Residents and special guests recently enjoyed “A Conversation with Henry Winkler” at The Stayton at Museum Way, Fort Worth’s resort-style retirement community, as part of the community’s Red Carpet Speaker Series™. More than 300 guests attended and had the opportunity to hear Winkler discuss his diverse career that extends far beyond his most well-known role as “The Fonz” on "Happy Days." He has starred in numerous television series and films but also has been successful behind the scenes as director and producer of more than 20 TV series and specials. In addition, the community sponsored a private meet-and-greet session with Winkler and allowed time for a book-signing after his presentation. Winkler discussed his love for writing children’s books and described the different series and collections he has written and published. The Stayton community was thrilled to have him come to the campus and discuss his accomplishments and his passion for helping others.
“Having Henry Winkler, such a charismatic speaker and world-renowned icon, come to The Stayton and discuss his extensive career and life lessons for this series was a tremendous opportunity we were excited to provide,” said Amy Janak, lifestyles director for The Stayton at Museum Way. “We all learned a lot about this inspiring individual, and it was an enlightening and uplifting presentation.”
Winkler began writing a series of children’s novels more than a decade ago with co-author Lin Oliver. These have made "The New York Times"and "The Los Angeles Times" Best Sellers lists among others and are inspired by Winkler’s struggles in school due to his learning challenges with unidentified dyslexia. The stories offer resilience and hope to any reader who has felt overwhelmed or experienced difficulty with learning and finding a sense of belonging. In 2011, he published a collection of stories and observations with photos from his experiences fly fishing in Montana. He has also written other popular children’s stories.
Hearing about Winkler’s experiences during his childhood with dyslexia, The Stayton saw the event as an important opportunity to raise awareness about the learning challenges many children face. The community made a donation of books from Winkler’s children’s series to the local nonprofit organization Literacy United, which exists to provide supplemental educational support services outside of the public school system for children and families in the Fort Worth Metroplex. Literacy United's mission is to reach economically disadvantaged children who struggle in reading, one child at a time. The organization provides scholarships for individual families to receive one-on-one reading treatment from reading specialists at The Reading Connection and partners with other Fort Worth area nonprofits to offer individualized reading intervention services as a part of existing after-school and summer programming.
While he has earned Golden Globe Awards, Emmy nominations, the prestigious Humanitas Prize and credit for his Broadway performances, Winkler deeply cherishes the opportunities his visibility and popularity have afforded him to help others. His efforts in his personal commitment to assist with a variety of groups and causes have been recognized by multiple organizations with international awards and titles. Winkler particularly is motivated to help children and is the honorary chairman of United Friends of the Children, founding member of the Children’s Action Network and National Chairman of the annual Toys for Tots campaign. Her majesty Queen Elizabeth II awarded him with an Honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services involving children with special education needs. He and his wife Stacey were honored for their relentless devotion to the “improvement of the human condition” with the Peace Prize by the United Nations and The Women in Film’s Norma Zarky Humanitarian Award.
“It was fascinating to hear Winkler tell personal stories about his experiences with our residents and guests. Everyone thoroughly benefited from hearing about his passions and dedication to giving back and helping others,” said Janak. “And we were happy to have the opportunity to give as well in support of Literacy United’s efforts.”
To learn more about Literacy United visit the website LiteracyUnited.org.
Located in Fort Worth’s Cultural District, The Stayton at Museum Way is an 11-story, three building community featuring 188 independent living residences with a variety of spacious one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans. In addition to resort-style independent living, The Stayton provides onsite assisted living, memory support, and private skilled nursing for life care residents and others in the community.
The Stayton at Museum Way, a Masterpiece Living® community, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit senior living community sponsored by Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation (SQLC), a Texas-based nonprofit organization that sponsors sister communities The Buckingham in Houston, Edgemere in Dallas, Querencia at Barton Creek in Austin, Mirador in Corpus Christi and The Barrington of Carmel in Indianapolis. For information call (817) 439-6936 or visit www.thestayton.com.
Images courtesy of BMAXX Enterprises, Bruce Maxwell photography