Junior League Of Dallas To Receive Dallas CASA’s 2017 Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award In November

The Junior Leaguers of Dallas are going to be busy raising money this coming week. First, there is the 55th Annual black-tie ball — Encore — on Saturday, March 4, at the Hilton Anatole. Then next Wednesday, March 8, they’re putting on the 88th Linz Award Luncheon honoring sister JLD-er Lyda Hill at the Omni Dallas.

Dallas CASA Champion of Children Award Dinner*

After all this work, they’re going to be the recipients of Dallas CASA’s “Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award” at The Fairmont Hotel on Thursday, November 16, at CASA’s annual Champion of Children Award Dinner.

Since 1996, JLD and Dallas CASA have worked together “to serve more children in protective care, [a figure that] has grown year over year. In 2016, the JLD provided 38 volunteers who became sworn advocates for children. In addition, annual grants from the JLD directed toward recruiting allowed Dallas CASA to recruit many additional community members to serve as advocates, helping propel the agency toward its goal of serving every child in protective care.”

Junior Leaguers of Dallas*

Christie Carter (File photo)

According to JLD President Bonner Allen, “The Junior League of Dallas is both honored and humbled to be recognized by Dallas CASA. The work Dallas CASA volunteers do for the most vulnerable children in our community is exactly what the mission of the Junior Leagues is about — it is improving the community through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.”

Appropriately the honorary chair for the event will Christie Carter, who in addition to being a longtime Dallas CASA supporter, is also past president of the JLD, served on various boards and chaired this past year’s Crystal Charity Ball. It should be noted that she also co-chaired the “recently concluded $37M Abused Children Can’t Wait — The Campaign for Dallas CASA, which saw Dallas CASA more than double it program capacity, dramatically grow the number of volunteer advocates and move into a much larger building to accommodate the rapid growth.”

Priscilla and Corey Anthony*

John and Laura Losinger*

Champion of Children co-chairs will be Priscilla and Corey Anthony and Laura and John Losinger.

* Graphic and photos provided by Dallas CASA

Champion Of Children Award Dinner Guest Speaker Antwone Fisher Strikes A Chord As Dallas CASA Honors NorthPark Center

On the evening of Thursday, October 27, the reception area outside the Fairmont Hotel’s International Ballroom was packed. The big ballroom, after all, was about to play host to the 2016 Champion of Children Award Dinner benefiting Dallas CASA, which advocates for abused and neglected children, and nearly 550 guests were expected—more than last year’s total.

Angela and Jim Thompson*

Angela and Jim Thompson*

Andrea Martin and Cheryl Lee Shannon*

Andrea Martin and Cheryl Lee Shannon*

Mike and Jana Brosin*

Mike and Jana Brosin*

Greeting friends in the crowded foyer were the likes of Caroline Rose Hunt, Lynn and Roy Shelton, Debra Nelson, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, Joyce and Larry Lacerte, Dallas CASA board member Christie Carter, Frank Risch, Judge Andrea Matin, Judge Cheryl Lee Shannon, Jana and Mike Brosin (their Crest Cadillac/Crest Infiniti was the dinner’s presenting sponsor), Angela and Jim Thompson, Betsy and Richard Eiseman and Jan Sanders.

Jan is the widow of Judge Barefoot Sanders, the well-known political figure and longtime U.S. district judge—and steadfast supporter of Dallas CASA, whose annual Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award bears his name. “When they named an award after him, I thought I’d better put up or shut up,” Jan said with a smile, eying the scrumptious hors d’oeuvres. “So I’ve been a CASA court advocate for three years.”

Christine and Jonathan Bassham, Mark and Karen Carney, Joseph and Jeanne Manogue and Kristy Hoglund Robinson*

Christine and Jonathan Bassham, Mark and Karen Carney, Joseph and Jeanne Manogue and Kristy Hoglund Robinson*

Inside the ballroom, meantime, Mary Martha and Dr. John Pickens were peering out the tall glass windows, admiring the spectacular sunset. Soon enough, the hall behind them had filled, and event co-chairs Karen Carney, Kristy Hoglund Robinson, and Joe Manogue were onstage welcoming everyone. “Normally we would ask you to put away your phones, but tonight we ask you to take out your phones and text,” said Joe. “Let’s raise $100,000 tonight!”

With that, Kathleen LaValle, the Dallas CASA executive director and president, took the podium to pay tribute to the evening’s honoree and winner of the Judge Sanders award, NorthPark Center. As Kathleen explained, NorthPark for 21 years has hosted the annual Parade of Playhouses, which raises money for Dallas CASA and attracts volunteers to the nonprofit. In addition, she said, NorthPark secured five billboards across Dallas County touting Dallas CASA—and the group had only asked for one!

