13.10.01 LH KidsU Brandy Barham 008 Give it up

KIDS-U volunteer with students: Photo by Brandy Barham

Whether you are a natural giver — one of those noble souls who prefers presenting to receiving gifts — or a more average Joe, for whom a small altruistic gesture just feels good, we’ve listed several charities that make a difference in our neighborhood. Any of them could benefit from a tad of your time or money.

[toggle_box] [toggle_item title=”HEALTH, WELLNESS, FITNESS”]

Healing Hands Ministries

Healing Hands Ministry: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Healing Hands Ministries: Photo by Danny Fulgencio


Un- and under-insured Lake Highlands and greater Dallas County residents in need of medical and dental careLake Highlands resident Glen Thomas, in a past interview, credited the volunteer doctor at Healing Hands Ministries in Lake Highlands with saving his life; Dr. Natalia Gutierrez caught a cancerous tumor in Thomas’ stomach, thankfully during its early stages, and helped him acquire essential treatment. Healing Hands recently relocated to an expansive facility at Greenville and Royal, doubling its medical capacity and increasing patient load. In addition to general health, pediatrics, women’s and dental clinics, the facility offers on-site healthcare education, group support for chronic illnesses such as diabetes, and extensive referral services. In 2013, Healing Hands treated some 4,000 patients; clients pay $10 to see a doctor and $15 to see a dentist. No one is turned away for inability to pay. There also is an unquantifiable societal value — as one patient notes, folks who formerly clogged up emergency room waiting areas are now treated in the clinic, freeing hospitals for true emergencies. That, plus preventive care, makes the success of Healing Hands a public-health win for the whole community.


  • Medical professionals — physicians, dentists, hygienists and nurses — donate services.
  • Work in the office as an administrator or interpreter.
  • Volunteers undergo a background check and attend an orientation session.

Each spring, the Hearts and Hands Tablescape Luncheon garners thousands of dollars to support the clinic.

Each October, golfers can support the nonprofit by entering Healing Hands Ministries Golf Classic, which usually runs $150 per player.

Details about the 2015 events will be available on the website.

Cash donations are tax-deductible. Financial and audit reports are available on the Healing Hands website — donate there via PayPal or credit card, or mail a check to the post office box.

Janna Gardner, executive director, jannagardner@hhmtx.org
8515 Greenville Suite N-108 (at Royal)
P.O. Box 741524, Dallas, TX, 75374-1524

Texas Archery Academy (TXAA) and Texas Archery Club (TAC)


Texas Archery Academy: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Through its new indoor facility in the Lake Highlands area, residents of all ages and levels who want convenient, safe and affordable access to archery and its beneficial byproducts

Formed as a nonprofit in 2011, the TXAA provides instruction, hosts tournaments, and operates indoor training facilities around the state — the newest such facility is a 13,000-square-foot space near Central and Walnut Hill. The TXAA is a sub-organization of the TAC, which was started in the 1960s as a benefit for Texas Instruments employees. Archery provides physical and mental recreation that can be enjoyed by almost anyone, even many with disabilities that would prevent participation in other sports. However, notes archery club director Clint Montgomery, the sport has not historically been accessible to the average person. The TXAA intends to increase outreach and accessibility for all who are drawn to the activity. And who wouldn’t be, Montgomery queries rhetorically: “I’ve never met anybody who didn’t want to shoot a bow.”

Annual membership is $120. Student memberships are $60, and family discounts are available. Members are asked to contribute one hour of volunteer service per calendar year. Or donate to the On Target fund, which helps introduce archery to a wider audience, via PayPal or credit card on the TXAA website.

Clint Montgomery, director
9500 N. Central

Grief and Loss Center of North Texas

Grieving adults, teens and children in the White Rock area and greater Dallas through group gatherings and other supportive activities

Sitting at the table with the Grief and Loss Center group — a non-religious organization that meets at Wilshire Baptist Church in the White Rock area — is at once heartbreaking and life affirming. A 90-year-old cries openly as he discusses the death of his wife of 75 years. A young mother who lost her child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome comforts him. Before Jennifer Hibdon helped found this group, her own parents committed suicide. The faces at the table change some, session by session, but there always is a mingling of sorrow and hope. This is just as it should be, says Laurie Taylor, co-founder, along with Hibdon, of the Grief and Loss Center of North Texas. “Agony and joy can live in the heart at the same time,” says Taylor, a grief and loss specialist certified in thanatology, the study of death, dying and bereavement. “You don’t get over it. Time does not heal it. Instead you learn to live with the loss, and it becomes part of the fabric of your life.”

