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MEET TEEN ACTRESS JAE’LYN AYAUNA GODOY LA BLACK PARENT: How did you get started with acting?

makes me feel proud because my friends always encourage me.

AYAUNA: I started acting when I was five-yearsold. My mom worked at King Drew Magnet High School and she had my picture on her desk. One of the students thought I was cute and she gave my mother the number to a background agency and I started working immediately. Then, I signed with a commercial/print/theatrical agent when I was thirteen-years-old and I began booking jobs that I only dreamed of having!

LA BLACK PARENT: What are some of the things your friends are saying to you?

AYAUNA: It feels crazy to know that my friends and family are watching me on TV. I mean, it still feels really good, but it’s so weird when they tell me they saw me on a commercial or a show. It also

AYAUNA: Recently, I had a funny experience on the set of “Shameless”. While waiting in the line for lunch, somebody behind me cracked a joke and I couldn’t help laughing. When I turned around to see


LA BLACK PARENT: How does it feel knowing that your friends are watching you on TV?

LA BLACK PARENT: Were there any crazy or funny moments while taping that you would like to share with us?


AYAUNA: My friends tell me that they are proud of me. A lot of my friends are actors or performers as well so we always encourage one another. There are a lot of times that my friends audition with me so we are able to support each other.

AYAUNA: I am currently working on my own clothing line which will feature my original drawings. I will also be collaborating with College Girls Brand clothing, a line created by a young, African-American female that recently graduated from Hampton University.

LA BLACK PARENT: Do you have any projects that you’re working on now? AYAUNA: I will be competing for Miss North Hollywood and I am always auditioning and training. I am also scheduled to speak at an AntiBully workshop coming up in March.

LA BLACK PARENT: What is a normal day like for you? AYAUNA: A normal day for me is very hectic. I am homeschooled so I spend about five hours a day online. Then, I spend three hours a day on campus at Los Angeles Community College taking my general education classes. Then I work out for an hour and, depending on the day, I attend training. My training consists of acting classes, vocal lesions and dance classes. LA BLACK PARENT: What is your favorite food? AYAUNA: Not only am I Black/African-American, but I am Belizean, as well. I LOVE Belizean food, my favorite dish is Curry Chicken, Rice and Beans and Plantain.

AYAUNA: When I am not in school working on my craft, I like to spend time with my friends. We like to go eat at Lemonade, go shopping, go to the movies or go to an Amusement Park. I also love to draw. Drawing helps me escape and keeps me calm. I also love to read, my favorite author (right now) is Jenny Han.

LA BLACK PARENT: What would you like to say to our readers? AYAUNA: I would like to tell your readers two things. For the parents, always encourage your children. Your support means everything to them and it will make all of the difference. To the youth, believe in yourself and never give up on your dreams. You can accomplish anything you put your mind to! I recently filmed a commercial for Disney called Disney Dream Song. It is a part of the ongoing “Dream Big, Princess” campaign. I grew up watching the Disney channel and I always dreamed of seeing myself on their channel. And it happened because I believed in myself and I had the support of my mother and friends. You can do it, too!

LA BLACK PARENT: Do you have any exciting news that you would like to share with your fans? AYAUNA: I recently filmed a promo for season 2 of

"13 Reasons Why", a Netflix original show. I was featured in the music video for Pynk Lemonade (I can't provide any further details). And I just finished my freshman year at Los Angeles City College (although, I am still a high school junior). My major is Law.


LA BLACK PARENT: Do you have any exciting news that you would like to share with your fans?

LA BLACK PARENT: What is your favorite thing to do? Do you have any hobbies?


who it was, it was the star, William H. Macy. I almost spit my drink out because he wasn’t in my scene so I never got a chance to see or meet him. So to realize he was RIGHT behind me in line the whole time is hilarious!

LA BLACK PARENT: Do you have any projects that you’re working on now? AYAUNA: Currently, I have been brushing up on

my modeling. I recently walked in the Bully Awareness's Fashion Show and I will be competing for Miss Universal City in July, 2017.

LA BLACK PARENT: Where can we find you

online or on your social media pages? Youtube Channel: C2lfGQrDsZ30Q Instagram: @iamjaelynayauna Facebook: Snapchat: ayauna_the_rose



IMDB: sr_1




LA BLACK PARENT: Can you tell me a little bit about your school? MR. MCGEE: Executive Prep I started four years ago. I got what society considered some of the worst kids. The school district approved me two months before school started so that means I got a


MR. MCGEE: I’m Omar McGee from Flint, Michigan. I moved out here 13 or 14 years ago and I graduated from Howard University in ’99. I graduated in Communications, went into film and did really well. I went into Real Estate and did a lot better and I wanted to send an elevator down to help as many people as I possibly could. That’s what I’m

doing now with Executive Prep Academy of Finance.


LA BLACK PARENT: Can you tell me a little about yourself?

MR. MCGEE: I was one of those kids you know, coming from Flint, Michigan. I lost my mom at an early age, lived on the streets, and taught myself how to read through memorization. I’ve seen a man’s head blown off at the time being nine years old. I’ve seen everything under the sun so I just knew it was really needed. I didn’t know how at one time but you know, one of my friends just mentioned it to me and I was like “Okay, that’s what I need to do, open a school.” He was just talking and I just went HAM, like I just…every day, every night just putting together a plan and my approach to education. What I’m going to do different, studying schools, studying education and just beating it up and making it cool again and really putting the emphasis on education. Nothing else. That was my motivation to give these kids a chance and I know that for a fact that I can relate to them. There’s nothing that they can tell me that I haven’t experienced or have a great understanding. So we just really relate. We’re more like a family than a school. Schools don’t inspire anymore. It’s just more than education. You have to inspire; you have to give


LA BLACK PARENT: What inspired you to start your school?

them a different type of motivation. An outlook on life; it’s got to make sense. So at Executive Prep we don’t tell them “You have to go to school for 12 years and then get a good job.” No, we can start making money right now and it makes sense to them. And then we showed them the proofs of education. I’m not going to give you all these bad examples that society gives you, I’m going to give you some real examples. So on career day I have sponsors and I call every individual person and tell them to drive their best cars. The reason I do that is because my competition is LeBron James, Jay-Z, Puffy or I can’t think of none of these newer rappers, but you catch my drift. At the end of the day, our kids don’t want to be LeBron James it’s just they have nothing else to say. They’re not going to say they want to drop out of school, they don’t want to say “I’m dumb”, they’re not going to say “I’m going to be a drug dealer”. So they say football, basketball or rap that’s all they know. The reality is we haven’t exposed them to anything. So what I do is I have over 500 million dollars on campus of people that look just like them. When they see those doctors jump out of Lamborghinis and see architects jump out of Ferraris and bankers, do you know what they say? I can’t be LeBron James but I can be that. That is for sure! So I just hope that that mirrors a mirror of success in their face and it works. You know, I’m just always motivating, I have high expectations and they perform and meet those expectations. They’re not even allowed to talk to me about junior college or trade school. It’s only four year college. There’s nobody qualified on Earth to tell a kid who they are and what they are. I hated school until I got to college. It made perfect sense to me then, and I know traditionally and by society’s standards I was definitely not the ideal student for college. There’s no way to gage that. When a kid tells me that they’re not college material, it’s when they come back from college. That’s the only way you can tell


lot of the kids that Dorsey, Crenshaw, a lot of the schools in the surrounding area didn’t want. But you know, that was the challenge. That’s exactly what I wanted and those are the kids that we need to save. I mean we need to save all kids, but definitely those are the kids that are always ignored. So yeah I got those kids and we did work. Three years later we outperformed 50% of the schools in our area. This will be our first graduating class. Right now we’re at 100% graduation and 100% four year college and we’re outperforming even private schools academically.

MR. MCGEE: We do a lot of special things. We’re just different. I just took everything in education and just changed it. They’re just really dedicated to winning. We do our Shark Tank ― our annual Shark Tank where we bring millionaires in and they develop their own businesses and the millionaires invest in them and the first, second and third win a thousand dollars. They’re really excited about that. They have their own companies; they have computer lines. We have a young girl 16 years old and just opened her storefront. She has a hair distribution company and just put her parents to work. She just bought herself a BMW. Taytech: they design computers, they modify them for the business preference. We have an organic lotion line; and these are all started by students. So they understand entrepreneurship and they understand self-value at worst. So that’s the most important part. It’s not the fact that they can go out and start their own businesses they have the ability too. So what that means is they will never be a slave to an employer. Most people are slaves to employers because they’re like “If I lose this job, I ain’t going to have nothing.” They would know how to create their own jobs and give them options and it gives them a true indication of their value.

