By Debbonnaire Kovacs
[Note: For the first time, a feature article will contain personal pronouns. I normally don’t do this, but this time I’ve included a bit of opinion near the end. I hope my readers will accept this temporary laxity from the rules of reporting. Debbonnaire Kovacs] Several Adventist organizations and individuals have received important awards and grants lately. I thought it would be nice to put out a little round-up of a few that have come to my attention. If you know of any not mentioned here, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, with “for Debbonnaire , more awards” in the subject line. This first section is a short article by Herbert Atienza, Media Relations Specialist for Loma Linda University:
$4.5 Million Grant to Loma Linda University School of Dentistry from First 5 Riverside Will Give Children Access to Dental Care
LOMA LINDA, CA – May 6, 2013 –A $4.5 million grant to Loma Linda University School of Dentistry from First 5 Riverside County Children & Families Commission, also known as First 5 Riverside, will expand access to much-needed dental care for children through five years of age. The First 5 Riverside grant, to be distributed over four years, is expected to allow dental health screenings for about 5,500 children a year, and treatment for about 700 children a year, over the term of the grant. Loma Linda University School of Dentistry’s Riverside County Dental Program will use the grant to offer comprehensive dental screenings and direct treatment for Riverside County’s youngest children. “It’s a huge thing for us to be able to provide these services to children in Riverside County,” says Dr. Carla Lidner Baum, assistant professor at Loma Linda University School of Dentistry and the grant’s project director. “Primarily, we want to make sure that children do not suffer from pain and infection from decayed teeth, but we also do try everything possible to avoid having to extract the decayed teeth. We want to restore and maintain the child’s baby teeth, if at all possible, because if a child loses their primary teeth too early because of decay and need for extraction, then it often happens that the permanent teeth will grow into all of the wrong positions in the mouth, and the child will have crooked and misplaced teeth for life,” she says. First 5 Riverside officials say the collaboration with Loma Linda University School of Dentistry helps First 5 Riverside further its goals of providing the growing numbers of families in Riverside County access to oral health care for their children. “Oral health is critical for children’s overall health and their ability to be successful in school. Oral health concerns are a big reason for children’s absence from preschool or kindergarten, and children in pain are not prepared to learn,” says Harry Freedman, executive director of First 5 Riverside. “Loma Linda University School of Dentistry shares our commitment to improving the oral health of the children in our community, and we are very pleased to partner with them.” Dr. Lidner Baum says the grant will allow dental health professionals to perform screenings and perform triage. The program works with local schools, Head Start programs, and child care centers to screen the children, with the most urgent cases being referred to the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry Clinic, as well as regular dental offices throughout Riverside County. First 5 Riverside is a division of Riverside County Department of Public Social Services. Funded by Proposition 10 tobacco tax revenues, it supports health and early childhood education services designed to help children, prenatal through age five, develop a strong foundation for success in school and throughout their lives.
Adventist Television Producer Receives Award
Our next honoree is Joan Warner, who began with a dream that was pretty big from the start: “to take the Three Angels’ Messages to the greater Nashville area and the world through public access television and the internet.” In March of 2012, she and a few friends stepped out in faith and launched a program called HealthHope. They wanted to create a show that would portray the message of both healthy bodies and healthy spirits, in the context of Adventist doctrine. On February 26, 2013, Nashville Education, Community, and Arts Television (NECAT), a public access television network in Nashville which includes 170 producers, presented awards for accomplishments made by the producers of various local programs. One of those awards was received by HealthHope. In just the last nine months of 2012, the small group of faithful volunteers produced 21 shows, each of which took about five hours to tape, which is done at the Public, Educational, and Government Television Studio at Nashville State Community College. Some of the volunteers have to drive long distances after work just to get to the studio andbeginthe five hours! So it makes sense that the award they received was for “Most Shows Produced by a New Producer in 2012.” As Joan Warner is quoted as saying in the May, 2013 Southern Tidings, “[I]t takes a group of people to be a dedicated and talented production company. . . otherwise I can’t be a producer.” HealthHopehas a spin-off, Truth & Wellness, and both have been given more airtime. They are now aired 12 times per week. There are also plans for a third show, Eternity Now, to begin this year, and eventually even a children’s show.
Alabama Elementary Teacher Receives Golden Apple Award
The Golden Apple Awards are apparently highly prestigious and are given to educators in different states and regions by different entities, however it’s hard to find much detail about their history. www.goldenapple.org and says that the foundation was the brainchild of Martin J. Koldyke, “who felt that excellent teachers did not receive adequate recognition for their contributions to building a stronger, better-educated society.” However, this site is only about Illinois education, and it is clear that educators in many states receive Golden Apple Awards as well.
In our story, the Alabama News Network visited Bethany Christian Academy to present the award to 3rdand 4thgrade teacher, Reggenia W. Baskin “for an outstanding job in the classroom.” She was nominated by students, parents, and community leaders, some of whom were interviewed on camera. They expressed gratitude for Baskin’s love of God, creativity, energy, and passion for teaching. Baskin herself said “I was saved to teach and I must teach to save.” According to Southern Tidings, the final question in Baskin’s interview “moved her to tears: ‘What do you want your students to leave you having learned?’ Baskin’s response was heartfelt and emotional. ‘I want them to know the joy of serving others. I want them to truly emulate Jesus. I want them to know that they have not truly lived until they have added to the being or wellbeing of others.’” The May 2013 Southern Tidings reports both the above stories with a wealth of information, available in PDF form at www.southernunion.com.
Oakwood University Wins $50,000 Grand Prize In Home Depot’s “Retool Your School” Competition
Last, but most assuredly not least, is Oakwood University, which has been competing for several months now in a hotly contested social media voting competition for this year’s $50,000 Retool Your School grant, offered by Home Depot to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The schools in the race with Oakwood included larger public, private, and more popular HBCUs. However, on Friday, May3, the Home Depot judges, including Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played Rudy on the 1980s Cosby Show, announced the winning results. The total of social media votes cast was over 2.6 million, and not-very-big, not-so-well-known Oakwood University was the grand prize winner. (For a list of other winners, visit www.retoolyourschool.com.) According to Oakwood news sources, “Across the country and especially throughout ‘HBCU-dom,’ the question was asked repeatedly, ‘Who is this Oakwood University? How is this school of just 1939 students getting all these votes, against a number of larger public, private and more popular HBCUs?’” You can hear President Leslie Pollard give his answer to Oakwood’s “secret recipe” by watching the video at this site: http://www.oakwood.edu/news/1946-q-how-did-oakwood-university-win-the-coveted-home-depot-50000-top-prize-on-may-3rd-a-on-april-11th-chef-president-dr-leslie-pollard-revealed-the-secret-recipe However, I can supply at least a partial answer. (Also a hint: in part, it has to do with Sabbath. . .) I am on the media lists of all Adventist colleges and universities, so I receive press releases and news bites on a regular basis. Tim Allston, Public Relations Director at Oakwood, sends me by far the highest number of things to choose from as compared to other colleges and universities—often several per week. For the duration of the Retool Your School voting, he added a tagline to “remember to vote every day” to every email he sent me, and knowing Tim, he probably put constant reminders on every email, personal and business, on Facebook, on Twitter, and no doubt all over the Oakwood campus. I say this only to say that I wonder what would happen if we were this openly excited about other things we want to get across to people, like faith, hope, and the constant love of God. I’m not saying we should drive people nuts—naturally this vote drive was a short-term, intense period. I just think it bears some pondering. Adventist Todaycongratulates all these faithful servants of God and wishes them much success and even more blessing!