Your Time For…Social Gathering 101


When was the last time you went to a holiday social gathering and walked away sober, intellectually intact, motivated, and self-assured you were in the driver’s seat of self-improvement? For me, it was a week ago when involved family members, and the children they passionately support, assembled for an ‘impromptu’ get-together. This exceptional experience has left me hoping that there were many more of such events around the country – and the world – at a time when we celebrate peace, love and goodwill to all men.

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It was the thought of maintaining a strong bond with the people we serve through participation in meaningful ways, that caused us to press on with the idea of reaching out to parents and students who have participated in Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc.‘s workshops as a holiday activity – with only a week’s advance notice.

I had no idea who would want to show up and for what reason they would want to do so – or even what good reason they would have to stay away.  My faith in mankind and determination to implement creative ways to form critical partnerships and identify the needs of those we serve was more in focus than the “what if?”, failure-bound, second-guessing position that can occasionally sneak up on people and overpower them.

I am writing this post to shine the spotlight on a remarkable cadre of people who joined us for a casual get-together that was clearly driven by openness to personal and social enrichment that Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc. has gained a reputation for providing. I know better than to entertain the thought that, by virtue of their association with the organization, this stellar group of people navigated the evening by giving back to us what we have given to them in the past. My educated guess is that students, parents, grandparents, grand aunts and community leaders who are on a mission, showed up to bring to the table the unique gifts they possess that they recognize are vital to the existence and good health of the organization. I thank you for being an integral part of this vision. To those well-wishers, parents and volunteers who could not join us for this family gathering, we acknowledge your importance in this equation and hope to see you soon. Thank you for your support.

 

Below are highlights of some of the lessons taught by and learned from our insightful youth at what turned out to be an evening which embodied the elements of a lesson plan for  Social Gathering 101. 

1. HARMONY– people coming together for a purpose and a reason.  Strength in life to come together for a purpose; strength to press forward; togetherness; connecting the dots (harmony-love-joy-pride, etc.). We need love to bring harmony, we need courage to go on a journey

2. JOURNEY – steps which are part of our successes and failures

3. LOVE – found in a society among each other; giving back; charity

4. JOY – people need joy; giving to the needy; giving joy to others; everything you give – — your love is joy.

5. HONOR – self respect; high self-esteem

6. SELF – self-worth; how you value yourself as a person

7. PRIDE – don’t let others knock your confidence down

 8. ENDURANCE – a lot of goals; a lot of work, projects; in bettering yourself for a purpose; not knowing where I am going; excited

 9. DETERMINATION – calls for repetition until you get perfection

10. TIME – we don’t have enough time to do all we need to do but we must make time to be with people who support us – “Putting time in perspective”

11. COURAGE – to go to school away and be by myself – To find myself; do what I have to do. “I like that word. Parents need to develop courage too.”

What a Creative Empowerment Arts Contest Donor had to say: “Your journey is about connecting the dots to a “higher being.” It’s important to be you. Your steps are woven blessings on your path; they are your stepping-stones to your future. Your journey never ends. It’s an investment in who you are and will become. Whether you are soft-spoken or out-spoken, “believe in yourself” and as a donor, I’ll believe in you and me.   -Florence Bell-

 Please click on this link  to make a difference in the lives of the youth and families we serve.  

Our Mission

Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that educates and empowers children, adolescents and parents of both secular and faith-based communities in the Long Island area, through the use of art, fashion and culture as mechanisms to improve interpersonal relationships; to avoid pitfalls that are unique to life in the 21st Century; and to specifically identify and effectively develop healthy problem-solving, enhance personal development and increase cultural sensitivity.

For updates on current and upcoming activities: www.creativeempowermentarts.org                                www.yourtime4liny.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing 2015 Gala Highlights and Wishes for a Bright and Prosperous New Year


Our Warmest Gratitude to all who contributed to the success of Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc.’s Scholarship and Fundraising Gala on Saturday, November 21, 2015.
The room was filled to capacity as parents, students, public officials, community members, honorees, their friends and families assembled at the Merrick Golf Club House to celebrate the Supportive Spirits of our honorees and the Creative Spirits the Creative Arts Contest participants. As the spirits of volunteerism and support were embraced and celebrated, so were the respective voices of Long Island’s youth through their Creatively Empowering expressions.

There  was something for everyone. The spiritually-focused who, as a rule, embrace and celebrate the uniqueness of others were well fed, as was the curiosity of the creative-minded! Warm gratitude must be extended to County Executive Mangano for recognizing our honorees with a citation presented to them on his behalf by his Deputy County Executive, Dr. Phillip Elliott, who in the capacity of an ordained minister, offered the invocation for the evening. Also on hand with citations, was Councilwoman Viviana Russell of the Town of North Hempstead. Town of Hempstead Councilwoman, Dorothy Goosby, provided a creatively designed citation to the organization which was very much in line with the waFON_0486 (2)y we encourage our youth to use their talents to meaningfully express themselves. We thank the Town of Hempstead Parks and Recreation Department for graciously hosting us, and appreciate the unwavering support and involvement of community organizations, businesses and individuals who stood out this time.

