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thumbnail_Twitter - 2019 Operation Santa Toy Drive

The Warren Center, a nonprofit agency providing professional evaluations, therapy services and support to children with developmental delays and disabilities is seeking help from the community to bring holiday cheer to children ages birth to seven-years-old. Now through December 2, the nonprofit is seeking generous donors to participate in the Operation Santa Toy Drive. The nonprofit is requesting donations of new, unwrapped toys for children birth to seven-years-old which will be distributed at the Warren Center’s Annual Operation Santa holiday party.   

“The sensory elements associated with waiting in line for Santa at a noisy mall with other children, frantic parents, and flashing cameras can be too much for children with developmental disabilities,” says Amy Spawn, CEO of The Warren Center. “At Operation Santa, we created a sensory-friendly environment for children with developmental disabilities and their families to enjoy the holiday season. The event provides donated toys, holiday games, food and fun for the entire family.”

This year the team of experts at The Warren Center hand-selected gifts that are best suited for children with developmental delays and disabilities. These gifts are available for purchase through The Warren Center's Amazon Wish List using this link: Community members can help bring joy to a child this holiday season by dropping off new, unwrapped toys for children ages birth to seven-years-old at The Warren Center's Richardson office (320 Custer Rd., Richardson, TX 75080) Monday – Friday between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. If you would like to drop off toys, please contact Alisa Stone at to schedule a date and time for your company to stop by. All toys will be collected on December 2, 2019. For more information please call 972-490-9055 ext. 1111.

The Warren Center is a nonprofit agency providing professional evaluations, therapy services and support to children with developmental delays and disabilities. The center serves over 1000 children each week as well as their families. Services include speech, occupational and physical therapy; developmental services; and nutrition as well as family education and support. The Early Childhood Intervention Program serves the entire northern half of Dallas County in 48 ZIP codes. For more information, please visit or follow The Warren Center on Facebook and Twitter.

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Fall activities are in full swing, which means it’s time for choosing costumes, trick-or-treating, enjoying treats, and attending Halloween parties. There are a few tips to keep in mind to help plan ahead for social, communication and sensory difficulties that may occur during this season. The Warren Center, a North Texas-based nonprofit agency providing professional evaluations, therapy services and support to children with developmental delays and disabilities, shares tips to help children with sensory challenges have fun this fall. 

Tip #1 Show photos of family members in costumes

To help prepare your child for Halloween, show them photos of family members dressed up in costumes. This is a great opportunity to explain your family’s Halloween traditions and activities with your child. Some Halloween traditions and activities conflict with common rules, including not taking candy from strangers. It is important to discuss rules and boundaries with your child to help them better understand the holiday. If your child is experiencing communication delays, visuals still help them prepare for the big day. 


Tip #2 Pretend play with different costumes

Another fun way to prepare your child for Halloween is to pretend play by dressing up in different costumes. This can help your child become comfortable with wearing a costume. To help your child feel more comfortable in a costume, pay close attention to the material and fit to ensure it is not too long, loose, tight, scratchy or stiff. Sometimes pretend play with costumes may initially be overwhelming to your child. If this is the case, try incremental exposure to the costume. Allow your child to see and feel the material and work your way up to playing dress-up. If your child has a facial, sensitivity avoid face paint, makeup and masks. 


Tip #3 Modify Halloween games to meet your child’s needs

You can help your child participate in Halloween parties by modifying the games or activities to meet your child’s needs. One idea is to have your child decorate a pumpkin with stickers or paint instead of carving a pumpkin. For school Halloween parties, you can discuss different ways to modify games or activities with the child’s teacher.


Tip #4 Stay in familiar areas if you go trick-or-treating

When trick-or-treating, remember to stay in familiar areas that are close to home. Consider visiting only the homes of your friends and family members to help your child feel comfortable. Also be mindful of houses with loud noises, lights and spooky decorations. Practicing how to trick or treat with your child can also be helpful, including walking up to the door, saying the phrase “trick or treat”, putting the treat in the bag and saying, “thank you”.


There are many sensory-friendly ways to celebrate Halloween with your child whether you decide to watch a movie or make a Halloween treat — it’s important that you choose an activity that is best suited for your child’s needs.

