Archive for October, 2012

BACK TO SCHOOL TIME

Posted: 11/10/2012 in Uncategorized

This article was originally published in Caribbean Today Magazine

BACK TO SCHOOL TIME

By JASON WALKER

Jason Walker is a freelance writer for Caribbean Today Magazine who has had an award winning journalism career that spans 20 years. He can be followed on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jasonwalker_ or emailed at jasonarticle@gmail.com 

It’s that time again. The time of mad rushes to get all the items our children need for the purpose of higher education. The time when we have long lists of supplies necessary for the advancement of children’s development.  Parents will descend on stores across the land in a modern day re-enactment of the gold rush. “Do I have the list of the right items?” “Do I have enough money for all these items?” “What else can I get to help my child?” How do I make my money stretch”?

As I enter my 3rd year of this very important parental rite of passage I am found at a loss as to the formulaic path that one should take. So in an effort I began asking other parents if they could help me in such a quest.

After asking several parents I actually did not get much response however after a while I did get a few gems of wisdom that I wish to share with you. In no way is this list exhaustive and I even encourage you to go to our Caribbean Today website www.caribbeantoday.com, Caribbean Today page on Facebook and our account on Twitter and share your gems and opinions.

One of the first gems I received came from my wife Jamarah Amani who said simply “start early!” When she refers to starting early she is not just talking about beginning a couple months before school starts getting things together but even at the end of the school semester prior, have conversations with teachers to find out what to expect in the following season so as a parent you are in a position to involve your child in activities, projects, and scholastic endeavours that support your child’s success in the upcoming semester. Find creative ways at home and where ever your child is for the summer that engages them in areas that prepare them for school.

Some more wisdom came from another parent Debi Adam. She stated that for Kindergartners parents should “get their backpacks monogrammed or labeled well since there are bound to be a lot of duplicates”. She also shared that one should be an eco-shopper and hit consignment stores for great deals on clothes. She also suggests that if a parent has eased up on bedtime during the summer, the parent needs to make sure to get back on routine a week before school starts to reset your child’s body clock. Prepare yourself to pack healthy lunches for your child.

Tanya Ragbeer, a South Florida mother, and she reminds us to take advantage of the tax-free holiday where clothing, shoes, and all kinds of school supplies under $75 are free of tax. The tax-free holiday in Florida runs from August 3-August 5 and in Georgia August 10-11. Another SF mother Jarene Williams volunteered the fact that the dates are some organizations and churches will be having Back To School giveaways and drives. So check your local churches or community newspapers for such info. I have a few listed below.

Finally I picked up some wisdom in my research that focuses on the child.  From what I could glean here are some things that would be good ideas. Parents should help their child develop the skill of concentration. When they are doing homework or school related activities there should distraction and interruptions should be at a minimum. Children need to learn self-motivation when it comes to their work. Find a way tap into their self-interests and align them with success in school.

Another skill to teach is prioritization. To be frank a lot of adults need to learn this too. We all need to make sure our energies are appropriately focused on the most important things. In the case of our children doing this with their schoolwork will bring about powerful results. Two more skills to teach our children as they enter a new school semester is time management and organization.

 

Trinity Church is hosting a Back to School Bash Saturday, August 18, 2012, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM.The event will be held at 17801 N.W. 2nd Avenue, Miami, 33169.

 

Jason Walker is a freelance writer for Caribbean Today Magazine who has had an award winning journalism career that spans 20 years. He can be followed on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jasonwalker_ or emailed at jasonarticle@gmail.com

Tanya Ragbeer Aug 3-5 is Florida’s tax-free holiday where clothing, shoes, school supplies, etc. under $75 are free of tax.

