Social Eyes by Faye Reeder

Summer Santa presents mystery, mobsters and mayhem to raise money for needy kids

Fox Sports newsman John Rhadigan and Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister, pictured, will headline the Champions for Kids breakfast event on Wednesday, Feb. 7 benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Arlington.
Fox Sports newsman John Rhadigan and Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister, pictured, will headline the Champions for Kids breakfast event on Wednesday, Feb. 7 benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Arlington. Star-Telegram archives

Everyone in Tarrant County that loves to go to charity fundraisers will be excited about a fresh new party format coming up on Feb. 10 at Marriott Solana Westlake and hosted by the good folks at Summer Santa. It’s a Roaring 20s dinner theater with a classic whodunit crime-solving element after professional actors re-enact a crime.

If guests choose to dress in Roaring ’20s style, they’ll fit right in as they arrive at a dark Speakeasy and check in with a secret password for an exciting evening with drinks, dinner and fun and games and a special appearance by mob family boss Big Daddy.

“The evening of crime and ‘pun’-ishment begins with cocktails at the cash bar followed by a seated Italian meal typical of the era,” said spokeswoman Sherri Whitt. Don’t be surprised if Big Daddy seems like he’s strong arming guests to bid in the auction and donate as family sergeants pass the red hat at the end of show when the bad guys are revealed and sentenced for their crime.

Chairing the event is Vicky Stropes with help from Bill Smith, Dave Burr, Lori Burr, Karen Lieber and Sherri Whitt. “Summer Santa is really pulling out all the stops for this exciting event. This is going to be a great evening of mystery, mobsters and mayhem – complete with gangsters, flappers and intrigue,” Stropes said.

Auction swag includes a fabulous dining and entertainment basket with gift certificates to the best local restaurants as well as one year’s service from Christmas Storage Solutions to pick up and deliver holiday decorations. Just the Thing Interior Design has donated a 90-minute consultation that includes decorating, staging and windows.

A spotlight moment will be the presentation of the Summer Santa Art of Philanthropy awards to those who have helped Summer Santa be successful in extraordinary ways. Kelly and Scott Bradley will receive the individual award, and Federal Heath Signs will take home honors in the business category. Medlin Middle School from Northwest ISD will be honored as the organization that helped Summer Santa in remarkable ways.

Since 1997, Summer Santa has helped more than 4,500 underprivileged children go to summer camp and donated nearly 36,000 new toys and books to sister charities for kids to have during the summer months. Nearly 2,500 children have experienced a back-to-school shopping outing courtesy of Summer Santa. They have also provided camp and school physicals, scholarships to fund sports registration fees for kids who can’t afford it, and Summer Santa volunteers teach Art of Philanthropy classes to 300 high school students each year. Funds raised at the Mystery Dinner Theater event will go toward these types of expenses.

Tickets are $100 per person and are available online at or by calling 888-287-2682. Reservations are due by Feb. 5.

Jeff Banister, John Rhadigan team up for breakfast event to help local youth

Fox Sports newsman John Rhadigan and Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister will headline the Champions for Kids breakfast event on Wednesday, Feb. 7 benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Arlington. A big crowd is expected at the lively morning at the Cholula Porch at Globe Life Park.

Doors will open at 7 a.m. for guests to enjoy coffee before a yummy breakfast is served at 7:30. Co-chairs of the event are Lisa Hoffman and Kari Sargent. Veterans of Champions for Kids know that one of the highlights is a chance to meet and chat with the club kids who will join the adults for breakfast, one at each table.

“Champions for Kids was reformatted from a luncheon to a breakfast event several years ago because it’s so nice for our guests to be able to attend and hear the stories from club kids and meet them personally, meet other community leaders, and still be available for the rest of their day by 9 a.m.,” said Hoffman.

The always-entertaining Rhadigan will handle the hosting duties and will have a Q&A session with Banister guaranteed to engage the audience.

“I am very honored to be attending the Champions for Kids Breakfast. The Boys & Girls Clubs have such a significant impact on the lives of so many youngsters not just in Arlington but throughout America,” Banister said. “Being a part of this outstanding event will be one of the highlights of my off-season.”

