Social Eyes by Faye Reeder

The Women’s Center and the Ladder Alliance to host events for victims of violence

Participants gather for the 2016 Victory Over Violence run.
Participants gather for the 2016 Victory Over Violence run. Star-Telegram archives

Two local nonprofits will host their major fundraisers to help victims of violence and low-income women get their lives back on track.

The Women’s Center of Tarrant County invites the community out for the Victory Over Violence race on Saturday. And the Ladder Alliance will have a luncheon April 21 that will provide an enjoyable outing for women and serve a great cause.

Victory Over Violence race, festival Saturday will help victims of violence

According to The Women’s Center of Tarrant County, every two minutes somewhere in America someone is sexually assaulted. Furthermore, one in four girls and one in six boys is sexually abused by age 18.

The Victory Over Violence race Saturday, hosted by The Women’s Center, will raise money to help the victims of these very sobering and tragic statistics. The anti-violence work of The Women’s Center provides such services as counseling for victims of violence, a 24-hour crisis hotline, support for victims at police and court proceedings, legal services and extensive education programs at local schools about prevention of sexual violence.

“For 21 years, we’ve set out to make the Victory Over Violence run an enjoyable experience for serious runners as well as those who just come to have a great time with family and support a worthy cause,” said Women’s Center spokeswoman Fran McQueen.

“So many of our participants return year after year because they know they’re going to have a wonderful time, while supporting our efforts to help survivors of sexual assault heal from trauma and educate others to increase awareness of this important issue.”

The 5K race is on a USATF-certified course that winds through Trinity Park. And there’s also a 1K fun run. Prizes will be awarded for the largest team, the biggest fundraisers, the fastest individuals and the fastest teams.

Around 3,000 participants are expected.

Participants and spectators will enjoy food from Chadra Mezza, UNO Chicago Grill, Simply Fit Meals, Kroger, Pepsi, Mrs. Baird’s, Yogi’s Bagels, Green’s Produce, Farmer’s Market Fort Worth and Starbucks. Youngsters will have a blast in the Kids Zone at the bounce houses, face-painters and playing a slew of fun games.

Victory Over Violence is chaired by Chuck Bouligny, Women’s Center board member and partner at Ascend Concepts. Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks will be the celebrity starter.

The race kicks off Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Tuesday is #TotallyTeal day, and those who want to help increase awareness of sexual assault and sexual abuse are asked to wear teal and post photos using the hashtag TotallyTeal.

Registration is open until the day of the race at www.vovfw.org. On-site registration begins at 7 a.m. Contact McQueen at 817-869-2117.

It’s in the Bag luncheon to help victims of domestic violence and low-income women

The old saying, “A woman’s purse is a reflection of her life,” rings true for many. Not only the purse itself, but the contents as well can say a lot about the owner and can be a fundamental part of a woman’s career tool kit.

That’s why the upcoming It’s in the Bag luncheon will be a hit with purse-loving women who also love helping a good cause.

Hosted by the Ladder Alliance on April 21 at Ridglea Country Club, It’s in the Bag will feature a fabulous lunch along with champagne mimosas. Guests will shop an exciting silent auction of handbags donated by area boutiques, retailers and individuals.

Funds raised at the event will help the Ladder Alliance serve women victims of domestic violence and low-income women by giving them tools to become self-reliant, independent and successful. The nonprofit provides extensive job skills training and access to the Success Store where clothing for job interviews is available.

“This will be the fifth year for It’s in the Bag,” said Ladder Alliance executive director and founder Sharon Cox. “The event has grown significantly each year and has become an event that everyone says, ‘I wouldn’t miss it.’ There is this festive excitement that permeates the event. But I think it’s the cause of helping low-income and domestic violence victims that really makes the event something women want to come to.”

Deborah Ferguson, NBC5 anchor, will handle emcee duties, and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price will deliver a special message. A student from the Ladder Alliance will be the program speaker and will share her moving testimonial. Chairing the event is Julie Bullion with help from a stellar committee.

Tickets are $100 each and include a seated lunch, champagne mimosa tickets and valet parking. Make reservations and purchase tickets at www.ladderalliance.org. Contact Kelli Warner at kwarner@ladderalliance.org or call 817-834-2100 to inquire.

