Chuck Norris was the featured speaker at the Just Say Yes Luncheon hosted on April 14, 2015 at the ravishing home of Lisa and Kenny Trout. A grand entrance, is the only way to describe upon arriving to the property. As guest circle into the driveway, valet handles guest with gallantry behavior and the eye-ball gazing began at the gorgeous ascetics.
After the customary check in procedure, the purpose of the event became a relevant reality. The Just Say Yes student participants were the host that directed guest to their appropriate seats with a gracious smile and an ambitious spirit to get the job done. Just Say Yes, has a vision of “empowering youth to say YES to their dreams and goals and no to destructive choices such as drugs, alcohol, sexual activity and bullying”. The program addresses several realistic topics such as character development, leadership, teen dating violence and other barriers that teens face, along with self-image awareness and social media.
Just Say Yes-Youth Equipped To Succeed-The mantra that dictates, standing in agreement for accountability, honing in on positivity and making the change needed to equate success. A 501(C)3 founded in March of 2002 by Dan Bailey, the withstanding mission has been, “Providing youth with factual and relational information equipping them to lead healthy and successful lives.”. Since 2011, Just Say Yes has showcased a well presented luncheon that serves as the “social meeting space”, for all of the supporters to gather and witness the fruits of their labor.
The walk from the entrance to the home auditorium, where the actual luncheon was held, added the perfect touch of entertainment as, Kimberlin Academy Honors Orchestra played softly by the poolside for all to enjoy. Just Say Yes peer to peer students formed in groups to rally the support of purchasing raffle tickets to win the one item that everyone had their eyes set on; an 18 karat rose diamond cross pendant with 1.52 carat diamonds and 18 karat rose and white gold bezel set diamond chain with .35 carat diamonds-valued 12,780, generously donated by Sue Gragg Precious Jewels. Sue and Jimmy Gragg also served as honorary chairs.
The program began promptly with a fervent prayer from Rev. Charles Wolford that not only placed well wishes on the organization but blessed an impeccable menu selection, catered by Chef Richard Chamberlain. Guest enjoyed, wood roasted beef with caramelized onion rosemary jam, citrus grilled chicken avocado puree and grapefruit pico, along with Asian vegetable and yam slaw with mandarin sesame dressing. Yum! The dessert of the evening was a delicately soft chocolate cupcake with a creamy butter icing from The Original Cupcakery-The official cupcake sponsor of the luncheon 2015.
Founder Dan Bailey addressed the crowd with a humble thanks to all of the sponsors and also noted that the entire event was underwritten by way of table sales and it is such an accomplishment for the luncheon. Last year the luncheon raised funds in the amount of 276,000 with a goal to raise 300,000 this year. The funds supports partnerships with schools across the nation to provide the right speakers, media and programs to help students succeed academically and in life. With an integration of STARS Peer-to-peer mentoring group, a total of 38 states has experienced the Just Say Yes assembly programs. The great news is that STARS in also inside of Garland Independent School District, Dallas Independent School District and now planning for Duncanville. The program could not end without a success story of one of their very own featured mentors Tyranee Jackson, who started the STARS Peer-To-Peer Mentoring program last year as a freshman mentee. Her mentor helped her to break through barriers that would have defined her, without the influence of Just Say Yes.
The campus spotlight was shined on Thomas Jefferson High School. Last year the principal of Thomas Jefferson High School Sandi Massey learned about Garland ISD’s success as the flagship district, incorporating the STARS Peer-To-Peer Mentoring model into their campus improvement strategy. Since then Thomas Jefferson is the first Dallas ISD school to implement the program.
Chuck Norris made the point that, he was not dealt an easy life, but with hard work and the determination to proceed past roadblocks, he is now a representation of breaking through and defying barriers. Serving elementary schools, public and private schools, middle schools, after-school organizations, high school’s parent and educators-Just Say Yes is an ever evolving system of individuals working together for the common good of our youth.