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In a media environment with ever-increasing clutter, advertisers are consistently seeking message deliverers who can represent brands uniquely, with integrity and impact.

Many times, this falls squarely in the pocket of celebrity endorsement.  “Celebrity endorsement is when a famous person uses their notoriety to help sell a product or service. The benefits of using a celebrity for advertising are the ability to: Build brand equity, meaning brand power is acquired through the name recognition, which allows the company to achieve larger sales and profit,” says Amy Hall, President of the Barber Shop Marketing, based in Addison, Texas.

Celebrity endorsements are not without risk. Where there is a landscape of misfired partnerships including Kendall Jenner for Pepsi and Lance Armstrong for Nike, there are also successful campaigns with Dwyane Johnson for Under Armor and Reese Witherspoon for Crate & Barrel.

Hall continues, “The thinking, of course, is that hearing about a celebrity's personal connection to the product will somehow make their endorsement resonate. Here is Cowboys country, the weight of former Dallas Cowboys players, especially Hall of Famers, carries a particular weight to brands and potential customers alike.”

Enter Deion Sanders, storied sportsman and high-profile analyst with 14 seasons as a National Football League player under his belt.

“Deion is a beloved legend around the world and especially in Texas, where we are based,” says SIMPLY CROWNS, “While he’s delightful to work with, he’s also a straight-shooter. He tells it like it is. Which is in line with all of our messaging for Simply Crowns.”

The Team at the Barber Shop Marketing knew how important it was for Simply Crowns to have an authentic voice amplify the simple one-cost message of the brand with someone who has a strong voice both on-air and online.  Deion Sanders has more than one million Instagram followers that were tapped into by the distribution of this video, which has been viewed almost 100,000 times.  Additionally, 10 commercials were produced to support a mass media marketing campaign driven by authenticity and analytics.

(Commercials available for download HERE)

“At the end of the day, we are always looking to leverage influence to help position the brands we associate with. We also want to entertain and educate. This successful partnership fulfilled that missive,” concludes Hall.




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Fans dressing up in costumes, or cosplay as it is sometimes called, is a BIG part of Dallas Fan Days weekend. Thousands of amazing costumes are available for guests viewing pleasure throughout the weekend. Dallas Fan Days invites all guests, young and old, to get in on the costume action from October 18 through October 20, 2019, at the Irving Convention Center, 500 West Las Colinas Boulevard, Irving, TX 75039.

From Cosplay Red Carpet to Kids Costume Contests, there are plenty of activities to test drive your costume in advance of Halloween. Featured events and activities include:


This exciting event features creative fans showcasing their original costumes derived from the comic, sci-fi, horror, anime and fantasy worlds – all on stage for a chance to win bragging rights. From caped-crusaders to hot anime characters, be awed as a spectator or strut your stuff on stage. 


Whether you're a Whovian or Jedi, a cosplayer, or crafter, you are welcome here! Spend some time with people who love the same things you do, share your awesome cosplay, find new local Meetup friends, or just take some photos. These themed Meetups are free and designed to help you connect with people you otherwise might not ever meet.


Join us for our Annual Kids Costume Contest! Kids 12 and under will show off their costumes for a chance to receive some great prizing for the top 3 costumes!


Put on your best costume and get ready to strike a pose in the Cosplay Photo Park! Located in the Community Zone, this awesome feature will allow you and your friends to gather around and get that amazing shot! Various themed backdrops will be available for you to choose from - the best part is, it’s free! If you are trying to plan a group cosplay photoshoot, this is the place to meet!


Fan Days Cosplay Hideaway provides an area to repair an element of your costume, or simply a place to sit and recharge your batteries (literally and/or figuratively). The lounge gives you the space you need. Most importantly: it's a paparazzi-free zone.


Get ready for the Cosplay Red Carpet Walk! Show off your costume in front of your adoring fans! All photographers – both professional and those shooting with their smartphones – are welcome to line up for the best shot possible during the event!


DFW Cosplay Gallifrey is an organization stationed in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metropolis, whose members come from Texas and all over the world. DFW Cosplay Gallifrey’s purpose is to promote the love of Doctor Who, Fandom and Cosplay, while also celebrating its individual members and their Cosplay projects. DFW Cosplay Gallifrey’s goals are to promote inter-group harmony among other fan organizations and charity projects as approved by its members.


