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The Importance of Making Healthy, Wealthy & Wise Decisions

by Wendy Gladney on 10/28/19

Forgiving For Living, Inc. is a non-profit that has been around since 1999 with a mission to help teen girls from low to moderate income communities overcome issues of low self-esteem caused by depression, abuse and/or abandonment. For the past eight years we’ve held our annual “Healthy, Wealthy and Wise Conference” where we bring together girls to give them tools to help them make healthy, wealthy and wise decisions that can change the trajectory of their lives. In addition to the conference, we teach life skills and offer mentoring through our Ambassador Program and workshops throughout the year. We would not be able to do this work without volunteers and support from our various sponsors.  We believe if we don’t sow into the lives of our youth today, we can’t expect to reap much from them tomorrow.

Our 2019 conference was held this past Saturday at the Boys & Girls Club Watts/Willowbrook under the leadership of Calvin Lyons, CEO & President.  Companies such as Comerica Bank, US Bank, CiT Bank, and Thrivent made it possible for all the girls to attend free of charge.  We are also grateful for the support of Costco, the Los Angeles Sentinel, ALFC Food Bank and other community supporters for making the day a great success.  Forgiving For Living, Inc., Board Members Bryan Barnes and Dr. Lauren Walton both taught classes that had a positive impact on the girls lives.  Dr. Walton spoke about understanding the signs of teenage suicide and Mr. Barnes shared how the choices you make today can have a big impact on where you land in the future.  Denise Ovalle, AVP Corporate CRA CIT/OneWest Bank shared with the girls about financial literacy and understanding the power of money.  Kerry Neal shared the basics of the “Urban Birds & Bees,” and Actress Christina Ford got the girls thinking and moving, teaching the importance of staying in shape both physically and mentally.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.”  Most of us make the decisions we make in life based on what we are exposed to or what others tell us we can do.  I am a firm believer that people would do better if they knew better.  We are trying to take as many negative scenarios out of the picture for the young ladies we serve.  We want them to believe in themselves and know they can do anything they set their minds to do.  Recently on social media a little boy repeating a positive affirmation on his way to school went viral.  His affirmation is, “I am smart, I am blessed, I can do anything.”  The likelihood that he will grow up believing in himself is strong.  We want to do the same thing for our girls.

Forgiving For Living’s Vision is to give young ladies hope and purpose through understanding the power and importance of forgiveness. We hope to build up their self-esteem, self-confidence and provide them with tools for a better and more productive life. All of us can play a role in the lives of young people (and all people for that matter) by sowing positive seeds into them, watering them with support and words of encouragement and pruning out the weeds of negativity whenever and wherever possible.

Remember, it is important for all of us to do our best to make healthy, wealthy and wise decisions.  What we do affects more than just ourselves, it also affects those around us and future generations; positive or negative.  We all make mistakes, but the question becomes do we go through them or grow through them?  The choice is up to us.

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com, www.SeasonofGreatness.com  and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, author and speaker. 

Black Women 4 Positive Change

by Wendy Gladney on 10/21/19

Black Women for Positive Change (BW4PC) is a national policy-focused network of predominately African American women and “Good Brothers” from various states here in the U.S. Its primary goals are to positively contribute to ideas and methods that can strengthen and expand the American Middle/Working class, with an emphasis on the African American community; and secondly to change the culture of violence in America. BW4PC was started by and is under the leadership of Dr. Stephanie Myers and the Honorable Daun Hester.

October 12th – 20th was the 8th Annual Week of Positive Change across the country emphasizing non-violence, justice and opportunities.  Here in the Southern California area, Congresswoman Maxine Waters served as the Co-Chair. Other Los Angeles leaders included Diane Mitchell Henry, the Honorable Jan Perry and me.  Our goal is to find positive ways to express oneself, especially for our youth.  With the current climate in our world today, non-violence and justice are difficult topics.  With police shootings still occurring against African Americans and negative race relations, the question becomes what can we do to make a positive change and provide hope?

We are aware of the Dallas police officer Amber Guyger who shot and killed Botham Jean when she claimed to mistake his apartment for hers, thinking he was an intruder.  More recently, Atatiana Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black pre-med graduate was killed inside her own home when a white cop shot her through her window. The cop never identified himself and Ms. Jefferson’s nephew saw her murdered in cold blood. Although the police officer resigned and has been charged with murder, the community is still looking for answers and is seeking justice in the form of “vigorous prosecution and appropriate sentencing.”  When, and more importantly, how does all this unnecessary violence stop?

