Justine Sweeney
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Gittings, a local portrait studio known for its quality and profound history, is honoring extraordinary women in March for Women’s History Month to commemorate its 90th anniversary. Selfless Women to Remember: An Exhibition of Portraits by Gittings features and uplifts women of yesterday, today and tomorrow who have positively impacted North Texas and beyond.

The exhibition celebrates the service of 30 women, half of which were selected from the Gittings archives through a community-wide vote. The other half are members of the Junior Leagues of Dallas, Fort Worth and Collin County, each one nominated by her chapter and honored with a Gittings portrait of her own.  The honorees represent a diverse and extensive group of causes, organizations and impacts – all connected by their dedication to bettering the community.

“All of these women have made incredible impacts in their communities and beyond,” said Rick Bettinger, President and Owner of Gittings in Dallas and Fort Worth. “It is our honor to recognize them as leaders in giving so much of their time, talent and treasure, and we hope the community is inspired by their selflessness.”

The Shops of Willow Bend hosted a reception for the Junior League of Collin County and Gittings to honor the women and portrait display shown in front of Neiman Marcus on the first floor from March 18-24. 

Women Honored:  Robin Joseph-Williams, Carole Greisdorf, Kara Olson, Jenna Maynard and Irum Jones.

Justine Sweeney

Nominations are being accepted for the annual Junior League of Collin County Excellence in Volunteer Service Awards that honors individual volunteers, nonprofit organizations, and business volunteer programs that make important contributions and assist the residents of Collin County.  Deadline to submit a nomination is March 1, 2019.   Nominations are accepted from the community at large and recipients are chosen by the Junior League of Collin County’s Community Advisory Board and honored at the Excellence in Volunteer Service Awards Luncheon to be held Thursday, April 25, 2019 at Aristide McKinney in Craig Ranch.  The keynote speaker, Dr. John Siburt of City Square will share ways the community can engage in fight the causes of poverty and homelessness.  The community is invited to attend the celebration luncheon; ticket will be available in late February.

Award Categories: (complete details available online)

Collin County Volunteer of the Year (an adult individual whose hands-on volunteer service strengthens Collin County)

Nonprofit Professional of the Year (employee of a nonprofit that demonstrates excellence in leadership and furthering the mission of the organization)

Youth Volunteer of the Year (high school student making a difference in Collin County through volunteerism)

Nonprofit Organization of the Year (nonprofit organization whose leaders and volunteers do extraordinary work to strengthen Collin County)

Community Business Partner of the Year (large or small business that consistently supports the nonprofit sector and creates strong partnerships through employee involvement)

Additional questions:  Leslie Sparacino, Excellence in Volunteer Service Awards Chair, at with any questions.

Justine Sweeney
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NTW kick off Katie Harris and Heather Webb MirMir

Junior League of Collin County brought a New York City vibe for a night of culture in October to the ArtCentre of Plano to kick-off the 23rd annual ‘Neath the Wreath Holiday Gift Market.  Guests enjoyed bites from Tommy Bahama Legacy West   and the most recent exhibit from Plano-based artist Kelly Steller Hrad.   Additional ‘Neath the Wreath sponsors include Audi McKinney, A Sewell Company, Ebby Halliday, Goldenlight Creative, Holiday Warehouse, Legacy West, Market Street, Plano Aesthetics, Rustic Cuff and Tom Thumb. 


A North Texas holiday tradition, ‘Neath the Wreath Holiday Gift Market presented by the Junior League of

Collin County brings together over 13,000 shoppers to support community impact projects.  Kicking off the

23rd year, ‘Neath the Wreath Holiday Gift Market spans five days and features the best in unique holiday and home décor, clothing and accessories, gifts, jewelry, children’s items and gourmet food from over 125 carefully selected merchants many of which are small family-owned businesses.    

Over 120 volunteers of the Junior League of Collin County work year-round dedicating 2,000 hours to create ‘Neath the Wreath Holiday Gift Market to support the community impact projects.  Interested in learning more about becoming a member of the Junior League of Collin County, sign up for an information session.


  • Tickets are available at participating Collin County Tom Thumb locations, online or at the door.
  • Connect with ‘Neath the Wreath:   @NeaththeWreath @jlccntw #neaththewreath
  • To become a ‘Neath the Wreath Insider, subscribe to the e-news to receive ‘Neath the Wreath happenings.

