Pin on Pinterest
After five years in a bad relationship, single mother Jamesha got out and is now in the driver's seat of her life, with a new job in the Law Firm of Lauren Cadilac Medel PLLC and with husband Juriel Black. Jamesha's expertise as a paralegal is growing and she is committed to helping other struggling single parents who need legal assistance. She is the joyful mother of five now, and has two "bonus" children whom she loves like her own that came when she married Juriel.

Jamesha Black returns to School to Gain a New Career, Joins all-Female Law Firm of Lauren Cadilac Medel PLLC, Coaches Little League


Jamesha Black spent five years in a bad relationship and finally realized she had to get out.

“I was sick and tired of being sick and tired,” she admitted to herself then—and now.

With four kids in tow, she did what many are afraid to do: recognize her relationship was a mistake, and move back home.

Born in Galveston, Texas, and raised between Fort Worth and Houston, Jamesha is the oldest of four children: her brother, Justin, 28, is battling Multiple Sclerosis, and she has twin siblings, Shayla and Skylar, 26.

Jamesha wanted to be a doctor when she grew up, “but after taking some medical classes in high school I quickly had a change of heart!” she says with a laugh. She attended Klein High School, 30 miles from downtown Houston, and Mansfield Timberview, then went on to trade school at Arlington Career Institute, to get her Paralegal Certification. She is currently perusing her Associates at Dallas County Community College.

Jamesha says about her career, “When I found out what a Paralegal was, I was instantly drawn to it. My younger brother had gotten into some legal trouble and I wanted nothing more than to help him.”

She explains, “I’ve always thought that sometimes good people make dumb decisions, but that shouldn’t mean the end of their life. I started out only wanting to do Criminal law, but as the years have progressed I have found Estate Planning, Business Formation, Litigation, Probate and Family law to be enjoyable. Any way that I can give light to a dark situation brings me joy.”

Her sincere hope to help others also lead her to the Law office of Lauren Cadilac, an Oak Cliff attorney who practices Business, Probate, Civil Litigation, Estate Planning, Real Estate, Property Tax Protests, and much more. Jamesha recently was hired into the all-female law firm, and looks forward to working with the caring staff. Jamesha began her new career in law working at the firm in June of 2017 and says she “Loves it!”

And her new boss loves her. “Jamesha is an incredibly hard worker and has a sharp legal mind.” Ms. Cadilac says. “Together we make a great team!”

Outside of work her life now revolves around her husband, Juriel Black, and her five children.

“Yes, I have five little ‘mini-me’s’!” Jamesha says with a laugh.

Jariah is the oldest at 12, and is attending a wonderful STEAM school in Dallas. “She plays basketball and is also the Captain of her Cheer squad.” Anaysia is 11 “and is my little fire cracker. She also cheers and loves spending time creating music and watching Youtube videos.” Anthony is 10, “and my future Texas Ranger. He has been playing baseball since he was three.”

Tavares is nine years old and “hasn’t really found his sports niche yet, but he loves cars!” his proud mom says.

Jamesha adds, “Just when I thought I was done having kids, I got married, and two years later I started alllllll over again and had my last ray of sun shine, Peyton, who is three.” Jamesha admits the baby runs the household.

In addition to her five, Jamesha says, her husband Juriel has two children whom she adores: Jamel, age 12, and Zaniyah, 11. “When we got married, we were both ‘package deals.’” She explains, “And although they don’t live with me, I love them as I do my own.”

Jamesha admires actress Taraji P. Henson, famous for her character “Cookie” in the TV drama Empire, and would love to meet her one day. “As a once single mother, trying to start over and make it happen for her babies, she completely resonates with me.”

One thing most people don’t know about Jamesha is that she was placed in the Gifted and Talented Program in Kindergarten. “I went to a school that taught me half the day in English, and the other half in Spanish. I have carried my Spanish with me throughout my life and it completely trips people out that I know it.”

She is also a little league baseball coach. She grew up playing baseball and softball and so coaching has been her way of actively maintaining her love for the game.

Her long five years in a bad relationship has molded her into the strong mother that she is today. What will the next five years bring her? “That is such a mystery to me right now,” Jamesha says. But she knows it will include helping other single moms navigate through difficult waters.


Jamesha can be contacted at the The Law Office of Lauren C. Medel, PLLC at: or by calling (972) 845-1200. 

Pin on Pinterest
Business owner, mother of two, community volunteer and mentor Shuly Einhorn has a full life. She met her husband Craig when they were both teenagers, and now have two of their own. In addition to running an international business, Shuly is starting "Power Lunches" for teen girls, to help them make good decisions and feel more confident in their lives. Shuly is often described as a look-alike of super model Cindy Crawford, and Craig--who has a resemblance to Superman actor Dean Cain--admits when they met it was "love at first sight" for him, but it's her kind heart that attracts him the most.

The navy had a big problem.

Thousands of towels from their gym were disappearing each year, mistakenly taken home.

Not wanting to accuse any midshipmen of stealing, the Navy turned to Strategic Solutions International for help. The answer was simple: pink.

