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The Foundation for the Callier Center and Communication Disorders

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Imagine what your life would be like without the ability to hear or speak, with no way to communicate your feelings or needs to not only the ones you love but with the world. The Foundation for the Callier Center and Communication Disorders’ purpose is dedicated to improve these conditions by increasing recognition and the image of UT Dallas Callier Center in the community and by helping to carry out fundraising activities. The Callier Center for Communication Disorders mission is to transform the lives of those with communication disorders by providing outstanding, leading-edge clinical services, conduction meaningful and innovative basic and applied research into new treatments and technologies, and training the next generation of caring clinical providers.

Around 4,000 children and adults receive more than 48,000 clinical services annually, including evaluation and treatment from the center. Intervention services for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder, the cochlear implant program for children who are deaf, and speech and language therapy are just a few of the services offered at the Callier Center. The training offered by the center includes graduate programs in audiology and speech-language pathology which is one of the nation’s largest programs and is ranked in the top 5% of U.S. programs according to a U.S. New & World Report survey. At the center, their faculty, students, and clinicians conduct research into the causes, prevention, assessment, and treatment of communication disorders. Their facilities include state-of-the-art laboratories for research in child language development and disorders, autism spectrum disorders, speech production, hearing disorders, neurogenic speech and language disorders, amplification of hearing aids, cochlear implants and aural habilitation. The Callier Center does not discriminate against patients who cannot afford the services that they desperately need and more than half the children that they serve need financial assistance.

Ruthie’s donation drive collection for the campers!

Ruthie’s donation drive collection for the campers!

The recipient of the Ruthie’s Snacks of Kindness for July was the Callier Center’s Cochlear Implant Summer Listening Camp. The camp is for children ages 4 – 11 who have cochlear implants. A cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing. Campers receive listening and speech-language therapy throughout the week and are also able to spend time with other children who have cochlear implants, and family members come together to share information. Ruthie’s also held a donation drive to collect art supplies for the campers.

Watching the campers with big smiles on their faces as they hugged Ruthie and used speech to order their grilled cheese sandwiches is one amazing example of the power of communication!
— Melissa Sweeny

 Director of Speech-Language Pathology Clinical Services Cochlear Implant Program Manager, Melissa Sweeney “began working for the Callier Center at UT Dallas because [she] saw it as a place that provides hope to families of those with communication disorders.” Callier allows speech pathologists and audiologists to partner with families on their journeys in helping their loved one improve their communication skills. For Melissa, “it was [her] love for working with children who are deaf or hard of hearing and Callier’s family-centered care” that drew her to the Callier. She believes that “communication is a basic human need and right. Callier transforms lives by providing treatment to those with communication disorders and improving their ability to interact in the world around them.” Serving the campers some gooey grilled cheese was not only fun for the campers but for the Ruthie’s staff as well! Ruthie’s mascot, Ruthie the pig was in attendance and gave out stickers and hugs to all the campers. “Watching the campers with big smiles on their faces as they hugged Ruthie and used speech to order their grilled cheese sandwiches is one amazing example of the power of communication!” Visit the Callier Center for Communication Disorders website for more information on how you can be a hear-o!

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Just Because, Inc.

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Just Because is an example of a community of willing, kind people being kind and serving-Just Because.  The passion for people is what keeps Just Because “doing”. We will keep loving and we’d love everyone to follow suit-Just Because. Just Because is a non-profit organization that focuses on under-resourced communities in the DFW area. “Our values are pretty simple at Just Because, Inc. Serve-we serve under-resourced People, organizations and causes-wholeheartedly. Kindness-we share it without judgement. Focus-we identify problems and then focus on a solution.” as stated on their website About Just Because. “To see all, as they are. To touch hearts, without an agenda. To share kindness, Just Because.” was the mission for Just-Because and I love it! We chose this organization because their mission was so simple but the purpose and impact they have on communities is major. The company is a smaller company but you just need a few powerful dedicated people and your company is as big as the next major company!

