Legendary B.J. Thomas Took The Stage For Northwood Woman’s Club’s Annual Kaleidoscope Fundraiser At Intercontinental Hotel

While the rest of North Texas was resting after a morning of runs/walks on Saturday, October 28, the Northwood Woman’s Club was in overdrive at the Intercontinental Hotel for its annual Kaleidoscope 2017 “Believe in Love” fundraiser. In addition to having The Triumphs on stage, the star of the night was the legendary B.J. Thomas. Here’s a report from the field that was delayed due to a MySweetCharity elf’s being asleep at the wheel: 

No raindrops fell Saturday, October 28, on the Northwood Woman’s Club Kaleidoscope 2017 “Believe in Love” Gala at the Intercontinental Hotel. The only raindrops at the event came later in the evening in a song when music legend B.J. Thomas took the stage and sang his Grammy winning hit “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.”

Upon arrival, guests mingled and explored the silent auction items and wine pull. As guests moved to their tables for dinner, they viewed a slide show featuring the beneficiaries of the event—Attitudes and Attire, Callier Center for Communication Disorders at UTD, Cristo Rey Dallas, Dallas CASA, Interfaith Family Services, St. Simon’s After-School, and NWC Scholarship Fund at Communities Foundation of Texas.

Gala chair Leslie Apgar welcomed guests into dinner as the band The Triumphs took the stage to play during dinner. The Triumphs, the original band that recorded with B.J. Thomas, added a touch of nostalgia to the evening with their familiar hits from the sixties and seventies.

Sharyl Weber, Patricia Kay Dube and Vaughn Gross*

To start the evening’s program NWC President Patricia Kay Dube welcomed everyone and thanked them for supporting the event. She then turned the program over to Master of Ceremonies and Auctioneer Dean McCurry, who recognized guests from each of the beneficiary organizations, including Dallas CASA President and Executive Director Kathleen LaValle and St. Simon’s After School Executive Director Maria Vizzo.

To start the live auction, Dean urged the crowd to “bid up” on a variety of live auction items. He kept the bidding lively for hot sports items such as a Cowboys game experience that includes tickets in a suite and on field passes, and a suite at a Mavericks game for twelve people. Travel items up for auction included a vacation home in Breckenridge, Colorado and a stay at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel in Hawaii. The live auction concluded with a trip to New York in December to see the Billy Joel concert, and this item generated so many bids that several additional trips were awarded to bidders.

B.J. Thomas*

Ready for the featured entertainment of the evening by five-time Grammy winner B.J. Thomas, the crowd enthusiastically welcomed B.J. to the stage and filled the dance floor to sing along and dance as he performed his many hit songs, including “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”, “Hooked on a Feeling” and many others.

The Triumphs closed out the evening with more music and dancing.

The best part of the evening was the success of the event in raising funds for NWC’s beneficiaries and scholarship fund.

* Photo provided by Northwood Woman's Club

“Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts Shared Her 3Ds At The Sold-Out 2nd Annual Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon

There were those who swore on their iPads that the Interfaith Family Services could not possibly top last year’s inaugural Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon with “Today Show’s” Hoda Kotb at the Dallas Country Club. But on Friday, March 31, the 2nd Annual Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon returned to the DCC with “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts for another sold-out event and home run. Here’s a report from the field:

Anna Moss, Molly Thomas and Megan Filgo*

Interfaith Family Services held a successful and sold-out luncheon to fight family homelessness in Dallas. The 2nd Annual Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon took place on Friday, March 31, at the Dallas Country Club with Megan Filgo, Anna Moss and Molly Thomas as the event co-chairs and Francie Moody-Dahlberg serving as the honorary chair. The luncheon was able to net $109,183.34 to help families and children escape the cycle of poverty.

Missy Leon, Francie Moody Dahlberg and Ashley Rupp*

Kimberly Williams and Whitney Tolliver*

The keynote speaker for the afternoon was Robin Roberts of ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Roberts took the podium after Whitney Tolliver, an Interfaith graduate who shared her testimonial. The entire room was teary-eyed as Tolliver told her story of becoming homeless with her 1-year-old son after she lost her home in the 2016 tornadoes, then lost her job the following month. On the day of the luncheon, Whitney was moving in to her own apartment, having graduated from Interfaith that week and ready to continue her journey towards self-sufficiency.

Robin Roberts*

As Roberts approached the stage, she thanked Whitney for her strength and courage to tell her story. She then began to lighten up the mood with words of encouragement. Roberts showed her humorous side when she opened her speech by sharing the 3 D’s she lives by: Discipline, Determination and “Da Lord.”

Roberts emphasized trusting God to lead you to the right path. She also spoke about how her initial dream of becoming a sports broadcaster took a detour and how she learned the importance of trusting her journey.

Roberts gave both a heartfelt and thought-provoking speech of the life lessons she continues to learn through her struggles with illness and adversity. When Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer, she remembered what her mother told her: “Make your mess your message.” Roberts carried that motto throughout her recovery and decided to publicly share her story in order to save others.

