6/22/16 - career day

6/13/16 - a piece of me

My favorite poem is "The Rose That Grew From The Concrete", by Tupac Shakur/ Nikki Giovanni. I read this poem (posted below) and listen to audio at least once a week. I love this poem because I feel as if I am a rose that's GROWING from the concrete. I haven't had the hardest road in life but neither have I had the easiest. I feel like I represent all of my family, friends, people from my city, and individuals across the world who will never have the chance to break the surface and see the sunlight. Many of them are dead, in jail, or have simply given up. I don't want the world to view my damaged petals and critique my flaws, instead i'll rather people to admire my tenacity to grow and appreciate where I've come from. I do not wish to be ashamed of who I am or where I come from. I feel my gift to people who believe in me is my transparency and ability to be genuine. The world is full of pretenders, false perceptions, shamefulness, and lost people. These traits are so common today that it makes it hard to tell the difference in what's genuine and what's fake. My goal is to blossom and defy the laws of physics (society's norms). As well as, start a movement for other beautiful roses to break the concrete and show the world what we have to offer.  

[Tupac Shakur]
You try to plant somethin in the concrete, you know what I mean?
If it GROW, and the and the rose petal got all kind of
scratches and marks, you not gon' say, "Damn, look at
all the scratches and marks on the rose that grew from concrete"
You gon' be like, "Damn! A rose grew from the concrete?!"
Same thing with me, you know what I mean? I grew out of all of this
Instead of sayin, "Damn, he did this, he did this,"
just be like, "DAMN! He grew out of that? He came out of that?"
That's what they should say, you know what I mean?
All the trouble to survive and make good out of the dirty, nasty
You know what I mean? unbelievable lifestyle they gave me
I'm just tryin to make somethin..

[Nikki Giovanni]
When no one even cared
The rose it grew from concrete
Keepin all these dreams
Provin nature's laws wrong
It learned how to walk without havin feet
It came from concrete

[spoken part]
Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?
Provin nature's laws wrong it learned how to walk without havin feet
Funny it seems but, by keepin its dreams
it, learned to breathe FRESH air
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else even cared
No one else even cared..
The rose that grew from concrete

[spoken part]
Did you hear..
Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?
Provin nature's laws wrong
It learned to walk without having feet
Funny it seems but by keeping its dreams
it learned to breathe FRESH air
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else, even cared

[Nikki Giovanni]
Keepin all these dreams
Provin nature's laws wrong
It learned how to walk without havin feet (to breathe the fresh air)
It came from concrete (to breathe the fresh air)
(to breathe the fresh air, to breathe the fresh air)

[Tupac Shakur]
You see you wouldn't ask why the rose that grew from the concrete
had damaged petals. On the contrary, we would all celebrate its
tenacity. We would all love it's will to reach the sun.
Well, we are the rose - this is the concrete - and these are
my damaged petals. Don't ask me why, thank God, ask me how!

5/3/16 - be like the giving tree

Visit www.spreadthewordatl.org to learn more about activities and programs for kids. 

Visit www.spreadthewordatl.org to learn more about activities and programs for kids. 

I would like to thank Spread the Word Atl literacy program and Children's Museum of Atlanta for recognizing me as with, "Book of the Month" for the month of May. The children's book I selected is titled "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein. If you know a little bit about me you can pretty much guess why I chose this book. As a professional School Social Worker, I'm constantly giving to those in need. It's pretty much ingrained in me to give to others. I had a conversation with my friend yesterday and in the middle of the conversation she wrote a long paragraph. After writing it she stated, "Sorry for the Heart to Heart". I told her it was no reason to apologize! Heart to heart conversations are what we're missing in today's times. So many of us hide behind false perceptions, images, personas, social media, and other masks that we never experience the opportunity of meeting the real person. BUT, when you're like the giving tree, you're vulnerable, open, genuine, and needed. 
Whether we all admit it or not we all need someone. As soon as we can adopt the mentality of the giving tree, we can live in a better society. In my opinion giving equals love. Love can conquer all of the beasts we're faced with here on this earth. So with more giving there will be more love being shared. With more love being shared, it will bring about genuine relationships, better communities, brighter futures for our children, better health, and in total an overall better place for you and me.  

4/20/2016 - BELIEVING in yourself

Art work done by www.markedbymajor.com 

Art work done by www.markedbymajor.com 

Today I texted my friend the image above and he responded, "I'm proud of you bro!". My response was "I appreciate it man, but don't believe the hype it's just pics lol". His response to my statement really spoke to me. He stated, "Stop that! Don't discredit yourself you are the hype!". It took me about three minutes before I responded to his message. I realized I was belittling myself and didn't even know it. With this statement I thought was funny, I took three steps backwards from my goals. So my message to you all is to never become stuck using the "Keeping up with the Jones's" syndrome. Comparing yourself to others or belittling your success because it's not as great as others or what you would like it to be. Great things take time and can't be rushed overnight. Don't fall victim to the microwave era of wanting things to happen instantly. For example, would you prefer your meals cooked on a stove/oven or in a microwave??? The choice is yours. In order to be a great you must believe in yourself and your message and that's how you will attract those to believe in you as well. Earth wasn't created in one day so neither will your dreams! #CHANGEPROGRESSIONGROWTH