“Pink towels!” Shuly Einhorn says with a laugh. “They would be more visible, and less likely to walk out of the gym.”

“No macho navy midshipman is gonna be caught dead with a pink towel out in public,” Craig Einhorn, the SSI Operations Manager and Shuly’s husband of 20 years, explains.

Finding thousands of plush pink towels and shipping them to the Navy was a large task, but not impossible. It’s what Strategic Sourcing International does.

The company, just nine years old, is located in north Dallas and is 51% owned by Shuly, making it a much-sought after woman-owned business. She is the numbers person, keeping the books and paying the bills, and soon will become the front office “face” of the company. Craig is the “sourcer”—searching for unusual items needed at a good price—and the operations manager. He doesn’t mind being #2 on the organization chart, and is happy to have a boss he can work—and live—with.

Their love story may have never happened if it wasn’t for him.

Shuly, born in Israel, was recovering from surgery in a hospital in Virginia when the two met. Craig was in a Gap Year--taking time off between high school and college—to recover from his own recent surgery when his Rabbi suggested he go cheer up Shuly in the hospital. She was in too much pain, and was too mad at the world, to take notice of him, but Craig was intrigued.

As she slowly recovered, Craig would check in with her on a regular basis, bringing fudge and movies to help her pass the time, always there to cheer her up. Two years later, back home in Israel, when Craig came to visit his relatives, the two re-met. That night Craig told Shuly’s mother, “She’s going to be my wife.” Shuly, in a much better place emotionally and physically, realized it too.

They both went off to college and married a few years later in Israel, enjoying a typical family life with two kids: son Roy, now a senior in high school—about the same age as Craig when he met Shuly—and daughter, Tia, 15, a sophomore. They moved to Virginia and about ten years ago and then on to Dallas three years ago.

The family is close. Shuly is at her daughter’s volleyball games each week as the “Team Mom,” and Craig is there to handle the score sheets at home games, and cheer on their daughter at away games. The entire family went on a college visit last month to New York City so Roy could check out NYU and Emerson College. Craig and Shuly typically ride together to work, just a few miles from their home.

Craig is a member of a business networking organization that meets weekly. Members discuss business and support each other's businesses by sharing references. He’ll go to the early morning meeting and swing by to pick up Shuly on the way to their office. Next door to their office space is their pristine warehouse, where they store many of their customer’s products for them.

One way to make more profit is to buy in bulk, and sell in portions. Craig will find the item a customer is looking for, negotiate a better price for more product than his customer needs, then store the rest for the next time his customer has a need for more. It’s a bonus that the SSI warehouse is connected to their leased office site. But he and Shuly plan to build or buy their own bigger building in about a year, to save on rent. The two enjoy helping other businesses save money by finding the best deal for them, and go the extra mile to source, ship and store the products to help start-up companies become successful, and larger companies to save time and money.

Shuly hopes to inspire young women to become leaders in business like she is. In the meantime, SSI is growing with new customers and new employees, many of whom come as interns and stay on as full-time employees. All are treated like family, and like the navy oath, SSI employees work hard and “serve honestly and faithfully,” just like Shuly and Craig--so there’s no need for pink towels at their headquarters.


Shuly is happy to meet women who want information on how to start their own business. For more information about Shuly’s company, see the SSI website at:

To learn more about the Power Lunches for Teen Girls contact Shuly at SHULY@RNTENT.COM

Pin on Pinterest
Few Americans have lobbied Congress in DC but Roy Einhorn (on left, with a classmate) has done it twice. He spends much of his free time serving at the Jewish Family Services Food Bank and in local homeless shelters, volunteering through AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, including attending some national AIPAC conferences. He’s also volunteered building homes with Habitat for Humanity, and most recently, working with Hurricane Harvey relief. 

Award-winning Senior High Student works with the Hungry, Homeless, Lobbies on Capitol Hill

Roy Einhorn has big dreams but is down-to-earth when it comes to serving others.

Born in Belinson, Petak Tikvah, Roy was raised in Shoham, Israel. His mother, Shuly, attended Tel Aviv University and his father, Craig, attended London University. They run a company, Strategic Sourcing International, where Roy can often be found working alongside the other employees in the family-owned global sourcing business.

He has one younger sister, Tia, age 15. Both attend Yavneh Academy of Dallas, located on Merit Drive and ranked #8 in both the latest DFW private schools ranking and #8 nationally for Jewish Schools. Roy attended Pearce High School in Richardson before transferring to the Academy.

Roy is active in helping others, from being a member of Helping Hands for the homeless, Students for Students, and the Pre-Med Club while at Pearce freshman year.  He’s also the layout manager of his school’s newspaper. And he’s active in BBYO, the Jewish Youth Group. Roy served five times on his BBYO chapter board, including six months as chapter president.

In addition, Roy’s spent much of his free time serving at the Jewish Family Services Food Bank and in local homeless shelters serving food, volunteering through AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, including attending some national AIPAC conferences. He’s even lobbied on Capitol Hill twice, in November of 2016 and March of this year. He’s also volunteered building homes with Habitat for Humanity, and most recently, working with Hurricane Harvey relief. 

