Hands on Jax volunteer story published for Florida Times Union

I recently wrote an article for Hands on Jax. Every year Hands on Jax awards several volunteers in the Jacksonville community who have gone above and beyond in helping make their community a better place.  Job Corp was awarded the “Hands on Planned Acts of Kindness Award.”   Within 8 months they completed more than 2500 volunteer hours. I had the opportunity to interview a few students along with the program’s business and community liasion, Joann Manning. Interviewing Manning and the students was a lovely experience for them to share their side of the story and let others know what Job Corp is really about.

On April 19th, Job Corp along with several other volunteers were given their awards at the annual Celebrate Good Event. The event was held downtown at the Times Union Center for Performing Arts. My article was published online for the Florida Times Union.

Here is the link to the post on Jacksonville.com website: http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2012-04-19/story/jacksonville-volunteer-group-honors-job-corps-volunteer-work-helps-break

Volunteer award recipients as they leave the stage
Me, along with Joann Manning (red suit) and students of the Job Corp program

Hands on Jax: Celebrate Good Event 2012 Video

Hands on Jax is celebrating 17 volunteers who have gone above and beyond in the community to give back to others. For my applied journalism class we were assigned to do mini intro movies that included video clips and pictures of the volunteers.  On April 19, the volunteers will be awarded for their outstanding services at the Celebrate Good Event held at the Florida Times-Union Center.

“Letter to Self” by Oprah: A Reflection of her at 19-Years-Old

Oprah, then and now...

I saw this post on Necolebitchie.com and it talked about Oprah writing a letter to her 19-year-old self. This has been something I’ve often thought to do myself, just to be able to later look back, read it and realize hopefully how far I’ve come since then. Reading the post was very inspiring and I figure I would share it with others and hope they be inspired in their own journeys.

Here begins the letter:

Dear beautiful brown-skinned girl,

I look into your eyes and see the light and hope of myself.

In this photo you are just about to turn 20, posing outside the television station where you were recently hired as a reporter. You’re proud of yourself for getting the job, but uncertain you’ll be able to manage all your college classes before 1 and arrive at the station by 1:30 for a full day’s work. Even so, your biggest concern is how to manage your love life with Bubba. Yes, you are dating someone named Bubba.

On this day you’ve brought him to the station to see where you work, hoping he’ll be proud, too. He seems less than impressed. The truth is, he’s intimidated. You don’t know this, though, because you can see yourself only through his eyes. A lesson you will have to learn again and again: to see yourself with your own eyes, to love yourself from your own heart.

You’ve spent too many days and years trying to please others and be what they wanted you to be. You will have to learn that the wounds of your past—rape, molestation, whippings for “stepping out of place,” and not being allowed to show anger or cry afterward—damaged your self-esteem. Yet through it all, you’ve held on to a belief in God and God’s belief in you.

That will be your single greatest gift: knowing there is a power greater than yourself and trusting that Force to guide you.

The trajectory of your life changed the day you answered the call from Chris Clark, the news director at WLAC-TV. Your response was ignited by the words of your then-favorite Bible verse, Philippians 3:14. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Knowing there is a “high calling” is what will sustain and fulfill you.

From where I sit now, viewing your journey, there are few regrets. Only months before this picture was taken, you wrote a poem about a “woman becoming.” Even then you understood that success was a process and that moving with the flow of life and not against it would be your greatest achievement.

Love you deeply,