Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

A Good Cause for the Next Generation

April 29, 2010

Some of my friends work with the Marcus Graham Project. My friends in MGP are very dedicated to mentoring the next generation of media professionals. My friends get involved, and there is a whole crew of us moving in this great city.

Their next event is on Saturday, May 1st. They need support to mentor the younger people they’re taking on. Read below, and support where you can.

(after the video, their full press release is here)

Our mission is to identify, expose, mentor and train ethnically diverse men between the ages of 16 and 34 in all aspects of the media industry, including advertising, entertainment and marketing.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a Supply Drive + Fundraiser for The Marcus Graham Projects (MGP) Summer Bootcamp, iCR8.

Saturday May 1, 2010
The Tastemakers Suite

1409 S. Lamar #111
Dallas, TX 75215

9am to 6pm

We are collecting the following items for our summer bootcamp:

CREATE * Three (3) Laptops (New, Gently Used or Refurbished) * Notebooks/ Sketchpads/Pens * HD Video Camera/ Digital SLR Camera (Canon 5D preferred) * Software (Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut Pro)

LIVE * Eight (8) Travel Scholarships ($250 Each 5 Roundtrip flights, 3 gift cards for Gas) * Gift Cards for Meals (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner) for 12 * Gift Cards to Wal-Mart or Target for Toiletry Items for 9 * Beds, Cots, Futons, Air Mattresses for 9 * Bedding (Sheets, Comfortable) for 9 * Bottled Water, Fans (Items to help with the TX Heat) * Dressers or Storage Containers * Bath Towels for 9 * 12 DART (Public Transportation) Monthly Passes * Kitchen Supplies (dishes, cooking utensils, pots/pans) * Sofas/Futons/Chairs (3)

*many of these items can be found at Wal-Mart & Target, however we will accept used items

THINK * Books (including: Emotional Branding, How Brands Gain the Irrational Edge by Darryl Travis; Truth, Lies & Advertising by Jon Steel; Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Advertising by Luke Sullivan (Third Edition); or other books that could benefit their learning * Informative marketing case studies, presentations, decks * DVDs/Links to relevant documentaries, speeches or presentations

Schedule of Events in the Gifting Lounge
9AM 11:00AM SOUL
Join us in for a fellowship breakfast as we prayer for our next generation of leaders, as well as the success of programs build to develop youth and young adults. This event will focus on fellowship and collective prayer led By Larry L . Yarrell, Sedderick Raphiel, & JD Garza. Breakfast will be served pot luck style at 10AM. Please bring muffins, juice, fruit, yogurt or other items. We will host a special edition of our On Line Radio show, where we will be joined by several of the young leaders that we have selected for The Marcus Graham Project boot camp and join with them in prayer & fellowship for their successful arrival to Dallas. Music to get your soul right provided by DJ Frances Jaye

Rejuvenate your body and unwind to simply good music provided by DJ M*Knight and massage provided by Massage4U. RSVP for your massage by emailing your First & Last Name, as well as

Enjoy a stimulating conversation and cocktail, as DJ Jay Clipp spins some true school tunes. The topic of conversation is progress, and we invite each of you to share on camera, how you are making progress in the world and how young people can continue to strive forward and accomplish their dreams.

The High-Speed Internet Gap in Southern Dallas

July 15, 2009

Jim Mitchell of the DMN has an interesting post on their Southern Dallas blog this morning. It talks about the broadband gap, which is defined by Mitchell as “easy access to high-speed information services for some and little or no access for others based on geography, income and population density.”

This is definitely an issue South of I-30. In Council District 4, we have entire neighborhoods that are not served by DSL service, much less a service like U-verse or FIOS. This is despite the fact that we have some neighborhoods of affluence in our District.

I have a friend in Oak Cliff that actually bought the outrageously expensive DirectWay satellite internet service because he works from home and needed high-speed service. The broadband gap is why every computer in the library at places like Kiest library (map) is always reserved for hours in advance. Beyond the library, there are not many ways available to lower-income residents to search for jobs.

I know that President Obama has spoken about the “broadband gap” on occasion, which is also encouraging. Locally, this is an issue that we hope to address in Dallas, and I hope that we can bring companies like AT&T to the table to do so. To limit neighborhoods to dial-up access in 2009, is astonishing. It’s also bad for business.

Paul Quinn College Loses Accreditation

June 25, 2009

In the midst of one of the strangest news cycles in some time, this piece of news stuck out to me. Having seen closeup what the loss of accreditation can do to a struggling college, I hope that they can get the situation reversed. The school can file an appeal within 10 days.

