Professionals Against Bullying

Friday, July 30, 2010

Peanut Butter and Jelly at it's best

Do you remember Summer stories and snack times? How about running in to have a sandwich cut just right waiting for you when you were finished playing? I recall times like this with fondness. I also remember the people who helped me to be able to enjoy such luxuries. When I was young we had to rely on foodbanks from time to time to get us through the summer. Light House of Oakland County was one of the banks that contributed to our family in great detail. They helped us with food, toys and more. I remember when I had to rely on them with funds for a special class that I needed. I was a teenager but I recall vividly the feeling of gratitude in my heart. I looked the cooridnator in the eye and said to her that one day I would help them out...the day has come!
You can help too! This summer we are having PB&J drives at many area businesses and drop-off locations. We also are including a special storytime series for those who give back. Are you interested in giving bread, jelly or peanut butter? How about raisins? Let us know and you might just be featured on this blog!
Let's make this a fun summer for those in need!
Read something great!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Guest blog from Jessica Presner & The Village Kid's Club

Note: I had the pleasure of partnering with this amazing kid's club in Rochester Hills, MI. This guest post should inspire and inform. -Read something great!

Seven-year-old Rochester Hills Resident Names
Village Kids Club Mascot

The Village of Rochester Hills announced the winner of the “Name the Kids Club Mascot Contest” during their free story time on Wednesday, July 21. Over 75 children submitted entries suggesting name for the Village Kids Club bluebird mascot. Zachary Oberdier of Rochester Hills suggested the name “Chirpy”, which was selected as the winning name. Zachary, a seven-year-old Musson Elementary student, was awarded a $25 Village of Rochester Hills gift card and a prize from Brilliant Sky Toys and Books.

The Village Kids Club, sponsored in part by Cornerstone Community Financial of Auburn Hills and Kiddie Klub of Rochester Hills, provides free children’s activities to community all summer long. Every Tuesday from 11:00AM to 12:30PM, children are invited to create a free craft in the Village’s Fountain Park. On Wednesdays, children can bring their favorite cuddly pal to Festival Park to enjoy free story time from 11:00am to 11:30am. Each child in attendance receives a free membership card to have punched during weekly activities. Children will receive a prize pack for collecting ten stamps throughout the summer. In addition, participation prizes are awarded after story time every Wednesday.

¬The Village of Rochester Hills brings fashion, dining and ambiance together to create Rochester Hills’ very own downtown. From Parisian to Whole Foods Market and fifty more shops and eateries, there is something for everyone. With parking available in front of your favorite store, shopping the Village is easy and convenient. The Village is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00am to 9:00pm and Sundays from 12:00pm to 6:00pm. Village gift cards are available at Whole Foods Market or online at

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wisdom I Planned to ignore Guest Blog by Kea Wheeler

