the Wilson Historic District. Your reward will be a big old smile from the staff and a “thank you” to boot.

What’s that? You’re in Aspen and can’t get back in time for the taxless weekend? No problem. Make a donation. Thanks to CPD’s buying power, “every $1 donated is equal to $5 worth of school supplies and uniforms. With a gift of only $25, you can ensure a child starts the school year off with the right tools for success!”

Yes, you’re weary of hearing about the various back-to-school programs. After all, what’s the big deal about a pink eraser? But something as small an eraser is a big deal to a child, who’s known a life of neglect and abuse. Their way out of this situation is education, but they need the tools. You can provide it with a donation of items and/or funds.

* Graphic courtesy of Community Partners of Dallas

4th Annual Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s Back-To-School Achieved Its Goal And Then Some

If you’ve been worrying whether the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s 4th Annual Back-to-School campaign would meet its goal of providing 1,000 kids-in-need with uniforms for school, rest easy. Not only was the goal met, it was “over met” with a whopping 1,016 kids not only getting two uniforms but also backpacks thanks to City Electric Supply.

Dallas Children's Advocacy Center's Back To School*

Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s Back To School*

In other words, $25,400 was provided by 243 generous donors to make this happen. While the kids may never know those 243, they also won’t know embarrassment at not having the bare necessities for school.

Here is a “note of reflection” from one of DCAC’s evening childcare workers who experienced the moment of providing:

“I started working at DCAC when we were located on Swiss Avenue and have been at DCAC for nearly 5 years. I have witnessed, been involved in, and have enjoyed many moving moments here at DCAC. Last week, as I watched our clients and families pick up their backpacks, school supplies and uniforms, I was touched by the smiles, joy, thanks and appreciation expressed by the clients and their families. After we closed last Thursday, a little after 8:00 PM, I sat back and reflected over the four days I had witnessed. Once again I saw what we, with support from the community, can do for our children. I am so proud to be a small part of what we do. The children smiled and showed me their backpacks and many parents shook my hand and thanked DCAC. I told them that the thanks goes to the DCAC staff, volunteers, and especially to our donors.”

* Graphic provided by Dallas Children's Advocacy Center

Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s Back-To-School Campaign Needs Help In Suiting Up

Now that the summer solstice has taken place (June 30) and days are starting to get shorter and the heat is ramping up, it might be nice to think of fall when leaves turn golden colors and holiday celebrations are hourly.

But along with the cooler temps and festivities comes the reality of schools being back in session. The Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center is already concerned about that fact. No, they’re not grousing about reading, writing and ‘rithmetic. They’re concerned about “Dallas County’s most severely abused children,” who need new uniforms for the first day of school in the Dallas Independent School District.

Dallas Children's Advocacy Center's Back To School*

Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s Back To School*

With the Fourth Annual Back-To-School campaign underway, more than half of the 1,000 kids have been provided with two uniforms. But there are still 400 youngsters in need of uniforms and the first day of school is just seven weeks away.

Now, are you ready for the shocker? For just a $25 donation, one child will be provided two uniforms. According to the MySweetCharity solar-driven abacus, $10,000 in donations will provide 800 uniforms for 400 kids. Why shoot! Whoa, that’s better than Amazon Prime Day.

Adding to the give-athon is City Electric Supply. According to DCAC’s Jana Parker, City Electric Supply is providing “1,000 backpacks this year filled with school supplies, so the funds we are raising are specific to the school uniforms – ensuring that every child served by DCAC receives a new backpack with supplies along with their two uniforms.”

So, skip that $25 dinner and make a donation. And if you need an incentive, think back to your first day of school and how it felt to wear something new, or how it felt not to wear something special. Your $25 could really make a student’s first day back at the grind a lot better.

* Graphic courtesy of Dallas Children's Advocacy Center

Grovel Alert: 4th Annual Can Do Luncheon

With the 4th Annual Can Do Luncheon just days away, Event Chair Sara Melnick Albert is reporting that there are just a few seats left to make it a sell-out. This year’s fundraiser for The Wilkinson Center at the Dallas Country Club on Tuesday, May 10, is honoring North Texas Food Bank, Regina Montoya, Chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Poverty, Marilu Rodriquez and Christina Park.

Sara Melnick Albert (File photo)

Sara Melnick Albert (File photo)

Regina Montoya (File photo)

Regina Montoya (File photo)

Anne Reeder (File photo)

Anne Reeder (File photo)

The luncheon is a marvelous introduction for folks to learn about one of East Dallas’ little-known organizations that successfully supports people and families in becoming healthier, smarter and more productive.

