Venetia Resident Creates Award-Winning Kids Program Designed Around Joke Telling
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 29, 2005. Executives
of the Allegheny County Bar Association have announced that its This
is a Joke – Making Fun of Others is Not! Program, designed for
students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade, has been named
one of the best community and educational programs by the National Association
of Bar Executives (NABE). The program was created by Director of Media
Relations Tom Loftus, who is a resident of Venetia, Pennsylvania.
The program, which was created a little more than a year ago, has been
presented to approximately 5,000 students in Allegheny County by attorneys
who volunteer their time. The program teaches students the difference
between a good joke and a bad one, why making fun of others is wrong
and why it is our differences that make us special. The lesson plan
is designed around students sharing their favorite jokes, and it was
reviewed and critiqued by education and psychology professors at Duquesne
University before it was rolled out.
Kids Program Designed Around Joke Telling The program was one of only
five bar association programs nationally that received the prestigious
NABE Community & Educational Outreach Award, sponsored by LexisNexis.
As part of the award, LexisNexis awarded the Allegheny County Bar Association
$25,000 in free legal research. The association will donate the research,
through its pro bono office, to local organizations in need of the service.
According to Dave Blaner, Executive Director of the Allegheny County
Bar Association, “We have been told by many teachers and administrators
that this is a much needed program and that it complements nicely other
programs related to bullying. Our director of media relations, Tom Loftus,
created the program to help teach students serious messages in a fun
environment. Tom, who is a father of three and long-time basketball
coach, understands how innocent joke telling can turn into children
making fun of others. Tom’s decision to design the program around
joke-telling has appealed to teachers not only in Allegheny County but
in other counties, states and countries, where organizations have requested
permission to copy the program.”
Loftus, a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, has more than 20
years of experience in media relations and public relations. Prior to
joining the Allegheny County Bar Association, he was a public relations
executive in the hotel industry for more than a decade and has worked
in four other industries. He has three children, Brittany, Shea and
Colin. He is a basketball coach and athletic director at St. Valentine
School in Bethel Park, and a member of the board of directors of the
Auberle School in McKeesport.