Become An Activist From Your Couch

I’m embarrassed to share that I didn’t really know what Dr. Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Day was about until I was an adult. Honestly, I’m not sure why. 

Maybe it is because my head was absent from school most of the years growing up. I was more worried about the challenges going on at home and learning the English language than giving 100 percent of my attention to what teachers were saying. 

I was in survival mode. 

But when I did find out the true meaning of this day, I began implementing its meaning not just on MLK Day, but year-round. 

What I mean by that is this day is a federal holiday to honor Dr. King for his dedication to fighting for the civil rights of minorities. Since he was a man who dedicated himself to uplifting communities, people honor him by doing good deeds and by taking action to help improve societies. 

Millions of people volunteer in their communities in his honor. They also donate to charities and hold events to...

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3 Truths About Counseling

 

Have you ever had a huge aha moment as an adult about something that you went through as a kid? You might have thought it was nothing, but as you reflected on it, you realized it was the cause of something a lot bigger?

This happened to me a few years ago. My family has always made fun of me for having been that teen that slept ALL THE TIME! 

 

THE BACK STORY

My father had finally left us right after I had turned 14. It was a wonderful feeling to no longer wake up to him physically abusing my mother or walking into the house from school to see she’d been beaten again. 

Everyone recalls one particular summer when I was 15-years-old when we lived in government housing after my father left.

My mom had to make ends meet and she had gotten so lucky to have received a government home for us because the waiting list was very long. 

Since she had six kids, they made her case a special priority. I will never forget that change in our lives. She would stay in...

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Bullying Takes a Lifetime to Heal

 

Former Foster Youth Shares Personal Journey From Pain to Power

Imagine being so scared to go to a school that you hide in the library so that you can be invisible.

Imagine being called names such as “blackie” and “ugly”, while walking to class by a group of your peers. Imagine what your life would be like if you are jumped, hit, chased and chronically teased at school, and no one comes to your rescue

Sadly, thousands of children in the Inland Empire, especially foster youth, are afraid to go to school because they are violently and verbally attacked.

I was one of those children. A quiet, shy kid who felt unloved and unworthy due to the trauma I faced, I was often the target of unwanted harassment. I wore the same clothes or hand-me-downs that were either too big or too small for me.

 

My hair was unkept because no one invested money to care for my hair. My clothing, dark skin, and coarse hair made me a target for daily bullying for a decade that...

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Consent is not about sex and is all about rights and respect

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by Rosalia Rivera

 

Due to the #METOO movement, the word ‘CONSENT’ was brought to the forefront of cultural awareness. It’s unfortunate that it has taken a movement this big to create more awareness of what consent is and why it’s so important. Never the less, #METOO has helped to spread the concept of consent and make it mainstream.

Unfortunately, people think that it’s solely related to sexual consent. But in fact, it’s about our rights as free individuals to CHOOSE to have ANYTHING done with or to us.

Here’s the problem. We teach kids about consent only in the pre-teen or teen years, and some parents don’t teach it at all because they don’t know how to approach it.

Parents only relate consent to sexual consent and it makes them anxious to approach the topic. So their children are left unequipped to set or enforce boundaries or on the flip side, unsure how to ask for consent or read non-verbal cues.

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What We Take For Granted

While we complain about our first world problems, others look at us in the developed world wishing to have our problems. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about a story I recently read. It was about the experience that Soad, a grandmother from Iraq and her son, Haider had when they were brought to Georgia so that her granddaughter, Noor could get medical attention. You can read more about baby Noor here

While Soad and Haider were in the U.S. they saw many things in a very different light than most of us Americans do.

For example, Soad was astonished at how clean our produce is in American supermarkets. She was amazed that misters would spray the produce every so often to keep it fresh. And she noticed that produce was not swarmed with flies the way it was in markets in her country. 

The Eye-Opener

Soad and her son viewed the American medical system that we so much complain about in a whole different way:

“Their idea of medical care was limited to an Abu...

