by: Maria Corse
Have you ever noticed that complete and utter exhaustion strikes just before a planned vacation? No matter how much you love your job, that last week before a break is always mentally, physically, and emotionally draining.
Although my life's work is joyfully and completely wrapped up with the amazing and never ending logistics of working with and supporting our awesome student members to be independent, self-directed learners, as well as all the administrative duties that are vital to being an integral part of the community who works for and with kids, I have discovered these last few weeks that personal downtime is absolutely essential for mental health, no matter how dedicated you are, how important the work is, or how fundamental you think your contribution is to the organization.
The habit of writing the blog every Sunday morning, with a few concessions (sitting with the MacBook on my lap instead of standing at my desk and making it brief), however, as you can see, has not disappeared despite my self declared holiday from all things DRC, because creating word paintings is as natural as breathing; it is simply what I do. I have learned that the only way to shut the flow of thoughts off is to allow them to dribble through my fingers to the keys.
May your vacations be as revitalizing and self-indulgent as my headfirst dive into my newly replenished stack of library books ....
André Lynch is our brand new Educational Program Director. We are so very excited to welcome him on board during this awesome and crazy 2nd year of operation. If you have been reading our blog regularly, you know that our student membership has shot-up exponentially during the past few months. We started out the year with four and are now at twenty-two.
André spontaneously visited in late November because he saw our chalkboard sign on the sidewalk and was curious about DRC and the programs we offer. He started volunteering soon after, for a couple mornings a week, and soon became an integral part of the program.
As our numbers continued to grow it became apparent that we needed to hire another staff person. André was the ideal candidate – he is here with tons of experience and talent, completely sold on our mission and vision, devoted to the students, and the kids adore him. Yes, a perfect match!
We are so very grateful that he wandered up the stairs to follow his natural inquisitiveness.
If you would like to learn more about André you can read his bio here on the Staff and Board page on the DRC website.
The kids interviewed him this Monday morning during our community meeting. You will notice many of the questions begin: what is your favorite ….
What is your favorite color?
I like neutral colors, but hunter green is my favorite.
What is you favorite animal to ride?
Donkey – I rode one a long time ago.
What is you favorite sport?
What is your favorite thing to do?
Fishing - Why? It is calming and like that I can catch my food.
What is your favorite book?
I have two: 1984 by George Orwell and The Prince by Machiavelli
What is your favorite food?
Caribbean food because my family is originally from Trinidad and Tobago.
What was your favorite birthday?
My eighth birthday when I got a Nintendo 64.
What is your favorite place to live?
Brooklyn, although, I could not live in the city again.
What is your favorite holiday?
I love the Christmas holiday season.
What is your favorite month?
December I like the cold and festive vibe.
What do you do for a living?
I wear many hats aside from here at Deep Root Center. I am also the Adolescent Outreach Advocate for NCMEP and I am a full time grad student.
What was your long term goal?
I want to be a Dean of Students at a small Liberal Arts Institution.
What was your favorite subject in school?
Why did you chose to study Law Enforcement?
I wanted to help bridge the gap between under privileged residents and law enforcement in minority communities.
Why did you decide to work at DRC?
I believe in the mission. And, I like that I can help empower kids to be kids.
… is a shy, illusive, and wily lass, who requires an established collection of circumstances before she deigns to show her face. Once engaged, however, she is a tenacious, innovative, persistent and resourceful spirit, as well as invaluable asset who will toil tirelessly until the task is completed.
Motivation can be driven by many things, however, she is not, and frankly can never be, forcibly stimulated through external coercion or control. She resides naturally inside each being and arises for purely personal objectives. Those distinct goals, nevertheless, need not be singular or isolated from other individuals' aspirations. Working together toward one common aim is, in fact, one of those previously mentioned conditions.
Society has tried and failed to reign her in and place her under the dictates of establishment's rules. She is, nonetheless, immune to intimidation and harassment. Some would call her stubborn and a few even have the gall to label her lazy. She goes where she pleases and only where she feels the most welcome.
She has discovered that she prefers to inhabit completely safe, friendly, and inspiring environments surrounded by the hum of creativity, kindness, and respect. She is nurtured by confidence, curiosity, and compassion and she actively seeks out affirmation and validation (see last week's post), as well as mutual benefits. External rewards, however, are not the leading instigator in the effort she puts forth.
Motivation has burst forth within us all, at one time or another --- those moments of emotional well being, when everything aligns perfectly and it appears that you can take on the world, complete any task put before you, and have energy to burn at the end of the day. The sensations of accomplishment, pride, and satisfaction are, truly, like no other and are what sustain and encourage Motivation to perpetuate her efforts and extend her sojourn to take up permanent residence for the long haul.
*This post, while with a wee touch of whimsy, is inspired by a few stories from this past week, but in particular by a couple of new student members from Ogdensburg. They completely, on their own, (without our knowledge) contacted WWNY TV in Watertown, via email, to ask if DRC could have a commercial made that would air at the end of each newscast. They have independently engaged in back and forth communication
with a producer from the station.
Their reasoning is two-fold – (a) they want to find a reliable ride for eight kids from Ogdensburg to Canton and back because the SLC Public Transport has a fairly
ridiculous schedule (either ride for 2 hours early in the morning or take a later direct
route that arrives in Canton around 11:15 and turn around to leave at 1:20pm). (b) They also want to spread the word about their positive experiences at DRC to find financial backing for our Fee Reduction Program.
To put this particular story in perspective, one of these girls is currently on probation for truancy. She absolutely refused to go to school …. Draw your own conclusions on this one!
We are absolutely delighted to announce that André Lynch has joined the DRC staff as our Educational Program Director. André is currently a SLU Graduate student who received his Bachelor Degree from SUNY Canton. (You will have the opportunity to learn more about him from an interview by the DRC kids, which will be featured in this week's Tuesday Profile.)
He has taken on the fun (time consuming) tasks of reviving and creating the class schedule, facilitating several of those classes, and recruiting more volunteers, who will teach, hang out with the kids, as well as mentor some of our youth.
André will be at the Center M-W, 8–12 and Th, 12-4. Please stop in any time to meet him and possibly offer your services as a volunteer.
DRC Population Explosion Continues
You are probably curious as to why we have hired a new staff person this late in the academic year, in three words – twenty-two student members (and counting)! In the last month, we have grown at the rate of one - two new kids each week (last week it was four)!
As mentioned in the credits for this post, eight of those new students are from the Ogdensburg area. They are looking for consistent and reliable transportation from the 'Burg and back M-Th. If you know of someone who has a large van and would be willing to drive them for gas money, please get in touch.
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