During this current administration, there has been a rise in shootings and various hate crimes.  Rhetoric from the top has influenced people and has incited violence.  The term “Make America Great Again” means for some, “make America white again.”  We must reach an understanding that America is a diverse nation with people from across the globe.  At one time or another we all either came here for a better life or were forced (slavery) here to help make this country a better place.   Just about all our ancestors (except for the Native Americans) came from somewhere else in pursuit of opportunities.  We must learn to live together with mutual understanding and respect for our differences.

I believe in order to make positive change, decrease violence, and provide opportunities for everyone, there must be a paradigm shift.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” In order to make this shift, there needs to be more training around diversity and inclusion.  We also must mandate “Sensitivity Training” for all public servants (police, fire, EMT, politicians and everyone who interfaces directly with the public).  It wouldn’t be a bad idea if all businesses mandated sensitivity training to help make the workplace a better environment.  What are you willing to do to help promote a culture of nonviolence and justice for all?

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com, www.SeasonofGreatness.com  and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, author and speaker. 

HARRIET

by Wendy Gladney on 10/14/19

Harriet Tubman said, “I had reasoned this out in my mind, there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other.” This made me wonder – how many of us are on fire and live our lives with passion and a commitment to making each day count?  Do we even know or understand our purpose and how we can make a difference? I recently attended a screening of Harriet, and as I watched this incredible movie, it fueled me to continue living out my life in such a way that would leave a positive mark on mankind. It is crucial for us to know our history and to teach it to the next generation.

I love history and especially biographical and family history.  Over four decades ago I began asking family members about the history of our family; where we came from, some of the things we accomplished and the names of my ancestors.  With my love for travel, I enjoyed going down South as a youth with my paternal grandmother to places where my various family members lived.  As I matured, whenever I would visit, I would document oral history and get as many photographs as possible.  When a family-friend by the name of Dawnchelle Carlton asked me if I would like to attend the screening of Harriet, which shared about the life and times of Harriet Tubman, her escape from slavery and leading over 300 slaves to freedom, I couldn’t resist.  The film also includes one of our very own, actress Vanessa Bell Calloway, who plays Harriet’s mother. The movie was touching, and it gave a great overview of Ms. Tubman’s commitment to helping free as many of her people as she possibly could. I will go see it again.

Harriet Tubman was born Araminta Ross and was called Minty, which I never knew.  She was born a slave and experienced various tragedies during her lifetime including a blow to her head that caused her to experience fainting spells that she believed became a way for God to speak to her. Eventually she changed her name to what most of us historically know, Harriet Tubman.  Over the course of her life it is said she freed over 300 slaves and some believe even more.  She credits being able to hear the voice of God to guide her as her weapon to free others.  It is also believed that her drive to go back and free slaves multiple times is due to her heroic faith-fueled commitment.  To many, Ms. Harriet Tubman was “Moses.” She gave them hope for freedom to the promised land here on earth.

The movie Harriet was mesmerizing and thought-provoking all at the same time. It made me cry and beam with pride throughout the entire movie. Each of the actors made you feel and believe the very essence of the characters they portrayed. When Harriet’s character, played by Cynthia Erivo, shared how we get “comfortable,” it made me think how many of us have become comfortable in our own lives that we fail to do our part in making the world a little better for everyone. Just as Harriet listened for the voice of God, we must remember the Word tells us that God comforts us not to make us comfortable but rather to help comfort others. Thank you, Harriet, for the reminder. 

Harriet Tubman not only led over 300 slaves to freedom, but she was also the first woman to lead an armed expedition during the civil war. She became one of the leading “conductors” in the Underground Railroad and is quoted as saying, “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” Let my people go was more than a phrase… it was her mantra.  What is yours?

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com, www.SeasonofGreatness.com  and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, author and speaker. 

Hope For The Holidays!

by Wendy Gladney on 10/08/19

Issues such as homelessness, poverty and lack of resources for low income and less fortunate individuals is increasing daily.  For America to be one of the richest countries on the earth it is a shame the alarming rate that hunger, homelessness and poverty are growing.  Although the Bible tells us the poor will be with us always, there are still ways we can help the situation.  The US Department of Housing and Urban Development reports there are over half a million homeless people in the United States and the official poverty rate is around 12 percent.  An estimated 40 million Americans live in poverty.  They all deserve hope for the coming holidays and every day.

Community Action Partnership is a national organization.  Their mission is to ensure the causes and conditions of poverty are effectively addressed and to strengthen, promote, represent, and serve the Community Action Network. Community Action Partnership of Orange County (CAP OC), under the leadership of Gregory C. Scott, has been on the forefront of helping to eradicate hunger, homelessness and poverty in Southern California. CAP OC will be kicking off the holiday season by holding their 2nd Annual Hope for the Holidays Dinner and everyone is invited.

