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Before coming to Nicaragua to serve in the Peace Corps, I imagined that it would be similar to my study abroad experience in Ecuador: teaching English, speaking Spanish, and indubitably changing lives. But, I did not expect that the life that weighed the most change was that of my own.
During our Pre-Service Training in Washington, D.C, I precisely remember the reenactments of the tough situations that volunteers have encountered during their service and it was to no surprise that our group blindly selected to reenact the issues of a Black American Volunteer. Moreover, not only did we model the conversation that the volunteer was expected to have with their colleagues; we reflected how the people of the host country would react to the situation. And must I say that since I have been living in Nicaragua, our conclusions have ceased to amaze me!
Many Nicaraguans who have not had as much exposure with the diverse American culture in which I come in contact often assume that I am from the Caribbean Coast, Cuba or the Dominican Republic. People who are typically not shameful use their curiosity as a catalyst for conversation starters, while others still need their jaws lifted after seeing my braids. In these situations, I have learned that a smile can stretch further than any explanation about what my country, heritage, or character ever could.
Besides being a Black American, I also identify with the Jamaican heritage where my father and two sisters originated. I was raised in a mixed Caribbean jungle of South Florida speaking Jamaican Patois (similar to that of Creole from the Atlantic coast) and delighted in the same staple foods of Nicaragua and the Caribbean.
(Typical Jamaican food—Rice & Peas (Gallo Pinto) Plantain (Maduro) Steamed Cabbage (Repollo) Cornbread (Pan) Ox Tail & Gravy (Carne)
Being able to rest in this dual identity has given me the strength and knowledge to be able to unite the various cultures of Nicaragua, and introduce the empowerment that one can embody when they are secure in their cultural versatility. The commonalities that we share between attire, traditional dance, music, and food are carefully wrapped into a story line then gifted to the next generation, often times in black or white. Being a Black Volunteer has afforded me the opportunity to provide many teachable moments thus far and I have been able to build open, trusting relationships with my students and the people in my community.
––– Kimberly Scott, Peace Corp Volunteer
Does earning a GED mean you are not as intelligent as one who has earned a traditional high school diploma? Does it mean that you are less employable or less successful? Generally, many people view a GED as inferior or not as good as a high school diploma.
Is it because high school is hundreds of hours of instruction, or the fact that high school is believed to better prepare students for college, and the General Education Diploma does not? Instead of viewing the GED as second-rate, take a moment to think of it as alternative education; a way for those who do not perform well in a traditional education setting to have a second chance at achieving their goals! The 2014 GED test is a test of Reasoning, Analyzing, and Critical Thinking, with this being said, a GED student would need to have a solid foundation, and good cognitive skills in order to earn the credential. It is accepted at most colleges for college entry. Yes, there may be additional steps for one who has a GED to enter college, but it is only one extra hurdle to jump over before a person makes it to the finish line. Take for example, a participant in my GED program, Tarnesha. For whatever reason, did not finish high school, but obtained her GED. Her goal is to become a nurse. She was not able to attend the local university immediately upon earning her GED, but she doesn’t mind stacking credentials! She recently graduated from the local community college, has this credential in the medical field, and now will be working as a phlebotomy technician. In the fall, she plans on attending the university. Her cognitive abilities along with drive, motivation, and confidence have allowed her to meet targets on her goal path.
Studies show that there is not a difference between the cognitive skills of those who have a GED and those who earn a high school diploma. Good cognitive skills as well as “soft skills” are what makes one more successful and more employable. If students are performing well in high school, they should stay there, but the fact of the matter is that some do not. Students have often said that they drop out of school because of things that happened in their environment or they did not have responsible parents. They have also said that they just did not do well at regular school, and sometimes there is not funding available for public school systems to offer solid, unconventional routes to educate students who have issues such as these.
Just because these students have issues, and are high school drop-outs, doesn’t mean that they are not material for success, or that they do not possess the cognitive skills needed to go on to college, become entrepreneurs, or achieve whatever success is to them.
There are excellent GED programs for those who need them, often at local community colleges. Some of these programs, like any alternative education program are designed to meet students where they are. Society, as a whole, has made it a point to look down on earning a GED, which leads to a lack of confidence in those that have dropped out. GED students sometimes do not believe they should be in a GED class. Yes, some could’ve stayed in school, but we must embrace alternative education, and celebrate with recipients of it when they do take advantage of the second chance. Society should know that there is no difference in the cognitive skills of a traditional high school graduate and a GED recipient.
