Sunday, May 31, 2015

8 Lies and A Truth

I keep seeing the silliest things posted by people in my social media streams. So, at the risk of perpetuating these ridiculous ideas, here are 8 lies and one truth: 

1. Some Americans object to flying the US flag: FALSE

This is either BS or an isolated episode of idiocy
The US flag is not banned in the US.  Anywhere.  Americans love the US flag and have no objections to flying it anywhere, anytime. We adore the flag.  Check out our Facebook timelines on Flag day, Veteran's day, Memorial day, Independence day etc.  Also, HOA's are usually older people who really, really love the flag.

2. School children are no longer allowed say the pledge: FALSE

This is probably not your child, but if it is, you have a cool child.

American school children still say the pledge in school all across America. If you think they don't - at the school down the street from you for example, call them. I had to do this to prove it to my meme-gullible 12 year old daughter last year. Not only is the pledge said in schools, it's said at all kinds of events, from sports to award ceremonies to luncheons. Now, I have never heard it said in Arabic, but that would be pretty cool too. 

3. People do not support the troops: FALSE

It's not so much this picture that is misleading as it is all the stupid comments on it.  The insinuation is that people  don't respect the sacrifice our troops make.  I'm fairly certain that the American people overwhelmingly support the troops. On the other hand, disagreeing with a decision to go to war, or expressing a lack of faith in the President in any way has absolutely no relationship to supporting the troops.  Also, the average American supports the troops far more than lawmakers do if cuts to the VA are any indication.  Here is a funny video of Jimmy Dore on the troops.

4. Someone's trying to take all the guns away: FALSE
Or lengthen his penis

Ever since I read and then watched,  "Johnny Tremain" as a young flag-waving, pledge-saying elementary school child who still turned into a Democrat, I have understood the value of a militia.  But, I am unable to find any legislation anywhere that advocates the taking away of all guns from Americans.  This is pure histrionic, idiotic nonsense.  Anyone who maintains this position is either completely uninformed, or just trying to make trouble.  Any sensible American I have talked who is in no way connected to the selling and/or purchase of guns, is all in favor of sensible gun control that keeps people safe, like simple background checks.

5. People buy drugs with public assistance:  FALSE


The cost of drug testing everyone on welfare would be astronomical. I cant believe that anyone is stupid enough to complain about the cost of welfare programs and then advocate to increase the cost of the programs by drug testing people.  The few states that have tried this have cost taxpayers way more money than they saved by catching a tiny, infinitesimal fraction of people testing positive. 

6.  Babies are being aborted:  FALSE

This picture is FAKE
One of the most offensive images I personally have ever seen is the one of the supposed aborted 20 week old fetus at right. I lost a baby at 20 weeks and I can assure you that my baby did not look like this, and it is hurtful to me to pretend this is realistic.  But what is even more hurtful to me about this whole situation is the thousands of youth who need help today.  For example, there are half a million kids in foster care.  I wish the pro-life protestors would all put down their signs and get involved in the life of an actual at risk child.

7.  There is a War on Christmas: FALSE

Whoever thought this up has a persecution complex

The idea that Christmas is in any kind of jeopardy is kind of hilarious except when I see awful images like this one.  The idea that a holiday or religious celebration is in any way comparable to war is just sick and sad. Rest assured, Christmas is as pervasive as the American flag, only more so.  You absolutely cannot escape Christmas if you live in the US. Ditto for the Baby Jesus and nativity scenes. Everywhere. 

8. Obama has ruined your life - FALSE

Chances are that nothing that Obama has done has directly affected your life, unless you were previously un-insurable and got health care as a result of the Affordable Care Act, in which case, Yay, you!  At a recent happy hour a group of my friends were all bitching about how Obama is the root of all evil but no one could provide me with any concrete examples.  If you really want to see who is actually ruining your life, check out an appropriations bill in your state or a city budget. 

9.  You Can't Fix Stupid:  TRUE

No explanation necessary.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Grooming the Future Workforce

graduated high school in 1984 and I was totally clueless.  I had absolutely no idea what to do next. My parents had always talked about college but like so many kids then, and now, I didn't have access to the information and resources I needed in order to be able to develop a practical plan. I managed to stumble through (it took me 10 1/2 years to get my Bachelors degree), but there were a lot of roadblocks. Thankfully for me, the planets were mostly aligned, over time, and I made it. 

Me, clueless in 1984
Not every kid is as lucky as I was, and many of those kids have a lot more barriers to overcome than I did. I had lots of nurturing from birth to kinder. I had a perfectly adequate K-12 educational experience. I had parents with expectations and the ability to set limits and provide structure for my upbringing. I developed a love of reading from a very young age. But even in my family unit of 5 kids and 2 parents, only I and one of my brothers graduated from college. 

So, you can imagine what a challenge it is for kids without a solid foundation to even get to college much less graduate. Big Brothers Big Sisters, a century old youth development nonprofit is addressing this challenge with a new program, begun in 2008, that combines its mentoring services with career awareness and college access enhancements.  In the Workplace Mentoring Program kids are transported 1-2 times per month from their school to the workplace where they meet with their mentors. 

