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Society / The Seen

90-Year-Old Great Depression Survivor and a Celebrity Foster Parent Move Hearts in Houston

A Beyond Touching $1.25 Million Night

BY // 05.27.17
photography Jenny Antill Clifton

It was a celebration worthy of the 125th anniversary of one of the city’s most venerable charities when supporters gathered at the Marriott Marquis to raise more than $1.2 million for DePelchin Children’s Center.

In story telling and song, the program envisioned by gala chair Laura Bellows, the past, present and future of the foster care and adoption agency were touchingly presented. Ninety-year-old Kelmor “Connie” Wallace shared her story of being sent to DePelchin during the Great Depression. Her segment closed with the Houston Children’s Chorus performing “Faith Home Prayer,” a prayer that she said every night as a child.

Next, the Saldivar family told their today story of adopting three boys from the foster care system. Foster parent Kyle Hutton, noted singer/songwriter, took the stage to share his vision for a tomorrow in which all children find a “forever family” and in which no child ages out at 18 with no place to call  home.The Children’s Chorus then joined him in performing “A Place to Stay.” The musical finale featured 125 members of the Children’s Chorus, one for each year of DePelchin history, and the Encore Strings presenting “One Song.”

Applause, applause for the heartfelt program orchestrated by Ward & Ames Special Events and Julie Bergen, and Swift + Company, which created the whimsical birthday motif.

Lisa Malosky emceed the evening that included remarks by DePelchin board chairman John Bass, president and CEO Jenifer Jarriel and the Rev. Barkley Thompson, dean of Christ Church Cathedral, which was instrumental in the growth of the charity.

Executive committee members contributing the evening’s success included Pam Brasseux, Emily Crosswell, Pam Lovett, and Flo McGee. Add the efforts of underwriting co-chairs Laurie Dorfman, Anne Duncan and Susan L. Padon and underwriting committee members Sue Nan Cutsinger, Ginni Mithoff and Lisa Stone.

Who: Hannah and Cal McNair, Jack Pendergrast, Charles Duncan, Pam Lovett, Margaret Alkek Williams, Geraldina Wise, Ellen and John Bass, Ellie and Jack Sweeney, Diana and Russell Hawkins, Lisa and David Stone, and Randa and Charlie Williams.

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