Last year Roy’s Zionism teacher gave him The Zionism award, an award that goes to someone who speaks up for Israel.

But it was working with the homeless that he says moved him the most. “In a sense, I got to learn about and understand how it feels be homeless. I got to experience their daily struggles.” His dream job is to be a movie director, but he also would be happy helping others to find their best-fitting job, like a talent scout, “so I can change people’s lives for the better--like Simon Cowell--who highlights talented people so they can use their talents to earn a good living.

Roy may be able to document this in his future career, to show others what he’s learned. Roy plans to study Film and television production in college, and become a film director and producer. This past summer he interned in Israel with a famous film producer learning the ropes. His dream college is New York University (NYU) and his goal is to go there to study film making and begin his career. “I’d love to attend the amazing Tisch School of the Arts,” he says. He is also applying to Chapman University in Orange, California, and Emerson College in downtown Boston, Massachusetts, both well-known and respected for teaching Film making. After college, he’d like to get is Master’s degree and work in the film-making field.

He hopes to meet American game show host of “Survivor” Jeff Probst one day, to learn how to emulate his success. He plans to audition for the show as soon as he turns 18. In the meantime, he’s an intern working with a local professional videographer to get hands-on experience in the field he plans to go into.

When he’s not at school or volunteering Roy may be found cuddled up with the family dog, a shihtzu named Bisli.

He admits there is something very few of his high school friends know about him: he used to dance Hip Hop, Jazz and Modern Dance. And, he is an accomplished painter using acrylic on canvas.

Both natural artistic talents make it easy for him to visualize “pretty much anything” someone describes to him, which will be very helpful in his future film making career. He is also able to adapt quickly to different social situations.

Sushi is one of his favorite foods, so when he goes out to dinner, he heads for Mango restaurant. But he says, “I honestly don’t have a favorite type of food-- I love trying new foods from different cultures. I love to be enhanced by the culture.” 

“Wonder Woman” was his favorite movie this summer, “Because Gal Gadot is an Israeli and she is amazing!”

His dream vacation would be to go to Cambodia to visit Angkor Wat—or closer to home, to go to Cedar Point Amusement Park, in Sandusky Ohio, “The Roller Coaster Capital of the World,” to ride the many coasters there.

Roy plans to continue to volunteer to help others throughout his senior year of high school, and hopes to make the world a better place through his service—and his movies—for years to come. He's a young man with a big heart and big dreams, and he'll work heartily to make sure those dreams come true.

To contact Roy see: or Phone 214-347-7894      


Judy Porter writes about high school students, local heroes., small businesses and non-profit agencies in the DFW area. Contact her at: 

Pin on Pinterest
Pete and PIm Columbo will celebrate the 35th anniversary of Alfonso's Italian Restaurant on October 2 and 3, 2017, with cake for their neighbors and patrons. The restaurant on Buckner Boulevard is just a few blocks from White Rock Lake and a mile from the Arboretum, where the restaurant owners enjoy the beauty of nature whenever they can.

Where were you in ’82?

“Let’s Get Physical” by Olivia Newton-John and “The Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor were the biggest hits of the year on the radio. Ronald Reagan was the 40th president of the United States, and “Cheers” was the most popular TV show on the air, about the regulars at a Boston Bar, “where everybody knows your name.”

So, where were you in ’82? Hopefully, at the opening of Alfonso’s Italian Restaurant.

Owner Pete Colombo is celebrating the 35th anniversary of his popular neighborhood restaurant in Olde Lake Highlands. “We originally opened in Casa Linda,” he says, “where the Albertsons is now. We didn’t have a liquor license there.”

A lot has changed in 35 years, but not the delicious garlic rolls served up at Alfonso’s. A move to the current location off Buckner—behind the Green Spot—kept the restaurant close, so neighbors could still enjoy the pastas, pizzas and family atmosphere they first enjoyed in Casa Linda Plaza.

The restaurant will celebrate the 35th anniversary on Monday, October 2 at dinner and Tuesday, October 3 at both the lunch and dinner times. Lunch is 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and dinner is 4:00 p.m. to close at 9:30 p.m. with extended hours until 10:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Pete is happy to be celebrating his 35th year at the restaurant because he knows the average independent “stand alone” restaurant only stay open for eight months.

And he took advice from a friend, Tom Deighton, who told him to get back to being the Italian restaurant he’d been known for: delicious food and a friendly, family atmosphere—not a cheap, ‘discount’ fast-food place. “People will always pay for a good product, Tom told me,” Pete said,
“So I took his advice and adjusted our prices, and made sure our food was as delicious as ever.”

Two years ago, Pete expanded the small bar area as part of the total remodel of the dining area. It now seats 16.  A recently introduced “Ladies Night” at the bar, which offers half priced entrees on Thursday nights for female patrons sitting at the bar, has become a tremendously popular affair. It’s not unusual to see the bar filling up a few minutes after five as female friends and neighbors trickle in for a glass of wine and a delicious meal.

So why did Pete Colombo name his place “Alfonso’s?”

“When we opened in 1982, there was already a local Pizza Place called ‘Colombo’s,’ so I couldn’t use that name.” His backup plan was to honor his father by using his first name.

