Venise Stuart, President, Les Femmes du Monde
Mari Epperson and Melissa Lewis, Woman of the Year Gala Dinner Chairs
Each year Kyra Barnett, Development Officer at Children’s Health, hosts a brunch in their beautiful Butterfly Atrium honoring Les Femmes du Monde, both in gratitude for their support over the years and as an educational event for the LFDM members.
One of the real treats at this brunch is meeting the therapeutic facility dogs which serve patients and families at Children’s Health. These pups bring comfort to the unfamiliar hospital setting and promote positive coping during challenging health-related situations.
This year hearts melted as guests met Boots and Badger, two of the therapy dogs, an integral part of the pet therapy program at Children’s. The unconditional bond formed between patients and therapy animals can help children endure difficult procedures, motivate them to achieve important treatment milestones, and reduce anxiety.
The brunch began with Venise Stuart, President of Les Femmes du Monde, welcoming everyone and reminding all to be sure to get their underwriting and sponsorships now for the Woman of the Year gala dinner honoring Dr. Sandra “Sandi” Chapman as the Woman of the Year. Chaired by Mari Epperson and Melissa Lewis, the gala dinner is slated for Wednesday, October 24, 2018 at the Dallas Country Club. The Woman of the Year event has been celebrated for the past 27 years honoring 32 individual women and one Couple of the Year. A featured speaker will be announced soon!
Venise also thanked Kyra for her hospitality and former LFDM president Alyce Heinrich and Connie Rhoades, for their help in organizing the event.
Thresa Belcher, LCSW, Director of the Child Life Program, gave insight into the program and how these specialists help children from the time they enter the hospital throughout their stay and walk the journey with patients and their parents, providing understanding and encouragement.
At Children’s Health, Les Femmes makes an incredible impact on the psychosocial needs of the patients and families through the Child Life program. Some of those services include keeping the playrooms open (where the patients get to be kids), providing medical play to help the patients/siblings better understand the procedure they are going to undergo, providing diagnosis specific weekend and weeklong summer camps so that the patients don’t miss out on this critical experience, providing tools like ipads to help explain procedures; wii’s for entertainment, prize closet items and music therapists help the children express their feelings through music. And a big favorite, the therapy dogs.
After brunch, guests were invited to a personal tour of the playrooms and more, to see their donations in action.
Les Femmes du Monde was founded in 1961 as a fundraising committee on behalf of the Dallas Council on World Affairs, now the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth. In 1987, Les Femmes became its own nonprofit organization. In 1998, The Child Life Program at Children’s HealthSM Children’s Medical Center was added as a second beneficiary. Since its inception in 1961, Les Femmes du Monde has given over $850,000 to Children’s Health and $2 million to the World Affairs Council.
The Global Young Leaders Program at the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth seeks to educate students and teachers on how international events affect their lives, their communities, and their country. The goal is to empower students to become effective, active global citizens and leaders in the community. Celebrating its 14th anniversary in 2018, this program has impacted more than 1 million students and trained more than 8,000 teachers since its inception in 2004.
Membership in Les Femmes du Monde is open to the public and includes benefits such as exclusive events in private homes, the Woman of the Year gala dinner, private parties like this brunch and more. For details and updates, visit the website at www.lesfemmesdumonde.org
* Photos by Dana Driensky