Change Of Plans: MySweetCharity Will Continue One More Day Due To Overwhelming Response

MySweetCharity

Evidently the MySweetCharity Opportunity series has grown in popularity. This year’s crop of opportunities was nearly double the number of posts submitted last years.

While the series was originally scheduled to end today (aka the last day of August), it has been extended to Friday, September 1. A big thanks goes to all those who contributed to the series and “the friends,” who sponsored the series. These are the people and organizations that make North Texas the land of opportunity.   

If you missed the opportunity to share an opportunity, start thinking about the next series — MySweetWishList. It will run from the Monday after Thanksgiving until the end of 2017.

MySweetWishList: MySweetCharity

MySweetCharity

North Texas’ nonprofit old timers and newcomers made their wishes known in the MySweetWishList series for the past weeks.

Hopefully, you had time to check one, two or all of them out. And just maybe you were able to come through for one of them.

At MySweetCharity we have a wish, too. It is that if you couldn’t make one of the nonprofit’s wishes come true immediately, you’ll keep them in mind in the year ahead.

North Texas generosity is legendary for providing nonprofits with the resources to support those in need and to improve the community. While the challenges may seem never to end, there is an incredible number of dedicated people who tirelessly work in the trenches to make North Texas arise to the occasion.

Thank you for your consideration.

MySweetWishList: Young Women’s Preparatory Network

According to Young Women’s Preparatory Network CEO Lynn McBee,

Lynn McBee (File photo)

“The one wish I have for Young Women’s Preparatory Network for this Christmas, is that we would receive several $2,500 gifts that we can use to provide SAT/ ACT preparation classes for our young women at our schools across Texas. These classes are but one of the many resources we provide our students during their time with us – our public all-girls schools are sixth through twelfth grade. In addition to the preparation classes, we offer a full-time college bound advisor, STEM immersion camps and seminars as well as leadership and wellness workshops.  When these students are enrolled in a Young Women’s Prep school, they graduate from high school and are admitted into college. They are prepared and equipped to tackle the challenges that meet most first-year college students.

“This month we were notified that Carolyn Duque, a former student of the Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership Academy which opened in the Dallas Independent School District in 2004, was the recipient of The George and Fay Young Foundation scholarship. Carolyn, a sophomore education major at Midwestern State University bested 70 eligible sophomores to receive this $75,000 award. We were told that the selection committee was impressed when Carolyn was asked why she chose education as her major. Carolyn said, ‘I want to teach third and fourth grade students because I want to let them know they can change and this can change their life as it has changed my life.’

Young Women’s Preparatory Network*

“We want to keep giving the gift of education to our students. Whether it’s a STEM immersion camp or a SAT preparation class, we want to prepare our young ladies for a successful college life and career. We know that your gift can change lives too. Visit www.youngwomensprep.org or http://youngwomensprep.org/support/luminaries/ to join in the gift of changing lives. We believe in the power of education and that girls, regardless of background or socioeconomic status, can excel if given the right opportunity.

“Call us at 214.824.1400 and we will be happy to tell you more about Young Women’s Preparatory Network and the resources we’ve put in place to help our young ladies succeed.”

-By Lynn McBee, Young Women’s Preparatory Network CEO

* Graphic provided by Young Women's Preparatory Network

MySweetWishList: C.C. Young

According to C. C. Young Vice President of Development Sharon Ballew,

Sharon Ballew (File photo)

“My wish this holiday season is that the community will join together and participate in the 2nd Annual Carry the Torch 5K and Fun Run on Friday, March 3, benefiting the C. C. Young Cares program. The program provides flash frozen, heart-healthy meals to seniors in in need throughout the Dallas Metroplex, and every race registration fee helps to fund this mission.

“The race will begin at the beautiful C. C. Young campus overlooking White Rock Lake, at 6:00 p.m. and the route will feature sloping inclines, turns and scenic views. All runners also will receive a swag bag for participating in the race including a race shirt, glow kit and medals for all 5K finishers. Following the run, the after party will feature food trucks, vendors, a DJ and more. Awards will also be given in age group categories and for Overall and Masters Male and Female Finishers.

“To register yourself or a team online, please visit www.CarryTheTorchRun.com.  

“Please join me in supporting seniors in need by pledging to run in C. C. Young’s Carry The Torch 5K and Fun Run this March!”

-By Sharon Ballew, C. C. Young vice president of development

MySweetWishList: AIDS Services Of Dallas

According to AIDS Services of Dallas CEO Don Maison,

AIDS Services of Dallas*

“As the saying goes, “There’s no place like home for the holidays.” Now imagine not having a home for the holidays – or any time of the year. No place for shelter, for warmth, for safety, for a hot meal. Our holiday wish is to provide a home for the 122 economically disadvantaged individuals living with HIV/AIDS who have been on our waiting list year after year.