Not surprisingly, the original “Colombo’s” folded soon after opening. And Alfonso’s by contrast, is known to produce some of the best pizza in the state. And this year Pete has added a variety of cakes for desert, including Key Lime Cake, Coconut and Italian Wedding cake.

And the most ordered entrée? “Chicken Parmesan,” Pete says.

While Alfonso’s is often compared to the bar in “Cheers,” – ‘Where everybody knows your name,’ the local celebrities who dine at Alfonso’s are safe. “We believe in the privacy of our guests,” Pete says, so he doesn’t name names.

This week begins something new: a delivery service bringing his delicious food to his neighbors within a three-mile radius. He’s keeping up with the times, recognizing that some of the restaurant’s neighbors are older and prefer not to drive at night, and many are new neighbors with small children at home, so it’s a chore to load them up into the car to go out to eat. And good news for the neighbors: there is no delivery fee.

In addition to the free delivery service, the restaurant has launched a new and improved lunch menu this month.

While D Magazine lauded Alfonso’s as “The Best Neighborhood Restaurant,” and The Dallas Observer has recognized it in its “Best of Dallas” list, Pete Colombo just wants his neighbors and long-time patrons to enjoy a delicious meal in a comfortable atmosphere. Some patrons come from as far as Oak Cliff and north Plano to meet friends and dine on the delicious food. Celebrating a 35th milestone on October 2 and 3 is one way to thank his many fans from all over the metroplex next month—and hopefully, for the next 35 years!

Owner Pete Colombo is treating his neighbors and customers to cake from Casa Linda Bakery on October 2nd at dinner and October 3rd at lunch and dinner in celebration of his restaurant’s 35th anniversary. Alfonso’s is located at 718 N. Buckner Boulevard, behind the Green Spot.

Alfonso’s will be participating for the first time at “A Taste of Bishop Lynch,” the Homecoming party inside the Atrium of the school on Friday, October 13, 2017.

Alfonso’s Italian Restaurant is at 718 N. Buckner Blvd #222 Dallas, TX 75218.


To order for delivery: call 214-327-7777 or on line:


 Judy Porter is a writer in Dallas. Contact her at



Pin on Pinterest
Lion Harry Crenshaw (left) invited his long-time friend Royce Cooper to join him in the Oak Cliff Lions Club's annual Golf Tournament held Monday, September 18 for the 16th consecutive year. Funds raised go to pay for the many different service projects throughout the southern Dallas area.

The Oak Cliff Lions Club's "We Serve" motto becomes "We Play" once a year to benefit Dallas area agencies

The Oak Cliff Lions Club held its annual Golf Tournament on September 18, 2017 at Steven’s Golf Park in Oak Cliff. It’s the 16th year for the event. This year’s chairman is former Lions Club President Iris Smith, who chaired the committee to run the event which included both past Lions Club President Mike Lott and future club president Tassie Semos, among other Lions.

The annual fund raiser helps to pay for the many service projects the Oak Cliff Lions do during the year, from low-vision eye clinics (helping children to get prescription glasses) and the Sports Extravaganza in October, a day of fun sporting events for the blind. Members also work with various local schools and agencies. This year the club will be concentrating on supporting the faculty and students of The Oak Cliff Can Academy, helping students who have dropped out of high school to complete their education.

Lion Club President John McCall Jr. also committed the club to working with Promise House, an Oak Cliff institution which helps homeless and runaway teenagers.

Veteran Lions Club member Judge Juan Jasso played a round at the tournament, and enjoyed the perfect, sunny weather. “Stan is the Man,” he said with a laugh, admitting his golf skills were not as good as fellow Lion Stan Altschuler.

A silent auction with a number of great items was also available for bids throughout the afternoon.

The Oak Cliff Lions Club has over 100 current members and meets weekly at noon in Weiss Auditorium of the Methodist Medical Center. Guests are welcome to attend a meeting to hear about the club’s many service opportunities. This year the club also has an evening meeting held at La Calle Dulce on 12th Street on the first Tuesday of each month. The public is invited to attend the dinner meetings, which begin at 6:30 p.m.

For more information about the club and its many social and service activities, contact First Vice President Dianna Ezell or any club officer:

President Lion John McCall Jr.

1st VP Lion Tasie Semos

2nd VP Lion Diana Ezzell

3rd VP  Lion Paul Nielsen

Secretary Lion Nia MacKay

Treasurer Lion Stan Altschuler

Chaplain Lion Judy Porter

Lion Tamer Lion Brooks Morrow

Tail Twister Lion Perry Flowers

To RSVP for a lunch meeting contact Lions Club secretary Sara Kitto:

To learn more about the club see it’s website:

Judy Porter writes about local heroes, small businesses and non-profits in the Dallas/FW area. Contact her at:

Pin on Pinterest
Altrusa International of Downtown Dallas presented Tom Hayden, DISD Manager of Strategic Initiatives and External Relations, a $2,000 donation check Tuesday morning at the DISD donation center for Hurricane Harvey evacuated students. The Altrusa Club's Foundation worked quickly to help the children displaced by the Hurricane. The club is in its 35th year of service to the Dallas community and plans two upcoming events to invite the public to learn more about becoming a member.