Thanks to Wilkinson Center Executive Director Anne Reeder, this luncheon runs on schedule, so guests aren’t late to their next appointments. But they do leave with better knowledge how they can contribute to their neighbors thanks to the services (adult education, family enhancement and food and emergency services) provided by the Center.

Tickets are still available to help Sara cross the finish line of a sellout.

Fashion Guru Tim Gunn, Who’s In ‘Awe’ Of Dallas Women, Attracts Huge Crowd To CPD’s 10th Anniversary Chick Lit Luncheon

Anyone doubting the popularity in Dallas of “Project Runway” co-host/producer Tim Gunn should have checked out the scene at the Friday, April 1, Chick Lit Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole. The event benefiting Community Partners of Dallas and featuring the author and TV star drew a crowd of 1,100—up from the annual luncheon’s 650 or so that it’s usually drawn at its longtime venue, Brook Hollow Country Club.

This was Chick Lit’s 10th anniversary luncheon, but surely the huge crowd wasn’t due only to that? “I give credit to our chairs—and to Tim,” CPD President and CEO Paige McDaniel said before the luncheon at the VIP reception in the Anatole’s Stemmons Ballroom. “All girls like fashion, and he’s just … well, when Joanna [Clarke, CPD’s development VP] and I used to talk about guests at our fantasy dinner party, we each had two people in common: Tim Gunn and Jesus!

“So, it was easy this year,” McDaniel went on. “Everybody wanted to come.”

Tim Gunn, Lara and Robert Tafel*

Tim Gunn, Lara and Robert Tafel*

At that moment, the star of the day was demonstrating his charisma across the room at the step-and-repeat, where guests were lined up to meet Gunn and have their photos taken with him. Among them were Elizabeth Gambrell (she’s a CPD director), Anne Stodghill, Dee Simmons, D’Andra Simmons, and Lara Tafel, who was once again the luncheon’s presenting sponsor along with her husband, Dr. Robert Tafel.

Megan Flannagan, Fasi Boltchi, Roz Colombo and Samantha Wortley*

Megan Flannagan, Fasi Boltchi, Roz Colombo and Samantha Wortley*

Jennifer Evans Morris, Krissy Turner and Lauren Reed*

Jennifer Evans Morris, Krissy Turner and Lauren Reed*

Soon Dr. Bob joined his wife for a photo with Gunn, who promptly remarked on the doctor’s colorful pocket square. The TV star pulled the handkerchief out of Tafel’s suit coat, demonstrated another way to fold such an adornment, and then stuffed it back into Bob’s breast pocket—much to Bob and Lara’s delight.

Soon enough, the 1,100 guests including CPD Board Chair Krissy Turner, Jocelyn White, Lee Bailey, Lisa Cooley, Faisal Halum, Holly Davis, Lori Williams, Alissa Gearing, Jennifer Evans Morris, Lauren Reed, Megan Flanagan, Fasi Boltchi, Roz Colombo, Samantha Wortley, Katherine Coker and Simona Beal began making their way into the Imperial Ballroom upstairs.

Kristi Hoyl*

Kristi Hoyl*

Nancy Rogers and Brian Bolke*

Nancy Rogers and Brian Bolke*

Luncheon Chair Kristi Hoyl made the welcoming remarks, thanking the Tafels, Honorary Chair Brian Bolke, Underwriting Chairs Cindy Stager and Jill Tananbaum, and Paige and Joanna (“they are angels walking on the earth”). Then Kristi brought up Rev. Elizabeth Moseley from Highland Park United Methodist Church, who delivered the invocation. (Rev. Moseley, BTW, was introduced as a “minister of discipline,” rather than with her actual title, “minister of discipleship.” Hmmmm. Maybe Queenie needs to hire a minister of discipline for misbehaving elves.)

Paige McDaniel and Jill Bee*

Paige McDaniel and Jill Bee*

After lunch was served—a delicious Mediterranean chicken salad and a strawberry “Happy Birthday” cupcake—videos were played honoring Jill C. Bee with the 2016 Partners for Children Award and the Tafels, who were presented with the 10th Anniversary Champions of Hope Award. Then Paige took the stage, telling how all the guests had “agonized over our outfits” trying to impress Gunn, before launching into a tearful talk about children who’d been helped by CPD, like two toddlers nicknamed Princess and King. Paige gave way to Bolke, who introduced the featured speaker as one of two people who’ve had a profound recent influence on the fashion world (the other, he said, was Sarah Jessica Parker of TV’s “Sex and the City”).

