Dallas CASA in the Wilson Historic District was buzzing with activity on Thursday, January 17. With Ruthie’s Rolling Café out front serving up its renowned grilled cheese sandwiches, the North Texas Coalition Against Human Trafficking’s Champion of Freedom Award celebrated the Dallas and Fort Worth police departments’ efforts. Here’s a report from the field.
The North Texas Coalition Against Human Trafficking presented the Champion of Freedom Award to the Dallas and Fort Worth police departments at Dallas CASA. The departments were honored for their work combatting human trafficking. Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall and the Dallas Police Department’s High Risk Trafficking Unit, and Fort Worth Police Assistant Chief Ed Kraus with the Fort Worth Police Department’s Major Case Unit, Trafficking Detail were on hand to receive the awards.
Each addressed their department’s commitment to fight human trafficking and support victims. Dallas DA John Creuzot and State Representative Morgan Meyer also addressed the group. Since 2011, the coalition has been fighting the growing problem of human and sex trafficking in the North Texas area.
According to the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault at the University of Texas, human trafficking affects 313,000 Texans, including 79,000 children. Texas ranks second in human trafficking in the United States, behind only California. In 2018, Dallas police handled 120 human trafficking cases, made 19 felony arrest and recovered 63 victims. In 2018, Fort Worth police worked 63 trafficking cases, with 17 suspects going to jail. Fort Worth police recovered 21 victims, including 13 juveniles.
The coalition also awarded a college scholarship to a survivor of human trafficking provided with funds raised by the Fraternal Order of Eagles and the Hotel Association.
* Photo provided by Dallas CASA
JUST IN: Miltenberger Family To Receive The Inaugural Annette G. Strauss Community Service Award At Family Gateway’s 2nd Annual Day To Play
Wednesday’s brief break from the gray, rainy days of February was just a refreshing reminder that sunny, user-friendly times are up ahead. Knowing that 2nd Annual Day to Play Tri-Chairs Jen Fahrenbruch, Jennifer Hull and Mandy Main and Honorary Chair Stephen Hipp have just revealed plans for the Family Gateway fundraiser.
First, let’s get the housekeeping done. The date has been set for Saturday, April 27, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Annette Strauss Artist Square.
And that’s the absolutely perfect spot for uber family-friendly activities — lawn games, yoga, live music, crafts, loads of entertainments and breathing fresh air — to take place. After all, it was the late Dallas Mayor Annette Strauss who founded Family Gateway to assist families affected by homelessness in 1986.
And speaking of Annette, Family Gateway has created the Annette G. Strauss Community Service Award to honor “families that have provided exemplary support for families affected by homelessness.”
According to Annette’s daughters Nancy Halbreich and Janie McGarr, “We are honored that Family Gateway has created the Annette G. Strauss Community Service Award in recognition of our mother’s long history and involvement with this organization that she founded. It will be exciting to see this honor presented to a family each year at Day to Play, recognizing the many young community leaders who are truly making an impact.”
Receiving the inaugural award will be of no surprise to anyone associated with Family Gateway. It will be Paula and Bay Miltenberger’s family.
Family Gateway President/CEO Ellen Magnis recalled how the Miltenbergers “first became involved with the nonprofit in 2009, when they prepared a shelter room at the Annette G. Strauss Family Gateway Center for a new family’s arrival. In 2011, they organized the “adoption” of 75 families during the holidays and have been deeply involved in the holiday program ever since, organizing donation drives and volunteering in the Holiday Store. In conjunction with a generous group of friends, they ensure dozens of kids get to attend summer camp at Kids Across America Kamp in Missouri. Paula co-chaired the Gateway to Opportunity Luncheon in 2016 and 2017 and now serves on the board of directors. Bay, a former member of the board of directors, now sits on Family Gateway’s Affordable Housing Board. The entire family continues to work tirelessly, from serving meals and organizing donation drives to connecting their networks to the nonprofit’s mission.