To see the full guest list, schedule, and order tickets go to

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 Fans will gather to celebrate their love of all things fiction and fantasy at one of the largest fan events in Texas. Dallas Fan Days happens from October 18 through October 20, 2019, at the Irving Convention Center, 500 West Las Colinas Boulevard, Irving, TX 75039. From celebrity guests to comic creators, from stars of the big and small screens to cosplayers who curate their own followings, from one-of-a-kind experiences to interactive adventures, Dallas Fan Days has been thrilling fans for years. In addition to the new community partnerships with SPCA of Texas and Toyota Music Factory, the following events are just a few sights and activities for fans and families at Dallas  Fan Days.

For the first time ever, Dallas Fan Days is expanding the fandom to include exclusive deals for Dallas Fan Days badge holders at select restaurants near Toyota Music Factory, details available here. Also new this year, Dallas Fan Days will host SPCA of Texas’s mobile unit on-site Sunday, October 20, from noon-4 p.m. Fans can come and take selfies with their favorite furry friends or even bring home one of ‘man’s best friend’s. 



You may have seen it zipping around the streets of DFW, but now’s your chance to get up close and take a selfie with one of the most adorable vehicle tributes to Doctor Who. Plus, you get to see if it’s bigger on the inside!


Whether you're a Whovian, a cosplayer, or crafter, you are welcome here! Spend some time with people who love the same things you do, share your awesome cosplay, find new local Meetup friends, or just take some photos. These themed Meetups are absolutely free and designed to help you connect with people you otherwise might not ever meet.


This TARDIS was originally built in the early 80s by fantasy/horror author P.N. Elrod and was used by the local PBS affiliate during pledge drives for entrances by Jon Pertwee and Sylvester McCoy. At various conventions through the years, it has also been used on stage by Colin Baker and Peter Davison, so four Doctors have actually been in it! Photos are always free with this TARDIS, and attendees are welcome to open the door and step inside... though it’s not actually bigger on the inside.


Something for every level of interest, young or old, you will be sure to enjoy our multi-faceted Star Wars Experience! Hear from C3-P0 himself, Anthony Daniels, get an autograph, see and touch the many props and displays, blast a Stormtrooper! Photo ops abound with Star Wars-themed backdrops, Droids and thousands of retail items and rare collectibles. 


Selfie with a Stormtrooper anyone? The 501st Legion of Stormtroopers are here at Dallas Fan Days! Whether you are a rebel at heart or think the Empire did nothing wrong, come on out and say hello!  Get your one-of-a-kind photos and help support a great cause. 


As you all know Boba Fett and other Mandalorians “always get their man”! Since encasing every prisoner in Carbonite can get expensive, the Mercs have brought their more traditional form of incarceration, a jail cell! Climb and in and get your photo taken like the scum that you are!


Welcome to your Beastly Academic Test (BAT) for Potions! Work as a team to make the perfect potion and get a passing grade. Everything you need is in this room. You have 45 minutes to complete your potion and submit it for grading to Philomena Fillpot. Difficulty:  Easy * Type: Ages 5+, family-friendly, Wizarding * Time: 45 Minutes * Players: 7


Weirder stuff has been going on in the peaceful town of Harkins.   Your friend Bill has gone missing.  It's up to you and your friends to discover what's going on.  Help uncover hidden secrets and solve mysteries as you travel to the Other Side! Difficulty:  Medium * Type: Ages 10+, Sci-fi * Time : 30 minutes * Players: 5


“Baby” is Dean's trademark black 1967 Chevrolet Impala as featured on the television series Supernatural. This is not a replica! This car was used on screen in Season 9! Come and check it out in person, displayed on the main exhibit floor all weekend!


Stopping by on your way west of Westeros? Make sure nobody has a better story than you by snapping the ultimate pic with the Iron Throne! Whether you supported the Starks, the Lannisters, or the Targaryens, have your own moment as the King of Queen of the seven six kingdoms! 


When you're at a pop culture convention like-minded people surround you, but sometimes meeting folks can be complicated; but not when you're in a setting designed just for that. This is a fun way to quickly meet and get to know some of your fellow fans, and who knows, you might just develop a very important relationship in the process. Sign up in person at the show!

