Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Get Help!

With your housekeeping, of course. 

I just read yet another post from a young mom overwhelmed by parenting and housekeeping and her job. For some reason it made me remember the time a few months ago that my ex husband remarked to me, offhandedly, musingly, that his current wife "kept a cleaner house" than I ever did. The wife without a career.* The wife with one kid, a daytime nanny AND a nighttime nanny. I might have snorted out loud. 

But he's right. Our house was an absolute mess about 60% of the time, and the other 40% it only qualified as clean if you didn't look too closely. I stressed about it all the time. Probably every day. I took paid days off of work to clean it, but the work was never done. I knew it bothered him and that pissed me off too, adding to my stress. He helped a little, rinsing his dishes before putting them in the sink, transferring the occasional load of laundry from the washer to the dryer, taking out the trash. But the burden and responsibility was mine alone and we both knew it. Besides, when he "helped" he always needed recognition and praise afterwards and if I had time for that I could have just rinsed those dishes myself for the love of God.

I thought about hiring someone to help. More like fantasized, really, because we struggled with money and it seemed like such a wasteful luxury. Like I would have failed at wifehood if I resorted to that. Recently I was interviewed for a "Women in Leadership Award" and the last question the committee asked me was, "What personal advice do you have for young women today?" My immediate answer was, "Hire someone to help you clean your house."  I did not get that award, but I wholeheartedly stand by my answer.

I see young mothers struggling today, despite the fact that guys are playing much bigger roles in both child rearing and housekeeping than ever before, but we haven't come so far yet that the ultimate burden and responsibility aren't still ours. The young woman in the post link above doesn't even mention a significant other, so inside help might not even be an option for her. 

It would be useless to just tell her not to stress over the mess, because I know from personal experience how impossible it is not to. I struggled in particular with mopping the floors; I would always leave it for last, be too tired to do it, and it would just get worse. I had nightmares about one of my toddlers eating moldy (anything) she found under the table. Since I kept having kids across 14 years, it feels like I always had a toddler. 

So for what it's worth, since it's not realistic to just advise young mothers to just let the house go, my advice is to get housekeeping help. Find the money to pay for it. Tell yourself it's not a luxury, it's a necessity, and mean it. Once a week, once a month, once a quarter- anything can make a difference. If I could go back and do things differently this is one of the few things I'd change. Seriously. 


*I'm told she does work a several days a month in my ex's law firm along with our 27 year old daughter and his law partner's niece manning the phones and files. I'm not being snarky, just annoyed that he has no recognition of how less tasked and how more well-resourced the new, improved Mrs. Barkhurst is, but that's another narcicistic story. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

What is this BIG GIG thing?

Everyone's talking about The BIG GIG, but not everyone is sure exactly what it is.
Here's the Scoop!

What is The BIG GIG?
If you participated in The Big Give, you're going to want to see The BIG GIG!  It's an SNL-type stage production of skits that pokes good-natured fun at the crazy things that are unique to the nonprofit world. The format of the event is similar to the Gridiron production put on by the San Antonio journalism community and Cornyation, a Fiesta event.

Watch the Promo:  The theme for the 2016 BIG GIG is "The Nonprofit Hunger Games."   The promo was developed pro-bono by Key Ideas to promote the event.

Who is The BIG GIG for?
Anyone connected to the nonprofit world.  The event itself is organized by the Advocacy Committee members of the Nonprofit Council in San Antonio, Texas (see below for a list of members).  There are 277 tickets available so anyone can attend and buy a $20 ticket.  Anyone can also sign up to organize a skit or participate in someone else's skit.  For example, staff at my agency and I have developed our own skit and are participating in a few others.  There are skit parts currently available. Call Denise at 210-382-8671 to be in a skit.   

When is The BIG GIG?
March 5th, 2016 at 7 pm at the Josephine Theater, 339 W. Josephine, San Antonio, TX 78212.  

How can I get tickets to The BIG GIG?  You can visit the Nonprofit Council website to purchase tickets or sign up for a skit. Almost half the tickets are sold as of this post's date, so hurry! 

What is a skit like for The BIG GIG? 
As you will see in the promo link above, the event does not require skit participants to be actors.  We practiced our skit at this year's Issue in Profile and read straight from our scripts - which we plan to do at the BIG GIG itself.  The goal of each skit is to be funny or informative around nonprofit issues, or both.  No acting required. Many of the skits submitted so far draw heavily on the posts of the Nonprofit With Balls Blog (with permission).   

Skit line up so far:
  • Baking a Nonprofit Cake and Restricting It Too by Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Our Grant is Better Than Your Grant by The San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind
  • The Big Give Press Conference by Roy Maas Youth Alternatives
  • Nonprofit and Afraid featuring BIG GIG hosts Renee "Effie Trinket" Garvens and Scott "Caesar Flickerman" McAninch and 2 surprise for-profit contestants
  • Dancing With Your Program Officers by 6 nonprofit execs and 6 program officers
  •  “The Article"  A group of non-profit leaders react to the recent News Article  that lists CEO salaries and overhead percentages
  • Who's Calling? a skit about wearing many different nonprofit hats by Spina Bifida Texas 
  •  The Nonprofit Hunger Games:  Where the Odds are Seldom in our Favor"- by CAMP
  • Musical numbers, videos and more. 