––– Shamonti Mobley, Instructor
The future seemed so certain when I graduated high school…
I’d been accepted by my first-choice on a full athletic scholarship, and under the orders of my father, chose to pursue a degree in engineering. I opted to stay close to home; my father wasn’t always healthy, and I wanted to be around if he needed me. Plus, I had a new baby sister who meant the world to me. But most of all, I didn’t want to be too far away from my high school boyfriend.
My first few months at the university were demanding. I hated my roommate, I sucked at practice, and my classes were ridiculously hard. Not to mention my boyfriend practically lived in the dorm with us. I never studied. I missed assignments and skipped classes. By the end of the semester I was begging every professor for extra credit. Eventually things got better. My professors were incredibly sympathetic to my athletic status, and gave me the work I needed to remain eligible to compete. I improved in my sport too. And my roommate was slowly becoming one of my closest friends.
I closed that semester as rookie of the year in my conference with a respectable GPA. Dad was so proud. I enrolled in summer semester to make up for my dreadful first. I was three weeks in to classes when I discovered the greatest surprise of my life. I was expecting.
He was beautiful. And together we made it work. I started school again when he was 7 months old, and took a job as a bank teller to pay the bills. His father and I had since broken up, so I was left with the overwhelming majority of the responsibilities. My son was in child care during the day while I worked, and most nights he would come to class with me. After we’d come home I’d put him to bed and start studying. The days blended together. I was exhausted and very lonely. But I was diligent. I can remember holding my son in one arm while typing with the other. I’d wake up to my alarm clock in the morning with my fingers still pressed to the keys of my laptop.Through many a tear and sleepless night, I’d made it to my final semester as an undergraduate. I opened my financial aid letter to find an expected contribution of $9k due almost immediately. Devastation doesn’t begin to explain my sentiment at the time. I had failed. And I didn’t dare reach out to the athletic department or my relatives who had done so much for me already.
Through many a tear and sleepless night, I’d made it to my final semester as an undergraduate. I opened my financial aid letter to find an expected contribution of $9k due almost immediately. Devastation doesn’t begin to explain my sentiment at the time. I had failed. And I didn’t dare reach out to the athletic department or my relatives who had done so much for me already.
It took another full year for a friend to convince me to go back. Through the advice of a counselor I enrolled at another university for half the amount, and I humbly asked my dad to help me pay what I wasn’t able to save. Six years later, I was finally finished. We’d done it, and we had the degree to prove it.
My success was not mine alone, but that of my entire community of family and friends, the athletic support staff, and the guidance counselors who saw me through. We all celebrated the night before graduation, and again many tears were shed, for hopefully the last time involving education.
The advice of the university staff was invaluable to the completion of my bachelor’s degree. Student support is a critical part of education in the 21st century where many students come from non-traditional backgrounds. The success of our institutions depends on knowledgeable educators helping students find practical solutions.
––– Ebony Cotterelle
Grass routes movement began with passion to affect the current state of play. These movements inspired impart by the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City’s Zuccotti park; the Arab Spring, the Cairo’s Tahrir Square protest, the Spanish protest, also referred to as the 15-M Movement and the Indignant movement, was a democratic awakening with a common message to affect the current state of play.
The movement, one of many non violent demonstration advocating systemic change on a global level was in response to the late-2000 financial crisis, subprime mortgage crisis and impact of the Arab Spring. The quintessential message essential to a meaningful discourse ask, If given the opportunity, how would you change the current state of play?
As we usher in the new year, list will be made to accomplish the impossible, improbable. For some, trials will in deed turned to tribulation and vice versa. The promises made this time last year if not accomplished will linger and be reformatted for yet another year. I offer another alternative. What if you had the power to make a significant contribution. The ability to make a small difference in the lives of another. Would you do it? Look!! I’m not talking about some gigantic task. No committee will be needed, no board or directors or advisors alike. if we are to make a sustainable contribution is every sector of society, then the movement or change will indeed need an agent. One person can make a significant difference.
Systemic change begins with a simple idea of changing how things function in your house, neighborhood, district, state, you get the idea. Here’s an idea, talk to the person next door and see what they say. Chances are, they are thinking the same thing. I’m sure there is something you’ve always wanted to tweak. So, take this opportunity and make it so. This is the year to make your mark. Grass routes movement began with passion to affect the current state of play. These movements inspired impart by the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City’s Zuccotti park; the Arab Spring, the Cairo’s Tahrir Square protest, the Spanish protest, also referred to as the 15-M Movement and the Indignant movement, was a democratic awakening with a common message to affect the current state of play. …Life beckons.
