The hard work done by Dallas Regional Chamber’s Leadership Dallas class is well known, like this year’s garden project at the Austin Street Center.
The annual class project is just the beginning. For people who take the class and want to continue giving to the community, there’s the Leadership Dallas Alumni Association’s annual Community Day.
On Jan. 27, 150 volunteers gathered at Southwest Center Mall to offer assistance to six nonprofits — all based in southern Dallas County. They dispersed to help Mission Cedar Hill, Tri-City Animal Shelter, Harmony CDC, Head Start of Greater Dallas, K.I.P.P Destiny, and Hope Mansion.
“It’s an amazing experience to bring all these people who are from all over Dallas, who are graduates of the program who say they want to devote time to service,” Community Day Co-Chair Cynthia Mickens Ross says.
In addition to the Leadership Dallas Alumni, the event included their families, members of Leadership Southwest Alumni, and a troop of Girl Scouts.
“That was amazing as well because these young girls were there on every single project, so they got experience of how important it is to volunteer,” Mickens Ross says.
For Mickens Ross, this year’s Community Day had a special place in her heart because it focused on the southern half of the county.
“We have always done projects that were in West Dallas, East Dallas, or downtown,” Mickens Ross says. “I hadn’t seen them come so far south of the Trinity as we were able to do this year. To really see us have the largest turnout for Community Day and for us to service six nonprofits in one day … it put a big smile on my face.”
Community Day used the old Southwest Center Mall as its hub of operations, giving Leadership Dallas Alumni, developer and investor Peter Brodsky a chance to show off what he has planned at the 1970s-era mall. He plans to reinvent the mall, bringing back the more well-known Red Bird Mall moniker and turning it into a mixed-use project. Amenities planned include a theater, economic development and training center, a Starbucks, and a hotel.
“It will be a one-stop shop, you’ll be able to go to Red Bird Mall and get anything done that you want,” Mickens Ross says. “I’m so excited about that. We will have the same level of amenities available to us as you find in any other part of the Metroplex.”