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Framingham State students learn the art of giving

Students in Framingham State University sociology professor Ira Silver’s Nonprofit Giving Course recently awarded $10,000 to Keon Webbe and Johnny Chheng of the United Teen Equality Center in Lowell.
Students in Framingham State University sociology professor Ira Silver’s Nonprofit Giving Course were recently awarded $10,000 to Keon Webbe and Johnny Chheng of the United Teen Equality Center in Lowell.

LESSON IN GIVING: The students in the “Nonprofit Giving’’ course led by sociology professor Ira Silver at Framingham State University benefited from real-world lessons in philanthropy this semester.

The class, which was supported by the Learning by Giving Foundation, had $10,000 to award to a nonprofit organization in Greater Boston. At the end of the course, the students decided to present the full amount to the United Teen Equality Center, which assists disadvantaged youths from Lowell and Lawrence in pursuing education and employment as alternatives to gang involvement.

According to Silver, the decision was an exciting, although protracted, process. After reading his book, “Giving Hope: How You Can Restore the American Dream,” the students crafted a grant application. They researched nearly 50 organizations and invited 27 that most closely fit the mission of expanding access to economic opportunities to apply for the funds. Of the 20 responses, they selected four for site visits.

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Silver said he is proud of the thoughtful discussions that emerged during the intense deliberation process. While the grant could have been split between two or more organizations, the students were mindful of the opportunity to use the entire sum to make a greater impact. The final vote, he noted, was very close.

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Silver, who has taught the class for three years, said the subject matter is part of a broader shift in higher education toward experiential learning, beyond books, theories, and classrooms.

“Students want a way to change the world for the better, but often they aren’t quite sure what that means,” he said.

“This class makes that clearer, by providing an understanding of all the different career pathways that are available, and what the nonprofit sector is all about,” Silver said.

To read his blog, visit www.oppforall.com.

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WRITING WHAT YOU KNOW: Dr. Nick Trout (inset), a staff surgeon at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, wrote three nonfiction books before penning his 2013 novel, “The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs.”

His latest book, “Dog Gone, Back Soon,” continues the fictional story of Dr. Cyrus Mills at his inherited veterinary practice, the Bedside Manor for Sick Animals, in Vermont. The sequel takes place over one week, and involves pressure from a national veterinary chain, numerous complicated veterinary cases, an orphaned dog, a case of mistaken identity, and the requisite girlfriend trouble.

The Westborough resident, who has written five books in six years, dictates notes about the plot, characters, and dialogue into his smartphone during his hourlong commute each way to work. He is already compiling ideas for the third book in what is developing into a series.

In this book, Trout said, he embraces the “opportunity to pit David versus Goliath,” which speaks to the reasons he became a veterinarian.

“It’s the reward of healing sick animals and returning them to their owners without worrying about money,” said Trout, who also writes the Second Opinion column for Bark magazine.

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For more information, visit www.drnicktrout.com.

CELEBRATING LEADERS: Newton residents Wendy and Dan Kraft will be honored by Brighton-based Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly at the organization’s spring celebration next Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Westin Waltham-Boston, 70 Third Ave. in Waltham.

The couple cochaired the housing organization’s gala last year, and each holds a leadership role with Combined Jewish Philanthropies. Wendy Kraft serves on numerous committees, and Dan Kraft is president international of the Kraft Group, a private holding company headquartered in Boston.

For more information, call 617-912-8487 or visit www.jche.org/event.

Also next Sunday, Arnold Zar-Kessler (inset) will be honored for his 21 years of leadership at Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston in his hometown of Newton. The new head of school, Rabbi Elliot Goldberg, is relocating from West Hartford, Conn., to assume the post on July 1.

Zar-Kessler joined Schechter as an upper school director in 1993, and served as interim head of school for the 2000-01 school year. He has been head of school since that time. In his honor, the Arnold Zar-Kessler Fund for the Jewish Future has been established to support the school’s financial aid program.

The celebration will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at Temple Emanuel, 385 Ward St. in Newton. For more information, call 617-630-4523 or visit www.ssdsboston.org .

DIFFICULT LESSONS: Dr. Anna Ornstein (inset), a child psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, will be the featured speaker at the Walden Forum on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Wayland Middle School, 201 Main St.

In her presentation, “Lessons from the Holocaust: Remembering the Past and Looking to the Future,” the Brookline resident will discuss the importance of education, maintaining political systems that ensure human rights, and teaching tolerance to end to mass murder and genocide around the world.

Ornstein was 17 years old in 1944 when she, her parents, and two brothers were forced from their home in German-occupied Hungary. Only she and her mother survived. The Auschwitz survivor shares her experiences in the book “My Mother’s Eyes: Holocaust Memories of a Young Girl.”

Ornstein is professor emerita of child psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati, codirector of the International Center for the Study of Psychoanalytic Self-Psychology, and a lecturer in psychiatry at Harvard University.

The Walden Forum is a free public lecture series. For more information, e-mail info@ waldenforum.org or visit www.waldenforum.org.

LEADING PERKINS: Newton resident Dave Power, a business advisor, author, and former software company executive, was recently named president and chief executive of the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown.

Five years ago, Power helped develop the school’s e-learning division, which he now oversees along with the Perkins School for the Blind, Perkins Products, Perkins Library, and Perkins International. Power has a deaf and blind son, David, who graduated from Perkins in 2009.

Power is the 10th leader in the 185-year history of the organization, which provides education, services, and products to people who are blind, deaf and blind, and visually impaired with other disabilities.

People items may be submitted to Cindy Cantrell at cindy-cantrell20@gmail.com.