Serve as a helper in a children’s grief group at a local elementary school, prepare a cake or cookies for an event, make heart pillows for children and teen groups or assist with office duties.

Each November, the Grief and Loss Center hosts a dinner and silent auction. Details related to the 2015 event will be announced on the website.

Donate amazon.com gift cards for research books, postage stamps, copy paper, arts and crafts supplies and bottled water. Give cash or a check via the website or mail.

Laurie Taylor, executive director, info@mygriefandloss.org
4316 Abrams

Wings for Wellness

Neighborhood mothers and families who are dealing with post-partum depression

One of the organization’s founders, Shelley Shook, is a Lake Highlands resident who suffered a period of excruciating PPD symptoms. “I was certain my life was over and that I’d made the biggest mistake by having a baby,” she explains in her story, published on the organization’s website. Because she had a strong support network and access to mental healthcare, Shook was able to heal before her child’s first birthday. But because many women don’t have such resources, she and a fellow mother, Karen Erschen, launched the foundation. The board of directors includes a medical doctor, a psychiatrist and therapist, and the two founders.

Attend or participate:
Each spring Wings for Wellness hosts an expo featuring some 50 vendors who provide resources such as pregnancy and baby photography, pre- and postnatal massage and fitness, mommy jewelry and baby boutique furniture. In addition to PPD-focused workshops, the expo includes seminars on topics such as car-seat safety and infant CPR. Look for information about the 2015 event on the organization’s website. Vendor and sponsorship opportunities abound.

Donations help sustain regular free support group meetings for women and families in need, and related services. Give online or mail a check.

Karen Erschen, karen@wingsforwellness.org
Shelley Shook, shelley@wingsforwellness.org
P.O. Box 180503
Dallas, TX 75218

Doris Daniely Outreach

Serves: Breast cancer survivors, by funding reconstruction surgeries

Lake Highlands resident Carol Autry founded this outreach; her mother, Doris Daniely, kept her illness a secret until it was too late. “She was the sweetest, most giving person you’d ever meet,” Autry says. “We never entirely understood why she didn’t tell us she had cancer — maybe because she didn’t want to trouble anyone. Maybe she was in denial, thinking it would go away.” Autry was devastated by her mom’s death, but she promptly returned to her job in the plastic surgery office of doctors Carpenter and Morales at Baylor. There, she encounters cancer patients almost daily. “They came through all the time — mostly women who need to have a mastectomy, but who don’t have the means for reconstructive surgery afterward.” Autry says she thought about these women constantly. All told, it costs about $100,000 for breast reconstruction surgery. Autry and her co-workers frequently complained to each other: “Somebody should do something to help them.” One night, she says, she thought to herself, “I am somebody.” It’s not easy to start a nonprofit, but along with likeminded partners, she founded the Doris Daniely Outreach for Breast Reconstruction. The foundation funds reconstructive surgery for several women each year.

The outreach employs no paid staff and relies on volunteers. Needs vary — anyone interested in helping should email or call the center.

Several events throughout the year support the nonprofit. Each February members host a fundraising tea at the Dallas Arboretum. Information about 2015 events will be announced soon on the organization’s website.

Administrative costs are minimal and primarily related to fundraising event costs including venue charges, invitations and postage, web maintenance and the like. Give any amount online via PayPal.

Carol Autry, founder, dorisdaniely@yahoo.com

[/toggle_item] [toggle_item title=”POVERTY”]

The New Room/Feed Lake Highlands

The New Room: Photo by James Coreas

The New Room: Photo by James Coreas

Some 7,000 low-income residents of the Skillman-Royal area

The New Room, home of Feed Lake Highlands’ food distribution (as well as after-school programs and weekly worship services), is a satellite of Lake Highlands United Methodist Church. During the Feed Lake Highlands food-delivery days — a collaboration with the North Texas Food Bank and Crossroads Community Services — volunteers can be found washing plates, stacking supplies or unclogging the toilet — whatever needs doing in the oldish building in the Whitehurst shopping center. Feed Lake Highlands runs smoothly, and recipients of the food seldom have to endure long lines or major inconveniences, but it doesn’t happen without dedicated volunteers.

Help with young students after school, tutor, bring snacks, help with food pick-up and delivery, and organize clothing donations.

Donate non-perishable snacks or gently used clothing (preferred drop-off is the third Wednesday of the month) at the New Room.

Donate through the website.

Jill Goad, executive director,
10061 Whitehurst (near Skillman)


Indigent, homeless and mentally ill Dallas residents

LifeNet is the city’s largest provider of permanent supportive housing — that is, multifamily housing for formerly homeless people. It also provides medical help and counseling, through its clinic on Skillman at Forest, for those with mental illness and addiction. It supplies food through a partnership with the North Texas Food Bank. And it helps people find jobs.