A $2,000 Donation Helps Students Be Dressed and Ready For School

The Altrusa Club of Downtown Dallas made a quick decision this month to help the students displaced by Hurricane Harvey.

When a need was recognized that children moving into DISD schools for a few weeks—or few months—didn’t have the required uniform school clothes, the community service club's board quickly made an appeal to its 60+ members to grant $2,000 from its foundation to help purchase the necessary uniforms: khaki pants and solid-colored collared polo shirts, new socks and underwear.

Tom Hayden, Manager of Strategic initiatives and external relations for DISD, received the club’s foundation check this week.

The Altrusa Club of Downtown Dallas is celebrating its 35th year this September. The club’s focus is on promoting literacy in the city and helping women and children in crisis. The downtown club is part of an international group that is celebrating 100 years of service.

The Altrusa Club of Downtown Dallas members volunteer at many non-profit agencies in the city, including Attitudes and Attire, Kids U, Meals on Wheels, HRI (Human Rights Initiative), Dolphin Heights, Literacy Achieves (formerly Vickery Meadow Learning Center) and Bar None (annual show benefitting scholarships for minority students to attend Texas Law Schools.) The club members typically volunteer far more than the 20 hours per year suggested by the club’s charter. Dozens of Downtown Dallas Altrusans volunteered over 100 hours this past year in celebration of the centennial anniversary of the first Altrusa Club.

Two upcoming meetings will focus on the history of the Downtown Dallas club. On Tuesday, October 17, 2017, at Season’s 52 in NorthPark the club members will gather at 5:30 for a networking hour and then a short program from 6:30 to 7:30 about the club’s 35-year history and goals for the next 35 years.

A December 5th luncheon at noon at the City Club in downtown Dallas is scheduled for potential members to come and learn more about the community service and networking opportunities the members enjoy. Attorneys, judges, CPAs, entrepreneurs, business owners, artists and a few retirees make up the club. Four veteran members of the club will be honored this Thursday in a combined birthday celebration held at La Calle Dulce on lower Skillman Avenue. Members also gather for a book club about every six weeks at a member's home. Members volunteer, network and socialize together, creating lasting relationships that--in many cases--have spanned decades. 

For more information about the October 17 and December 5 events contact Christina Coultas, VP of Membership, at: or Lisa Robinson, VP of Communications,

This month the club is working with Attitudes and Attire, assisting clients in the program in selecting business-appropriate clothing and accessories from the agency's clothing boutique. Donations from Altrusa Club members of business clothing and accessories are being dropped off at local Bibbentuckers Cleaners to help replenish the boutique. Attitudes and Attire is located at 2050 N. Stemmons Freeway, #181 Dallas, TX 75207. For more information on volunteering with Altrusa and Attitudes and Attire contact Danah Moore at 

Judy Porter, MBA, President of Porter People PR, promotes local heroes, non-profit agencies and small businesses. Contact her at

Pin on Pinterest
Dallas transplant Ann Marie Alongi was captain of the Patriots Cheerleading squad in the early ’70’s. She attributes her years on the squad for changing her life in a positive way, making her more outgoing and ready to take on the world. She works internationally and lives in Dallas.

Dallas Transplant Returns to Boston to Perform on Gillette Field Four Decades Later 

Ann Marie Alongi knew she was in trouble.

Just two months out of high school, at 17, her mother insisted she marry her first boyfriend. It’s what a good Catholic girl should do in the ‘60’s.

At 20 she was separated from him, with little education and a job as an admissions clerk at Hickox Secretarial School, and sobbing to her boss who asked her a simple question. Her loneliness of her past three years in a loveless marriage poured out of her. Her supervisor listened, and quietly assessed the situation, horrified.

With no friends, living alone for three months, working in an unfulfilling job, Ann Marie was at the breaking point. Mrs. Olsen hugged her, and told it would all be OK.

Her boss had an unusual piece of advice. As a season ticket holder of the New England Patriots, she came up with a solution to Ann Marie’s loneliness.

Left on the windshield of her car a few days later was a note on the back of an envelope. “Try out for the Patriots cheerleaders,” it read in her boss’s neat print, “If you don’t, you’re fired.”

Ann Marie’s dreary life was about to change.

Cheerleading to Academic Success

Cheer try outs for the squad was at Boston College. Ann Marie had not attended college after high school, marrying the boy her mother picked out for her instead. Her days with him consisted of working a full-time job to put her husband through his last two years of college, cooking all the meals, cleaning their tiny home, and going to bed exhausted. Eventually her husband got a job, but he didn’t care for it and complained about working. He approached life with little enthusiasm, and the marriage was a chore for both.

After three miserable years, he moved out, and Ann Marie was living alone and afraid to tell anyone.

But at the Patriots Cheerleader try outs, nobody asked her about her education, or her miserable marriage, or her dysfunctional family life.

She met cheerful people who immediately accepted her, and with two decades of dance experience and two years of high school cheerleading experience, she quickly learned the routines that would land her on the squad.

