By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager
Reunions rejuvenate the soul. They provide instant past, present and future snapshots that inform, elate and gratify. Reunions are joyous journeys that help us reconnect with others and ourselves.
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reunite, to embrace and share in the prosperity of those we haven’t seen in too long. That was the ambiance of the Creative Solutions Thanksgiving Lunch Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, at Big Thought’s Blue Room.
Creative Solutions is a 20-year partnership with the Dallas County Juvenile Department that benefits from the generous support of the DCJD Juror’s Fund/Youth Services Advisory Board; Grant Thornton, LLP; the M.R. & Evelyn Hudson Foundation; Neiman Marcus; Texas Commission on the Arts – Arts Respond; the W.P. & Bulah Luse Foundation, Bank of America, N.A.; the Texas Bar Foundation; and the Elizabeth Toon Charities.
A decade’s worth of Creative Solutions participants, about 35 guests in total, mingled and dined. On the menu: robust slices of turkey and ham, homemade green beans with potatoes, savory and crunchy Asian salad, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, white and wheat rolls. Oh and pies, lots and lots of pies! For dessert we had pumpkin and pecan pie, cookies, cheesecake, chocolate mousse with real whipped cream. Then pies boxed and ready for CS participants to take home, a table full of pumpkin, banana cream, pecan, apple and many more.
The guests spilled over into the adjacent Big Thought Café. Big Thought’s Allison Caldwell, Creative Solutions Director, and Lisa Schmidt, Creative Solutions Founder, could barely contain their joy watching Frankie with his sister and two cousins, Faith with her mom and two kids, Bliss, Rosalyn, Dejahn, Dredarrius, Steven with his brother, Terrell with his grandparents, Amber and her guests, Jessica and her guests, and many others. Also in the house were teaching artist Ronnie and Holly. Ronnie teaches music, while Jessica teaches ceramics and textile weaving.
Three Creative Solutions participants merit special mention: Blanca, who came with her husband and two children (ages 3 and 1); Alex, who brought her adorable 4-month-old baby boy; and Jonathan, who went from CS participant to mentor and instructor.
Schmidt said she hadn’t seen Blanca in three years and was so happy that she’s doing well. Blanca, Schmidt said, is employed, raising her family in her own house and happily married. Alex, who hadn’t been around the CS group in a year, has a great support system, according to Schmidt. She wants to go to college and start writing again. Jonathan is also working now. In September, he announced to the Big Thought staff that he had snagged a great new job.
“It’s wonderful to see them,” says Schmidt. “When you do the work that I do you never know if the seeds that were planted have taken root. Seeing Blanca so well balanced, leading a balanced life…it was so good to see that. We keep sustaining this great feeling, passing it down from one generation to the next.”
Therein lies the essence of reunions. They inform, they elate, and they gratify. Reunions rejuvenate the soul.