AIDS Services of Dallas (ASD) provides quality, affordable, service-enriched housing, food, transportation and support services for 225 men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS. The largest organization in Texas providing these kind of services and shelter, we currently have four facilities and are ready to grow in 2017. We are now raising much-needed funds to build a new housing structure to provide additional homes for residents.

“2017 will be ASD’s 30th Anniversary. Help us make it an iconic year with your donation by clicking here, or visit www.aidsdallas.org to learn more about our organization.

“Wishing you the happiest holiday season.”

-By Don Maison, AIDS Services of Dallas president and CEO

* Graphic courtesy of AIDS Services of Dallas

MySweetWishList: Dallas CASA

According to Dallas CASA Executive Director and President Kathleen LaValle,

Kathleen LaValle (File photo)

“Sixteen-year-old Daniella grew up in a chaotic environment filled with drinking, domestic violence, poverty and hopelessness. Up to 16 people lived in her tiny, wood-frame house at one time.

“Daniella was removed from home after her mother was arrested for driving drunk with Daniella’s four siblings in the car. No family members in Dallas were able to care for the child, but a cousin in Oklahoma agreed to take in the defiant and angry young woman. Removed from home, separated from her siblings, in desperate need of anger counseling, living in a new town with family she barely knew and attending a new school, Daniella felt abandoned and disconnected.

“But while Daniella felt forgotten in Oklahoma, Dallas CASA never forgot about her.

“Daniella’s Dallas CASA volunteer, Marie, visited the child often, driving to Oklahoma monthly for more than a year to stay connected. Daniella and Marie spoke often by phone, and Marie kept Daniella’s Dallas-based Child Protective Services caseworker up to date.

“Dallas CASA’s wish this Christmas is for gas cards and airline miles so no children have to go without a CASA to speak for them.

“Due to Dallas’ lack of adequate foster homes and residential treatment centers, up to 40%

of Dallas children are placed in protective care outside the county. A child might be placed in Houston, Lubbock or El Paso, but decisions made about that child still happen in a Dallas courtroom. And many of the children placed in distant locations are teenagers in the permanent custody of CPS and living in treatment centers, some of the most vulnerable children we serve. Almost half the children our volunteers serve are living in long-term foster care.

“Marie visited Daniella frequently in Oklahoma, observing the teenager settle into life with her cousin, her cousin’s husband and their two young children. She helped Daniella understand her cousin’s curfew and rules about who she could hang out with, both new concepts to Daniella. She made sure Daniella saw a psychiatrist regularly. Marie helped Daniella get an identification card and her school records transferred to Oklahoma. Marie facilitated contact with Daniella’s younger siblings, all living in foster care. And when Daniella’s parents’ rights were terminated by the court leaving Daniella in the permanent custody of CPS, Marie helped Daniella talk through her options. Should she consider being adopted? Or plan to age out of foster care? What did she want her future to look like?

“While living with her cousin, Daniella chose to attend a local vocational high school for healthcare professions and got a job at a fast food restaurant three afternoons a week. For the first time in her life, she had money to spend on herself, a home free of addictions and violence and hope for her future. Consistent love and care gave Daniella clarity for her future, stripping away her anger and defiance and replacing it with a caring heart and a big smile.

Dallas CASA*

“Today, Daniella, at 17, has been adopted by her cousin, giving her permanency before adulthood. CASA attended the adoption and sent photos to CPS afterward. Daniella is considering going to college for nursing, something Marie has encouraged with a visit to a local college with a strong nursing program. Marie even called friends in Dallas who could offer Daniella advice on different nursing degrees and the salary she could expect.

“Daniella was forced to grow up fast, but with Marie by her side, a permanent place to call home and a strong plan for her future things look bright. Dallas CASA’s wish this holiday season is that no child ever feels forgotten. With gas cards and airline miles and airline gift cards, we can ensure our volunteers can travel as far as they need to so all children know they are important and valuable.

“For more information on donating, contact Becca Leonard at [email protected] or 214.827.8961.”

-By Kathleen LaValle, Dallas CASA executive director and president

* Graphic provided by Dallas CASA

MySweetWishList: Cars For Kids

According to Cars for Kids COO Malcolm Wentworth,

“My wish is for everyone to have a safe and happy holiday season and for all our students to come back to school after the holidays ready to continue their journey. We need your help more than ever in order to help make this journey a success. Our ask is simple, donate your old vehicle in any condition to Texans Can Cars for Kids. We have our own staff that take care of the entire process.  We can pick up the vehicle for free and at a time that is convenient for you. Our tow drivers will provide you with a temporary receipt or we can email you one. We auction your vehicle at our Dallas car dealership and get you the highest possible tax deduction based on the sale of the vehicle at our auction.

