With temperatures getting a bit friendlier for Saturday’s Halloween ghosting about, the continuing COVID-19 monster is putting a damper on plans for the night’s festivities. Parents and residents are in a quandary on how to proceed. They don’t want to disappoint munchkins, who have had their lives turned upside down in the past seven months. But neither do they want to expose them to potential threats.
Due to the current Red Level status, Dallas County officials have issued their recommendations on the dos and don’ts for this Saturday. The don’ts include the following
- Indoor Halloween gathering events or parties with non-household members.
- Outdoor events like carnivals, festivals, live entertainment and haunted houses. Public outdoor gatherings should be restricted to fewer than ten people and require physical distancing of at least six feet between people and the use of facial coverings.
- Door-to-Door trick or treating because “it is difficult to maintain proper physical distancing on porches and at front doors, and sharing food is risky whether reaching into a share candy bowl or being given candy by hand.” If you’re not going to throw out the welcome mat for treats, turn your lights off just before the sun sets at 6:36 p.m. And you might want to post a note saying that due to COVID-19, you won’t be able to treat this year.
- Trunk or Treat events “where children go from car-to-car instead of door-to-door to receive treats. Even though it is outside, it is difficult to avoid crowding and contamination in candy bowls.”
On the other hand, the officials have provided suggestions on how to still celebrate this spooky Saturday safely with the following recommendations:
- Online parties/contests such as costume or pumpkin carving.
- Car parades where individuals do not congregate outside vehicles. Individuals in vehicles should be within households.
- Halloween movie nights at home or drive-in theaters, which must comply with the public health drive-in movie theater guidance.
- Halloween-themed meals at home or outdoor seating at restaurants that comply with the safety protocols such as universal masking, physical distancing between parties/tables.
- Dressing up homes and yards with Halloween-themed decorations.
- Scavenger hunt style candy searches around your home or yard with household members.
Other possible ideas:
- Take the kids outside to see the first blue moon since March 2018. It will be rising at 6:57 p.m. The Farmers’ Almanac reports that “it’s also the first time a Halloween full moon has appeared for all time zones since 1944.” The next Halloween Blue Moon won’t take place until 2039.
- If you have a photographer in the neighborhood, see if they’ll do porch photos of families in their costumes.
- And don’t forget to take your own photos of your household ghouls and goblins for sharing with others online.
Since its inception in 1998, Project Transformation North Texas has only had four executive directors. With its latest Executive Director Lauren Richard assuming the new role of CEO of Camp Fire First Texas in Fort Worth, the search got underway for the fifth executive director to carry on its mission to “transform communities by engaging children, college-age young adults and churches in purposeful relationships.”
They found that person in nonprofit vet Kirsten Brandt James, who most recently served as the Chief Development Officer for 29 Acres in Denton County.
According to Project Transformation Board Chair/Highland Park United Methodist Church Rev. Susan Robb, “After a rigorous selection process, the board is thrilled to welcome Kirsten as the new Executive Director. Beyond her extensive leadership and development experience, she brings a passion for our mission and for making a difference in our communities.”
As a longtime member of Northaven United Methodist Church, Kirsten is already familiar with work of Project Transformation and understands the present challenges. As she put it, “As a passionate advocate of youth and leadership development, Project Transformation combines so many aspects of my professional career in nonprofit management as well as my personal faith journey. Despite the challenges of COVID and 2020, I truly believe that we will continue to change communities and lives, engaging in new relationships and developing leaders.”
Dallas’ Anthem Strong Families‘ mission is “to be the champions for our community by education, equipping and empowering men, women and youth to be the champion for their life, their marriage, their children and their family.”
One example of their work is Jon Correra. After serving seven years in a federal prison and now a single father of three, he explained, “My life was changed tremendously by going through the ASF program. I no longer look at life the same. The way I deal with my anger and how I approach my children is changed because of this program. Now I intentionally work to be accountable to my family.”
But to help Jon and others in similar situations takes money. Thanks to federal grants totaling $15M from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families Office of Family Assistance, ASF will be able to fund two programs over the next five years partnering with Office of the Mayor, City of Dallas, Gateway Foundation, TX., Wesley Rankin Community Center, The Honorable Judge Lela Mays, Dallas County Adult Probation Department of Family Protective Services, Los Barrios Unidos, The Law Offices of Erika N. Salter, Dallas Healthy Start, Mi Escuelita Preschool, North Texas Food Bank, Child and Family Guidance Center, Harmony Community Development Corporation, Garland Independent School District, Southern Dallas Links, Inc., Trinity Restoration Ministries, Shiloh Church, Apartment Finders/JPG Properties, Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, Volunteers of America (Hutchins) and Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Counseling Services.