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Tim Gunn*

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Tim Gunn*

With that, Gunn—a former chief creative officer at Liz Claiborne Inc. who’s written four books—mounted the stage along with Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, who would interview him. Kim began by asking the fashion guru what led him to write books (his latest is titled “The Natty Professor: A Master Class on Mentoring, Motivating, and Making It Work!”). Gunn, the son of an FBI agent, grew up with words and books, he replied, and developed an interest in fashion history as an academic at the Parsons School of Design. “Most of the books [about fashion] are giant snoozefests,” he said. He set out to take a livelier approach, crediting the success of such works as “Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible and “Gunn’s Golden Rules in part to his editor and co-writer, Ava Calhoun.

Kim asked next what’s behind Gunn’s “kind but firm” approach to young designers on Lifetime’s “Project Runway,” now entering its 14th season. “I can’t want you to succeed more than you do,” Gunn said he tells the fledgling designers. In lieu of direct criticism he peppers them with questions about their design choices, hoping they’ll eventually see what he sees. What’s his favorite of Gunn’s “golden rules”? “The world owes you absolutely nothing!” he replied quickly. “Even though young people don’t like it. … We each have to make our own way and establish our value.” Gunn also explained his “TEACH” philosophy with students and mentees, using an explanation for each letter in the acronym: Truth-telling; Empathy; Asking lots of questions; Cheerleading; and Hoping for the best.

Tim Gunn*

Tim Gunn*

Prompted by his interviewer, Gunn said that when it comes to fashion, “I’d rather work with women than with men. Women are more open to experimentation, and men are so ridiculously intractable. I’ll tell them, ‘Good heavens, it’s a shirt. Put it on!’ ” He also complimented Dallas women on their fashion sense, adding, “I’m in awe of you! … I’d like to take you home with me!” Expanding on fashion in general, he said most people wear their clothes too big. (“Never use the phrase, ‘I only dress for comfort’ with me,” he said. “If you want to feel like you’re in your pajamas, don’t get out of bed.”) He also ripped the current “athleisure” trend including yoga pants, tights, and leggings worn as pants. “It’s an excuse to be a slob,” he said, calling leggings “a form of underwear.”

Wrapping up with a few questions from the audience, Gunn was asked his advice for budding designers. Since designers are barometric measures of our culture, he answered, they should watch TV and movies, read blogs and newspapers, and “assimilate it all” in order to “have a point of view and know who you are. [Knowledge of] construction is important, too,” Gunn said in conclusion, “as are perseverance and tenacity.”

The thunderous applause from the big crowd that followed was a testament to the fashion guru’s tremendous popularity, as mentioned by Paige at the VIP reception. But so, too, was the long wait for their cars that some in the huge crowd had to endure in the lengthy valet line. Although the luncheon wrapped up by about 1:15, some 50 guests were still standing outdoors in the cold breeze, scanning the horizon hopefully for their vehicles, nearly an hour later. There were just too darn many cars, it seems, for the valets to easily handle.

* Photos provided by Community Partners of Dallas

Fashion Guru Tim Gunn Packed ‘Em In At Forty Five Ten’s T Room For Community Partners Of Dallas’ Chick Lit Patron Party

Tim Gunn

Tim Gunn

Not since Rob Lowe and Kevin Costner hit the North Texas area has a man been swarmed like New York Times best-selling author and overall fashion arbiter Tim Gunn was at the 10th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon Patron Party.

Laverne Nieberding and Greg Nieberding

Laverne Nieberding and Greg Nieberding

Yipes! Taking place at Chick Lit Honorary Chair Brian Bolke’s Forty Five Ten, the place should have been big enough for the guests, the fashions and Tim. But with Tim meeting-and-greeting guests like Luncheon Chair Kristi Hoyl, Melissa Sherrill, D’Andra Simmons, Anne Stodghill and Greg Nieberding with his mom Laverne Nieberding in the T Room, the place was as tight as a stamp on an envelope.

What made it more challenging was Tim somehow managed to locate himself against one of the bars. Goodness, bubbly and Tim together resulted in celebration and selfie-action as everyone wanted a flute of champagne and a photo with Tim.

One lovely evidently was new to celebrity get-togethers and decided that she was Tim’s one-and-only, resulting in more than her fair share of special time with him. But Tim proved as proper and charming as his attire, chatting it up with the gal until someone suggested that others might like some quality time with Tim, too.