Kathleen LaValle and Nancy Nasher*

Kathleen LaValle and Nancy Nasher*

Accepting the award was NorthPark co-owner Nancy Nasher, who had invited to the dinner members of her NorthPark team, including G.M. Billy Hines, Special Event Managers Lona Crabb and the workmen who’d transported the playhouses into the center. Nancy said NorthPark has become “a place to learn about social causes” and, in 2015, celebrated its 50th anniversary by donating more than $1 million to 50 Dallas nonprofits, many of them benefiting children. (Dallas CASA, in fact, was the first of the groups to receive a donation.) Then she made a surprise announcement: “We will donate space once again on our prime billboard, at Walnut Hill and North Central Expressway, to Dallas CASA.”

After Nancy received a heartfelt standing ovation, Dallas CASA board chair John Gibson reiterated the group’s need for more advocates and more funds and said that, so far, more than $50,000 had been raised just during the dinner. Then he introduced the evening’s guest speaker, Antwone Fisher. Antwone is a director, screenwriter, film producer, and author who grew up in an abusive foster home—and then was homeless—before joining the United States Navy and turning his life around. His life was the subject of a 2002 movie, called “Antwone  Fisher,” that starred Denzel Washington and was based on Antwone’s memoir, “Finding Fish.”

Antwone Fisher*

Antwone Fisher*

During his talk, Antwone recalled that his mother was 17 and in prison when he was born in 1959. He was abused during 18 years in foster care, he remembered, and dealt with a total of 13 social workers during that time. Despite the years of abuse—and his experiences encountering pimps and drug dealers along the way, as well—Antwone said, “I learned to appreciate my fear. I wasn’t afraid of being afraid. If you’re not afraid, [bad] things can happen.”

During his years as a homeless person on the streets of Cleveland, he went on, he stole—but only for food and necessities like shoes, galoshes, and a warm coat. It was during this period that he saw a sign saying, “Join the Navy,” which he decided to do. He willed himself to pass the necessary tests, even though he couldn’t read, and, over the next 11 years in the service, turned his life around.

“If I had had a CASA [a court-appointed special advocate] as a boy, I would have grown close to that person and they would have been able to help me, like they do all over the country,” Antwone said. “Having an advocate who can speak for you is so important. When I was a kid, I couldn’t articulate my thoughts. … Sometimes all it takes is one person caring about you.”

After the evening’s second standing ovation—this one for Antwone—event co-chairs Christine and Jonathan Bassham took the stage to wrap things up. A total of $53,440 had been raised during the event, they announced, which, thanks to a $50,000 match, meant that Dallas CASA was $103,000 richer just since the first course was served. That amount, the guests realized happily as they made for the exits, would pay for a lot of advocates for a lot of Antwones.  

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

Dallas CASA’s Champions Of Children Award Dinner To Honor NorthPark Center With Author Antwone Fischer As Keynote Speaker

Parade of Playhouses (File photo)

Parade of Playhouses (File photo)

After 21 years of Dallas CASA filling the NorthPark Center with adorable cottages for auctioning, Champion For Children Award Dinner Co-Chairs Christine and Jonathan Bassham, Karen and Mark Carney, Jeanne and Joseph Manogue and Kristy Hoglund Robinson just announced that the renowned retailing center will be presented with the Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award at the annual dinner fundraiser for Dallas CASA.

Dallas CASA*

Dallas CASA*

Joining the festivities on Tuesday, October 27, at The Fairmont Dallas will be Honorary Co-Chairs Micki and Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Karen Carney and Kristy Hoglund Robinson (File photo)

Karen Carney and Kristy Hoglund Robinson (File photo)

Micki and Mike Rawlings (File photo)

Micki and Mike Rawlings (File photo)

Another highlight of the event will be keynote speaker/film producer/director/screenwriter/author Antwone Fisher, whose “Finding Fish” resulted in a movie starring Denzel Washington.

 

According to Antwone, “I think back on a childhood of longing for belonging and see my life now as something created out of my dreams. I clung to that preposterous vision and with the force of those dreams willed it and made it happen. Not because I needed to be famous but because I needed a world that made me feel uninvited to be wrong. So I imagined myself free, I imagined myself loved, I imagined myself as somebody.”

Individual tickets start at $300 and are available now!

* Graphic courtesy of Dallas CASA

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MySweetCharity Opportunity: Dallas CASA Champion Of Children Award Dinner

According to Dallas CASA Champion of Children Award Dinner Co-Chairs Karen Carney and Kristy Hoglund Robinson,

Karen Carney and Kristy Hoglund Robinson*

Karen Carney and Kristy Hoglund Robinson*

“Just before Christmas last year, Child Protective Services received a report about four young teenagers living with their mother, who was dealing drugs out of the house.

