Wednesday, December 29, 2010

8 Toasts for the New Year

Normally I base my blog posts on what has impacted me that week -- what caused me to think, what touched my heart, etc.  I write it up, pass it along to you, and hope that it impacts you in a similar way.   
This week is a departure from my formula.  Here’s what I want to read about right now and I that hope you do too…
2011 New Year’s Toasts
I have spent the last 35+ years ringing in the New Year with Joe.  Sometimes just us, but mostly with other friends.  We don’t usually make toasts, but this year, why not?  Toasts can be funny, inspirational, short, long, or just sweet. 
Here’s a few I may make on Friday night:
1.        Here’s to the days of good will, cold weather, and warm hearts. (
2.       A New Year’s toast to love and laughter and happily ever after. (
3.       Stir the eggnog, lift the toddy, Happy New Year, everybody! (Phyllis McGinley)
4.       Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve.  Middle age is when you’re forced to. (Bill Vaughn)  To bed!
5.       Here’s a toast to the future, a toast to the past, and a toast to our friends, far and near.  May the future be pleasant; the past a bright dream; may our friends remain faithful and dear. (Anonymous)
6.       In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, but never in want. (Traditional Irish Toast)
7.       New Year’s Day…  Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.  Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. (Mark Twain)  Cheers!
8.       To peace and prosperity, to love and laughter, to friendships old and new, to 2011!  May it be our best year yet!  (Paige McDaniel)
Happy New Year to each of you.  God bless us every one! (Charles Dickens)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

We Ask of You Just One Thing

I am the opposite of a football player.  I am mostly sedentary.  I shop for exercise.  Cooking is another hobby of mine, but really not much action there unless you count a rare short run to take cookies out of the oven before they burn.  Other than work, my most time consuming activity is watching TV.  I don’t really watch sports either, except my niece Lina’s basketball games (Go Lady Scots!) and I really do love the Mavs. 
So, I find it kinda funny that I would be inspired by this quote:
We Ask of You Just One Thing…  All You Have.
I saw it on the wall of a football locker room on some TV show – I think either Glee (no surprise there) or maybe it was in The Blind Side.  I can totally see how football coaches would love this quote.  I tried to find the author by Google-ing it and the first search found was from the movie, Fight Club.  Tyler Durden did not say it, nor really anything like it much, but you know how Google is.  Fight Club is one of my favorite movies though, so maybe this makes a little sense in the weird world of blogging and quotation seeking, but no matter.  I just like the quote.
The quote reminds me of CPS caseworkers.  The young women and men (mostly women) who work for CPS in Dallas County do and do and do and are rarely thanked for their efforts.  If they do a good job and show that they can handle a large caseload they are given additional cases.  Caseworkers will be working tonight and tomorrow and on Christmas day.  They'll witness things we can't imagine and knock on doors Dog the Bounty Hunter would run away from. 
Dallas County Caseworkers really give it all they have. 
And children in Dallas are safer tonight because they do.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Miracle Number 77