Since the age of two, Ann Marie was in dance class. Her mother was determined that she would be busy all day and tired at night, so local ballet classes seemed a great way to keep her on her feet and out of trouble.

At first, her grandmother paid for her classes. Then her parents bartered with the dance studio owner to keep her in the classes. For the next decade, she would attend school from 7:30 a.m. until 2:15 and be in dance class from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. while keeping her grades up. She graduated high school with an academic award.

She learned classical ballet and eventually began performing across the state at church functions, dance studios and events. Her brother, Joseph, 15 months older, became her dance partner, and the two would perform every gig her mother could find for them.

Painfully shy, Ann Marie was a star on the dance floor. She could make people smile and laugh at her smooth moves. Becoming a cheerleader in high school was easy. Making the Patriots squad was nerve wracking but Ann Marie was a natural.

After a year, she tried out again and became captain. Cindy McGrath, also from Winthrop, had met Ann Marie in the fourth grade. She was in her junior year in college, but made the squad mid-year. The two became best friends.

It was 1974 and Cindy’s senior year in college and her fourth year dating Cliff MacDonald. She applied with many school districts and ended up in California when Cliff got a job offer there. She graduated in May, got a diamond in June, and got married in September, so left the squad the day after she married him.  She came back every year to visit family, but rarely saw Ann Marie.

At the New England Patriots Cheerleader’s alumnae reunion, on August 30th, 2017 the two got to perform together again for the first time in 43 years. And after their first practice they went to dinner at a local bar and grill for an hour--and stayed for three--laughing and reminiscing about their years as school girls together and their year as Patriots cheerleaders together.

To Russia, With Love

During her years as a Patriots Cheerleader Ann Marie would apply and be accepted and finish a degree in Business Management from Boston College. Four days after graduation she travelled to Russia and pioneered the first public video conferencing room in the academy of economics for western companies to communicate with their home offices in the U.S. or Europe in real time. Some of her customers included United Technologies, Allied Signal and Johnson & Johnson.

Her experience as a cheerleader taught her how to make friendships with people of many different backgrounds. She would continue to work in Russia for ten years—where she met the love of her life, Richard, from England—and then work in South Africa and the United Kingdom. Her career had her living and working in over two dozen countries, including all of Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa. She continues today to bring new, unique state-of-the art products made by American companies into foreign markets using her expertise in wireless network infrastructure.

For a shy Catholic girl from tiny Winthrop Massachusetts, this globe-trotting executive cheerfully greets each day as she did when she was a Patriots Cheerleader: with a smile and enthusiasm.


To see the Patriots Alumnae Cheerleader practice you can view it:

Judy Porter is a writer from Dallas who writes about everyday heroes. Contact her at

Pin on Pinterest
St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic School has a new music teacher from Russia who has earned three college diplomas--including two masters degrees--in music and education. Milla Nyaga has travelled to 11 different countries, but hopes to stay teaching at St. Elizabeth's for many years.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary's New Music Teacher travels through 11 Countries to Lasnd in Oak Cliff

Being raised in a family where music was always admired, Milla Nyaga began her piano studies at the age of seven.

“Music is what I am, everything else is what I do,” she says.

Born in Moscow, Russia, she was raised to love and play music. While her younger sister has been working in the financial field, Milla always knew she wanted to be a performer. 

She graduated from Professional Music High School in 1999, then in 2004 from Music college. In 2008, she finished in the Music Conservatory in Russia with a Master’s Degree in Instrumental Music Performance including additional qualifications as a Concert Performer, a Chamber Ensemble Performing Artist, an Accompanist, and a Music K-12 Teacher. And finally this year, 2017, she earned a Masters of Education with Specialization in Curriculum and Instruction with All-Level Certification in Music from Houston Baptist University.

Sadly, her life wasn’t always full of joyful music. When she was 18, she lost her father and four members of her family in a car accident. She got through that tough time with “Lots and lots of prayer.”

She met her husband in a Dance Club in Siberia, but almost missed her chance at true love. “He gave me his e-mail address, but then I lost it in my purse,” Milla says with a laugh. For two weeks, he asked everyone who was at the Dance Club that night about Milla, hoping to reconnect. Milla eventually found his e-mail in her purse and sent him a short message and her phone number. He immediately followed up with a phone call and the two were soon inseparable, and then married. The couple has a daughter, a 3rd grader, at St. Elizabeth’s.

Her husband’s job included lots of moves all over Europe, and the big one a few years ago, to America.

While in Houston in 2014 she worked at Blackburn Music School, as a Piano and Choir Teacher, instructing students of all ages and abilities. She also volunteered at Herman Center in Sugar Land, providing piano lessons to elderly. And she had a chance to accompany the Choir of Dulles Middle School conducted by Gregory McDaniel. Then in 2015, she worked at St. Stephens Episcopal School in Central Houston as a Teacher Assistant and a Piano Teacher. But her goal was to be a full-time music teacher, so she searched for a position that would allow her to use all her teaching and music skills.

