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Children’s Defense Fund Texas third annual Beat the Odds Awards Luncheon was held on Friday, Nov. 16 at the Fairmont Dallas Hotel.

This year’s event featured Keynote Speaker, Pat Smith, Founder and Owner of Pat Smith Enterprises, Founder/CEO of “Treasure You” and the President of Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities. 

Hail Merry CEO and CDF – Texas Advisory Board Member Emeritus, Sarah Palisi Chapin was honored by Children’s Defense Fund’s Founder, Marian Wright Edelman with the Champion of Children Award.

This year’s CDF-Texas Beat the Odds Scholarship Recipients honored were:

Vanessa Alanis –Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities scholarattends Texas Woman's University, double majoring in biology and business.

Janeli L. Hernandez Alvarado –Jersey Mike’s Subs scholar, attends the University of Texas majoring in nursing.  

Tej Dahal –Fossil scholar, attends the University of Texas at Arlington, studying electrical engineering and social work.

Laura Morales–Fossil scholar, attends Texas A&M - College Station, studying civil engineering.

Rafif Muhsin–Jersey Mike’s Sub scholar attends the University of Texas at Dallas, majoring in biology.

CDF – Texas 2003 Beat the Odds Scholarship recipient, Crystal Johnson spoke about her experience as a Beat the Odds Scholarship recipient, saying “I plan to always be a part of Beat the Odds, it's really the reason I have been so successful thus far. All I really needed was someone to believe in me and you all gave me that!”

Currently in Dallas, she is a dual degree student, and will complete her dental degree in May of 2014 and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Science in the Spring of 2017. Crystal hopes to sponsor a CDF Beat the Odds scholarship in the future.

This year’s luncheon was chaired by Kristen Jones Colby. Kristen is Sr. Director of Marketing for Front Burner Restaurants, which owns and operates some of the most popular and acclaimed restaurants in Dallas such as The Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar, The Ranch at Las Colinas, Velvet Taco, Twin Peaks, Ojos Locos and Red Dog Right.  For the last 11 years, Kristen has dedicated her personal time serving on the Board of Directors for Limbs for Life, an organization that helps amputees who cannot afford prosthetic care. 

2012 sponsors included: Brinker International, Constellation Wines, Eddie V’s, Fossil, Hail Merry Snack Foods, Jersey Mike’s Subs, La Madeleine, Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities.

Photos courtesy of James Edward Photography

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