Dining, shopping and talent showcase raises money for community programs

Denim & Diamonds, one of Northeast Tarrant County’s most popular events, comes up Saturday. Each year around 1,500 guests converge on the NYTEX Sports Centre in North Richland Hills to enjoy the bustling culinary scene featuring specialty dishes from area eateries along with spectacular shopping deals at a massive silent auction.

Exciting entertainment features area performers who compete for top talent honors and prizes in the “D&D’s Got Talent” show. The Northeast Tarrant Chamber of Commerce hosts the event.

“Denim & Diamonds attendees come back year after year because the event is so much fun, plus, the proceeds benefit the programs of the nonprofit Northeast Tarrant Chamber, which includes annual college scholarships for deserving high school seniors, the Leadership Northeast program as well as other community programs like Teacher of the Year, Business Education Success Team, Vital Link and Challenge by Choice,” said Jack Bradshaw, chamber president and CEO.

Among the more than 20 restaurants that will be dishing up delicious bites are Abuelo’s, Cotton Patch, Cristina’s Fine Mexican Restaurant, El Chico’s, Red Hot & Blue, From Across the Pond, Iron Horse Catering and ZuRoma Bar & Grill. All sorts of beverages, including beer and wine, will be served throughout the event.

“Over 300 auction items are up for bid, including sports memorabilia, golf packages, gift certificates, hotel and restaurant packages as well as all kinds of specialty items at great prices,” Bradshaw said.

“Items up for bid include one year of private school tuition at Bethesda Christian School, Choctaw Casino Package, drive-up wedding at Feragne Villa and a bed-and-breakfast package for the Mansion on Turtle Creek.”

Hours will be 6-9:30 p.m. and the venue is at 8851 Ice House Drive. Tickets are $15 adults, $5 ages 6-12. At the door, tickets will be $20 adults and $10 kids. Children younger than 5 eat free. Purchase online at netarrant.org or call the chamber office at 817-281-9376.

Unique event featuring decorated mannequins helps homeless children

Envision 50 elaborately decorated mannequins that may not only be dressed in a beautiful fashion but also might be adorned with unusual and unexpected artistic elements. Perhaps the body has been painted, or perhaps floral or jewelry materials have been applied in an unexpected way. That’s the type of art that guests at the inaugural Step Up and Dress Up event will enjoy. The event is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 9 at the Southlake Hilton.

Hosted by the Stepping Stones Foundation, which serves at-risk and homeless kids in the Keller community, the fundraiser will benefit the terrific programs this group provides to this special population that include mentoring, providing meals and clothing, all the way to full home makeovers.

Businesses and other nonprofits are invited to purchase a blank mannequin to decorate for $75. The decorated mannequins will be showcased at the benefit with the most creative mannequins winning prizes.

“But don’t worry — if artsy isn’t your thing, you can still purchase tickets to attend our event where you’ll enjoy mimosas, our diverse silent auction and the spectacle that is sure to impress with the many gloriously dressed mannequins. This is an event you won’t want to miss,” said Christina Bynum-Breaux, founder of Stepping Stones Foundation.

Tickets are $75 per person and admission is free for those who choose to decorate a mannequin. Details at www.steppingstoneskeller.org or call 817-739-3317.

Arlington Arts League Spring Gala

“An Evening in Paris” is the theme for the Arlington Arts League Spring Gala on April 8 at a new venue. Paris-inspired decor, dinner and dancing along with an auction and raffle will provide guests a memorable experience at the black-tie optional affair.

League President Elaine Strain announced that the new venue for the annual soiree will be the lovely Arlington Woman’s Club facility at 1515 W. Abram St.

“We are looking forward a very wonderful event at a very elegant location,” Strain said. Dinner will be catered by Scott Vickers, TCP Catering, and a cash bar will serve cocktails, wines and soft drinks.

For perennial attendees of this event, primary among the pleasures expected is the phenomenal music provided by the Buzz Murphy Orchestra, which has headlined the gala for many years. The musicians and vocalists from this group are immensely popular with audiences. League member and past President Mark Williams will handle emcee duties.

Barbara Bowers is chairing the event with help from a committee including Dennis Volz, Alice Johnston, Nancy Tice and William Bracey.

Tickets are $75 per person or tables of eight for $600. Call 817-274-5790 or email artsleague@arlingtonartsleague.com to make arrangements.

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