Those interested in volunteering can send an email to volunteer@lifenettexas.org and specify an area of interest — homelessness, addiction, unemployment, metal health or hunger.

Make a one-time donation or pledge through the LifeNet website. Deliver warm clothing or blankets to the LifeNet building.

9708 Skillman

[/toggle_item] [toggle_item title=”KIDS”]

Foster Kids Charity

Serves: Children in the state foster care system

Since witnessing a tragic car accident in June 2008 that claimed the lives of three foster children, Michelle Armour has dedicated her life to supporting other children shuffled around from home to home. “When they come in and take the kids, they give them a trash bag and say, ‘You have 15 minutes to grab your stuff.’ They might grab their pajamas, some shoes, maybe a toothbrush and a toy. We come in to fill the cracks.” Armour’s nonprofit, Foster Kids Charity, collects essential items for care packages to help ease the constant transitions the children face. Since it launched in 2011, the organization received the Best Community Partner award from Child Protective Services and a private donation for a larger office. With the added exposure comes a greater need for help. “We always need more funds to provide more,” Armour says. “The demand is higher than what we can offer.”

Assemble care packages for foster children during a monthly meet-up at the Foster Kids Charity headquarters.

The nonprofit’s annual Gift of Love holiday party is 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 20 at Grace Church in Richardson. The event provides presents and entertainment to 166 local foster children, who don’t receive gifts every year.

One dollar provides a healthy snack bag for one foster child through the organization’s new Food 4 Foster program, serving 500-1,000 abused and neglected children who are in the care of Child Protective Services each month.

The ongoing wish list includes snack foods and juice boxes, size 4-6 diapers, wipes, new coats and jackets for ages 7-15, new car seats, and toiletries for teens — all of which can be dropped off at the Foster Kids Charity headquarters.

Michelle Armour
9221 LBJ Freeway, Suite 110

[/toggle_item] [toggle_item title=”REFUGEES”]

Catholic Charities

Serves: Through its immigration and legal services program, families and individuals pursuing American citizenship (Catholic Charities offers multiple other programs for local women, children, men and families in need.)

The Immigration and Legal Services (ILS) of Catholic Charities of Dallas was established in 1975 in response to the growing number of immigrants moving to our area. Caseworkers help clients understand the immigration law and their rights. Services include assistance with family visas, representation of survivors of domestic violence and violent crimes, support for refugees and asylees and for custodians of unaccompanied children, to name a few.

Register online for the next available orientation session. Internships also are available.

The refugee resettlement program is in need of donations of new and gently used household items and furniture. Donation of paper towels, can openers, pots and pans, glasses, mugs and other housewares will directly assist in the setup of apartments for refugees arriving in Dallas.

Eileen O’Malley,
volunteer coordinator,
9461 LBJ Freeway, Suite 100


Kids-U: Photo by Brandy Barham

Kids-U: Photo by Brandy Barham

Lake Highlands children through after-school programs at apartment complexes

Founded in 2002, the nonprofit was formed in an effort “to combat one of the most profound problems in Dallas: children not completing their education,” spokesman Brandon Baker says. He points to a study (“Today’s Children, Tomorrow’s Communities”, 2006) that shows that more than 100,000 students ages 5-13 in Dallas County are unsupervised during after-school hours. “We believe these are the most critical hours for the student,” Baker says. Kids-U tries to ensure that students have a snack, do homework and play each weekday afternoon. With supervision, they avoid risks such as substance abuse and criminal or sexual behaviors, Baker says.

Give Christmas gifts to Kids-U students through the Adopt an Angel program. See wish lists and register on the website.

Brandon Baker, brandon@kids-u.org
9090 Skillman, Suite 140-B

[/toggle_item] [toggle_item title=”VETERANS”]

Honor Flight DFW

World War II veterans by providing trips to Washington D.C’s war memorials

Honor Flight of Dallas, based near Lake Highlands, aims to get as many WWII vets as possible to the World War II Memorial — “their memorial,” organizers emphasize. They offer the opportunity twice a year, in May and October, and 40-plus vets usually make the trip. The time to show our gratitude to these veterans is running out, says volunteer Rachel Hedstrom, noting that WWII vets are dying at a rate of more than a thousand a day nationwide.

Apply to be a guardian, a personal assistant to a vet during the trip.

Adopt a vet — $1,000 sends a WWII veteran on the Honor Flight.

Suzanne Gentry Flodin, representative
10455 N. Central,
Suite 109-195

[/toggle_item] [/toggle_box]