“We are thrilled to present the first Annette G. Strauss Community Service Award to the Miltenberger Family at the event. We hope their unwavering passion and dedication to Family Gateway will inspire other families to join us in our mission. Come be a part of this special day, learn how to give back, and spend time with your kids – it’s the greatest gift we can give them.”
And the price of admission is a bargain. It’s $50 for a Family Pass with no restriction on the number of attendees in each family in honor of Family Gateway’s inclusivity of families of all kinds. If you can’t make it or want to share the fun, you can always sponsor a Family Pass for a family affected by homelessness to attend.
Already on board for the day of G-rated fun are a live performance by singer, dancer, and HeARTS of Maya founder Maya Delgado, Kids’ DJ lessons & spinning by kid DJs from OontzKids, group yoga by Hanuman Homies, bounce houses, inflatable slides, an obstacle course and climbing wall, life-size Hungry Hungry Hippos game, dunking booth with local celebrity guests, bungee run, gaming truck, Giant Chess, Jenga, and Connect Four, hamster ball races, kids’ disco, Lego building, robo-surfing, dual hoop basketball, superheroes and characters, photo booth, and more. Interactive booths by nonprofit partners offering education, outreach and volunteer opportunities for children include Capes for Kindness, Dallas Zoo, Hanuman Homies, HeARTS of Maya, Kids Helping Kids, National Charity League, Promise of Peace Gardens, Wee Volunteer and more. Exhibitor booths by area businesses catering to kids include Explore Horizons, OontzKids and Raising Cane’s. Kid friendly concessions and beverages (including beer, wine, and champagne for adults) will be available for purchase through Wolfgang Puck Catering.
And for those who want to have their services and/or products displayed, exhibition spaces are going for $500. Sponsorships are also starting at $500. The following folks and organizations have already become sponsors:
- Field Day Sponsors – Mandy and Clayton Main, Marilee and Charles O’Connell, TurningPoint Foundation and Amy Warren
- Rainbow Sponsors – Janese and Rick Deitch, Jennifer and David Hull, Renovo Capital LLC and Texas Capital Bank
- Sunshine Sponsors – Anonymous, Evolution Spine, The Frymire Family, Goldberg and Croft Family, Ellen and Rick Magnis, Paula and Bay Miltenberger and Nichols Family Foundation
- Fun and Games Sponsors – Jen and Jeff Fahrenbruch, Stephen Hipp and Brian Rogers, Anne and Nathan Johnson, Minda and Gary Moor, Sandy Nachman, Gowri and Alex NK Sharma and Exa and David Whiteman
- Picnic Sponsors – Carmen and Gary Barrett, Biewenga/Cutshall Family, Ashley and Mike Blurton, Kristy and Taylor Bowen, Michelle and Chris Dupre, EyeMax Optical, Kerri and Charlie Gale, Hall Group, Juanita Harris, Harris Orthodontics, Chad J. Bieber and Robert William Ivey, Kessler Collins P.C., Mirjam and Chris Kirk, Cristy and David McAtee, Kelly and Jeff Miller, Morales Family, Susan Hensarling Nahkunst, The Naudo Family, Alexis and Andy O’Connell, Lauren Soulis and Tim Burns, The Waters Family, Leslie and Geoff Wayne, The Wentworth Family, Jamie Whatley and Sarah Katherine and John Zavala
* Photo provided by Family Gateway
JUST IN: Just Say YES 9th Annual Celebration To Feature Tony Dungy As Keynoter And Tavia And Clark Hunt As Honorary Co-Chairs
Tavia and Clark Hunt have hardly had time to switch from their uber formal wear for daughter Gracie Hunt’s bowing at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League’s Deb Presentation on Saturday, February 9, then they have taken on another fundraising event. They will serve as honorary co-chairs for the 9th Annual Celebration benefiting Just Say YES (Youth Equipped to Succeed) on Tuesday, April 23, at The Statler.
This year’s featured speaker will be New York Times best-selling author/Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach Tony Dungy. Makes perfect sense, since both Clark and Tony share professional football backgrounds. For the pigskin challenged, Clark is the president/CEO/co-owner of the Kansas City Chiefs and Tony led the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl in 2007.
