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Sharon McGowan, Executive Director, Friends of Wednesday’s Child; Amanda Ryan, G. Brint Ryan, Honorary Chairs; Cachet Petty Weinberg, Luncheon Chair

This year celebrated 31 years of transforming students’ lives in foster care by improving their educational path

Friends of Wednesday’s Child celebrated its 31st anniversary with a luncheon recently at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center to benefit the organization in its mission to transform the lives of children in foster care through education. Former First Lady, 

Mrs. Laura W. Bush was the keynote speaker, sponsored by the Ryan Foundation, which is also the sustaining sponsor. The event was chaired by Cachet Petty Weinberg with Amanda and G. Brint Ryan as Honorary Chairs.

Underwriters, sponsors and VIP guests were welcomed with a champagne reception as they were treated to a photo opportunity with Mrs. Bush.

Cynthia Izaguirre, WFAA newscaster was emcee and moderator, began the event by welcoming everyone and introduced special guests Allie and Luis, Friends of Wednesday’s Child Success in School students and their foster parents; Paula and Scott Beasley, founders and added a special thank you to the caseworkers and judges in attendance.

Luncheon began following the invocation, including a caramelized pecan chicken cranberry salad, citrus blended vegetable couscous, baby arugula salad, grilled asparagus and tomato gratin drizzled with white balsamic dressing. Dessert was a fresh baked apple streusel galette with caramel sauce.

Brint Ryan introduced Mrs. Bush, who brought the gathering up to date on the most current happenings with the Bush family, saying her father-in-law, George H. W. Bush, celebrated his 90th birthday the same way he celebrates every birthday, by sky diving and related other family anecdotes.

Her message was clear as she shared a story about when she first started teaching school and a young boy whose circumstances touched her heart, emphasizing that every child deserves an education and a safe and healthy home. She talked about first responders and their commitment to service, challenging everyone to understand that in these circumstances, even just one hour can make all of the difference in the world.

Cynthia presented the story of Juan, a Friends of Wednesday’s Child foster child and student, saying he continues to be successful through hard work with a tutor, who reports he is gaining confidence in himself and showing pride in all that he accomplishes.

In the Q & A, Mrs. Bush talked about the importance of extra-curricular activities, encouraged parents to be models for their children and said her second grade teacher was her inspiration to become a teacher and help children strive for freedom from ignorance. Her message to foster children is that they have many people who love them, even though they may not know them all. Many are acting on their behalf.

Cachet thanked Mrs. Bush, saying she is a true champion for children. She also offered gratitude to the Ryan Foundation for their continued sponsorship, the Honorary Chairs and all of today’s sponsors and underwriters for their commitment to the organization, saying their donations help create a better tomorrow for children in foster care.  She expressed how much of a positive impact just a few dollars can make towards the successful outcome of a foster child’s future.  She said, “We are raising money to transform foster children’s lives by providing them access to academic and essential supports to be successful in school and in life, everything from one on one and enrichment activities ranging from after-school tutoring, college scholarships, dance lessons and so much more.”

Brittnay Connor, who grew up in foster care and will soon be teaching in Columbia as part of her Fulbright scholarship, had the audience in tears as she shared her personal experience as a foster child, detailing the everyday challenges facing foster children, beginning at a very young age and through her struggles, how she overcame her feelings of desperation and pushed herself so very hard to succeed. The entire crowd showed their support with a rousing standing ovation.          

Sharon McGowan, Executive Director of Friends of Wednesday’s Child, expressed heartfelt thanks to Cachet as a "tireless supporter of foster children today," chairing this luncheon for the second consecutive year. She expressed sincere gratitude to all attendees for joining in celebrating this year and said that 2,500 foster children were helped last year by Friends of Wednesday’s Child and there still remain 3,500 more to help and referred back to the FWC mission: Transforming  the  lives  of  children   in  foster care  through education.Support of Friends of Wednesday’s Child Luncheon helps ensure that foster children graduate high school on time and have a plan for their future.  

For questions or more information, visit the website at www.wedchild.org  Contact Sharon McGowan at smcgowan@wedchild.org or call 972-­‐231-­‐1433, ext. 202.

Photos by Daniel Driensky and Chris Waits

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