Lara and Robert Tafel

Lara and Robert Tafel

Organizers were amazed at how generous Tim was. His contract limited his time at the patron party to 45 minutes, but he stayed way beyond the time limit.

Paige McDaniel and Juilette Coulter

Paige McDaniel and Juilette Coulter

Another couple of Chick Lit celebs were Lara and Bob Tafel, who have been on board in supporting the Community Partners of Dallas fundraiser since its inception. But their involvement is more than being the presenting sponsor of the annual get-together. In the midst of all the partying, Bob voiced genuine concern that recent legislative developments were increasing the need for CPD’s efforts.

And speaking of the 10th anniversary, CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel proudly wore a new piece of jewelry, a necklace spelling out sparkly Chick Lit in its signature font. She told how she and CPD Director of Development Joanna Clarke had had the necklaces especially made for those like Lara, Juliette Coulter and Kristi Bare who have attended all 10 years of the CPD fundraiser.

And while the guests kept coming and coming, it was still an early night because the luncheon was the next day at the Hilton Anatole.

Grovel Alert: 10th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon With Tim Gunn

Joanna Clarke and Paige McDaniel (File photo)

Joanna Clarke and Paige McDaniel (File photo)

Community Partners of DallasPaige McDaniel and her sidekick Joanna Clarke just sent word that Friday’s 10th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon at the Anatole is within a feather of being sold out. Well, but with tastemeister Tim Gunn as the center attraction, what else would you expect?

So, the scant remaining tickets will be available until 5 p.m. Thursday. Yipes! That’s tomorrow!

Suggestion: get your ticket pronto and even if you have one, upgrade. Why? Because the patron types are gonna have a party Thursday night and you just know you would have a blast.

MySweet2016Goals: Susan Jenevein

According to Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep Director of Development Susan Jenevein,

Susan Jenevein (File photo)

Susan Jenevein (File photo)

“My goal for 2016 is to provide each of our incoming students (100% of whom are at or below the federal poverty level) with a Google Chromebook – a goal of $40,000. Our students do all of their work on these Chromebooks at school, and since many do not have computers or even wireless access at home, these laptops would allow them to do their homework electronically. It is imperative that we are computer-based so we prepare our students for college and future employment.

“We are hoping to reach our goal with a GoFundMe campaign to raise $40,000 in February 2016, providing each of our 128 incoming freshmen with a Chromebook that they will use for all four years at Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep. To help us reach our goal, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/kgnwd6bh.”

The Resource Center’s Food Pantry’s Move Has Been Moved Up And Could Use Some Help

The Resource Center has been in the midst of an $8.7M capital campaign that would not only provide a new 20,000-square-foot community center, but also renovate its building at Reagan and Brown, where it can consolidate HIV services, nutrition services and the food pantry. The great news is that the effort has paid off in raising $7.6M, or 88% of its total goal.

Unfortunately, there’s been a development forcing a change of plans. It seems that the Center has had to “accelerate renovation improvements of the food pantry,” due to the loss of its lease on the current space at 5450 Denton Drive, where more than 800 per week are serve.

The Resource Center's new food pantry under construction*

The Resource Center’s new food pantry under construction*

For 31 years, the Center’s food pantry has provided fresh produce, canned goods, frozen foods and perishables thanks to “purchases from the North Texas Food Bank, as well as through generous donations from supermarkets, restaurants, caterers, community groups and individuals.”

According to Resource Center CEO Cece Cox, “This timeline was not ideal, but we are committed to clients. We will not miss one day of services at the pantry. Staff is working to accommodate clients to ensure that their needs are being met during this transition phase.”

In order to achieve this transition in mid-February, the Resource Center “is calling for community support to construct a new food pantry.” To do this it “will take $600,000 to renovate the Reagan and Brown building including the construction and relocation of the food pantry.”

If all follows to plan, the Reagan and Brown renovations should be completed this summer.

* Photo courtesy of the Resource Center

MySweetWishList: Resource Center

According to Resource Center Marketing and Communication Coordinator Jennifer Williams,

“Resource Center provides needed nutritional support to people living with HIV/AIDS with food distributed through our Food Pantry and weekday hot meals program.  Weight loss and malnutrition continue to be common problems with HIV and can contribute to HIV disease progression. A healthy diet improves quality of life, and good nutrition helps the body process the many medications taken by people with HIV. Good nutrition helps keep the immune system strong, enabling a person living with HIV to better fight the disease.