Thank you is in order to Mr. and Mrs. Desmond Morrison and Ms. Geraldine Gooding for traveling all the way from Maryland to support us, the Art League of Long Island, Colonial Flower Shop, and Havana Central. A special thank you goes out to our honorees (E. Vivienne Anderson, Florence Bell, Dr. John Clarke, Marjorie Whigham-Desir, Michael Desir, Alicia Figueras, Presiding Officer Duwayne Gregory, Terri Hall, Gail King, Zellin Lowe, Diane Lucas, Esq., Anita Marco, Felicia Serrette, Dr. Lizette Wright-Polk), without whom the evening would simply not have materialized had they not accepted our request to honor them for the role they have played in our quest to empower and embrace 21st Century youth in our own unique way. Ms. Cognac Wellerlane’s role in providing media coverage for the event has not been taken lightly, and neither has the task of our professional photographer, Frank FON_0518B (2)Fontana of Fontana Studios in Merrick, the Print Cafe of Lynbrook for our printing needs, Tim Dorsey for providing music and Florence Bell for the beautifully set tables. Special thanks also are expressed to Mrs. Janet Gooding and Claudestine Williams-Tucker for their volunteer and community service assistance respectively with preparations for the event, and to Peer Leader Marie Saint-Cyr for gracing the event with her refreshing art work and for taking on the responsibility of greeting our guests at the registration table, Evynn McFall for onsite coordination, and last but by no means least, our Masters of Ceremony Shelly Cohen and Gregory Singer for their role in moving the program along.

Rumor has it that the multi-ethnic culinary delights were well received by our guests! Bravo to all who came on board to make this happen, including The Island By The Sea Jamaican Restaurant of 300 Wellwood Avenue, Freeport, New York – our Primary Restaurant Food Sponsor. Havana Central from Roosevelt Field, the Imperial Diner of Merrick Road, Freeport, New York; and Ayhan’s Mediterranean Restaurant on Sunrise Highway in Baldwin also consented to participate. The labor of love of volunteers who prepared Sierra Leonean, Dominican and Southern culinary delights will never be forgotten. We are truly grateful for their help.

The stage was set, and the message was clear as Malachi Aarons join his brother Melchizedek Aarons (our 12 gradeFON_0516 (2) category 2014/15 Creative Empowerment Arts Contest Winner) to creatively express the art of collaboration through the saxophone and keyboard; Sisters, Brianna and Jasmine Gobourne, ministered in dance to honor their grandmother; the volunteer mother and son team of Marjorie Desir and Michael Desir that brought to light the axiom “if you show them, they will learn”. Also featured were the expressions of Contest first runner up, Glorieanne Quiban, who expressed her concern for the 21st century youth though her “Fighting for the Same Thing Now and Then” digital illustration which illustrates how nothing has changed since the 60’s when Black folks fought for their civil rights; and Malaika foster, who in poem, told us how the world we create affects her and her peers in a manner that calls for change through self-empowerment. The visual art work “Deja Vu” of Dany Mazariegos symbolizes hope and faith – “the ability to persevere in the outside world’s negativity.” On her topic of choice, “The Broken Self Esteem”, the voice of Jhalisa Bayer was heard loudly and clearly through the summary of her winning entry in the visual arts category in which she talks about the damaging effects of the broken self esteem.                                                          FON_0523

The 2014/15 Creative Empowerment winners are as follows: Malaika Foster – Elmont Memorial High School, 10th Grade Winner (Poem) ~ Jhalisa Bayer – Wyandanch Memorial High School, 11th Grade -Visual Arts Winner: pen, broken mirror pieces, hot glue, acrylic ~ Glorieanne Quiban – Farmingdale High School, 11th Grade – Visual Arts Runner Up: Digital Illustration ~ Dany Mazariegos – Wyandanch Memorial High School, 11th Grade -Visual Arts 2nd Runner Up: Drawing ~ Melchizedek Aarons – Wyandanch High School Graduate 12th Grade Winner – Music: Jazz – Saxophone.

The evening wrapped up with a “surprise” presentation to Mr. James Lacy, the organization’s Program Director. The well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Supporter-In-Chief Integrity Award was presented to him as he was ministered to in dance and poetry by Liturgical Dancer Florence Bell in a public acknowledgement of the extraordinary support he has offered the organization in good health as well as in the wake of health challenges that take “in sickness and in health” to a whole new level.

 

Our Mission

Your Time for Creative Empowerment is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that educates and empowers children, adolescents and parents of both secular and faith-based communities in the Long Island area, through the use of the arts, fashion and culture as mechanisms to:

* Improve interpersonal relationships
* Avoid pitfalls that are unique to life in the 21st Century
* Specifically identify and effectively develop healthy problem-solving
* Enhance personal development and increase cultural sensitivity.