In addition to making it to the Super Bowl, Tony “established another National Football League achievement by becoming the first head coach to lead his teams to the playoffs for 10 consecutive years. After he retired from coaching in 2009, Dungy seamlessly translated his experiences into writing projects, becoming a four-time New York Times bestselling author. Today, Dungy is an analyst for NBC’s ‘Football Night in America’ and dedicates his passion to a wide variety of charitable organizations, especially those that focus on mentorship.”
According to Just Say YES Founder/President Dan Bailey, “Tony Dungy’s nationwide commitment to mentoring youth is not only inspiring, but it’s imperative in equipping the next generation to succeed. We thank him for his passion and devotion to empower young people, and are privileged to have him as our 9th Annual Celebration keynote speaker. It’s going to be an unforgettable evening.
With a theme of “Reaching New Heights,” the fundraiser’s goal is a whopping $300,000 to provide K-12th graders “to succeed via three types of programming: high-impact student assemblies, peer-to-peer mentoring programs and adult influence education (staff development and parent programs).”
Table sponsorship include opportunities to meet Tony and individual tickets levels are available here!
* Graphic and photo provided by Just Say YES
Soup’s On! Guests Supped Up And Heard Regina Calcattera’s Story For The Good Of The Stewpot Alliance
According to one Soup’s On! Luncheon vet chef, this year venue was a vast improvement over last year’s fundraiser when “there were no bowls. The staff seemed like they didn’t know what was going on as if it was their first day.”
Not so this year. Chief Chef Brian Luscher praised the professionalism of the Hilton Anatole staff and how they were all smiles and greeting each of the chefs (Andrew Dilda, Omar Flores, Danyele McPherson, Suki Otsuki, Caroline Perini, Janice Provost, Anastacia Quinones, Jeramie Robison, Abraham Salum, Nick Walker and Michael Youssef) and their teams on Thursday, January 17.
And speaking of Brian, it was 11 years ago that he orchestrated the chefs to serve up soup for 300 at the House of Blues. Since then the event had been all over downtown Dallas (Reunion Station, Omni Dallas Hotel, The Statler) and this year’s gathering was the biggest yet with 800 people supping in Hilton Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom. BTW, that’s just half of the number of people that The Stewpot serves seven days a week, 365 days a year.
The headcount of 800 was just right for the Ballroom. There was enough room for servers to take care of tables and for guests to not feel claustrophobic.
On the other hand, the behind the scenes hallway where the chefs were warming their soups and ladling them out was cozy to say the least. Chef Suki Otsuki had a full 24 hours. The next morning she was cooking up Jambalaya on KDFW’s “Good Day” with Lauren Przybyl… Chefs Janice Provost and Abraham Salum were comparing photos of their Golden Retrievers that had been shot by photographer Robin Jackson. It seems that Robin had donated her time to photograph all the SPCA’s Paws Cause chefs with their pets to thank them for their time.
But as the chefs were cooking up a storm backstage, the guests were checking out the silent auction items. Right on cue the center doors opened to the ballroom and guests like Honorary Co-Chairs Linda Owen Barnes and Lucy Billingsley with daughter Summer Billingsley, Caren Kline and Rusty Duvall took their places.
Vicki Chapman was over the top with news that daughter Lauren Chapman and Francois Bellemare had set a date for their June wedding….Debbie Johnson, who volunteers at The Bridge had her clan in for lunch including husband David Johnson, sons Ben Johnson (with wife Tracy Johnson) and Sam Johnson with gal pal Alexandra Gonzales…. Former Stewpot Alliance Executive Director Dr. Bruce Buchanan and his wife Carol Adams were tableside with Margie and Ray Francis and Nelda Cain Pickens…While 2019 Spoon Co-Designer Brad Oldham was out of town on a project, his wife/2019 Spoon Co-Designer Christy Coltrin was joined by daughter Beatrice Morrow.