“What CPS found when they arrived was worse. There was no food in the pantry, refrigerator or freezer. The utilities to the home had been cut off. One of the teenagers had been using drugs and was suicidal. Two were still trying to go to school. Another had sought refuge with a friend’s family.

“We had just completed training to become Dallas CASA volunteers, and this was the case we were assigned. The months we’ve spent advocating for these children have shown us in person what a critical difference having a volunteer advocate can make for children removed from unsafe homes.

“This fall, we are two of the event co-chairs for Dallas CASA’s Champion of Children Award dinner Thursday, October 27, at The Fairmont Dallas. The dinner honors North Texans who are making a difference in the lives of children like the four teenagers we work with.

Mike and Micki Rawlings (File photo)

Mike and Micki Rawlings (File photo)

“The dinner will feature Honorary Co-Chairs Mike and Micki Rawlings and will honor NorthPark Center with the prestigious Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award for its decades of service to Dallas’ children. The award is given annually to individuals or organizations who significantly improve the lives of children in our community, particularly those whose young lives have been marked by abuse, neglect or other adversity.

“The highlight of the night will be our guest speaker, Antwone Fisher, film producer, director, screenwriter and author. Fisher was working as a security guard at Sony Pictures in Los Angeles when he took a free screenwriting course. The story he ended up writing was his own. Born in an Ohio prison to a teenage mother, Antwone grew up in an abusive foster home, escaping at age 14 only to become homeless on the streets of Cleveland. Ultimately, his life was saved when he joined the United States Navy, proudly serving for 11 years. Even in his darkest times, Antwone clung to a vision that he was worth something. He clung to that vision ‘not because I needed to be famous but because I needed a world that made me feel uninvited to be wrong. I imagined myself free, I imagine myself loved, I imagined myself as somebody.’

“The book, ‘Finding Fish,’ was made into a movie, ‘Antwone Fisher,’ starring Denzel Washington.

Champion Of Children Award Dinner*

Champion Of Children Award Dinner*

“Please join us and our dinner Co-Chairs Christine and Jonathan Bassham, Mark Carney and Jeanne and Joseph Manogue at Dallas CASA’s Champion of Children dinner on October 27 at The Fairmont Dallas. Together, we can make a difference for children like our four CASA youth. All four children are now in loving, safe homes, and we have high hopes for their futures. Like Antwone, we stubbornly cling to a vision for these kids that they can grow up safe, protected and loved.

For more information, visit Champion Of Children Award Dinner.

Presenting sponsor is Crest Cadillac/Crest Infiniti, and platinum sponsors are Angela and Jim Thompson.

* Graphic and photo provided by Dallas CASA

Round Robin October 14 Part II: Champion Of Children Award And Les Femmes Du Monde Woman Of The Year Dinners

One of the MySweetCharity elves was so weary s/he missed these two events that were supposed to be posted with the October 14th Round Robin. The elf is taking some time off…an hour to be exact to catch up on their sleep needs. In the meantime, check out what Les Femmes Du Monde and Dallas CASA folks were doing the evening of Wednesday, October 14.

Champion of Children Award Dinner

Jerry and Gene Jones and Kathleen and Michael LaValle*

Jerry and Gene Jones and Kathleen and Michael LaValle*

Over at the Fairmont Dallas, the excitement was palpable at the jam-packed reception before Dallas CASA’s big annual fundraising dinner. AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson was making a rare public appearance, shaking hands and mingling with the crowd. Not far away, the Dallas Cowboys’ First Couple Gene and Jerry Jones were doing the same. All around them were guests like Event Co-Chairs Jana and Mike Brosin, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Christie Carter and Caroline Rose Hunt. Also spotted: Cortland Grynwald, lead co-chair of Attorneys Serving the Community, which named Dallas CASA its 2015-2016 beneficiary.

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones*

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones*

Greg May and Randall Stephenson*

Greg May and Randall Stephenson*

Dallas CASA president and executive director Kathleen LaValle was saying the dinner crowd of about 550 would be the fundraiser’s biggest ever. “We’re so excited to honor AT&T,” she said. “Three of their executives are on our board, and we’re honored to be honoring them.” Dallas CASA gave its Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award to the telecom giant at the dinner.

It also heard from Ashley Rhodes-Courter, a best-selling author whose book, Three Little Words, described her nine years in foster care. Rhodes-Courter was interviewed by Gloria Campos, the event’s honorary chair.