By coming together as a community, we extend our kindness and love into the community. It’s magic really. Having Ruthie’s validate that the work we do matters fuels our hearts.
— Krissy Sarine-Van Brunt
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We spoke with the Creator of Kindness Krissy Sarine-Van Brunt just to get some insights from her. “My ‘enough’ button was pushed one a hot day last August and I decided-enough.  Enough with children going to school without underwear. Enough with our seniors being forgotten. Enough with our military not properly being appreciated. Enough with our homeless community eating out of buckets under bridges in 110 degree heat.  Enough. SO much enough. We all have the option to do nothing, thankfully, we don’t speak ‘do nothing’ at Just Because,” she expressed. “I’d love to ask the 2,000 children in DFW receiving new socks and undies for the 2019-2020 school year how their confidence has increased knowing complete strangers are rooting for them.  Or perhaps the 300 senior citizens how much love they felt during Easter basket delivery in April. I’m sure we impacted the waistlines of the 32 Fire and Police Stations we cookie’d during Thin Mint Season-Just Because. Over 450 homeless in DFW received individual, insulated coolers last month in an effort to keep what little food they have, cool for the summer. Greatest impact? Ask the two teenagers that we took shopping after their family lost everything in the tornado in June.  One told me, ‘people aren’t nice anymore, but you help people.’ It’s true, our organization is 100% run by our Just Because community FOR the community. By coming together as a community, we extend our kindness and love into the community. It’s magic really. Having Ruthie’s validate that the work we do matters fuels our hearts.  Ruthie’s also collected several pairs of socks, shoes and undies for our Just BeKids program.”

Ruthie’s and Just Because are both small companies making big differences in the community. Two strong women that created a business for the greater good of the people. Ruthie’s has shed spread light on Just Because by trying to collect as many donations as possible, and also letting social media know about the great doings of Just Because so that they can give a well deserved contribution to the organization!

We weren’t able to feed the Just Because crew all at once but our Chief of Cheesy Kindness Amber was able to catch up with Tim Stone the Director of Dreams and got to serve him a grilled cheese. “He was so excited about his cheesy encouragement that he paid to enter a Food Truck Palooza at Temple Shalom just to make it happen! We gave him an extra sandwich for his friend as well but unfortunately he was not able to wear his grilled cheese bikini to the Temple!”

Our very own Kelly Bennett gave us some of her own insight on how she felt about Just Because personally and how does working for a company that gives back to the community impact her life,”I love serving the Just Because nonprofit because it is a very small nonprofit run 100% by volunteers making a BIG impact in our community! They serve anyone and everyone in need....whether it's clothing, food, toiletries....they provide it all at no cost, also I think we all need to have and feel a sense of purpose. Working at Ruthie's Rolling Cafe is a blessing and allows all of us who work here the opportunity to serve!”

If you want to help support Just Because you could always log on to Just Because and contribute to their Amazon wish list, make a donation, or just volunteer your time! A special thanks to Just Because for being another angelic organization for our community. Also a special thanks to Ruthie’s Rolling Cafe for making it all happen!

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The 12 Days of Ruthie's Snacks of Kindness: Part 1

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The Ruthie’s mission, “to provide exceptional service and quality comfort food in order to impact our local community and non-profit organizations”, has never been more exemplified than during the second annual 12 Days of Ruthie’s Snacks of Kindness (RSK). Before December, the Ruthie’s crew came together to select twelve different non-profits to thank for their generous work within the community. The twelve diverse organizations have missions that are close to the teams’ hearts, individually and as a whole. During the month of December Ruthie’s delivered delectable grilled cheese sandwiches to some of the members and employees of the selected non-profits. Donation drives for tangible items needed by some of the organizations were held in front of the food trucks during public events for the month of December. Ruthie’s also highlighted the non-profits of the 12 Days of RSK’s on the food trucks and social media to inform Ruthie’s customers of the organizations and their benevolent missions.

