Saturday, January 24, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
At the beginning of the year, I reflected on my blessings and the good people who have mentored me along the way. I remember being a High School Senior with a dream of attending college. My parents encouraged me to dream and wanted me to have opportunities that they did not enjoy. Neither had finished high school and they knew that I would need special guidance to get there myself.
I remember my Mom made a special effort to connect me with Mary Lu, a college student with whom she worked. She orchestrated a meeting time and brought us together to work on my college application. Mary Lu, just a junior herself, helped me to pull my goals, hopes and aspirations together and write my college essay.
I am convinced that I would not have been admitted to college without Mary Lu's help. With her support and suggestions, my college application was completed, and a couple of months later I received my letter of acceptance! I jumped with joy and thanked God for bringing me the help I needed. My life took on a new direction and was forever changed thanks to my first mentor, Mary Lu.
In the intervening years, I have been mentored and mentored others in my career. Along the way, I have shared dreams, received encouragement and learned lessons that have made a positive difference in my life and in the lives of others.
President Obama urges every American to stand up and take action. Together we can to help our youth and help our country. Michelle Obama has a message waiting for you here ...
Do you have a Mary Lu in your life? Do you remember a mentor who made all the difference in your life? Will you join me in taking action to support our youth and country? Will you consider becoming a Mentor and opening up opportunities for our at-risk youth?goals, plans, hopes
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I see the future as bright and I am choosing to voice my opinion on areas that I believe need more attention going forward. We will soon have a new President and a new Administration and they will have many issues to consider. Why not help them to focus on issues that are important to you? Consider voting today for the ideas you would like to support going into 2009.
My focus is on health and education. Your areas of interest may differ. Below, you will see a listing that details how I voted. You can also see where each issue stood in terms of popularity earlier today.
Voting will continue throughout the day. If you have not already voted in this round, you can do so now. Today is the last day to vote on this Change.Org forum. The Top Ten Ideas will be presented to the Obama Administration tomorrow at the National Press Club. The Change.org team will then connect the winning ideas with leading non-profit organizations and launch a series of national advocacy campaigns designed to turn each idea into public policy.
To read more about each issue, I chose to support, you can click the link below. You can choose to vote for these issues or find other issues that are important to you and vote for them. The point is to take action and to be heard and counted. It is easy to do!
I have voted for the following 10 ideas:
Free Single Payer Health Care (3rd Place)
Pass the DREAM Act - Support Higher Education for All Students (7th Place)
Bridging the Empathy Gap - Yes We Can! (12th Place)
Healthful school lunch options (13th Place)
Fully Fund Medicaid Waivers for the Developmentally Disabled (18th Place)
Mobilize Mentors, Tutors, and Citizen Teachers to Help Kids Succeed (28th Place)
End Childhood Hunger in America (38th Place)
"The Autism Reform Act of 2009" (40th Place)
Take Care of Disabled Veterans (44th Place)
Give Homeless Children a Chance (49th Place)
You can help support ideas for change by forwarding this information to friends or posting links to your favorite ideas on sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or any blog you might write. The Ideas for Change in America initiative was begun with the hope that they could translate the energy behind the Obama election into a citizen-led movement for change around the major issues we face. Over 500,000 votes have been cast thus far. With each vote that is cast, you help to deliver a clear message to the Obama administration that the American people want to participate in their own government again.
Have a Great Day and Divine 2009!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
It is time for ordinary citizens, like you and me, to make a difference. It is time to get involved and become a mentor. We have much to share and it is time we passed on the lessons learned. It is time to voice your concerns and to take action on matters that are important to you. If your passion lies in helping young people to navigate the road to self sufficiency and satisfaction, please consider mentoring a youth with special needs while serving your community.
Youth with disabilities face significant challenges. Compared to other youth, they are:
• Twice as likely to drop out of high school and half as likely to attend or finish college. Those who do finish high school are more likely to have taken a less rigorous course load than their non-disabled peers.
• More likely to develop mental health impairments.
• More likely to have unintended pregnancies.
• Four times more likely to become involved in the juvenile justice system. (National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth, 2005)
Research shows that without adequate supports, youth in transition who have disabilities are more likely than their peers to:
• Live in poverty and be dependent on public assistance.
• Have chronic health problems, and lack comprehensive health insurance.
• Be unemployed or underemployed.
• Be dependent on family members for housing and finances.
Mentoring youth with disabilities while serving your community can serve multiple needs. In the relationship, you will engage them in community works, support them in their transition into adulthood, and give them an opportunity to explore their career interests. As a mentor, you will be making a difference in the life of the young adult and in the wellness of your community.
