“We’d like to invite you to join us at Dallas CASA’s Champion of Children Award Dinner on Thursday, October 12, at the Fairmont Dallas.
“Together with our Co-Chairs Retta A. Miller and Megan and Tom Sterquell, we’ll be honoring Francois Rehani, founder of La La Land Kind Café, with the Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award for his contributions to making the lives of foster youth better.
“If you’ve visited one of Francois’ coffee shops, you know his business model is unique. His coffee shops serve kindness alongside coffee, and you’ll likely hear a barista call “I love you” on your way out.
“But he also has a mission: to provide support and job opportunities for youth who have aged out of foster care. The cafes provide a launching pad for youth who do not have a support system as they become adults.
“Francois operates on a simple principle: when you do the right thing, magic happens. His first shop opened on lower Greenville in 2019 when he was just 23 years old. Four years later, he’s expanded to 11 stores in Texas and California and recently secured a $20 million investment to further grow his business.
“Francois first learned of the challenges of youth aging out of foster care at a meeting at Dallas CASA seven years ago. “I was in utter shock that this was happening,” he said, referring to youth leaving care with no support system. He decided to find a way to provide job training and opportunities to these youth. He opened his first shop with 12 former foster youth and learned firsthand how difficult the problem can be.
“’I made some mistakes in the beginning thinking I could fix it all at once,’ he said. ‘But four years later, we’re really hitting our stride.’
“Guest speaker for the event will be David Ambroz, author of the heart-wrenching memoir “A Place Called Home” in which he recounted his challenging childhood of abuse, neglect, homelessness and parental mental illness.
“His book and his life are an against-all-odds success story. He made it out, graduated college and law school, co-founded a nonprofit to support foster children and serves as a foster dad in Los Angeles. He previously led Corporate Social Responsibility for Walt Disney Television and served as president of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission as well as a California Child Welfare Council member.
“Honorary co-chairs for the evening are longtime Dallas CASA supporters Fran and Mark Berg. Mark is a Dallas CASA board member and former board chair, and Fran is a dedicated longtime Dallas CASA volunteer advocate. Presenting sponsors are Fran and Mark Berg with Pioneer Natural Resources. Champion sponsors are Cynt and Kenneth Marshall. Platinum sponsors are Jackson Walker L.L.P. with Retta A. Miller, and Crystal sponsors are Double Eagle, Stephanie and David Krahe, Becky and Jim Lozier, Deborah Ackerman and John Lozier and Linda and Rob Swartz.
“We hope you’ll join us for this special evening as we take a moment to honor and thank those in our community for making a difference on behalf of children in need.”