AWARE Dallas literally took the art of battling Alzheimer’s to heart with its theme “An Artful Evening of Advocacy Fighting Alzheimer’s” on Friday, April 14. With Lighthouse ArtSpace’s walls displaying Monet and Impressionists Immersive Experience, Booker T. Washington High School of Performing and Visual Arts interpretive dancers performed to the delight of the guests, who were all on board for dining and bidding except for Honorary Chair Taylor Hearn, whose day job as a Texas Ranger baseball player had him MIA. However, his folks Debra and Robby Hearn and sister Robyn Hearn filled in for the 28-year-old pitcher. Here’s a report from the field:
Since the theme for AWARE Affair 2023: An Artful Evening of Advocacy Fighting Alzheimer’s and the venue, Lighthouse ArtSpace, were announced, expectations and excitement about the evening has been high and did not disappoint.
Gala chairs Lori Bush, Pamela Musgrove and C’Mone Wingo welcomed guests such as the Amy Osler Spirit of Education Leadership Award honoree Stephanie Bray, the Founder’s Spirit Award honoree Jolie Humphrey, AWARE President Dr. Holly Hull Miori and Honorary Co-Chairs Venise and Larry Stuart. Honorary Co-Chair Taylor Hearn was out of town in his role as a member of the Texas Rangers baseball team and was represented by his parents Debra and Robby Hearn, and sister Robyn Hearn. Greg Osler, husband of the late Amy Osler, also attended in support of the memory of Amy and longtime friendship with Stephanie. Honorary Co-Chairs Emeriti were Sally and Forrest Hoglund, Lee Roy and Biddie Jordan, Kim and David McDavid Jr. and Ellen Terry with her daughter, Amy Terry Kriegel and son, Todd Terry.
Beginning this truly immersive gala experience, guests were greeted with a wonderful photo op aside a red Bentley from Avondale Dealerships as they entered and enjoyed a cocktail reception, silent auction, and catching up with friends. As dinner began in the upstairs galleries, images from the Lighthouse ArtSpace’s Monet and Impressionists Immersive Experience danced across the walls and interpretive dancers from the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts performed interpretive dances throughout the space.
Emcee Scott Murray welcomed everyone and thanked them for gathering together in support of AWARE’s mission to fight Alzheimer’s disease and to raise funds for the grants provided to the over 15 grant recipients. Dr. Miori stated, “With a 35 plus year tradition of supporting our local nonprofits and each other, the evening was a perfect artful night to come together. We are so thankful for so many who joined us to support our grant recipients and celebrate our honorees.” Holly welcomed the crowd and said that since AWARE began in 1989 as a fundraising organization for the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and today as a component fund of The Dallas Foundation, AWARE has raised over $14.5M in the fight against Alzheimer’s. She also said that all funds raised remain in the North Texas community.
After the invocation, Pam thanked Monet sponsor DeWitt & Dunn Financial Services and Van Gogh sponsors Stacey Jones Angel and Venise and Larry Stuart. She also recognized media sponsors PaperCity and Senior Resource Guide for their advocacy and support.
The awards were presented to Stephanie and Jolie and special recognition was given to Myrna D. Schlegel, the 2022 Founder’s Award recipient, who was unable to attend last year’s gala, but was there tonight. Pam awed the audience when she sang her original song, “AWARE,” and dinner was served.
A spirited live auction included items such as the iconic AWARE purple jacket courtesy of Kim and David McDavid Jr., one week stay in a Lake Tahoe private condo courtesy Judy and Jerry Diamond, tickets to the US Open for two, a private dinner for 10 sponsored by celebrity Chef Kent Rathbun, a 1.50 carat diamond ring from Gem Voyage and two round trip tickets on Aero.
C’Mone shared a heartfelt story from her career as a 29-year Dallas Police Detective where she experienced a journey of tragedy of a homeless man who had been stricken with dementia, which touched the hearts of the audience. Because of her experience, C’Mone is determined to join and help AWARE which supports the nearly 25,000 living with Alzheimer’s in the greater Dallas area by supporting many of our local organizations in research, programs, and projects. She asked AWARE grant recipients to stand, receiving a round of applause.
Downstairs in the Artful Celebration Lounge and much to the delighted surprise of everyone, gala co-chair Pam Musgrove was belting out favorite dancing tunes with The INSTAgators band, sponsored by Jolie and Bart Humphrey. Sweet take-home treats were provided by Higginbotham.
The 2023 Grant Recipients are: Baylor Scott & White Dallas Foundation, Bishop Arts Theatre Center, C.C. Young, Center For BrainHealth at UT Dallas, Christian Care Communities And Services, Dallas Arboretum And Botanical Society, For Love And Art, Foundation For The Callier Center And Communication Disorders, Jewish Family Service, Juliette Fowler Communities, NorthPark Presbyterian Church, Plano Symphony Orchestra, Songs & Smiles, Stomping Ground Theater and Training Center, Texas Winds Musical Outreach, The Senior Source, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Wilshire Baptist Church, Myrna D. Schlegel AWARE Scholarship Fund.
To learn more about AWARE, visit the website at www.awaredallas.org
AWARE Mission: AWARE is dedicated to fighting Alzheimer’s disease by providing funding and support to programs, projects, and research provided by nonprofit organizations that actively help individuals affected by Alzheimer’s in Dallas and the greater North Texas area.
