LHWL's Debbie Alspaw with LH Rec Center staff

LHWL’s Debbie Alspaw with LH Rec Center staff

Lake Highlands Women’s League committee members delivered checks yesterday totaling almost $80,000 to schools and agencies all over LH. At each stop, like the moment of a big Vegas slot machine payout, there were squeals of delight from grateful recipients.

“I love what I do,” said Alice Mae Britt, CEO at Network of Community Ministries. “We’ve got good things happening for good people.” She’ll use Network’s money on a Handyman Home Repair program for senior citizens, holiday baskets for the needy and volunteer supplies.

Network’s food bank takes in 40,000 pounds of food per week, they run a charity clinic for children & teens and their new Grandfamilies Initiative supports grandparents left to raise grandchildren.

LHWL's Julie Jodie and Mary Barnes with Network's Debbie Childre

LHWL’s Julie Jodie and Mary Barnes with Network’s Debbie Childre

“Remember: 75% of our clients come from Lake Highlands,” said Britt. “We have 4 employees, 1700 volunteers and more than 46,000 clients – can you imagine all that going on in this little building on Sherman Street?”

New this year will be “Toyland,” where needy parents will shop at for their children from donated toys and clothing, instead of donors making purchases directly for a specific child. Network is the second largest distributor of toys in Dallas County behind the Salvation Army, she said.

Network gratefully accepts donations for their used clothing store, and take note: if you send your castoffs in plastic trash bags, they’ll all have to be laboriously re-washed. (Trash bags contain chemicals which come off onto the fabric.) Instead, send your items in paper bags.

YMCA Aquatic Director Bobby Timmer, LH Women's League Disbursements Chair Julie Jodie and YMCA Executive Director Roger Moon

YMCA Aquatic Director Bobby Timmer, LH Women’s League Disbursements Chair Julie Jodie and YMCA Executive Director Roger Moon

The LH YMCA will use their funds for the Make-A-Splash program, which gives swim lessons to children and youth living in LH apartment communities.

“I have a number of life-saving stories,” said Executive Director Roger Moon, “but last year after we taught a class, we had a boy whose four-year-old sister fell into the water. He grabbed the ring buoy, just as we showed him. He threw it to her and got her out.

“Prevention is the key. You’re not going to teach most of these kids to be Olympic swimmers, but if something like that happens, they can turn around and get out of the pool.”

The Y is also collecting swimsuits and goggles for kids in Make-A-Splash.

The Forest Green Library will receive new tables and chairs for their children’s area. Onsite to welcome and thank LHWL members was Gwen Dixie, president of Friends the Forest Green Library.

LHWL's Kay Strubeck with Library Manager Gayle Gordon, Friends President Gwen Dixie, District Manager Christina Worden and LHWL's Debbie Alspaw

LHWL’s Kay Strubeck with Library Manager Gayle Gordon, Friends President Gwen Dixie, District Manager Christina Worden and LHWL’s Debbie Alspaw

“We have a very active kids’ program with lots of children participating,” said Gwen. “We’ll be kicking off the Mayor’s Summer Reading Program soon, and we furnish popcorn for the kids each Saturday. We sponsor a Valentine’s Tea, which is very well-attended, and on the first Saturday of December Santa Claus comes to bring new books for all kids, courtesy of Half Price Books.”

The Friends program recently reorganized, she said, with dues of $7 per person or $12 per family.

“We just want to be in touch with anybody who’s a library supporter,” added Gwen, “and many in Lake Highlands are.” Meetings are the first Saturday per month at 1 p.m.

Healing Hands Ministries' Janna Gardner and Melanie Hedrick with LHWL's Kay Strubeck

Healing Hands Ministries’ Janna Gardner and Melanie Hedrick with LHWL’s Kay Strubeck

Also receiving funds from the annual LHWL Home in the Highlands home tour were: Audelia Road Library Friends, Consumer Credit Counseling Services, Angelican Frontier Missions, Healing Hands Ministries, LH Recreation Center, The Warren Center and every LH-area school.

In May, the LHWL will present $90,000 in college scholarships to deserving seniors from LHHS.

Kay Strubeck, Kathy Smith, Bill Gallo and Julie Jodie

Kay Strubeck, Kathy Smith, Bill Gallo and Julie Jodie

Susan Gregory, Ishii Tavarez and Michelle Zupa from Thurgood Marshall Elementary with LHWL's Julie Jodie

Susan Gregory, Ishii Tavarez and Michelle Zupa from Thurgood Marshall Elementary with LHWL’s Julie Jodie