FAN EXPO HQ is one of the largest entertainment convention groups in the world. Collectively, it hosts more than 500,000 fans annually at FAN EXPO Boston, FAN EXPO Canada, FAN EXPO Dallas, FAN EXPO Vancouver, MEGACON Orlando, Toronto Comicon, Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo and Dallas Fan Days.

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Thanksgiveaway will Benefit North Texas Families

In the spirit of the season, Soulman’s is giving away 18 Thanksgiving family meals to deserving North Texans. Each meal in the Fourth Annual Thanksgiveaway includes a bone-in hickory-smoked turkey, cornbread dressing, green beans, mashed potatoes, brown gravy, dinner rolls and cranberry sauce. Nomination forms will be available online at the Soulman’s Facebook page beginning Friday, Nov. 1 through Friday, Nov. 15. 

“For the fourth consecutive year, the Thanksgiveaway program gives us the opportunity to lend a helping hand to families who've endured hardship. May it be the loss of a loved one, grandparents who might be alone over the holiday and unable to cook, teachers who have changed communities for the better, coworkers recently laid off and down on their luck, best friends who would give anything to let their friend know they truly care and the list goes on and on,” says Brett Randle, CEO of Soulman’s Bar-B-Que.  “We are so grateful for the opportunity to share a soulful holiday meal with 18 families across North Texas.”

Patrons from any North Texas Soulman’s location can submit a nomination by simply filling out a private online form available on the Soulman’s Bar-B-Que Facebook page with the name of the nominated recipient, reason for nomination and additional contact information. Winners will be notified Nov. 16-Nov. 18 and will be required to respond within 72 hours for pick-up on November 25 or 26, 2019.

Thanksgiveaway is just one way that Soulman’s is spreading a little soul this holiday season. North Texas businesses and families have been enjoying the holidays stress-free for years by pre-ordering from the holiday catering menu that showcases Soulman’s best-sellers including bone-in hickory-smoked turkey, boneless hickory-smoked turkey, whole hickory-smoked ham or the spiral sliced holiday ham, mouth-watering sides and perfect homemade holiday pies.   

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Dallas Prep Kitchen, an emerging player in the growing Dallas-based food preparation sector, announced its strategic partnership with the iconic Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders as their official meal prep partner beginning October 1, 2019. Known for their natural and healthy gourmet meal-prep services, Dallas Prep Kitchen provides chef-prepared, whole-food meals that are available at convenient pick-up locations throughout Dallas and Fort Worth, as well as nationwide delivery to make health and wellness an attainable lifestyle for their clients. Proudly representing the Dallas Cowboys and headquartered in Frisco, TX, the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders are known worldwide, completing 82 USO tours spanning 42 countries. The current squad represents 18 states (from Hawaii to New Jersey) and are graduates of 24 universities and colleges. 

“Working with such an iconic and well-respected organization as the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders is completely in line with the message and mission we are establishing right here in North Texas.  The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Organization is comprised of individuals who embody tradition, excellence, and a high-performance lifestyle, Dallas Prep Kitchen uses only the highest quality whole foods to promote health and fitness for our clients. We provide a lifestyle choice that is making a positive impact on our client’s lives because of its simplicity, caliber, and convenience,” says Kyle Clark, Dallas Prep Kitchen owner and CEO.

The field of meal prep is growing at a record pace for good reason. Meal prep is one of the best ways to ensure that people have the time and energy to make healthy restaurant-quality meals at home. By taking shopping and chopping off the “to-do list”, there is no guesswork, no waste and more time to spend doing activities in the community.

“We are thrilled to announce Dallas Prep Kitchen as the official meal prep of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Our cheerleaders lead busy lives on and off the field as mothers, teachers, and contributing members of our North Texas community. They need to perform at the highest level possible, both at home and on the field. Providing them with convenient, chef-prepared whole foods that taste exceptional is exactly what they need to thrive in all areas of life,” says Kelli Finglass, Director of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. 

Since 2018, Dallas Prep Kitchen has stayed ahead of the curve by prioritizing quality ingredients within a wide variety of meal options solving the inherent problem in a busy hungry person’s life.