By Michael Gresham
The Texas Catholic
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted countless activities across the world over the past two years. Like many schools, All Saints Catholic School in north Dallas saw students moved to remote learning, implementation of cautionary safety procedures, and other changes to their daily school life. Concerns about the pandemic also led to a pause in one of the school’s core efforts: service to the community.
“Service is at the heart of our education at All Saints,” said Colin Campbell, president of All Saints Catholic School. “For the last two years, we’ve been limited in how we’ve been able to serve.”
Looking for a way to reconnect All Saints students with the wider community, school leaders took an annual family celebration and turned it into a service opportunity. For the first time, Campbell said the school’s annual Daddy-Daughter Dance partnered with a charitable organization, Dallas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), collecting donations for the nonprofit that advocates for children in protective care.
“With all the events that are happening throughout the world and our students feeling a sense of heartbreak, we felt we could have a greater purpose for our Daddy-Daughter Dance and teach students and their families to help other children in their community that might not have basic necessities,” said Sylvia Windham, who co-chaired the dance along with Megan Dunavant. The duo contacted Dallas CASA and asked if our students could partner with the needs of the foster children for which CASA advocates.
“They were more than grateful since the needs of the children have increased post-COVID and with the current times of inflation,” Windham said. “We are hoping this event will become a tradition and we’re also hoping that other schools and communities will join in and help their neighbors who are in need. There are so many charitable organizations that need our help in the community.”
Planning for the April 2 dance and charitable effort took about three months as the co-chairs began reaching out to area businesses for sponsorships to cover dance expenses and door prizes. Key sponsors included the Chick-Fil-A on Park Boulevard, Cindi’s New York Deli and Bakery, Structural and Design Engineering UBSE, and Venincasa Dental. Campbell said the dance organizers went out of their way to make sure costs of the event were covered by local businesses and donors so that in lieu of tickets, families could find ways to help Dallas CASA.
“All of the girls in the school are invited to bring their dad to this event each year, only this year instead of buying tickets they were asked to bring a donation,” he explained. “They then helped pack, move, and deliver the donations to the downtown Dallas CASA site.”
More than 100 families attended the dance, bringing numerous items foster children need, including toiletries, baby wipes, clothes and developmental toys.
“Our hope was to donate some of the most needed items for the children who come through Dallas CASA,” Campbell said. “Clearly the last few years have put an extra burden on the families who support these children and we hope that a stockpile of toiletries or diapers and wipes can help their transition in a small way.”
Campbell said All Saints promises its families that graduates will receive a quality Catholic education.
“And a part of what differentiates a Catholic education from any other is a genuine heart for service,” he said. “Our students know that the Catholic faith at its best is a faith that puts words into action and it’s opportunities like this that allow our students to put into practice what they learn in our classrooms.”
Windham said she hopes this year’s dance and charitable effort teaches the students a simple lesson.
“There is always an opportunity to help others.”