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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Crucial Connections


 

Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc. on Saturday, August 2, 2014, hosted a group of approximately 70 people comprised of college and high school students; community members from academia, the business and professional sector and; public officials, Suffolk County Legislator, DuWayne Gregory and Nassau County Legislator, Carrie Solages for a Community Networking Soiree. This event, which was held at the Town of Hempstead’s Merrick Golf Clubhouse at Merrick Road Park Golf Course, provided a rare opportunity for high school students to get a candid, insider look into the college, pre-college and professional experience. A broad range of topics from how many AP’s one should take, and how to pick a major, to what one does after college were presented and laid bare for the perusal and questioning of the youth that attended the event. The casual conversation format of the Community Networking Soirée allowed both the attendees and Resource Persons to speak openly and honestly. Most importantly, it put the young people at ease to fully take advantage of the opportunity to converse and ask questions about topics that they were truly interested in learning about.

As was mentioned throughout the event, this was their show. The adults and college students in attendance imparted some helpful and relevant tips on personal development to the students in attendance. Wise words regarding the company one keeps and the importance of hard work and time management were spoken and warmly received.

Long Island Villagers took Volunteerism to Another level

Your Time For Creative Empowerment would like to thank everyone who made it a point to contribute to the success of our Community Networking Soirée. This event was a true demonstration of the lessons of life unleashed by community members for the benefit of Long Island’s future leaders. We could not have asked for a finer group of Resource Persons who ‘taught’ by example as they embraced our youth with such exuberance, and selflessly gave of themselves. Our college students were clearly empowered by a setting which lent itself  to their taking on a leadership role too!

A special “thank you” goes to our parents and significant adults in the lives of the youth present. The quality of their participation and overall involvement spoke volumes about their parenting and leadership skills. Kind, loving and sensitive parents and adult role models without a doubt, raise kind loving and sensitive children society would one day be proud of!  The willingness of the youth present, to work with us, both on and off site, at making this initiative a success, will always serve as an inspiration for us to do more.                                                                                              

We owe a debt of gratitude to Suffolk County Presiding officer, Legislator, DuWayne Gregory, and Nassau County Legislator, Carrié Solages whom we know, had to tweak their busy schedules for that day to stop by and register their commitment to the success of 21st Century youth. We also acknowledge the participation of Jason Zove, candidate for New York State’s 8th Assembly District for the valuable interaction he had with both students and parents as part of this vital process that creates the opportunity for our children to share their concerns and ideas with caring representatives from the business and professional community who understand the importance of subscribing to their social, academic and professional well being.

Our call for community involvement and support was also answered by Las Bahias Latin American Restaurant of North Bellmore, Spice Negril of Baldwin and Eye Supply of WantaghPlease stop by and experience for yourself why we think these kind and caring local businesses are “all that and then some”.                                                

 

Board Member, Madeline Quintyne extended a warm welcome to Brendan Sperling while his mother and aunt look on.

Board Member, Madeline Quintyne extended a warm welcome to Brendan Sperling while his mother and aunt look on.

Caleb Garard, College Freshman bound for  medical school, (August 2014) shared his academic experience and gave college survival tips.

Caleb Garard, College Freshman bound for medical school, (August 2014) shared his academic experience and gave college survival tips.

 

F.I.T bound Marie Saint-Cyr, her sister Pierrelande and friends Emily Kehrli and Madeleine Mottel (also F.I.T bound) at the Arbornne health and wellness table

Fashion Institute of Technology-Bound Marie Saint-Cyr, her sister Pierrelande, and friends Emily Kehrli and Madeleine Mattel (also F.I.T-bound) at the Argonne health and wellness table.

Program Director James A. Lacy and Resource Person Deon a Brown-Harrison with Parent Clarence Brown and Daughter Chinara Brown

Program Director James A. Lacy and Resource Person Deon a Brown-Harrison with Parent Clarence Brown and Daughter Chinara Brown

 

What Others Had to Say about our Community Networking Soirée  

Click on link to a sampling of comments and visuals that capture …
&
Our Community Networking Soiree Photo Album

 

To volunteer and learn more about how you can contribute to the growth of the not- for-profit organization, Your Time For Creative Empowerment, visit  www.yourtime4liny  or call (516) 965-3242.