For complete details visit:

Justine Sweeney
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Frisco Association for the Arts (Frisco Arts) welcomes the Cliburn as partner for the third annual Frisco Arts Walk & Run on Saturday, October 6 at HALL Park.  Through community outreach, special events, membership programs and multiple communication platforms, Frisco Arts celebrates and advocates for the arts community within Frisco.  It is an honor for Frisco Arts to be recognized as an important outreach partner to support established cultural cornerstones like the Cliburn to grow their audiences in Frisco where there is a high concentration of young classical musicians. 

The Cliburn is bringing their influence of classical piano music to Frisco.  Representatives will be on-site to share information about the 2019 Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival, which takes place in Dallas on May 31 – June 8, 2019 with Former First Lady Mrs. Laura Bush as honorary chair. 

“As we prepare to welcome the very best 13- to 17-year-old pianists from around the world to Dallas next year, one of the Cliburn’s top priorities is forming new, purposeful relationships with the region’s innovative arts organizations, including Frisco Arts. We’re looking forward to being at the Walk and Run this fall, to meet the community of Frisco and to introduce the exceptional talent that they can expect at the Cliburn Junior Competition,” said Jacques Marquis, Cliburn president and CEO. 

The Cliburn Red Carpet will be hosted at Frisco Arts Walk & Run and consists of a Steinway grand piano on site at the festival for amateur musicians to perform throughout the day. For the first time ever, the Cliburn will present Clayton Stephenson, 2015 Cliburn Junior Jury Discretionary Award winner, with a special performance and meet-and-greet. 

“Frisco Arts’ mission is to make the arts accessible to all citizens and highlight the talent in our city and beyond,” said Tammy Meinershagen, executive director of Frisco Arts.  “Frisco Arts Walk brings all art forms to the community and this year our reach gains international exposure through a partnership with the Cliburn.   Set in among the Texas Sculpture Garden of HALL Park, this immersive arts experience is truly unique to Frisco.”



Frisco Arts Walk is a day of celebrating the arts in Frisco at HALL Park among the Texas Sculpture Garden, the largest private collection of Texas sculptures ever assembled and made available to the public on Saturday, October 6.  The day will kick-off with an arts-themed 5K run and followed by the Frisco Arts Walk festival-style immersive arts experience.  Activities include hands-on art demonstrations, vignette performances, artisan booths, food trucks, The Cliburn Red Carpet and a concert at the HALL Park amphitheater with the award-winning UNT Lab Bands and the UNT Jazz Singers. INFORMATION: Additional information: or contact 972-810-1028. Frisco Arts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, community-based organization committed to advancing the arts in Frisco and serves the Official Art Agency for the City of Frisco. 



The Cliburn advances classical piano music throughout the world. Its international competitions, education programs, and concert series embody an enduring commitment to artistic excellence and the discovery of new artists. Established in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1962, the quadrennial Van Cliburn International Piano Competition (sixteenth edition, May 28–June 12, 2021) remains the most visible expression of that mission and is, as always, committed to its original ideals of supporting and launching the careers of young artists, ages 18–30. It shares the transformative powers of music with a wide global audience, through fully-produced webcasts and by providing comprehensive career management and concert bookings to its winners. Rounding out its mission, the Cliburn also produces the Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition and Festival for exceptional 13 to 17-year-old pianists (second edition, May 31–June 8, 2019), and the Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition for outstanding non-professional pianists age 35 and older (eighth edition, May/June 2020).

Over a four-year cycle, the Cliburn contributes to North Texas’ cultural landscape with over 170 classical music performances for 150,000 attendees, through competitions, free community concerts, and its signature Cliburn Concerts series at Bass Performance Hall, the Kimbell Art Museum Piano Pavilion, and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. It presents 1,000 in-school, interactive music education programs for more than 200,000 area elementary students. During the same time period, it garners the world’s attention with over five million visits from 170 nations for live concert and competition webcasts; 300 concerts worldwide booked for competition winners; more than 5,000 news articles about the Cliburn and its winners; and regular national radio broadcasts to 245 public radio stations. Detailed information  about the Cliburn and its programs is available at


Justine Sweeney
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Plano community leaders, chefs, students and volunteers came out in force to support Hendrick Scholarship Foundation during the annual signature fundraiser, TASTE 2018, hosted at Classic BMW.   TASTE 2018 is a truly a party with a purpose - Serving Student Success for Life by providing Plano ISD graduates who have overcome adversity with college scholarships, academic advising, mentoring and life skills training.   The event raised $100,000 to fund future scholarships and support services.  Currently there are 73 in the four year program and the incoming 2018 class will be announced later in May. 