LA BLACK PARENT: What would you say the difference is between your school and other Charter schools? MR. MCGEE: Love, innovation and dedication. If you go through our Facebook page or our Instagram

LA BLACK PARENT: Do you use any special methods of learning or do you provide any additional help for the students? MR. MCGEE: Always. After school we go right into tutoring if needed. So if you look at education ― education is totally different. The business model of education is terrible because our kids are already behind. So you’re going to have a 50 minute class and they’re two to three levels behind and so if you look at the time-frame of that ― a kid comes into class and it takes what, 5 to 10 minutes to get them in class. Then it takes another 5 to 10 minutes to set them down and get the class calm. Then you have a 15 minute warm-up and now you’re telling me you only got 25 to 20 minutes for instruction? Our kids would never catch up. It’s impossible. So you have a failing education model for our kids so our classes are 90 minutes so we have enough time to see if they’re advanced. If they’re advanced we can push them, if they’re not we have time to work with them. Then we have tutors come in and snatch them out of instruction and catch them up and then we put them right back in so no kid is left behind. Then we do two week benchmarks and then we have a


LA BLACK PARENT: What kind of activities or special programs do you offer for the children?

you would see the things that we do with our kids that’s totally different. Our kids, they don’t guess it’s not an “if. They know they’re going to win in life, they know they’re going to college. They know they’re focused and they know they belong, and they know that they can compete against anybody or any race or in any location with anybody academically which is something that I’m very proud of. That’s just instilling that winning attitude with everything, in just life period. That I think, is the difference and I love our care and our dedication. And you will really see it if you go through any of the videos you’ll really see the difference.


me. Outside of that it’s no discussion, it’s no need to talk about it.

MR. MCGEE: They love it. The pride, the winning attitude, just to say it just means something right now to be from Executive Prep. At first it was like “Man what is this school doing? We got to wear these uniforms.” Now they see the media attention. We just finished T.D. Jakes’ show, they’ve been on CNN, and they have graced the covers of countless magazines and news articles. They’re doing their thing and they’re happy. They’re winning. They’ll be the first of their generation to even go to college let alone finish high school. To go to college it was so far-fetched and now it’s the norm to them.

LA BLACK PARENT: What are some of the things that the parents are saying? MR. MCGEE: Oh the parents love us. I mean it was just changing their attitude because it was farfetched for them as well. They’ve never seen their kids perform or any of their kids perform. I’m just speaking in general right now. But for the most part they’re very pumped and they thought I was crazy when I told them that their kids we’re going to go to college. Now it’s like “No I want her to go to this college” now they’re like really choosey and picky and I’m like “You were telling me four years ago that it’s a long shot.” Which is a great fight and a great problem which I don’t have a problem with, but for the most part they’re satisfied and it just feels real good for them. A lot of families it’s the

LA BLACK PARENT: What kind of feedback do you get from people in the community? MR. MCGEE: Oh, the community loves us. The community loves us. You’re always going to have your people that have something to say ― that’s always. That’s just a part of winning. But for the most part people give us a lot of donations, come by to show their support, always giving us great messages on our websites and our social media. They follow us and a lot of people just brag about us and they’re really happy about everything that’s going on. I’m real excited about it and our graduation is really going to be amazing so I’m celebrating education like it’s never been done before. I’m renting out the top of the Marriot Hotel and we’re going to have red carpets, celebrities come out. I’m going to celebrate education the same way we celebrate kids getting drafted to the NBA. I’m putting them on the same stage and make them feel just as special and we’re going to have a great time. Thinking outside of the box is the only way to think right now. The education model that’s there ― the traditional model is just so old-fashioned. I mean, they’re still teaching kids the way they taught 50 years ago which will never work. It’s sort of like if I gave you a map and told you drive to Oakland. You’d look at me like I’m crazy like “Man, I don’t have time to read this map. Give me my phone or type it into navigation.” It’s the same way they look at education. You’ve got to speed it up they consume information too fast. So we give it to them fast. In two semesters we do more than an average school does in a year.


LA BLACK PARENT: What are some of the things you hear the kids saying about your school?

first time something positive ever happened to their family that they can celebrate.


two week academic check-in where we check in with all the kids that are struggling, get them up to speed, make sure they’re motivated, have that speech and stay on them with the classes that we can.

They’re going right into their college courses and they’re just pumped about winning. Our kids are graduating and they’ll be going to college as sophomores, so that’s just a blessing.

LA BLACK PARENT: What grades do you have at your school? MR. MCGEE: 9 through 12.

MR. MCGEE: The proof is in the pudding. I’d rather for people to go on there and look and see. Me talking about it, it does it no justice. It’s something that you have to experience. That experience is contagious so the public would just have to come out and see what we’re doing. It’s awesome.

Website: Twitter: @ExecPrep Instagram: execprepacademy


Facebook: Executive Prep Academy of Finance


LA BLACK PARENT: Is there anything else that you would like to add?



A Celebration of Greatness

By: Roz Roberts

Some may sense a feeling of despair with recent changes of national events. Today’s social and political climates have many people feeling the edginess. What history has taught us is that people are resilient. One person who exhibit this factor and in celebration of African American history this month is Madame C.J. Walker. Born Sarah Breedlove, to former slave parents, Owen and Minerva Breedlove in Delta, Louisiana on December 23, 1867. She became the first African American woman millionaire in America, by selling hair products. Her merchandise catered to African American women and gain instantaneous success. She created the template going forward for many that came after her in the hair industry.

What she has taught us is that during challenging times we still can rise above the disparity and gain a platform of success. What I want to highlight is tips on how you too can make your life great despite what is going on in society.

2. A problem can be a blessing in disguiseMrs. Walker was having hair and scalp problems. While working at the barbershop she became interested in finding a solution to her problem. What is your problem? Would you be able to find a solution to it? It doesn’t matter what it is. There’s always a way to work through it. Can you see the big problem at hand and fill that need for others who can’t? There is your solution right there. 3. Art of networking- While experimenting with different homemade remedies and ointments, Madam C.J. Walker network with another entrepreneur named Annie Malone who had her own brand products. She became one of her sales agent. Networking is important. That’s one of the critical keys of success. Whether you’re a business owner or seeking employment. Letting people know who you are and what you’re about is essential for reaching the next level. As the saying goes, it’s better to get a job through someone who refers you. People are more opened to helping you and your ventures when you have established a relationship with them. They trust you before a stranger and therefore you can get ahead of the game.


great in all you do

1. Have a vision- In order to be successful you must first have a vision. Madam C.J. Walker started as a sharecropper and laundress. She knew she wanted a better life so she relocated to St. Louis where her brothers live. From there she work at the barbershop. Her vision for something more allow her to take the chance to move forward. But first you have to know what you want. What is your passion? Are you passionate about children’s right (advocacy), or styling people (fashion). What are you good at doing? Make a list and narrow it down to something that is attainable at the immediate moment. Little goals become steps on the ladder of success.


How you too can be

With that being said, understand that it may take time between the stages of development, growth and success. Was life easier during the early 1900’s compare to 2017? No, there were problems in society where many didn’t have a chance to do what we have the option to do now in society. Sure Madam C.J. Walker faced sexism, classism and racism however she forged ahead. When doors were not opening for her in the traditional way, she built her own doors. What made her unique was that she had a vision with a plan. She established goals for herself to become the best in her field of expertise. In turn she was able to help other women become self-sufficient in society. She created a legacy that forever made a mark in history. Celebrating the life of Madame C.J. Walker and also celebrating you!


5. Work smart and hard for what you loveAfter Madam C.J. Walker developed her product and marketing strategy, she started selling door to door. Eventually she opened up a school, a store, and reinvested into her community. She shared her talents and helped other women create opportunities for themselves. As the saying goes, do what you love and you never work a day in your life. What are you creating for a successful life? Are you planning to be a motivational speaker? A comedian? Or an author? Proper time management, good networking skills, and the tenacity to keep going is an effective strategy for getting things done. Your success will outpour and others will be blessed by it. Look at ways to be impactful

and blessing to others who come across your brand or presence. By doing so it’s no longer a chore but an accomplishable task.