Santa Tow*

“Our auctions are open to the public so we get the highest possible value for your vehicle and we have auctions every Saturday, with the exceptions of a couple holidays. Our dealership is located at 7100 Marvin D. Love Freeway, Dallas 75237. 

“You will receive a minimum of $500 tax deduction regardless of the condition of the vehicle. We are an IRS approved 501(c)3 organization. Your donation will help Local kids get back in school and you are helping save their lives because the kids are learning how to read and think for themselves. Texans Can Academies (TM) graduated 1,904 students this past school year. 

Cars For Kids mural*

“With your help we can do even more with two new schools we opened four months ago. My staff is here to help you with the process and we can take all donations up until 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2016, if you want to take advantage of the tax donation for this year. Remember to ‘Write off the Car, Not the Kid®.’”

-By Malcolm Wentworth, Cars for Kids COO

* Graphic and photo provided by Cars For Kids

MySweetWishList: CancerBlows

According to Ryan Anthony Foundation Co-Founder Niki Anthony,

Ryan and Niki Anthony (File photo)

CancerBlows was meant to be a once-in-as-life time musical event bringing together legendary trumpet players in a special concert and after party. The event sold out and raised substantial money for Multiple Myeloma patients and research via the Ryan Anthony Foundation.

“My husband, Ryan Anthony, principal trumpet of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra since 2008, was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma at age 43 in 2012. Thanks to aggressive and ongoing treatment, Ryan is in remission.  But, our passion to eradicate the disease is still strong.

“We are so fortunate to have a second CancerBlows scheduled for May of 2017 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. We are anticipating 1,800 guests who will enjoy a performance with such headliners as Doc Severinson, Arturo Sandoval, the Canadian Brass and Dave Matthews Band trumpeter Rashawn Ross in addition to fifteen other legends.

CancerBlows*

“During this holiday season, we are so grateful to the have the endorsement of philanthropists Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger who have brought tremendous resources to our efforts being spearheaded by Chairs D’Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock with Co-Chairs Anne and Steve Stodghill.

“My wish is that everyone who has been affected by this dreaded disease finds the treatment, hope and eventual cure that is on the horizon. Proceeds from CancerBlows will directly benefit individuals in the Dallas area.  In the meantime, please make plans to join us for this important fund-raising event on May 10. Visit cancerblows.com for more information.”

-By Niki Anthony, Ryan Anthony Foundation co-found

* Graphic provided by CancerBlows

MySweetWishList: Homeward Bound

According to Homeward Bound Executive Director Douglas Denton,

Douglas Denton*

“Homeward Bound, Inc., a nonprofit Dallas drug, alcohol and mental health treatment center, is asking for support for its share of the costs of a training for and presentation of a free storytelling program at the Bath House Cultural Center on the evening of Friday, January 6. Clients and former clients who have been coached by professional storytellers will be sharing snippets of their life stories for a public performance at the Bath House. This is an exceptional opportunity for our clients to tell their healing stories. We would appreciate financial help with the production and have been awarded a Texas Commission on the Arts grant for this program. We have an ongoing gofundme campaign at https://www.gofundme.com/homeward-bound-storytellers to cover these costs.

From the left: Homeward Bound audience member, Homeward Bound audience member and Peggy and Gene Helmick-Richardson*

“Behind the scenes are Gene and Peggy Helmick-Richardson of Dallas, the Twice Upon a Time Storytellers. They have been on the Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Arts Roster since 2003.

“The Helmick-Richardsons believe in Homeward Bound’s cause as well as the therapeutic power of storytelling. Together, they have been presenting their stories to our residential clients for more than 20 years as volunteers. In addition to their usual weekly schedule in our HIV-positive unit, the Helmick-Richardsons have been working with our clients for months, helping them to polish their stories and selecting the tellers for the Bath House program.

“’Our ultimate goal is to not only assist storytelling program participants in crafting their own stories to further their personal healing but to also reach out to others wanting to break the bonds of addiction or to have a deeper understanding of what addiction truly means,’ Peggy explains.

“Note that the audience will be limited to adults only, due to adult subject matter and language. Thank you for your support.”

-By Douglas Denton, Homeward Bound executive director

* Photos provided by Homeward Bound

MySweetWishList: The Senior Source

According to The Senior Source‘s President and CEO Cortney M. Nicolato, CPHIT,

Cortney Nicolato*

“This year, The Senior Source has assisted, protected and connected nearly 35,000 older adults in North Texas. With 10,000 Americans turning 65 each day in the US, our wish is to work together to raise awareness about aging issues and give all older adults here in Dallas to tools they need to not just survive, but Thrive. To do this, we must first draw attention to the struggles seniors in our community, and across the nation, are facing.

 “More than 20,000 older adults in the city of Dallas alone live below the poverty line and nearly that same amount live barely above that line. More and more older adults seek to live independently, but many do not have the means or resources to do so. Additionally, we are seeing an influx of elder abuse – emotional, physical and financial. Just last year alone, older adults lost $36 billion dollars to financial exploitation, frauds and scams.

“The Senior Source works to give seniors access to a better quality of life. A great example of this is one of our amazing clients, Ms. Julie. Ms. Julie suffered a stroke in her 50s, which required her to leave her job and therefore she lost her income. She lives in her childhood home, in West Dallas, which was in dire need of repair.  The ceilings had caved in, instances of mold were a daily sight, bursting pipes in the winter were a given, and fences were so broken that stray dogs would roam into her yard regularly. No one should live like this, but unfortunately many older adults in our community do.

“Her pastor recommended she call The Senior Source, and we immediately jumped into action. We helped Ms. Julie with her budget and finances, and we worked with the city to get her home rebuilt through the city’s Neighborhood Improvement Program. This is one of the thousands of stories that illustrates how The Senior Source has helped some of the most vulnerable in our community.  To see Ms. Julie’s full story, see our YouTube video.

“As 2016 comes to a close, and we reflect on our many blessings, we hope you will consider a gift to The Senior Source to allow us to help lift even more older adults out of poverty, to work to end elder abuse and neglect, and to ensure that everyone has access to critical services. Also, help us raise awareness by referring an older adult in need to us, introducing someone to our Agency and consider giving of your time to volunteer.  Check out the variety of ways you can give back at www.theseniorsource.org or call 214.823.5700.  With your support, we can make 2017 brighter for a generation who has given so much to us.”

-By Cortney M. Nicolato, CPHIT, The Senior Source’s president and CEO

MySweetWishList: Boys And Girls Clubs Of Greater Dallas

According to Boys And Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas Chair Gerald Louviere,

Barb and Gerald Louviere*

At Boys And Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas, we have many wishes. All of which are centered on the thousands of 6-18-year-old youth served by the organization. Every day our 17 Club locations open their doors to over 1,800 youth after school, providing them with a hot meal, help with homework and quality programming. Our wish is to see more students in impoverished communities move their tassels from the right to the left in May of 2017. We wish to send more first-generation college students off with scholarships and care packages. We wish to provide high school seniors, who have no desire to go to college, with a plan and skills to prepare them for the workforce. However, our greatest wish, is that you will continue to support our efforts to ensure every child has a safe place to go after school.

Boys And Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas*

Valencia Campbell*

“’It gave me a place to go. My mom was a single mother after my dad passed when I was 12 and I never wanted to be a burden on her. Every week when I was able to go to the Club, I was able to just be a kid. I didn’t have to worry about making sure my mom was okay. I was just able to be Valencia and be a kid,’ said Boys And Girls Club Alumna, Valencia Campbell. Valencia graduated from University of Texas at Austin in May 2015 and is currently attending Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law. She credits the Club for surrounding her with peers who were going to college and mentors who could tell her about the college experience. ‘It gave me a vision of myself that I was able to walk into.’

“Boys And Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas has a holistic approach to youth development, providing programming focused on the mind, body and soul of a child. Our three core areas include: Academic Success, Healthy Lifestyles and Good Character And Citizenship.

Boys And Girls Club of Greater Dallas*

“Our final wish is that you will support us in our mission to empower dreams, awaken passion, and inspire hope within Dallas youth. Invest in great futures today by donating online at www.bgcdallas.org/donate or contacting our VP of Advancement, Laura Brown, at 214.821.2950, ext. 732.

-By Gerald Louviere, Chairman of the Board of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas

* Photos provided by Boys And Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas

MySweetWishList: Dallas Heritage Village

According to Dallas Heritage Village President and Executive Director Melissa Prycer,

Melissa Prycer*

“My Christmas Wish for Dallas Heritage Village is that we enter our next 50 years with as much vision and enthusiasm as when we got our start in 1966. This entire year has been about looking back at our own institutional history, and I think we’ve all realized what extraordinary vision our founders, such as Mary Aldredge, Ruth Ann Montgomery and Lindalyn Adams had in those early days. They set us on an extraordinary path.

“Over the past 50 years, we’ve changed quite a bit, but the core of our mission remains the same: connect the present with the past. We see over 20,000 children each year, and those field trips are often their first exposure to ‘real” history.’ We’re active in discussions shaping the future of our historic neighborhood, the Cedars.  We continue to host remarkable special events, including Candlelight (celebrating its 45th anniversary this year), Old Fashioned Fourth and the newer Jazz Age Sunday Social. Thirty historic buildings are in our care, and it’s a constant battle against the elements to keep those buildings whole—and able to teach about the past. And this is just a snapshot of all we do—and all we are to our visitors, volunteers, and neighbors.

“If you’re still calling us Old City Park, it might be time for a return visit! To find out more, check out our website: www.dallasheritagevillage.org And I hope you’ll consider moving the past forward by becoming an Urban Pioneer this year. (http://www.dallasheritagevillage.org/supporters/memberships ).”

-By Melissa Prycer, Dallas Heritage Village president and executive director

* Photo provided by Dallas Heritage Village

MySweetWishList Series Ramps Up In Hopes Of Local Santas Coming Through

Santa (File photo)

With Christmas just days away, the wishes have been flooding in for the MySweetWishList series. There’s a request for volunteers. There’s one asking for $25 for a new pair of shoes for a child. And there’s another one that hopes for a Christmas tree for a family.

So to try to get the wishes known before Sunday; we’ll be doubling and tripling up on ’em. Why not take the opportunity to check them out. Who knows? You may just find a wish that you can help Santa grant.

MySweetWishList: Spark!

According to Spark! President and CEO Beverly Davis,

Spark! is a non-profit organization on a mission to ignite the Spark of creativity inherent in all children. Since opening its doors in June 2015, Spark! has served more than 7,500 children, 45 percent from low income homes.

By the age of 16, children decide if they are creative or not. If they identify as a creative individual, they have higher self-esteem, better problem-solving skills and go further in their education. Through creative programming and play in a fully immersive creative environment, Spark! helps children, in second grade through high school, understand their full creative potential. Here is one story that illustrates the impact Spark! is making on young minds.

Spark!*

In April 2015, Spark! celebrated World Creativity and Innovation Week and invited 24 students from Communities in Schools to experience creative immersion during the first-ever Spark! field trip. These students experimented with recycled art by designing and painting hubcaps that would later be installed on a wavy bridge made of car hoods.

Spark! officially opened the week of June 9. That week, two students from Communities and Schools came back to Spark! a second time. One young lady found the hubcap she painted was hanging from the bridge, and she quickly began showing it to her friends. The confidence she gained from spending time at Spark! is precisely the result that these programs strive to produce. “It’s really amazing to know that a hubcap can be made into art and that my experience could be so great,” she said.

Give the gift of creativity this year, with a membership to Spark! This new, affordable membership program offers unique incentives including birthday party discounts and tickets to VIP events. Members will enjoy unlimited visits to the learning environment during public hours. No matter which level you choose, your membership becomes an even better value with each visit. Packages range from $75-$2,500 per year.

Through memberships and donations, you’ll help further the mission of igniting the creativity inherent in more than 6,000 North Texas children in 2017.

Visit www.Sparkdallas.org/memberships, call 214-421-7727 or email [email protected] for more information.

-By Beverly Davis, Spark! president and CEO

* Graphic provided by Spark!

MySweetWishList: New Friends New Life

According to New Friends New Life Executive Director Kelly Cruse,

Kelly Cruse*

“My wish is that Dallas will become a city free of human trafficking! The Dallas sex trade is a $99-million enterprise, and I wish for this to be fully eradicated.

“I wish for an end to the entrapment of our most vulnerable girls and women into this horrific crime. The average age of entry into the American sex trade is only 13 years old.

“I wish for the continued growth and success of New Friends New Life as this team bravely stands on the front lines each day to restore and empower formerly trafficked girls and sexually exploited women and their children.

“I wish for the increased sharing of the manKINDness curriculum in local schools to educate the next generation of young men on how to properly respect and value women and themselves, and to encourage them to become part of the solution.

“I wish for more companies to stand up and join the No Harm Network and publicly state that they will maintain efforts that protect teen girls and women from the harm of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

“I wish for a sold out New Friends New Life luncheon on Wednesday, May 10, to ensure we have the necessary funds to deliver current and expanded services to survivors in our community.

“And I wish that anyone passionate about joining this important mission acts now by donating time or resources to stand with the team at New Friends New Life as we say ‘not our girls, not our city!’ www.newfriendsnewlife.org.”

