Okay, the title of this post might seem like a good tongue twister (and, well, it is) but it is so true. For the past three years I have had the pleasure of giving out a special award during our school’s “honors week.” I am the founder and advisor of the Culture and Diversity Club. I present an award to an outstanding senior that promotes tolerance for all cultures and lifestyles in our own community and world-wide, as well as actively educates himself/herself and his/her peers about current global and local issues that involve human rights and responsibilities. This award is unlike the others because it gives back. This year a donation will be made to an amazing organization called Sow Hope. (www.sowhope.org) This gift will be used to provide micro-loans, AIDS training and literacy to some of the world’s most needy and deserving women.
You can see why this award is so important. And not just the beauty of the award and what it stands for, but for the fact that I can very publicly praise and tell the world about how one of my students, one of their peers, is going to go out and change the world and indeed has already started. Let me give you some insight into this year’s young lady…
Our winner this year has not only academic honors and remained active in her extra curricular activities but has promoted peace and tolerance for our building, town and global community. She has truly set the standard high for the people around her. She has led by example and hasn’t been afraid to stand up for what she believes in. She has been a strong, thoughtful and compassionate young woman to her peers and has never stopped fighting for the underdogs of the world.
And the most impressive part? Our winner was diagnosed with Cystic fibrosis her freshman year. This is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 70,000 children and adults world wide. She has had to miss school in large and small bouts to receive treatments and go to doctor’s appointments. And through all of this she never saw herself as a victim; she never gave up and she never stopped helping and caring about OTHERS. Now that is a real statement.
And how will our recipient change the future? She will start by attending Ferris State University in the fall and pursue her dream of social work. Please help me welcome to the stage, the persistent, strong and beautiful…. Casey!
So, as I wrote this speech this evening I thought about how much fun it would be to do this all the time! And to encourage you to honor someone as if they were getting an important award. You could make one up yourself and write a little note to go with it. You could get creative with technology. The most important part is letting someone know that they are doing something important to your world or the world at large and that their efforts have not gone unnoticed.
Good luck! LaRissa
We’re always hearing phrases like “never give up” or “fight for what’s right.” And sometimes this is easy. You know, like if the cook at a restaurant makes a mistake with your order and you have to send it back. And sometimes it’s hard. Like, sticking up for someone who is getting bullied. Or sticking up for yourself when someone is trying to bring you down. Or knowing that something is so important and helpful – life changing maybe – but a lot of work, and pursuing it anyway.
Last year I was a part of something big and amazing. The Lotus Project! (See my other posts under my Contributors page for more details on this.) And I worked with some of the most beautiful women in the process. We learned from each other, we listened to each other, and we loved the sisterhood of this adventure. And this year, I was going to take a break. Not because ther wasn’t a need for my program, but because it was very hard to balance it within my own life.
Many of my girls asked if we’d be doing anything for the program this year. We did a couple of small things to touch base with one another. But one beautiful young lad y was very persistent. And it wasn’t because she was worried about herself or wanted to get out of class. It was because she saw a need in the new freshman class. She saw herself in a lot of these ladies and knew they needed the Lotus Project. And with a lot of persistence she got me on board. And tomorrow, we are leading 115 young ladies through some empowering morning activities and a live video chat with Nigel in the afternoon.
So, being persistent does pay off! So, if you know something is truly important, don’t give up. And fight for what’s right. Even if it’s easier said than done =)
March 5, 2012
I've been worrying (again – will it ever stop?) about my students. The past few years I have seeing more abuse in the hallways. And not just the bullying – that's a story for a different day. But, an increase in dating violence. And it makes me want to scream and shake people! (I know, not a beautiful trait and violent as well!) Violence in dating can be physical, verbal and sexual. And I've seen it and heard of it more and more these past few years – and experienced some things when I was a teen. One of my Lotus Project girls from last year to do mini-sessions for more girls this spring. So, one of the topics will be "Healthy Relationships" and as luck would have it…drum roll please… my school needed someone to fill a spot TOMORROW for between 300-400 students and asked me to "whip something together." (No, I'm not stressed or busy…)
So, many hours and one heck of a power point later, my "Healthy Relationships" presentation is a GO. What is a healthy relationsip? Abusive? Consent? Text/Sexting? Media stereotypes? How to get help? And of course, with lots of embedded videos and music.
I'm also including a clip from the mind-opening documentary "Miss Representation". This documentary is fantastic and earned a lot of buzz at Sundance last year. The clip I'm showing is about social media and how it effects women's self image AND men's image of women. I hope it's as mind opening for my freshmen as it was for me. The male view is something I'm having a hard time finding and I hope this does it justice. (And if anyone out there can help me with that "male angle" I would really appreciate it.)