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Friday, October 28, 2011

Social Media for Good?

The future depends on what we do in the present. - Mahatma Gandhi

It is no secret that the biggest influences in my life are my children. Not just by their actions, funny quirks, but mainly because they exist. They are in my life; their wonderful hugs, their unbelievable trust in me, and their unconditional love. I am beyond blessed to be their mother. 

I don’t need to look far to be inspired to push for equality in education, clean environment, and more affordable healthcare. Those two little treasures are enough, BUT, if I didn’t have them just being a part of a community such as LATISM would inspire me. Especially after the tweet chat we had tonight. With us was Johnson & Johnson (did you know they are the official title sponsor for LATISM 11?) because we were focusing on using social media to create the change we want in our societies. 

J&J is celebrating 125 years! I was so happy to see them with us today. They have been a part of my life since I was a baby (who hasn’t been bathed in J&J baby wash?) and recently when I went to BlogHer11 they were there as well. When I saw them at BlogHer11 they were talking about their commitment to nurses (my mom who is a nurse said that they were one of the main companies to offer scholarships for nurses).    

All of this made me think of what inspires me and why. One of the main things I noticed tonight was that the best causes to support are those that YOU are the most passionate about. How true is that??
In my experience, it is the most important thing because I could always tell when someone was just trying “sell” me their cause and when they were trying to “wrap me” into their story. There is a big difference. 

From their website, from meeting their reps in person and from the tweet chat today, I can tell you that Johnson & Johnson has demonstrated a true corporate passion to make their environment better, literally and figuratively. They sponsor initiatives that help women, children, advances in medicine, nurses, and poverty (I could go on but when you go to their website they outline all of their causes). I was so happy that a company that is already such a big part of my life was taking their money and putting it where it matters most, not just in their consumers but striving to better the global community.

Which brings me to my questions:
What inspires you? What are you doing about it? What changes do you wish would happen and what can you do to help make it come true?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Comedy Monday

I know that I have been writing about some serious stuff lately: education, single mommy vents, and so on..

Well... thanks to Monique from:
CLICK Latina
Curves and Chaos


My readers (you) are being an offered an opportunity to go to a screening to see the movie "Tower Heist"

The cities where the screenings are being held are the following:







If you are in any of the cities above and want to attend feel free to contact me (there is an "E-mail me" button on the right hand side).

See you at the movies!

Fine Print:
Passes are First Come First Served



Friday, October 21, 2011

Educational Adventures inspired by Univision's EDÚCATE Campaign


Even though the economy is hampering progress right now, I believe that things will get better. Maybe not soon, but eventually changes have to be made if we are going to advance to be the beacon we used to be. Remember when immigrants would talk about gazing at the Statue of Liberty for the first time and feeling like they could do anything? When did that change for the immigrant population?  I digress... 

Let’s come together and stop quibbling over whose politics make more sense and start recognizing (and caring) that while we bicker; there are unemployed people losing their homes, families with no food to eat, and a generation that is beginning to lose hope. I believe that change is sparked by an educated mind that is inspired to move toward a goal. 

   With that said, here are some things that I tell my children to inspire them: 

1.           Never forget that your education is your shield; no one can take it from you.

2.           Never let someone tell you that you can’t do something; if they do—prove them wrong.

3.           Remember that the best leaders in history didn’t always start off being brave and knowing what to   
        do; this came after they took a stand and followed their passion.

4.           If you fall, don’t stay down, get back up and remember why you fell in the first place. Every failure 
        is just a lesson preparing you for success.

5.            If you think only of yourself you can’t expect to be fulfilled in life because one the greatest feelings in   the world is the contentment you feel when you help others. 

Education week is wrapping up and I just want to say that I am happy to have been a part of something that I believe in. To me, education is the first step to financial success and cultural awareness. Hopefully something I said in my posts has inspired you to get involved in your community, go back to school, or maybe even motivated you to participate more in your children’s academic life.

For more information about Univision’s EDÚCATE Campaign please visit the following link:

They offer information on scholarships, educational resources in your state, and an extensive list of universities.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My own educational adventure...