How do I vote for my favorite nonprofit? 
Immediately following the final skit attendees will have the opportunity to cast final votes for their favorite skits, “actors” and agencies.  Votes can be purchased for $1.00 before the event begins and during intermission.   There is no limit to the number of votes that can be purchased.  Friends and family at home will also be able to vote through a link from the council website. A portion of the vote proceeds will go to the winning agency. 

Why is the BIG GIG happening? 
This event is the brain child of the executive committee of the Nonprofit Council and was generated during its strategic planing process in 2015.  The mission of the Nonprofit Council is to  form one strong collective voice for those it serves through advocacy, training, resource sharing and the strength and extensive knowledge of its combined membership. The BIG GIG will fund the work of the council's Advocacy Committee, the purpose of which is to highlight the constraints and limits on nonprofits today that prevent them from moving the needle on complex social issues.  Committee members are continually creating tools and resources for nonprofit agencies to use to inform their supporters and donors about these limits and constraints. Visit the council advocacy page to see the resources developed by the committee to date, including the I Am Overhead video.   Funds raised through The BIG GIG are planned to be used for a new video on fundraising available in the fall of 2016.   

Your 2016 BIG GIG hosts:  Caesar and Effie

The Nonprofit Council Advocacy Committee:

Executive Director, Nonprofit Council:  Scott McAninch,
Chair, Advocacy Committee:  Denise Barkhurst, Big Brothers Big Sisters

Chuck Altmiller, Big Brothers Big Sisters
John Burnam, Burnam Gray
Cadence Corbin, San Antonio Area Foundation
Maureen DeFelice, Daedalion Foundation
Renee Garvens, Roy Maas Youth Alternatives
Mike Gillam, San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind
Anne Krause, Hemisphere Conservancy
Charlotte Anne Lucas, NOWCast
Carlos Maestos, Key Ideas
Terry Maudlin, The Down Syndrome Association
Kathy McNaughton, Masters Leadership Program
Susan Osborne, Children’s Association for Maximum Potential
Nora Oyler, Spina Bifida Texas
Dawn White, Christian Assistance Ministries

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Mentoring a kid is more doable than you think!

One of my favorite quotes goes like this:  "If something is worth doing, it's worth doing well."  These are words I try to live by, and no where are they more important than in youth development. I have had the privilege of working for a wonderful youth development organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters, for 19 years and I am so very proud of the amazing work we do. Every January,  which is National Mentoring Month, we take time to Celebrate Success and spread the word about the power of one to one mentoring relationships! 

Did you know that there are 40 basic building blocks, called Developmental Assets, that every child needs to grow up successfully?  It turns out that there are instructions for child-raising, after all, but not all kids have equal opportunity to develop these assets. That's where Big Brothers Big Sisters steps in by recruiting, screening and training volunteers to meet regularly and consistently for at least a year with kids who need extra support and guidance in order to make it through the challenges of childhood. These volunteers are helping to develop critical assets like self esteem, developing hobbies, learning to trust, planning and decision making, caring about and service to others, boundaries and attitudes and expectations, honesty, responsibility, restraint, a commitment to learning, conflict resolution, interpersonal skills, a sense of belonging, purpose and a positive view of the future. Sound ah-mazing?  It is!  All of this can happen for a kid -- really! -- just by observing, interacting with and learning from a caring, positive role model.

So why isn't everyone doing it?  Most people think it's more difficult to mentor a child than it actually is. We often hear things like this: 
  • I'm too busy.  
  • What if I let them down?
  • I'm probably not role model material. 
  • What on earth will we do together?
  • What if they don't like me?  

The good news is that Big Brothers Big Sisters has all the answers for all these questions and more. 
Here's why being a Big Brother or Big Sister is 
One of the most doable volunteer opportunities ever

You set the schedule - Activities between you and your mentee (who I will now call your "Little Brother or Sister"*) occur when you plan them to occur.  Your "match" can be set up to meet weekly, every other week or once a month depending on the time you have.  As long as your Little and his/her parent know what to expect and there are good lines of communication, it can all work out for everyone's benefit! 

They're going to love you - Even if they don't show it, especially at first. It takes a while for relationships to develop, but trust us when we say that we have talked to enough kids who have grown up after being in the program and they all say they adored their Bigs, probably didn't show enough appreciation at the time, but couldn't imagine life without their Big in it. 

You get a mentor too - From the minute you sign up to be a Big, you have the support of the professional BBBS staff behind you.  Once you are paired with a child, your Match Support Specialist is there to help troubleshoot anything you need for the entire time you are in the program, like helping you figure out what to do together, and talking about whether you're being effective (most likely).  I have been matched for 12 years and my Match Support Specialist is kind of my mentoring therapist.  Shout out to Marcela! :) 

There is a unique opportunity coming up in a few weeks to come learn more about how you can be a part of this mentoring movement!  We'd love to see you there. 

Big Brother Santiago is Big Brother of the Year for all of Texas!

Please Join Us
National Mentoring Month Mixer
January 21, 2016
El Tropicano Hotel 
110 Lexington, San Antonio
5:30-7:30 pm

Help us honor our 2016 
Big Brother and Big Sister of the Year. 

Use National Mentoring Month as your excuse to get involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters in South Texas: 
*Although it has finally made its way into the dictionary, mentee is not really a word and we only use it because it is commonly accepted and understood. We prefer "Little," child, youth and/or student, or even client.