Friends of Wednesday’s Child, an organization dedicated to transforming the lives of children in foster care through education, celebrated its 31st anniversary with its annual luncheon at the Meyerson Symphony Center.
Festivities began when event chair Cachet Petty Weinberg and honorary chairs Amanda and G. Brint Ryan welcomed underwriters, sponsors and VIPs to a sophisticated champagne reception with the luncheon’s keynote speaker, former first lady Laura W. Bush. She posed for pictures with guests while attendees mingled and congratulated Weinberg for all of her hard work.
As the luncheon officially kicked off, Brint Ryan introduced Bush, who gave the group a humorous update on her family. The bulk of her address, however, was a passionate plea for everyone to do their part to help every child receive an education and a safe and healthy home.
She told a meaningful story about an unforgettable boy she met during her time teaching school when she first started working. She commented that she frequently wonders what happened to him having known about his home life.
Emcee Cynthia Izaguirre of WFAA and Bush then had a moderated discussion onstage, where they spoke about the importance of extracurricular activities and encouraged parents to be models for their children. For example, Bush believes the best way to encourage your child to read is for them to see you reading yourself. Her message to foster children is that they have many people who love them, even though they may not know all who are supporting them.
Without a doubt, the most touching speech came from Brittnay Conner, who grew up in foster care and will soon be teaching in Columbia as part of her Fulbright scholarship. There wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd as Conner shared her personal experience as a foster child, detailing the everyday challenges facing those like her.
She explained how she overcame her feelings of desperation and pushed herself to succeed. She was given a standing ovation.
Support of Friends of Wednesday’s Child helps ensure that foster children graduate high school on time and have a plan for their future. The organization helped more than 2,500 foster children, and that number is estimated to grow with this year’s luncheon proceeds.