4. Be creative- Mrs. Walker knew that she could make a better product than what she was selling. So she worked on her formula. Then she decided to be creative with the packaging and marketing by using her husband name in place of her own. She knew back then that it was a male dominant society and she was not letting anything stop her plans from going forward. Are you marketing yourself to be the best in your field? If not are you working with a mentor or a coach to help you reach your goals? If not, this is important to consider as having support with your plan gives a better chance of elevating to the next level.



LA BLACK PARENT: What does your company do? Terrolyn: My Company is a nonprofit organization called Titus Single Parent Mentoring and it provides support to the single parent household and to the married family that is a low income family. What we do is we provide workshops to single moms to encourage them and their parenting to make healthy choices that will impact their families in a positive manner. What I mean by that is a lot of times single parents, they’re dealing with things like stress, and a lot of stuff because the burden of the whole world is on their shoulder. Of managing their time, their child’s time, their child’s education, household finances, and so we have workshops titled “Stress and the Single Parent” and “Effective and Healthy Discipline”. There’s other workshops that we have, “Dating and the Single Parent” and “Effective


Titus Single Parent Mentoring


Terolyn Phinsee

Budgeting” and so we have those. Then we also have a workshop for the parent that just encourages them that they were chosen to be that child’s parent and they can do it. So there’s a lot of networking among our single parents, but our primary focus is on the student. There’s children from the age of 7 to 18. We find STEAM programs for their children: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math programs. Those programs are ― as you know Technology is ruling the world, and a lot of innercity youth are missing out on those opportunities because they’re coming from homes where the mom or dad is a single parent or they’re lowincome households. They cannot afford some of the more affluent camps. Those camps run an average of 500 to 600 dollars or higher per week and so what we do is we partner with those organizations and we tap into their financial aid early in the process. So for example there is one camp that’s held at Cal State Long Beach every year and held at Loyola and UCLA. We will reach out to that camp, Ivy Tech and we will get ahold of them before they open up their camp enrollment to the general public. And what we will do is we will talk to them about their financial aid opportunities for single parents and for low-income families, and we tap into those dollars early. And then when our families sign up they are more apt to obtain those camps at affordable rates. For example, if that camp is 500 dollars based on their income they may go for free or they may get that camp at an affordable rate of maybe 100 dollars. Well, that’s still kind of high for a single parent per week and so what we do is we have a huge fundraiser. Every year we offer a huge fundraiser and it’s usually a sit-down dinner. We have an event called “An Afternoon of Gospel, Jazz, and All-You-Can-Eat Barbecue” where the cost of the tickets off-set the cost of the camp for the kids. And our goal in doing this is to stop the latchkey problems because single moms don’t have any place to take their children in the summer; they can’t afford it. So what they will usually do is they will leave their child at home and call ten times a day to make sure that child is okay. But most of them a lot of times the child is out and about doing other things, have kids in the home making poor choices. And so our goal is to stop the latchkey problems and also break the preschool to prison pipeline. If a child is at fourth grade and is not up to par on his reading or her reading or their math skills, they’re going to be labeled as a bad child or

Terrolyn: I started the company because I was a single parent. My first time around I was a very young single parent, I was a sophomore in college and I did not know how to be a parent, I was alone, and I had no one there beside me. My parents were still very young because I was so young and so they couldn’t take off from their jobs to help me so I

LA BLACK PARENT: What makes it different or unique? Terrolyn: One thing that makes our program different and unique is there is no other program out there like ours. Most programs will tell you about the camps but they’re not a liaison for you. We’re a liaison for parents. We actually reach out to the camps, and not only are we a liaison for the parent, we also make sure our children are vetted for these camps. We prepare the children before they go to camp by providing etiquette class, we provide a class on teaching them about making good choices and we have a class called “Breaking the Pre-school to Prison Pipeline”. And that helps them understand why they're in the program and the choices that we make when we are idle, the choices that we make when we are maybe in wrong company and what happens when we get into the criminal justice system. It seems like it’s pretty hard, but children need to know when you make a simple choice that cost you a lifetime of pain, how you can avoid those by being actively involved in things that are designed to give you a better future and you have more choices. So that’s what makes us different we


LA BLACK PARENT: Why did you start the company?

would drive around in the summers trying to find someplace or someone to take care of my child, And then after I married and had another child, by that time I’d been exposed to a lot of the camps. But I also still found them to be very unaffordable. So one day I was just talking to the Lord and asking him “How do you want to use me? What’s my purpose?” and the Lord put in my spirit “I want you to start a company called Titus based on the book of the bible that teaches women how to be mothers, older women teach younger women how to be wives and mothers and the older men are to teach men how to be husbands and fathers.” And that’s why I started it because there’s a huge need especially in our African American, Brown and Hispanic communities for STEM and parent leadership programs that are affordable. And our program is very affordable, there’s a very very very small annual registration fee of only 65 dollars for the parent and the first child and 20 dollars for the next child, 10 for the next and 5 for the next children on and that gives that parent the ability to trust in us to reach out more for camps for their children.


suspended, when in theory they’re just struggling. They’re just not prepared for the next level. So what we do is ensure that that child is getting the necessary hands-on experience in the summer through the various STEM and STEAM programs that are available to us. And so we partner with 21 different summer camps ranging from the YMCA Girl Scouts for our younger students all the way to Airline Pilots Camp an organization with Black Airline Pilots. We partner of course, with Microsoft. We partner with American University of Health and Science a Christian Medical School and a host of other camps. If you go to our website at, you will see the list of the camps and the list continues to grow. We had six additional camps join us today and we’ll eventually close that because camps now are starting to fill up, and unfortunately most parents don’t apply for their child’s camp if they’re not with Titus until sometime in May. By the time May rolls around most camps are full. So I contacted Campfire today just to see how things were going, if they had any open camps, they are full and it’s only April 3rd. There are no openings in their camp, they’re all full and there’s absolutely no financial aid now available. So what we’re trying to encourage parents to do is to apply early, don’t wait and if they wait then what’s going to happen is they’re going to miss the opportunity for their child to get into a program. So we have partnered again with a host of organizations and just so many phenomenal programs. One for example, sends the children to USC, they learn to be junior executives, they will learn how to start their own company, build a website, write a business plan, and invest in stocks and bonds. So a lot of great stuff going on. We’re also empowering our parents now to help make some of those decisions on some of the camps they see out there. So that’s what our company does and we’ve been around for about nine years.

Terrolyn: The parents are able to pay online. They go to our website. They pay either online if they come in after open enrollment. Some parents will trickle in after an enrollment and those you will usually pay online. But for the most part open enrollment is on the day of the workshops. So we have one day that’s a full day of workshop and the only requirement is that the parents attend and children attend their camp preparation workshops and the parents attend their parent support workshop. And so there can either be a full day or two half days and at that time they pay their registration fee, and when they cannot afford to pay the whole thing we break it up in payments. Either two payments or three payments. Most parents can handle it in two payments because we tell them far in advance. LA BLACK PARENT: When does open enrollment usually take place? Terrolyn: Open enrollment is always the last week of January of every year. And it’s that early because camps fill up. For example, they start open enrollment for campfire in February and they filled up in mid-March. They’re already full. Most people don’t know that and then they end up waiting and they say “I’m sorry we cannot take your child”, and that’s always so hard. LA BLACK PARENT: Who is using/could use your product/service right now? Terrolyn: Single parents and low-income two parent households and all cultures. We target Hispanics and African-Americans because they’re the underrepresented, but we do open it up to other cultures. LA BLACK PARENT: How will this service make their lives easier? Terrolyn: Your child is more prepared for the next grade level. It increases their interest in science and math. It increases their interest in the Arts. Every student in our program goes to the cooking class,

