Our first event at the Alamo Drafthouse was a great success. The venue provided great seating and audio-visual support, the food and drinks were very good, and the staff was extremely responsive to our needs.
Once again we had three outstanding charities from which to choose. But before we heard from the charities we had the pleasure to hear from a representative of the Friends of Fair Park.
Friends of Fair Park
The Friends of Fair Park is a member-supported advocacy group for Fair Park preservation, restoration, and programming. Most of us know about the annual Fair that occurs at the Park in the fall, but there are many other activities that happen at the Fair throughout the year. The Friends promote the use of the park, provide money to preserve and enhance the park, and share information about the park.
We heard about TX DOTs plan to widen Interstate 30 east of downtown Dallas and how the Friends of Fair Park, city officials, and others within our city have joined together to denounce this plan. Since it was built, the Interstate has divided the city into north and south zones. The city, as well as an earlier study by TX DOT, recommended ways to stitch the city back together by creating covered parks over parts of I30 similar to Clyde Warren Park as well as putting part of the highway in a tunnel.
One of our presenting charities was Exodus Ministries. This is a non-denominational Christian organization that serves mothers from all ethnic backgrounds who want to make positive changes in their life. These women are dealing with the pain of having been separated from their children for a long period of time and do not have the financial resources to sustain their families. Exodus helps them and their families to become productive members of society by serving their spiritual and physical needs.
Forerunner Mentoring‘s goal is to serve and empower those affected by a father-absent home by building relationships founded on Jesus Christ.
After 8 To Educate
And the charity that received our donation this week was After 8 To Educate.This charity targets homeless high school students with a holistic approach to their situation.
The population of homeless youth in the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) has reached a catastrophic level: over 3,500 students.
After8toEducate is tackling the most vulnerable population of unsheltered high school students. Under the federal definition, “homeless” means youth who lack fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, ranging from living in a motel or on a friend’s couch. This federal definition includes “unsheltered” which means living in a car, park, campground, street, or abandoned building.
Overwhelming research shows that unsheltered students are at a greater risk of falling behind academically, and in turn more likely to drop out of school. In addition to being susceptible to educational setbacks, they often face a myriad of social and health problems such as drug and alcohol addiction, unemployment, teen pregnancy, depression, and involvement with the criminal justice system.
When unsheltered students age out of the foster care system or opt out of the child welfare system altogether, they are left with limited public and private resources. These remaining services are often only available for restricted hours of the day, leaving many without a place to go after 8:00 pm.
Founded by Dallas entrepreneur Jorge Baldor, After8toEducate (“After8”) is the first all-encompassing program to support unsheltered high school youth in Dallas. After8 brings together community resources to reduce the number of unsheltered young adults and foster self-sufficiency.
After8toEducate offers an umbrella solution to allow unsheltered high school students to develop academically, emotionally, and socially to ultimately live healthy and productive lives. In collaboration with the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) and local organizations, After8 provides a three-pillar program that addresses the unsheltered youth who are currently enrolled in DISD high schools and support immediate needs of other homeless young adults age 14-21.