The vision of both Mr. Scott and CAPOC is to expose the serious problem of poverty across Southern California and how we can all work together to eradicate this problem during our lifetime. On October 13th they will hold their Annual Hope for the Holidays Dinner.  It will be held in Santa Ana at the DTSA.  The event will be an evening filled with a Mexican folkloric dance performance, a silent auction and delicious 10-12 course Omakase-style meal by renowned chef Jason Quinn from the hit show on the Food Network called, “The Great Food Truck Race.” This is just one way we can all give back and make a difference.

CAP OC is mindful that while guests of their event will be dining on scrumptious food, there will be many that will go hungry that very evening.  Their goal is to raise much needed funds to help end that problem.  Not only will the funds continue to help boost their Food Bank Program, they also have their Adopt-a-Family Program, Turkey Drive and a Virtual Food Drive.  The holidays always represent a special time of the year, CAP OC is determined to help those fighting poverty and low-income families that have basic needs such as food provided for their tables. Statistics in their area show that 1 out of 5 children go to bed hungry every night.  Over 7,000 are homeless and over 300,000 individuals and families deal with some level of food insecurity. 

CAP OC hopes to be a vehicle that can bridge the poverty problem that exists across Southern California.  We all know that homelessness, poverty and hunger plague many Americans throughout Southern California.  For close to a half century CAP OC has evolved into one of Orange County’s most comprehensive anti-hunger and poverty relief organizations.  CAP OC’s aim is to make a positive impact in people’s lives by helping them meet basic needs and strengthen their support system.  Their position is to identify neighborhood concerns and find unique solutions.  They are committed to mobilizing direct resources to programs that assist, educate and promote self-sufficiency. We can all make a difference and bring hope to others not only during the holidays but every day.

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com, www.SeasonofGreatness.com  and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, author and speaker. 

Embrace Diversity, Embrace Our World!

by Wendy Gladney on 09/30/19

October 4th is National Diversity Day. This year’s theme is Embrace Diversity, Embrace Our World!  Since 2005 it has been observed on the first Friday of October. As a board member for the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles, I recently had such an opportunity.  Seven individuals from various parts across Asia – Fiji, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, came to my home for food and conversation.  I served a lovely dinner and invited neighbors to come in and have a discussion around “Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management.”

My new friends Mesake Jale Sovasova from Fiji, Murni Mat Amin from Malaysia, Sarah Jane Lang from New Zealand, Sivapalan Gunapalan from Sri Lanka, and Naveed Akhtar, Siraji Ui Haq, and Mian Adil Zahoor from Pakistan opened up their hearts and minds to listen to each of us as we shared about preparedness and relations in our country.  They were eager to learn about best practices they could take back to their own countries to implement ideas on how to be prepared when natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods or “acts of man” like terrorism can be handled and hopefully solved. Although we have a lot we need to work on, America has handled various disastrous situations where they have knowledge to share.

The cool thing about embracing diversity is that the world comes to us every day. We are a melting pot where people travel to America from across the globe to live or do business.  Today there is also a high probability that you have a neighbor, a family member, or a colleague of a different ethnicity, culture, or who practices different traditions or religions.  Diversity is something we can either embrace and grow together or fight and destroy the foundation of future harmony.  One of the ways we can break the ice is to hold a potluck where everyone brings their favorite family dish and shares a story behind it.  Food is always a great way to start a conversation and begin a dialogue. Good food not only fills the stomach it can also open our hearts to others.

The topic of diversity in the workplace has been around in the United States since the 1960’s. Initially diversity education started in a response to the civil rights movement.  Through the decades, the training and educational courses grew in order to help decrease possible civil rights suits. It was also thought that it could help increase the bottom line of corporate America.  There’s a difference between diversity training and diversity education. The goal of training is to improve awareness, attitude, knowledge and skill setWhereas, diversity education is a combination of diversity best practices with the goal of increasing cultural diversity and helping people to feel more inclusive. We need both awareness and education.

Last year I took a course from the Protocol School of Washington where we learned not only the importance of proper etiquette and protocol, but also the importance of multicultural understanding.  Our world is getting smaller and global presence is growing stronger every day.  With the continued growth of the internet and global commerce it is important for us to be concerned about how we embrace the whole concept of diversity with respect.  Robert Kennedy said, “Ultimately, America’s answer to the intolerant man is diversity.”  What say you?

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyEnterprises.com, www.SeasonofGreatness.com  and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, author and speaker.