LA BLACK PARENT: If you could make THREE points, about your company what would they be? Terrolyn: I would say that 1. Our company empowers underrepresented students to have hands-on experience in the STEM field from the age of 7 until 18. 2. Single parents have a network and support group that they can count on to get support and encouragement when they need it. 3. Our goal is to make sure that students have more choices in their future. The main thing is to make sure that students can have more positive choices as they move through their academic career, their academic tenure and their professional careers by introducing them to STEM and STEAM fields. LA BLACK PARENT: What are your customers saying about your service? Terrolyn: They love it. Most of them are shocked that they’ve never heard of anything like this before. LA BLACK PARENT: Is there anything else you would like to add? Terrolyn: We had a Gala. Our Gala was held on May 7th at the Lakewood Sycamore right next to the Lakewood Sheriff station on Clark and Del Amo. Again, it was a summer camp scholarship


LA BLACK PARENT: What's the pricing and how is it made available?

it’s a culinary art class and they will go to that. They learn how to cook. It also binds the family together. We encourage all of our families to sit down. If they’re eating out of paper plates and paper cups and running and ripping all the time, we say take one day–one Sunday–at least twice a month at a minimum and get some China, go to the thrift store if you have to, wash it up real good with some hot water and Ajax. Do whatever it takes, get it clean and set your table and have dinner with your children. If it’s just you and your children you’re still a family. So that’s something that improves a relationship with you and your children. It lets your child know that they can learn new things and that special opportunities that are sometimes only given to kids in their class is also given to them through this program. Sometimes for free and sometimes for little or no cost.


actually prepare our children and the camps always ask us to come back every year.



fundraiser. Microsoft was there handing out the summer camp scholarships to the students, and we had the support of the community. They were given a wonderful evening. They enjoyed their afternoon listening to Gospel and Jazz while enjoying a barbecue buffet and watching the beautiful students receive their summer camps scholarships to some amazing camps.

Know Your Truth By Regina Mixon

African-Americans or Blacks have contributed much to the growth of this country. With President’s Trump’s decision to change Black History Month to African-American History Month, many are totally opposed to the change. It is important that regardless of the title placed upon the month we celebrate, that we know our history, that we know our truth. Looking back throughout time, there are many familiar names that many of us immediately recognize as being major contributors to the growth of this country. There are many unnamed or unrecognized people that have contributed as well. This year’s theme is “The Crisis in Black Education” and yes there is a crisis. Due to the fact that many are not properly taught the contributions of those within our communities, past and present individuals or groups, that has helped shaped us into whom we are and where we’ve been, that we do not fully realize the greatness that flows in us.

I will later mention but not elaborate on the names of those we see each and every year and their discoveries, inventions or accomplishments. What I will do is ask that each Black or African-American pledge to learn to know more about your ancestry. You just might be surprised by what you find in your lineage. You may find people who have dared to go where no other has gone and may now be living ordinary lives knowing that they too played a major role in our history. You may find that the reason you aspire to be more is due to the fact that you stand on the shoulders, prayers, and prior works of giants. You may just find that your burning desire to do or be a certain way did not start with you but was passed down through the generations. That passionate desire to be a teacher was largely due to your great-great-great grandmother’s desire to learn, and not being able to do so, shared the importance of education down the line to her children and her children’s children. Please don’t get me wrong: I absolutely do not downplay the likes of Rosa Parks, Harriett Tubman, Madam C J Walker, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Frederick Douglas, Maya Angelou, Marian Anderson, Marcus Garvey, Langston Hughes, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, former President Barack Obama or any number of others



The next-door neighbor could have at one time been a major league ball-player. The person a few blocks away could easily have been the first Black female author; the first black male government employee; the first black student to enter predominately white schools when integration took place. Yet Uncle Joe may have served in the military during war-time and seen things unimaginable to most of us: He could have been a decorated war hero but how do we know, how will we know?


The Crisis in Black

for their strength, tenacity, major contributions and advancement of not only the Black community but America as a whole. I do encourage you to first know your individual family history. Once that’s done teach it to your young and then expand by reading and learning and sharing more as to the contributions made by others. In doing so, you are encouraging your children and letting them know that anything is attainable and nothing is impossible. As I look back over the accomplishments of those in and/or originated from my small little hometown of Minden, Louisiana, I can say that I am godly proud as so many great things have come forth from so many there throughout time. If you study, ask the questions, listen, I am sure you will find the same to be true regardless of where you live or are from.



Know your truth and pass it on.





Black Lives Matter: When? By: Cynthia Ward Winzer

We, as Blacks/Afro-Americans, are quick to say “Black Lives Matter” when tragedy happens between Whites and Blacks. Data shows that 93 percent of Black homicide victims are killed by other Blacks and 84 percent of White homicide victims are killed by other Whites.


The month of February has been designated as Black History month. Let us not allow ourselves to acknowledge Black History only in February. We should make a point of acknowledging Black History in our thoughts and our actions. Since our children are our future, we need to continue instilling positive values and increasing their knowledge of their heritage.


In everyday life, we judge, hurt and criticize each other. The Bible says in Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” We are too hypocritical towards one another. What happened to the slogan, “I Am My Brother’s Keeper”? No matter how educated we are, what our title is, or what sorority or fraternity we are members of, we should help one another in some shape, form, or fashion. We do not support our Black owned businesses. In the workforce, we hold each other back by not supporting or motivating each other to reach the next level. I have witnessed some belittling behaviors towards one another.



the Polio vaccine, Flu vaccine, and chemotherapy – all these things came about with the assistance of HeLa cells, and it’s just so amazing that one person did this. But it’s also very sad because the family did not know until decades later. LA BLACK PARENT: So you played Deborah, Henrietta’s daughter. How did you like that?

LA BLACK PARENT: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Kyanna Simpson: My name is Kyanna Simone Simpson and I’m a sophomore at the University of Georgia and though I’m a full-time student, I’m also balancing that and a professional acting career. And my mom for the last seven years as I have been pursuing this dream she’s assisted me in keeping up with my homework, keeping my grades together, and providing me transportation as I go to do research for different courses that I’m taking. I’m an Entertainment and Media Studies major, intended, so I’m applying to the school of Journalism right now. LA BLACK PARENT: For those who may not know can you tell us about Henrietta Lacks? Kyanna Simpson: Yes. So Henrietta Lacks she was an African-American woman and in 1951 she was diagnosed with cervical cancer at John Hopkins hospital in Baltimore. During her surgery, a piece of her cervical cancerous tumor was taken from her without her knowledge and many medical breakthroughs came about from the cells that they found inside of her tumor. Her cells until this day are continually replicating. So they are immortal and many different medical breakthroughs such as

LA BLACK PARENT: How did you land the roll? Kyanna Simpson: Well, I was taking summer classes over the summer of 2016 and I had always told everyone that my biggest dream was to play Oprah Winfrey in a movie. That was always the biggest thing I reached for and I was like “I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but I hope it happens sometime in my future.” So my manager calls me and she says that there’s this roll that she wants to get an audition for, for me. She tells me the story and already I’m intrigued by the story of Henrietta Lacks. Then she proceeds to tell me that it’s to play the younger version of Oprah Winfrey’s character and I was like “This is it! This is my chance to finally pursue this dream that I wanted my entire life.” So over the summer I got the audition with the help of Ms. Latonya RichardsonJackson, and she’s a great mentor of mine, and then I had the director’s session a few weeks later. I got to meet the director there: George Wolfe. He helped me a lot with the character and emerging myself into the mind of young Deborah Lacks. Then a few


On Her Role as the Younger Version of OPRAH’s Character In Biopic the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks


Kyanna Simone Simpson

Kyanna Simpson: I enjoyed playing young Deborah Lacks so much mostly because I was helping to bring this very historical and impactful story to life. Also because the story follows Deborah as she wants to learn more about her mom. How did her mom love on her? Did she breastfeed her? That’s such a close story to me because of my relationship with my mom. I know how my mother and I, we are very close and as I said she’s been by my side and assisting me as I go about my dreams my entire life so that mother-daughter relationship is very serious to me. So to be able to kind of peek into the life of someone who didn’t have a mother as she grew up was very touching to me. It really brought into perspective how lucky you are to have a mom who is close by your side and supporting you with your every move because some people aren’t blessed to have a mom in their life.

weeks later I got the call and my manager just said, “Hey Deborah” and my knees gave out I just couldn’t take it. It was too much and I was so filled with joy. I just felt like all the years of stressing with school and trying to figure out how I’m going to still go to college and everything, it all just came together. LA BLACK PARENT: Oprah Winfrey executed and produced this film and also stars as Deborah later in life. How was it not only meeting but working with your biggest inspiration? Kyanna Simpson: There aren’t enough words to describe it. Mostly because I look up to her so much in all different avenues of the entertainment world. I’ve just always been intrigued by how versatile she is in the entertainment world. So being able to sit there in the make-up trailer and listen to her talk about different life events she’s had, different travels she’s gone on, I was just enjoying every single minute of it. Then working with her in Baltimore I got to just talk to her more about what I want to do in my life and she actually mentioned manifestation to me when I told her about how I always said I wanted to play her in a movie. She said, “You manifested that” and I always knew what manifestation was but I had never applied it to my life personally and I think hearing it come from your biggest inspiration – your biggest role model, makes you put into perspective how you should go about chasing your dreams. Speak it into existence.

bring something out of me that I didn’t know I had inside. We would go for long days shooting and then I would go home and be waiting for the next day because I would be so excited to go to work.