I have a new love for the number 7.  Here’s why:
At Community Partners of Dallas we do a HUGE toy drive every year to provide toys for all of the children involved with CPS.  Truly, many of these children have never before received a gift.  These kids have been told by those who are supposed to love them that they are stupid and worthless and ugly.  They have been beaten, neglected, sexually abused, and worse.  Holiday gifts simply aren’t part of these children’s reality.  At CPD we want to change that.  CPS Caseworkers find out what the children want and we print wishes (just like an angel tree) and send them out to donor groups and individuals to fill them and get them back to our warehouse for the big Distribution Day (this year it is today, Wednesday, December 15, 2010).
On Wednesday of last week, 3 days before our deadline to return gifts and wishes, we had 77 wishes returned (unfilled) by one of our donor groups.  I know that 77 kids isn’t very many in the grand scheme of things – this is less than 2% of the total amount of kids that we will provide toys for and even the 77 kids who had their wishes returned will still get something from our drive – just maybe not what they especially wanted.  And that is the problem.
For a kid who has been told he doesn’t matter, for a kid who has had her hopes dashed over and over again by adults, one single wish granted means something.  It means that someone in the world listened.  It means that someone in the world cared.  It means hope.
So, for those 77 kids, we went into overdrive.  You may have seen our posts on Facebook asking for people to take the 77 and fill them.  You did.  I did.  My mom did.  My best friend did.  My friend in California who I haven’t seen in 10 years did.  Within 5 hours, they were all filled and even more people were calling and were willing to give money to help us help our kids who never had wishes printed.  Kids who were picked up by CPS today or last week or even last month, since the wishes were collected and printed in October.
We filled the 77.  Or so I thought.
This past Saturday was the deadline for donors to bring wishes and undesignated toys to our Toy Drive Warehouse at Peacock Alley in Oak Cliff.  We had tons of volunteers there to receive and sort wishes.  Joanna Clarke, our Development VP, was standing at the warehouse dock door greeting people, bringing in loads of toys and more.  A lady that Joanna didn’t know walked in and said “If I could give you a bunch of new bikes today, would you accept them?”  Joanna asked the lady if this was a trick question and (of course) quickly said yes.  The lady made a call on her cell phone and asked Joanna what the Peacock Alley Warehouse address was, hung up and asked if she could volunteer until the bikes arrived.  Joanna set the lady up with a toy sorting job and they continued to talk.  Turns out that the lady and her father started buying bikes and donating them to a charity every Christmas when the lady was a little girl.  They started with just a bike or two and as the years went by, the number of bikes grew.  This year, the large charity who had always been the recipient of their bike donation had turned them away.  The lady had tried a couple of other well-known charitable toy drive groups and had been told that they had no room to accept her donation.  So, the lady was just driving around in her car not knowing where to go or what to do next with her bikes.  The lady didn’t even know where she was driving – she said she all-of-a-sudden found herself in an unfamiliar area, but then she saw our small little sign that said “Toy Drive” with an arrow pointing her to us. 
Guess how many bikes the lady and her family delivered?  77.
When Joanna called to tell me this story on Saturday afternoon and she told me the number of bikes, I got chills.  I explained to Joanna that 77 was the number of wishes returned unfilled earlier in the week that we had filled through our Facebook friends.
77.  It was a message.  You see, I know enough about the bible to know that the number 7 is thought to be one of God’s most important numbers.  Some call it God’s divine number. 
You remember that I thought that WE (me, you, and every person who donated) had filled the 77 returned wishes and all the rest of the gifts for 5,000 kids?  By sending the 77 bikes God gently reminded me that He was the one who sent the bikes and filled the wishes.
That’s our Christmas miracle.  Thank you for being part of it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Not Advice From Your Mom -- 10 Tips for Young Women

If you know me, you probably know that I like to give advice. 
So does my mom.  Even when you don’t want to hear it and she’s told you that a hundred times and I am an adult, and yes, I know you think I don’t wear enough blush, and
I digress.
As you might imagine, as the President and CEO of a small non-profit agency, I have lots of young women as co-workers.  At Community Partners of Dallas, we have 11 employees and numerous college and high school interns throughout the year.  These women are some of the best and brightest in the world and I’d put them up against any other team in town – they’d win in talent, creativity, work ethic, congeniality, trustworthiness, and beauty. 
CPD’s women don’t need a lot of advice.  I still give it.  I’m going to give some to you too.  Take it or leave it.
1.        Believe in something.
2.       Family comes before work.
3.       Really think before you get that tattoo and/or tongue piercing.
4.       Get a college degree.
5.       When you start working, do everything you can to make your boss’ life easier.
6.       Read for pleasure.
7.       Read the newspaper.
8.       Join the Junior League of Dallas or your local woman’s volunteer organization.
9.       When you move to a new apartment or home, invite all your neighbors over for a drop-by party.  I always did a breakfast on a Saturday from 8:30 until 10:30.  It is a cheap party without liquor.  Coffee from Starbucks, breakfast casseroles, donut holes, and OJ with cute paper plates and napkins.  You’ll be surprised how much this will help you connect.
10.   Smile and laugh.  A lot.
Advice is cheap.  Take it or leave it.
P.S.  I’d love your advice too, so comment.  Mom is on advice-break for the holiday.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tired, Tired, Tired

I wake up tired.  I go to bed tired.  This is the time of year where things just start snowballing and I can't ever seem to catch up.