Wisdom I planned to ignore
There are famous words that reverberate through homes around the world “You’ll understand when you’re older.” But to me, it always seemed that I would never be that old to understand. So why wait? I just figured that the words that some people told me would literally jump in one ear and fall out the other without ever embedding themselves into my gray matter. But words have a funny way of drifting up from underneath years of forgetfulness to present themselves to help you understand the world around you. So here are a few of the words of wisdom that I planned to forget but never had a chance to…
Wisdom #1: Expand Your Mind
One of my mother’s favorite sayings whenever she felt that my sister and I had made a less than stellar decision was “You have a mind of an acorn.” Really? I didn’t know acorns had minds, but apparently they do. And I had a mind just like one. Eventually I realized she meant that she believed my actions to be short sighted and my decisions were of those more suitable to an inanimate object then a person with common sense and reason. Ah ha! Well with that light bulb moment my mind capacity just had to increase to at least…a pine comb. And a good thing too. There was more wisdom that was thrown at me throughout my years and an acorn just didn’t have enough storage space.
Wisdom #2: Be Proud
My mother didn’t always point out me or my sister’s shortcomings. She has also helped us to be stronger. When I was younger, I had a hand puppet that looked like a sleeping baby. The baby’s head and hands were covered with nylon for whatever reason. But I knew I loved that hand puppet and played with it constantly. In fact, I played with it so much that the nylon had snagged and started to run. My sister, who loved me dearly but still fell prey to sisterly duties, teased me over that doll and its face and hands with nylon runs in them. I remember crying in my bed over the fact that my sister made fun of my beloved doll. My mother heard me crying and came and knelt down beside my bed and told me, “Don’t ever let anybody make you so upset over something. Don’t give them the satisfaction.” So I held my puppet baby even tighter that night and played with her the next morning. And with that knowledge my now pine comb sized mind had to be at least….a coconut. Score one for me!
Lesson #3: Entertain Yourself
Speaking of my sister, she is six years older than me. The big joke in our family is that I’m her first child and she is my second mother. So as surrogate mother, she instilled her own brand of wisdom in me. I can admit now that I did not make her job easy or pleasant. There were plenty of times that my mother’s wisdom of “kids can wait” was reinforced to my sister by my many childhood antics. From the time I got in the shower with all of my clothes on because my sister just wanted me to be clean and I couldn’t think of anything more ridiculous, to the countless times I wanted to sleep in her bed until she moved to the basement to get away from me. But I digress. This is about a lesson she taught me, not the lesson of patience that I taught her.
As I was a rambunctious child, there were times when she watched me when I was bored. Not just normally bored but the type of bored that dissolves an overactive kid into a big pile of crabby, unreasonable madness that finally explodes into a colossal whine of “I’m soooooooo bored!” And my sister would look at me and reply, “I’m not Michael Jackson. I’m not here to entertain you.” Well….she was right. She was not Michael Jackson. I mean, she did have a red jacket like his, but moonwalk she could not. So thanks for the lesson, dear sister, if you want to be entertained, entertain yourself.
Wisdom #4: Scars are badges
And entertain myself I did. I entertained myself in the summer by climbing trees and playing in the creek near our apartment complex and in the winter by sledding or having snow ball fights. Inevitably, there would be some sort of incident where I would end up with less flesh and red stickiness seeping from the aftermath. And off I would go limping, running, and even on occasion, being carried back to my home. My mother would always do the things that mothers do to make you feel better. My father would tell me that I would be fine and send me back outside. Whenever this would happen, there were sometimes “discussions” between my mom and dad that went something like this:
Mom: “You know she is going to regret when she is older that she has so many scars, especially on her legs. She may actually want to wear skirts one day.”
Dad: “Don’t worry about her, let her go out and play.”
But secretly my dad actually did have a lesson for me about my scars. Whenever I had a new injury and he would ask me what happened and then tell me, “Well then maybe you’ll have cool scar. And don’t pick at it.” I probably would not have so many “cool” scars if I actually listened to that second part of the advice. But of course I didn’t. But each one of my scars has a story. They are their own little markers of the roadmap of my life. And I don’t regret them, even the ones on my legs.
Wisdom #5: Be Grateful
I am grateful of my scars because they remind me of a life lived. But being grateful was something I learned from my Uncle Gary. Every year at Christmas my mom would give me money to go to the dollar store and buy gifts for my family. I was so happy to buy my gifts for others and couldn’t wait to wrap them and put them under the tree. One year, I remember giving my uncle a shoeshine kit with shoe polish and a little rag. At the time, I had thought the shoe polish was some sort of car grease as my uncle was always working on refurbishing a corvette that he kept in his garage that was always in a constant state of rework. When he opened the shoeshine kit he said with a smile “Thank you sweetheart. It was just what I wanted.” I know now that shoe polish is not the ideal gift to receive, but my uncle made me believe that it was the perfect present. Thinking of this moment reminds me to be thankful for any good thing that is given from the heart. And although my Uncle Gary is no longer here, I still carry his words, and him, with me.
Wisdom #6: Old people will make you old
As I get older, I do realize that the words people have told me do stay with you even if you planned to not listen. But as I collect years under my belt, I will take with me many wise words, but I will take an especially large collection of wisdom from my grandmother.
When my grandparents first moved to Florida a number of years ago, my grandfather had picked out a lovely ranch style home in a retirement community….and my grandmother hated it. I would talk to her on the phone and she would say, “You know what Kea, all the people here don’t want to do anything. They just want to sit around and be old. But I refuse to have these people make me old.”
My grandmother has always been a get up and go type of person: volunteering, taking line dancing lessons, attending fashions shows and the list goes on. So to put her around a group of people that believe that retirement is a comfy spot on the sofa and the remote in one hand and a snack in the other was just not her speed. I knew what she meant when she said “old people make you old.” It didn’t have anything to do with the age of the people around her. It was the lack of fire to keep living and not to just exist. I want to never just exist, I want to live at any age. My grandparents eventually did move to another community, one my grandmother felt had more lively activities and was not for the old of heart.
Now in my musings about these lessons I have collected over the years, it may seem that I took the advice at exactly the time it was given to me. But that was definitely not the case. It took me becoming older in years for these words to manifest themselves at appropriate times and situations to make me actually listen to them. But I am fortunate that the words of wisdom I planned to ignore never truly were ignored or forgotten. They were just laid in different areas of my mind for later use. So I guess it is a good thing that my mind didn’t stay the size of an acorn’s…perhaps it’s even a watermelon by now.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Beauty for all...