By calling attention to dreaming big but focusing small, Roberts was able to leave the audience with the key message “Everybody’s Got Something.”

Proceeds from the luncheon supported Interfaith’s Hope and Horizons Children’s Program as well as Interfaith’s Home and Hope Transitional Housing Program that provides housing and support services for nearly 100 families in crisis each year.

Sponsors included:

  • Give Families Hope ($15,000) — Katy and Kyle Miller, Robyn and Don Conlon and The Hegi Family
  • Give Families Hope For A Home ($10,000) — Anna and Ryan Moss, Benchmark Bank and Benchmark Title, Nancy Carter and The David B. Miller Family Foundation
  • Give Families Hope For A Hand Up ($7,500) — Kamela and Kenneth Aboussie and Mrs. Wilson Johnson
  • Give Families Hope For Stability ($5,000) — Lincoln Property Company, Melinda and Jim Johnson, Nancy and Neil West, Prairie Creek Partners, Southwest Kia, Susie and John Adams and The Moody Foundation

For almost 30 years, Interfaith Family Services (Interfaith) has been a leading resource for working poor families and a haven for homeless children who long for stability and hope. Today, we are even more committed to our mission to empower families in crisis and break the cycle of poverty.  At the core of our work is a simple yet effective program formula: Stability + Self-Worth + Skills = Self-Sufficiency. First, we stabilize about 100 homeless families (nearly 90% of them female-led) each year by providing them with fully-furnished housing for up to a year in one of the 26 units that we own debt-free, and we offer daily children’s programs tailored to the unique needs of homeless children. Next, we increase their self- worth through on-site counseling for parents and play therapy for children. Finally, we develop their skills via career coaching, financial coaching, and life-skills classes for parents and daily homework assistance and individualized tutoring for children. These comprehensive holistic services lay the foundation for the families’ long-term self-sufficiency. Our outcomes prove that our model works.

Interfaith families earn more ($13.51/hour), save more ($1,631 on average), reduce more debt ($1,167 on average), and remain self-sufficient longer than the members of any other transitional housing providers that report their outcomes publicly.

For more information on Interfaith Family Services or to discover other ways you can support Interfaith’s work, please contact Marketing and Media Coordinator Destiny DeJesus or visit www.interfaithdallas.org.

* Photo credit: Michelle Oesterricher

MySweetWishList: Interfaith Family Services

According to Interfaith Family Services’ Board of Directors Chair Ashley Blanchette,

Ashley Blanchette*

“As the chair of Interfaith Family Services’ Board of Directors and as a mom, I was shocked to learn that Dallas now leads the nation in child poverty.  While many of us are blessed to enjoy a warm meal, a bed to call our own and the knowledge our children will have gifts to open during the holiday season, this is not the case for many Dallas families.  My wish is for the community to help us provide our families, who recently experienced homelessness, a joyous and memorable holiday with some of the basic comforts needed to thrive. Many families don’t have access to items that you and I might not think twice about, including warm coats or shoes, as they come to us from incredibly difficult situations, such as fleeing domestic violence or living in a car. Through your donation, Interfaith will be able to provide our families with essential items, including a hot Christmas dinner, which we plan to enjoy with our families this month. The season of giving is all about appreciating what we have and helping others who are in need of a ‘hand up’ this holiday!

Interfaith Family Services*

“Thanks to a number of organizations and individuals, Interfaith will provide each family with a Christmas tree, holiday décor, gifts and more. Though gifts and toys are a blessing to have, many families are still in need of everyday necessities. My hope is that our community can contribute to making this holiday season less stressful for families in Interfaith’s program.  Below is a breakdown of how each donation will directly benefit a family.

  • “$25 — Give one child a new pair of shoes
  • “$50 — Give one child a warm winter coat
  • “$100 — Give a family a holiday dinner
  • “$250 — Give a family a very Merry Christmas

“As members of the community, we have the great privilege of being able to serve the working poor and provide their children with a meaningful Christmas. To all the wonderful MySweetCharity readers out there, God Bless and I hope you enjoy the holidays!

“For more information on Interfaith Family Services and how to participate in the holiday giving, contact Ashley Agnew at 469.828.1805, or visit www.interfaithdallas.org.”

-By Ashley Blanchette, Interfaith Family Services board of directors chair

* Graphic and photo provided by Interfaith Family Services

JUST IN: ABC’s “Good Morning America!’s” Robin Roberts To Be 2nd Annual Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon’s Keynote Speaker

One of the best speakers that hit the North Texas fundraising circuit was Hoda Kotb at the 2016 Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon benefiting Interfaith Family Services. It’s doubtful that she ever got a bite to eat because she literally visited every room in the Dallas Country Club ballroom. And when she took the helm at the podium, nobody wanted her to ever leave.

The only problem? How does one top Hoda? Well, 2017 Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon Co-Chairs Megan Filgo, Anna Moss and Molly Thomas put their heads together and believe they’ve come up with the perfect follow-up — “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts.

