"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
~Isaiah 6:8 NIV
"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
~Micah 6:8 NASB

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Congratulations to Us!

The Leighton Award for Nonprofit Excellence is intended to celebrate, reward and encourage outstanding achievement in the charitable sector. Each year, this $100,000 endowment challenge grant will be awarded competitively to a St. Joseph County nonprofit demonstrating superior leadership, management, and programming.

The YWCA applied for this award again this year. Last year the YWCA received First Runner UP. The First Runner Up receives a 10,000 grant. This year we won. Congratulations to the YWCA for receiving the 2008 Leighton Award for Non-Profit Excellence. We will not only receive the 100,000 endowment, but also a 10,000 grant that we can use immediately.

Monday, August 27, 2007

South Bend Tribune Article

There was a story in the South Bend Tribune today and a little friend of mine was quoted.

P-H-M pilot shows signs of progress, instructors say

Tribune Staff Writer

The “fat cat” appears to be the popular spot here in Stacy Marker’s kindergarten classroom at Madison Elementary School.It’s the foam-filled cushion with green eyes that draws 5-year-old Alisia Mendoza, who’s earned the chance to rest on the fluffy feline and learn about sharks after sketching a zebra and reading four simple words to her teacher.“I see a zebra.” Alisia probably wouldn’t have had time to draw so many stripes on that zebra in last year’s half-day kindergarten program, which served more than 700 students. But this fall, she’s one of about 80 students who were chosen by lottery at Meadow’s Edge, Elm Road and Walt Disney elementary schools to be in a full-day kindergarten pilot.

That’s at least four more hours each day to learn science and math; to engage in music, art and other “specials” outside the classroom; to do time-consuming drawing projects; to form peer relationships; and to actually read, teachers say.“I think it’s great that they can put the words together and make sentences (in the first few days of school),” said Marker, who taught first grade last year and taught half-day kindergarten for more than two years, transferring to Madison from Meadow’s Edge this fall. Reading materials are meant for full-day kindergarten setups, so at least her class won’t struggle to fit it all in this year, Marker said.“By the time the day’s over, I’ve still got a stack of things on my desk,” Marker said. “How did we not get through all of this?”The biggest struggle for students, however, is staying awake and attentive — especially for those who did not attend preschool and aren’t used to sitting in a seat all day, Marker said. Her students have 20 minutes of recess, followed by 40 minutes of lunch, and then it’s back to the classroom.

Five-year-old Kariana Radabaugh knows how to prepare for the long day: She eats strawberries, cereal and toast for breakfast, she says with a smile while showing off her strawberry red dress for picture day. The thrills of crafts, gym and recess keep her awake during the day, she explains. But what does she like the most about the day?“I like to read books on the ‘fat cat,’ ” she says.

Down the hall, 5-year-old Micah Phelps reads an “I am special” morning message before his peers give him a “snap, crackle and pop” — a snap, roll of the neck and a clap. After lunch, Julie Unrue allows her students to rest on their bellies and enjoy time to physically and mentally regroup as she reads aloud to them from a chapter book. “Even the third-graders need that,” said Unrue, who taught half-day kindergarten and third-graders in a job-share at Madison last year. “Just like adults, you need that time from being in the same place, being actively engaged.”Unrue’s goal is to make sure her kids remain kids — even in the thick of high state and national academic standards, she said. Kindergartners here will take the MAP standardized test for the first time this year, she said, and she anticipates that results from full-day students will likely be different from those of half-day students.Unrue collaborates with Marker and full-day kindergarten teacher Melissa Phelps, who serves 62 students at Madison. About two-thirds are bused to and from Elm Road and Meadow’s Edge, while Kim Grunawalt teaches an additional 20 full-day kindergarten students at Walt Disney. Transportation is now both ways for full-day kindergartners, Madison Principal Lisa Soto Kile said.Officials are striving to implement full-day kindergarten throughout the district in the next few years. This year, funding came from the state and the district’s general fund, with schools statewide slated to receive $665 per student. But P-H-M is exploring how it can afford the program in the future.“More parents are working outside the home,” Kile said. “More students are participating in the preschool experience. ... The students are ready for it, and the parents are asking for it.”

Staff writer YaShekia Smalls:yassmalls@sbtinfo.com(574) 235-6555

Monday, August 13, 2007

Another Busy Weekend

It was another busy weekend. It was fun though. Saturday, my friends Shere, Tabby, and I with our husbands went to Hana Jori for dinner. It was a good time. I hadn't eaten there since High school and Steve had never been there. My favorite thing about the restaurant is that they make the food right in front of you. It feels like you have a front seat to Iron Chef. We almost got our eyebrows signed a few times. It was great. The food is expensive but it is so worth it for the presentation. After dinner, we went to a new desert place on Hickory called Indulgence. It was SOHO good.
Shere said that we should do that more often and I totally agree.