3/16/2016 - A DAY AT THE CAPITOL

On Tuesday March 15, 2016 I took the middle school students apart of my K.I.N.G.S. program to the Capitol to understand how bills/laws are passed, watch the legislative sessions, and exposure. This was an eye opening trip. For the past month we've worked on public speaking, eye contact, handshake firmness, confidence, and many other qualities needed when networking and meeting people. Overall the students did great! They met the Governor and Lt. Governor, senators, district representatives, lobbyists, and many other individuals. I'm very proud of how the students conducted themselves and represented their school (Pointe South Middle School) and the K.I.N.G.S. program. I would like to thank Tim Davis of Student's First organization(studentsfirst.org) for the tour. Secondly, I would like to thank Mr. Eric Bell for chaperoning and assisting me with this trip. Eric Bell is running for commissioner in Clayton County District 3 please take some time to visit his website www.BellForUS.com. Both Tim and Eric our big supporters of my initiatives and I'm very appreciative of their support. 
What surprised me the most about the trip was the students' mindset. As people we are most comfortable with others who we feel like we relate to. Even though we practiced for a whole month on professional skills, a couple of the students were still nervous and hesitant to meet leaders of their state. For example, their body language showed they were scared to speak, no eye contact and low tone of voice. I gave the guys who seemed to be nervous a pep talk to help them out a little. I explained to them the importance of networking and by meeting these people this how you really become "the plug". One of the students response when I asked why he was nervous and not confident when speaking with the state leaders was, "because they're rich and I'm not". This statement kind of threw me for a loop. I responded to him that being rich starts in your mind first not your pockets. To not let fear hold him back from reaching his dreams and aspirations. I broke down to him the process of a butterfly and it starts as a caterpillar, a insect ugly to many yes, but one day grows into something that people stop in awe to view. As time progressed in the trip he opened up and became more engaged like the others in the group.
While at the end of the trip, we were eating lunch in the Capitol's cafeteria and saw inmates who were cleaning tables and trays. The same student who stated he didn't feel comfortable talking to representatives, senators, and etc. asked could he go talk to the inmates. When I asked him, "Why do you want to talk to them when you just talked to people who are doing great and positive things in life?" He had no response, he simply stated "I don't know I just want to talk to him". This goes back to the statement I stated earlier, as people we're more comfortable with those we feel relate to or look like. PLEASE DON'T GIVE UP ON OUR YOUTH. At the age of 13 this student already feels he relates more to criminals rather than politicians and other positive figures. Don't view the youth as adults and leave them out to dry. Take time to inspire them and you don't have to put on a front like your totally put together either. REALITY is what this world is missing now a days. With so many false lives being portrayed on social media and television we need to influence positivity and realistic thoughts in the minds of our youth as well as ourselves. Or they'll go through life nervous, not confident, and will gravitate towards negative people and situations. So if you reading this KNOW that YOU have a social obligation to society, to our youth, to your community, and that it is needed for you to help mold the minds of our future because they are the key holders to what is to be expected and accepted in life.     

3/2/2016 - Book of the Month

In honor of National Read Across America Day I was selected by "Spread the Word Atlanta" to choose a children's book for the month of March. I decided to highlight "I am a confident King" by author, Jasmine Furr. The reason I chose this book is because it embodies everything I try to teach my students in my K.I.N.G.S. program. Some of these things include being confident, brave, self-identity, leadership, and many other quality skills needed to be successful. Another reason I selected this book is because it sparks the interest for African-American children to pick up a book and read it because the character on the cover looks just like them. Imagery plays such an important role in education and I feel this book embodies all of the positive images needed for young African American children. 
"Spread the Word Atlanta is a language building initiative in the Atlanta neighborhoods of Vine City and English Avenue. We are starting this program in the Vine City/English Avenue neighborhood with the goal of reaching families, educators and business owners to make a positive difference in building strong vocabulary in young children. Studies show that the more words young children hear and understand by 3 years of age, the better they are able to perform in school and the more successful they are in school and in life. Through fun, engaging, and interactive activities and programs, Spread the Word is designed to build meaningful vocabulary by working with families and the community to educate and empower individuals to expand vocabulary and pass that knowledge on to their children."
I've had the opportunity to work closely with this program and it is truly amazing. The children, families, staff members, field trips, EVERYONE, is just so welcoming and friendly. Through attending events held by this program I've learned the importance of literacy at a early age, especially for children of low-income communities. Statistics show that for children of low-income their vocabulary is three million words less than their counter parts from middle and upper class communities by the time they start schooling. That is a major gap and puts the children behind the ball due to their social living condition, which they have no control over. Being a product of a low-income community, I support programs as these 100 percent. I've passed down information gained from workshops to family members and friends who have young children and I even encourage reading with my younger nephews and nieces. The program is ran by the coordinator Ms. Ashia Lee who does a phenomenal job at engaging the families and earning their trust. If you would like to know more about this program please visit www.spreadthewordatl.org.
The author of the book, "I am a confident king" is Jasmine Furr. Jasmine is a native of Atlanta, GA. Jasmine decided to create her own lane and pave the way for other authors who would like to put their dreams and aspirations on paper. So in 2011 she started, Untraditional Publishing Company, LLC, a company focused on creating opportunities for new and first-time authors with a positive message. Her breakout book, In Full Bloom: a collection of poems by Jasmine Furr, has over 100 poems on faith, family, love, culture, and self. She is also known for her book "Dear Black Twitter". This is when I heard about Jasmine via social media. To learn more about Jasmine Furr and purchase her books and work please visit jfurrbooks.com. Her social media accounts are Facebook: Jasmine Furr, Twitter:Jasmine_Furr, Email: Untraditionalllc@gmail.com