Smoked sliced turkey, crispy bacon, house made slob sauce, and melted sharp cheddar cheese on grilled sourdough bread topped with Santa! The Turkey Trot was one of the grilled cheese sandwiches delivered during the 12 Days of RSK’s.

Smoked sliced turkey, crispy bacon, house made slob sauce, and melted sharp cheddar cheese on grilled sourdough bread topped with Santa! The Turkey Trot was one of the grilled cheese sandwiches delivered during the 12 Days of RSK’s.

Richardson Area Young Life (RAYL), nominated by Ruthie’s employee, Ben, was the first non-profit of the 12 Days of RSK’s. Young Life is a Christian ministry that reaches out to middle school, high school, and college-age kids in more than 90 countries around the world, as well as groups for military kids, teen moms, and special need kids. The Young Life mission is to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and to help them grow in their faith. They accomplish their mission by inviting kids to personally respond to the Good News and by walking in friendship with them regardless of their response, as well as providing fun, adventurous, life-changing, and skill-building experiences. RAYL provides a weekly club night, described as “a party with a purpose” to share a simple message about God’s love for them and a weekly meeting called Campaigners, for kids who wish to learn more or grow in their faith through study and service. Young Life also hosts a camping trip for kids to get away from the pressures of everyday life, have fun with friends and their Young Life leaders, as well as hear the message of God’s love in terms they can understand. The Ruthie’s crew made some delicious grilled cheeses for the staff of a local high school Young Life as a thank you for their commitment to the community. Visit the RAYL website for volunteer opportunities or if you would like to make a financial contribution.

Ruthie’s team member, Marie, chose The Concilio as the second recipient of the 12 Days of RSK’s. The non-profit’s mission is to build stronger communities by empowering parents to improve the lives of their families. Since 1981, they have fulfilled this mission by focusing on two areas; health and education. The organization offers programs that advance educational attainment by bridging the gap between parents and the educational system. Parents Advocating for Student Excellence (PASE), is a program that teaches parents how to positively influence their child’s education by being actively engaged. The Concilio helps families overcome unfavorable conditions that interfere with their health and access to equitable healthcare. The Healthy Kids, Healthy Families (HKHF) accelerates healthy lifestyle changes in communities and creates a lasting change by focusing on preventative health, nutrition and wellness, and physical activity. By promoting parental involvement in their children’s lives, The Concilio has been able to serve thousands of families each year, and help unlock students potentials. A donation drive of school supplies and care package items was held at the Ruthie’s office before December. The donations and grilled cheese sandwiches for the enthusiastic staff were delivered during the first week of the 12 Days of RSK’s. Visit The Concilio’s website for more information about volunteering or donating to the wonderful cause.

Ruthie’s employee, Cully, delivering grilled cheese sandwiches to the staff of the Greater Dallas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Ruthie’s employee, Cully, delivering grilled cheese sandwiches to the staff of the Greater Dallas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

The Greater Dallas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association was selected by Ruthie’s employee, Lori, in honor of her mother. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia with symptoms that develop slowly, get worse over time, and cause difficulties with memory, thinking, and behavior. There is no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues today. The Association’s mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, provide enhanced care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. The Greater Dallas Chapter provides connections to local resources, care consultations, caregiver seminars, educational programs, and support groups for those who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s. A national 24/7 Helpline connects people living with the disease, caregivers, families, and the public to specialists and master-level clinicians to offer confidential support and information. As a thank you for the chapter’s strenuous work with those affected by Alzheimer’s, Ruthie’s delivered comforting grilled cheeses to the thoughtful staff. The Greater Dallas Chapter staff member, Megan, wrote to Ruthie’s about the delivery, to say, “These sandwiches brought happiness to our office!” To help in the fight to end Alzheimer’s, visit their website to learn how to donate, advocate, or participate in the fundraising activity, The Longest Day!