Sunday after church, I went and worked out for a about an hour. Damian called and said he was going to be in town. We sold Steve's twin bed this weekend. We used the extra money we made to go out to Red Lobster with Damian and some other friends.

It was a good reminiscing weekend. Shere, Tabby, and I have been good friends since Middle School, so it was fun to get together and chat about the last 10+ years. On Sunday, Stacy and Travis were there and we had some fun conversations about old friends, Middle School, Lifeline, and such. Stacy and I go back to Elementary school and that's long time.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

I Hit a Milestone: 100,000

My beloved car now has 100,000 miles on it. It's a 2001 Black Ford Focus. I was sitting here thinking of all the exciting things my car has seen in it's life. I bought it in September 2004 so I dont know what it was doing before that.

Since I've had the car, it's:

  • Been hit by a deer
  • Rear ended in a snow storm
  • Taken countless trips from Fazoli's to Home
  • Drove me to Oasis every Wednesday night
  • Drove around South Bend for GCC's food drops
  • Drove myself and student's around to various Oasis events
  • Been to Wisconsin many times to visit family
  • Been driven by Damian around South Bend and Chicago when he borrowed it
  • Gone to various places in Ohio, including Toledo, Cincinnati area, Lima, and others.
  • Taken many trips to Wakarusa and back to Mishawaka
  • Helped Steve move his stuff to my apartment after we got married
  • Driven to YWCA and back home
  • Moved me into and out of Bethel with my stuff packed in it several times
  • Drove down to Indy to see Steve's brother become an Officer in the Army
  • Kept Kariana safe in her car seat on trips to the park
  • Drove 4000 miles in ten days on a road trip Steve and I took a few summers ago. Steve and I drove from here to Illinios, then to Tulsa, Oklahoma, then to Arlington, TX, then to the Grand Canyon, then to Alpine, AR, back to Tulsa, OK, then back home.
  • and so much more

I think it has had a good long life. I only hope that it has a much longer life. I gave it a nice cleaning for the occasion. I vacuumed it out and made it look really nice. Steve and I are only down to one car right now, so I hope there are many many more years of life in my Ford Focus.

Monday, August 6, 2007

What a Busy Weekend!

This weekend started at 6:30 on Saturday morning. Steve's brother, Kenny, graduated from being a Staff Sargeant in the army to being a Warrant officer. There was a graduation ceremony at 10:30 in Indy. Steve and I had to leave our apartment at about 6:30 to get there in time. After the ceremony, Kenny, his wife, their daughter, Steve's dad and step-mom, Steve and I went out to lunch at Fridays.

We started to drive home and arrived back in Mishawaka around 6. We watched some 24 episodes. I love that show. Steve and I have been watching 24 every Monday since Season 3 and now we are renting Seasons 1 & 2 to watch what we missed. It's pretty fun. We ate dinner at about 10 then went to bed shortly after that.

Sunday, started with church at Gospel Center at 10:30. My mentor and friend, Judy, is in now from Atlanta this weekend. Jeanne Mayo is doing an event in Indy this week so Judy got to take a trip up to Mishawaka on the way. Today is her birthday so I must add a HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUDY! A bunch of Oasis leaders planned a cook-out for Judy on Sunday afternoon. So after church we huried home to make a desert to bring to the cookout and then headed over the celebration. There was alot of the people in the McFarland's house. It was a good time.

My best friend, Liz and her husband Ben we were also in town this weekend from Tulsa. Ben's family was having a family get-together this weekend so Ben's mom paid to have them flown here. Steve and I got to see them on the way home from the cookout. It was good to see them.
After we got home, I went grocery shopping and then we watched some more 24, ate dinner, then went to sleep.
I'm pretty tired today, but it was a good weekend.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

  • The YWCA run, jane, run is a multi-athletic event for women, organized by women to benefit women and children in our community. Organizations, families, mothers and daughters, or sisters are encouraged to register their team to compete in the 5K or 10K Trail Run, or the 5K Walk.The YWCA of St. Joseph County provides life-changing services to women and their families.

    Your participation supports the following YWCA programs:

    DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES - Support for women and their children escaping abusive environments.

    CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY TREATMENT PROGRAM - Treatment, housing, aftercare, child care and support for dependent children.

    HOUSING, COUNSELING, INDEPENDENT LIVING SKILLS, AND SUPPORT SERVICES- For women and their families who are working toward self-sufficiency.

    JOB TRAINING - To become a certified food handler.

    PERMANENT HOUSING AND SUPPORT SERVICES - For women who are chronically, mentally, developmentally, or physically disabled.

    BRIDGES OUT OF POVERTY - Designed to help individuals understand the mental models of generational poverty, along with the mental models of the middle and upper classes. For individuals from generational poverty learning these "mental models" will assist them in being sucessful in middle class employment and educational settings.

    SEXUAL ASSAULT RECOVERY - Group and individual sexual assault therapy in both English and Spanish to women who have suffered recent or past sexual assault.