Having won numerous local Russian piano and music pedagogical competitions while living there, she competed and took second place at the American International Competition which gave her a great memory: the chance to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York in 2015.

Armed with her latest degree, a Masters Of Education from Houston Baptist University, Milla searched the internet and found the opening at St. Elizabeth’s and immediately e-mailed the principal. After a decade of traveling, and having lived in 11 different countries, Milla hopes to stay put in oak Cliff. “I love this school so much,” she says of St. Elizabeth’s.

Her principal feels the same way. “She found the music opening on the internet and the moment I had a chance to hire her, I did!” Principal Rachel Dzurilla says. “I told her to apply to the Diocese and as soon as her application was completed, I offered her this job!”

What makes Milla such a dedicated teacher? She says, “I believe that each child is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring motivation and stimulating atmosphere in which they can grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially.”

She continues, “Every classroom presents a unique community of learners and learning styles.” She believes in the progressive philosophy of education, and explains, “I am convinced that music has a liberating effect on the mind and increases the child's ability to deal better with all the other subjects of the school curriculum and real life.”

Milla believes Music should be taught “to everyone without exception. Singing alone and with others, performing on an instrument, improvising melodies, composing and arranging, reading music, listening and describing music, performing, understanding relationships between music, history, and culture: all of that are components, which help to develop the aesthetics in the individual.”

She feels a music curriculum--which includes performance students—helps those performing to gain self-efficacy and the ability to express their emotions when they participate in music making. It even helps special needs students. “They are all allowed being creative without being wrong.”

She believes in her students and says, “I’m sure I have met students who definitely will be famous!”

Her personal dream is to keep teaching, and maybe one day, win the National Teacher of the Year award because she is determined to be the best she can be, and hopefully, “the most outstanding music teacher in America!”


Want to learn more? See Milla Nyaga’s website at

You can learn her philosophy and see pictures of her teaching children as young as four and five years old in pre-K class and kindergarten.


St. Elizabeth of Hungary School has ongoing enrollment and openings in Pre-k3 through 8th grades.

To tour the school at 4019 S. Hampton Road, Dallas, TX 75224 call (214) 331-5139 x 21 or contact Sandy Walkley, Administrative Assistant:

Call for Open House dates for 2017-18 school year.

Pin on Pinterest
Aimee Muir, center, met her husband Scott, on right, while volunteering. She overcame a serous car crash and a traumatic brain injury in college and now spends nearly every day helping others through her volunteering with a number of local agencies.

Overcoming a Brain Injury, Dallas Resident and A&M Graduate Aimee Muir Dedicates Her Life to Helping Others in Need

Aimee Muir  is passionate about volunteering and fundraising with different nonprofits for a variety of causes such as Team in Training, Children's Miracle Network, Friends of Hope (facilitated by Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury survivors), Hope After Brain Injury, Vogel Alcove, and Youth Believing in Change (YBC) to name a few. 

She even met her husband volunteering.

“Scott and I were both training and fundraising for the San Diego Marathon with Team in Training benefitting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society,” she remembers.

“Scott came to one of my fundraisers at On the Border, off Knox, with our Assistant Coach, Rick Tidwell. I started questioning Rick for more information on Scott. I lived in Plano at the time and asked Scott if he was ever in ‘Oklahoma’-- what Dallasites consider anything north of George Bush, or just north of 635, and he said he was going to be at a conference there the following Friday.”  After that, the two were inseparable.

Her marriage and life might seem like a miracle to some: she was in a serious car accident while in college and suffered a traumatic brain injury. But Aimee doesn’t think that was the toughest time of her life.

“I think that time was harder on my family than me because I don't really recall the events itself,” says the eternally optimistic Dallas resident. “I can say I was extremely fortunate as I don't suffer any residual effects and was able to return to A&M to finish my degree.”

First and foremost, she explains, “I can't not include the Lord's great hand in my recovery. During my recovery, I had some of the best health care at Baylor Institute for Rehab and Centre for Neuro Skills, along with awesome friends and family, who I'm not sure realize the impact they had then--and still do today--of my recovery.”

Born in Lubbock, Texas, and raised in several different areas of Texas and Thousand Oaks, California, she moved with her family “approximately every two years” with the longest place she lived being California.

Growing up with her “fabulous older sister Angela” Aimee wanted to be an actress, a teacher, a criminal psychologist, a pediatrician, a veterinarian. Her lust for life is apparent. 

She began her first year in high school in California before her family moved back to Texas, where she graduated from Coppell High School. She moved on to Texas A&M University in College Station, and then UT Arlington, to grad school, where she earned an MBA--and met Denise McPherson. 

That post-college friendship has lead to a new non-profit the two women—and one man, Wouter Nieuwstad--have created to help young Texans to complete their educations. 

The three have formed WAM, a nonprofit which helps multiple causes.

The WyattAnnMarie (WAM) Foundation, named after Denise, her parents and brother, is raising funds to help others. The website states: “The WAM Foundation is a nonprofit organization that is bringing and supplying the means to elevate people out of the darkness and into the light and supporting charities who aspire the same!”