-By Kelly Cruse, New Friends New Life executive director

* Photo provided by New Friends New Life

MySweetWishList: Symphony Of Toys

According to Dallas Symphony Orchestra VP of Development Michelle Miller Burns,

Michelle Miller Burns (File photo)

“Our wish this holiday season is that no child go without a gift under their Christmas tree. How can you help? Bring a new, unwrapped toy* when you come to the Meyerson Symphony Center for a DSO Christmas concert.

“This season, the DSO is continuing Symphony of Toys, the annual holiday concert tradition begun by Dallas Symphony Orchestra violinist Arkady Fomin and New Conservatory of Dallas.

“Arkady was a violinist in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra from 1975 until 2014, and in 1978 founded and directed what would become New Conservatory of Dallas. He also taught at University of Texas at Dallas, and performed in the Clavier Trio. Born in Riga, Latvia,  Fomin was awarded Latvia’s Cross of Recognition in 2012 on behalf of his contributions to music and music education in Latvia and the United States. Fomin died on May 5, 2014, after a long battle with cancer. New Conservatory of Dallas ceased operations on September 31, 2014, after approximately 21 years.

“Symphony of Toys benefits WFAA’s Santa’s Helpers, which is celebrating its 46th year of collecting holiday toys for children throughout the DFW area. The 2015 Santa’s Helpers Toy Drive provided holiday toys to more than 50,000 needy children throughout the four-county Dallas/Fort Worth area.

“If you can’t make it to any of our wonderful concerts this holiday season, please consider contributing to our Annual Fund. All new and increased gifts made before the end of the year will be matched by a challenge gift from the Elsa von Seggern Foundation. Please click here for more information and to donate.”

-By Michelle Miller Burns, Dallas Symphony Orchestra VP of development

* Editor’s note: Toys may be dropped off at the Meyerson through Sunday, December 18.

MySweetWishList: Equest

According to Equest CEO Lili Kellogg,

Lili Kellogg (File photo)

“Our wish at Equest this holiday season is to help more people like Katelin Beyer make the impossible, possible.

“Katelin is a bright and bubbly 20-year-old, who suffered a traumatic brain injury and stroke from a car accident. After being in a coma for 2 weeks, ICU for 21 days, enduring over 21 surgeries on her head alone, followed by two years of stays in multiple rehabilitation centers, her therapists and doctors told her that she would never walk again.

“Katelin’s family discovered Equest, and after a year of hippotherapy and hard work with her Equest therapist and favorite horse, Bounce, Katelin is walking.

“This is just one of many success stories Equest has seen over the 35 years as an organization. This holiday season please consider participating in our ‘Gift of the Horse’ campaign to help continue to change lives like Katelin’s. Equest’s equine facilitated therapy and horsemanship programs are provided to over 1,200 children and adults with disabilities and Veterans who have served our country.

Equest*

“Give the ‘Gift of a Horse’ in honor of or as a gift to someone you love this holiday season, and help make the impossible possible!

  • “$5,000 gives the Gift of Strength and provides for a therapy horse for a year.
  • “$2,500 gives the Gift of Independence and covers one semester of program expenses for a client.
  • “$1,000 gives the Gift of Wellness and provides a semester of counseling for a veteran or their family member
  • “$500 gives the Gift of Confidence and provides safety equipment for our clients.
  • “$250 gives the Gift of Education to local school children through the Equine Facilitated Learning program.
  • “$100 gives the Gift of Improved Health and provides a therapist for an occupational therapy session.
  • “$50 gives the Gift of Nourishment and feeds four therapy horses for a week. 

“To learn more about Equest and give a ‘Gift of the Horse’ please visit, www.equest.org.”

-By Lili Kellogg, Equest CEO

* Graphic provided by Equest

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

MySweetWishList: 2017 Art In Bloom

According to Art in Bloom 2017 Chair Sarah Jo Hardin,

Sarah Jo Hardin*

Sarah Jo Hardin*

“My wish is that everyone will make plans to join the Dallas Museum of Art League for Art in Bloom 2017:  Seasons of Love, an annual floral symposium and luncheon, on Monday, March 27, 2017 at the Museum at 9:30 a.m. Proceeds support the Dallas Museum of Art’s exhibition and education programs and the DMA League’s Floral Endowment Fund.

“Honorary Chair Jill Goldberg and I, along with the DMA League, are delighted to have world-renowned floral designer René van Rems as our featured symposium speaker. As a highly regarded ambassador of the floral industry, René has led design shows, workshops, and seminars throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Asia on the styling of fresh-cut flowers.

