Three HP Women Chair Mahjong for a Mission

Annual fundraiser celebrates fourth year for Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center

Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s latest fundraising event isn’t your typical society function — they’ve traded gala dresses and a seated dinner for “Galentine’s” attire and mahjong boards.

The fourth-annual Mahjong for a Mission, which took place Feb. 10, was chaired by three Highland Park residents: Jane Wallingford and the mother-daughter duo Linda Gardner and Laura McCallan.

“Mahjong for a Mission is unique in the mahjong world in that it’s really more about the cause and the beneficiary than … to be the winner of the tournament,” Wallingford said.

The event brings avid mahjong players who may not be familiar with the advocacy center’s work.

“That’s how I learned about it, was going to the first mahjong with a friend four years ago,” Gardner said.

The Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center works in Dallas County to improve the lives of abused children and their non-offending family members and provide national leadership on child abuse issues.

“It’s something that is important in everybody’s life to support these children who don’t necessarily have a voice for themselves or the ability to defend themselves or to get help for themselves,” McCallan said. “Having young children myself and imagining what some of these children have gone through, you have no choice but to step in and help out and do what you can to support them.”

McCallan describes combining the recently trending mahjong with fundraising for the advocacy center as a “no-brainer.”

“Obviously, it’s wonderful to have something like DCAC here to support these kids and really help them heal and help them have a better life,” she said. “I think anything we can do to support them is worthwhile, and without the support, they wouldn’t be able to do as much as they do.”

The event brought a sold-out crowd of 130 to participate in gameplay, prizes, raffles, food and drinks, and socializing.

“It’s raised more money every year, which is wonderful,” McCallan said. “I think people are looking forward to it every year, and I think as it gets bigger, it’ll just make a bigger and bigger impact.”

Mahjong for a Mission started as a summer event at the Monarch downtown four years ago. Since then, it’s moved to around Valentine’s Day and is held at the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center.

Each of the three chairs got involved to help break the cycle for the children in need.

“DCAC as an organization, I really respect,” Wallingford said. “I trust the leadership and the board and the staff, and I believe that when people donate their resources and time to DCAC, it’s used in a meaningful way, whether it’s time or money.”

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