Community Partners of Dallas is in high gear in every way in December -- annual reviews for staff, end of year fundraising, the toy drive for 5,000 kids, and more.  Personal time seems to take a back seat, but it cannot.  Family and friends must have gifts, the house must be decorated, there are parties to attend and host...

Damn, I'm tired.

Luckily, I am privileged to work with the best women in town.  The staff at Community Partners of Dallas keeps coming to work every day with smiles on their faces, energy in their step, and love in their hearts. 

When personal tragedies alter their lives, they keep coming to work.  When they face a pile of toys 5 men high and wonder how those toys will ever get sorted, they keep coming to work.  When the computers blow up, the toilet stops up, and the volunteers don't show up, they keep coming to work.

I give three cheers for these wonderful women:  Ann, Angela, Greer, Sarah, Natalie Lee, Natalie Farr, Pam, Marjorie, Vanessa, and Joanna.  Because of these ladies, children are safe and protected, and they'll have a holiday gift under the tree -- no matter where they lay down their heads on Christmas Eve.

These women keep me coming to work.  And even if I'm tired, they make me smile.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My List of Favorite Things, Oprah-Style (No giveaways though!)

I am thankful for a lot of things.  God, family, friends, my work, Community Partners of Dallas, and more, but for this blog I want to give you a list of the things that I love right now.  And yes, I know that it is wrong to love things, but I do love these things.  I bet some of you do too...

  1. The Today Show  I have been a loyal viewer for more than 20 years and I love Matt Lauer and Al Roker more than ever. 
  2. Artichoke Dip  It's a vegetable, right?
  3. Dr. Bronner's Bar Soap from Whole Foods  This soap is all I use.  I like a bar and this one does not dry out your skin.  I have tried all of the smells, but Lavender is the best and holds the scent until the very last sliver melts away.
  4. Tory Burch Cardigans  When I don't know what to wear, these are my staple.  Great with jeans and a t-shirt, as well as with a cute dress and heels.  I shop with Diana and Scott in HP Village.  Love them.
  5. The Original Cast Soundtrack to Rent  My favorite musical -- I can really belt this one out in the car or the kitchen.
  6. Ina Garten (aka The Barefoot Contessa)  Ina is amazing.  I have all of her cookbooks and I have never made a flop.  Her latest book called How Easy Is That? is fabulous.  The oven risotto is worth the price alone.
  7. DVR  This is my favorite current invention.  What did we do without them?  I know that I  watched a lot of TV before, but I must have been watching things I didn't like that much -- horrors!  Now I always have something wonderful to watch at my fingertips.  L. O. V. E.
  8. Lexus RX350  I have had three of them and I don't think I'll ever switch.  When my friend Maria Martineau Plankinton got her first one, she encouraged me to try it.  I told her that I didn't need a "Mom" car.  Maria uttered the words "It's not a Mom car, it's a shoppers car."  It is a Paige car now! 
  9. Popcorn  I love Garrett's cheese popcorn from Chicago, but really my favorite is my own:  Orville's Hot Air Popcorn popped in my hot air popper with real butter melted in the microwave (38 seconds), then tossed with Paula Deen's House Seasoning (I make it too and keep it in a shaker from The Container Store).  I eat this every night.
  10. Davines Love Shampoo and Conditioner  I get this at the Osgood O'Neil on Knox and believe me it really does help my extremely curly hair to behave.  I use Kerastase products too.  Hair products have really changed my life.
  11.  I order stuff from them at least weekly -- last night for a gift for a kid in our Toy Drive list who wanted the Glee Board Game to a book for a Christmas gift earlier this week.  I sprung for the 2-day unlimited shipping this year and have used the devil out of it.
  12. Oprah  An inspiring woman in every way.  Take the no texting and driving pledge, please!
  13. Hot Coffee and Iced Tea  Get me up in the morning and keep me going all day.
  14. Social Media  I really do love the Social Media Revolution and am trying to make sure that CPD embraces every opportunity to get the word out about our kids, Dallas County CPS Caseworkers, and our fabulous staff at CPD.