If Paul Quinn doesn’t win the appeal, this could be the end of Paul Quinn. Why? Because students at an unaccredited school can’t get financial aid.

I have heard that there will be a news conference tomorrow at the school, so keep an eye out for such an event.

Two Elected Officials that Care about Education

May 19, 2009

A lot of people think that all the Mayor and others are thinking about is the Convention Center Hotel. It’s easy to fall into the trap because the haters post more blog comments and call radio stations every single week. Really, it boils down to a lot of hating by a small handful of vocal people.


Here is a video clip from last Monday, in which Mayor Leppert is talking about the West Dallas Education Task Force. According to their website: The primary goal of the West Dallas Education Task Force is to “establish a multi-faceted network of public and private schools offering excellent educational options to West Dallas families.” This ties into the Mayor’s belief that improvement starts with education.

Also, as we speak Dwaine Caraway is in the middle of his “Teen Summit on the road” trip as he takes 200 underprivileged kids to Austin for education and experiences at our State Capitol. A similar trip occurred last year, when we traveled to Houston and Galveston with no city tax dollars involved.

I would bet that both of them have visited more than 100 schools since they took office to talk to students about their future.

While people are busy hating on the Mayor and Dwaine, all they have to do is look beyond the everyday nonsense to see the types of things they are doing on a regular basis to positively affect the lives of Dallas youth.

Brint Ryan Donates $1 Million to UNT-Dallas!

April 7, 2009

UNT alum and philanthropist Brint Ryan has donated $1 million to the University of North Texas-Dallas. This makes Brint the first member of the UNT Dallas Founders Circle.

Brint Ryan is the founder of Ryan & Company, a large tax services firm based in Dallas. Brint is also a Dallas City Council candidate for District 13, which includes Preston Hollow and parts of Northwest Dallas.

According to the press release, UNT-Dallas president-designate Dr. John Ellis Price said the gift is the largest from a private individual in the nine-year history of the Campus.

Brint realizes that in order for colleges to thrive they need resources, and that education is a vital requirement for the success of Dallas’ youth. He made a similar donation to the UNT’s main campus a few years back.

To me, this is very important. It shows that people north of the Trinity are equally interested in the success of colleges in southern Dallas.

Kudos to Brint for his generous contribution! We need more people to step up in the same fashion.

Morehouse Information Session – TONIGHT!

February 10, 2009
The Office of Admission and Recruitment at Morehouse College invites you, your parents and friends to an information session.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Dallas Marriott-Las Colinas
223 West Las Colinas Blvd
Irving, TX 75039 (map)

You will have the opportunity to speak with Kory Hawkins, Assistant Dean of Admission and Recruitment about admission requirements, housing, financial aid, scholarships, and student life.

Mark Cuban’s Heroes Basketball…in the Cliff!

January 22, 2009

Last Friday, there was a press conference to celebrate the Mark Cuban Heroes Basketball Center.

I have been excited about this since it came through the City Plan Commission last spring.

The center is in the old YWCA at Bonnie View and Southerland, located in the Cedar Crest neighborhood in Oak Cliff. The intersection is part City Council District Four (Dwaine Caraway) and part District Seven (Carolyn Davis); how that happened is an entire story in itself.

This was a badly deteriorating building, and Cuban stepped up by purchasing the building and investing a huge sum in its renovation and reconstruction.

Heroes Basketball is much larger than a league. The center will provide tutoring, mentorship, and a computer center.

As the FW Star-T mentioned in their article, participants are required to maintain at least a 2.5 grade-point average and also are required as seniors to apply for at least five colleges. Mike Fisher of did a good write-up as well.

Some Mavericks practices will be held here, as well as various other events designed to engage the youth of southern Dallas.

Thanks to Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson, Charles and everyone else involved with Heroes Basketball for making this possible. As I told Mark and Donnie, it’s fun when something that you’ve seen on paper for months starts to come together.

I am really looking forward to the All-Star game next year when all of the NBA folks come down to talk with the youth. Despite nearly a dozen TV cameras at the event, coverage was non-existent save for CW33 news. But all of the stations made time for a couple of random perp-walks during their 9 and 10 o’clock segments. Such is life.

Since it’s warming up, the painting can begin and the basketball floor can be placed. The center is scheduled to open in March.

