To commemorate the organization's 40th anniversary, event co-chairs Sunie Solomon and Amy Turner and honorary chairs Sammye and Mike Myers secured award-winning journalist and former Today Show host Tamron Hall as the keynote speaker. During a poignant interview with radio personality Jody Dean, the Luling, Texas, native revealed why The Family Place's goal of eradicating family violence in North Texas is so close to her heart.
"I had the opportunity to stand up," she said, referring to her sister's abusive relationship and how keeping silent about domestic violence eventually led to her murder. "It haunts me every day, and I speak about it now because if I can expose my scar, maybe I can help heal somebody else's."
Guests — including Lynn McBee, Melissa Sherrill Martin, Jenifer Strauss, Barbara Diaris, Maggie Kipp, Terra Majork, Laila Muhammad, Psyche Terry, Real Housewives of Dallas' Cary Deuber and Stephanie Hollman — were rapt as The Family Place CEO Paige Flink outlined the nonprofit's achievements over the last four decades. Some recent milestones include establishing the first men's shelter in Texas and opening Ann Moody Place, a brand-new shelter which features a medical and dental clinic and an animal kennel for victims' pets.
Nancy Lieberman Charities, the Plano-based nonprofit run by WNBA player and NBA coach Nancy Lierberman that makes sure educational and sports opportunities exist for economically disadvantaged youth, announced it was donating a Dream Court basketball court to a The Family Place shelter.
Dr. Michael J. Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College, was honored with the Texas Trailblazer Award, which recognizes those who have made significant contributions in their community and have opened the doors of opportunity for others. Among other accomplishments, Sorrell and the college famously turned the school's football field into the "WE Over Me Farm," which has produced more than 30,000 pounds of organic produce since its inception in March 2010 and is maintained entirely by Paul Quinn student-employees.
Bank of Texas received the Advocacy Award and Union Coffee was spotlighted for the Faith-Based Vision & Leadership Award. Students Sara Erlenbusch and Kathy Pham were recipients of the 2018 Verizon Be Project Scholarship.
Since 1978, The Family Place has counseled more than 210,000 people; provided lifesaving shelter to more than 23,000 women, children, and men; answered more than 575,000 calls for help; and helped more than 18,000 batterers learn how to change their abusive behavior. It is Texas' largest organization delivering proven programs that address emotional and physical abuse and incest.