The mission of the WyattAnnMarie Foundation is to “improve the quality of life in the community and nationally by providing support and donations for educational and social services to people in need as well as provide opportunities for people or group of people who explore a passion for entrepreneurship.”

Aimee says the foundation is “dedicated to making real, meaningful differences in our community.” Animal Welfare, College scholarships, Educational programs, Veterans and those recovering from Brain Injury are the five areas the non-profit supports. 2017 grant recipients include Texas SPCA, Hope After Brain Injury, and the PMI Educational Fund.

Aimee says, “I love being a part of a cause.  Not just hearing about it but actually doing something for it.”

She admits she is hands-on: “The best part of some of the charities I've worked with such as Friend of Hope, Vogel Alcove and YBC is working with the survivors or the children.  It brings such great joy to see a smile on someone's face and to be the reason for that smile is an awesome feeling.”

This next year, W.A.M. is focused on helping college seniors complete their education. Recognizing that single parents and students from underprivileged families often struggle to pay tuition and college expenses, the three friends hope to lighten the load for local college students who are on the verge of dropping out due to strained finances. Local Happy Hours to raise awareness of W.A.M. are planned for the fall.

In the meantime, Aimee is looking for a full time position helping others. Looking down the road five years from now, she says, “I hope I'll still be making a positive impact on someone's life, somewhere.”


To learn more about WAM and the foundations next even, contact Aimee Muir, MBA at or (214) 797-8908 or see:  or Phone: 404.400.2935

Judy Porter is a writer in Dallas who writes about non-profit agencies, small businesses and local heroes. Contact her at

Pin on Pinterest
Author Monica Shaw (front right) with her husband Tony and three children Katie, Sam and Sarah. The author and her children are proud Woodrow Wilson High School Graduates. Shaw and her six siblings also graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School. She is currently on a book tour introducing "The Rainwater Secret" to new her fans. Local Book clubs, school and libraries are encouraged to contact her for a reading and book signing.

Woodrow Wilson Graduate Researches Amazing life of her great Aunt, Publishes “The Rainwater Secret”

Monica Hartmann Shaw was born in Dallas and enjoyed a big family growing up: she was one of seven siblings, including a sister and five brothers, all proud Woodrow Wilson High School graduates. 

Monica grew up wanting to be a mom like her mom, who travelled quite a bit. “She drilled it into my head to do everything I wanted to do before I got married and had kids,” Monica recalls. As for a career, she wasn’t sure what her path should be.

She ended up being a published author who is sharing the story of her great aunt’s life in Africa with the Medical Missionaries of Mary. Her book is dedicated to the Medical Missionaries of Mary, which is “Rooted and founded in Love.”

Monica attended UT Austin where she earned a Geology and Petroleum Engineering degree. She met her husband, Tony, on a blind date, and they have three kids.  Katie, a Texas Tech graduate currently earning a master’s in hospital administration from UTA; Sam, who helps run City Park Cabinets, and Sarah, a UNT media arts major.

When she’s not writing or raising kids you might find Monica working on vacations for her clients at Hartmann Travel or helping run her husband’s business. She also teaches classes at the White Rock YMCA.

Her true passion is telling a story she knows is full of hope. The Rainwater Secret is based on the true story of her great aunt who went to Nigeria to teach the leper children.  A portion of the book’s proceeds is going to The Medical Missionaries of Mary.

Monica feels that both her great aunt and her cousin Eileen, who passed away as she was writing the book, “have been instrumental in guiding me and leading me in the direction that will honor the missionaries and their story.” Even the launch party, held locally at the popular Times Ten Cellar, was inspired. As Monica went back and forth with the wine bar to pick just the right date where nothing local would conflict with it, she ended up with the perfect night: it also happened to be Eileen’s birthday. “Small deal, maybe—but it was cool,” Monica relates. One hundred people turned out. 

When interviewed for an article in the Dallas Morning News when she was in Dallas, Lily, Monica recalls, “said it best. The reporter asked her about the missionary work, and Lily said that her work has been ‘rewarding to me mostly in that it was what I wanted to do…no thrill, you know, working just for oneself.’"

That attitude of working and living for one another is what Monica hopes will inspire readers.

It came in handy during the toughest time of her life, when Monica’s mother was diagnosed with, and died from, Alzheimer’s. Monica got through it by hugging her kids, a little counseling, and crying—a lot. She says of her mother, “She was my best friend.”

Her goal is to continue to tell the story of her great aunt and possibly see the book made into a movie. She also has an idea for a children’s book, and hopes to go to Africa with the Medical Missionaries of Mary one day soon to see where her great Aunt Lily worked and taught.

Her days, and many evenings, are now filled with visits to book clubs, speaking engagements, and book signings, bringing the true story of a late-in-life missionary in Africa alive for all of us back home in Texas who still have a chance to learn “to live and work for others.”


Monica Shaw has a schedule of events coming up where you can meet her, including the Lakewood Country Club, Lucky Dog Books in Casa Linda and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Rowlett. Contact her directly at: for her schedule of readings and book signings or see er website:, 

Judy Porter is a Dallas writer who focuses on stories of local heroes, small businesses, students and non profit agencies. Email her your story idea: