Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A September to Remember

The month kicked off with the anticipation of my birthday (Sept. 8th) and I was super excited because this year Labor Day fell on the 7th so I had the whole Labor Day Weekend plus the day after to get my party on. And that I did…..on the 4th I had a Rock Band Party, which was a blast. The girls got together, threw on our best rocker gear, and ROCKED OUT!!!!





On the 6th, I attended the inaugural event of the Four Seasons, Five Stars, event planning corporation (Get It Nyki!). It was a lovely affair in Baltimore, on a rooftop, with smiling faces, great tunes, and a cool breeze.

















On the 8th (THE BIG DAY) I began the day in prayer for my grandmother. We share the same birthday, and this year was the second year without her. After reflecting on the blessing of life, I got dressed, had breakfast, and headed to the spa. Soul Day Spa…AMAZING!! The next stop was lunch at the Crossroads with my mom (had to take it back to my roots with some good ole’ Jamaican Cuisine). The night ended with good friends, great laughs, and memory making on the Historic U Street.



The rest of the week was all about celebrating ME! I took the entire week off of work to rest and restore. I pampered myself with a mani and pedi, treated myself to a day of shopping, and ended the week with a fabulous day of fashion and beauty at Nordstrom’s. The Fall Fashion and Beauty trends show was an amazing celebration of beauty and style. I received a refreshing facial from Keihl’s and a make-over from a freelance artist (Kahleea) who is the BOMB! Then I discovered that she lived right down the street from me. Small World!!


In the middle of September, I met Russ Parr and Shelia Stewart of Radio One. It was indeed an honor, as they have both played a huge role in the media world and in the black community. I shared a bit of myself with them and it paid off. Two days later, I got a personal invite from Sheila Stewart, yes Miss Community of 93.9 WKYS and 104.1 (just to name a few). Miss Community extended the opportunity for me to work alongside her and the Press at the 25th Anniversary Awards Luncheon for the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. Can you say WOW!!!! But I’m not done……

September 23rd kicked off the 39th Annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus. From the 23rd through the 27th I did enough moving and shaking for the entire month. The CBC was phenomenal and a great experience in leadership, professionalism, and excellence. Being gathered with so many influential people created an infectious energy charged with positive electrons; I met some of my greatest idols and inspirations including Susan Taylor, Essence Magazine Editor-Emeritus, Actress and Activist Sheryl Lee Ralph, and Dr. Steve Perry, Principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School (featured on CNN”s Black in America 2). Speaking of principals, I even ran into my old principal at Northwestern High, Dr. Kevin Maxwell, who is now the Superintendent for Anne Arundel County Public Schools. Meeting Mike Epps was pretty cool too...He's hilarious!
















Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I find myself in Potomac Maryland at the lovely home of Jack and Marcy Garson attending my very first Governors Fundraiser Event. The event only reignited the positive electrons from the CBC as I mixed and mingled with executives, lawyers, mayors, and Governor O’Malley himself.



The Governor was very impressed as I shared my educational and professional experience as an emerging young leader and aspiring social entrepreneur.




The best part of the event was the sound advice that I received from I.J. Hudson, a very well known and highly respected communications professional with 32 years of broadcast experience. I explained to him that I started a blog and I was nervously preparing to work alongside Sheila Stewart. He said to me “Come on over here to the couch and let’s sit down and chat about this”.

(Photo Courtesy of http://www.garsonlaw.com/)

September ended with a Thank You note from Sheila, saying “You are now officially under my reign of support!! Call me anytime-if u need anything! Love you!”


Now that is what I call A SEPTEMBER TO REMEMBER! An awesome month of amazing experiences and abundant opportunities; this month was so jam packed that one blog wouldn’t do it any justice. There is so much to cover. So stay tuned for my 6 part series on the fabulous month of September including:

Part I: The Definition of Savvy
Part II: The CBC, Where you need to Be!
Part III: The Mentoring Movement
Part IV: The National Congress of Black Women, Inc.
Part V: My Foxy 5
Part IV: Flying to Amazing Heights (Feat. the first African American Teen Transcontinental Pilot, and the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement Dr. Dorothy Height)









Stay tuned..........


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Saturday, September 19, 2009

United We Serve



On September 11, 2009, I was honored and privileged to commemorate the heroism of those who lost their lives during the terror attacks, by engaging in service and volunteerism as part of the first officially recognized September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. Joining President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and the thousands of volunteers across the country who participated in this historic day inspired me to continue on my mission to empower through service.




(Photo Credit: Corporation photo by Ralph Alswang)



I was BLOWN AWAY when I learned that President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama traveled from the White House across the Anacostia River to my disadvantaged and underprivileged Ward 7 community. Just a few blocks from Lincoln Heights, one of the largest public housing developments in Washington, D.C., the President and First Lady joined AmeriCorps members and volunteers in painting a Habitat for Humanity home. I felt an undescribale energy just knowing that the President of the United States of America was a few blocks away from my home working to improve my community.




