Professionals Against Bullying

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The goal of friendship...

Many people are updating their goal lists to ready themselves for 2010. I like to reflect on my goals from last year before starting a new list. One of the most important on my roster last year was to be a better friend to those who I value.
I realized that time and distance can take us away from showing care and kindness to those we hold dear. I'm happy to report that I believe that I succeeded in making this goal in 2009. I made more phone calls, spent more time and had great conversations!
I let go of toxic relationships and drew closer to those that were sincere. Being a friend is important to always has been. I find it funny that 2009 was the first year that it replaced getting into shape on my goal list.
Friendship is so important especially to children. It teaches them some of the greatest traits of being a good person. 2009 is also the first year that my character Janelle gets a true friend in Zoey (100% Real).
The photo above is of me and my very good friend Jennifer. We have been friends for over ten years and we have had our up's down's and in betweens....:) Make it a goal to celebrate friendship in the new will be on my goal list again in 2010.
Read something great!

Friday, December 25, 2009

The sweetest gift!

For many years I saw Christmas as a time to show my family how much I cared for them. This is not a bad idea. Although my way of showing love was through expensive and lavish gifts. This year my husband and I set a $10 limit for our family and friends. I have to tell you it is not easy for me to give gifts that are this price. It is a big test of my character to help me not to be materialistic though.

I realize that a $10 limit is okay for a purchased gift as long as I don't limit love this season. I have the ability to break the bank with care and thoughtfulness this year. Is it challenging for you to give when it does not require money but thought? We made homemade candy and we will enjoy a breakfast with my beautiful family & friends this morning. It occurred to me how blessed I am. I have such a wonderful group of people that love me unconditionally and this is a true gift.

What gifts have you given that are priceless? I want to let you know that you, my reader, belong in the priceless category. Thanks for reading! Merry Christmas.

Read something great!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Thank you for being the best readers an author could wish for. I appreciate your comments, your purchases, your encouragement and your energy! This holiday season would not be as great as it is if you did not show up at my signings, enter my contests and have me at your events! I hope to see more of you in the new year and please pass this blog on to someone you know who celebrates self-esteem, diversity and literacy!
-Read something great!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Guest blog w/Kayci Baldwin...

Today we are featuring Kayci amazing advocate for diversity & race relations....

“Daddy’s Black, Mommy’s White, and I’m Brown with curly hair and golden tips.” So began the essay that launched my career as a multiracial activist. I was in first grade and had written an essay on Martin Luther King Jr. It was quite a thrill to win the contest. The thrill was not because Bruce Springsteen presented my award. (My parents were impressed, but I’d never heard of Bruce Springsteen.) It was not the U.S. Savings Bond or the fancy certificate that he gave me. I was thrilled because they put my picture in the newspaper and at six years old that was the coolest thing that had ever happened to me. I was once a little girl with a big dream!

That was where it began for me, but it was only the beginning. For four years now I have pursued that dream as President of Teen Project RACE, the youth arm of Project RACE, which advocates for the growing number of multiracial Americans and works to have a multiracial category included on forms that ask a person’s race. Since joining TPR in eighth grade, I’ve served as a spokesperson giving interviews to media outlets including the Associated Press, Houston Chronicle, and the Tyra Banks Show, written articles that have been published in magazines and on our website and interviewed multiracial celebrities. I’ve held minority-focused bone marrow drives, produced a video PSA and petitioned the US Department of Health and Human Services for inclusion in federally funded medical research. I’ve started social networking groups for multiracial youth that have grown to over 1000 members, been elected President of the Multicultural Club at my high school and awarded the 2009 Princeton Prize in Race Relations. I have helped conduct letter writing campaigns to legislators and the US Department of Education and more. To say that I’ve been passionate about multiracial advocacy would be an understatement.

But lately, I have seen some apathy toward this advocacy. There are many who seem to believe that because race is a social construct, that it is not an issue at all or that because the United States has elected a multiracial President that our job is suddenly done. How I wish that were true!