High School Memories

Growing up in Los Angeles, I took for granted the diversity that surrounded me. I lived in East LA, went to school in South Central, and went through cities like Brentwood on a regular basis. Seeing the difference in their schools and their homes, I knew that I wasn't going to settle for living in poverty my whole life and the only way I knew to get out was to study. I petitioned my mom and step dad to let me go to a magnet school and they agreed but only if I got myself to the school because they couldn't take me. I decided on "King Drew High Shcool of Medicine and Science" in the heart of Watts.

It had some amazing teachers. It was a magnet school that had about 70 students and we were housed in 5 or so bungalows. They all coordinated their lesson plans so that they synced together; for example if we were studying velocity formulas in Math we were experimenting with those vectors in Physics. It was not rare for students to stay at the school until almost 7 at night because we were studying or in one of the many academic clubs that were offered. Many of the teachers knew I took the bus home (at this point I was living in Eagle Rock, about 2 hours away by bus) so many of them took me home.

Those teachers hold a very dear place in my heart because they took me under their wing (rides home aside). They listened to me when I was having a bad day, they encouraged me to do better if I got a B in a test, and they introduced me to some amazing experiences. Our economics teacher taught us how to waltz, our drama teacher helped us put on a Shakespearean play with sonnets sung to Prince beats, our science teacher took us to Magic Mountain to explain the way Physics made those roller coasters possible.

School was a haven for me; it was a world that took me away from the crazy home life I was living. I am so grateful that those teachers didn't just teach from 8 -3; they made us part of their family. We even ate at some of their homes on the weekend and held study sessions. I wish that there was a school just like that for my kids but ... (that school is now housed in a 1.2 million dollar building and only one or two of the original teachers remain).

It saddens me to think that schools have so little funding now that teachers are funding special projects on their own and with minimal parental support. Our children are suffering from overworked teachers (classroom size is bigger and not enough funding for TA’s), Music and Art programs are being cut, and most parents are under so much economic stress that they are either not able to attend school functions (working more hours for a job that pays less, working jobs where they aren’t full-time employees so if they call out they won’t get paid for that day) or are just not interested in going.

It is time to wake up. Not just parents. Our children’s future affects EVERYBODY. I would feel the same if I wasn’t a mom to two boys. As a society we need to encourage one another to volunteer (afterschool programs, non-profit organizations), tutor, mentor, in other words GET INVOLVED in your community. Many of our schools have cut Art programs, if you are an artist maybe you could volunteer at a public school when you have time. If you are musician maybe you can offer to go to an after school program once a week and teach children to play an instrument. Any little bit would help. Changing the life of even one child should be enough, however, we should strive for changing and encouraging ALL our children. We can do this by offering them our time and support. It begins with us.

I would NOT like to read as much as I do if I didn’t have an English teacher that introduced me to the wonders of Shakespeare (he even let me play Titania in the play with the Prince beats—one of my favorite memories of school), I would not remember how it felt to attend my first musical if one of the teachers hadn’t taken a Saturday out of her life to take a handful of us to see “Les Misérables”, the list could go on and on.

YOU can be a part of a child’s “first”, the first time they played the perfect note on the piano, the first time they painted on a canvas, or the first time they touched wet clay. It is time for us to stress the importance of education to our youth because it will prove to be their shield as they get older. However, as with any type of change it must start from within first. Educate yourself, expect more from yourself and then get out there and encourage the next generation. EDÚCATE!

 This piece was written as part of a campaign of LATISM (Latinos in Social Media), reinforcing the importance of education and the campaign ¡Edúcate¡ Es el momento de Univisión. 

Esta pieza ha sido escrita como parte de una campaña de LATISM (Latinos in Social Media) reforzando la importancia de la educación y la campaña ¡Edúcate¡ Es el momento de Univisión.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Educational Adventures inspired by Univision's EDÚCATE Campaign

Bedtime Stories

As I said in yesterdays post, bedtime stories are a big deal in our house. We started off with reading children’s picture books, later came chapter books, and now we like to each take a turn and make up a story and see where it takes us. It is a tradition that only happens about three times a week now because of my crazy schedule, but we all look forward to it. When was the last time you read to your child? Talked to them about how their day at school went? Do you know your child’s teacher? What are some of the things your child struggles with at school? 