“Following the symposium attendees will enjoy a seated lunch, a style show by Luxury Fashion Show sponsor, St. John, a silent auction and a raffle, and the inaugural Live Blooming Art Exhibit in the Dallas Museum of Art’s Level 2 European galleries featuring a unique display of floral arrangements, created by local floral designers and inspired by works of art from the Museum’s permanent collection. Art in Bloom patrons will be the first to preview the show, with the exhibition remaining on view for DMA visitors through Wednesday, March 29.

“Sponsorships begin at $2,500 and individual tickets are $250.  For more information, please contact the DMA’s Office of Special Events at 214-922-1249, or visit the Art In Bloom webpage. I hope to see you on March 27 in the new year!”

-By Sarah Jo Hardin, 2017 Art In Bloom chair

* Photo provided by Dallas Museum of Art League

MySweetWishList: North Texas Food Bank

According to North Texas Food Bank Interim President Simon Powell,

Simon Powell*

Simon Powell*

“For many, the holidays are a magical time. But sadly that isn’t always the case, especially for the 1 out of every 4 North Texas children who is food insecure.

“The good news is that the North Texas Food Bank is here to help. With so many ways to make a difference, there has never been a better time to get involved. This year, MySweetWish is to have the North Texas community come together and feed our hungry neighbors. It’s easy to donate! 

  • “Purchase a gift for hungry neighbors at ntfb.org/holidays, our holiday giving guide gives your readers an opportunity to donate to feed hungry children, families and seniors.
  • “Shop at area Whole Foods stores between Dec. 1-15 and make a donation to benefit the Food Bank at the register. Remember $1=3 meals for those in need.
  • Get your tickets to go see the Dallas Theater Center’s “A Christmas Carol,” and give your food or funds donation to Tiny Tim and other cast members when you leave the theater!
  • “Order your Christmas gifts online and use Amazon Smile. Simply select the North Texas Food Bank as your charity of choice.
  • “Host a canned food drive at your faith community or place of business and make a difference for the 1 out of every 6 North Texans struggling with hunger. Click here to see our wish list of healthful items.   
North Texas Food Bank*

North Texas Food Bank*

“Regardless of how you choose to give back, know that your efforts will help the more than 853,000 food insecure people living in North Texas. At the NTFB, we believe that nourished people create communities that flourish and thrive.  That belief fuels our work and influences all that we do.  Thank you for championing our mission.”

-By Simon Powell, North Texas Food Bank interim president

* Graphic and photo provided by North Texas Food Bank

MySweetWishList: Young Friends of Wilkinson Center

According to Young Friends of Wilkinson Center Co-President Kristen Johnson,

Kristen Johnson*

Kristen Johnson*

“As a volunteer and Co-President of the Young Friends of Wilkinson Center, I love helping at our annual Toy Distribution Party. I know that we have many more Adult Education clients this year who will struggle to provide Christmas gifts for their children.

“My Sweet Wish is for more toy donations, especially for older children ranging from ages 7-14 years old. 

“Some suggestions for girls and boys in this age group are: Minecraft toys, Easy Bake Ovens, remote/radio-controlled cars, skateboards, MP3 players, digital cameras, flat irons and curling wands. 

“This Toy Distribution happens this year on Saturday, December 17.  If you’d like to help, please email our volunteer coordinator, Adrienne O’Connor, or by calling her at 972.284.0301. 

“To donate online, please visit the Wilkinson Center website, www.wilkinsoncenter.org, and click donate.  We will be accepting toy donations until Thursday, December 15.”

-By Kristen Johnson, Young Friends of Wilkinson Center co-president

* Photo provided by Wilkinson Center

MySweetWishList: Friends Of Wednesday’s Child

According to Friends of Wednesday’s Child Board Member David Lam,

“Are you excited for this upcoming holiday season? I can already smell the cookies, see the Christmas lights in the neighborhood, and taste the hot chocolate.

David Lam*

David Lam*

“The winter holiday is my favorite time of the year because everyone gets to share it with the people they love the most. We all have friends and family we enjoy being with during this joyous occasion, however, for some children it can be a difficult time of year. Have you ever considered what the holidays mean for the children whom do not have friends and family? Did you know that 1 in 5 kids in foster care will actually be homeless and not even have shelter, let alone have family and friends?

“While I do not understand what it is like to not have a family, I know what it is like to lose a loved one. My father passed when I was 12 and I remember the pain of losing a parent and also all the implications of that. We could no longer afford our home, my mom had to get rid of the business and I fell behind in school. I was one of the lucky ones that had a community of teachers and advisors that pulled me into one on ones and ultimately got me back on track. My sister and I were the first to graduate high school and get into college. I am now working in an exciting field and I also serve on a Board of Directors at age 26. It was that adversity that taught me the importance of consistent support and the role it plays in your success.

