NCJW Highlights JCPS’ Compassionate School Project at Its Closing Meeting

The National Council of Jewish Women, Louisville Section, held its closing meeting of the year and installation on Wednesday, May 20, at Vincenzo’s Italian Restaurant.

A highlight of the afternoon luncheon was having Mayor Greg Fischer as our guest. He spoke briefly about his goals for education and compassion in Louisville and he introduced the two keynote speakers, Dr. Donna Hargens, superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), and Barbara Sexton Smith, chief liaison, University of Virginia, Curry School of Education Compassionate School Project (and former Fund for the Arts president and CEO). They engaged the audience with their discussion on the collaboration between JCPS and the University of Virginia in a Compassionate Schools Project.

The six-year project, the largest implementation and most comprehensive study undertaken to date of a K-5 curriculum designed to foster students’ compassion awareness, focuses on integrating the development of mind and body with support for academic achievement, mental fitness, health and compassionate character.

The curriculum, developed by world-class educators, scientists and practitioners, will teach elementary-school students to cultivate focus, resilience, empathy, connection and wellbeing as the basis for academic and personal success. The long-term go is to impact on children’s education nationwide in the areas of academic performance, physical education, character development, and child health policies.

Existing research has shown students do better in school when they are mindful of their own thoughts and feelings, can empathize with others, understand their bodies and practice healthy lifestyle habits.

The curriculum’s success in Louisville is intended as a model that can be duplicated in schools of all types across the country.

To cap off the afternoon, Vincenzo donated $100,000 to the Compassionate Schools Project. For more information about the project, please go to
Highlights of my president’s report on the many successful programs that took place during my second year in office, included a report on the section’s successful 120th anniversary celebratory events in April, NCJW’s seventh year assisting with Gilda’s Club summer camp for children whose lives are affected by cancer, the completion of the Court Watch Position Paper on the monitoring of child abuse and neglect cases, and the success of the David Richart Committee in having it’s Amicus Curiae (“Friend of the Court”) Brief accepted by the Kentucky Court of Appeals. This brief is in support of a lawsuit seeking open records and transparency from the Health & Human Services Cabinet in child abuse fatality and near fatality cases.

I also reported that community service endeavors continue to help families and individuals at various organizations (such as Keystone Learning Academy, Maryhurst, ElderServe, and JFCS) that we support with funds raised through NCJW’s Nearly New Shop sales.

As this was the annual NCJW membership meeting, the budget was passed for the upcoming fiscal year, 2015-2016, showing $67,900 to be expended for women, children, and families in the local community.

Mindy Klein, Nominating Committee chair, announced the slate for 2015-2017, and I conducted the installation. They include incoming president, Joyce Bridge and new directors: Susan Gardner, Jan Glaubinger, Sharon Hordes, Janie Hyman, Amy Lapinski, Barbara Pass, Judy Shapira and Helen Wahba. Madeline Abramson will fill a one year unexpired term. All members of the new slate received a long-stemmed red rose.

I concluded my annual president’s report by saying, “It has been an amazing two-year experience for me, and I thank each of you for the opportunity to have served as your president.”

Joyce Bridge thanked me for my years of service and told the group that it is time to restructure the organization to enable the next generation to assume leadership so NCJW will be here to serve the community for years to come. She also said there would be some exciting “surprises” coming in the fall related to our Opening Meeting and programming events.

National Council of Jewish Women is always seeking new members, life members, volunteers, Nearly New Shop volunteers, and donors to the Nearly New Shop. Please visit the new website at to sign up.

In their pre-meeting roles of membership co-vice presidents, Joyce Bridge and Jan Glaubinger planned the luncheon and program. Renee Reynolds gave the blessing.
Announcements were made that Camp Gilda will be held again this year, June 8-12 and volunteers are needed. (Call Gilda’s Club at 502-583-0075 to volunteer; no experience required.) Also, NCJW’s 27th annual Shopping Spree fundraiser will run from August 21, 2015-August 26, 2016. The shopping spree discount cards will be available this summer.

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