Rhadigan said he’s been involved with the Boys & Girls Club for nearly 20 years because he admires the work they do with the youth in the community and gets inspiration from the families they touch.

“The questions I have for Jeff Banister will be fastballs, the likes of which he hasn’t seen since his playing days,” Rhadigan joked. “Actually, Jeff is as down to earth and authentic as any coach/manager I have ever covered. Our interview will help the audience get to know him better.

“We will also talk a little baseball since pitchers and catchers report just days after the event.”

Hoffman said she enjoys being a part of the event because of the direct impact on the community that BGC programs have. “Boys and Girls Clubs simultaneously provide a quality, caring, safe place for kids to go after school and in the summer while offering programs that build character, provide activities and inspire at-risk kids to attend college or work towards a career,” she said. “Their impact is invaluable but they need the financial support of the community to do what they do.”

Tickets for the event are $150 and reservations are due by Jan. 31. Purchase online at or call 817-275-6551 x. 229.

Mansfield’s Run with Heart raises money for cardiac care, heart health

For anyone that likes to run or do fitness walking, the Jan. 27 Run With Heart hosted by Methodist Mansfield Hospital will offer a distance that fits your body and personality. Three distances – a half marathon, a 5K and a one-mile walk – are the choices for participants at this fifth year of the event benefiting Amon G. Carter Foundation Heart and Vascular Center at the hospital.

“We will celebrate those living a heart-healthy lifestyle and those who’ve survived heart disease,” said spokeswoman Angel Biasatti. “Hundreds of runners from across North Texas will lace up their shoes to raise awareness of heart disease prevention. It is also a time to honor those who have lost their battle with heart disease.”

The route begins at the hospital located at 2700 E. Broad Street and winds through the scenic streets of Mansfield Runners. Chip timing is available, and top finishers in various categories will win awards.

Hardworking committee members include Mayor David Cook, Clayton Chandler, Randall Canedy and Sherman Hatch to name only a few.

Be sure to arrive in time for a special warm-up session before the race, and bring the kids to enjoy face painting and balloon animals. Participants and spectators will want to hang around after the race to dive into some heart-healthy food and jam out to the lively music before the awards ceremony.

“Everyone is invited to participate, even if you only want to walk or run at your own pace and do not wish to be timed. Volunteers are also needed,” Biasatti said.

Register on line at

Jiggle Butt Run makes getting in shape fun and benefits victims of domestic abuse

What if you found a $100 bill when you were out doing your fitness run? Would you just count yourself lucky and enjoy spending it? Or would you give it away to help someone else? Could you imagine using it in a way that raised more than $170,000 over the next dozen or so years for a good cause?

That’s what happened to Mary Hibbs and a couple of friends back in 2006: they found $100 and decided to start a 5K race for women to promote fitness and a healthy lifestyle. The event — cleverly named Jiggle Butt Run — has grown from 46 participants that first year to around 2,000 women for the past few years.

The 5K is set for Saturday, Jan. 27 at UTA’s University Center, 300 W. First Street. The USATF certified course winds through the campus and surrounding neighborhoods. A pre-event Expo with exhibits and refreshments begins at 7 a.m. followed by warm-ups at 8:30 a.m. before the 9 a.m. race.

Proceeds from Jiggle Butt Run benefit SafeHaven and their programs to help victims of domestic violence. Last year alone, the event raised around $50,000, bringing the 12-year total to more than $170,000. Also, runners and walkers are encouraged to bring blankets, clothing, baby care products and women’s toiletries to donate to residents at SafeHaven.

“Jiggle Butt Run is not only a fun way to spend a Saturday morning, but has supported SafeHaven for many, many years,” said Kathryn Jacob, SafeHaven President and CEO.

“It’s a powerful thing to see so many women running together in an effort to end domestic violence in Tarrant County – they’re not simply running for their own health, but are motivated to run for those women whose voices are stifled, who live in fear, and who feel powerless. We could not be happier with the relationship we’ve had with Jiggle Butt and we are so excited about this year’s run.”

Prizes are awarded for top finishers in various age group categories and for Best Costume, Most Spirited and Largest Team. Advance registration is $35 or $40 on race day. Learn more at

Twitter: @FayeReeder