Let’s review what happened in a single week in October. First, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a progressive bill that Project RACE’s Executive Director helped draft. The bill would have added the term multiracial to the instruction section of the form asking for California school children’s race. Although, the US Dept of Education finally allows for multiple racial check-offs, which is of course better than the “check one race mandate,” they continue to reassign multiracial students back to one category. As long as there are children forced to choose between denying one of their parents and identifying as an “other”, there remains work to be done. Then a Justice of the Peace in Louisiana refused to marry an interracial couple because he didn't approve and had concern for their future children! As long as we allow the Keith Bardwells of the world to hold positions of influence, there remains work to be done. And finally, multiracial leukemia patient Nick Glasgow died because a suitable bone marrow donor could not be found. As long as there exists racial health disparities and a shortage of minority marrow donors, there remains work to be done. Remember, these are just a few examples from one recent week.

The job of those who aim to help our nation embrace its wonderful diversity is not finished. Despite all the good that has been achieved, there is much yet to be done and still too few people doing it. That is why I’m excited about the wonderful work that Tara and others like her are each doing in their own way and why I’m honored to be able to contribute to this site. There are lots of little girls and boys with lots of wonderful dreams and we want to do all we can to help them come true.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mean Girls...overcoming bullying & toxic relationships...

I had my share of teasing and taunting as a young girl. I was picked on for being too smart, not being smart enough, being too dark, talking too proper, and the list goes on. I remember being insecure and afraid of meeting new people because I wanted to escape rejection. It is a blessing that the insecure and cautious girl that I used to be blossomed into a confident person willing to talk to anybody about anything. I realize that many young people don't feel great about themselves and that those feelings can result in them being victims of bullies or becoming bullies themselves.
Confidence coaching by parents, peers and the community is a practice that should start early in a young persons life. Teaching a child about those who differ from them in appearance and inwardly can help them to be more accepting as they enter school and feel pressure to taunt others. The "Who I Am" series is a great addition to early diversity awareness campaigns and self-esteem workshops.
I would love to say that once children get older that these pressures go away...but it is not true. If a person does not learn to get along with others and to practice genuine kindness and compassion this just leads to adults that use the core principles of bullying in their lives as grown-ups.
Some of the people that targeted me as a child were the people that I thought I shared friendship with. Children need to know that it is okay to let go of friendships that prove toxic. I am not saying that forgiveness should be absent but I am saying that I would like children to learn when to walk away from a bad relationship.
If your school, church, etc. would be interested in a Dream/Esteem workshop on diversity & anti-bullying I would be happy to give you a quote and even happier that these principles are being shared to strengthen the characters of our future!
Read something great!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holiday Spirit...

Last year I was in a very busy mall at a coffee shop during the holiday season. I had the sudden urge to buy the man behind me a coffee. It was the oddest thing to me. This man did not look like he needed anyone buying him a drink. He was dressed nicely and he smiled and looked rather content as he waited patiently for me to list off all of the items of my complicated coffee order.
I felt baffled as my instincts continued to nudge me to buy him a drink. I fought with those instincts and thought how weird would that be if I bought this man something. I argued back inwardly-I don't even know him. The end result of the battle is that I walked away from the counter having made only one purchase... my own.
I shared the inward struggle with my husband who said maybe you should have done it. I immediately felt regret-the man was no longer in the store and I tried to forget about the ordeal as I read the back of my coffee cup. The cup had a story on the back about buying gas for a stranger or doing a good deed for someone that you don't know. This did not make me feel any better.
I realized that one of the biggest acts of kindness is doing a good deed for someone who has done nothing for you in return. I often think of that missed oportunity and feel a bit of guilt. I am hopeful that this season I will listen to my instincts and do great small deeds for those who I have no affiliation with.
The holiday spirit as it is ofte called can refer to being nice, cheerful and kind. Unfortunately I believe that the to-do list can get so long that people often in the midst of doing nice things for those they know may not be so kind to those they don't know. With traffic jams, full malls, and worries of January debt it is easy to be distracted and not tak ehold of the meaning of the season. This year we set a limit for those on our list in our family. We are trying to get back to the pure magic of December and away from the materialism and greed. about a challenge??
I implore you to take sometime and do something nice for someone new. You can shovel a walk, make a card or just help them with the door. If you do take me up on this challenge be sure to share it in the comments field. We could all use a bit holiday warmth during this cold season.
Read something great!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Welcome Guest Blogger-Dawn Stephens

