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Local art teacher strives to teach students about character

Are you aware of an event or project that benefits our community? Contact Anna Ferguson at 770-963-9205 ext. 1308 or anna.ferguson@gwinnettdailypost.com.

If it were up to Debi West, students would learn as much about personal character as they do about academics in school. To help her idea come true, she has dedicated this school year to teaching students, through artwork, about a new character trait each month.

"Children don't learn enough about this in school, and it is an important part of making them who they will be," said West, an art educator at Level Creek Elementary School.

For the months of November and December, caring is the theme. West is taking this month's art project beyond the classroom and reaching out to the community, hosting Empty Bowl Dinners on Tuesday and Thursday.

At the dinners, a light supper of soup and a roll will be served - just enough food to leave the guests hungry.

"In a way, it's to remind you that so many people in our area and around the world go to bed with hunger pains in their stomach each night," she said.

The Empty Bowls Dinner campaign was founded in 1990 in schools in Michigan. Level Creek's dinners will feature more than 1,300 unique bowls, each made by a student at the school. Students began working on the bowls in September, and each child will take home a bowl other than their own. West hopes the bowls will serve as a lifelong reminder of the less fortunate in the community.

"I hope the children will keep these bowls with them forever," she said.

All proceeds from the dinner will be donated to the North Gwinnett Cooperative Ministry. The Empty Bowl Dinner will be held on two nights, with kindergarten through second grade meeting on Tuesday, and third through fifth grade on Thursday. Doors open for the event at 6 p.m., and the community is invited to attend. A suggested $3 donation is asked.

"I would definitely invite everyone in the area to come," West said. "It promises to be an eye-opening and heart-warming experience."

Tennis tourney to

help Dream House

Gwinnett Technical College's Sport and Recreation Management Club will hold a round-robin tennis tournament at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday at Rhodes Jordan Park in Lawrenceville. The tournament is open to all players ages 18 and older. Entry fees are $10 for players and $5 for non-players and guests. Proceeds from the tournament will benefit the Dream House for Medically Fragile Children in Lilburn. For more information, call 678-226-6715.

Auxiliary event will

aid diabetes program

The Barrow Regional Medical Center Auxiliary will host its annual Lights of Love event at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the atrium of the Barrow Regional Medical Center. A donation for lights and ornaments on the tree may be made in honor or memory of individuals. Proceeds will support the Community Diabetic Educational Program at the medical center. For more information, visit www.barrowregional.com.

Aurora's discount nights will benefit Toys for Tots

The Aurora Theatre will hold Toys for Tots discount nights for its "Christmas Canteen 2006" production. On Wednesdays through Dec. 20, tickets are $10 with a new, unwrapped toy, to be donated to Atlanta Toys for Tots. "Christmas Canteen 2006" performances begin at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays at the theater, located on the fourth floor of Lawrenceville City Hall, 70 S. Clayton St. Call 678-407-6690 or visit www.auroratheatre.com.

Can-a-Thon

wraps up Friday

The 24th annual 11-Alive Can-a-Thon continues through Friday at Discover Mills Mall in Lawrenceville. Canned food donations will be collected at Medieval Times restaurant, and all donations will go to the Salvation Army and be distributed to the area's hungry and homeless families. For more information, call 678-847-5267.

Concerts will raise money for Dream House

The William Baker Choral Foundation will offer benefit concerts next weekend for the Dream House for Medically Fragile Children, based in Lilburn. As part of its 2006 Christmas Atlanta concerts series, the foundation will present concerts from more than 100 area musicians. Performances will be at 8 p.m. Saturday and at 3 p.m. Dec. 3 at Grace United Methodist Church in midtown Atlanta. Tickets are $15 for adults; $10 for seniors and students; $35 for a family pack. For tickets, call 404-881-9158 or visit www.christmasatlanta.org.

Run will benefit

children's charity

Sweet Tomatoes restaurant is sponsoring its inaugural 5K run, benefiting Children's Wish Foundation International, on Saturday. The official Sweet Tomatoes mascot, The Tomato, will kick off the event. A nonprofit organization, Children's Wish Foundation grants once-in-a-lifetime wishes for children with terminal illnesses. To register, call 678-795-0115 or visit www.active.com.