Category Archives: Charities

GiGi’s 24 Hour Run for Inclusive Play at Playground Adventures

A passionate donor of PlayGrand Adventures, as well as a local Rotarian, will run for 24 hours beginning this Friday, March 4 at 6 p.m. in an effort to bring awareness to PlayGrand Adventures at EpicCentral and how it creates opportunities for everyone to play, to grow, and to connect… all together!

Who is Gigi?

Abigail, nicknamed Gigi, was born at 3 a.m. on March 9, 2005. Her father was out of town and got the first call at about 2 a.m. telling him that his wife, Vickey, was having a miscarriage at just 23 weeks into her pregnancy. When Vickey arrived at the hospital, the doctors examined her and discovered two things: Gigi was still alive, albeit barely, and time was of the essence. Vickey had a placental abruption where the placenta separates from the uterine wall. She was hemorrhaging and Gigi was not getting any oxygen. After an emergency c-section, the doctors resuscitated their little girl and got her heart beating again and breathing again with the help of a respirator.

Baby Abigail weighed in at 1lb 7oz and was 11 inches long. Her dad’s wedding ring could go all the way to her elbow. For the next four months, Gigi would fight for her life. Today, Gigi is just days away from celebrating her 17th birthday but also battles with the many challenges of Cerebral Palsy which she was diagnosed with in 2007. Benefiting greatly from inclusive and adaptive opportunities like PlayGrand Adventures, Gigi and her family, who are also close friends with the runner, are honored to have this inaugural event named after her and to help raise awareness for a life-changing playground project like this.

Can I run? How can I support?

The runner says, “I’m running for those that can’t so that they can get out and play more!”  You can show your support for this mission and for the playground project by making a tax-deductible donation.

This inaugural run isn’t about signing up, getting a t-shirt, and a medal. This is simply to raise awareness and funds to expand PlayGrand Adventures to ultimately serve more people like Gigi. That said, some people want to come out and support with their feet. So, while this is not an organized race whatsoever, we do welcome you to make your way to PlayGrand Adventures and join the runner for a lap or more. We ask that you complete an online form below so that we can look out for you and welcome you when you arrive. Don’t forget to bring your own water and snacks as there will be nothing provided.

About PlayGrand Adventures & PlayGrand Adventures Foundation

PlayGrand Adventures provides a safe and fun playground experience of epic proportions for all ages and abilities. The playground includes adventure areas that are designed to stimulate, challenge, and encourage the development of several skill sets while providing social interaction, a sense of discovery, creativity, and exercise. The playground is part of a much larger overall park project which includes The Epic, a state-of-the-art recreation center, Epic Waters indoor/outdoor water park, trail systems, The Summit 50+ Club, and amphitheater at EpicCentral in Grand Prairie, Texas. 

Currently under construction are two connecting hotels, a convention center, six restaurant spaces, parking garages, a water/light show on the lake, and an indoor adventure park. PlayGrand Adventures Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity with a goal of promoting the playground and raising the funds necessary to complete the construction of the full 10-acre development as well as for the ongoing maintenance.

More information about this event, the playground, and the foundation at

Peace Together hosts Annual Peace Walk

Peace Together, a Texas Nonprofit Corporation, whose mission is to build relationships between neighbors, no matter their differences, invites individuals and organizations to sign up for their annual Peace Walk to be held Saturday, November 6, 2021, in Colleyville, TX. The Peace Walk will continue the focus upon and promotion of the love and caring of our neighbors to the exclusion of hatred, bigotry, discrimination, and intolerance.

Registration for the event is free. All participants will receive water and snacks at the beginning of the walk. Peace Together T-shirts will be available for purchase.

The event will begin with free parking available at both Good Shepherd Catholic Community, 1000 Tinker Road, Colleyville, TX, and First United Methodist Church of Colleyville, 1000 Church Street, Colleyville at 12:30 PM. and other overflow facilities. Participants will be transported to the Colleyville Masjid for Opening Ceremonies beginning at 2:00 PM followed by the Walk, which will encompass approximately three miles to Congregation Beth Israel (“CBI”), also in Colleyville.

