Raise your hand if your life has been positively affected by a good teacher. Are you among those who want the good teachers working with your children to be rewarded for doing exceptional work? If the attaboy or attagirl you give to your child’s good teacher could be converted to cash, would that be a happy outcome? If this dialogue has your attention, you may want to know more about the awards that the AWARE Foundation annually gives to outstanding educators in Arlington.
AWARE stands for “Arlington Will Award and Recognize (Educational) Excellence.” The all-volunteer nonprofit is inviting anyone in the community to submit a nomination by Dec. 12 for an exceptional teacher they see as working tirelessly to create a challenging, nurturing environment for their students.
Each teacher nominated will be observed in the classroom by a selection committee who will choose finalists. Individual interviews of finalists are conducted before choosing winners to receive cash awards at a spring banquet.
Patti Belknap, a 2005 winner from Johns Elementary School, said: “Winning the AWARE award at the end of my 37-teaching career was an acknowledgment by the community that I was considered among the best — what an amazing way to be acknowledged,” she said.
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“The process was simple — a selection committee made up of people from the community just watched me do what I did on a daily basis. I would encourage parents, grandparents, and co-workers to nominate their favorite teacher today.”
AWARE has been around since 1989 and has awarded more nearly $500,000 to teachers in the Arlington school district chosen to receive their Award of Excellence. This spring on May 8 at a celebratory dinner, winners in various grade-level categories will take home lucrative cash awards — $3,000 for each winning teacher and $1,500 to each of the runners-up.
In charge of the selection committee is AWARE Vice President Beth Hellier. “The opportunity to recognize and award a new group of outstanding AISD educators begins with the nomination process. As the Dec. 12 nomination deadline approaches, I am eager to learn how many nominees we have and which schools they represent,” Hellier said.
“I also love to discover the source of their nomination to see if it is an administrator, a peer, a community member or even one of their students.”
According to AWARE President Gena Williams, nearly 350 teachers have received the awards since the organization was established. Williams said the annual banquet is a celebration of excellence in public education as each teacher nominated is individually introduced at the spring event. Last year more than 50 teachers were nominated.
Nomination information is available online at www.AWAREFoundation.com. Students, parents, fellow teachers, administrators, or friends and neighbors are encouraged to participate in recommending a teacher for the award. Self-nomination or nomination by a family member will not be accepted. Each campus in the school district also received packets with the nomination criteria and instructions on how to submit nominees. Direct questions to Williams at 817-320-2397 or Hellier at 817-572-3912.
5 local women named Ruby Award recipients by Christian Women’s Job Corps
Helping women who need a second chance — oftentimes those trapped by poverty or abuse — is what Arlington’s Christian Women’s Job Corps is all about. This local nonprofit provides job training and self-improvement programs for women with limited resources so they can get their lives back on track.
At a luncheon last month, CWJC singled out five local women as recipients of the Ruby Award. Officials from the organization say the award aims to put a spotlight on the roles that women play in the success and prosperity of their community.
“The Ruby Awards, based on Proverbs 31:10, are a unique opportunity to honor exemplary Christian women in the greater Arlington area who have proven themselves to be leaders within their field of activity and expertise,” said Judy Duke, who co-chaired the luncheon with Maritta Sumner.
“This year's winners are women who have made an impact in the church, in our community, and in the lives of others. They are dedicated, hardworking, and giving women who are honored for service they have given to others.”
Honorees include Hannah Goolsby who is a volunteer case manager at Arlington Urban Ministries and Brandee Kelley who is a local real estate professional. Both women are active in their churches and community activities.
Also receiving the Ruby Award was Billie Liddell who co-authored a book chronicling the history of First United Methodist Church. She’s active in children’s ministries and works on church conferences and workshops.
Sylvia Nichols, a retired AISD administrator, was also a Ruby Award winner for her distinguished career in the school district and her impressive contributions to a number of local nonprofits. A communications major at UTA, Hannah Smith, was given the Ruby Award for her work in the college ministry programs.
The Friend of CWJC award went to Mission Arlington for their ongoing services that benefit not only CWJC clients but families throughout the area who need help.
Nearly 500 women have graduated from the 12-week CWJC job training program since it began in 2005. The training and mentoring services they provide also includes Bible study. A boutique operated by CWJC volunteers and stocked with clothing contributed by local donors provides outfits needed by the women who are returning to the workforce. The fall graduation for women currently participating is set for Saturday.
Anyone wishing to nominate a woman for next year’s Ruby Award should contact executive director Julie Forrester firstname.lastname@example.org or call 817-275-5600. Details about the group are at www.cwjcarlington.org.
Do you enjoy live theater? Love a good comedy? Like helping people and enjoy making new friends? Want to be a part of the fine arts community in Arlington? If your answer is yes, then the Theatre Arlington Guild is for you.
Since 1994 the Guild has provided trained volunteers to assist with Theatre Arlington’s programs and activities. Guild members work to stimulate interest in Theatre Arlington throughout the community.
Members enjoy the benefit of seeing Theatre Arlington plays and musicals for free when signing up to work as ushers or to work at concessions or the ticket booth. Volunteers can also help with mailings or reception duties at the theatre business office. Membership dues are $15 annually.
To learn more about volunteering, contact Guild president Becky Phillips at 817-675-4418 or email her at BeckyWalkerPhillips@gmail.com.
Arlington Turkey Trot raises money for disadvantaged youth
It’s the 8th year for the Arlington Turkey Trot set again for Thanksgiving Day morning on Nov. 23 at 8 a.m. at Globe Life Park. The event offers a timed 5K and a one-mile ‘Puffin’ for Stuffin’ course. On site registration begins at 6:30 a.m. Proceeds from the event will benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Arlington.
“Over the past seven years, thousands of people from all over the United States, as well as eight foreign countries, have gathered at Texas Rangers Globe Life Park in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving to get in a little exercise before digging into the turkey and dressing and, perhaps more importantly, give back to the community,” said race spokeswoman Emmy Klein.
Nadia DiStefano from the Boys & Girls Clubs said the organization is grateful to be the beneficiary of the Turkey Trot because promoting a healthy lifestyle for club kids is one of the pillars of their youth programming. “The Arlington Turkey Trot provides families with a time to gather and celebrate the season all while supporting youth who need us the most in our community.”
Sign up for the race at www.arlingtonturkeytrot.org or contact Emmy Klein at 817-795-9955.