TASTE 2018 was led by Plano community leader, Jean Callison alongside the host committee led by Plano ISD alumni Lesley and Barry Guinn.  Surprise performances from Hendrick student, Jairo Cabrera and Plano’s own American Idol contestant, Ron Bultongez entertained guests.  Celebrity Honorary Chef John Tesar joined on stage with auctioneer Phillip Pierceall and emcee Victoria Snee brought the auction to a heated close leading with a clear message about the importance of education as a cornerstone for success leaving the crowd to battle for the opportunity to be one of the first at Knife opening at The Shops at Willowbend in August.    A complete photo album is available on Facebook.   To download for publishing and captions use Google.

Co-founder of Hendrick Scholarship Foundation and a founding family of Plano, Rutledge Haggard honored the memory of Dr. Hendrick followed by a moving video featuring many of the Hendrick students sharing their story. More than 300 guests participated in the event with food offerings by Plano’s finest restaurants: Knife, Central Market, Seasons 52, III Forks, BULLA, Roy’s, XO Coffee, Urban Crust, Sea Breeze Market & Grill, Princi Italia, Mi Dia, Mama Jenny’s Family Diner and Union Bear Brewery.

TASTE 2018 would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors, auction donors and volunteers who provided hundreds of items to share in the raffle, silent and live auctions.   Sponsors include: Dean’s List:  American Standard, Classic BMW, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano; Honor Roll:  Alphagraphics, Atmos Energy, BTH Bank, Frost, Huffines Auto Group, Legacy Texas, NTT Data, Orix Foundation, Plano Magazine, Sweeney Media Group, Plano Profile, Sandy & Chris Haire, Melissa and Charles Mangum, Le’Nore and C. Dan Smith.  The Scholar sponsors include:   Cinemark, FedEx, Gay McCall Roberts & Minett, Matthews Paradise, Moss Adams, Newcrest Image, The Shops at Willow Bend, Debra and Barry Benton, Jean and Glenn Callison, Susan and Rutledge Haggard, Judge Sue Holland, Primera Companies, Joan and Berk Smith and in memory of Enid and Michael Pappas. 

Host committee members include:  Missy and Doug Bender, Chris and David Downs, Susan and Rutledge Haggard, Ann and Ray Huffines, Allie and Mark Jacobs, Judy and Robert Lee, Sharon and Johnny Lewis, Jenna and Casey Maynard, Amy and Jack Medford, Deepa and Raj Menon, Paige and Jeff Mims, Joa and John Muns, Leslie and Mark Newman, Auburn and Philip Pope, Monica and Mark Shortino, Lissa and Bill Smith, Sheri and Don Steele, Shelley and Ray Strickland, Camille and Mike Ussery, Hilary and Al Valente and Pamela Zeigler-Petty and Tony Petty.

Event committee members include:  Debra Benton, Lori Cecil, Mary Jo Dean, Patti Gunnels, Nancy Humphrey, Kelly Hunter, Chris Ingalls, Jackie Johnston, Becky McKinney, Phillip Pierceall, Mardy Sackley, Joan Smith, Justine Sweeney, La Tanya Thomas, Heather Webb, Richard Wells, Stephanie Wells, Kimberly Woodard and Leah Young.

Today, Hendrick Scholarship Foundation is the leading resource for Plano ISD graduates seeking college scholarships that provide a network of support not just financial assistance.  Hendrick surrounds their students with mentors who are committed to their success in and outside the classroom.  Students’ needs vary from access to social services, tutoring, education and career planning, transportation, personal development and life skills.   The vision of Dr. Hendrick is as strong today providing a support system that continues today Serving Student Success for Life.  To get involved and more information on Hendrick Scholarship Foundation, contact:  or call 972-535-6712. 

Justine Sweeney
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At the heart of the Junior League of Collin County (JLCC) is volunteerism.  Since their inception 41 years ago, JLCC has contributed over 750,000 volunteer hours to nonprofits serving Collin County.  To celebrate and encourage volunteerism throughout the Collin County region, JLCC hosts the annual Excellence in Volunteer Service Awards to honor local volunteers who are changing our community for good.   Held at Piazza on the Green in McKinney, community leaders served as award presenters and Dr. Cheryl “Action” Jackson of Minnie’s Food Pantry was the keynote speaker.  A common theme was heard among the nominees’ stories that together, volunteers and nonprofits change lives.  Not just the lives of those receiving but also of those giving.  Excellence in Volunteer Service is sponsored by David & Chris Downs, Simplyconnect, Susie Cakes, Fiore x 7, Pittman Designs and Community Impact. 