What We Must Not Forget As We Forge Ahead


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With three years of invaluable insights and enlightenment under my belt, I think it is only fitting to share with you a sampling of an abundance of reflections on my experience as a nonprofit founder. As you read on, you will find a summary of four of what I characterize as the basic components of a not-for-profit journey that I have embraced as mine. This desire to share thoughts on some of the nonprofit related lessons of my life can be attributed, in part, to the deep appreciation for people who have repeatedly answered the call, and even exceeded expectations, to assist with Your Time For Creative Empowerment events and activities over the years. Some of these dedicated volunteers and supporters have consented (reluctantly) to be honored at the upcoming 3rd Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc. Annual Gala! I suspect the reason that outstanding volunteers kick and scream at the thought of being honored is captured by this quote which I understand quite well. “Anything can be accomplished as long as you don’t care who gets the credit.” -Unknown-

The 2015 Scholarship and Fundraising Gala which will hopefully raise funds for our college scholarships, student-driven leadership clubs, and take our signature programs to the next level, is the perfect vehicle through which I can humbly extend my gratitude to each and every one who has contributed to the success of the first and subsequent fundraising events. Please click here for pictorial memories or an introduction to highlights of our 2013 and 2014 Galas. You are invited to browse our websites (www.yourtime4liny.org and www.creativeempowermentarts.org) for a reason to support our initiative this year.

The excitement I feel from the sweet spirit of support and understanding from all who have contributed to the glorious moments of this organization must not, however, be dampened by some of the most challenging moments of disappointment, bias, pettiness that can get in the way of, and completely destroy the faint of heart on this nonprofit-nurturing journey. It is for this reason that I offer the following as tools with which one can prepare oneself to set out on this journey.

The Dream and the Marriage

It all starts with the first step towards the unknown! With not much more than a burning desire to make a selfless contribution to the quality of life of others that you may or may not know, you toss your hat into the ring of the nonprofit world. It is at this time that the “I” becomes the “We” in a manner that is not unlike the expectation of a healthy marriage dynamic. The slight difference here, is that this relationship is sustained by the support of people from all walks of life, of all social and economic status, and race and religious affiliations with a genuine desire to pitch in and help make a Founder’s vision come to life. After all, there is a reason why successful “dreamers” are best complemented by effective and efficient “doers” in order that they can keep on dreaming. This is not to say that a visionary must not orient herself or himself to be an implementer of the related skill-set required to keep things moving! My mindset on taking on this mission is summarized in the following quote: “The only time it is about me, is when I show basic respect and common decency towards my co-laborers as my primary contribution towards upholding the integrity and facilitating the goals of a common cause” -Madona Cole-Lacy-

A Case for Mentorship

Mentoring, offered formally or informally by those who already know the ropes, is also as important as the benevolence of those who give freely of their time in other areas, share their expertise, make donations and contributions to help make things work out for the beneficiaries targeted in the vision. The following says it all for me! “Leaders should influence others in such a way that it builds people up, encourages and edifies them so they can duplicate this attitude in others.” -Bob Goshen- 

Founder? Let’s try Volunteer/Donor-in-Chief

Do titles really matter? Yes, when they clearly reflect the role and realities of the position, they do matter. This designation is one I have come up with to describe a role that founders play in the equation of the nonprofit startup – one that is likely to be taken for granted by those who are standing on the outside looking in. Those who fit into this category find themselves making unbelievable sacrifices that at times can affect their own state of well-being, as they work toward building a firm foundation that others might find worthy to identify with. I duff my hat to all who fit into this category, and pray that more like-minded folks will bring some relief soon! “I found that the men and women who got to the top were those who did the jobs they had in hand, with everything they had of energy and enthusiasm and hard work.” -Harry S. Truman –

Personal Growth and Development

This is the greatest area of challenge, even with all the competent personal development coaches or well-written books and manuals that aspiring and seasoned nonprofit leaders can easily access.  I know how important these resources can be with regards to the development of self in readiness for working successfully with others. It is my belief that the main contributing factor to a halfway successful venture is the ability to work with the many personalities that will be encountered along the way – exercising self-control and discipline in dealing with people you encounter. Rather than elaborate on this important issue which I suspect every founder or leader has to deal with sometime, I want to invite you, the reader, to share how you deal with this make or break issue. What is your experience? Please do not hesitate to SHARE. Here is a quote on the subject that hits the nail on the head for me. “Personal growth is to see each moment, each person, each challenge and each adversity as an opportunity to embrace more of yourself and the world around you.” – Tom Erik Green-                 

As I sign off, I want to thank you for allowing me to engage you up to this point. It is now time for me to go back to this year’s Gala preparation. Do plan to be there if you can, or show your appreciation for what Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc. does to empower 21st Century youth by selecting one of the options for support here.

Madona Cole-Lacy, M.A.Ed.

Visual/Teaching Artist & Cultural Partner ~ Motivator ~    Social Entrepreneur ~ Educator

Founder/CEO: Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc. www.yourtime4liny.org Continue reading