Resource Center*

Resource Center*

“Our wish is that food continues to be medicine for our clients. Resource Center is requesting support of our HIV nutrition programs. During the holiday season we see a huge influx of clients that stock up on several weeks’ worth of groceries when normally they are allowed to shop once per week. After the holiday rush, inventory can become low and we will need to restock to continue to meet the high demand of activity.

“We have a need for the following items:

  1. “Canned vegetables such as green peas, all styles of tomatoes, sliced, diced and or whole potatoes, asparagus and red beans.
  2. “Canned meat such as chili, Spam, chicken, Spaghetti-o’s with meatballs, ravioli with meat and sardines.
  3. “Canned fruit such as, fruit cocktail, peaches, pears and or pineapples
  4. “Meal replacement drinks and shakes like Ensure

    Resource Center*

    Resource Center*

“In addition to perishable food items, a monetary gift makes an impact!

  • “$30 provides a daily hot meal for a person living with HIV for one month at Resource Center’s Hot Meals program.
  • “$60 provides vital groceries for a person living with HIV for an entire month from the Food Pantry at Resource Center.
  • “$90 provides an educational speaker and lunch for one HIV support group meeting.

“Donations can be made at www.myresourcecenter.org/give. For more information about Resource Center, visit www.myresourcecenter.org.”

-By Jennifer Williams, Resource Center marketing and communications coordinator

* Photos provided by Resource Center

North Texans Discover A Devastated Landscape And Neighbors In Need

Last night Dallas took it on the chin with Rowlett, Garland, DeSoto and Collin County really taking the brunt of the tornadic storms. While the weather guessers and emergency sirens did an excellent job warning people to take cover, such conditions were truly overwhelming. As most in the North Texas area were spared, thousands discovered the brutality and cruelty of nature’s forces.

Today the experts were surmising that Garland alone had an EF4 tornado killing eight people and destroying home after home. In the world of tornadoes, an EF4 is only trumped by an EF5. That means Garland had 200-mile winds that made a deadly cut through the city as it marched from DeSoto northeast toward Farmersville.

As first responders like Texas Taskforce 1 continue their search for the injured and utility crews try to restore some type of normalcy to tattered neighborhoods, families are seeking help at the following shelters:

  • Cornerstone Baptist Church, 8200 Schrade Road, Rowlett  (Ph. 972.475.4403)
  • First United Methodist, 4405 Main St., Rowlett (Ph. 972.475.3667)
  • Rowlett Community Center, 5300 Main St., Rowlett (Ph. 972.412.6170)
  • Stedham Elementary, 6200 Danridge Rd., Rowlett (Ph. 972.463.5887)
  • Red Oak Middle School, 154 Louise Ritter Blvd., Red Oak (Ph. 972.617.0066)
  • Frank D. Moates Elementary School, 1500 Heritage Blvd., Glenn Heights (Ph. 972.230.2881)

Still others are trying to locate their pets that got lost in the evening nightmare. Luckily, lost animals are being turned into area shelters like Rowlett. Dallas Companion Animal Projects is providing info and Plano Media Director Steve Stoler has been using his Facebook page trying to connect lost parents and pets.

Needless to say, insurance companies are in overdrive trying to help victims start the long, arduous process of rebuilding.

After you count your lucky stars that you made it out of the night unscratched, consider

  • donating money to the Red Cross and The Salvation Army
  • checking social media for possible friends who might be in need
  • taking food and money to area animal shelters and the North Texas Pet Food Pantry
  • preparing your household just in case another episode takes place (i.e. storm shelter, microchipping the pets, emergency plan, etc.)
  • contacting your church and favorite nonprofit to see what they are doing to help.

On the other hand, what not to do? Don’t

  • Go to the afflicted area. It’s chaotic enough with victims and professional assistance.
  • Fall for unproven scams seeking financial aid for the victims.

Any nonprofit that is offering services or is in need of assistance to specifically help the Christmas Day After Disaster (CDAD) victims, please send your requests to [email protected] and we’ll try to get the word out. But you need to get the info in by close of work Monday. Please put in the subject line: “CDAD Assistance” and the name of your organization.

Please realize that like any disaster, there are two major stages: immediate recovery and longtime rebuilding. In the days ahead, please don’t forget the second stage. Neighbors will continue to need your support.

As you settle back in your comfortable and familiar digs, think about those so would just like to find a photo.