Notable and quotable

Posted Monday, Apr. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Besides playing golf, people go to Shady Valley Golf Club to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and weddings.

On April 25, the west Arlington golf course’s clubhouse will host a celebration of a different kind: the NFL draft party for Luke Joeckel, the star Texas A&M player and Arlington High School alum who is expected to be drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round.

If it happens as the analyst predict, the offensive tackle would be Arlington’s first No. 1 overall pick.

Among the sponsors of the event, which goes from 6 to 8 p.m., are the Arlington school district and Grace Lutheran Church. A silent auction will benefit the Colts football program.

So how does Joeckel feel about being the potential No. 1 pick?

“It’s just crazy to think about,” Joeckel told the Star-Telegram’s Charean Williams late last month. “Starting football in the second grade, you don’t really think about that kind of stuff. Football has been huge for me my entire life. I love the game. Just getting to this, this has been a dream come true. Just coming to play in the NFL, being in this situation is just — I can’t even imagine it.”

Money for teachers

Greg Meyer wants to keep Arlington teachers from having to spend their own money on classroom supplies.

He recently obtained IRS nonprofit status for Aid for Educators, a charitable organization that he started last year with the support of Ed Farmer, a former Arlington high school principal. It has a website, www.aid4edu.org, as well as Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The average teacher spends about $200 a year on supplies, an assistant high school principal said Friday.

“I don’t think the public really knows how much teachers do and spend,” Meyer said. “There is a real need to help them and their students. I believe we are the only charitable organization in the city that will be directly helping teachers with specific materials for their classroom.

“There are 5,000-plus teachers in the district, and I want Aid for Educators to help as many teachers as possible, if not all.”

He contrasted his organization’s mission with that of the AISD Education Foundation, which recently awarded $40,000 in grants for innovative learning projects.

“There is a big difference on what they are doing and what I am trying to do,” Meyer said. “They helped 11 teachers with grants for projects needed and somewhat needed. If our foundation had $40,000, we could help instead of 11 teachers 125.”

But attracting donors has been harder than he expected.

“I have been completing grant applications and no luck yet,” he said.

“I am disappointed with the people I know and some with kids my wife taught can’t give a small donation,” he added.

Adopt-A-Classroom, a national nonprofit based in Miami that was founded in 1998, has a similar mission. At www.adoptaclassroom.org, teachers can request financial assistance and explain what they plan to use it for.

As of Friday, only a handful of Arlington teachers had done so for this school year, according to a search of the website.

Human service award

The United Way luncheon in Arlington last week closed with the presentation of the 2013 Human Service Innovation Award to longtime Arlington residents Lawrence and Mary Odom.

The Odoms, whose adult son has a mental disability, established a nonprofit organization in 1997 called Advocates for Special People. They later worked with Tarrant County College to establish special skills classes for youths after they finish high school called First Choice. The program is still offered at three TCC campuses.

Through Advocates for Special People, the Odoms were instrumental in creating Special Connections, a program for mentally disabled adults who need structured activities during the day. It is still offered at two churches in Arlington. The average age of those in the program is the mid-30s.

In her acceptance speech, Mary Odom said, “It’s special to be honored for doing something you really love.”

The Odoms said that their long-term dream is to build an assisted-living facility for mentally challenged adults and that they believe it would be more cost effective for the state to fund an assisted-living facility rather than group homes or state schools. They are working at the Legislature to garner support for their ideas.

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