Les Femmes Du Monde Woman Of The Year Dinner

Across town at the Dallas Country Club, meanwhile, Realtor Virginia E. Cook was being honored as Les Femmes du Monde’s 2015 Woman of the Year. About 150 guests enjoyed dinner (Panzanella salad, Boursin chicken, Julienned vegetables, chocolate mousse) and a tastefully-done video tribute to Cook starring the likes of Herb Weitzman, Roger Staubach, Tincy Miller and Lee Kleinman.

Emcee Jody Dean kept the program moving along, delivering quips like this one about Les Femmes du Monde President Alyce Heinrich: “She asks and won’t take no for an answer. It’s like talking to a tornado,” Dean said. “A wonderful, gracious tornado.” Heinrich was ably assisted at the podium by Dinner Chair Venise Stuart, who warned before the video played: “You’re going to need tissues.”

After the SMU Stampede singers serenaded Virginia with tunes like “Blackbird” by the Beatles and “My Girl,” Heinrich took to the dance floor to cut an elaborate rug with her longtime dance instructor. “You’ve heard of ‘War and Peace’?” Alyce’s dance partner asked when the couple finally took a break. “I’m Warren Slaughter.”

* Photo credit: Lara Bierner

Round Robin April 10: DIFF Chair Reception And Dallas CASA Champion Of Children Award Dinner Kick-Off

The fundraising efforts were stretching resources thin on Friday, April 10. Over at Goss-Michael Gallery, the crowds were spilling out on to the sidewalks as guests entered for MTV Re:Define honoring Michael Craig-Martin and benefiting The MTV Staying Alice Foundation and Dallas Contemporary.

The Junior League of Dallas was playing fun and games over at House of Blues for its Queen of Hearts Casino night. Word was making the rounds that one area jeweler had pulled out of providing a tidy donation for the evening. After digging through the rumors, it was learned that evidently no gem guy had squelched the deal. It was a breakdown in communication and an “Oops!” by an over-enthusiastic committee member.

Still other evening activities included:

Dallas International Film Festival Chairman’s Reception

Lee Papert

Lee Papert

Dallas Film Society Chairman of the Board Don Stokes lucked out with the weather. Following the first official day of the Dallas International Film Festival, he hosted a reception for DIFF supporters around the pool at The Highland Hotel. The weather was just this side of spectacular.

The crowd was still talking about the night before, when actress Blythe Danner was presented the Star of Texas Award at the Majestic Theatre.

Michael Cain

Michael Cain

Melina McKinnon

Melina McKinnon

While Michael Cain was chatting with folks like DFS President/CEO Lee Papert and Paul Divis about his work on “Mr. Stanley,” wife Melina McKinnon reported that she was taking time off from the film business to take care of daughter Athena and the newest family member, who is on the way.

Bandit

Bandit

Still, the scene stealer of the evening was Arthur Benjamin’s sidekick, Bandit, the four-year-old Lhasa/Shitzu rescue, in a service dog vest. After living with Arthur the past couple of years, Bandit knows how to work a party with the best of them.

Dallas CASA Champion of Children Award Dinner Kick-Off

Mike and Jana Brosin and RIchard Chamberlain

Mike and Jana Brosin and RIchard Chamberlain

Jana and Mike Brosin have hardly had time to unpack their belongings since moving into their new digs in North Dallas, and they’ve already had a couple of parties. This newness may have explained why the 60 guests arriving at the Dallas CASA Champion of Children Award Dinner kick-off party found the entrance hall dark. Seems Mike couldn’t figure out how to turn on the lights.

Glen Ashworth, Christie Carter and Jim Thompson

Glen Ashworth, Christie Carter and Jim Thompson

Didn’t matter. Most guests like Debbie Oates, Christie Carter, Sarah Losinger, Glen Ashworth, Jim Thompson and Dallas CASA’s new Director of Development Kersten Rettig with husband Clark Knippers moving effortlessly to the back terrace and grounds with its fire pit and pool.

Kathleen LaValle

Kathleen LaValle

Meanwhile in the kitchen, Chef Richard Chamberlain was delighted with the professional-style Wolf range and equally impressive Sub-Zero. It was just made for his creating the delicious food that made the rounds.

According to Dallas CASA Executive Director/President Kathleen LaValle, Jana and Mike will be chairing the Champion of Children Award Dinner on Wednesday, October 14, at the Fairmont Hotel with former WFAA anchor Gloria Campos serving as honorary chair. This year’s event will honor AT&T and its employees with the Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award. Dallas CASA also was hoping the Brosin party would help bring to a close its $37 million capital campaign. With just $2.2 million left to raise, they’re planning to celebrate “The Closing” of the campaign with another party in July.