Robin Roberts*

Robin Roberts*

Roberts, who was here a couple of years ago for Pat Smith’s Celebrating Second Chances for Overcomers,” won a lot of fans with her personality, her talk and her inspiration. And why not! Besides co-anchoring “GMA” since 2005, winning a slew of national awards and being voted the “Most Trusted Person on Television” by Reader’s Digest, she bravely underwent breast cancer in June 2007 and later myelodysplastic syndrome in 2012. Her life has been filled with knowing the most famous and influential people in the world, as well as experiencing personal life-changing challenges.

It sounds like the Interfaith group is aiming for a second home run.

Tickets are available now for the lunch at the Dallas Country Club on Friday, March 31!

* Photo courtesy of Interfaith Family Services

North Texas Giving Day Booster: Interfaith Family Services

“It’s a bright beautiful summer day. You see kids playing with their parents in the park. You want to do the same and play in the sun with your child, but neither of you has had a decent meal in a few days, or a warm shower. Instead, you both continue to watch the families play through the car window, as you reminisce about the days  before times got hard, before you were laid off from your job, before you lost the house, and before everything fell apart.

“Unfortunately, moments like these are real for many homeless families in Dallas – over half of which are headed by single mothers. It is close to impossible for these women to be able to provide the quality of life their children deserve when they are struggling to find the confidence and internal strength to pick themselves back up again. Financial hardships affect children emotionally – many times they feel out of place, rejected by their school peers, and abandoned by their friends. This, in turn, can make them feel depressed, act out, or even fall behind in their studies. In fact, the average homeless child is four grade levels behind their peers in reading.

Interfaith Family Services*

Interfaith Family Services*

“At Interfaith Family Services, our mission is to empower families in crisis to break the cycle of poverty. We provide stable housing, counseling services for both parents and children, career coaching and job training. Additionally, children receive the tutoring and daily homework support that they need to fill the academic gap resulting from their families’ instability. We genuinely strive to not only get working poor families off the street, but to also improve their overall quality of life. If we can help people mentally and financially prepare for hardships, then they can avoid these situations in the future. Last fiscal year, 90% of our families obtained employment and transitioned to permanent housing and 95% of our graduates maintained employment two years after leaving our program. We are passionate about the success of our residents and we are extremely blessed and grateful to have an amazing group of donors, volunteers, and supporters to help us achieve our goals.

“That is why North Texas Giving Day is so important! Last year, with the money raised on that momentous day, we were able to provide life-changing opportunities to equip homeless parents to fight poverty while empowering children, like Michael, to avoid falling prey to it as an adult. Michael was a shy and reserved 5th grader who entered Interfaith four grade levels behind in reading. Without any intervention, summer learning loss may have caused Michael to begin the school year even more behind. However, thanks to Interfaith’s innovative Hope and Horizons Children’s Program, Michael blossomed into a more confident young man who became eager to learn. Now, he is reading at the 11th grade level! Then, there was Ricky. A 14-year-old, Ricky arrived at Interfaith reluctant to identify a career goal because being homeless made it difficult for him to dream. However, through our donors’ generosity, Ricky attended an amazing college tour of universities located on the East coast. After returning from the tour and learning about financial aid, Ricky enthusiastically stated that he plans to go to college and eventually become a neurologist. Ricky and Michael are not alone. Last year, nearly 74% of all Interfaith children advanced one or more grade levels in reading, and 70% advanced one or more grade levels in math! Most importantly, over 90% now have aspirations of going on to college.

“When you support Interfaith on North Texas Giving Day, you are not just helping homeless parents to overcome poverty, but you are helping children to break its cycle.  That is why we are encouraging you to Get Up and Give. The future of our community depends on it!

“May God bless you!”

-By Kimberly Williams, Interfaith Family Services Chief Executive Officer

* Photo provided by Interfaith Family Services
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In seven years, North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $119 million into the North Texas community. In 2015, $33 million was raised through more than 118,000 gifts benefiting over 2,000 nonprofits.

On Thursday, September 22, support Interfaith Family Services by linking here and spreading the word. #NTxGivingDay

Hoda And Hegi Girls Netted $217,800 For Interfaith Family Services

Amy Hegi, Hoda Kotb and Libby Hegi (File photo)

Amy Hegi, Hoda Kotb and Libby Hegi (File photo)

The Hegi gals (Amy and Libby) are high-fiving about the results from the first Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon that was such a gangbuster in April with Hoda Kotb as the headliner at the Dallas Country Club. The ladies netted a sweet $217,800 for Interfaith Family Services (formerly known as Interfaith Housing Coalition), which “empowers families in crisis to break the cycle of poverty through comprehensive programming that builds stability, self-worth and skills.”

In the middle of a $7M capital campaign, “the Dallas nonprofit organization provides transitional housing, counseling, training, job search support, financial coaching and childcare to help parents and their children create a strong foundation for self-sufficiency.”