Texans Can Academies teachers got a special note of encouragement over the holiday season from one of Dallas’s shining stars. Throughout 2020, teachers worked tirelessly to keep their students engaged and learning despite mounting challenges. At Texans Can Academies, teachers found themselves working overtime to ensure their students would stay on the path for graduation. Not only did this dedicated team of educators provide computers for virtual learning and school supplies, but they also worked to provide other vital resources like food and counseling to keep students healthy and encouraged through one of their most difficult times. This work continues.

Texans Can Academies is a unique network of 14 dropout prevention and recovery schools located in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio dedicated to providing the highest quality education for all students, especially those who have struggled in a traditional high school setting. The work Texans Can Academies has done through the COVID-19 pandemic is an extension of its mission to ensure its students’ economic independence. During a time when economic pressures threaten to pull students away from school, that mission is more urgent than ever.

One Dallas resident taking notice of all the hard work is Mark Cuban, philanthropist, entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner. In a video shared with a teacher at Texans Can Academies, Cuban praised the educators for their hard work and thanked them for teaching Dallas’s students. Cuban also shared words of encouragement saying, “the best is right around the corner.” After encouraging Texans Can Academies to persevere in teaching Dallas youth, Cuban declared that “we have a lot to look forward to” and promised future fun and a sense of normalcy soon at Mavericks games. 

In a time of uncertainty and unremitting challenges, it is heartwarming to hear words of praise and kindness from one of Dallas’s biggest stars. The staff at Texans Can Academies enters 2021 grateful for this outpouring of support as it continues to graduate thinkers.

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Prism Health North Texas (PHNTX) is working to fight the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS in the North Texas community with a new Anti HIV Stigma campaign. The largest AIDS organization in North Texas launched the campaign as part of their decades-long efforts to push for awareness, acceptance, and kindness for HIV positive members of the community.


HIV stigma is the term for negative attitudes, beliefs, and judgements about people living with, perceived to be living with, or at risk for HIV. Stigma has been an issue since the HIV/AIDS epidemic began. Lack of knowledge, fear, and the spreading of public rumors are among the many causes of HIV stigma. Although there have been great advancements in HIV prevention and treatment, there are still misconceptions about HIV that continue to fuel stigma today.


“There have been tremendous strides made in HIV treatment and prevention, but HIV stigma is still prevalent today – even within the LGBTQ+ community,” said Tri Truong, Marketing Manager for Prism Health North Texas. “We are publishing online conversations with experts and community leaders about HIV stigma and the role it plays in different communities and cultures. Our goal is to normalize HIV as a manageable health condition and encourage open and honest conversations about HIV.”


The campaign, headlined by messaging that those with HIV deserve health care, acceptance, life, and love, is sponsored in part by the Southern AIDS Coalition’s SPARK! (Southerners Promoting Awareness, Resources, & Knowledge) Grant initiative. 


“These messages were crafted with the friends and family of someone living with HIV in mind. It is letting their loved ones know that a person living with HIV still deserves acceptance, love, to live, and access to quality health care,” Truong added. “Having a conversation about HIV can be difficult, but it is the first step to learn about HIV and dispel any myths about HIV.”


  • I deserve acceptance: Ending HIV stigma begins with open conversations. Clear communication breaks down misconceptions and stereotypes about people living with HIV. This work creates the path to acceptance. 

  • I deserve health care: Finding HIV care, treatment, and education can be difficult, and it can be expensive, especially without insurance. There are countless organizations and programs in our community that provide quality HIV care in a safe and affirming place, many at low to no cost.

  • I deserve to live: Life doesn’t stop with an HIV positive diagnosis. With HIV treatment, people living with HIV can continue to live their life. Dancing, working out, having a great sex life - there are no limits.

  • I deserve love: An HIV positive diagnosis shouldn’t change how much someone is loved and supported.


North Texans can learn more about PHNTX’s efforts to fight HIV stigma at or they can tune into the organization’s weekly podcast series, Beneath the Briefs, for a five part series on HIV that includes deep discussion of stigma and how to address it.


The campaign is supported by a grant from the Southern AIDS Coalition through the Gilead COMPASS Initiative®. Gilead Sciences, Inc. has had no input into the development or content of these materials.”


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Texans Can Academies - Dallas North.jpg

On Thursday, December 17, the Texans Can Academies - Dallas North campus distributed 20 hams and 40 winter coats to their high school students in need. The items were given to students who otherwise might not have a holiday meal to enjoy with their family and are in need of a new coat to stay warm this winter. 

