In its sixth year, NorthPark Center’s Ambassador program boldly merges all things fashion, art and philanthropy. The assembly of Ambassadors ― an idea generated in tandem by Nancy A. Nasher and Kimberly Schlegel Whitman ― shines a spotlight on Dallas’ top influencers and the causes most significant and important to them.
Chosen specifically for their philanthropic endeavors, each year-long ambassadorship offers the opportunity to partner with NorthPark Center and its retailers for a variety of events and initiatives to benefit their respective charitable organizations. From a not-to-miss fashion show to a magical holiday season, NorthPark provides a platform to get the mission of these organizations out there and ignite significant impact all year long.
Today, we speak with Andrea Nayfa, as she rallies around the mission of Children’s Health. As one of the largest and most prestigious pediatric healthcare providers in North Texas, the hospital cares for children through more than 750,000 patient visits each year. The Children’s Health system includes its flagship hospital, Children’s Medical Center Dallas, as well as Children’s Medical Center Plano, Our Children’s House inpatient rehabilitation hospital, the Children’s Healthcare Network, specialty centers, rehabilitation facilities, and physician services.
“Children’s Health and its distinct red balloon is a place of hope and compassion for patients and their families,” says Nayfa. “For over 100 years, their mission has been to make life better for children. Years ago, I attended a behind-the-scenes tour where I had the honor to witness life-saving care firsthand and learn about the latest advancements happening at the hospital. This experience was a pivotal moment and inspired me to continue to choose Children’s.”
NorthPark and Children’s Health partner once again for the fourth annual A Season of Giving campaign, with all proceeds of visits with NorthPark Santa benefiting Children’s. Visits run through December 24 and can be booked online in advance. Santa will also surprise patients at the hospital with special, one-on-one visits throughout the season. The Breakfast with Santa Spectacular, a fun-filled morning of performances, food, Santa visits, and holiday cheer, takes place December 3 at NorthPark. Movies with a Mission at AMC NorthPark 15 also benefits Children’s, with a private showing of Wonka on December 15.
What made you choose to support Children’s Health?
The unforgettable impact the doctors, nurses, and staff have on children and the support they give families is second to none. My children have all experienced the welcoming and caring staff in the emergency room when we needed them for a broken bone or a late-night high fever. When you have children, you hope never to need Children’s Health, but there is comfort in knowing this world-renowned hospital with cutting-edge technology and treatment is always here when you need it.
Tell us a specific memory from time working with Children’s Health.
A few years ago, Kristin Mitchell and I, along with the staff at Children’s, made a collective decision to give the beloved Breakfast with Santa, benefiting Children’s Health, a fresh new approach. We are grateful to our Presenting Sponsor, NorthPark, for partnering with us to bring this reimagined holiday experience to the Center to kick off the holidays. The event was a magical morning in December filled with Sunday brunch, Disney characters, face painting, arts and crafts, a one-hour Rockefeller dance performance, and photos with NorthPark’s beloved Santa. The smiles on the children’s faces and the fun had by our guests were priceless! It was a true holiday extravaganza and one I will be forever grateful to have been a part of. With my family by my side, they were able to be a special part of the fun by volunteering, performing, and witnessing how wonderful it feels to give back to the community. This is the start of a new tradition for my family and the next generation of families to enjoy!
What was it that first instilled the value of giving back?
When our children were young, my husband and I made a conscious effort to lead by example in hopes this would teach them the valuable lesson of helping others. The core standards can be deeply rooted to teach us about community, humility, compassion, and selflessness. These are the values we believe will help them lead a more joyful and meaningful life!
Who has been your strongest role model?
My greatest strength and fabulous role model is my mother. She not only inspires me to be a better wife, mother, and friend but to never give up on the ones we love. Her family comes from a long lineage of faithful and strong Lebanese women who always put their families first. I watched my mother for years take care of our late father, who was diagnosed with progressive Multiple Sclerosis when we were young. Although his disease was debilitating and challenging in his last few years, she exemplified grace and love with the excellent care she took of him.
NorthPark Center is renowned for combining art and fashion. Can you describe your own personal art interests?
I love beautiful art galleries and interesting architecture. From many years working in real estate with Allie Beth Allman & Associates, I’ve had the opportunity to see fabulous art collections and homes designed by a variety of architects, landscapers, and designers. There is something powerful between the combination of real estate and the arts. On another personal note, I have a daughter who is a pre-professional dancer and performer. Through her journey, we’ve had many opportunities to visit various theaters, watch a variety of performances, and develop a strong passion together for the arts.
What do you do to unwind?
When I have time, I love a good morning of tennis. It’s my favorite way to unwind and decompress. Being outdoors with friends and getting a little exercise while playing a competitive sport is my guilty pleasure! In the evenings, after my family is asleep, I tend to read my devotionals or binge-watch a new series.
Favorite memory of NorthPark Center?
I have a fond collection of happy memories of my time at NorthPark Center. In high school, my late father allowed me to skip school to travel on a business trip with him to Dallas. His family was in the garment business, and he had a meeting with designer Victor Costa. When we landed at Dallas Love Field, it was snowing heavily, so he took me straight to NorthPark and bought me a beautiful coat. It was my first time visiting the iconic shopping center, and at first glimpse, its uniqueness, modern design, and glamorous fashion were etched in my memory. Of course, you can only mention special memories if you mention the famous brick planters. For years, our three children spent hours sliding down the brick planters (like their dad when he was a boy), seeing the turtles, and running in the garden long enough to go home and nap for hours!
Words of advice you would give to your younger self?
I would tell myself constantly to live each day being brave. When we are young, we have the opportunity to start new ventures and learn from their successes and failures. It takes bravery to pick up and move forward. Bravery to try new things takes courage and can be fearful sometimes, but if you don’t put yourself out there, you will miss unspoken opportunities!