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

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Open Arms and Mind


It is with open arms and an open mind that I serve as the Founder and CEO of a non-profit that I believe has such great potential to blossom.

The key to Community service, as modeled by my parents when I was young and impressionable is unequivocal selflessness. It is not possible to effectively serve with ‘reservation’. This is where the open arms, heart and mind policy comes to play. Service- whether socially or spiritually based – I believe, should be positioned to address the needs of those who feel they can use what the provider has to offer. It should be devoid of biases, personal vendettas or anything that casts a shadow of insincerity.

It is unfortunate that what can be characterized as innate discriminatory practices, more often than not, come to play in this process and muddy things up. When the absence of open mindedness is not wreaking havoc with the obstacles and barriers that otherwise ‘well-meaning’ people place in the way of others, it is busy reinforcing the superiority complex in others who simply ‘know’ this can’t be for them even though it is this very practice of denial that has created a need for service.  This, to say the least, is not for the faint of heart. It must be emphasized here that most people who serve, do so, looking for nothing in return as they bless others with what they have been blessed with.

How does one rise above this, and continue to serve with open arms, heart and mind – even in the midst of man-made psychological hurricanes?

I will now share some of the tools I have used to navigate this self-help personal development dilemma:

  1. Introspection – a serious look into the essence of my being. Why am no I here? Where do I see myself in the bigger picture of the fabric of mankind or humanity?
  2. Commitment: How badly do I feel the need to be of service to my fellow man, knowing that I have no control over who will or will not appreciate my efforts?  How willing am I to learn new ways to handle my life so that the service I render is more complimentary rather than a distraction to me? 
  3. Determination – How strong is my desire to stay the course- no matter what or who for that matter, becomes an obstacle in my way? What would it take to derail me, if anything?
  4. Empathy: How am I doing in the unwavering love, respect, and understanding for my fellow man/woman department? How capable am I of feeling agape love, respect and compassion to the extent that I can understand and appreciate the plight of others around me? Do I have a desire to relate to others who are ‘not like me’, or am I embarking on a solely self-serving journey?  It is the “there but for the grace of God go I” reality of life that keeps one grounded and humbled enough to serve with open hands, mind and heart.

Now, for some service-related Madonarism by Madona Cole-Lacy 

“When we choose service with an open heart and mind, over the sideshows of the growth process of life, we can go to bed at the end of the day with a measure of appreciation for the true meaning of self-actualization that will lead us to a strong desire to reproduce the same in the morrow.”Madona Cole-Lacy

“The ability to empathize with others around us is the power cord upon which service with an open heart and mind is grounded. Handle this cord with care!”

It is my wish that this post, which was inspired by a WordPress One Word Prompt, will encourage others to develop their own list of self-help service-related tools. 

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 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.