The route is stroller and wheelchair friendly. Food vendors and music will be available at CBI where closing ceremonies will take place at approximately 4:30 PM.

Various locations will be set out on the Walk route for rest stops and additional water. Transportation will also be available to take participants to CBI if they decide not to walk the full route or from the Masjid for those who prefer to be bussed to CBI where they can share stories with new “neighbors.”

Approximately 400 participated in each of the last two walks with the help of many participating organizations and the phenomenal help of the City of Colleyville. After postponement due to COVID in 2020, a much larger number is hoped for this year.

More information and registration can be found at You may also view an informational video at

About Peace Together

A core group of individuals began meeting in Colleyville, not long after the shocking and tragic events in Charlottesville, VA in August of 2017. Participants, organizations, and institutions supporting Peace Together continue to show that hatred, bigotry, discrimination, and intolerance should and can be replaced by the development of strong relationships among individuals, despite their different backgrounds, appearances, and beliefs.

High school brothers form non-profit to address local needs

Vansh (L) and Dhruv Nanda (Photo courtesy of Mission Tomorrow)

In this time of turmoil, some people get inspired to make a difference in their communities, counties, states and even nationally. Brothers Dhruv and Vansh Nanda, both high schoolers, launched a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization called, “Mission Tomorrow,” which has a goal of creating a better world in the future by improving the lives of people today. They do this by addressing basic needs, such as health, shelter, and education. They also concentrate on preserving natural resources for not only the present, but for future generations as well.

The brothers, along with some friends that served as volunteers, sprung to action when the winter blizzard came through DFW in February, organizing several water collection and distribution drives, with help from Dayspring Family Church Food Pantry in Irving.

“Over the past couple of years – actually our entire lives – because my parents are first generation to the United States of America from India, we get to go over to India about every three to four years,” said Dhruv. “Over there, we started becoming aware of the various issues where people were being denied the basic necessities of food and water, and I would also pay attention to the sustainability of the environment over there around New Delhi, which is the area we visit most often, and is ranked as the number one most polluted city in the world.”

“So, we would constantly see the effects where people’s lungs would sometimes get contaminated and stuff like that. And ever since we came to the United States, we kind of lived within a bubble,” Dhruv said. “We really didn’t understand or weren’t really aware that some of these situations were also prevalent over here. As we started maturing and started growing up, we realized how privileged we were compared to others within our area.”

Dhruv Nanda (Photo courtesy of Mission Tomorrow)

“So, we started expanding outside of our bubble and, through this realization, we have always wanted to create our own organization to help combat these issues. The main reason for this is we believe that our personalities and what is really important to us could best be used through forming an organization, and we could have more flexibility with the goals we wanted to accomplish [as opposed to joining an existing entity].

“You’ve always heard the old saying that it’s best to start your own business and if you want something done right, do it yourself. We are very visible in terms of the decisions that we make. We don’t have to take in input from higher-ups or anything. We are able to operate how we’d like to so as to benefit the most people and communities,” said Dhruv.

“One major goal actually formed by accident, with the winter storm that happened in February. It was disturbing to see pictures of people’s houses getting flooded because of burst pipes and all that. So, that was one of the key motivators for us to start our ‘Water for Texas’ initiative. We started this initiative because we wanted to help people get access to clean drinking water, since pipes were getting repaired during this time, and sometimes people didn’t have a way just to go to the grocery store, and bottles of water were running out. I saw some of those at community recreation centers where people were throwing out buckets of water and just using the tap they had on the side [of the building]. I was like, ‘This isn’t sustainable,’” Dhruv said.

Mission Tomorrow is far from being out of goals for its future.