I had the pleasure of going on a shopping/hang time with a great friend this week. I was inspired to write this blog post because we stopped into a large department store retailer cosmetic area where we were greeted by very friendly make-up artists who asked if we wanted make-overs. I instantly felt the discouragement in my heart. Something told me that they would not have my shade of foundation or powder but I quieted the voice inside-reminded myself that we were in 2010 and simply asked about the shades of foundation that they carry. I could tell that the artist that I was speaking to had never thought of that dilemma and she looked a bit nervous. She grabbed a shade and tried it out on my hand.
I noticed that it did not blend and my heart sank. The lady asked if I wanted a makeover again. I told her that the shade did not match and she let out a breath and said yeah I agree but I wasn't going to say anything. She proceeded to ask me if I wanted a makeover without foundation and I declined. I figured that if you were going to get dolled up foundation is the...well foundation.
I watched as my friend who is more fair than I in skin tone received a beautiful makeover. She is very pretty anyway and her heart matches her outward appearance. The store did a great job on her and I could not help but feel like this experience could make an enriching and thought provoking blog post.
I thought about how the cosmetic industry at this particular counter had shades that ranged to fit many hues but not mine. I also thought about how this could impact women and girls who needed beauty products but had to settle for less.
As an advocate and author for self-esteem and diversity I realize that this encounter did not happen by chance but that it could be a learning experience for beauty retailers that don't meet the needs of all shades of beauty. Have you ever felt that you were not acknowledged by the beauty industry in any way? Please share. I'd love to have an open discussion on this topic and think about how we can help the industry know that there is room for improvement.
Read something great.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blood, Sweat & Gear guest blog

Enjoy the guest blog from Catherine Hilker.... (Read Something Great!)

Whether you live in the suburbs or inside the city, you are a Detroiter. The issues in our community are ours to resolve. Yes, you and me. There are so many ways to make positive change in our city and we have to do it together. Them is us, they are we, their problem is our problem. Considering the following:

Stop seeing yourself as separate
Stop blaming the problems on others
Stop tuning into disempowering news & media

Start getting involved. It’s that simple.

The Blood, Sweat & Gear Community Service campaign is just one way to be the change you want to see in the world. Just do it!

Passionate, Prosperous & Meaningful Living

Catherine's Website

Catherine's Blog

Follow Catherine on Twitter

Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer Shorts...

When you see the title Summer shorts you may think that I am talking about attire...I'm not. Summer is the best time to work your writing muscles and get your thoughts on paper. Today I am introducing our summer shorts program. This is a contest that embraces the beauty of getting your thoughts on paper. What is on your mind? What do you want to share with my readers? Think about it...write it... and send it to and you will get "Who I Am" branded merchandise.
The contest ends on August 1st. I can't wait to be inspired by your thoughts on paper. Remember that a special announcement for teens is coming soon too-so stay tuned to the site for details.
-Read something great!