Some Dallas Cowboys legends are doing their part to help women and children in crisis.
Bob Lilly, the first player ever drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson, known for catches in game-winning situations, and Roger Staubach, the undrafted free agent who went on to compete in four Super Bowls, were the headliners at a luncheon yesterday supporting The Gatehouse in Grapevine.
The Gatehouse is a supportive living community for women and children in crisis. The program helps end cycles of abuse and poverty, so women and their children discover new paths for permanent, positive change.
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The fundraiser, called Get in the Game, happened on the field at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Lilly, Pearson and Staubach teased each other and entertained the 800 guests with stories from their glory days on the gridiron.
The goal of the event, though, was to help guests understand the reality that, according to The Gatehouse, there are "40,000 confirmed domestic violence incidents in one year right here where we live. That doesn’t include the 70 percent that go unreported, or the underemployed who simply need a hand up to change the trajectory of their lives and the lives of their children."
One Gatehouse member shared her story of being a newlywed, with two small girls, who moved to Texas after a layoff in Puerto Rico. The relationship with her husband turned violent in the years that followed.
"It got worse, a scream here, a shove there, manipulation in all its forms, no way out for nearly 10 non-ending years," she said.
She found her way to The Gatehouse where the life she thought she'd have and deserved is now in reach.
"My daughters and I have been living in this community for almost two years. Through group sessions and counseling I have learned self-worth, hope and the endless possibilities of having a fresh new start," she said. "They have open my eyes to solid truth. I am finally able to pursue my heartfelt dream of getting my master's degree — all thanks to the Gatehouse and thoughtful individuals such as yourself."
The Gatehouse opened in March 2015 and currently serves 75 women and 104 children. So far, 25 women have graduated from the program.