Largest Living Christmas Tree in Texas Officially Lit!
'LARGEST LIVING CHRISTMAS TREE IN TEXAS' OFFICIALLY LIT AT SPEEDWAY CHILDREN'S CHARITIES GRANT CEREMONY
FORT WORTH, Texas (November 29, 2016) - Everyone knows everything is bigger in Texas and Texas Motor Speedway proved that once again with its annual lighting of "The Largest Living Christmas Tree in Texas" on November 29th during the Speedway Children's Charities-Texas Chapter grant ceremony.
A holiday-themed fireworks show, special visit by Santa Claus, distribution of 100 bicycles to less fortunate youth and nearly $200,000 in grants to North Texas organizations highlighted the ceremony that was held at The Speedway Club Circle at Texas Motor Speedway.
A Texas Motor Speedway tradition since the facility opened in 1997, this year's "Largest Living Christmas Tree In Texas" is a 64-foot Norwegian Spruce from Michigan. The tree is decorated with 10,000 LED lights, oversized ornaments and topped with a 4'x4' gold star featuring the Speedway Motorsports, Inc. corporate globe. (Click here for video from the tree lighting and grant ceremony.)
Speedway Children's Charities-Texas Chapter has made a lasting impact on children in North Texas since its inception in 1997 by awarding more than $10.2 million in grants to area children's organizations. The funds are raised through special events held throughout the year, with the majority of them centered on the three major race weeks at Texas Motor Speedway.
This year, Speedway Children's Charities-Texas Chapter distributed nearly $200,000 with the highlight being the awarding of the Founder's Grant. The $125,000 grant, which is SCC's largest award, was presented to The Parenting Center of Fort Worth. The organization will utilize the grant to construct a therapy playground for abused children. These specialty playgrounds give children a safe place to play and cope with the challenges they face.
The Parenting Center serves close to 20,000 clients each year from all income levels and social groups throughout Tarrant County. The center's core belief is to empower families with the necessary knowledge and skills to lead them to develop and maintain healthy lives. The organization dedicates itself to the prevention of child abuse and neglect and is a leader in the field of parenting education and skills based training. They strive to provide individuals, families, schools and others with the tools they need to succeed together.
"Research indicates that children with any type of disabling condition - intellectual, developmental or physical - are 3.44 times more likely to be abused," The Parenting Center Executive Director Paul Gravley said. "We are honored and thrilled because the Founder's Grant provided by Speedway Children's Charities will allow The Parenting Center to serve children of any age or ability, funding an adaptive playground for individualized or group play therapy. This, in turn, helps The Parenting Center to serve all families; providing the tools and resources to help build successful families."
Additional grants, ranging between $1,500 and $25,000, were awarded to CitySquare of Dallas, Denton Kiwanis Children's Clinic, PediPlace, the Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center and a Wish with Wings.
The Chapter also recognized its top volunteers for the year, with Karen Landry receiving the President's Award and Mike Starr and the Team Texas High Performance Racing School earning the Dick Cerza Award.
The evening concluded with 100 Fort Worth-area children, representing agencies Hispano Exito (underprivileged children in south Fort Worth) and Journey To Dream (homeless youth), and a Wish with Wings receiving bikes and helmets. The early Christmas presents were compliments of Walmart, which donated the bikes and helmets to the event.
Speedway Children's Charities chapters at Texas Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Sonoma Raceway will distribute a record-breaking $3.1 million in grants to a record 448 charitable organizations across the country this year, bringing the total allocation amount since 1982 to nearly $49 million.
Each chapter provides grants to programs that specifically help children in their respective region. Chapter support comes from providing winter coats and backpack meals to low-income families as well as facilitating clubs that provide healthy after-school activities and aiding hospital cancer research.
"Our impact is felt throughout the nation and none of it would be possible without the invaluable support of race fans and the tireless work from our volunteers who have helped make Speedway Children's Charities into what it is today," said Maj. Gen. Chuck Swannack, executive director of Speedway Children's Charities. "On behalf of everyone at Speedway Children's Charities, I give sincere thanks to our many sponsors, donors and volunteers. Through everyone's gracious assistance, Speedway Children's Charities will help make the holiday season and beyond brighter for children in need."