The schools also purchased toys to give to their students with young children in order for them to be able to have something wrapped under the tree for their kids. 

Texans Can Academies - Dallas North’s staff purchased the hams, coats and toys and then hosted a drive-through distribution outside in front of the campus, located at 9704 Skillman St., Dallas, TX 75243, to distribute the items to students and their families who have notified the school that they are in need. 

The majority of Texans Can Academies students live below the poverty line and are in need of basic necessities. Texans Can Academies aims to ensure every student has the opportunity to pursue their dreams while removing barriers that keep them from attaining their education.

Texans Can Academies are a unique network of 14 dropout recovery schools located in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. Six of the campuses are in the Dallas area. The schools are tuition-free, open enrollment, public high schools of choice serving students who have struggled in a traditional high school setting. 

For more information, or


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As children returned to school this year, the hottest back-to-school item was, you guessed it, a face mask. Brightly colored masks in every cartoon character from Disney to Nickelodeon will paraded through schools among new backpacks, markers and glitter. 

No matter the age, face masks are difficult for children to use consistently. Children take them off, they lose them, accidentally throw them away, it is a never ending cycle. One Fort Worth mom, Josefina Huitron, decided she had enough of the never ending cost and search for masks at her house. After each of her six sons had lost a mask or two she decided to begin making her own. For many people with large families, continuously supplying their loved ones with a mask is a pricey job. 

I started making masks because I had to keep buying them for all my boys and it got expensive. If they lose them I have to go buy more, so I just decided to make the masks instead,” said Josefina Huitron, mother of a Fort Worth Texans Can Academies student. “More importantly, I decided to make the masks for others because I didn't want any child to catch and suffer from this virus because they didn’t have protection.”

In light of COVID-19 and strapped for funds, Josefina Huriton began to sew facemasks in hopes of protecting her children and making a few extra bucks. Once Texans Can Academies learned that Josefina was making masks for her boys and those in need, they enlisted her to sew masks for the Fort Worth school students and faculty. With school for Texans Can Academies starting in person sessions, having masks available at school became more important than ever. 

“If a child arrives at school without a mask the school can give them one,” said Josefina. “I want to prevent the kids from getting the virus at school.” 

Texans Can Academies requires all students to wear a face covering while they are on campus.  In keeping with their culture of providing services to their students along with academic instruction, they are provided masks to anyone who needed one. 

“We don't want there to be any barriers for a student to return to class when they are ready,” said James Ponce, Superintendent for Texans Can Academies. “We provide a lot of out-of-classroom services to our students such as uniforms, school supplies, medical and dental needs, so making masks available made perfect sense to us.  And being able to provide supplemental income to one of our Texans Can parents for making them for us, is a huge bonus.” 

Knowing the nature of her children, Josefina created a rule that requires all of her six boys to carry two masks with them at all times. One to wear and one in their pocket. She is working her hardest to ensure that her family stays safe and is thrilled to do her part to provide safety to other children.  

This summer, Josefina made over 100 masks for the Texans Can Academies. Because of Josefina, students that arrive at Texans Can Academies without a mask will receive a mask at no cost and remain safe. 

For more information about Texans Can Academies and their initiatives to provide a healthy on-campus environment as students return to school,  please visit


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Open Mkt. Grab 'n Go, inside Sheraton Dallas Hotel in Downtown Dallas, is offering two holiday desserts available for pick-up, their Bailey’s Crème Brûlée Cake and Eggnog Cheesecake. Orders must be placed by December 20th to pick-up on December 24th between 2:00-6:00pm. Orders can be placed by phone at 214-922-0374. 


  • Bailey's Crème Brulee Cake (serves 14 people) - $48

  • Eggnog Cheesecake (serves 14 people) - $48

Open Mkt. provides a wide assortment of options for those on-the-go offering fresh bites including sandwiches, wraps, salads and other items made from scratch for guests to enjoy. 

Sheraton Dallas Hotel is the largest hotel in North Texas with 1,840 guest rooms, 230,000 square feet of flexible meeting and convention spaces. The hotel is perfectly situated in downtown Dallas.

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Have you heard the news? Dallas Uptown is getting a new, upscale hotel, Marriott Dallas Uptown. The 14-story, 255 guestroom hotel is slated to open in late January 2021 and will be the first Marriott property that will open with the latest generation Marriott room design. The updated design features modern furnishings, energy conserving lighting and temperature control systems and efficient room layouts. 

