Virginia Chandler Dykes has been named the 2016 Visionary Woman by Juliette Fowler Communities and will be honored at the 4th Annual Visionary Women Luncheon, Tuesday, May 3, 2016, at the Omni Dallas Hotel, 555 S. Lamar Street, from 12 – 1:15 p.m. Hannah Canterbury, a Texas Christian University senior social work major, and the Dallas Junior Forum will also be recognized. The luncheon celebrates the vision of Juliette Peak Fowler, Dallas’ first female philanthropist, and honors individuals who embody her compassionate spirit and who use their visionary leadership and remarkable gifts to make a difference in the lives of others in our community. Luncheon chair is Elaine Kellam and honorary chair is Barbara Bradfield. WFAA’s Shelly Slater will emcee the luncheon.
Virginia Chandler Dykes’ passion for her lifelong work as an occupational therapist, coupled with her servant’s heart and desire to improve life for others, has created a legacy of leadership, mentorship and philanthropy in the Dallas community and beyond. She is nationally known for her work in rehabilitation, adult and adolescent psychiatry, eating disorders, hand splinting, and acute physical disabilities as well as her ongoing commitment to provide scholarship assistance to occupational therapy students. Her work with Texas Woman’s University and her namesake luncheon – honoring Dallas leaders for the past 14 years –has raised over $550,000 and awarded more than 100 scholarships to students in all four colleges of TWU.
Her love of OT began immediately following her graduation from Southern Methodist University in 1952. Unsure of what to do with her degree in art and psychology, Dykes met with TWU’s first head of occupational therapy, Fanny Vanderkooi, who encouraged her to pursue occupational therapy. Dykes never looked back. She completed the graduate occupational therapy program at TWU in 1954, and for 25 years she would help advance her profession across diverse areas of practice while serving as Director of Occupational and Recreational Therapy for Baylor University Medical Center. She also founded the Boomerang Club, the first Dallas support group for stroke patients and their families. Among other responsibilities, she organized and supervised an OT internship program serving 23 Texas universities. Dykes retired in 1988 leaving behind a significant legacy of professional contributions. She then began a long association with her alma mater, TWU, and its occupational therapy department.
Dykes is also known for her leadership in organizations such as The Dallas Opera, the Dallas Arboretum Women’s Council and the Fort Worth Opera. In 2014, she was honored as one six Women of the Year by Les Femmes du Monde. In 2012, Virginia and her late husband Roland were honored by the American Occupational Therapy Association for their sustained philanthropic service to Occupational Therapy Education, and in 2011, they were honored with the Texas Occupational Therapy Distinguished Service Award. Additionally, in 2005, Dykes was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to serve on TWU’s Board of Regents, where she served until 2011.
“We are thrilled to honor Virginia as our 2016 Visionary Woman,” said Sabrina Porter, president and chief executive officer, Juliette Fowler Communities. “Virginia’s passion for occupational therapy, education and the arts is perfectly aligned with our mission. Our residents and staff have benefited from her work and her support of students in social work, therapy and nursing. Her life’s work mirrors ours and has encouraged self-sufficiency, independence and fulfillment.”
Additionally, the luncheon will present the Juliette Fowler Faith and Service Award to Hannah Canterbury, a TCU senior social work major. This annual award is given to a TCU student who has demonstrated leadership, excellence, and a humanitarian spirit, reflecting the spirit of Juliette Fowler. Active with the Tarrant County Homelessness Collation, the Women's Center of Tarrant County and Active Minds - a mental health advocacy group, as well as the National Association of Social Workers, where she served as social justice chair, Canterbury has demonstrated a strong desire to serve others. Committed to her faith, she is a proven leader in the Disciples Campus Ministry community, serving as communications chair, vice president and student president. She plans to pursue graduate studies in clinical social work with a focus in mental health and substance abuse.
The Dallas Junior Forum will receive the inaugural Erika McKenzie Volunteer award. The award’s namesake, the late Erika McKenzie, was a beloved volunteer manager, board member and volunteer. This year marks Dallas Junior Forum’s 40th year of support to Fowler as donors and as volunteers. Firmly committed to raising money for their service projects each year, the group has funded more than $225,000 in grants to Fowler. A “hands-on” volunteer organization, the group conducts monthly themed game parties and holiday parties, providing companionship to the older adult residents of Juliette Fowler Communities. The group also sponsors and mentors young women, formerly in foster homes who are now residents of The Ebby House, one of Fowler Communities’ newest programs.
Past Visionary Women award recipients are 2013-Ebby Halliday Acers; 2014-Vivian Anderson Castleberry; and 2015-Marca Lee Bircher and Patricia Hardman. All luncheon proceeds benefit One Heart, Juliette Fowler Communities’ annual fund, which supports areas of greatest need for Fowler residents. Founded in 1892, the intergenerational community has cared for thousands of elders, children, youth and families and continues to do so today with services including independent and assisted living, memory care, and affordable senior housing, as well as a five-star quality nursing and rehabilitation center. Children are served through a collaborative foster care program within the 25-acre community and throughout the greater Dallas area. The Ebby House, named for Ebby Halliday Acers, prevents homelessness and offers hope to young women who have aged-out of foster care.
Luncheon tickets are $150. Sponsorships are available. Contact Coleman Rabourn, firstname.lastname@example.org, 214-515-1342.
“I am extremely honored to be named this year’s visionary woman,” added Dykes. “I know there are many deserving women in this community. It gives me great joy to think of my dear friend, the late Ebby Halliday, who received this honor in 2013 and whose impact on the Fowler Communities is evident today. This organization does amazing work and changes lives.”