2018 Collin County Excellence in Volunteer Service Awardees: 

Spirit of Collaboration (2)

Organization:  Frisco Arts

Individual:  Steve Perry, Plano Metro Rotary

Youth Volunteer of the Year

Sydney DeWolf – nominated by National Charity League Plano Area Chapter

Youth Organization of the Year

Team Willowbend North Texas Performing Arts

Collin County Business Leadership


Excellence in Leadership

Officer Art Parker, Plano Police, school resource officer

Emerging Community Impact Award

Grace to Change

Collin County Volunteer of the Year

Tonya Winchester – nominated by Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Nonprofit of the Year

Jewish Family Services

All photos by Susan Bellson Photography


Justine Sweeney
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BEYOND Studio Frisco is the first Collin County location of Dallas’ premiere boutique Pilates-fusion workouts. January 19-20 will celebrate their grand opening.  Founded in 2010 by Brandi Marino in Dallas, Texas, BEYOND Studios pioneered the concept of PHIT, or Pilates Hybrid Interval Training.  BEYOND Studio Frisco will celebrate its grand opening with a ribbon cutting, free classes Friday and “Sweat, Sip and Shop” charity classes taught by Brandi to benefit Frisco Arts and Frisco Fastpacs which includes mimosas, brunch and 20% off retail.   BEYOND Studios is located at 4851 Legacy Drive at northwest corner of Lebanon, conveniently located among the Stonebriar and Starwood communities.  BEYOND Studios is a local women-owned business by entrepreneur, Beth Crain who found her passion in pilates and helping women go BEYOND to achieve their wellness goals.

Friday, January 19

Free Class Friday for Frisco 6:00am, 7:00am, 8:30am and Noon

Sweat for Frisco Fastpacs class 9:30am (register and 100% goes to Frisco Fastpacs)

Frisco Chamber Ribbon Cutting & studio tours 11:00am

Saturday, January 20

Sweat for Frisco Arts 11:30am (register and 100% goes to Frisco Arts)

BEYOND Studios will be featured as the Athleta Stonebriar Studio of the month with special complimentary classes in the store and offers.


What makes BEYOND unique?

  • More than 40 classes are offered each week
  • BEYOND will offer  child supervision during select classes to support the family-oriented lifestyle in Frisco. 
  • All fitness levels are welcome and complimentary introduction classes are offered to introduce the reformer (aka “the bed”).  
  • BEYOND is an innovative Pilates driven 50-minute workout that focuses on Mind, Movement, and Music.  BEYOND strives to offer clients of all fitness levels a personal training experience in a small group fitness environment.  All classes utilize BEYOND's PHIT (Pilates Hybrid Interval Training) philosophy which combines the teachings of reformer Pilates with the enhanced performance of interval training to help clients burn more fat and build more muscle. 


How to go BEYOND?

Classes are also sold individually, through StudioHop Dallas and a variety of monthly membership levels.  Direct class bookings are also available at MindBodyOnline.  A limited number of Founding memberships are still available during the grand opening.  Founding membership benefits include unlimited classes, 15% discount off retail, one monthly guest pass to bring a friend, and complimentary child supervision  for $175/month with no contract and ability to cancel at anytime. 



Connect with BEYOND:

Facebook:  Beyond Studios Frisco

Instagram:  @beyondstudiosfrisco



Address:  4851 Legacy Drive Suite 503  Frisco, Texas 75034

Justine Sweeney
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Children do better when parents do better.  And when families succeed, the community thrives.  This vision is the motivation behind (NTXF).  Founded by Dallas’ 116-year-old nonprofit, ChildCareGroup, NTXF is a comprehensive database in the form of a mobile-friendly website connecting families with resources, services and benefits.  NTXF provides information on community resources from:  early childhood programs, education, parenting support, health, food, transportation, finance, work and legal services.  There is no comparable tool in the area giving families a central access point to all of these services.

Prior to, families and service providers would become frustrated and discouraged trying to piece together accurate information on community resources that could help them build healthy and productive lives.

“ChildCareGroup uses a holistic, two generation approach in our work with young children and their families.  Providing children with a quality early education is not enough; we must also ensure that their parents have access to the other services and resources they need to be healthy and more self-sufficient, stated ChildCareGroup CEO, Tori Mannes.  “ provides a solution for parents who need to find services for their families and for the social workers or case managers at area nonprofits who wish to refer their clients to other community agencies.  We look forward to working with our nonprofit partners to expand the NTXF site and collaborate more strategically to improve the lives of North Texas families,” continued Mannes.

Established in 1901, ChildCareGroup's mission is to promote, deliver and expand the best early care and education programs for children, parents and early childhood professionals.  Over the years, the organization realized that families face many separate but related challenges that impact their ability to achieve greater self sufficiency.  For example, without reliable transportation and access to affordable child care, how can a parent sustain a job or pursue an education?  The sharp decline in median income, lack of affordable housing and transportation has resulted in more neighborhoods with concentrated poverty.