As a parent, you should know the answers to most of those questions. It is so easy to blame teachers for the type of education that our children our receiving.Yes, it is also true that certain neighborhoods have better public school than others. I can concede to all of those points, HOWEVER, nothing affects a child’s emotional, academic, and overall well-being as much as parental involvement.

There are so many outlying factors that are affecting our children and may be keeping them from progressing academically but we cannot put the blame solely on those factors because PARENTAL involvement can solve so much. It can help a child know that he is loved enough that his parent/s care enough to be concerned about what is going on at school. Parental involvement also demands more of the teachers because if there are issues, those parents are there, wanting conferences and maybe offering to step in and help (alleviating the pressure on some of these overworked teachers). 

I can be the first to say that I am not perfect in this area since I drop my children off at 6:30 AM and don’t pick them up until 5 or 6 in the evening. However, I am a very concerned parent, I am constantly emailing their teachers about updates on their progress (thankfully they understand and appreciate my concern). When I pick them up the first thing I ask them is “What did you learn today?”

I have never relied solely on their schools to teach them everything. We go to museums, watch educational documentaries, and we go to the library two or three times a week. Even though I am only supplementing their learning, I want them to know that I take education and learning seriously and expect no less from them. Having high expectations of their academic performance may seem extreme to some, but to me, it just means that I know what they are capable of and I am going to help them get there. 

As a teen I would look at the planes going into LAX and wish I could go somewhere, anywhere and since I couldn’t, I escaped into my books. I longed for someone to encourage me to be more, or to tell me that my dreams were attainable. When I was pregnant I vowed that my children would never have to wonder if I was proud of them, that they would always have me cheering them on. They know I am proud of them and I am always quick to high-five their biggest (and even their smallest) achievements. 

Take the time to go to your child’s parent/teacher meetings, know when your children will be testing and make sure they eat well and rest, and most importantly make sure they know that you not only care but that you SUPPORT them and that you believe that they can do AMAZING things. 
A movement doesn’t have to be big to make a difference. Progress can begin in one household. It can begin with you. It can begin with you investing time and energy in your child. It can begin with one question, one book, one teacher meeting, one family at a time.  EDÚCATE!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Educational Adventures inspired by Univision's EDÚCATE Campaign

Going to College

When I was pregnant with my first child I had tons of ideas of what a perfect Mom was. She would make sure there were warm cookies and dinner waiting for her children when they came home from school. I blame television and the fact that more often than not you want what you didn’t have when you were growing up. 

Needless to say I am NOT that Mom, but I strive to be the best nurturer I can be. When they were little my fondest memory of them was when I would read to them. I cherish those memories because it is so rare now that I am able to do that (after homework, dinner, and getting clothes ready for school/work all of which have to happen in less than three hours before they have to go to bed).  Now, they read mainly on their own, although we squeeze in a story at least three days a week. 

As important as catching a bedtime story with my boys has become it pales in comparison to the importance of preparing them for college. No, I am not being an overachiever, I am a first-generation college graduate and I had no idea what I was doing when I was applying for college. This probably contributed to my making some very bad educational as well as personal choices. I didn’t apply for any scholarships even though I graduated high school with a 3.9 GPA and pretty high SAT and ACT scores.

This is why I am starting now by making sure my oldest son has good test taking skills (we practiced at home for his California State Exams). He knows to write clearly, color in the bubbles completely, and so on. My youngest is in kindergarten so we are only reinforcing reading and focusing in class. These are small steps but they are the initial steps and are very important for our children to be comfortable as they get older and are competing with children in private schools, those with private tutors, and so on.

My mom’s first language was Spanish so she could never help me with any of the above tasks. She didn’t read any of the books I like so we never discussed what I read. She was shy around other parents so she never came to my plays, mock trials, or science competitions. I was doing all of these things without her moral support and it was not easy. I took buses to all of the aforementioned events (or one my friends’ parents picked me up). I lived about 2 hours away from my school so I studied and did my homework on buses instead of a library or a desk. 

I am not complaining over my childhood, I am describing it because I am sure there are countless of children that are living through similar situations. Although, with our current economy there are some children that are now facing deportation, homelessness, and a variety of other personal obstacles that will hinder their dreams of college/university.