The first program is “Family, Relationship and Marriage Education Works (Frameworks)” that will “provide classes, mini-clinics and workshops to empower adult men and women to build skills to create healthy relationships with tools for problem solving, dealing constructively with their emotions, stress, financial literacy and parenting.”
The second is “Fatherhood-Family-Focused, Interconnected, Resilient and Essential (FIRE)” that is “designed for adult fathers and men taking on the role of father, 18-years-old and older who are raising children 24-years or younger.”
ASF plans to “utilize award-winning and nationally-acclaimed evidence and skills-based programs in a unique program offered both in-person and on zoom in both English- and Spanish-speaking classes, activities and mini-clinics that address an array of tools and insight for participants and their families.”
According to ASF Founder/CEO Cosette Bowles, “The need to strengthen families in Dallas and surrounding counties is great and while these funds are generous, this is only the beginning of reaching scale. However, with the funds from these grants we are excited to be able to continue to expand our reach toward Hispanic men, women and their families and offer culturally-appropriate services.”
* Photo provided by Anthem Family Strong
If you haven’t already signed up for Wednesday’s Celebrating Women’s grand finale with a conversation between Dr. Oz and Baylor Scott And White own breast surgical oncologist Dr. Lucy Wallace, the seconds are ticking down.
In preparation for the 11:30 a.m. virtual get-together, Event Chair Peggy Meyer and Underwriting Chair Jill Tananbaum had Dr. Oz send the following video:
Both doctors have personal reasons for supporting Celebrating Women’s mission to support those battling breast cancer.
Thanks to presenting sponsor, Tom Thumb and Albertsons Companies Foundation and an extraordinary number of donors, the annual Baylor Scott And White Dallas Foundation event is absolutely free.
The leadership role of The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture is changing. Longtime Executive Director Larry Allums is retiring after 23 years. Taking over the helm of the 40-year-old nonprofit educational organization will be Dr. Seemee Ali, who will be its “first-ever president.”
In accepting this new role, Seemee told the Institute’s Board of Directors and membership, “At a time when our culture is in crisis, when civil discourse is increasingly difficult, and the unresolved pandemic exposes ever new fault lines in our communities, the humane work of the Dallas Institute is vital. We need the Dallas Institute now more than ever. I am deeply honored to serve as the Institute’s first president.”
ut Ali is not a newcomer to the Institute nor its mission “to enrich and deepen the practical life of the city with the wisdom and imagination of humanities.” Back in the 1990s she was an assistant to the Institute’s co-founding fellows late Drs. Louise and Donald Cowan at the Institute’s Cowan’s Center™ (formerly known as Teachers Academy). From there she joined New York’s Museum of Modern Art staff, and returned to Dallas to serve as administrator for Teachers Academy while earning her Ph.D. at the University of Dallas’ (UD) Institute of Philosophic Studies. In the years that followed she taught at UD’s and John Cabot University’s Rome campuses, Morgan Statue University and Villanova University.
Most recently, Seemee and her husband Dr. Michael McShane taught at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where they were both recognized as Professors Emeriti and founded the “college’s vibrant Hannibal Lecture Series and established its Lincoln Forum for Liberal Arts.”
In addition to publishing essays on Homer’s “Iliad”, 20th century American writes Wallace Stevens and William Faulkner, Seemee has been “a regularly invited lecturer in the Newberry Library’s Teachers Consortium in Chicago.
In nominating Seemee for her role as fellow of Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies, Harvard University’s Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature Dr. Gregory Nagy wrote, “I am in awe of her deep learning and her lively engagement with some of the most vitally important and timely topics in the field of classical studies.”
Despite all these commitments and accomplishments, she has still managed to frequently return to the Institute to lecture.
According to Larry, “After 40 years of conducting public programs in Dallas, the Institute is indeed fortunate to have Dr. Ali to lead it into its future. She has an intimate understanding of its mission in our city and what it has achieved, and she brings a dynamic vision for what it can and should become.”
As for Larry, he may be retiring, but he will still “remain involved with the important programs that he established over the course of his tenure, including this year’s Hiett Prize ceremonies and the 2021 MLK Symposium… He will continue leading his popular book groups and will sustain his commitment to enriching K-12 educators by teaching in the Cowan Center™.”
The Institute mission is with a mission “to enrich and deepen the practical life of the city with the wisdom and imagination of humanities.”
* Graphic/photo provided by The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture
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