According to Mayor Rawlings’s Task Force on Poverty, Dallas families are facing poverty. 

  • 31% of Dallas County children are living in poverty
  • Over 50% of Dallas households make less than $50,000 per year (of which 28% make less than $25,000 per year)
  • 48% of Dallas County residents have a high school diploma or less
  • 61% of Dallas County households are single-parent homes


ChildCareGroup created the comprehensive database using the technology of Austin-based company, Aunt Bertha, and customized search categories to specifically serve families. Users may search the site by city, county, zip code or area of need.  The search results provide program and contact information on service providers throughout North Texas.  Funding for was provided by Carl & Florence E. King Foundation and Communities Foundation of Texas.    ChildCareGroup will partner with providers throughout North Texas to continually update their information on the site so to better serve families and increase community impact.  

Justine Sweeney
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Texans love the benefits of RV travel and life as shown in 2015 as Texas led the nation in RV sales representing 7.95% of all RV categories combined.  Coming in second at 4.12% was Florida, according to the 2015 Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Industry Profile.   In 2015, Texas’ earned $1,755,323,700 in direct economic impact of RV related sales and services alone as determined by John Dunham & Associates for        


Following the Baby Boomer generation, the next generation of consumers ages 35-54 has remained the fastest growing segment with the average age of current RV owners at 48 years of age as compared to 60 years of age during the 1990’s.  Generation X and upcoming Millennials seek original products that may be customized to fit their lifestyle, digital control over their vehicle’s amenities and seek brands that demonstrate a social conscience consistent with their own.   Today’s RV travelers are diverse in ethnicity and background however all share an appreciation of adventure, outdoor activities, cultural immersion and desire for a quality connection with family and friends. is the advocacy group for RV travel and highlights several bloggers dedicated to the diversity of RV life.  From former NFL player Keith Sims raising his family on the go in the off-season, entrepreneurs working remote, families seeking life experience based education, artists documenting the countryside, travel writers providing immersion insight into a destination; the content is broad, deep and inspiring.


No matter the demographic or travel preferences, RV vacations can reduce vacation costs up to 73 percent as found in the RVIA Vacation Cost Comparison.


Current estimates place 1 in 12 vehicle owning households in the U.S. today have a recreational vehicle.  No matter if a household is a current, past or prospective owner; survey responses favor the intent to purchase an RV in the future according to the (RVIA) 2015 Industry Profile.   

Over twelve thousand shoppers are expected to attend the SOUTHWEST RV SUPERSHOW September 14-17 at Market Hall to experience the latest innovation, technology and advancements in RV life and travel.  Shoppers will experience the most affordable and value-packed options in 2018 models and 2017 close-outs.  RV manufacturing has benefitted from advancements in production and state-of-the-art design to offer travelers the best in modern conveniences and technology.   Low interest rates and aggressive show-only pricing make RV travel an affordable lifestyle.


More than 400 units are on display throughout 350,000 square feet of display space, plus additional displays in the parking lot area.  Each day of the show offers a variety of seminars on RV ownership and vendors with the latest accessories to enhance RV travels and life.  Professionals are on-site to provide financing and insurance scenarios.  National manufacturers are represented by regional dealer members of the Texas Recreational Vehicle Association which produces the multiday event.  

Complete information on dates, hours, discounts available, admission and coupon can be found:

Southwest RV Supershow takes place at Dallas Market Hall, 2200 North Stemmons Freeway Dallas, TX 75207

Justine Sweeney
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The Junior League of Collin County is hosting its 28th Annual Trinkets to Treasures resale event on April 8, 2017 from 8AM – 3PM at Plano Centre 2000 E Spring Creek Pkwy, Plano, TX 75074.  Admission is $5 for adults, children 10 and under free.  Gently enjoyed items are collected from individuals throughout the community to be recycled as “treasures” for shoppers.  Merchandise includes a variety of new and gently used merchandise including adult and children’s clothing, furniture, appliances, collectibles, home electronics, toys, sports equipment, office equipment, and much more.

This is Collin County’s largest one-day resale event that serves as one of the major fundraisers for the Junior League of Collin County’s community impact initiatives.  More than 100 JLCC volunteers contribute their time to organize the sale.   A unique aspect of Trinkets to Treasures is the opportunity for nonprofit partners to receive shopping cards valued at $25 each and free admission for four. More than 600 shopping cards are distributed each year due to the generous donations by the community.  To make a tax deductible contribute to the shopping card fund, visit JLCC Trinkets to Treasures

Details:  or email Call for info:  972-769-0557.