 

Preschool

1 art smock

Change of clothes for spills or accidents

2 freezer packs for lunch boxes

1 lunch bag or lunch box

Packaged hand wipes (slip them into lunch boxes for wiping dirty hands before snack time)

Packaged snacks (healthy choices include pretzels, nuts—if allowed—and dried fruit)

Plastic crayon keeper or box to store craft projects

Plastic drink container with flip top to stop spills before they happen

Pocket tissue packs

Resealable gallon-sized plastic bags for taking home craft projects

Shoes with slip-proof soles to prevent hallway spills

Small umbrella

Elementary School

1 art smock

1 backpack large enough to fit a lunch box, folders, and supplies

1 box of crayons (16-count)

1 pack of washable markers (8-count)

1 bottle of glue (8 ounces)

4 glue sticks

2 freezer packs for lunch boxes

Packaged hand wipes (slip them into lunch boxes for wiping dirty hands before snack time)

Hooded waterproof jacket for drizzly days on the playground

1 large pink eraser

1 lunch bag or lunch box

4 No. 2 pencils

Packaged snacks (healthy choices include pretzels, nuts—if allowed—and dried fruit)

Plastic crayon keeper or box to store craft projects

Plastic drink container with flip top to stop spills before they happen

Plastic toolbox to store scissors, glue, and other supplies

4 folders with pockets

Pocket tissue packs

1 pair of safety scissors

Shoes with slip-proof soles to prevent playground accidents

1 small pencil sharpener

Small umbrella

Resealable gallon-sized plastic bags for taking home craft projects

 

Middle School

Agenda or planner to keep track of homework assignments

Backpack

Binder dividers

1 binder per subject

Compass (one without a sharp metal point will be the safest)

1 folder per subject for handouts

2 highlighters in different colors

1 pack of No. 2 pencils (12-count)

Loose-leaf paper (wide-ruled)

Pens

Protractor

Ruler

Mini stapler

1 three-subject spiral notebook

Zip drive or USB drive to save work done on home and school computers

High School

Agenda or planner to keep track of homework assignments

Backpack

Binder dividers

1 binder per subject

1 folder per subject for handouts

Calculator, if allowed

2 highlighters in different colors

1 pack of No. 2 pencils (12-count)

Loose-leaf paper (college-ruled or wide- ruled)

2 packages of 1/4-inch graph paper

Pens

Ruler

Mini stapler

1 three- or five-subject spiral notebook

Zip drive or USB drive to save work done on home and school computers

This story was originally published in Caribbean Today Magazine

Bernadette Morris Successful and helping others

By Jason Walker

               Bernadette Morris is a highly accomplished lady who has found a way to turn her passion into business success. Morris started and owns the largest African American, full-service marketing communications firm in Florida. Sonshine Communications is actually one of the largest in the United States. Morris also started and owns Black PR Wire, the Unites States’ first and largest Black newswire distribution service. Black PR also serves the Caribbean. On top of all of this Morris also started and owns a non-profit entity called Women Grow Strong. This last organization focuses on developing training and empowerment programs for women. 

               Before she started these companies Morris was a publicist at NPR and at PBS where she also helped to bring about programs that impacted people throughout the United States, she also worked with South Florida NPR affiliate WLRN and served as Division Director of Public Affairs at Miami-Dade College. All of this she has done while partnering a 22 year marriage and raising two children who are now in college.

               Any persons achieving what is in just one of these paragraphs would be regarded as successful. Mrs. Morris has accomplished the above in both paragraphs and more. I caught up with the very successful CEO in DC coming out of an important meeting on her way to another meeting.  Ms. Morris calls herself a Miami girl and I found her to be very engaging and charismatic. She is full of life and positive energy.

               When asked how it all started, Morris immediately points to the period of time that she was a tutor for the Stetson University men’s basketball team. During this time she recognized her love. With glee in her voice she stated that, “I loved PR, I loved writing for the men’s sports team at Stetson and changed my major from law to communication”.  Showing that recognizing her love was an integral factor for her success.