LA BLACK PARENT: What other roles have you played? Kyanna Simpson: Well I’ve done a great deal of productions that I’ve enjoyed so much. My very first film was called A Christmas Blessing on TV One and I played a two-faced gangster. I continued on to do shows like Being Mary Jane, which I watch every week so when I was told that I booked that job I went crazy. I’ve done Law and Order SVU. I did another HBO show called Show Me a Hero which is also a very historical story that has to do with African-Americans as well in history. I’ve done a film called The Archer which is actually going to a lot of film festivals right now winning a lot of awards. Those are a few jobs I’ve done and I am actually working on a film right now in Cleveland. It’s called White Boy Rick starring Matthew McConaughey and what actor doesn’t want to learn from Matthew McConaughey?


Kyanna Simpson: A typical day on set – I would get there, usually the call times were very early but I didn’t care because I was so excited to go. We shot in Atlanta and I would go into the hair and make-up trailer, and every day I would be so surprised and excited to see Ms. Winfrey, and the rest of the cast because these are all people I look up to. So I would go in there and get ready for my scenes. We would have conversation and then when I filmed the scenes actually, the director George C. Wolfe he assisted me a lot because this had been my first very intense roll and my biggest film to date. So he really helped me become Deborah Lacks and he helped me make the right choices. He is truly an actor’s director because I feel like he made me


LA BLACK PARENT: What was a typical day on set like?

LA BLACK PARENT: Where can our readers find you on social media? Kyanna Simpson: Oh, everywhere! If you have Instagram you can follow me @KeeSimone and on Twitter you can follow me at @KeeKeeSimpson. If you want to add me on Facebook it’s Kyanna Simone Simpson. LA BLACK PARENT: Do you have anything else that you want to add?



Kyanna Simpson: I do want to say that I really do believe if you’re following your dreams you should also continue your education because you can never learn too much, and it’s always great to become educated on a new concept so that you can be very creative in your life. Even though it’s stressful I really enjoy balancing both my professional career and my educational career because one day I want to be able to do many things in life. I think getting my degree is going to help me with that.

Mindfulness Mends Most By Tann Moore

his many inadequacies. In this moment I was reminded of the mindfulness of my youth. According to Greater Good: Science of a meaningful life, "mindfulness is awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding

cousins busy for hours laughing at Sally and her seashells or woodchucks struggling to fulfill their sole purpose after we had to come inside for the evening. We could never spend more than five minutes griping about having to play indoors because present play prevented pursuing the past. Recently I was speaking to a colleague and she was rattling off a list of things she did not like about her current relationship. She complained about her insensitive, argumentative, and antisocial partner, who before her had only dated younger women. When she expressed her belief that the relationship wouldn’t last much longer, I asked her why she was still with him. It was as if my question had covered her in fairy dust leaving her ability to process clear thought and speech suspended in midair rendering her void of the ready made responses she had for

there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future."

Mindfulness is a double edged sword that cuts going and coming. If we are hyper aware of what is wrong, we may be honoring our thoughts in the present moment, but we are also judging these thoughts. If we are focused on judgment alone we make little, to no, room for acceptance. I've often gotten caught in the sticky web of complaining while abandoning the good longing to be acknowledged right in front of me. However, as I sat patiently waiting for my colleague's response I couldn't help but wonder if she had been as aware of the thoughts and feelings that made


uniquely crafted activities of alliteration. The challenge would keep me and my

thoughts and feelings without judging them— without believing, for instance, that


When I was a little girl I loved tongue twisters. I delighted in trying to master these

environment. It also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our

her feel calm or made her smile. Perhaps her silence was triggered by her impromptu attempt to reconnect with those joyfilled memories or to thwart her mind's search for the idea that she should leave her current relationship in search of greener pastures. As we approach the end of May and the halfway point of 2017 remember the very

Tann is the author of, The Cinderella Syndrome: When the glass slipper no longer fits, which became an instant hit and introduced the world to Hip-Help ™. Hip-Help ™, a term coined by Tann, is a new approach to self-help that delivers information using urban analogies, humor and other practical approaches. She is excited about her new book to be released in 2018. Tann was awarded the 2005 Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Nonfiction/Self-Help and has conducted countless seminars regarding personal development, selfimage and assertiveness.

thing that causes anger, angst and anxiety can be healed by awareness and acceptance rather than rehashing and forecasting. Now try saying that five times fast.

Tann Moore is a psychotherapist, motivational coach, writer, director, producer, workshop facilitator and fine arts expert.


Tann’s training in the healing arts and her passion for the dramatic arts led to the creation of Tanyika Moore Healing Arts (TMHA). Tann marries the healing and creative arts and is passionate about raising mental health awareness through the dramatic and fine arts utilizing individual and group sessions, workshops, seminars, plays and other live performance modalities. Tann is committed to awareness through the arts and firmly believes that artistic observation evokes possibility, power, and purpose.


Tanyika “Tann” Moore earned a BA in Theatre and her MA in Psychology. She is a Marriage and Family Therapist helping clients address and adjust behaviors in order to reach mental health goals and manage symptoms associated with various diagnoses, personality disorders and social challenges.

LA Black Parent: Can you tell me a little about yourself? Mr. Lyons: I grew up in Gary, Indiana. as a Boys & Girls Club kid and moved to the Southern California area in the early eighties to begin a career in aerospace. I had a great 15-year career and towards the end they asked me to take a few folks from my program, go into L.A. and keep kids in high school until graduation. I didn’t think it fit for me, but when I did it, it changed my mind and heart and led to a career in youth development. I made the switch in the mid-nineties working with an organization called INROADS at the college level. But I started moving to the left on the timeline trying to figure out what issues were crimping the talent pipeline. The earlier the better to give kids a strong start so that they’re ready to become the next great citizens and lead the country. That mindset brought me back to the Boys & Girls Club where I served as the CEO for the Seattle area clubs in King County, which is one of the largest in the country. I heard about this opportunity here in the largest Boys & Girls Club market in the country, and was compelled to toss my hat in the ring. It also presented an opportunity to be closer to friends and

LA Black Parent: What led you to the position of CEO at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles? Mr. Lyons: Boys & Girls Clubs’ pursuit of highquality programming, finding efficiencies as well as economies of scale bode well for me to transition here at this time. We believe that all kids in L.A. County need youth development organizations that serve and partner with others for lasting change. We need to be the ones who help them graduate from high school. We need to be the ones who help them achieve healthy lifestyles and become productive citizens who leverage the systems that propel them to do great things for their communities. Plus, I am a kid-focused guy and anyone you meet will tell you that. I just love young people and helping them achieve their dreams. LA Black Parent: How has the Boys & Girls Club changed to meet the needs of today's youth? Mr. Lyons: I would say in the past the focus was on just keeping kids off of the streets, keeping them safe and giving them places to learn and grow. But the reputation over the last few years has shifted dramatically towards three priority outcomes: our academic success model and making sure that kids


Boys & Girls Club of America

family and work in a community I know and understand.


Calvin Lyons

Mr. Lyons: We do that naturally with our staff and we also have volunteers who are able to come in and work with the kids for Power Hour – which is the name of our homework assistance program. All kids during the school year have to come in and complete their homework, have a nice healthy snack or meal, and then it’s program or playtime. LA Black Parent: What programs or activities do you offer for the youth during the school year?

