Dallas Doings — Nov. 13, 2008

Sen. Shapiro honored with 2008 Jack Lowe, Sr. Award for Community Leadership
Accolades to Sen. Florence Shapiro, who recently received the 2008 Jack Lowe, Sr. Award for Community Leadership, given by the Dallas Bar Association and Dallas Bar Foundation.
The award honors outstanding stewards who have a dedicated commitment to community leadership in education. The recipients of this award have shown untiring participation and contribution toward public education in Texas, and have been able to inspire others who serve the schoolchildren of Texas.
“There is no one in Austin more committed to the safety and success of our children than Senator Shapiro,” said Frank E. Stevenson II, president of the Dallas Bar Association. “She has an unmatched perspective on our state’s educational challenges — as a teacher, a parent and an insightful and committed public servant on the local, regional and statewide levels. All Texans have benefited from her service as chair of the Senate Education Committee.
“The Jack Lowe, Sr. Award for Community Leadership is a profound honor to anyone who receives it. But in equal measure, Senator Shapiro’s receipt of that recognition today also honors the award, as well as the legacy of the extraordinary man whose name it bears. There is no more fitting recipient than Senator Florence Shapiro.”
The award was presented as part of the Community Symposium for Justice in Education at the Dallas Bar Association’s Belo Mansion. Shapiro accepted the award before an audience of more than 150 teachers, judges, attorneys, businesspeople, local elected officials and Dallas Independent School District officials.
“I am humbled and honored to receive this award, named after a man who lived a life defined by his relentless, humble and happy service to the schoolchildren of Dallas,” Shapiro said. “Today is a very special day for me.”
Previous recipients of the award include Tom Luce, former assistant secretary for the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education, as well as Jay McDonald Williams, emeritus chair for Trammel Crowe; State Senator Royce West; Mike Boone, founding partner of Haynes & Boone Law Firm; and Sam Tasby, named plaintiff in the Dallas desegregation lawsuit.

Rah, rah, rah for J cheerleaders!
The Dallas Heat All-Stars of the JCC placed first in the Level 1, Youth Division at America’s Best Cheerleading Championship at the Dallas Convention Center on Sunday, Oct. 26. The team performed a 2-1/2-minute routine along with several other cheer companies across Texas and the Metroplex. The Dallas Heat Cheerleader program, coached by Myra Gingold and Patti Durham, has been a wonderful addition to the JCC.
“We have been thrilled with the community’s response and expect much success from this exciting new program,” said a spokesperson for the team.

Akiba Academy launches new character education program
A student-led effort at Akiba Academy has generated widespread communal participation.
They are worn proudly in shopping malls, restaurants, synagogues and fitness centers. You can spot them on kids, Gen-Xers and even on seniors. Thanks to “Band2Band,” a character education program taking hold at Akiba Academy, red wristbands might pop up anywhere in the Metroplex.
But don’t mistake these wristbands for a fashion statement. They serve a far more important cause.
In an effort to formalize character training in its students, Akiba Academy launched Band2Band, a first-of-its-kind character education program, this past fall. Student leaders, called “character captains,” canvass their school and community for members in the Character Club, who receive a specially-designed red wristband when they pledge to commit a daily act of kindness. Character captains maintain a membership caseload and check in every few days to monitor the progress of each member.
According to Rabbi Joe Hirsch, the program’s creator, “Band2Band provides a unique approach to character education that is both student-centered and curriculum-embedded.” Hirsch’s fourth-grade students serve as “character captains” for the program and recruit, monitor and publicize the acts of kindness generated by wristband-wearing members of the Character Club. “Band2Band promotes core values such as responsibility, selflessness and community,” Hirsch says, “and gives expression to our school’s commitment to rounding out a superb academic education with social-emotional learning as well.”
More than 250 members belong to the Character Club to date, with membership growing daily. While a majority of its members are local, the Character Club now has a small but growing presence in five other states and Israel. It’s caught the eye of a DISD school interested in duplicating Band2Band for its student body.
The novelty of a student-led approach to character education impressed the directors of the First Choice Power Fund, who chose Hirsch’s proposal as one of only 23 in the state to receive a Classroom Innovation Grant. “We’re delighted with Rabbi Hirsch’s plan to bring character education to the forefront of his school and community,” remarked Monica Hussey, a First Choice Power spokeswoman.
Hirsch plans to take his program on the road and develop similar programs at other schools in the near future.
Character education, which focuses on the development of universal standards of ethics and responsibility in students, is becoming increasingly popular in private and public schools across the country. For more information about Band2Band and the field of character education, visit band2band.org.
Power up the trucks
Children of all ages will enjoy Congregation Shearith Israel’s Annual Truck Time from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. rain or shine this Sunday, benefiting CSI’s Preschool. In addition to all of your favorite barge trucks, tractors, earth movers, fire trucks and police vehicles, the Dallas Mavericks Street Team and the Dallas Stars Fan Van will be appearing this year. All of the trucks are interactive and children will be able to climb and explore them to their hearts’ content. Admission is $5 for ages 2 and up.
Calling all college students
It’s that time again. Time to see your friends and catch up on all the latest news. College Ties will have its Thanksgiving get-together in Dallas on Wednesday, Nov. 26. Students can mingle and shmooze at Starbucks at Preston & Frankford from 9 to 11 p.m. Catch up on all the latest campus news, find out who is where and how they are doing. In state, out of state, overseas: All Jewish college students ages 18–23 are welcome!
College Ties is a local initiative to bring Jewish college students together during summer, fall and winter breaks. There is no set agenda, just gather and talk with your fellow students. Sign in by the region of the country where you attend school. Incoming freshmen to recent graduates are welcome.
For more info, or to be added to the e-mail list (or to the parents of college students e-mail list), contact Susie Avnery at susiedaltx@sbcglobal.net or 469-233-0222.

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