What are your favorite things?  Happy Thanksgiving, All!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Did you see it?

Did you see it?

I am talking about the recent 2-part Oprah Show with 200 adult males who were victims of childhood sexual abuse.  According to Oprah, this was the first time this ever happened on television.

The show came to fruition through an interview Oprah did with her friend Tyler Perry.  Tyler was sexually abused as a young boy by several men and a woman and he had the guts to talk about it with Oprah. 

The statistics say that 1 in 4 girls was sexually abused as a child, and that 1 in 6 boys was sexually abused.

Boys just don't talk about it.  And of course many girls don't either. 

Let them talk about it.

We let them talk at Community Partners of Dallas.  Every Tuesday night we provide sexual abuse group treatment for victims and their non-offending family members.  They talk about it. 

Last night one of the teen girls told her group that with their help she had finally mustered up the courage to call in a police report on her ex-boyfriend who had repeatedly sexually assaulted her.

Talking can heal.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tips on Choosing a Non-Profit Board

The end of the year always gets me thinking about board service.  It is when our board at Community Partners of Dallas turns over and we begin the dance of saying good-bye to wonderful volunteers and hello to new ones.  I absolutely LOVE it!  CPD has the best board members in town.

As you may know, I serve as the President and CEO of Community Partners of Dallas, a medium-sized non-profit agency helping abused and neglected children.  I work with our board members every day to make sure our agency is working to "stop the abuse and start the healing" for kids in Dallas County.  I have also served on many non-profit boards in Dallas County, so here are my quick tips if you are considering board service:

1.  Believe in the mission of the agency.
2.  Make sure that you have the time to serve -- you must attend the board meetings, committee meetings, all the events, etc.
3.  Be ready to support them financially with a personally meaningful gift.
4.  Commit to soliciting funding for the agency from your friends, family members, and colleagues.  If you are not willing to do this, just say no. 
5.  Be willing to participate in leadership if asked.

Prior to joining a board be sure to:

1.  Educate yourself about what is required of board members -- time, talent, treasure requirements.
2.  Take a tour of the agency and meet with the CEO/Executive Director.
3.  Check out the other board members. 
4.  Find out if you like the executive staff.
5.  Make sure that the agency has board insurance.
6.  Look at their most recent tax return and financial documents.

If you are interested in board service, call the agency!  There are many, many agencies that need you. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Some Kids Have Lived Nightmares

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  Those of you who know me well know that one of my mottos is (adapted from Steel Magnolias) "holiday decorating is what separates us from the animals," so Halloween is big at Paige's house.  I have tons of pumpkins, witches, and ghosts -- pretty much covering every surface in the den, dining room, and adorning the front yard.

Last night, one of Community Partners of Dallas' best donor and volunteer groups (the Northwood Woman's Club, aka NWC) hosted a Halloween party for the kids in our Heart Program.  The Heart Program provides group treatment for kids who have been sexually abused and for their non-offending family members.  The kids meet every Tuesday evening with therapists to talk about their abuse, their abusers, and their road to recovery. 

Anyway, last night about a dozen lovely ladies from NWC and several of our staff members threw a fun party for these special kids.  A hot dog dinner, fingernail painting, temporary tattoos, cookie decorating and more made a fun night with kids and adults dressed in costumes.  Here's a photo of some of the hostesses with me:

It is always so inspiring for me to be around these boys and girls (ranging in age from 6 to 16) who have lived lives that you and I can't imagine.  They have lived real nightmares.  They have faced real demons.  BUT, all they want is to be like all the other kids.  Truly, with help, they can get over the sexual abuse.  They can move on.

