One-student wonder: This ESD junior delivered 30 backpacks to kids in need

Olivia Abbott, a student at the Episcopal School of Dallas (class of 2021) raised money to provide backpacks and school supplies for Foster Elementary. As part of the Academic Service Program, many of ESD’s Spanish V students partner with the school to strengthen their secondary language skills. The “Conversation Club” gives students the opportunity to practice Spanish and get to know local elementary students. Abbott, however, took it further. Inspired by the students she met through the program, Abbott created a fundraiser to provide school supplies and backpacks for students at the school. She collected funds and items throughout the summer and delivered 30 backpacks full of a year’s worth of school supplies.

Guess which church has an “Undie Sunday” worship service?

Photo via Getty Images

The United Methodist Church of Preston Hollow adopted Preston Hollow Elementary School. Members provide underwear to the nurse’s office through an “Undie Sunday” worship service project. The church also serves a Thanksgiving luncheon to the teachers. The church sponsors about 50 children each year as Angel Tree families and buys Christmas presents for them. Members secretly distribute the presents to the parents during a “Breakfast with Santa,” while the children listen to Santa tell a story. For more information, go to

Rotarians are more than a breakfast club: Check out the Preston Center Rotary Club in action

The Preston Center Rotary Club sponsors programs at Casa Del Lago, which provides English instruction to moms who have a different first language, while their children are in school. The club also partners with El Bueno Pastures, a predominantly Hispanic church. Members are working on a web series in hopes of raising awareness about autism. For more information about the Preston Center Rotary Club, go to

When firefighters love you, love them back

Neighbor John Campbell of Hillcrest Forest shared on NextDoor that his partially disabled mother-in-law fell, and he was not strong enough to help her. “We tried everything and then agreed to call 911,” he said. “I had no choice, even though I knew this might be very expensive.”

He says a fire truck pulled up within five minutes and three men came in the house. “One lifted the dear woman like it was nothing,” Campbell says. When she asked how much she owed them, one of the firefighters laughed and then the saviors drove off. “I was shocked,” he said. “I’ve never seen this. This was public service at its best.”

In response, neighbors shared that they bring steak, sweets and food to various fire stations.

“Firemen always came quick to help my dad get up after a fall,” Rebecca Brown says. “They are amazing! When I think about it, I usually take sweets to the Preston Royal station, and they are super appreciative.”

How one family single-handly made a difference for the homeless

The Miltenberger family received Family Gateway’s inaugural Annette G. Strauss Community Service Award for serving families affected by homelessness. The late Annette Strauss, former Dallas mayor, was the founder of Family Gateway.

Paula, a licensed psychologist and founder of Women’s Mental Wellness, and Bay, CEO of JLB Partners, and their children, Bryce, Bo, Brooks and Brady, first became involved with the nonprofit in 2009, when they prepared a shelter room at the Annette G. Strauss Family Gateway Center for a new family’s arrival.

In 2011, they organized the adoption of 75 families during the holidays and have been involved in the holiday program ever since, arranging donation drives and volunteering in the holiday store. With the help of friends, they ensure dozens of kids get to attend summer camp at Kids Across America Kamp in Missouri.

Paula co-chaired the Gateway to Opportunity Luncheon in 2016 and 2017 and now serves on the board of directors. Bay, a former member of the board of directors, now sits on Family Gateway’s Affordable Housing Board.

For more information about Family Gateway, go to

Kind kids

Preston Hollow Elementary hosted “Random Acts of Kindness Week” in February. Among the suggestions: “Bring a flower to someone you appreciate,” “Give a classmate a high-five when they do a good job,” and “Treat each other like we’re on the same team.”

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