The program moved along with Co-Chairs Lindsay Billingsley and Jill Tiernan welcoming the group and emcee Matrice Ellis-Kirk stressing 2018 highlights of The Stewpot like approximately 15,000 homeless and at-risk individuals were served; 357,196 meals were served; 8M meals have been served since The Stewpot opened in 1975; and 66 college and vocation students received scholarships from The Stewpot.
That last point was emphasized throughout the event.
After the presentation of the chefs and soups and the chefs gathered for their annual group photo in the lobby, “Etched in Sand” author Regina Calcaterra told the audience of her childhood growing up in the 1970s with four siblings and a mother (Cookie), who was in and out of jail. The youngsters often switched schools so warrants couldn’t catch up with their mom. They loved school because there were toilets that actually flushed. During the summer, the kids would hang out in the library, where Regina fell in love with the Landmark series about leaders, who had overcome hardship, achieved success and given back. One of her idols because Amelia Earhart.
After being separated at times and bounced around the foster system, the children made the decision that their strength was in staying together and avoiding foster homes.
By the time she was 11-ish, her two older sisters — Cherie and Camille —were out and about and being teenagers, which meant she was left in charge of the two younger ones — Rosie and Norm. It was also at this time that she started suppressing her appetite that led to her hair graying and falling out in clumps. When her mother returned home one night and started after Rosie, Regina tried to intervene but got the worst beating of her life. The next day when she went to school, the teacher noted the abuse. The result was a social worker was at her home. The good news was the social worker put her on the track to emancipate herself from her mother. The bad news was the children were once again separated and placed in foster homes. Unfortunately, as Regina was going through the process of emancipation, her mother got permission to see the two younger children for a Christmas visit and kidnapped them.
Regina’s social worker also told her that no one would adopt her because “no one wants to adopt foster children.” But thanks to the school staff, she was put on the path to college, despite her caseworker saying “foster kids don’t get to college.”
She eventually did go to college and became an education major. But one class changed her path. It was one on international politics, where she learned about the world issues. Not only did she feel lucky not to be in one of those countries, she changed her major and was accepted by only one law school – Seton Hall University School of Law — that she attended at night while working during the day.
At the age of 30, she received notice that she had passed the bar and started hyperventilating over the fact she had risen above decades of struggle.
Her hope had been to help others who had faced similar challenges, but that plan was waylaid when she had the responsibility of finding homes for those displaced by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
She has continued her mission to let it be known that while there are public resources to help, individuals can make the difference in a foster child’s life. While Regina didn’t have a parent, she had a lot of people for short amounts of time, who help her along the way.
Tying it back to The Stewpot, she said that had there been a program like The Stewpot, her struggle and that of her siblings would have been much easier. She added that The Stewpot also provides help in getting an ID and an address, where the homeless cannot only receive mail, they can register for such simple things as a library card.
After Touring Stewpot Alliance, Soup’s On Keynoter Regina Calcaterra Was Part Of The Event’s Patron Party
On the evening of Wednesday, January 16, the weather provided just a slight chill thanks to a 60-degree temperature and a breeze. At Christine and Frank Scardino’s Preston Hollow mansion, a fellow made his way to the fireplace in the living room and den to make sure fires were well in place.
In the sitting room, Soup’s On featured speaker/ author Regina Calcaterra, The Stewpot Alliance President-Elect Emily Turner, Kelly Garlock, The Stewpot Alliance Executive Director Brenda Snitzer and Rebecca Eldredge were preparing for the 2019 Soup’s On patrons to arrive.
The timing of The Stewpot Alliance fundraiser was perfectly timed according to Brenda. She reported that due to the Arctic Stampeded expected within a couple of days, the organization had been contacted by area shelters in need of food for what was expected to be full houses throughout the area.
Earlier in the day, Regina had toured The Stewpot and lunched with the staff at Mudhen Meat and Greens in the Farmers Market.
Highlight of the night was the presentation of a painting of Dallas by artist Leon Pollard to Mayor Mike Rawlings for his years of supporting The Stewpot.
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