LA Black Parent: Can you tell us a little more about your Power Hour? Mr. Lyons: Sure. If you can imagine when we were kids, we’d come home from school or we’d go to an organization like the Boys & Girls Club. When you walk in the door someone would greet you, “Hey how are you doing, Michelle? Come on in! How was your day?” “It was great!” “Wonderful, do you have any homework?” and Michelle of course being a studious kid would say, “I do” and they’d say, “Okay let’s see what you have” and then you begin to go through the papers, you’d sit down and you’d work with Michelle to make sure it’s done. Now from your standpoint, if you need help as a kid, someone’s there to help you. When your parents pick you up, our plan is the homework is already done so that gives you more family time once you arrive home. So there’s a method to it. Do you need special math assistance? We can help. There are other topics where you may be a little stuck, and our volunteers or staff members can help you get through it. LA Black Parent: What programs or activities do you offer for the youth during the summer? Mr. Lyons: When I worked with the Seattle clubs we were instituting what we call Summer Brain Gain programming, because we found that a lot of kids-through summer learning loss-were losing what they gained through the school year. We’re looking at having some aspects of those programs across all clubs in the very near future. And, of course, there are also opportunities to play sportsnot only learning the basics of the games, but how to become strong, avoid injury and perfect the skills.


LA Black Parent: Do you also offer something like a Big Sister-Big Brother program?

Mr. Lyons: We have STEM labs and other technology programming. Our kids are also learning about plant and animal life. At the Watts Willowbrook Club the kids just harvested their gardens. It’s exciting to see them pull up their own carrots, wash them, apply some type of healthy spread and then eat what they grow. Other programs focus on leadership development and skill building through our Torch Club or Keystone programs.


have STEM training as well as combatting summer learning loss; teaching them how to lead a healthy life, not just focusing on their physical bodies but social and emotional aspects as well; and instilling good character and citizenship with anti-bullying programs and a focus on community service. We had a mock election this past year for our Watts Willowbrook kids and it was exciting to see them say, “Okay, I am ready to vote which means I have to register,” and when we were asking kids to register we found out that many of them did not know their addresses. And we found out too that the club has a very high percentage of foster kids. This enabled us to use data to inform our decisionmaking and help them memorize their address. They had to evaluate their presidential candidates, share why they were going to vote for certain candidates and then we rewarded them for voting. We helped them understand how the process works, how to do research, and then how to actually vote and get that sticker that says, “I voted today.” When we start digging in deep to the programming offered to our kids at Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles, we find out what are their needs, how do we assess them and how do we implement programming to help. A lot of people still see the Boys & Girls Club in their mind as a swim and gym; it’s a place where you go and play, but we bypassed that a long time ago. The focus is much more holistic. Our focus is on mentorship for social and emotional development, which I think is our sweet spot. That’s where we can come in and make sure that a caring adult is present in the life of a child, helping them make good decisions along the way.

LA Black Parent: Can you tell me more about the Youth of the Year Award? Mr. Lyons: The Youth of the Year Award is presented to the community leader of a specific club. For example, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles selected a teen from Watts Willowbrook. That person is chosen by judges who volunteer their time to evaluate kids across the spectrum of written and spoken information. They give a speech, they’re evaluated and then they move from the local club level to the California State level, then to a Regional level. Each finalist from the regional level, along with our military finalist, go to the National Youth of the Year Gala in D.C. where the final Youth of the Year is selected and presented. The Youth of the Year really embodies our mission; they’ve overcome obstacles and are heading toward a great future. Ultimately the National Youth of the Year serves as an advocate for youth across the country. They win a scholarship, a new car and a trip to Disney World. They also have the opportunity to visit the White House and meet the president. It is truly a huge honor. All of our Youth of the Year finalists work tremendously hard. LA Black Parent: About how many youth are at your location that you’re currently serving? Mr. Lyons: We have three locations – with 2 opening soon. We currently serve just over 2,500

LA Black Parent: How can parents sign their child up for the Boys & Girls Club? Mr. Lyons: I would say one of the best ways is to drop by the club. They can also get more information about us online at We are constantly refreshing our website, and they can go there, find out which club is closest to them, pick up some general information and submit an application.

LA Black Parent: What are some future goals for the Metro Los Angeles Boys and Girls club in the next few years? Mr. Lyons: My vision is to become the youth development organization and doing that increases high school graduation rates with kids exiting high school with a plan for success. That can be posthigh school college, trade school, military – whatever they want to do, and just making sure that we work closely with their schools to make it happen. LA Black Parent: Is there anything else that you would like to add? Mr. Lyons: We offer a safe place for kids, and that’s not just Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles. That’s for the hundred thousand kids we serve in L.A. County. We are a large organization with over one hundred and fifty years of doing this type of work. But how are we going to step up our game? Much of that is going to be through partnerships and professional development for our staff. The other part will involve spreading the word through publications such as this one who help us tell the real story. We’re not just for the gym. We are not just a place to go to have fun, although that is a huge part of our members’ experience. Our mission is to help end cycles of generational poverty. Most people don’t understand the economic benefit of making sure that kids and families are doing well. When you have a kid who has a successful future the economic benefit of what they bring back to the community versus what they may cost the community is astronomical. If we can


Mr. Lyons: We do. I talked earlier about the social and emotional aspects of our work and a good example of that is a young man who was very shy, very reserved. Kids would look at him and say “Hey, there’s something different about this kid.” But we were focused on making sure that there are staff members who are pulling him into the process. He had some a few personal issues, but we were able to work with him and now he can’t wait to get to the club. Everything has changed and he is getting more involved. The other kids are welcoming him because we’re also teaching them how to make friends with people who may be different.

youth but have a very aggressive plan to serve at least 10,000 by 2020.


LA Black Parent: Do you have any examples of the impact that the Boys & Girls Club has had on the youth?

help just five thousand struggling kids graduate from high school the economic benefit to the community is a billion dollars. So it’s not just a feel-good thing, but it is an investment in our future. It is a way of creating our future leaders. So that when Michelle and Calvin retire, there will be caring adults who make good decisions for us and for the following generation.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro LA Website: Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro LA Facebook:



Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro LA Twitter:

In high school Jocelyn spent a week in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco in hostels and on the streets to better understand homelessness and how it can impact kids and teens. She also founded the Under-represented Teen Advocacy Program (U.T.A.P.) at her school, a program that connects Bay-area teens in need with available services. U.T.A.P. continues to advocate for local teens each year.

At first, because of her difficult home life, Jocelyn did not value education and struggled in school. She credits the mentors at her Club as being a positive force in her life – changing her perspective on her life and her capabilities. At her Boys & Girls Club, Jocelyn learned how to code and helped create a photo sharing in-app technology that can be applied to a variety of apps. With encouragement from her Club mentors, when she no longer felt challenged in school, she applied to a private school that offered more advanced classes, where she was awarded a scholarship.

Jocelyn is studying Journalism at University of Southern California and plans to become a journalist, lawyer and entrepreneur.


When Jocelyn joined her Boys & Girls Club at age five, it gave her something priceless – a place to call home. Living in a community where drugs, crime and gangs were rampant, Jocelyn found stability behind her Club’s blue door. During times when her family struggled and even became homeless, it provided her each day after school with positive, caring relationships with adults who showed her that her present did not have to dictate her future.


Meet Jocelyn Woods, 2016-17 National Youth of the Year Boys & Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley San Jose, California

Today Jocelyn remains dedicated to helping teens who are struggling with the same issues she faced growing up. She’s devoting her time as National Youth of the Year to advocate for education opportunities for all Club kids and teens. She is working with Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s education experts to build new platforms for teens to access college scholarships, internships and other forms of secondary education.