"The program provides valuable workplace exposure for these kids who wouldn't otherwise get this kind of experience," says Graham Weston. Weston gave the green-light back in 2008 to Rackspace's participation as one of 2 pilot sites for the new program. "Workplace mentoring helps students connect the dots between their education and career," Weston says in this video PSA shot to promote the workplace mentoring program in 2012.

The pilot Rackspace 7th grader group
Rackspace and Chase Bank were the pilot companies that allowed employees to use their lunch hours to mentors kids, but over 40 other local companies were quick to follow the lead. 

"These kids are hungry for this kind of exposure. Being in the workplace gets their brains firing," says Steve Yates, formerly with the Chase Bank program. "The first question my Little Brother asked me when he and I met at the bank was how much money I make," Yates laughs. "That shows he's connecting the dots." 

The kids and employee volunteers usually meet as a group for the first 20 minutes of the lunch hour while they eat. Then there may be a group activity or one that pairs them off.  "We try to make sure there is some one to one time for each match at every visit," says Clare McCoy, Director of Site Based Programs for Big Brothers Big Sisters. "Kids need that individual attention, and volunteers need the bonding time."  

School administrators praise the program. Sherry Nichols, Head Counselor of Garcia Middle School in Northside ISD says, "Mentors empower students to see into the future and believe that they can achieve greatness with their mentor by their side." Garcia 6th & 7th graders are matched with mentors from NuStar Energy. 

The primary purpose of any of Big Brothers Big Sisters' programs is the development of a trusting mentoring relationship, but another important focus of the workplace mentoring program is to encourage kids to dream big and aspire to college and career. Students and volunteers work on a "post high school plan" throughout the time they are in the program.  

A Roosevelt grad with her Racker Big
The first graduates of the program were Rackspace supported kids out of Roosevelt High School last year who started out at Ed White Middle School.  Seven of the original 15 kids stayed in the program until graduation and all were college bound. 

Graduating this year are Edison High School students who will be cheered on by their "Bigs" from Linebarger Goggan Blair Sampson, LLC.  "Our team loved being involved with this workplace mentoring program with the support of BBBS. We encourage other small and medium sized businesses to join us. It empowered our staff while making an impact on kids who needed a little of our time and attention," says Carri Baker Wells, Chief Operations Officer at Linebarger. 

Students arriving at Linebarger
Big Brothers Big Sisters has a Big Vision for this program. "There's no reason why any workplace can't do this," says Julio Manso, EVP, Human Resources, who is a Big Brother in the Clear Channel Outdoor/iHeartMedia workplace mentoring program. "Over time we can help bring this program to businesses all over San Antonio," he continues. 

Christina Martinez, VP of External Relations for Big Brothers Big Sisters, thinks the program could be a statistical game changer for the community: "The metric we're going to keep an eye on is the number of adults in SA with bachelors degrees (currently 24%). We think this program can move that needle over time." 

On May 27th, Big Brothers Big Sisters will hold it's first Workplace Mentoring Luncheon Celebration Luncheon. The event will be held at the El Tropicano Hotel at noon.  Tables are being sold for $1000 and up. Individual tickets are $50.  Emceeing the event are Carri Baker Wells and Harriett Marmon Helme, Director of Client Services, Covenant. Mayor Ivy Taylor will present awards and students and mentors will speak about their experience in the program, including Bobby Perez, Senior Vice President, General Counsel & corporate Relations for of Spurs, Sports & Entertainment.   
Students at Linebarger, Goggan, Blair, Sampson, LLC.

Lackland Littles

A MetLife match

Leal Middle School
Rackspace pilot group as graduating seniors
Tesoro match birthday celebration

Me, less clueless in 1994

Thursday, May 14, 2015

For Lacey: I'm So Proud of You, Graduate!

Lacey Allison

I can say with certainty that time flies, because this little girl is graduating from college today! I'm hardly able to believe it, since I can picture her as a baby like it was yesterday, but what a lovely young woman she has blossomed into! 

I'm so proud of Lacey Barkhurst! Tonight I will watch her walk the stage at Texas State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre with a concentration in design! I'm proud of her for so many things, not the least of which is that she still finished in 4 years after doing her first year at A&M Galveston as a marine biology major. That first year made it clear to her that she had to follow her dreams. It took a lot of hard work, but she did it! 

I'm also proud of her for getting such good grades! As a mother, it's pretty gratifying to see your kid make the Dean's list over and over again and graduate Magna Cum Laude! Lacey Rocks! 

But I'm most proud of the person she is. Lacey is one of the nicest, kindest, happiest, most loving, caring people I know. She's always smiling, and everyone loves her for her generosity and spirit. She gets along with everyone.  She's helpful and thoughtful.  All the time! I wish I was more like her! ;) 

She told me once that it was hard to follow in the genius footprints of her older sister, Ariel, but she should know today that she more than filled those shoes. And I have no doubt that she will go on to pursue and achieve all of her hopes and dreams and plans in life. And even if there are hardships along the way, she will weather them well. 

So to my Bunny today: Congrats and I love you! You're an inspiration to everyone. I made this VIDEO out of over 500 pictures taken since you were born. I could have put a thousand in it, but restrained myself. ;)  XOXOXO

Love, Mom

The Announcement!