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A Night to Shine Brightest - the 2019 Children's Hope Dinner
by Ronne Rock
Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2019
The sixth annual Children’s Hope Dinner benefiting Orphan Outreach was an evening of inspiration for the nearly 600 guests in attendance. The event raised more than $400,000 to support ministry efforts in Central America, Asia, Africa, eastern Europe, and the U.S.

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Co-founder and Orphan Outreach president Mike Douris welcomed everyone to the sell-out night with a look into the purpose of the work being done around the world.

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“Most of the children we serve live in situations where they have lost the gift of childhood.  They are living in a slum with one toilet per 10,000 people, no running water and sewage in the streets, many go to bed at night hungry and not knowing if they will eat the next day.  Most see atrocities all around them, many are abused sexually, physically and emotionally, some have been trafficked, some girls become pregnant as young as 10 or 11 years old, many watch their parents die and are abandoned to an orphanage, and the majority feel they are not only unloved but unlovable.  These children are part of the 150 million orphans and over 600 million vulnerable children who live on this planet.

"Orphan Outreach’s ministry through Christ’s provision and guidance is to put the pieces back together for these innocents.  At Orphan Outreach we provide help in 4 areas of need. We provide children’s physical, emotional, educational and spiritual needs. We demonstrate not only in word, but in action that they are loved by a heavenly Father - that they are lovable, valuable not only in the Father’s eyes, but in the eyes of everyone He sends to care for them.”


Pierce and Allie Beth Allman, 2019 Children’s Hope Award recipients, have been giving back to the Dallas community for decades, and the list of organizations and endeavors that have benefited from their generosity is long and noteworthy. But the motivation of their service is not prestige.

“Doing what we love contributes to our happiness,” said Pierce. “In positive, uplifting cultures where people share core values, beliefs and norms, you'll find high performing people who attract others of the same kind.  And it's more than the golden rule standard of treating others as you want to be treated.  The underrated leadership strength of love enables you to respect how others want to be treated - what they want or need instead of projecting our own values and preferences.

“That's the culture Allie Beth and I have tried to nurture—a culture of love in its fullest sense.  One of our guiding themes is ‘We give where we live.’

“Tomorrow morning, think love. Try love. Compliment a colleague or a service.  Call someone you've been thinking about just to tell them that.  Reaffirm another person's worth. Send your love to those who don't know what love is.”

©Albertex Photography Ltd

Special guest Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys tight end, joined master of ceremonies Scott Hanson of the NFL RedZone to share his personal testimony of rescue and redemption from abuse. As a child, he witnessed first-hand the impact of an abusive father. His mother and brothers were abandoned, and as he says, “My life could have gone 1,000 different ways, and 999 of them would have turned out badly.” Jason says it was his grandfather who became his inspiration for how to care for others.

“Our grandparents took us in, and it changed my life. My grandfather walked the walk.”

Jason then encouraged the audience to consider the impact of giving their time, talent, and treasure:

“It’s all about the perspective that you have on life. We all get up, we want to succeed, we want to be successful. We’re busy, we have challenges, we have adversity. We’re driven, we have so much. But I think it goes back to when your head hits the pillow at night, who are you? What do you stand for, what kind of difference do you want to make? Only you can answer that, and same for me when my head hits the pillow. When my grandfather brought us in, the spirit of what he was doing in our lives was never questioned. And I always think back to that spirit, of how I want to go about each day. I want to be a football player, a dad, a husband, and a friend. When your head hits the pillow, that’s the moment of truth. That spirit of being able to make a difference without expecting anything in return, like my grandfather did for me.”

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The Children’s Hope Dinner was founded by Dallas philanthropist Jimmy Westcott after a heart-wrenching mission trip to visit Russian orphanages. Westcott felt led to help raise awareness and urgently needed funds in support of Orphan Outreach’s work.

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Thank you to 2019 Children’s Hope Dinner chairs Bev Berry and Alan Vuckovich, who began their journey with Orphan Outreach on a mission trip to Guatemala in 2016. A special thanks also to the selfless volunteers, table sponsors, CHD host committee, and Orphan Outreach staff for countless hours of work and support.

You can support the ministry efforts of our ministry partners around the world by becoming a James 127 Advocate. You tell the world you are part of a movement dedicated to doing what’s in the best interest of a child. Your gift of just $10.58 a month or $127 a year allows Orphan Outreach to serve orphaned and vulnerable children worldwide, focusing on areas of greatest need throughout the year. You tell the world, “I stand for orphans.” And you tell a child, “I stand for YOU.” Become a James 127 Advocate now.

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