What You Hold Verses What You Grow
When I was young, I was often asked about what I would be when I grew up. I felt quite a bit of pressure to know the answer to that question. Frankly, though, I had no idea. I knew that I liked to draw pictures and make up stories. Both of those things usually got me in trouble in school since I drew pictures instead of listening and the stories I made up were sometimes interpreted as lies. I did imagine that someday I could use those things to be a children’s author and illustrator. Since school never went well for me, I knew that I did not want to be a teacher.
I came from a Christian home I was taught that I should pray for the things I want. Therefore, I simply prayed and asked God to make me an author and illustrator and then waited for Him to do so. It never seemed to me that He was actually doing that. When it came time for me to go to college I told my dad my plans and he said I could not become an author or illustrator, because I’d never make money doing it. I searched for another career that would allow me to draw pictures and write stories for kids and I found one. It was a teacher.
I figured since God didn’t seem to hear me about the author, illustrator thing I might as well go into teaching. I did and found that I loved it. I felt so full and complete. I knew that I was doing exactly what God created me to do. I taught for ten years until one day I knew that God wanted me to stop teaching and stay home with my children. One of my daughters had severe asthma and maintaining her health while teaching fulltime seemed impossible. I reluctantly quit and became a “Stay-at-home-mom”. Now, I admire woman who do this a great deal, but I never felt it was for me. I loved being with my children, but I also wondered continually if God was using me.
My husband sensed that I wanted to work again so he bought me a company to run. Running your own company may sound exciting to some, but for me- it was not exciting at all. It was terrifying. I had taught Kindergarten, First grade, and Second grade. One year I taught third grade and realized the third graders were smarter than me, so I went back to teaching Kindergarten. I couldn’t even keep my checkbook balanced. So, I had no idea how I would run a company. It seemed that’s what God expected me to do. So I did it. And, after some time, I began to love it. I wrote business plans and drew characters for my website all why staying home with my kids. I thought I was doing exactly what God created me to do. I felt full and happy. The only part of running a business I didn’t do well was the selling of stuff. And since I didn’t sell things, my company didn’t continue to do so well every year.
As my daughters got older and healthier, my husband suggested I go back to work and that we sell the business. I still had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. Now I was all grown up and was suppose to go find a job. I prayed again wondering why God wouldn’t make me into an author and illustrator. It seemed I just kept doing these random things in life without knowing their purpose. I told God I take whatever job came along and that I’d do anything except, of course, sell stuff. We both knew I was not any good at that. Eventually a company called saying they wanted to talk to me about a job. They were a publishing company and I was very excited. I hoped they would want to publish my stories or let me illustrate for them. I was wrong. They did offer me a job, but it was in sales. They wanted me to sell their books. I did and eventually I got really good at it. I even had opportunities to write lesson plans for their books and draw pictures of things to go with those plans. This was the best job of all. I knew I was doing what God had created me to do and I felt completely full and happy. I did this for several years until the company decided they were no longer going to close the division I worked in. My job no longer existed. At this point, I was completely shattered and confused. I began to think of all the things in life I had held and wondered what I would do next.
Through all those jobs, a story began to develop. It is the story of The Little Pot. In this story, The Little Pot is continually filled and emptied with things. The potter puts papers into it and it believes it will be a smart paper pot. But the potter makes another vessel for that purpose and then empties Little Pot. Next the potter fills it with coins and it thinks it will be a rich coin pot. But the potter makes another vessel for that purpose and Little Pot is empty again. Finally the potter fills the little pot with dirt and a small green plant. Little Pot assumes it will be a beautiful flower pot. It still is wrong, however, because its flowers are really fruit. Little Pot finally discovers that it is a fruit pot and that its true purpose is to bear fruit for the potter.
I had to discover that through all the jobs I held and all the titles I carried, God had one purpose in mind. I was to bear fruit for Him. The author, illustrator thing did finally happen for me, but it isn’t the thing that makes me feel full and content. I know now that I can’t find contentment in what I hold. I can only find it in what I grow.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Little Girls...Dreams came true!

