Amy Norton, vice president of strategic partnerships, Orphan Outreach; Judy Allen, founder of The Learning Tree and 2018 recipient of the Paula Hayes Service Award; Dandi Mehringer, 2021 recipient of the Paula Hayes Service Award; and Mike Douris, president and CEO, Orphan Outreach. Photography courtesy of Margo Isbell.

Families raised $15,000 in honor of a beloved former teacher at The Learning Tree, who was recognized Wednesday for dedicating 30 years to helping children at the East Dallas institution.

Dandi Mehringer, business manager and teacher at the now-closed school, received the Paula Hayes Service Award at the 2021 Children’s Hope Dinner. The award honors an individual with a heart for missions and faithful service to children.

The Children’s Hope Dinner provides funds for the global ministry Orphan Outreach, which provides programs that ensure vulnerable children have physical, educational, emotional and spiritual care. Since its inception, the Children’s Hope Dinner has raised more than $2.5 million.

Mehringer’s mother, Judy Allen, who founded The Learning Tree in 1968, received the award in 2018.

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