Edmonton Journal Article: Edmonton couple use funds to renovate Israeli tennis centre
One of Edmonton’s most lively couples will dedicate funds raised at a gala honouring them to an Israeli tennis centre uniting children of different races, religions and economic backgrounds.
Lisa Miller and Farrel Shadlyn will be honoured June 19 at the Jewish National Fund of Edmonton’s Negev Gala dinner at the Fantasyland Hotel ballroom.
“The Ettenberg Israel Tennis Centre (ITC) in Haifa is at maximum capacity and must expand if it is to accommodate the needs of vulnerable youth from low-income households, new immigrant families and children with special needs,” said Miller.
Miller and Shadlyn have both played tennis at the Royal Glenora Club for many years and when told of their honour, quickly suggested helping the ITC would promote unity and coexistence between children of all backgrounds.
“Plans include the construction of two new tennis courts and expanding the building for more classrooms to accommodate the ITC’s growing education, remediation and enrichment programs,” says Shadlyn.
The new addition will be called the Lisa Miller and Farrel Shadlyn Tennis Courts for Peace. Friends say the couple is well-deserving of the recognition.
The duo has helped sponsor scores of local charities, from the Salvation Army and sports organizations for the handicapped to the Citadel Theatre and the Edmonton Community Foundation.
Inspired by his mom in his native Toronto, Shadlyn, then 15, volunteered to help the mentally challenged and went on to run a program for 200 at-risk kids ages five to eight.
He was later hired to teach drama to kids in after-school programs and says he had a flare for drama.
“Up until Grade 10, I was the class clown, acting up and sometimes getting into trouble,” says Shadlyn. “But I auditioned for a school play and landed a major role.”
As an undergraduate at York University, he toured with the York U Story Players, received an Ontario Drama Scholarship and contemplated a career in show business.
“But I was told to be successful I also had to dance, sing or play a musical instrument, skills I lacked,” says Shadlyn.
He concentrated on education and graduated with four degrees: a BA in child psychology; two master’s, in public administration and social work; and a law degree. Shadlyn now practises family and criminal law.
Miller was on all the sports teams at Crestwood Junior High School. But sitting around the family table celebrating her 16th birthday, there were guffaws when she declared her ambition was to be a TV sports reporter.
“The CBS’s Phyllis George, a former Miss America, was the only female sportscaster at the time,” says Miller.
“The only pageant I had won was being named the Crestwood Carnival Queen. And that was for selling the most raffle tickets.”
Her first media job was as an intern at CFRN, where she found herself cutting audio tape with a razor blade. (Digital editing was futuristic.)
In 1978, Miller was hired by Standard Broadcasting to be a “gopher” for a radio crew during the Commonwealth Games and got her break when asked to stand in for a reporter with a time conflict.
Returning to CFRN after the Games, she was offered part-time work while finishing university.
“I was later asked if I had a class or could I cover a story,” says Miller. “I cut the class and covered the story.
“At 19, I decided that was the end of my university career and began a full-time job at CFRN.”
It was a career that spanned 21 years before she became an award-winning freelance documentary film-maker and awards show producer.
Miller was the first female [Bell Memorial Award] to be inducted unto the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.
The couple has three academic-achieving children and can often be found in the summer at their Seba Beach cottage.
Miller hones her physical skills by mowing the lawn, painting the deck or tending the vegetable garden.
“Farrel has a flair for pursuing a good book while sitting on a lawn chair,” says Miller. “He’s happy to allow me to experience all the rustic joys of cottage ownership.”
How all-round athlete Sue Lampert and I came to be featured in a feature-length documentary came about three years ago when we were cycling back from Haida Gwaii with a totem pole for the Stollery Children’s Hospital.
Staying at the Terracana Ranch and Resort west of Jasper, we met Laurent Goldstein, a Vancouver documentary maker who was taking two years and visiting six countries to produce Your Second Fifty, Rising above the Fears of Aging.
“My idea was to motivate people to challenge preconceived beliefs and thoughts surrounding aging,” he said. “I wanted to explore the mental, physical, emotional, spiritual and financial dimensions of life and ask can one be 70 and climb Mt. Everest?”
The documentary will be screened 6 p.m., June 6, at the NAIT Shaw Theatre, 11726 106 St. Tickets $10 at the door.
Wear your best flowery shirt and move to the music of the Beach Boys while sipping some of the world’s finest Pinot Noir and supporting CASA at the Thursday, June 28, California Dreaming-themed Pinot on the Patio at the Royal Glenora Club. Tickets $85, call 780-400-4538.