And attending a Halloween party is a first step.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Life as a Daughter

I hosted my mother's 75th birthday luncheon at my home today.  Even as I type, the first load of dishes is in the dishwasher and the napkins are in the washing machine.  Nine of her girlfriends were here to celebrate and it really was just a ball of fun.

My mother is simply amazing.  Her father died when she was young and she has run a ranching and oil & gas business since that time -- probably about 45 years -- back when a lot of women didn't do that kind of work.  She battled the old boy's network and won.  My father died when I was 5 years old and Mom made decisions that benefitted my brother and me immensely.  She made choices and sacrifices to keep my brother and me safe and secure.  And always with the same FABULOUS hairdo that she still sports today.

Contrast this with a story I heard yesterday from a caseworker about a mother who sexually abused her own daughter, then had the gall to post photos on the internet of her crime.  The details are so harrowing that I don't want to discuss them further.

Why did I end up with my wonderful mother and why did this little girl end up with hers? 

I know that all of you reading this didn't have the greatest mom in the world.  Lots of us weren't that lucky.  But today, I'm just wishing that one little 18-month-old girl had had a Cindrette Ricker McDaniel.  And I'm glad that this 49-year-old girl did.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Top 10 Toys for Christmas

I know that it is early October, but we are already well into Christmas here at Community Partners of Dallas.  Each year we do a Toy Drive for about 5,000 children who are involved with Child Protective Services.  CPS caseworkers find out what the children on their caseloads would like and we make wish cards (similar to the Salvation Army Angel Tree) and send them out into the world to be filled by donors.

This year, we have requests for 15% more children than last year, so we are currently searching for 752 extra donors.  If you can help, please call Marjorie at 214-624-7588. 

The kids who you will be helping truly need some joy in their lives.  They have been battered and bruised and told by those who were supposed to love them that they are stupid and worthless. 

The kids are not asking for the moon either.  Here are our most requested items (in no particular order):

African American dolls
Buzz Lightyear Action Figure / Toys
Vtech Learning Toys
Sports Balls (Soccer Balls, Footballs etc)
Wrestling Action Figures
Bath and Body Gift Sets
MP3 Players
Dora Dolls
Bikes with helmets
Tonka Trucks

You can make a child's dream come true, for as little as the cost of a barbie doll.  And yes, I know that I listed 12 toys, not 10 -- I was a theater major. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

I'm Still Mad at the Jerk on Hell's Kitchen.

Those of you who know me well know that I love reality TV.  I watch Project Runway, Top Chef, all the Real Housewives, Flipping Out, Jersey Shore, Little People Big World, The Apprentice, and more.  And yes, it is slightly embarrasing to admit that this is a short list of the shows that I watch.  It makes me think of Howard Stern's movie Private Parts, when the station management (who hated Howard's broadcasts) was talking to the ratings guy who was telling them the results of the listener survey that said something like listeners who loved Howard listened for an unheard of 68 minutes.  When asked why they listened so long, the listeners said that they "wanted to see what he would say next".  The ratings guy then revealed that the listeners who hated Howard listened for 90 minutes and their most common reason for listening was "I want to see what he's going to say next". 

I both love and hate reality TV.  I enjoy the break from my real life to look into the produced and edited lives of others. 

Russell, heretofore (and everafter) known as the Jerk, is one of the current "chef-testants" on Hell's Kitchen, hosted by Master Chef Gordon Ramsay on FOX.  The other night the gang of misfit chefs looking to work for Ramsay was tasked with throwing a Prom Party for kids from Beverly Hills High.  Of course, when the school was announced I had a twinge of "oh, I bet those kids will be bratty and demanding" and held my breath. 

The teens weren't bratty.  They were perfectly nice (at least what was shown on the screen) and other than having more advanced palates than many of their peers, were normal teens.

