When more than 60 guests gathered on Tuesday, October 9, for the launch party for New Friends New Life‘s 20th Anniversary Luncheon, the nonprofit’s milestone luncheon was exactly 30 days away. And according to NFNL CEO Kim Robinson, that was probably a good thing. “We’ve still got some work to do,” Kim told the kick-off crowd at the home of Gigi and Roy Salley. “We still need volunteers and money” and table sponsors.
As it turns out, the group would also be needing a new keynote speaker. (A few weeks later, it was announced that actress/singer/songwriter Mandy Moore, who’d been booked for a while to keynote the November 9 event, was backing out of her commitment because of a TV-production scheduling conflict. Actress Uma Thurman was named as a last-minute replacement.)
At the Salleys’, however, the main focus was on celebrating NFNL’s mission: restoring and empowering formerly trafficked and sexually exploited women, teens, and children. Continuing to address the guests — they included Carol Seay, Heather and Todd Furniss, Brad Cheves, Pat and Pete Schenkel, Wendy Messmann, Robin Bagwell, Nancy Best, Marybeth and Kevin Conlon and Beth and Chuck Theole — Kim recalled how one young woman basically had been rescued by New Friends New Life. After working as a nude model while still a teen, Kim explained, the young woman went on to toil in strip clubs, use drugs, work as a prostitute, and have a baby. But then she was told about NFNL and turned her life around.
The launch event also recognized the luncheon’s honorary chairs Marla and Mike Boone, and its three chairs: Connie Kleinert Babikian, McCall Cravens, and Jill Meyer. The four recipients of the group’s annual ProtectHER Awards also were announced at the party. They are: International honoree Victor Boutros, founder of the Human Trafficking Institute; National honoree Becca Stevens, founder and president of Thistle Farms; State honoree the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault; and Local honoree The Dallas Morning News.
The 2018 ProtectHER award winners were to be honored at the Nov. 9 NFNL luncheon at the Omni Dallas Hotel, as well as at a private dinner the night before.
* Photo credit: Lara Bierner