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The work I did on 9-11-09 is what I call Kingdom Building, sewing into the environment that birthed me. Working with the students of the DC Scores Program at the Arts and Technology Academy (ATA) Public Charter School empowered and strengthened me beyond measure. Just as I was gaining momentum to serve, this experience was the fuel to my fire.




I partnered with various organizations to improve the conditions of the school through outdoor beautification including reconstruction and painting. But most importantly, I motivated today's youth and tomorrows future through words of encouragement, support, and through leading by example. I had the pleasure of talking with two beautiful young ladies about their experience doing community service. They were so passionate as they explained to me that they were best friends and loved doing community service together. When I asked them "What does community service mean to you", one responded by saying "Community service means to help not have global warming, picking up trash, and making your area better". I asked the other student, "How does it make you feel when you do community service?", she said "It makes me feel very very very good, because I'm helping!"

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Although it rained off and on, the sun was still shining in each young face that participated in the days events. The service project ended with a pep rally in support of the ATA DC Scores 2009 season. DC SCORES inspires youth to lead healthy lifestyles, be engaged students and become agents of change in their communities. DC SCORES is an after-school youth development program that combines soccer, creative writing, and service-learning everyday for 700 students in 23 elementary and middle schools in the District.

The visions of smoke rising from the Pentagon on September 11th, 2001 are visions I will never forget. The faces of the youth and the memories created on 9-11-09 captured the essence of my experience participating in the first September 11th National Service and Remembrance Day. The pictures will serve as a reminder of the strength that I posses and my ability to strengthen others.


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Take away points from this empowering service experience:

  1. Lead by example. If the President and First Lady can find time to roll up their sleeves and give back to the community, so can you!
  2. Service Learning Empowers. The youth spoke for themselves and said helping out in the community makes them feel happy
  3. Share Your Story. Through general conversation about the events of the day I shared my story with the wonderful staff of Serve.gov who encouraged me to post my story on their site. Sharing service stories is an additional empowerment tool as it inspires others to unite and serve

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Feeling Fine on 09-09-09


9-9-09 The only time ever in life that we will have this day. 9-9-09 and I am feeling FINE! Yesterday was my birthday and I shared a wonderful time with my goons and gals. As always we had a blast, joking, laughing, and smiling, what we do best!!!!


Birthdays only come around once a year and I am a firm believer in celebration of self. That is why I choose to celebrate ME not only on my birthDAY, but for my entire birth MONTH! I love September! I love ME! And I love feeling FINE, especially on 9-9-9!


Feels so good, when you’re doing all the things that you want to do!!! Get the best out of life, treat yourself to something new. Keep your head up high!! In yourself, believe in you, believe in me!!!
Having a really good time, I’m not complaining. And I’m a still wear a smile if it raining! I got to enjoy myself regardless. I appreciate life, I’m so glad I got mine!!!!
So I like what I see when I’m looking at me when I’m walking past the mirror!!! Aint worried about you and what you gonna do, I’m a lady so I must stay classy!! Got to keep it hot, keep it together, if I want to get better!! You see I wouldn’t change my life, my life’s just…..
Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, oooohFine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, ooooh!!!

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That's FINE with ME!

~~Cherise

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Purpose of a Miracle

Acccording to Merriam Webster's Dictionary, a MIRACLE is defined as follows:

1 : an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs
2 : an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment
3 Christian Science : a divinely natural phenomenon experienced humanly as the fulfillment of spiritual law


Nia Aisha Owens


Nia which means "Purpose" in Swahili is the fifth principle of Kwanzaa. The principal of Nia means to make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.










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Rewind from 2009 to 1996.......

11-20-96
Dear Diary,
Today something very saddening happened. My friend Nia Owens died. Someone killed her and just threw her in the woods. That sh** ain't right. Nobody cares anymore. They just do things and don'teven think about anybodys feelings. Nia was so nice. She wouldn't hurt nobody and they just killed her like that. Now our school is on the map for something bad. Now I'm scared to even come home because I don't know what's going to happen to me. So many people were crying. We were on the news crying. I can not believe this happened. It's real messed up and nobody cares.
Cherise
We Miss You
Nia


I was 14 years old when I wrote that entry in my little pink journal with the dance slippers on the front. I remember it like it was yesterday, the feeling I felt, the cool fall wind that blew that day, the overcast morning gray sky, the police tape and crime scence that developed in the area that I had just walked through to get to school, the announcement that Nia had been found dead on the side of the school, and the realization that I would never see her in fourth period again.


Fastforward to 2009, the year of promise, the year of history making, the year of CHANGE, the 13th year since Nia's murder. Her killer is found.....my purpose is found. My PURPOSE is found through a MIRACLE. A miracle, an extraordinary event manifesting devine intervention in human affairs. Purpose (Nia) to make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.




Do you believe in MIRACLES?

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Life is a miracle, and I believe in life. The miracle of life. Live it to the fullest!!




On this 8th day of September, the day my Life began, I committ my Life to living Life, believing Life, and valuing Life for the miracle that it is. I am no longer that 14 year old little girl, who feared being killed while walking to and from school. Today I am a God-fearing woman, and I vow to fulfill my PURPOSE in LIFE and to Live Life on Purpose.

Cherise



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