“I know I spoke a little bit about sustainability,” Dhruv said. “That’s something that really inspires and fuels our organization, so the next mission that we’re actually planning is focused on planting trees within the Dallas area.

“As we know, Dallas is getting very urbanized with many headquarters and many residential areas having to be built to accommodate the workforce. To make space for all of this land, there was a lot of deforestation happening within this area, so we kind of want to put these trees back to contribute positively to the sustainability of our environment.

“To give you some background [on partnerships for tree sustainability], we have been having discussions with some of the cities. I know we were focusing on the City of Irving and the City of Lancaster. We’ve been in touch with their city councils to help us identify areas that would most benefit from the planting of trees,” Dhruv said.

Dhruv’s brother, Vansh, gave his perspective on how Mission Tomorrow came into being and what the future holds for the organization.

Vansh Nanda (Photo courtesy of Mission Tomorrow)

“Initially when we started Mission Tomorrow, we were just focused on what we could provide for the community,” said Vansh. “But then the Texas winter storm came through and we saw a lot of need. Some of my friends’ houses got flooded and we saw how people didn’t have water because of burst pipes and things like that. So, we realized that there were so many people out of [usable] water and so we started contacting many, many different companies like Costco and Pepsi, and after that we contacted some of the food pantries and we started getting in the [bottled] water.”

“In the future, since my brother is managing most of this company, I was thinking that in the future, I’d do something more toward public policy to help the community. We could partner up to make a bigger positive impact,” Vansh said.

Dhruv agrees. Both brothers hope to inspire other young people to start making a difference in their communities.

“We’d like to inspire future generations to do some things to help their communities,” Dhruv said. “It always warms my heart to see young people following in our footsteps. We need more types of actions like this because it takes everyone as a community to help combat big issues.

“Right now, our organization is relatively small, and the events we’re doing are not as large in scope, but as we start going to this tree initiative, which is a much larger initiative, we will definitely need more support, and so our schools are the first places that we’re planning on going to secure this type of help, along with our friends on the city councils,” Dhruv said.

To learn more about Mission Tomorrow, visit

Heart screenings for young people offered in Grand Prairie

The Grand Prairie YMCA hosted a heart screening event for Living For Zachary, which is a charity dedicated to screening young people ages 12-22 for heart abnormalities that could lead to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). All COVID precautions were in effect, as staff, volunteers, kids and parent had to keep masks on and follow the six-foot rule.

This special screening method was developed by Baylor Scott & White Heart Hospital in Plano and the event is generally held in Plano and Denton. This year, they branched out to Grand Prairie to reach more kids. The YMCA offered a room with volunteers to watch younger children while participants were being screened and their parents were with them.

Living for Zachary is named for Zachary (Zac) Troy Schrah, who tragically collapsed and died at the age of 16 from SCA on April 2, 2009 while at football practice at Plano East High School.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest typically strikes suddenly, with no warning or physical symptoms. Zac’s family learned later that he had an undiagnosed condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), which is a congenital heart disease. HCM is a common cause of SCA in young people, especially athletes.

HCM is an ailment where the heart muscle thickens, and as a result, blood has trouble making it out of the heart, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood. HCM also makes it tougher for the heart muscle to relax, which would allow it to be filled with blood.

Living for Zachary is part of Zac’s legacy. His career goal had been to become a doctor, and while that didn’t happen, many lives will be saved though the organization’s screening efforts.

One of Living for Zachary’s goals came from a quote taken from an essay that Zac wrote: “Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out.”

The screening that was offered was not a typical heart screening. Baylor Scott & White expanded the traditional screening to include: A blood pressure screening, an electrocardiogram, an SCA risk health questionnaire (AHA recommended) and offered limited 2-D echocardiograms. The results of these tests will be looked at and interpreted by a board-certified cardiologist.

The screening process is described by a young man whose life was saved by Living for Zachary. To view it, visit

This was a preliminary screening, as anyone that was determined to be “at-risk” for SCA were referred for further testing and examinations with one of the Baylor Scott & White’s cardiologists. They made sure that participants were aware of the fact that the screening was not to take the place of a doctor’s exam.

The Living for Zachary program also offers CPR training, education about SCA and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) placement. Many businesses have AEDs in their lobby or hallways, so it is important to understand how they work. AEDs function as a defibrillator and will send electric shocks to help a hindered heart.

While SCA sometimes offers no warnings, here are some things to look for. If you or your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms, get them to a doctor or cardiologist immediately:

  • Fainting or seizure during or after physical activity
  • Fainting or seizure resulting from excitement, distress or being startled
  • Chest pain or discomfort or a racing heartbeat
  • Unexplained fainting or seizures
  • Unusual shortness of breath
  • Unusual fatigue/tiredness
  • Dizziness/lightheadedness during or after physical activity

Stay safe and healthy! If you’d like to learn more about any of the Living for Zachary services, visit their website at

Editor’s Corner: Peace Officers’ Angels Foundation assists injured Texas law enforcement

By Stacey Doud

POAF-LogoThe Police Officers’ Angels Foundation (POAF) is a non -profit organization that “provides emotional support and short-term financial assistance to any Texas Law Enforcement officer following a serious or life changing line-of-duty injury. POAF’s success relies on strong community partnerships standing behind our peace officers and their families,” which is their mission statement.


Barreda-Alvarado (Photo courtesy of POAF)

Maria Barreda-Alvarado started the Foundation after her son, Corporal Rick Barreda, who served with the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Airport Police Department, was killed in the line of duty on February 14, 1997. A vehicle struck his motorcycle as he sat on the side of the road gauging speeds. Rick also served on the DFW SWAT team and, for a short time, for the DFW Fire Department.

“Our official name is Peace Officers’ Angels Foundation because some folks confuse the word ‘Peace’ with ‘Police.’ We use ‘Peace Officer’ because we also serve our DPS Troopers, Deputies and Sheriffs’ Offices. POAF serves cities, state, and counties,” Barreda-Alvarado said.

In fact, POAF serves all 254 counties in Texas. “We are focused on the smaller cities and towns in Texas – the ones that don’t have support like a 100 Club,” Barreda-Alvarado said. “That doesn’t mean that we won’t help when we can in a big city. We just want to make sure the smaller places are covered, too.”

The POAF relies on memberships and fundraisers to stay afloat. They are hosting their inaugural golf tournament on Monday October 7, 2019 at the Walnut Creek Country Club in Mansfield. They, along with partner TLEOMF (Texas Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund), organize the annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Night at a Texas Rangers game every fall. This year, it will be held on Friday, September 13 at Globe Life Park as the Rangers take on the Oakland Athletics.


As the last few years have seen a record number of first responder deaths and injuries, the POAF is very busy and is always in need of volunteers and financial support.

For more information or to find out how you can help, visit All donations are tax-deductible and a receipt will be provided.

“No donation is too small to make a difference.” – POAF Motto


LEO Appreciation 091319

Download the Rangers Flyer Here (.pdf)

Dallas Public Library hosts prom dress giveaway for students in need

By Teresa Gubbins


Photo courtesy of NBC 5

What to wear to the prom looms as one of the key decisions of one’s high school career — made even more difficult when you can’t afford the duds.

But Dallas high school students in need get a break thanks to the Fairy Tale Closet, a charitable initiative taking place at the Dallas Central Library on March 9-10.

Hundreds of gowns in various sizes and styles will be available as well as shoes, accessories, and a few suits and jackets for those who eschew the traditional gown.

This year’s giveaway also includes an LGBTQ+ centric event.

Read more from CultureMap Dallas…

GRACE tours reveal space for partnerships, expanded services in Grapevine



GRACE revealed a sneak peek of its expanded facility Oct. 16. (Courtesy GRACE Grapevine)

GRACE volunteers conducted hard-hat tours of GRACE’s expanded facility with the public Oct. 16, revealing office spaces that will service as satellite offices for new partnerships.