––– Dr. Emmanuel T. Vincent, Executive Director, Pinkgrape Consulting
Life-long learners, real-world experiences, farm to school, constructivism, positive redirection and no-pressure education are building blocks and phrases used to define progressive education. At a second glance, one realizes that global awareness, social and emotional literacy, language acquisition and possibly a few other great ideas that have been forgotten in the original list. The challenge is while exploring these ideas, how much of each will one include in the schools and classroom where we have influence? If learning takes time, as Dr. Kohn states in essays and viral videos, how does a team of educators truly measure its efforts? This must be said in response to that question, this challenge is what keeps education fresh. Life-long learners can simply light the fire of young learners then wait and observe the transformation of the learner.
A few scientists inspire my work with learners; Montessori is among them, for her hardcore scientific approach and documentation of the basics: children will learn everything needed if not discouraged. Although she brings background knowledge, she does not present fancy curriculum, testing modules, or other tools. Tools which often make educators feel safe in their accomplishments and limit learners to an oversimplified interpretation of their own experience. Maria also agrees that learning takes time both in the progressive educator and in the learner.
––– Raquel Paulino, Director, Little Linguists International Preschool
Although the use and operational definitions of the term parental involvement varied greatly (Epstein, 1991; Miedel & Reynolds, 1999); Clark, 1993; Cooper, Lindsay, & Nye, 2000; Bloom, 1980; Lopez, 2001; Parental involvement is clearly linked to children’s academic, social, and emotional development, and building parent-school partnerships is one strategy for improving student success worldwide (e.g., Epstein, 1995; Epstein & Sanders, 2006; Fan & Chen, 1999; Henderson, 1987; Henderson & Mapp, 2002; Henderson, Mapp, Johnson, & Davies, 2007; Schleicher,1992.
Successful parent involvement will involve blending 21st century techniques with practical methods of engaging parents in real conversation for sustainable results. Recent serge of economic happenings dictates a radical rebranding of the present definition of parental involvement at the elementary and secondary level. This unorthodox emerging approach will reclassify the extent to which parents take an active participatory role in their child’s learning process.
Key areas in need of modification will include educators perception and definition of parental participation; administrators ability to cultivate and conceptualize new innovative and strategic sustainable designs initiatives for effectively gauging parents in the introductory phrase of student’s elementary and secondary educational careers; community support to include internal and external constituents vested in the design and augmentation of pre & post design initiatives which empowers students to occupy a permanents role as active participants and contributors in all parent engagement strategic initiatives focused solely on innovative emerging concepts to bolster participatory support in parental involvement at the elementary and secondary level.
––– Dr. Emmanuel T. Vincent, Executive Director, Pinkgrape Consulting
I know I will be asked who I work for and which organization I speak on behalf of! I’m here speaking on behalf of and for humanity and against all who oppose it! Have you wondered why the world is upside down; the medical system destroys health. The legal system destroys justice. The education system destroys knowledge. Government destroy freedom. Major media destroy information. Religions destroy spirituality. Destructive war is waged for peace.
Balance is returning congratulations in not believing the “end of the world disaster propaganda”. Yes it has been prophesied by the Mayan’s, Nostradamus and even NASA claiming earth’s collision with planet X. However those have been misinterpreted; the elitists have created this fear from what is actually a positive galactic shift and earths crossing of the galactic equator from the age of Pisces to the age of Aquarius starting 21st December 2012. This is a positive consciousness shift that occurs in cycles of procession of the equinox that take approximately 24,000 years according to the ancients such as teachings from Hinduism and Mayans. They encompass iron, bronze, silver and golden age. The current shift is out of the Iron age into a bronze age. The increased state of consciousness leads to ultimate bliss and enlightenment in the golden age. This macro cosmic shift effects all humans as we are micro cosmic! Therefore the earth and our magnetic energy frequency should elevate into higher awareness slowly.
Let the forces of love rule over the force of fear to aid the natural cycle through the ages. Let us not want to rule or conquer anyone but to help everyone, if possible look beyond color, creed gender or species. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness — not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. The good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned people’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. There is enough clean free electromagnetic energy to fuel civilizations, enough food to feed the hungry, enough homes to house the homeless and enough work to employ the unemployed. Yet central bank controlled money is the denying obstacle.
We have developed speed, but we are stagnant in front of our computers. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than technology we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The internet and airplane have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in people, cries out for universal brotherhood, for the unity of us all. However as our consciousness elevates we will become aware of more than the 4 dimensions of the 13 dimensions that have so far been discovered. This will allow for inter dimensional travel (e.g through time and universes) among other possibilities that quantum physics is discovering.
