Stories and Statistics Raise Awareness and Support at Annual Banquet

On September 24, Allies held its largest annual fundraiser, Color Their World: Now More than Ever, at the Walnut Ridge Baptist Church in Mansfield. The banquet attracted a record-breaking 450 attendees, all of whom enjoyed a lovely dinner and a special opening acapella number, courtesy of Dee Vaughn and the Legacy Quartet. 

As with previous banquets, the main program featured speakers who helped shed light on the tragic realities that orphans in Eastern Europe continue to face, as well as how Allies positions itself to help address these issues. 

During her talk, Allies Director of International Operations Dr. Tatiana Baeva explained that teens who age out of the orphanage receive little to no support, with the average life expectancy falling under 30 years old. Often, these teens find themselves turning to vices such as alcohol and drugs to cope with their suffering. Many have also fallen victim to prostitution and human trafficking, while others commit suicide. Teenage pregnancy is also a major concern, as it contributes to a dangerous cycle wherein poverty-stricken teens are ultimately compelled to place their babies in orphanages, subjecting them to a similar fate. Dr. Baeva presented an example for such a case: a teenage girl with a young baby who is currently being cared for by Allies with provisions for physical needs, mentoring and social contacts. 

Chris Burgin, Executive Director of Allies, discussed the organization’s growth plans, which includes program expansion and presence in 20+ new orphanages that is anticipated to impact the lives of 2,000 more orphans. He also spoke about the need to have larger domestic operational facilities. 

Other Allies supporters were equally happy to talk about their personal experiences with the organization. Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn, whose inspiring journey through Russia includes the adoption of four boys, spoke earnestly about how efforts to end human trafficking in Eastern Europe has a positive impact on similarly-veined initiatives in his county. “Everyone can be involved,” he told the crowd. “It is the right thing to do.” 

Douglas Waybourn, one of Sherriff Waybourn’s adopted sons from Russia, addressed the audience via video message, telling them about his decision to move from Dallas Fort Worth Area to Orion, a self-sustained orphan village in Russia run by Allies partners. As a former orphan himself, Douglas is now committed to serving orphaned children alongside other Allies volunteers, helping them build a foundation of love and life skills. 

Meanwhile, volunteers Chuck Crook and Bruce Erby shared stories about their trips and how answering the call to serve has greatly impacted their lives.

A live auction capped off the banquet, with a Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame football helmet fetching the highest bid for the night—an impressive $10,500. This amount, along with the rest of the proceeds raised, shall enable Allies to continue its wonderful work all across Eastern Europe, and help maintain and develop programs that can help orphaned youth lead dignified, prayer-filled lives. 

If you were unable to attend the Color Their World banquet, we hope you can join us next year. There are many ways you can help these children. Learn more by visiting our help page or visit our donate page to become a financial partner.  

Photography by Alexander Portraits of Mansfield.


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