AWARE is a component fund of The Dallas Foundation, a 501(c)3 publicly supported charity. In partnership with the Foundation, AWARE conducts an annual grant review process by which grant applicants are carefully and thoughtfully vetted to ensure that grant dollars are awarded to organizations that provide outstanding services to Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers, and to those research institutions that are at the forefront of medical research in the treatment, prevention, and cure of Alzheimer’s disease.
Follow jump for a description of the beneficiaries and their programs.
* Photo credit: Rob Wythe/Wythe Portrait Studio
2023-2024 Beneficiaries/Grant Recipients:
Baylor Scott & White Dallas Foundation: Salary support for the Baylor AT&T Memory Center to provide a trained care-navigation specialist on site at the Center. At the point of care, patients and families are provided with disease education, caregiver training and support groups, elder law and financial planning, and a 24/7 helpline.
Bishop Arts Theatre Center: Support for the PatioLive! Creative Aging Program, a continuing program provided by trained theater artists. The program incorporates stories, music, visual arts, and dance to improve the quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementias living in low-income memory care, independent living, and adult day care facilities.
C.C. Young: Support for staff training on Alzheimer’s and dementia and programs in art and music therapy, service dog visits, exercise and movement programs designed to increase activity and interest for patients in the memory care unit of the retirement community.
Center For BrainHealth at UT Dallas: Support for expansion of Alzheimer’s Voices, an online training series communicating brain health strategies, action items to create a plan, and testimonials from families sharing the power of practicing these concepts. Training will be accessible online via the CBH YouTube Channel enabling outreach to a wider, more diverse audience.
Christian Care Communities and Services: Support for a series of programs providing dementia and Alzheimer’s awareness and education to the general public and healthcare workers. The curriculum is designed to increase participants’ technical abilities in caring for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as their empathy and understanding of these diseases.
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society: Support for the expansion of the Memory Garden project held onsite at the Arboretum. Individuals dealing with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers spend time in the gardens experiencing the tastes, scents, and textures of the herb/fruit and vegetable garden, and chef demonstrations of foods cooked with herbs and vegetables straight from the garden. To further extend the Memory Garden outreach, the program includes the creation of 12 interactive videos to be shared with offsite Alzheimer programs.
For Love and Art: Support for an interactive program bringing the art experience to people with cognitive impairment and limited mobility in 77 senior community long-term care facilities. The program is designed to stimulate art enrichment and memories to community residents while empowering caregivers to love people in creative and transformative ways.
Foundation For the Callier Center And Communication Disorders: Support for the continued development of TheraBeat, an easy-to-use innovative solution for Alzheimer’s and dementia treatment with a non-invasive and cost-effective therapeutic. TheraBeat is a sound therapy app that integrates beat stimulation with the patient’s own favorite music with goals of boosting memory and language function, known to be disrupted in such patients.
Jewish Family Service: Support for the Older Adults Program staff to provide in-home mental health counseling, care management, and daily living support to older adults with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, allowing them to remain living in their own home.
Juliette Fowler Communities: Support for the salary of a director-level staff member to be responsible for the expansion of the nationally recognized I’M STILL HERE program into additional Fowler community neighborhoods. The program provides training, oversight, and engagement for professionals and families working with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
NorthPark Presbyterian Church: Support for the Casa de Vida Respite Program giving respite relief to caregivers every Tuesday and Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. The program provides trained volunteers who give one-on-one care and stimulating activities to individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
Plano Symphony Orchestra: Support for Healing Notes, a free music therapy-influenced concert designed and directed PSO Director of Educational Outreach, Dr. Jennifer Wheeler, to be an interactive experience for seniors. Concerts are performed by professional orchestra members and targeted toward over 400 low-income seniors who are living in 17 memory care facilities and dealing with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
Songs & Smiles: Support for publication of Joyful Memories, a 24-page printed magazine designed for families to share with loved ones living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Published and distributed quarterly, the magazine’s content is timeless and intergenerational, featuring original and curated pictures, stories, poems, and jokes designed to stimulate conversation and evoke memories.
Stomping Ground Theater and Training Center: Support for Improv for Caregivers, a fun and interactive program for family and professional caregivers that uses improvisational comedy techniques to teach effective communication skills that are specific to the needs of persons with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Through interactive activities and games, participants gain a new understanding and a roadmap for effectively communicating with loved ones.
Texas Winds Musical Outreach: Support for the Concerts for Seniors program providing 106 interactive concerts in 89 nursing homes and adult day care facilities bringing joy, relief from isolation, and peace to individuals affected by memory loss, and new communication skills to their caregivers.
The Senior Source: Support for the Senior Companion Program matching trained volunteers with low-income individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their families needing in-home assistance with meals, errands, and light housekeeping, providing caregivers with respite and/or time to work outside the home.
UT Southwestern Medical Center: Support for a second year of Dr. Christian LoBue’s research trial to further evaluate Noninvasive Brain Stimulation (NIBS) as an intervention in dementia associated with Alzheimer’s Disease, and to train an advanced doctoral student having clinical skills in Alzheimer’s Disease on how to deliver the stimulation as an intervention.
Wilshire Baptist Church: Support for the Friday Friends Program addressing the need to provide respite to those who care for a dementia relative at home, and who have little or no assistance for relieving them of the constant care and supervision of their loved one. Trained volunteers provide the Alzheimer’s patient with a stimulating day of art, music, and games for the individual with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Myrna D. Schlegel AWARE Scholarship Fund: Scholarship support for nursing students at Baylor University, Texas Woman’s University, and Texas Christian University toward studies in gerontology, especially in the field of dementia.