Elitists impose systems to redistribute wealth to them has left Millions of despairing people, women and little children — victims of this system that makes people torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say — do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed — the bitterness of people who fear the way of human progress. The hate of people will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people and so long as people die for unmasked freedom, liberty will never perish. Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes — people who despise you — enslave you — who regiment your lives — tell you what to do — what to think or what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural people — machine people with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are people! You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate — the unloved and the unnatural!
Soldiers return from missions where the only terrorist they have seen is the murderer in the mirror! This burden of guilt is proven by the fact that more soldiers die from suicide than from
battle since 2001. Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for power to the people! It’s always sad when innocent people die from mass gun shootings. Did you see Obama shed tears for the innocent children America’s drones kill in Pakistan or the 1 million innocent civilian Iraqi’s killed by Americas army and the mainly Zionist backed insurgents ? Criminals don’t obey law. Therefore will banning arms reduce these shootings that are carried out by people usually on psychiatric drugs promoted by pharmaceuticals for illnesses that don’t exist! Historically disarming the population has in the following instances resulted in some of the most horrific massacres in human history.
- 1911 – Turkey disarmed it’s citizens, and between 1915 – 1917 they murdered 1.5 million Armenians.
- 1929 – Russia disarmed it’s citizens, and between 1929 – 1953 they murdered 20 million Russians.
- 1935 – China disarmed it’s citizens, and between 1948 – 1952 they murdered 20 million Chinese.
- 1956 – Cambodia disarmed it’s citizens, and between 1975 – 1977 they murdered 1 million Educated people.
- 1964 – Guatemala disarmed it’s citizens, and between 1964 – 1981 they murdered 100,000 Mayan Indians.
- 1970 – Uganda disarmed it’s citizens, and between 1971 – 1979 they murdered 300,000 Christians.
Economically the socializing of losses by the corporations to the people and privatizing profits for themselves, amounts to fascism, not democracy. Then, in the name of true democracy, let us use that power! Let us all unite! Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give people a chance to work, that will give youth the future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie! They do not fulfill their promise; they never will. Dictators free themselves, but they enslave the people! Now, let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world of tyranny, to do away with national barriers, to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all people’s happiness. Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. once stated: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” Unfortunately the main stream media give unjustified glory to organizations that actually imprison us. They make up some of the most sinister organizations on the planet and include the Illuminati, NWO, APAC, Builderberg Group, Trilateral Commission, Military Industrial Complex, Commission Foreign Relations, IMF, World Bank, NATO and even UN ! “These sectors of the doctrinal system serve to divert the unwashed masses and reinforce basic social values: passivity, submissiveness to authority, the overriding virtue of greed and personal gain, lack of concern for others, fear of real or imagined enemies, etc.
The goal is to keep the bewildered herd bewildered.” –Dr. Noam Chomsky, from What Uncle Sam Really Wants , censored ex parte from WUTK radio’s Alternative Nation, Summer 2001. No reasonable person can support the mindless opportunistic thuggery that terrorized the UK in 2010. It manifested itself in the form of violence, blood damaged property and a few unfortunate deaths. This looting is the final expression of frustration, lack of opportunity, non parental responsibility, and a culture of greed and self gratification. This has mainly come about as a result of elite crushing and looting the middle/lower class, by way of taxation and austerity measures that is worse than the looting we saw on our streets. They robbed these savings and gave these billions to the bankers in the form of bail outs. This is the real looting of the nation by those who betrayed the masses to serve the few! The problem in our world is not a lack of food, jobs, homes! It’s a lack of money. Money is the obstacle. Mayer Amsched Rothchild once said “Permit me to issue and control the money of the nation and I care not who makes its laws. This is why we need to abolish all private central banks such as BOJ, BOE, ECB, Federal Reserve (that are all private but pretend they are run by the government?) as they create money as debt loaned at interest to enslave. The government can take control of it’s own money printing/circulation not as credit and debt loaned out for interest. Private central banks and natural resource are the main reasons for war. Did you know one of the first things NATO did on invading Libya was abolish the government central bank and set up a private central bank to enslave the nation by debt, this is the western model they call democracy. Is the illusion of choice that leads to the same outcome really a choice? furthermore is slavery by debt truly freedom (the so called implication of democracy)?
You will find nations of the world with the lowest debt to GDP ratio are targets for war destruction and regime change! Who is the next target, my suspicion points towards Syria who have a security pact with Iran. These two countries are the last remaining obstacles to Israel’s unchallenged governance in the ME region. The war on Africa to secure it’s resources has began with western funded and supported terrorism used as the excuse for occupation! Abolishing the private central banks and replacing them with true government central banks, JFK paid the price with his life, however this is potentially only the first step in fixing our broken world in my humble opinion. I welcome yours.