Scholarships and Model Training for Young Girls

November 28, 2008

This is from my buddy Keisha Howard at P.E.A.R.L. (Poised, Elegant, and Responsible Leaders). P.E.A.R.L. provides self-esteem enhancing programs for girls ages 7-17 include etiquette, life-skills, and modeling:

P.E.A.R.L. Girls is hosting a Winter Wonderland Fashion Show at the Valley View Mall on Saturday, December 20th. We are seeking fabulous girls (ages 7-17) to star in it!

Register now for the “Top Models with Manners: Winter Boot Camp.” You will learn formal and dining etiquette, social graces, and “self-esteem modeling” techniques. Then, star in the Winter Wonderland Fashion Show!

This is an excellent “polishing” class for previous P.E.A.R.L. Girls and a great starter course for girls who are new to the P.E.A.R.L. Girls organization.

Classes will be held December 6th and 13th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Valley View Mall.

Inner-Beauty Scholarship Contest

P.E.A.R.L. is also accepting applications for the 2009 Miss P.E.A.R.L. of Dallas Inner-Beauty Scholarship Pageant. This is a great opportunity for DFW High School juniors and seniors to earn scholarships for college!

Scholarship deadline is January 16, 2009.
link to scholarship flyer

Wyshina Harris’ Children – How You can Help

November 20, 2008

As I have mentioned, Wyshina Harris left behind two children. There is a way you can help.

If you would like to donate money to secure a fund for her two children, Jordan and Jazmine, please make checks payable to Central Dallas Ministries with “Wyshina Harris” in the memo line.

You can send the checks to Central Dallas Ministries, Attn: Jenny Fogel, P.O. Box 710385, Dallas, TX 75371. Or, if you would rather donate online, go to and click on Wyshina Harris in the drop down menu. (Note: if “Wyshina Harris” hasn’t been added yet, click on Education and then email me to let me know the amount you donated so that they can make sure your funds are designated correctly).

Thanks for your inquiries and for your support.

Other articles about Wyshina: Here and Here

My Friend was Murdered Today. Why?

November 15, 2008

This morning, my friend Wyshina Harris was murdered. Another senseless killing in our city.

I will always remember when Wyshina lived in Turner Courts and we talked about how she was constantly going up to HS Thompson School to make sure her children got a good education. She worked with Central Dallas Ministries for a while, and was chronicled along with others in an article last year in the Morning News. She was a big part of the Turner Courts After-School Academy.

Whomever you are that killed Wyshina, know this. You hurt a whole family and an entire neighborhood and community. You left two young kids without a mother. You have no idea how many lives you affected with this senseless act of gun violence.

Here is a speech that she did at a Central Dallas Ministries event when she lived in Turner Courts (h/t to Larry James’ blog). In Wyshina’s passing, feel her words and testimony. She is shown here with her son Jordan in a picture from Janet Morrison’s CDM Blog.


My name is Wyshina Harris and I am a resident of South Dallas. I have two kids–a 10-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son.

I want South Dallas to become a place where I don’t have to worry about my kids’ safety every day. We see violence and drug dealing all around us. We hear gunshots fired regularly. My kids still get scared when they hear the gunshots. I don’t want my kids to get over being scared of that. Kids aren’t supposed to get used to hearing gunfire outside their front door.

There are as many liquor stores as churches in South Dallas. I’d like to see that change. We need a decent grocery store, clothing store, and gas station. It’s hard to travel all the way to North Dallas to buy a decent pair of sneakers for my kids.

My kids go to H.S. Thompson Elementary. When people outside of the neighborhood find out where my kids go to school, they say, “Oh my gosh. You let your kids go to school there?!” Well, what’s my alternative?! That’s the neighborhood school. I can’t afford private school for my kids. Our school needs good teachers and counselors who will fight to get kids on par with their grade level rather than sticking them into slow learning classes. We need resources to enable our kids to learn technology and to explore the arts. We can’t allow our schools to set our kids up to fail.

I will tell you that there are a lot of things that need fixing in our neighborhood. I will also tell you that there is a lot of hope and a lot of strength in our neighborhood.

I think sometimes people think that people in poverty are just too lazy to pull themselves out. That isn’t true. My neighbors talk to me about desperately wanting to find work and wanting to go to school to change their lives. We want the same things for ourselves and our children that you want for yourselves and your children.

I’m not giving up on South Dallas. I ask that you not give up on South Dallas either. We don’t need a handout. We need authentic, impactful partnerships to help us solve these issues.

I don’t share this with you today because I want your pity. I share this because I want your partnership. I want to work with you, and with the future mayor of our great city, to make Dallas a better place for all of us.

Thank you for listening.