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Mistakes Do Not Define Who You Are

My daughter came up to me after a rough week of behavior challenges and asked, “Was I, good kid, today?”

This is to say, I was stunned by that question. I felt awful that she thought she was not a good kid at any time.

I also blamed myself for the way she was thinking of herself. Perhaps I’d been too strict. Maybe my tone was too harsh, but at the same time, I thought about the actions she had done that led to me correcting her. 

Kids can go through phases of defiance. However, they don’t last long if we help kids correct those actions right away. I am not a perfect parent. Believe me. I have a lot of regrets about how I handled some situations. 

Therefore, I try to consciously think things through even when I’ve very upset about something that my kids have done that I don’t agree with. 

As I was having a conversation with some parents, one of them asked me about how to help a kid who has bullied others and is trying to do...

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Helping Kids Manage Chores

 

I walked into my daughter’s room and my irritability immediately shot up! After days of reminding her to clean her room, it appeared as if she hadn’t made any attempt whatsoever to improve the mess. 

Can you relate?

Surely, every parent has experienced this type of frustration and anger. As I stood there looking at everything in that room, I realized that a lot of it was my fault. 

It’s A Parent’s Responsibility

You see, my husband and I were the ones who allowed all the toys to come into the house. The high stack of stuffed animals didn’t just appear out of nowhere. And the overfilled hamper hadn’t been checked for two weeks. 

 

When you make cleaning playful for kids, it doesn’t seem like a burden to do chores.

Similarly, the closet hadn’t been inspected by my husband or me either. Why? Because we were exhausted and we decided to see what would happen if we didn’t stay on top of their chores. 

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Using Music to Help Improve Reading Performance

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By Jessica Bonner-Gomez

In October 2019, it was reported that Alabama 4th graders ranked 49th (out of 52 U.S. territories) in reading on the nation’s report card. This rank is two levels below the former rank in 2017, indicating that reading proficiency has decreased.

I’m particularly concerned about Alabama 4th-grader reading performance because I am an Alabama educator. Aside from teaching English Composition I and II to college freshmen for 3 and ½ years, I have been tutoring students for the last 11 years in English and writing (the last 4 years include more focus on reading through my tutoring business, For Other Prizes Consulting).

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Further, this month I have finished my master’s degree in speech-language pathology, a field that helps students enhance their speech and language (including reading) skills.

Disheartened by the numbers, I attempted to understand why they were so low. I realized,...

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The Perfect Gift Can’t Be Wrapped

One of the most stressful parts of gift-giving holidays for me has always been shopping. I’m unsure if the reason behind my stress is because I think very practically about spending money or because I don’t like shopping. The act of shopping has always given me anxiety. 

Too many things and too many choices seem like a heavy burden for me. It truly kills the joy out of trying to gift someone something special. As I said, it might just be me, but I feel like the push for me to spend money is so prevalent and strong that I’m turned off to gifting. 

Can you relate? I’m sure I can’t be the only one to feel this way.

One of my main goals is for my children to not grow up to expect gifts for holidays or special days or to think that those events are all about gifts. 

It’s important for me that my children understand that the material things aren’t the main focus of any celebration and when I’ve tried to do a non-gift event,...

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Forgotten Heroes Living Among US

In 2013, a friend of mine asked me if I was interested in volunteering for an organization called Honor Flight Austin. This organization’s mission is to find World War II veterans who have never been to Washington, D.C. to see their monuments. While Honor Flight Austin’s main focus is WW II vets, they also make this trip possible to Vietnam and Korean War Veterans free of cost.

Honor Flight Austin provides free airfare, meals, and lodging for our heroes and they rely heavily on volunteers who are called Guardians so that each veteran is assisted for an entire evening and day in D.C.

As we all know, this generation of veterans is getting very old and one thing that Honor Flight Austin wants to do is to get as many WWI veterans to D.C. before they are no longer with us.

Although their highest priority is to make this trip available to WWII Veterans, they offer this trip to other able and willing veterans on a first-come, first-served basis and then priority goes to our...

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