Marriott Dallas Uptown is located at the intersection of Fairmount and Carlisle, just steps away from Katy Trail, the Turtle Creek Corridor and entertainment. Various aspects of the hotel pays homage to the Uptown culture, highlighting the K-T route of the Union Pacific Railroad, natural foliage and people who live, work and play in the area

Along with the hotel, new restaurant offerings will be offered to the neighborhood.

  • Good graces, a full service modern brasserie ideal for enjoying a glass of wine and charcuterie 

  • Vicinity Coffee, powered by Starbucks will be the perfect stop for a breakfast on the go or daily coffee fix

A full service ground floor restaurant and a casual all-day café + lobby lounge, fitness center and pool deck with panoramic views provide a contemporary environment for working, relaxing and entertaining.

At Marriott Dallas Uptown, the health and safety of guests is of the utmost importance. The hotel will follow the strict, Commitment to Clean guidelines set forth by Marriott International, designed to meet the health and safety challenges presented by COVID-19. Highlights of the guidelines include requiring face coverings in all public areas, enhanced cleaning practices and contactless guest services. 

The hotel is within walking distance of multiple retail/office/entertainment/leisure hubs such as Katy Trail, the Crescent, the Quadrangle, McKinney Avenue, Knox-Henderson, Turtle Creek Corridor, Highland Park Village, Oak Lawn, Arts District, Klyde Warren Park and downtown Dallas.  The property is designed to be its own destination within the remarkable Uptown District, but its prime location will most certainly deem it a starting and ending point to countless activities in the area.

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Fairmont Dallas is proud to introduce Jean-Francois Fortin as the hotel’s new Executive Chef.

Chef Fortin has a wealth of culinary management experience from over twenty two years in the industry, most of which served at Fairmont hotels across North America. After earning his professional culinary diploma and completing Chef Training at Trait-Carre Professional Center in Quebec City, his career began in 1998 as Chef de partie at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City. He progressed through various positions of increasing responsibility, including Sous Chef, Chef, Manager and Consultant for different restaurants.

“I have been with Fairmont hotels my entire career and have embraced the brand and its values,” Chef Fortin said. “I am provided many opportunities to expand my knowledge, grow, and travel, developing my skills as a chef.”

Chef Fortin served as Sous and Executive Chef for a variety of Fairmont hotels from 2005 to 2016 including Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, Edmonton, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Fairmont Algonquin St. Andrews, Fairmont Chateau Montebello and finally at the infamous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada.

“The Fairmont Dallas is a notoriously successful hotel in the area and I have been eager to join the team for several years now,” Chef Fortin said. “I have primarily worked at resorts and am excited for this new adventure in the city.”

Serving as the Executive Chef of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise for since 2016, Chef Fortin is excited for the opportunity to get to know Texas cuisine. He and his team have already launched La Taqueria at the Lobby Bar, a new pop up concept at the Fairmont Dallas featuring Tex-Mex classics including tacos, burritos, and quesadillas. 

“I am loving Dallas so far, with its warm weather, friendly people, and the abundance of Tex-Mex food,” Chef Fortin added. “It is a cuisine I have enjoyed personally and a fun part of life as a Chef is getting to learn new cuisines in new places, learning to please the palettes of the locals.”

Chef Fortin will spend the first quarter of 2021 familiarizing himself with the hotel and the Dallas community. Being previously stationed in Alberta, Canada, affectionately known as the ‘Texas of Canada’ with its thriving cattle and oil industries, Chef Fortin looks forward to continuing to work with fine cuts of meat at the Pyramid Restaurant at the Fairmont Dallas. 

“The Pyramid is a fabulous restaurant, we are excited for what is to come in the new year,”
Chef Fortin said.

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Prism Health North Texas (PHNTX) is proud to share that Dr. Jason Gillman MD, Physician at the Oak Cliff Center and Chief Clinical Informatics Officer (CCIO), has been elected as a Fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) by the IDSA.


The IDSA is the nation’s leading infectious diseases (ID) professional society. Each year, a group of distinguished physicians and scientists from around the world are elected to be Fellows of IDSA. The designation is particularly impactful this year as ID physicians across the globe battle the COVID-19 pandemic.


“Infectious diseases specialists have trained their entire careers to step up to the plate during a crisis such as the one we face today witht he COVID-19 pandemic,” said IDSA President Barbara Alexander, MD, MHS, FIDSA in a release. “ID physicians and scientists are working on the front lines of every aspect of this outbreak, from treating patients to developing and studying diagnostics and therapies to working on vaccines. They are also preparing for the next outbreak and protecting individual and public health.”