Personal Quote:



“The Club has always been my home; a place that I could count on to feel safe and supported by people who love and care about me, even when the actual place that I lived did not meet those standards.�



Who Are You? By Dr. Netreia Carroll

For the longest time AS A WEAK BLACK WOMAN, I wanted to share my life experiences, hurts, pains, and joys that shaped my being. This was a true statement of my change. Fighting hard, I resisted and refused the Sambo, Gollowog, and Pickanniny titles that were given to me, instead my soulful eyes absorbed the true essence of the STRONG BLACK WOMAN who delivers humanity into a world waiting to create more and purposefully fulfilling destinies. When I am not incubating embryos, nurturing children, working to raise offspring’s solo, or sharing the Love of Christ with the innocent, I am refashioning my spiritual DNA in order to become refreshed, fashionable, Spiritual, sexy, sensual, and independent. Just better! Better than I already am. Better with my confrontations, feelings, and explanations of life...a better me. As Hamlet once said: “…there is much music in this little organ” and I must play it though I am no pipe.


Today as a BLACK WOMAN, I encircle my feelings of being one BLACK WOMAN in a million, of knowing no one out there is quite like me, can do it like I do, or see what I see. This give this BLACK WOMAN all the reasons to celebrate the essence of my true womanhood. Breaking the rules is hard. Hearing the criticism is difficult. Look around, we are all essentially equivalent: we all want to be loved. The residency of love can only reside comfortably if it derives from the true love source, Jesus. The Power of His love defines us all, even me. Today I rediscover myself. Tomorrow and each day after, I will revisit the thought of me again. No one can mimic the uniqueness of my positive attitude. No one can replace my compassion to protect life. Due to my inherited BLACK WOMEN’S strength, even my failures and struggles are a time for celebration. Because my ancestors


After living a life of hearty laughs hidden behind gapped teeth, an inherited world upon my back and bakery rounds on my chest, alongside of dissatisfactions, I have come to grips that “SOLID BLACK WOMEN like myself are meant for extraordinary things and I must understand that I will never fit into the concept of normality. It is okay to break society and culturally set rules and be diverse. That is my statuette, unique.” I wonder how much easier life would be if commonplace was enough and “fitting in” was an option. Understanding the reason why I, the CHAYIL BLACK WOMAN exist. I have learned that it is more than occupying space. I have a space that is designed only for me, A DURABLE BLACK WOMAN, to fit in. With this thought in mind, BLACK WOMAN, it would behoove you to remind yourself that being who we are is everything to our purpose. A BLACK WOMAN who knows who she is. A BLACK WOMAN who has a relationship with her strengths and her weaknesses. A BLACK WOMAN who embraces her imperfections. A BLACK WOMAN who is comfortable in her own skin.

have proven that every fall will prove gravitation still work. BLACK WOMEN will and always have triumphed over the worst circumstances. I expose some of myself to you this day. Every word written removes another layer of dead skin and concealed esteems. Low esteem of others who have forgotten offends me. Hattie McDaniel from 1940, yet depicted as a mammy with white lips, acted her way to the top. Ida B. Wells, a journalist and civil rights activist back in the late 1800s, worked her way to the top for documented lynching’s in the South and researching how white segregationists used violent methods to keep African Americans “in their place.” Harriet Tubman…Top! Elizabeth Eckfor, Mary McLeod Bethune, Michelle Obama….All strong BLACK WOMEN. Today, I stand a STRONG BLACK WOMAN in the Body is Christ. A whole soul. Confident of who I am. I am not a 1940 to 2017 negative media stereotypes. I am a strong unique rib that holds up the Body. I am naturally unattractive. In every word, my soul listens and my heart speaks. My braids and kinky hair is beyond professional and exclusive corporations despise its beauty with jealously and ridicule. Refreshing is the BLACK WOMAN. The breath of fresh air. I am completely BLACK and all black. The BLACK WOMAN’S Melanin produces all shades of colors. The opposite cannot and will not. Um? Something to think about! My body moves gracefully in dance. My voice sings an atmosphere new. The sidewalk celebrates my walk. And, every race celebrates my body. The BLACK WOMEN, I see me.

The Truths in my writings has given unknown colors to my life. Colors created by God that others must see. The intensity of the color rays has corrected the vision of me. Today I live free. Today, I honor every trial and tribulation. Yes, they hurt. These birth pains are the beginning of another life that gives worth to you, me and all. The Cornerstone of these pains fulfill the cracks that lie dormant in the in-between places.



The motivations behind my writings are to challenge you and your thinking, your efforts, your desires to become a better BLACK WOMAN. Seek and find you. Wear your sapphire! Once you have unearthed your reason for existing, share it with the world. Your existence plays a great part our neighbors black girls. Just a little more inspiration and a little more uniqueness. Dare to be you or should I ask, “Who are You?”

Bullying has become a bigger problem today than we as parents even think. There are children that are being bullied every day. There are children that wake up afraid to go to school. Bullying can happen to anyone at any time. As most parents are reading this you may be thinking that this does not apply to your child. In fact, there's a possibility that your child is being bullied, has been bullied, or is being a bully. There are boy bullies and there are girls who bully as well. Every parent should have a discussion about bullying with their child to make sure they are not being bullied and to make sure they understand exactly what bullying means to prevent them from bullying others. Bullying is a topic that should be discussed on a regular basis. It is something that I myself take very seriously. There is a difference between a kid being mean and a kid bullying other kids. Bullying is usually when a kid is being picked on over and over by an individual or group. When a parent finds out that their child is being bullied there are no words to describe the hurt and anger they immediately feel. So many questions come to mind. Who is this kid? Where was the teacher? Did you tell the teacher? What did the teacher do about it? Who are his/her parents? Were you two ever friends? When did this start? What are

There are things that we need to teach our children as parents. First of all, they all need to know that they should Treat Others As They Want To Be Treated. Do Unto Others.... Yes! A constant reminder is needed. Second, they need to know that every person is different in one way or another but they still have feelings. Third, everyone needs a friend. Especially the kids that everyone is being mean to or talking about. Tell them to image if no one liked them and talked about them and made fun of them. You should ask them how they would feel. Let them know that it doesn't cost anything to be a friend or speak to someone. Just ask them how they think the kid being bullied feels. It is important to have this conversation with your kids and keep reminding them. Most bullies have no social skills and no feelings of empathy and don't care how other people feel.


By Michelle Marts-Shannon

the other kids saying? How many kids were picking on you? It becomes difficult for the parent to concentrate at work or go on with their day just thinking about what their child is dealing with at school and hoping that their child is not being continuously bullied. Often, it's so bad that you have to pull your child out of the school. I feel for any parent whose child is being bullied. In my opinion, it is always a bigger problem when you find out your child is being bullied than when you find out your child is doing the bullying. That is only my opinion. I had a mother once tell me how badly her daughter was being bullying at school. She was almost in tears and I really felt her pain. I began to notice how bossy and demanding her daughter was with the other children and how she behaved when she didn't get her way. I recognized a little bullying had started. Sometimes you overlook certain behaviors because it is your child. She wasn't the first parent that told me that their child was bullied and I noticed their child bullying another child.


From Our Blog

Parents, please talk to your kids about bullying. Let them know the different types of bullying. Most kids think that bullying is just picking on someone and it's not. Be sure that your child is aware of the different types of bullying. There is physical, verbal, cyber, and emotional bullying. Physical - punching, shoving, hitting, socking, tripping, spitting... Verbal - put down, hurtful comments, name calling, make threats... Cyber - sending cruel text messages, using the internet, or social media to say/post mean things... Emotional - excluding, spreading rumors or mean gossip, ruining someone's reputation... Don't forget to tell them to tell you or their teacher if they feel like they are being bullied.


When most people think of bullying you think back to that TV show or cartoon that you watched when the kid was dodging the bully at school because he was going to take his lunch money. We all felt sorry for the kid because he was afraid. Today, bullying consists of much more than a kid trying to prevent someone from taking his lunch money. Most kids are bullied because the other kids feel they don't fit in, the other kids may think they're different, they may not act like the other kids, they may have a different religion, or even because of how they look or even dress. Most bullies bully other kids because they think they are popular or well-liked and it gives them the right to push other kids around because they think that makes them look cool. Many of them are very insecure and have low selfesteem. They think if they put others down it will make them look cool or the other kids will like them and won't talk about them. Some kids were even

bullied themselves by other kids or maybe even a family member. There are some kids who bully other kids and don't realize they are bullying others because it is learned behavior that has been taught to them. It's behavior they've picked up without them even knowing and it is being passed on to others as normal every day behavior in their eyes. Yes! That means some bullies don't even know they are bullies. When I go into the classrooms to work with the kids I like to make bullying my last discussion. You should see the kids’ faces when I start describing the different types of bullying and their descriptions. I explain to them and ask them if these are things that they do to others... They immediately start calling out names of the other kids in their classroom or at the school. Bullying should be discussed on a regular basis. Let's Put An End To Bullying!