Let’s focus on creating a society that values education. We need to take them to university tours when they are available. We can also go to our children’s school and speak to their academic advisors. Your children need your help. They need to see you taking an interest in their academic future. Once they see you take that stand it will become an automatic decision for them to go to college/university.  If they see that you believe in them that is one less person they have to convince and they have your voice inside them telling them that THEY CAN every time society or one their peers is telling them that they can’t succeed or dream that big. They should all WANT to go to college; it should just be a matter of “What will I major in?” not “Why should I go?”  Or even worse “I can’t afford to go”. 

 Education is something that nobody can take away from you. Our children can’t defend their roots, if they don’t know them. Our children can’t get better paying jobs, if they aren’t equipped with degrees. Your children won’t feel cultural pride, if you don’t feel pride in yourself. Begin by educating yourself so that you can pass it on to your children. EDÚCATE!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Nom Nom and Art

We look forward to two days in the fall: Halloween and ART Night in Pasadena ( I know that they have a lot of them around the city but our favorite is the one in Pasadena.. partly because it so close to our home). I haven't been able to spend as much time with the boys because of all of the overtime I have been doing (even though over half of my OT earnings went in taxes, union fees, and retirement account) so we were all psyched to just spend time together.

It was a beautiful evening, warm, gorgeous moon, and we encountered some awesome performances. The highlight of the evening though was the food trucks (according to my foodie children) was the Nom Nom truck. Even though they got our order wrong both of the times we ordered, the fact that they were friendly made it semi-okay (they didn't fix the orders though...) The sandwiches were really good (we just scraped the stuff we didn't want off).

We hit up Kidspace and Darion told the engineer from NASA that he could make the Rover out of Legos :) ... he laughed and said that that is actually how they begin prototypes and later my son said that he wanted to be a mechanical engineer but he wanted to build cars not stuff that went to outer space. I laughed and told him that he could build a car that could go to outer space and he was very intrigued. I love that we have the kind of relationship that lets us talk about theoretical stuff like that and in the next breath talk about the painting we saw. My boys were exactly what I needed after a crazy week. 

Here are some pictures from our evening: (Remember to be present in all of your relationships because they are like flowers, they need attention and constant watering. The bloom of a well-tended relationship is soooo worth it! XoXo!)



Thursday, October 6, 2011


It is not a secret that women (okay  ... I can concede that men are busy too) tend to overdue do it in their personal and professional lives. Take my past week for example:

I have been working non-stop since last Monday, partly because I need the money from my job BUT since I am single parent; I don’t exactly “get off” when I leave my job. I have the boys to tend to (oh and there have been open houses at their school this week) and that they entail such as dinner, homework, lunches for all of us for the next day, doing laundry and laying their clothes out. All of that after what has been 10 and 12 hour days. To say that I am exhausted would be an understatement (Oh and did I mention I tried to squeeze in my Spanish tutoring when I could?). 

I am so blessed to have a job, I know this, but it makes it so hard when your commute is over 45 minutes each way, job is not what you envisioned doing with the degree that you have, and well I miss my kids gosh darn it (I really do want to say other words but.. hey my kids may read this one day)!!  I know that as parents we are going to struggle with the duality of being a “professional” and being a present parent in our children’s lives and knowing this doesn’t make it easier. 

I see some of the stay at home parents and I am envious of the time that they spend with their children and about the fact that they can volunteer at the school almost daily. I long to have dinner (or lunch) waiting for them when they get home from school. I dream of being able to work on their homework individually for 3 or 4 hours instead of having to cram it into 30 minutes. 

I am so exhausted that I am writing this and I am wondering how in the world I am going to wake up at 4 AM tomorrow and face another 12 hour day? I am in awe of the parents that I see that have it all seemingly put together but I know that in my house the past week has been trying to say the least... but you want to know what made it all “worth it”. 

Seeing my boys’ faces light up when I told them that no matter what I wouldn’t miss their open houses. Their faces when I placed a hot meal in front of them this week. It is those small victories that I choose to cling to when my body aches, things are going bad at work, and/or I want to curl up in bed and sleep an extra 15 minutes. I may not be rich, or one of those lucky moms that gets to spend unending time with their children BUT I am working my way into being content with who I am and where I am in life.

 This is only a step in my journey; I have concluded that journeys are sometimes hard because the steps you are taking are going UP... and isn’t always harder to go upstairs than it is to go down? :)