Dr. Gillman has worked diligently on the PHNTX team since 2014, with a focus on treating HIV and related infections. He is also serving as an investigator on several clinical research trials, including the AstraZeneca Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trial currently being facilitated at PHNTX’s Oak Cliff Center. 


“When I completed my Infectious Disease fellowship in 2013, I never imagined working through a pandemic with the level of global impact we are seeing today,” Dr. Gillman said. “Reflecting on my career so far, I think the core value in our field lies in the recognition that a new infection can emerge at any time, and often with little warning.”


Dr. Gillman is the first PHNTX physician to be elected as a Fellow of the IDSA.


“For me, election as a Fellow of IDSA means a life-long commitment to respond to these unexpected challenges, and I hope it is something I can live up to,” Dr. Gillman added.


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Hyatt Regency Frisco-Dallas.jpg Juniper Room

Looking for a destination to hold your end-of-year gathering or beginning-of-the-year planning meetings with plenty of space to safely spread out? Hyatt Regency Frisco-Dallas offers a beautiful space and elevated experience for any type of gathering or celebration. The spaces are large and flexible to ensure ample room for spreading out.

The hotel is a 18-story, 303-room hotel with a 27,500-square-foot conference center including the Regency and Junior ballrooms and additional breakout spaces, a large lobby bar and restaurant. The hotel recently opened to the public on June 1, 2020, so the spaces are fresh and contemporary. 

Be inspired during your meetings by the natural light that floods the spaces. Hyatt Regency Frisco-Dallas features a dramatic street-level entry to an open, contemporary lobby space with subtle decor and full of natural light. A glass-sheathed transitional modern style with stunning views of Frisco and a timeless Texas flavor crafted with subtle textures and colors and tactile natural materials are implemented throughout the interior space with soft architectural lighting and plenty of dramatic focal elements. 

Many outstanding rewards are offered if you book and hold your special gathering by December 31, 2022. Events can include but are not limited to weddings, graduations, celebrations of life, anniversaries, birthdays, receptions for religious milestones, reunions, and holiday parties. 

Rewards include:

  • Spend $5,000 USD Equivalency and Earn 30,000 World of Hyatt Bonus Points

  • Spend $10,000 USD Equivalency and Earn 60,000 World of Hyatt Bonus Points

  • Spend $20,000 USD Equivalency and Earn 90,000 World of Hyatt Bonus Points

  • Spend $30,000 USD Equivalency and Earn 120,000 World of Hyatt Bonus Points

  • Spend $40,000 USD Equivalency and Earn 150,000 World of Hyatt Bonus Points

Redeem your World of Hyatt Bonus Points for free stays and dining services. Visit to learn more.

The following options are also available for even greater rewards:

  • Get up to 10% off your event spend credited towards event upgrades like complimentary guest rooms, enhanced food and beverage offerings, lighting and sound packages and virtual broadcast.

  • Or, take up to 10% off your master bill

Increased flexibility is offered if a celebration needs to be rescheduled. 

Call Hyatt Regency Frisco-Dallas or visit to learn more. Mention the offer code GATHR.

Hyatt’s Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment builds on the existing rigorous safety and cleanliness protocols. Visit learn more.


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With the next year around the corner, what better way to end 2020 than with some delicious and comforting flair?

Fairmont Dallas is bringing the Texan and Mexican culinary heritage to Dallas with its brand new pop-up concept, La Taqueria at The Lobby Bar. Guests will see the culinary team in action, and indulge in burritos, bowls, tacos and quesadillas, all for $9 each. The Chef's Plato Especial is priced at $22, with multiple tasty choices and a refreshing cold beer. 

The concept of La Taqueria at The Lobby Bar and it’s fully functioning kitchen in the lobby lounge comes from Fairmont Dallas' new chef, Executive Chef Jean-Francois Fortin. Chef Jean-Francois was most recently the Executive Chef at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and brings 17 years of culinary experience to the hotel, guiding the strategic direction of Fairmont Dallas. 

The Fairmont Dallas is located in the center of downtown, where first-time visitors and locals can enjoy nearby entertainment before or after indulging in the afternoon food and beverage favorites from La Taqueria at The Lobby Bar.

The Pyramid Restaurant at the Fairmont Dallas is also offering a new menu of breakfast items each weekend morning from 8 to 11 AM. Enjoy breakfast burgers, burritos, fresh squeezed orange juice and drip coffee before heading out to explore the holiday festivities in downtown Dallas.

Grab your inner circle and grab a bite at La Taqueria at The Lobby Bar! ?? ?? ??