What has kept me thinking about this show was the treatment that the teens endured from the Jerk.  He belittled them in words, actions, and eye rolls when he was asked to put up decorations.  He treated the teens with such disdain that the restaurant manager finally had to step in to remind the Jerk that these kids were CLIENTS.

I was graduated from Highland Park High School, so I will admit that maybe I am somewhat biased, but let me tell you about the teens I know who go to schools like HPHS, ESD, St. Marks, Greenhill, etc.  The teens who help us at Community Partners of Dallas from these schools may drive over here in a Lexus or Mercedes, but they are kind and generous and really care about helping others.  These teens will spend hours and hours on the floor in our warehouse counting school supplies or sweeping the floor.  One of our THANKs (CPD's teen board) members has volunteered more than 700 hours with us to help abused and neglected children in our community. 

The teens I know are super kids and are very deserving of respect.

You better give it to them, because they'll run this world one day.  I think it will be a better world.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Baby Boy Unknown -- a story of hope

At Community Partners of Dallas (CPD) we help kids every day.  Today, this request really hit me:

A CPS caseworker wrote up a request for CPD to provide a birth certificate for a child who was dropped off at the hospital by an unidentified male about 30 minutes after the child was born.  The request listed him as “Baby Boy Unknown”.  The unidentified male stated that the mother had 6 children at home and did not want this baby.  The male refused to bring the baby into the hospital and made the hospital staff come and get the infant from a van parked outside.  “Baby Boy Unknown” was wrapped in bloody sheets and still had his placenta and umbilical cord attached. 

I am thrilled that this baby was turned over to professionals at the hospital.  I am thrilled that the mother and the van driver knew how to give up the baby safely.  I am thrilled CPD has donors and that we were able to help this child with the birth certificate, clothing, diapers, and more.

“Baby Boy Unknown” is now safe in a foster home and is no longer unknown.  He is Sam.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Guide to Running a Great Non-Profit

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery -- TCS, prepare to totally swoon...

Back in June our friends at The Container Store asked me to come out to their headquarters and speak to a conference they were hosting for the Conscious Capitalism Alliance.  The Container Store founder Kip Tindell is a major part of this movement and it was simply amazing for me to hear about their business model and to meet business owners from across the country who believe in Conscious Capitalism.  To learn more about the Alliance, visit

I was totally inspired by The Container Store's Foundation Principles and I know that you will be too.  See them here 

I wrote the document below for Community Partners of Dallas called CPD Agency Principles.  We are using them to guide CPD in a multitude of ways -- as our board members write our strategic plan, for our staff annual reviews, to guide our corporate culture and establish norms, to be accountable to donors, and more.

Let me know what you think.