As parents, since bullying usually takes place at school, we are relying on the teachers to tell our kids these things and they are not. Bullying is only addressed in some schools in October when they are reminded of "Bullying Prevention Month" or when a major issue needs to be addressed. There are also teachers that are bullies. There are teachers that constantly pick on certain kids. Not all teachers allow bullying or disregard bullying but some teachers only react to certain types of bullying. There are many teachers that bully the children themselves. Most of our children are dealing with the "new school" teachers instead of the "old school" teachers we had that were more compassionate and motherly. Most of our teachers did not take any mess but we knew they cared about us and our parents knew that they cared about us. I know many awesome teachers that love working with kids. I have several friends that are great teachers so this is not an insult to teachers but it is what it is. I know many parents that will agree.

A Wake Up Call to Black Parents By Romayn Jones Linares, MA, MS, CCC – SLP

As an African American educator it would be irresponsible of me to not educate about students who look like me. Here are just a few sobering statistics on Black boys I learned while attending an advocacy training conference: 1/4 Black boys graduates high school…. 1 in 4 75% of Black kids are raised by single mothers Failure to medicate (medical neglect) was the top reason for Black boys to be removed from their homes in 2015…. Failure to MEDICATE Black boys are 4 times as likely as whites to be labeled intellectually disabled (new term for what was formerly known as mental retardation) I could go on and on. There’s failure to learn to read, suspension and expulsion rates, the school to prison pipeline, on campus policing, etc…. which each warrant their own blog entries at a later date. Today the message is short and sweet. Black parents it’s time you arm yourself with knowledge because you are your child’s #1 and most important advocate. Romayn Jones Linares, MA, MS, CCC – SLP SPEAK (Speech Pathology Education Advocacy & Knowledge)



Romayn is a Speech & Language Pathologist who specializes in educational speech therapy, parent advocacy, IEP and assessment review, conducting independent evaluation (at districts expense), dyslexia and culturally and linguistically appropriate assessments.



A learning disability is a general term used to describe different types of learning problems. Learning disabilities look very different from one child to another. You can’t tell by looking that a person has a learning disability. There are several different types of learning disabilities. Often, learning disabilities go unnoticed in school-aged children, but teachers usually recognize them when there is a problem during class when a child cannot follow directions or is struggling to do work that the teacher feels should be very easy. A child with a learning disability may be mistaken for being lazy and not wanting to do the work. They may answer questions wrong or their work may always be done incorrectly. Children with learning disabilities are just as smart as everyone else

As a parent, the news that your child may have a learning disability can be devastating. One of the first reactions that a parent has is usually denial, but soon you will have to accept it and move forward. The longer you take to accept the fact that something is wrong the longer your child will suffer in school. If your child has been diagnosed with a learning disability it may not be as


By Michelle Marts-Shannon


Signs Of Learning Disabilities

however, their brains are wired differently. In fact, they usually have average or above intelligence. They just process information differently. The difference in how their brains are wired affects the way they process and receive information. As their parent, you may have to change the way you say things to them or change the way they are being taught. Children with learning disabilities may have trouble learning and may see, hear, and understand things differently than children without learning disabilities. Some of the most common learning disabilities may affect your child’s math, reading, writing, speaking, listening, and reasoning skills. Some professionals mistake learning disabilities for ADHD. Some learning disabilities share some common symptoms of ADHD so it can easily be mistaken for ADHD. ADHD, which is Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, can interfere with a child’s learning but is not considered a learning disability. Children with ADHD often have problems with sitting still, easily distracted, following directions, and more.

If your child’s teacher has approached you with a concern about their school work or if you have a concern about your child’s behavior or school work, there are things that you need to do at home and things that you need to do at school to get started.

If you find out that your child has a different learning style you should learn as much as you can about their learning disability. If it’s in your budget, hire a tutor for your child. There are some organizations in and around Los Angeles that provide FREE tutoring and is not based on income. Keep an open line of


Every child’s learning disability is different. One child may struggle in math, another may struggle in reading, or another may struggle with spelling. You can have a child that struggles with reading but loves math. There are some children that have difficulty comprehending what others are saying because of processing issues. The problems may be very different but still a learning disorder.

Make an appointment to see your child’s pediatrician, and they will refer you to the appropriate specialists within their group. Talk to your child’s teacher and request a special education evaluation. A special education evaluation is usually done to decide whether your child has a disability and whether your child requires special education and related services. If your child attends a private school, you will have to go to your home school (public school near your home) for the evaluation. With accommodations and modifications, many children overcome their issues with learning and can reach their full potential. An IEP, or an Individualized Education Program will help and protect your child. The parent will meet with an IEP team, which usually includes the teacher, to develop a plan and goals for the child. A child who has difficulty learning and who’s struggling in school may qualify for special services and support that will allow them to be taught according to the way they learn. The IEP should be reviewed annually to update the goals and make sure the child’s needs are being met.


big of a problem as it may seem. It pretty much means that your child learns differently and you will have to make sure your child is taught in ways that cater to their unique learning styles. Start researching and learn as much as you can before and after your child has been properly diagnosed. Do your own research and be prepared to speak for your child and get them the help they need. You, as the parent, know more about your child than anyone else. Keep in mind that finding help for your child is far more important than trying pin point the learning disorder or labeling your child with a learning disability. Now is the time to provide as much help as possible while the brain of a child is continuing to develop.

Auditory Processing Disorder or CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder) – Difficulty hearing the difference between similar sounds. Difficulty comprehending what has been said. It is not a problem with the hearing, it is a problem with the hearing process. Auditory Processing Disorder is often overlooked and not properly treated. Most children with APD often have trouble understanding in noisy environments, focusing on schoolwork, following multitask instructions, and problems with every day socializing. APD can be diagnosed by an Audiologist.

Dyscalculia – Difficulty in learning or comprehending math problems. Dyscalculia affects a person’s ability to understand

Dysgraphia- Difficulty with writing. Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing abilities. Children often have problems with organizing thoughts on paper, unfinished or omitted words in sentences, or avoids writing or drawing tasks. They are usually able to express themselves fluently orally, but have trouble writing their ideas on paper. Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you are concerned with your child’s development. Dyslexia – Difficulty in reading, writing, spelling, and speaking. Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words. Dyslexia is a common learning disability in children with normal vision and intelligence. It often goes undiagnosed for years. There are different forms of dyslexia. Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you are concerned with your child’s development. The school or clinical psychologist determines whether or not the child has dyslexia and diagnoses the specific type. Dysphasia/Aphasia – Difficulty with language. Children may have problems with fluency of speech, the ability to retell a story, understanding the meaning of words


Go online and check signs and symptoms of learning disabilities to see if your child may have trouble learning. There are many types of learning disabilities that some schoolaged children are dealing with on a daily basis. I have provided a few learning disabilities along with a brief description for each.

numbers and math facts. They may have trouble counting, memorizing facts, learning how to use money, or understanding time. Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you are concerned with your child’s development.


communication with your child’s teacher so that you can find out what you can do to help your child at home. Additionally, you should reinforce at home what your child has been taught at school. Helping your child in any and all ways will create a road to success.

and directions, and poor reading comprehension. Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you are concerned with your child’s development. Dyspraxia – Difficulty with fine motor skills. Dyspraxia usually causes problems with hand-eye coordination and balance. Children may have a problem with holding a pencil, buttoning a shirt, cutting, writing, running, or jumping. Visual Processing Disorder- Difficulty interpreting visual information. The brain does not process what the eyes see. Children usually have problems with reading, solving math problems, and confusing written symbols. Visual Processing Disorder affects the ability to write within the margins or on lines and aligning numbers in math problems. Also, accurately identifying information from pictures, maps, charts, or graphs. Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you are concerned with your child’s development.



“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.” –Ignacio Estrada



Los Angeles Black Parent Magazine May 2017  

Los Angeles Black Parent Magazine is a digital magazine that provides comprehensive information to readers in and around the community of Lo...

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