Blog

Thank You Fred

I want to acknowledge a wonderful friend and mentor, Fred Scaglione, who passed away two years ago on August 6th.

Fred Scaglione gave me an opportunity to write as a volunteer blogger for six years for his publication, the New York Nonprofit Press (NYNP) E-Newsletter’s “Around The Blogs” column. Writing has always been one of my favorite activities and it was wonderful to see my work in print. My posts covered a range of topics—career development, employment, education, intimate partner violence, religion, mental health, social justice, and many others.

As much as I loved writing my blog, there were days when it was very taxing and I thought of discontinuing. But I pushed through because of Fred’s encouragement and support of my work. Fred never hesitated to tell me how much he appreciated my contributions to his publication.

Fred lived and worked outside of New York City, where I live. It took a few years for us to meet in person. When we finally met, I just could not stop hugging him!! He was truly a good friend and mentor to me.

When Fred published his book “Home Visit”, a mystery that focuses on the child welfare system, I had no idea he was even writing a book. And in gratitude for his support of me, I wanted to support his effort and immediately purchased a copy. When Fred found out, he thanked me and asked if I wanted it autographed. Of course I did!! His autograph statement read “To Janice, Thanks for all your great blog posts over the years. I hope you enjoy this!” Fred. And yes, I did enjoy reading “Home Visit.” I so wish Fred had lived to write more books. I believed he planned to write a series of books based on “Home Visit’s” main character, Stevie Corra, a former NYPD narcotics detective and caseworker. “Home Visit” received positive reviews on Amazon and is available for purchase.

And when I published my first book, “What Were They Thinking? Behaviors and Attitudes That Can Ruin a Job Interview” I naturally dedicated it to Fred. Regrettably, he did not live to see its publication. He would have been very proud of me.

Thank you Fred. You will always hold a place in my heart and in my life.

4th Annual Veterans Resource Fair(NYC)

The Office of the Manhattan (New York, NY) Borough President Gale Brewer will be sponsoring its 4th Annual Veterans Resource Fair on Wednesday, July 26th from 9am-4pm at the State Office Building Plaza in Harlem, 163 West 125th Street. Loree Sutton, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Veterans Services will be the keynote speaker.

This event is co-sponsored by NYC Council Member Bill Perkins, the NYC Department of Veterans Services, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Legal Services NYC, Harlem Veterans Center, Samaritan Village, and NY Metro Vets. The fair is a great opportunity for veterans to get help and connect with service providers and agencies. RSVP by calling 212-678-4505 or emailing eventscoordinator@ls-nyc.org.

Happy Father’s Day Ali Siddiq!

Comedian Ali Siddiq warms my heart every time he talks about fatherhood in one of his routines. Even when he jokes about how Father’s Day is WAY down on the list of important holidays, I find myself smiling and cheering him on. Mr. Siddiq loves being a father and he expresses dismay that society devalues fathers and their role in their children’s lives. In “Being a Father,” from “Talking Loud Saying Something, Live at the Improv” Mr. Siddiq states:

“One of the best things in my life is to be a father….I really encourage men to be men and take care of your kids no matter what and I do encourage women to let us take care of our kids.” Mr. Siddiq goes on to talk about how animosity between parents, especially those who are no longer in a relationship with each other, can damage children. “Don’t try to hold my baby hostage against me, you know, that’s stupid. If you hate me that’s fine, but you’re ruining the kid’s life with your drama.”

When my father took ill in my early childhood and had to leave our home, my mother could have stirred up a great deal of drama. She was overwhelmed and lonely. She had three young children to care for and not a whole lot of resources. But at no time in our lives did my mother ever discourage us from having a relationship with our father. But to be honest, we did not seem to want one with him. When he would call, we were reluctant to speak to him. We also did not wish to see him much. That must have hurt him terribly.

As I got older though, I tried harder to include my father in my life. I realized that his illness was not his fault. He was not a bad person for being ill. I visited him regularly and even had him over for holidays. Having a relationship with him was challenging at times. But I knew that my father loved me, no matter what difficulties we faced in the relationship.

I am certain that it pained my father that he could not be in the home with us as we grew up. I remember once he told me that he wanted to have a large family with my mother. Both he and my mother grew up with both parents in the home and lots of siblings. He wanted what he knew and experienced as a child. My father is quite family oriented.

Illness disrupted my relationship with my father. But he was still my father. And it saddens me that he was denied the opportunity to play a bigger role in my life. Because as a father, he has an important role.

Thank you Ali Siddiq for talking about the vital role of fathers. I appreciate your humor, but please keep talking about fathers too. We need them in our lives.

Happy Father’s Day!

Being a Father by Ali Siddiq

The 2017 PowHERful Foundation Enrichment Conference

The PowHERful Foundation gets young women to, and through, college. It will be sponsoring its signature Enrichment Conference in the Bronx, New York on Saturday, June 3rd. The Conference will be held at Hostos Community College and hosted in partnership with The Fund for NYC Health and Hospitals.

The conference is a free empowerment summit for young women aged 14 to 23 years old. Attendees will receive useful guidance and advice, and opportunities to interact with successful professionals. There will be sessions on health, immigration, and personal safety.

Young women who live in the Bronx and are serious about their future and looking for an opportunity to receive useful school, work, and life skills, are encouraged to attend this FREE conference! Join the PowHERful Foundation on June 3rd.

Date and Time: Sat, June 3, 2017
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM EDT

Location: Hostos Community College
500 Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY 10451

To register click here

Follow the PowHERful Foundation on Twitter at https://twitter.com/PowHERfulFdn

Remembering Josephine Jenkins

Josephine D. Jenkins (1953-2017) was a loving mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, neighbor, and friend to many. Sadly, Josephine passed on Friday, March 31, 2017 after a long illness.

Josephine’s family and my family were next door neighbors for decades. My youngest sister Odesell and Josephine’s oldest daughter Christina played together as children. Years later, Josephine served as a Girl Scout Troop Leader to their daughters Suriyah and Brianna! When Josephine moved to another area, I was saddened that she and my mom would no longer be next door neighbors.

Josephine shined her light in working with children as an Assistant Teacher, in her home, and in her community. I appreciated Josephine for being a wonderful neighbor to my mom. Josephine will be terribly missed.

Mindful Meditation

“Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” —Mindful.org

Back in October 2016, I was feeling some anxiety. I had just injured my right leg and I was very worried about the U.S. elections. Seeking relief from my stress, I started participating in a Mindful Meditation Group at my local library. It was freeing to be able to acknowledge my feelings and to be reassured that I was going to be fine.

If you are in the New York City area and are interested in attending a Mindfulness Meditation Group, we meet once a month at the Parkchester Library, 1985 Westchester Avenue in the Parkchester section of the Bronx. The workshop is offered the first Saturday of each month from 12 noon-1 pm and is facilitated by Nina Maness, Adult Librarian. The group has discussed the possibility of offering the group on a weekly or biweekly basis because those of us who regularly attend find it SO useful.

Yes, I still experience occasional anxiety, especially in light of the election results, which put me in a state of disbelief and depression for at least three months. I make certain to take some time for regular meditation, even if only for a few minutes, because practicing self-care and self-love is mandatory in this toxic political and social climate. Meditating helps center me, and give me peace and release.

For information about the Mindful Meditation Group, visit the Parkchester Library website here

You can find some guided meditations (in both English and Spanish) here.