Creating Positive Change

TV host enraptures crowd at trailblazing Dallas nonprofit's luncheon

TV host enraptures crowd at trailblazing Dallas nonprofit's luncheon

Amy Turner, Tamron Hall, Sunie Solomon
Amy Turner, Tamron Hall, Sunie Solomon Photo by Kristina Bowman and Lara Bierner
Cary Deuber, Travis Hollman, Stephanie Hollman
Cary Deuber, Travis Hollman, Stephanie Hollman Photo by Kristina Bowman and Lara Bierner
Laila Muhammad, Psyche Terry
Laila Muhammad, Psyche Terry Photo by Kristina Bowman and Lara Bierner
Jody Dean, Tamron Hall
Jody Dean, Tamron Hall Photo by Kristina Bowman and Lara Bierner
Lynn McBee, Melissa Sherrill Martin, Jenifer Strauss
Lynn McBee, Melissa Sherrill Martin, Jenifer Strauss Photo by Kristina Bowman and Lara Bierner
Barbara Diaris, Maggie Kipp, Terra Majork
Barbara Diaris, Maggie Kipp, Terra Majork Photo by Kristina Bowman and Lara Bierner
Dr. Michael J. Sorrell
Dr. Michael J. Sorrell Photo by Kristina Bowman and Lara Bierner
Ellyce Lindberg, Steve Solomon, MC Solomon
Ellyce Lindberg, Steve Solomon, MC Solomon Photo by Kristina Bowman and Lara Bierner
Tia Wynne, Cara French
Tia Wynne, Cara French Photo by Kristina Bowman and Lara Bierner
Lisa Sherrod, Genai Walker
Lisa Sherrod, Genai Walker Photo by Kristina Bowman and Lara Bierner
Cassie Fuller, Lisa Palmer, Arden Ellis
Cassie Fuller, Lisa Palmer, Arden Ellis Photo by Kristina Bowman and Lara Bierner
Gloria McGee, Dr. Brenda Jones, Crystal Sheppard, Dametria Brown
Gloria McGee, Dr. Brenda Jones, Crystal Sheppard, Dametria Brown Photo by Kristina Bowman and Lara Bierner
Terra Majork, Amanda Ward, Stephanie Seay
 Terra Majork, Amanda Ward, Stephanie Seay Photo by Kristina Bowman and Lara Bierner
Sunie Solomon, Reverend Debra Hobbs Mason, Amy Turner
Sunie Solomon, Rev. Debra Hobbs Mason, Amy Turner Photo by Kristina Bowman and Lara Bierner
Jody Dean, Paige Flink
Jody Dean, Paige Flink Photo by Kristina Bowman and Lara Bierner
Carinthia Kishaba, Lisa Georgalis
Carinthia Kishaba, Lisa Georgalis Photo by Kristina Bowman and Lara Bierner
Amy Turner, Tamron Hall, Sunie Solomon
Cary Deuber, Travis Hollman, Stephanie Hollman
Laila Muhammad, Psyche Terry
Jody Dean, Tamron Hall
Lynn McBee, Melissa Sherrill Martin, Jenifer Strauss
Barbara Diaris, Maggie Kipp, Terra Majork
Dr. Michael J. Sorrell
Ellyce Lindberg, Steve Solomon, MC Solomon
Tia Wynne, Cara French
Lisa Sherrod, Genai Walker
Cassie Fuller, Lisa Palmer, Arden Ellis
Gloria McGee, Dr. Brenda Jones, Crystal Sheppard, Dametria Brown
Terra Majork, Amanda Ward, Stephanie Seay
Sunie Solomon, Reverend Debra Hobbs Mason, Amy Turner
Jody Dean, Paige Flink
Carinthia Kishaba, Lisa Georgalis

A little rain couldn't stop 750 people from turning up at the Omni Dallas Hotel for the Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon, a landmark fundraiser for The Family Place.

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.