CPD Agency Principles
1.        Stop the Abuse.  Start the Healing. 
Our tag line isn’t just a line; it is the reason why CPD is needed and our response.  It is easy to feel sorry for our kids – those who have been beaten, neglected, sexually abused, and more – what matters is what you do to stop it from continuing.  Thank God for CPS Caseworkers and all of the CPS staff.  These brave and committed people work tirelessly to protect victims and CPD is privileged to be able to be part of the healing and help that brings these precious kids solace and sanctuary.
2.       Communication is Leadership. 
Borrowed from our good friends at The Container Store, we agree that “consistent, reliable, predictable, effective, thoughtful, compassionate, and courteous communication” is important for a successful organization.  We make sure that information is shared and available to all board members and employees.  Each one of our staff members is able to discuss this agency and our board meetings are open to all.  We celebrate financial goals, volunteer project completions, and program successes with equal fervor.
3.        Training is Key.
For our Board of Trustees members, our volunteers, and our employees, training is a vital part of success for Community Partners of Dallas.  We want our volunteers to fully understand why they are here and why their time is so needed to benefit CPD.  On-going specialized volunteers receive a formal orientation and training, and continue to receive additional on-the-job training from our staff members.  Staff members receive at least 100 hours of training in their first year with the agency, and continuing education is encouraged throughout their tenure.
4.       We Uphold the Donor Bill of Rights.
The Association of Fundraising Professionals designed the Donor Bill of Rights and CPD is committed to its principles and follows them fully.  The full document may be found below.  We want every donor to have full confidence in supporting CPD and we pledge to you that every gift is being handled appropriately and as the donor requests.
5.       Attitude of Gratitude.
Whether for our Dallas County CPS caseworkers, for our volunteers, or for our donors, we strive to show you appreciation and gratitude.  We strive to greet you with a smile, answer any question, and serve you with dignity and respect at all times.  Plus, you will walk away with a hearty thank you and knowing that you are a vital part of the success of Community Partners of Dallas.
6.        When You Love Your Work It Shows.
This is the mantra for CPD employees and we attempt to show it in everything we do.  No man is an island and each staff member of CPD knows that help with a project is only steps away.  Putting the good of the agency above ourselves is the goal and staff members work until the job is complete – but with a sense of fun in every step.  We find that when we give staff members the latitude and freedom to do their work, they go above and beyond to make it their best work possible.  New ideas and ways of looking at problems are rewarded and celebrated.  We LOVE working at CPD and we want you to feel the love too!
7.        Come Back to the Kids. 
      Finally, this is how decisions are made at CPD.  We are mission focused; making sure that every decision is put to the test:  “Will this decision provide the best possible outcome to benefit our kids and our agency?”  The mission of Community Partners of Dallas is to ensure safety, restore dignity, and inspire hope for the abused and neglected children served by Dallas County Child Protective Services.  In the end, we want to look back on our efforts here and know that we made a difference in the lives of children.  That is success.

The Donor Bill of Rights (from the Association of Fundraising Professionals)
Philanthropy is based on voluntary action for the common good. It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life. To ensure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the nonprofit organizations and causes they are asked to support, we declare that all donors have these rights:
I. To be informed of the organization's mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.
II. To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organization's governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.
III. To have access to the organization's most recent financial statements.
IV. To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.
V. To receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition.
VI. To be assured that information about their donation is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.
VII. To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.
VIII. To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization or hired solicitors.
IX. To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share.
X. To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Hate You! What's for Dinner?

I stole this title from a conference that I attended today.  The conference was put on by the Grant Halliburton Foundation and was about dealing with the teenagers in our lives.  At Community Partners of Dallas we certainly deal with teens -- both as clients of CPS and as donors and volunteers through our high school teen board called THANKs.

The entire conference was interesting but the Aha moment for me was advice from Paul, a member of the teen panel, who gave parents this advice:  Create a regular shared experience with your kid -- even if it is only once a month -- just find time to do something with each child that will give you the time to listen to your child.  Paul also said to do this with each child separately -- he said that there were things that he wouldn't ever talk about in front of his sister.

I know, I know -- I'm not a parent, but I just had to pass this along to those of you who are.  Keep your kids safe.  Listen to them and create time to be together so they will come to you when they are confronted with crisis. 

And by the way, what is for dinner?  It's five o'clock.  And I don't hate you.  Yet.

P.S.  If you have high school kids, be sure to have them join THANKs -- it is a great way to get service hours and to have some fun.  Visit and click on the volunteer tab to find out more.

Monday, September 20, 2010

First Blog Post (Original, aren't I?)

I have been thinking about starting a blog for some time now, but just never pulled the trigger.  I don't think that I am profound enough, or funny enough, or simply interested enough to write one.  Luckily for you readers (Who at this point is only me anyway -- even my friend Joe of 30 years told me that he wouldn't read my blog, and he reads blogs, so what's up with that?), I actually have a job that will provide me with material...some sad, some interesting, and some humor, so why not?  I'm an American and don't we all think that we are special and worthy?

Thanks for starting this adventure with me.  I'll talk about the kids we serve at Community Partners of Dallas, the amazing women who I get to work with, and try to provide you with info that will both inform and inspire -- about our kids, CPS, non-profits, volunteering. 

And I'll throw in some Real Housewives and Dog the Bounty Hunter too.