“At Friends of Wednesday’s Child, we understand that children are setup for failure because they do not have the support that many of us do. We envision a world where foster care children have the necessary tools to succeed in school, thereby succeeding in life. To do this, we offer programs such as Success in School, where education specialists are hired to help students academically. Foster care children typically move from family to family and school to school but having a consistent specialist can prevent poor performance they may encounter from switching schools frequently.

Friends of Wednesday's Child*

Friends of Wednesday’s Child*

“To all the MySweetCharity readers out there, I hope this story resonates with you. If it does, I would like to make a couple of requests that may be small to you but is life-altering to others. First, I encourage you to educate yourself about youth in foster care and their unfortunate outcomes. Second, I ask that you visit Friends of Wednesday’s Child to see how we help foster care children succeed. Lastly, support us by making a donation. Your contribution goes to funding our programs so that we can hire more education specialists and get more students enrolled into our programs.”

-By David Lam, Friends of Wednesday’s Child board member

* Graphic and photo provided by Friends of Wednesday's Child

MySweetWishList: Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center

According to Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s President and CEO Lynn M. Davis,

Lynn Davis (File photo)

Lynn Davis (File photo)

“The Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC) works to improve the lives of abused children in Dallas County and to provide national leadership on child abuse issues. Since opening its doors in 1991, DCAC has served more than 40,000 children (and their non-offending family members) who were sexually abused, severely physically abused, or who had witnessed a violent crime. Our average client is a 9 -10 year-old girl who has been sexually abused by someone she knows and trusts.

“I want to tell you a story about a client we recently saw. Isabella* had been holding onto a memory no 10-year-old mind was designed to carry. Isabella’s mother’s new boyfriend had dehumanized her. Years before, Isabella had experienced similar abuse from her own father. Her drug-addicted mother was concerned neither with helping her daughter heal from her past abuse, nor with preventing it from happening again. No grown up had ever protected her.

“But fortunately, Isabella’s grandmother did. She brought her to the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, where—for the first time in her decade-long life—she was cherished as the innocent child that she was. Isabella’s forensic interviewer gave her a voice. Her therapist taught her that she had value. Her week in CHAMP Camp alongside other child abuse survivors showed her she was not alone and during the holidays, Isabella received brand new clothing, an art kit, board games, books, and a mini karaoke machine!

Dallas Children's Advocacy Center**

Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center**

“Every year, DCAC brings justice, hope, and healing to thousands of children just like Isabella. But child abuse doesn’t just affect the “Isabella’s” of the world—it affects teachers, sisters, dads, classmates, custodians, CEOs, doctors, roommates, lawyers, accountants, pastors, friends. And because child abuse touches every member of our community, we need every member of our community to help us illuminate the truth and push back the darkness.

“With the holidays right around the corner, our Family Advocate team is organizing the annual Holiday of Hope campaign to help make this holiday season memorable and bright for the families DCAC serves. DCAC’s 2016 Holiday of Hope goal is to raise over $180,000 and serve 1,200 children.  If you’d like DCAC to do the shopping for you, we suggest a $150 donation per child. You can also choose to “adopt” a child (or more!) and shop for items from their wish list. A third option is to host a toy drive through your friends, personal networks, child’s school, company etc. and drop the unwrapped toys off to our Center by Tuesday, December 12th.  More information can be found online at www.dcac.org/holidayofhope and please email [email protected] with any questions. On behalf of the children we serve, thank you for helping us illuminate the truth.”

-By Lynn Davis, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center president/CEO

* Name has been changed to protect the identity of the child. 
** Graphic provided by Dallas Children's Advocacy Center

2016 MySweetWishList Kicks Off Monday!

MySweetCharity

MySweetCharity

After digesting turkey Thursday, shopping on Black Friday and keyboarding into Cyber Monday, the 2016 holiday season is well under way. Hopefully, you haven’t spent all of your pennies on cards, foods and gifts for family and friends.

Okay, you know what’s coming. There are many who could really use a last-minute push to meet those approaching end-of-year budgets. And then there are the children who don’t know what’s to celebrate. They live in homes where neglect, anger and hopelessness are the protocol. You could provide that one toy that might send the message that there is hope for a better life.

With all this in mind, the MySweetWishList series will commence Monday and run through December.

Sure, the “wishes” are going to be geared to seek your help, but they may also provide you with information about services, opportunities and organizations that haven’t made your radar.