GRACE, which stands for the Grapevine Relief and Community Exchange, is a nonprofit relief agency that provides food, clothing, financial assistance and other necessities to people who are struggling with a limited income or recent emergency.

Executive Director Shonda Schaefer said that while GRACE provides its direct services and can also refer clients for other needs, the new space at 837 E. Walnut St., Grapevine, will allow partnerships with organizations that specialize in assisting people in crisis situations.

Read more from Community Impact…

North Texas Giving Day September 20


Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day is an 18-hour online giving event on Thursday, September 20 (all day) designed to empower every person to give back to their community by supporting local nonprofits and causes they care about in one easy-to-use platform. The event helps build awareness and support for nonprofits like nothing else.

By donating to Keep Grapevine Beautiful, you’re helping us preserve and enhance the local and natural environment by strengthening citizen’s levels of commitment through educational programs and engaging volunteer- based projects.

Help us reach our goal of $2,000. Every dollar donated to us by North Texas Giving Day, goes directly back into Keeping Grapevine Beautiful! 

Schedule to donate starting September 10 at:

Battered and Beautiful hosts benefit concert August 8

Come celebrate one year of Battered and Beautiful at our first ever benefit concert!

Battered and Beautiful is a Grapevine-based nonprofit dedicated to empowering battered women and their families that operate under the Grapevine Chamber Foundation.

  • Extended Happy Hour from 6-10 PM
  • 30% of bottle sales will be donated to Battered and Beautiful
  • Featuring a live set from Ben & Julia, a local alternative band

We will have an ongoing raffle with prizes from local businesses, free food, and Battered and Beautiful merchandise available for purchase!

For more information, visit

Wednesday, August 8 at 6 PM – 10 PM

Sloan & Williams Winery: 401 S Main St, Grapevine, Texas 76051

Pearland Police and Fire send members into the boxing ring for charity

BoBWho will claim victory and bragging rights in Pearland during the Battle of the Badges? Pearland Police Officer Robert DaSilva (Blue Team) will face off with Pearland Firefighter Dale Loewen (Red Team).

Come out to the Moody Gardens Convention Center in Galveston on August 29 at 7:00 p.m. when these two civil servants meet in the ring for the annual Battle of the Badges charity-boxing event.

DaSilva is an 18-year veteran of the Pearland Police Department and is currently assigned to the Operations Division. Loewen has been with the Pearland Fire Department for the last four years and is currently assigned to Station 5.

Far from being strangers, DaSilva and Loewen team up every December to coordinate and star in the annual Toys for Tots charity basketball game in Pearland.

Don’t expect that goodwill to carry over to the ring, as both opponents have assured us it will be “all business.”

Come out and support these two hard-working City of Pearland employees as they fight it out for charity. Tickets in advance are $20 and $25 at the gate. Advance tickets can be purchased at all Associated Credit Union of Texas locations.

Funds raised during the event will benefit The Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Galveston, Resource and Crisis Center of Galveston County and Children’s Center, Inc.

Associated Credit Union of Texas branches for advance ticket purchases:

  • Pearland Main: 6306 Broadway St., Pearland, TX 77581
  • Pearland Randalls: 10228 Broadway St., Pearland, TX 77584
  • Pearland Kroger: 3245 Broadway St., Pearland, TX 77581
  • League City Corporate: 1095 W. League City Parkway, League City, TX 77573
  • League City Main: 351 S. FM 270, League City, TX 77573
  • League City Kroger: 200 Gulf Freeway S., League City, TX 77573
  • Texas City Kroger: 3541 Palmer Hwy., Texas City, TX 77590
  • La Marque: 920 1st Street, La Marque, TX 77568
  • Santa Fe: 11934 FM 1764, Santa Fe, TX 77510
  • Alvin Kroger: 3100 Hwy. 35 S., Alvin, TX 77511