In both my private and professional life, making a difference has been a driving force, from my work with AmeriCorps helping “at risk” youth obtain conflict resolution and peer mediation skills - to the work I have done in support of formerly incarcerated individuals obtaining higher education and everything in between, making a difference has been the most satisfying element of my life.
My personal commitment to service is reflected in my participation in community service ranging from participation in fundraising for the Revlon Run/Walk for Women’s cancers to serving as a mentor for young people in the Directions for Our Youth program. As a senior at Spelman College I received a community service award for my involvement in Big Brothers/Big Sisters Atlanta, tutoring children in the Gyamatata dance program, and the development and implementation of Chrysalis, a rites of passage program for girls. During my graduate study I was a member of the Speakers Bureau at the Whitman-Walker Clinic in Washington D.C. and spoke with community groups about HIV/AIDS prevention. I have been a volunteer women’s workshop facilitator at GMHC, one of the largest HIV/AIDS service organizations in New York City. I've also been a member of the Speakers Bureau for the Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
During my service with AmeriCorps, I coordinator of the program at Morehouse College and managed Project Safety Net at two area middle schools. Project Safety Net incorporated conflict resolution classes into the curriculum to assist children in making positive choices when confronted with conflict.
Upon completing my Masters degree, I obtained an International Training in Women and Development Fellowship and volunteered as the National Program Assistant with the National Office of the Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa (PPASA) in Johannesburg, South Africa. In this position I evaluated their Community Based Distribution (of Condoms) and Adolescent reproductive health programs.
As the Director of Policy for the New York AIDS Coalition, a coalition of over 100 HIV/AIDS service organizations - I advocated government officials on the city, state, and federal level for increased funding for HIV/AIDS in New York. In this capacity I conducted legislative briefings, provided testimony at governmental hearings, monitored legislation regarding HIV/AIDS on all levels of government, and presented workshops at national conferences.
I have held leadership roles in various coalitions including the New York City HIV/AIDS Communities of Color, the Harm Reduction Taskforce, and the New York City HIV Women’s Collaborative. As a result of my advocacy work, in 2003 I received a citation from the New York City Council.
While a policy analyst at the HIV Law Project I managed the volunteer peer educators program, coordinated the LawTAP advocacy training program for women with HIV/AIDS, and engaged in community organizing activities and worked with a number of collaborative efforts on New York City policy issues regarding people infected/affected by HIV/AIDS.
As a consultant, I have been the interim Executive Director for the Student Sponsorship Program, a non-profit organization based in South Africa that provides access to private school education, mentoring, and scholarships for academically gifted previously disadvantaged children. I've also work with the non-profit College and Community Fellowship assisting formerly incarcerated women attain higher education and leadership skills.
Currently, I am the State Director for The Reach Out and Read Program, an early literacy program that "prescribes a book" at every pediatric well-child visit for children from 0 -5 years of age. As the mother of a toddler this work is extremely fulfilling for me. It enables me to positively impact the lives of children and spend more time with my son.
During my five months as a blogger I've challenge my readers to make a difference. I participated in the Donors Choose Bloggers Challenge, asked people to get out and vote, raised awareness about World AIDS Day, Breast Cancer, and Poverty. Making a difference is ingrained in me and I am compelled to encourage others.
My husband and I are both entrepreneurs and if I win I will be keeping the HP Mini so that I can continue to work and build my business while keeping up with my busy toddler around the house. My husband is a youth empowerment motivational speaker and travels extensively. I am not sure how he has been able to manage for the past 3 years without a laptop but with a new baby and a new home in the same year our priorities have been elsewhere.
I will donate the majority of the equipment to the Atlanta Day Shelter for Women and Children. This mission of this shelter is
"to ease the burden of homelessness for women and children by providing basic and daily necessities while respecting their human dignity. Each year, the professional counselors, staff, and volunteers have helped over 6,000 women and children move towards more independent and productive lifestyles. Services include providing food, clothing, toiletries, diapers/formula, laundry/shower facilities, phones, job counseling, self-esteem classes, and child immunizations."
The shelter serves as the community service project for my mother's group and twice a year we donate clothing and toiletries for the women and children. I cannot think of a greater gift then providing the shelter with additional computers to help women find jobs and obtain training to ready them for the workforce. The entertainment package can be used for the children.
I am sure that this post is much longer than most but I wanted to make it clear that my life has been about service and I truly believe in the work of the Atlanta Day Shelter for Women and Children. I would love to spread some HP Magic their way.
Thank you Sugar at Living in Theory for the opportunity!