Empower Youth

Last Saturday, I had a rare unexpected day off. I used that opportunity to watch the March for Our Lives event. I sat proud of the way the youth stood up for what they believed in and demanded action! There are times when I am asked why do I spend time working with youth, and last Saturday was proof of why.

As I sit here writing this, I am preparing to leave for another Jamaica Mission Trip to work with youth there for another year, my heart is warmed by what I witnessed. In my youth there were people who poured into me and contributed to who I am today. I feel that it is important to give back to youth and help them develop into productive citizens. You never know how a simple encounter will impact a youth.

There are many programs out there you can become a part of. Big Brothers Big Sisters and Girls Empowered Mentally for Success are two programs that I am part of that strive to help you. I am a mentor in one program and on the board for the other. Even if you cannot give time, you can invest in programs in other ways.

I challenge every person that reads this to find someone to invest in our youth. There will come a day when they will be in charge of making decisions and policy changes. This can only happen through education and sharing.

youth empowerment

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Brick Crushers

This weekend I had the opportunity to go on a board retreat to work on planning for 2018 for a girl’s organization I am honored to be a part of. In between planning, I was able to interact and enjoy the company of two virtious and powerful women. As I reflect back over the weekend, I found a quote that sums up these two women:

Both of these women have amazing stories of how they have and continue to overcome the “bricks” that life has thrown their way. They are also both dedicated to helping others overcome their bricks. I believe that you have to surround yourself with people who inspire and these two women inspire me daily.

We all have “bricks” that are thrown at us. What makes you successful is how you deal with those bricks. I tell my clients “you can’t change the things that have happened to you, but you can choose how you allow those things to affect you today and in the future.” Each one of us has to make the decision to either let go of past hurts or use those hurts in a positive way. If we do not make one of these two choices, then we are doomed to live an unfilled life.

This weekend has reminded me that I am successful and I have crushed the bricks of my past. It has also given me confidence that I will continue to be successful crushing new bricks because I choose to handle them with wisdom, maturity, and class in the same manner I watch these two women.

2018 Relaunch

Wow, just realized that I have not written anything since March of last year! The second part of last year I was focused on training for a half marathon and accomplishing goals that I had set for myself, that blogging fell to the side. But that is alright because I am back and ready to educate and advocate!

I usually start the first blog of the year talking about my goals for the year, but this year I want to do start off differently. There are so many issues in the news today that I could speak on, but I honestly do not know where to begin. So I am going to start this year off writing about preparing for another year serving the youth of Jamaica on a mission trip.

Today the team met to start preparation for the trip. I am excited about another year meeting new youth and having the opportunity to let God use me in whatever way He sees fit. I have been participating in this trip since my Junior year of undergrad (I refuse to count the years! LOL). We have an amazing team that is forming and we are looking for other people to go, assist financially, or pray. If you are interested in helping in any way, please let me know.

Until next week I leave you with this quote from my Passion Planner: “WHETHER YOU THINK YOU CAN, OR YOU THINK YOU CAN’T-YOU’RE RIGHT. HENRY FORD”

Jamaica 2018 Flyer

 

How Will You Choose to Deal with Opposing Views?

This past week has been interesting to say the least. Emotions continue to be high as one president exits and another one enters. I found myself having to unfriend someone I have known since I was an undergraduate in college because of the personal attacks he made against others whom I am friends with during a conversation on Facebook. Here is the status that I posted after I unfriended him: “Please understand that I post about things that I care about and are my views. I love to spark debate as long as it is done properly. That is the point of some of my posts. I will not tolerate disrespect. Personal attacks is not the way to change someone’s view on an issue. Don’t quote the Bible if you don’t live by it. You will be blocked!” I am an advocate for having conversations about difficult subjects with people of different view points. That is how change happens whether it is someone adjusting to my view, or me to theirs. But we as a society have to learn how to have conversations without resorting to personal attacks.

I have also been dealing with an issue with a family where the teenager has dug her heels in and is refusing to see reason because she does not want to be seen as weak in the eyes of her peers even though her safety is in jeopardy. Today it hit me that what we have witnessed over the past couple of days is a great testimony. There was an expectation that the inauguration attendance would be record breaking, but instead people showed their voice by not showing up. Now I know there is discrepancy about how many people were there, but pictures truly are worth a thousand words. The very next day women across the United States gathered and marched for women rights. So many so they have not been able to collect the numbers yet. The statement of silence the day before and peaceful protest the next day spoke volumes! And how fitting that this all occurred the week we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday!

Our challenge today is teaching youth that they can show more strength by using wisdom to deal with conflict. Many of the past conflicts I have dealt with have been shut down and resolved using silence, peaceful protest, kindness, love, and a smile. So I challenge us all to use wisdom in how we approach things and find a different way of responding to those who have views that are in conflict with out own.

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A Couple of Minutes of Kindness

I have been trying to think about what I wanted to write about all day. Over the past couple of weeks several topics have come across my mind such as domestic violence after hearing about the young woman”s husband who posted a picture of her on Facebook after he killed her. Or about not giving up when obstacles get in your way due to my own latest personal battle. But within the last 30 minutes the subject of “A Couple of Minutes of Kindness” came my way after finding out about a co-worker who died today. I only worked with her for about a week before she got sick and went into the hospital. What was remarkable was in that short period of time she brought so much joy to our department and was full of wisdom. When she went into the hospital, for what we thought would be a short amount of time, I reached out and called her on a daily basis. She would make statements about how she loved hearing from me in those brief couple of minutes and how it brought her joy. At one point I was told that I was spending too much time calling her when there was other things I needed to be doing. I refused to accept that and did not listen. I felt that if I was in the hospital I would appreciate someone checking on me even if I had known them for a short time. I refuse to be too busy for a couple of minute of kindness. We got word last week that she was not coming back to the facility, but that did not deter me from reaching out. I called and sent a text. I received a text back that she was going to call me back, but never heard from her. When I got the call this evening my heart became heavy. She was a remarkable woman who in a short time touched my life with her tenacity and laughter. You know God uses you in ways that you don’t always realize. He used me to bring a couple of minutes of light into her day not knowing that He was preparing to bring her home with Him. I am happy that I listened and continued to make contact when I was told that I was too busy. You never know what small act maybe one of the last small acts a person receives.

Cancer stole another angel today. 1 in 13 people will develop lung cancer in the United States with 10-15% being non-smokers. Two-thirds of these are women who have never smoked. There are many causes and risk factors associated with lung cancer. There are many treatments out there if it is caught early. Please see your doctor if you sense something is wrong. If you are not happy with the first doctor’s diagnosis, get a second opinion. We have to stop being scared of doctors and of being diagnosed. We have to take responsibility for our health.

Please join me in praying for the family and friends of my co-worker. Tomorrow find some small act of kindness to do in honor of her memory. May you Rest In Peace Delores Holmes!

Please make a donation in support of my efforts with Team In Training and help advance the research for cures. You can access my fundraiser page at http://pages.teamintraining.org/sun/StPeteHf13/drshanwalks. Furthermore, I would like to invite family and friends to join me in St. Petersburg that day after the race to celebrate a survivor, my mother Shirley Dorsey-Davis. Feel free to contact me for more details.