               As is noted above she had an enviable career in journalism, communications and publicity. For milestones during this she mainly speaks of giving the projects her “all and then you see the fruits of [the] labour come to fruition; from everyday news stories for national public radio making a huge difference all across the country, to creating a phenomenal book fair for Miami Book Fair International….. you are able to give it your own special touch.”  However there is “nothing more rewarding when you own your own business and you get to do [(sic)such projects]”.

               18 years ago she started Sonshine Communications she describes the company as “a public relations, marketing and advertising agency” that focuses on “campaigns that have a cause or a message at the end of the day”. Morris highlighted the Truth campaign (national anti-tobacco campaign) that Morris along with other partners created. Sonshine Communications became the African American Agency for the Truth Campaign and the American Legacy campaign. “Winning that contract started me on a good front”, Morris states, enjoying the memory of that achievement. The campaign was very successful especially by using diverse along with grassroots avenues to engage the target audience. That platform began the development of what is now a million dollar company that is fast becoming a standard not just in South Florida, but also across the country. Other campaigns that followed include “You Drink You Drive You Lose”, “Click it or Ticket and the Florida HIV AIDS campaigns.

               Morris found the biggest challenge was showing people that she could do the job; however once she got in the room she was able to convince them that she was capable of doing the job by being creative and doing a lot of research to come up with the best strategy to achieve goals. Also she had to “surround [herself] with people that are high energy and highly creative”. Morris stated that for success one also had to win the “confidence of people that don’t know you, especially when you are across the country.” Going further Morris said that one has “to show that you are very serious about what you are doing, even if you are in Miami and the business is all over the country”. Another gem she stressed is that one has to earn the “confidence you have to build in your clients, but once you build it it’s there and then you have to work to keep it.” Morris says she maintains this success by being a workaholic, she has very long days and she is very focus driven. She acknowledges though that she is able to achieve because she loved what she was doing.

               While doing this work Morris noticed that she knew more black media than the traditional newswires did, so she went ahead and began an online company called Black PR Web. Black PR Web distributes news and press releases to African-American and Caribbean newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations. The online news company has become the go to place in order to reach black media in the United States and the Caribbean. “I am very happy in knowing that there are key messages and services that are going directly to the black community. In addition to reaching and penetrating the black media, we also work very closely with black stake holders, organizations and groups.” Black PR Web has been so effective in the United States and the Caribbean that there is a strong demand for it from black media in Europe. Besides having impact the online business has grown tremendously in value.

               Morris does not just stop with here; she looks back at her career and remembers when she just started that there were no women that she could find to help or guide her. So Morris started her “third business; this one is my very first non-profit; it is called Women Grow Strong and it’s an empowerment company slash ministry that I created 3 years ago…and Women Grows Strong helps train and equip women and young girls to be successful in business. I started it because I realized that there were a lot of women who did not know the ropes!” “I did not have that!”

               Women Grow Strong has empowerment sessions and training sessions and at this point has helped 600 to 700 women. Morris has a goal of reaching 1,000 people. She makes sure the sessions are diverse though with experts speaking about health, eating, personal finances and more. She does the presentations on business empowerment. Morris, through grants, donations and money out of her pocket she tries to keep the event free for all patrons.

               Morris has shown an amazing ability to recognize a need that needs to be filled and how to fill it. She has also made sure that the need is in an area she loves so it is easier for her to do the hard work necessary for success. She still keeps herself grounded as she now focuses on her personal goals: the success of her family. Morris wants to see her children who are both in college have success during and after school. She also wants to join her husband in opening a Christian retreat focused on helping “couples and people just reconnect with themselves and understand the value of Godly living and Christian character in business ….. I want to help businesses and help people succeed.” Mrs. Morris we look on in admiration and say amen to that!

Jason Walker is a freelance writer for Caribbean Today Magazine who has had an award winning journalism career that spans 20 years. He can be followed on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jasonwalker_ or emailed at jasonarticle@gmail.com 

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695 North Ave Northeast  Atlanta, GA 30308
(404) 577-8178
SHOW STARTS @7:30 PM
 
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