The forth non-profit chosen for the 12 Days of RSK’s was Foundation 45 and was nominated by Ruthie’s team member, Sara. The mission of Foundation 45 is to start a difficult but necessary conversation about suicide and support people struggling with suicidal thoughts and mental illness as well as those struggling with the collateral damage of losing a loved one by suicide. The Foundation recognizes that musicians, artists, and creative types are often at a higher risk of mental health issues and addiction but suicide affects more than just a neighborhood or community, it affects us all. On average, one Texan dies by suicide every three hours. The organization provides help for anyone suffering from mental illness, depression and addiction; many of whom do not have access to mental health resources. Their goal is to stand up against suicide and bring an end to these needless deaths by breaking the stigma, promoting living, and fostering creativity. The Interlude 45 Support Group is offered three times a week for adults to share their battles and successes with mental health issues and suicide. All sessions are led by dedicated licensed professional counselors that are committed to helping those struggling in the Dallas community find answers. Sara delivered a lunch of cheesy encouragement to the some of the counselors and staff of Foundation 45 before one of their board meetings as an appreciation for their tireless efforts with those whose lives have been impacted by suicide. Join the mission to break the silence and support solutions for real people by donating, volunteering, or throwing a benefit on the Foundation 45 website.

The staff of DCAC enjoying lunch from Ruthie’s Rolling Cafe!

The staff of DCAC enjoying lunch from Ruthie’s Rolling Cafe!

The Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC) was nominated by Ruthie’s crew collectively because of the organizations mission to improve the lives of abused children in Dallas county and to provide national leadership on child abuse cases. The DCAC manages the investigation, prosecution and healing services for the most severe cases of child abuse in Dallas county. They aid over 6,500 children (and their non-offending family members) who have been sexually abused, severely physically abused, or have witnessed a violent crime. The DCAC’s average client is a 9-year-old girl who has been sexually abused by someone she knows and trusts. The non-profit provides victims of abuse with a forensic interview, support for their family through advocacy and financial assistance, and therapy. Children who have been victimized and receive therapy are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, grow up to become victims of domestic violence, become involved in some sort of criminal activity, suffer from a mental disorder, or develop suicidal thoughts and self-harm. The organization believes education is one of the best defenses against those who seek to harm children and offers training programs for the community. The DCAC’s Crimes Against Children Conference and Research Institute provides leadership on evidence-based practices and has become a promoter for a nationwide and transformative change. To thank the organization for providing justice and restoring hope in the young victims lives of Dallas County, Ruthie’s served some delectable grilled cheese sandwiches to the compassionate staff of DCAC. The non-profit relies on the help of the community to achieve its life-changing mission. Visit the DCAC website for more information about advocating, volunteering, donating, or attending an event.

Bonton Farms was selected as the sixth non-profit by Ruthie’s staff member, Sherri. Bonton is a South Dallas community located in an “urban food desert”, an area in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food. 63% of residents do not have personal transportation and the closest grocery store is a 3-hour round-trip bus ride away, leaving beer & wine stores as the only option with over-priced, outdated, and processed foods. In Bonton, 85% of men have been to prison, poverty is rampant, and jobs are scarce. The influence of these circumstances on the neighborhood’s health are detrimental and impacts the community’s ability to work and be productive. Cardio-vascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer rates are all 45% to 61% higher than that of the city of Dallas. Bonton Farms is on a mission to change the community from within by restoring lives, creating jobs, and igniting hope in the most forgotten and neglected neighborhoods for the most marginalized and vulnerable people. The now 40 plus acres farm is one of the largest urban farms in the United States. Adhering to organic standards, Bonton Farms is determined to grow the best tasting, healthiest, and freshest food. The farms free-range chickens, goats, turkeys, rabbits, and beehives provide plenty of fresh eggs, milk, and honey that can be purchased at the Market. The Market also offers a variety of enrichment classes on healthy cooking, financial management, parenting, and much more. The Ruthie’s crew provided some savory grilled cheese sandwiches for the dedicated and passionate team of Bonton Farms. Toiletries items collected during the one of donation drives were given to the non-profit for people of the community of Bonton. For more information about visiting the farm or Market, visit the Bonton Farms website.

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