Yesterday was so awesome! I usually don't start off my post like that-but it was! Little Girls, Big Dreams is a group of girls in Pontiac Michigan (my home town) that are in an after-school literacy project. Natania Swirski is the developer of this non-profit 501 3 (C) group and she donates tons of time to these girls to make sure that they can achieve their dreams by being achievers in reading, writing ,etc. Natania and I began collaborating in the Fall to give the girls a bit of an reward for being so dedicated to their own education.
The business community in Michigan came to these girls aid in the fall by donating my books to the girls to encourage them. This holiday season I solicited donations from many businesses and used the power of social media to give these girls a bit more.
Donations were:
modeling clay
floor pads of paper
bubble gum
100% Real Books (Who I Am series)
BooksByTara (Tara McClintick books)
colored pencils
pencil bags
candy canes
A big thank you to:
Gardner White Furniture
Barb Tronstein
Tara McClintick
Stephanie Lewis
Cathy Lewis
Access Pointe Human Resources
Black Women In Business Brainstorm
My Busykits
These girls smiles are bigger and brighter because of you! A confession-I have not even started my holiday shopping yet-but this is the way of truly kicking off the season with a bang!
Read something great!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Week update and Ann Arbor fun!

This week has been so much fun! I was able to join my husband at the Princeton Club of Michigan Alumni Dinner and represent the Princeton Prize In Race Relations. Which is a great Award program for Michigan area high school students making a difference in Race relations. These young people are extraordinary individuals who don't let barriers stop them in improving our state by taking a stance against prejudice and discrimination by taking it upon themselves to make the changes needed. I am honored to be a co-chair of the committee this year! If you know of any local high school students making strides in this area please leave a comment on my blog. The winner is able to be honored at an annual ceremony, flown to the Princeton symposium on Race and will receive a monetary gift of $1,000.
I will also able to spend some time in Ann Arbor at the Briarwood mall with fantastic people who enjoyed my book series! Thanks again to all of the people who purchased books and enjoyed candy canes with me at Borders Express! Your support means the world to me!
If you need copies of the "Who I Am" series for the holidays-you can get signed copies right here! My page has a paypal function and the books will be delivered to you asap!
Read something great!

Friday, December 4, 2009

On your mark...get set...sign!

I am so excited to see you in Ann Arbor tomorrow! I will be autographing copies of my "Who I Am" series. My books are for children and reflect diversity awareness related topics and the importance of self-esteem. My goal is for every child to pick up my books and to be able to relate to the characters in some way. Maybe they look like Janelle or Zoey. They could have a teacher like Mrs. Deneen or perhaps they understand the importance of having a true friend.
The first 15 people that show up and mention my blog post will receive a free gift! I hope that you can make it!

Location: Borders Express/Briarwood Mall (Ann Arbor)
Time: 12-2
Why: Because it will be worth it!

Read something great!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


If you follow my blog on a regular basis or my tweets-you know that I am a literacy fanatic! When kids feel great about reading...they typically excel in writing, comprehension, speech, etc. I am currently asking for donations for the "Little Girls, Big Dreams" Literacy non-profit in Pontiac Michigan. This charitable cause allows young girls who are in the 1st-4th grade to embrace literacy after school in a non-pressure environment. I had the pleasure of visiting the girls in early November and sign out books for all of them-thanks to some awesome sponsors!
On December 10th I am eager to visit them again bearing holiday gifts. If you are interested you can donate a book off of my page on the side panel or you can email me at and we can discuss gift items that may be helpful to the hardworking young ladies.
I will be sure to upload photo's of my December visit to the blog so that you can share in the experience!
To end today's blog post I thought that I would post a top five list for literacy development feel free to comment and add your own ideas if you goes:

1.) Read to children as early as possible
2.) Show kids how to write cards, letters, thank-you notes, etc.
3.)visit your local author (shameless plug-I'll be at Briarwood Mall from 12-2 this Sat)
4.) Play word games like Scrabble
5.)Allow your kids to read to you!

Read something great!