Saturday, April 14, 2012

New Friends New Life 9th Annual WINGS Luncheon

It was a beautiful afternoon at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Downtown Dallas.
Hundreds of guests gathered to show their support for New Friends New Life's 9th Annual WINGS Luncheon and listen to keynote speaker and New York Times best-selling author, Nicholas Sparks.

New Friends New Life is a faith-based organization located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that enables women to leave the degradation of the sex industry and build new lives for themselves and their children.

Helping women overcome backgrounds of abuse, addiction, poverty and other limited opportunities, New Friends New Life provides access to education, job training, interim financial assistance and spiritual support. To learn more about their amazing organization, please visit their website to see how you can contribute.

The event was hosted by honorary co-chairs, Jimmy Westcott and Kameron Westcott and luncheon chair, Katherine Wynne LaLonde.

Amy Vanderoef of Good Morning Texas along side her husband, Grant Stinchfield, welcomed guests as we arrived. Amy did her best Vanna White impression as she modeled a beautiful diamond necklace, one of the many extravagant door prizes.

New Friends New Life Executive Director, Katie Pedigo, spoke with us about how this organization is able to help women who have fallen victim to such an imprisoning industry. Her compassion and commitment was truly inspiring.

Attorney General Greg Abbott was introduced by Dallas Police Chief David Brown, both of which were commended on their dedication and intolerance to elimination of the sex trafficking industry in the state of Texas.

Mr. Abbott introduced the day's keynote speaker, the wonderful Nicholas Sparks, prefacing that he personally knew the best-selling author's biggest fan, his own 15-year-old daughter. Not forgetting to add her approval of the teen heart throb selected to star in Sparks' latest flick, Mr. Abbot welcomed him to the stage.

Sparks charmed the crowd as he told stories of a rather unconventional, but thoroughly entertaining, road to success. A former pharmaceutical sells rep from North Carolina wasn't expecting his first novel to shoot up the charts when he wrote it, but that's exactly what it did. A beautiful true story inspired by his wife's grandparents, The Notebook has become one of America's most beloved stories. Sparks has continued to blow us a way time and time again. His latest novel turned movie, "The Lucky One" will premiere next week!

Sparks signing books after the event

Over the years Nicholas Sparks and his family have generously contributed more than $10,000,000 to various charities and organizations that help people and serve communities.
In 2006, recognizing the importance of childhood education, Nicholas Sparks started The Epiphany School in New Bern, North Carolina, with a focus on global education, service to others and one's own community, and international understanding. In the fall of 2011, the Nicholas Sparks Foundation was formed to expand the philanthropy of the Sparks family, while showcasing the work being done at The Epiphany School on a national level. Nicholas' hope is that friends and fans will be equally inspired to contribute and help make an impact on the world.

We were able to steal a few minutes of Sparks' time where he told us of the importance of philanthropy in his life:
"I think that it is important to find an area that no one else is doing very well - overlooked areas - and to try to make a difference in those areas. I think that in the future that is going to be the way more philanthropy goes so there is less overlap so that things become more specific. And that's, of course, how we gear my own philanthropy to the areas in which we work."

For more information on the author and his books, please visit

It was such a wonderful day honoring such an amazing organization. We were so happy to be apart of it!

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