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

2014 Gala Kick Off Acknowledgements


The backdrop of the most awesome digital expressions entitled Pattern and Rhythm Through the Lens  on the wall of the Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery of the elegant Art League of Long Island, was just what was needed to enhance the atmosphere on Thursday evening. Our sincere thanks to the Art League for their role in providing an ambience which lent itself to the intimacy of the evening.

Many thanks to Tim Magorrian, the Area Director of Noodles and Company, Doherty Pasta LLC,  for being there for Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc. once again. It was obvious by the sentiments expressed, that our guests were impressed with dinner, and will be visiting Noodles and Company in Garden City very soon.  We had an impressive showing of our upcoming 2014 Gala handpicked honorees to whom we are ever so grateful. Neither distance nor traffic tie-ups could keep them away.  A special ‘Thank You’ goes to the  FiOS1 Push Pause inimitable video journalist, Archie Snowden, for the superb job he did at engaging our guests as he gathered valuable material that would help to tell the story of Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc. Be on the look out for the video on FIOS1 Push Pause.  I give dues and credit to James A. Lacy, my other half and the Program Director of Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc., for the mammoth role he plays at supporting this initiative. Thank you is simply not enough!

The purpose was for all in attendance to be open to embracing the goals and philosophy of Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc. –  to creatively empower Long Island’s youth and families through the unique incorporation of the arts into the youth and family development programs and activities we offer. The support and commitment to promote our upcoming Scholarship and Fundraising Gala, Creatively Embracing 21st Century Youth, to be held in Lindenhurst, NY at Chateau La Mer on Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 6:30 pm, was not at all unexpected from this group of caring, dedicated, extraordinary role models. At the expense of some of the important components of a kick off event, I perhaps was so touched by their presence that I did, indeed, lay more emphasis than was needed at that time, on spotlighting the impact of the various roles our honorees and volunteers play with their unique contributions to the weaving of the fabric of our organization. As one who has absolute regard for the teaching and learning process, I shall take action to rectify that promptly.

I conclude by sharing how your support engenders much inspiration and motivation in me and others associated with our organization. On one occasion, I was inspired to formulate the following quote in response to the supportive role played by  one of our honorees:

“By God’s grace…the doors to all minds that get to know about our upcoming event will be swung wide open by the spirit of receptivity.

Thank you so much, Cynthia, for all that you do for us.”       

I have taken the liberty of tailoring this message specially for you, and ask that you too open your spirit of receptivity, and take action by either giving a word of  encouragement and empowerment to today’s youth by purchasing an ad in our 2014 Commemorative Journal, by purchasing a sponsorship package or tickets to attend our gala or by helping to make it a success in the best way you know how.

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Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc. Mission Statement 

Your Time for Creative Empowerment is a 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.