In the process of voicing your concerns, sharing your desires for change, you will also be modeling civic involvement and action. Your mentorship will encourage youth to also speak out, to be heard and to make a contribution in their communities. You will connect with the energy and idealism of our youth and offer your knowledge and experience.
I encourage you to take the call to action, to find opportunities to volunteer and to begin your search by typing in your zip code above. Please contact me if you need help in locating a mentee who shares your passion.
- Connect with your passion?
- Share your love of learning?
- Connect with youth to make a difference?
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
We all possess talents and have abilities that we can use to benefit ourselves and others. Edith Wharton reminds us "There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it." As I look back upon my life, I realize that I have often been the mirror, standing still, very content to reflect the light of others.
I have spent the majority of my life appreciating the many accomplishments and good works of those around me. I was often meek, had a hard time sharing my own ideas and finding my own voice. As I near retirement from government service, I see my own children becoming adults, and I realize that I must voice my concerns and take action if I expect change.
I often reflect on the state of our economy, the state of our families, and the well being of our youth. My heart tells me that while I can retire from my government position, there is still much work to be done, and I must become a candle myself.
As the New Year dawns, I realize I have much to offer, much to learn, and much to contribute. I am committed to spreading light on the path, to learning along the way and to giving voice to the unspoken dreams of our youth with special challenges. I intend to share life lessons, to encourage them to recognize their strengths and talents, and to help them in envisioning a brighter tomorrow where their gifts will be acknowledged and appreciated.
I realize that I cannot do this alone. I must join with others who are committed to make a positive difference in the lives of those who are most challenged. We will need an Army of Committed Citizens who are willing to mentor our youth with disabilities and who are willing to help them in finding their passions, in finding meaningful employment and in becoming contributing members of our society.
Together, we can walk the path, support and mentor our youth as they transition from school - to work – to independence and to community-building.
How will you make a positive difference? Will you be the candle or the mirror or will you be both at different times? Will you be the spark that spreads the light? Or will you step back and realize that there are many candles lit around you and your job is to become the mirror? Either way you are making a difference and you are spreading light. I applaud you and your efforts.
I look forward to connecting with you and to spreading light!
Thursday, January 1, 2009
As we enter 2009, with all of its challenges, I am more determined than ever to help others in voicing their dreams, realizing their worth, and in taking action. I have been energized and stimulated by the masses of people who celebrated the change we are embracing. We seem to have regained optimism and renewed our sense of hope in America.
As the new year emerges, we can look back and see that on November 4, 2008, over 57 million Americans made their voices heard. Americans lined up, said that they were ready for change, and elected Barrack Obama as President. Overnight, we regained the respect of the world and stood as a united force. Together, we can face the challenge and transition into a more inclusive and caring society.
Despite our concerns and worries, we can now look forward to a brighter new year. If 57 million Americans were willing to stand in long lines to vote and to make their voices heard, I am convinced that many million more stayed at home with dreams and hopes unheard. I am anxious to hear these unspoken dreams and hopes in 2009. I am going to make a concerted effort to encourage those who are often overlooked and ignored to voice their dreams and hopes. I will encourage them to acknowledge their strengths, to connect with others and to walk toward peace and understanding.
I was recently reminded of a song that is very significant for me. I heard it sung during the the Kennedy Center Honors televised program in tribute to Barbara Streisand and was nearly moved to tears. I know you have heard it. It was sung by a classmate the year I graduated from high school and has always held a special place in my heart.
Barbara Streisand made it popular and it was written by Michael Spriggs, Andy Byrd and Lindsay Ellis. The song is Somewhere. The words resonate with me more now than even then.... Here they are:
"Someday, somewhere, we'll find a new way of living, we'll find a new way of forgiving. Somewhere. There's a place for us, someday, a place for us. Peace and quiet and open air. Wait for us, somewhere. There's a time for us. Someday, there'll be a time for us. Time together with time to spare. A time to learn, a time to care. Someday, somewhere, we'll find a new way of living, we'll find a new way of forgiving. Somewhere. Somewhere. Somewhere. There's a place for us. A time and place for us. Hold my hand and we're halfway there. Just take my hand and I'll take you there. Somehow, Someday, Somewhere."
Will you take my hand? Will you walk with me into 2009 and work with me toward a new way of living? Will we find a new way of forgiving? Is there time for sharing and a time for caring? I hope so!
Together, we can fill the potholes found along the road of life with Hope and make the future brighter for us all. Together, hand in hand, we are halfway there. What are you waiting for?