Fashion fades, only style remains the same. - Coco Chanel

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Reading Partners- February Book Drive

In an effort to go beyond angry ranting (see previous post), I have decided to channel my energy into something that will be both positive and impactful. I spent a few days trying to figure out how I could be of most help, and quickly decided to start a local project and to do something that would help children from underserved communities.
Not to be all Whitney, but they really are our future. There are tons of ways to help children, but I kept coming back to books. When I was a child books were my constant companions and my ticket to travel to lands near and far, to live different lives, and to explore my imagination.
Beyond the joy of reading for personal pleasure, reading proficiency has a major impact on performance in all subjects starting as early as the fourth grade. Many states have considered mandatory retention legislation that would require third grade students to repeat third grade if they do not pass the reading portion of state standardized tests. Reading below grade level can create long-lasting barriers to academic achievement.
Reading Partners seeks to assist children that are reading behind grade level by providing one-on-one tutoring through their volunteer training and matching program. You can see more about their mission and strategic plan by clicking the link.
The book drive I am hosting in partnership with Reading Partners will be to benefit students of P.S. 158 in East New York, Brooklyn. This is P.S. 158's first year working with Reading Partners and they have a high need for tutors, and reading material for students to build their home libraries. Our goal is to collect 100 gently used (or new) donated books by February 28.
I will be setting up various donation bins and I can also be contacted directly if you need me to meet you where you are (in the NYC area) and pick up your donations.

Friday, January 20, 2017

What Next?

No one in my small family slept well last night, we all went to bed early, but I tossed and turned. When I woke around two in the morning, my throat dry as Death Valley, S popped right up and got me a glass of ice water. He couldn't get into a deep sleep either. The pending inauguration seemed to hand over all over us, even Charlie who woke an hour earlier than normal.

My gut response to a Trump presidency is to bury my head in the sand and ignore all political news for the next four years, because I there is enough to get done each day between the office, child rearing, and maintaining a marriage without adding the burden of constantly worrying about the stat of our nation. But I can't truly do that, what happens in the next four years can potentially have far reaching and lasting impact on our country. Like so many in my generation, I have news constantly at my fingertips, and even with filtered settings the headlines still find their way onto my feed. Most importantly, you can't fight what you can't see, so for my daughter, for her future, I must keep my eyes and ears open.

On my ride into the city this morning I did my usual perusal of Facebook and Instagram, and I got riled up by posts that basically read "Trump sucks, but we really need to stand behind him"

I am very confused by this.

Would you willingly and happily board a plane if you knew the pilot was not truly qualified to operate an aircraft?

Would you be treated by a doctor who has repeatedly been sued for malpractice?

Why on earth should I stand behind someone that means me harm? As a woman, as a Latinx, as a human being with decency this man has time and again proven he doesn't mean me well. Standing behind him is not the only thing we can do.

We can resist every single day for the next four years.

We can make sure he only gets one term.

We can show him the same disrespect and resistance that Republicans showed President Obama for the last 8 years.

We can strategize and road block.

We can love each other. We can embrace our Muslim, Mexican, Black, LGBTQI, and disabled Brothers and Sisters.

We can grit our teeth, clench our fists, plant our feet and fight the good fight. But we cannot passively stand behind him.