The Jenkins Family at the annual Exchange Club Fourth of July Parade

The Jenkins Family at the annual Exchange Club Fourth of July Parade

When the Exchange Club hosts their annual Auction and Casino Party on February 14, they’re likely to have a full house. The funds they’ve raised for projects and organizations all over Lake Highlands and the college scholarships they’ve given to graduating seniors have left a trail of loyal followers anxious to join the party.

“The Exchange Club of Lake Highlands is an invaluable community partner for the Lake Highlands Family YMCA,” says Y Director Clint Elliott. “Their support has provided us the tools to make a positive impact in the lives of the children and families we serve.”

“Due to the Exchange Club’s generosity, our children can play safely in a fenced area,” shares Stults Road Principal Amber Leblond. “We were able to buy special outdoor playground equipment for our students with special needs. This is something our children can enjoy for years to come.”

“The men and women of the Northeast Division do a great job as evidenced by the 2014, 13% crime reduction for the division,” says Deputy Police Chief Andrew Acord. “I can tell you unequivocally, that the officers who are recognized at the quarterly Exchange Club breakfast are truly appreciative. Inviting their family makes for a special touch as well. At the Northeast Division we highly value our community partners. Thanks for all the Exchange Club does for the community as a whole. We are all in this together.”

“Our students receive incredible support in financial scholarships, $125,000 last year,” says LHHS Principal Frank Miller, “This is only one aspect of the leadership the club provides our community. The club models the spirit and service that make LH an amazing home by helping all of our residents in times of need and helping us celebrate the greatness of our residents. I am blessed to be a member.”

“Receiving the Melinda Ann Lee Scholarship was a great honor,” writes LHHS 2009 grad Joshua Evans by email from Virginia. “This provided me with an opportunity to bridge the financial gap. The viability to attend college was especially important within my family, as I was a first generation college student. Don and Pat Lee’s gift is nothing short of a blessing. It’s truly inspiring to witness such selfless acts like theirs. I hope to start a scholarship of my own and make a difference in a future Texas Tech grad, just as they did in mine.” Joshua now works for Exxon Mobil.

April Gorman was recently honored as an Unsung Hero by the Exchange Club for her work coordinating Little Stewpot Stewards. The organization rallies children to learn first-hand the joy of helping others as they fundraise and serve at the Stewpot.

“Having [husband] Tate so involved in EC, I have seen so many ways in which the organization supports our community. I am blown away by the countless ways, big and small, that they support our schools, funding Sky Ranch trips, helping with fundraisers, and recognizing kids who are excelling in academics, kids who rise above their circumstance, as well as kids who are committed to service. This group has been an amazing support for our Little Stewpot Stewards. They recently recognized the kids’ efforts to help the homeless over the summer and made a wonderful donation to The Stewpot in their honor. I think more meaningful to me, and the kids, countless Exchange Club members frequented the many, many lemonade stands that the Little Stewpot Stewards hosted over the summer. On these visits they would engage these young volunteers, asking questions about their plans and their feelings about serving others. That kind of support is something you don’t easily forget.”

If you’d like to support the Exchange Club, you can do so by attending the party or by donating an item to the auction.

The Auction and Casino Party begins at 6 p.m. in the Opus Ballroom of the Highland Hotel (formerly the Palomar) at Mockingbird and Central Expressway. There will be live and silent auctions, gaming tables, a wine pull and a raffle. Food will be catered by Knife restaurant and Shane Smith & the Saints will provide live music. Tickets are $50 each and available through any member or by emailing Chris Halpin at