Protect Our Children

ncjw

April is Child Abuse Prevention month. It is a time to acknowledge the importance of individuals, families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect, and to promote the social and emotional well-being of children and families Last month I had the privilege of marching on the hill in DC. with the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) telling the senators to Do Their Job. NCJW is committed to endorsing for laws, programs and services that protect children from abuse, neglect, bullying, exploitation, trafficking and violence. I urged Illinois Congressional leaders to fully fund the Runaway Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act to Illinois.

Every day in this country, youth run away from home, are kicked out, exiting juvenile detention centers or welfare systems with nowhere to go. According to the National Runaway Safeline (Formerly the National Runaway Switchboard,) between 1.6-2.8 million youth runaway each year in the United States.  Children can begin running as young as ages 10-14. The youngest are the most at-risk for the dangers of street life.

According to the National Runaway Safeline, children runaway because:

  • 47% of runaway youth report conflict between them and a parent/guardian in the home.
  • Over 50% of youth in shelters or on the streets reported that their parents told them to leave or knew they were leaving but did not care
  • 80% of runaway & homeless girls reported having been sexually or physically abuse.
  • 43% of runaway youth (girls and boys) reported physical abuse before leaving home.

marian wright edelman

For over four decades the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RYHA) provided three types of assistance to help communities deliver lifesaving supportive services for youth. The Basic Center Program provided shelter and basic necessities for younger children up to 21 days. The Transition Living Program is geared for older children 16-21 providing developmentally appropriate and readily accessible trauma informed services. The Street Outreach Programs provides service referral, crisis intervention at street locations and drop in centers.

 

In 2103 the money ran out. Since then state and local agencies have been attempting to fulfill those roles. But like many states, Illinois is cutting back on mental health services and needed care. Today with bipartisan support The Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (s262/hr1179) would reauthorize and strengthen these three critical programs in addition to collecting trafficking data, adding a nondiscriminatory clause and increase the length of stay in Basic Center to 30 days, requiring suicide prevention services in transitional living programs

 

Runaway and homeless youth are especially vulnerable to becoming victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation.   Traffickers prey on their vulnerability. They say” I will take care of you. I can provide food and a place to stay. Let me help.” The National center for Missing and Exploited Children said 1 in 5 of the 11, 8000 runaways reported in 2015 they were likely to be victims of sex trafficking. Furthermore, 28% of the youth living on the street trade sex for basic needs such as food. A growing number of homeless youth identify as lesbian gay, bisexual or transgender. (LBGT): Data suggests they make up 40 percent of runaways today. This bill gives them protection from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation or gender, much like Violence Against Women Act or Head Start. The non-discrimination language is key not re-victimize youth when seeking care

We know for forty years that RHYA has worked. Each year 25000 youth find shelter through the RHYA street outreach program. In 2104 after receiving trauma informed counseling and care, 85% of youth exited these programs and returned safely. In 2103, 72% of youth RHYA temporary housing reunited with their families.

In addition federal programs like this are cost effective. Homeless and runaway youth are disproportionality involved in public healthcare, juvenile justice systems. In 2009 the public cost of services for a homeless individual in Los Angeles, including shelter, health care was $2897 per month- significantly higher than $605 per month for residents in supportive housing. I know what it is like to be sexually abused. I did not run away but I know plenty of people who did. I know what I have spent on healing. The long term consequences of abuse, physical, mental and social are devastating. The actual dollars spent on additional health care is huge for the individual.  Studies indicate moving 500 youth from the juvenile justice system to transitional programs could save anywhere between 5 and 20 million dollars.

 

The modest investment in Runaway and Homeless Youth act programs has laid a foundation for a national system of services for our displaced youth. This essential program must continue. Please write your legislatures today and tell them to fully fund the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act.

 

 

 

 

 

What Would You Do With A Million Dollars?

 

Powerball Lottery Reaches Third Highest Jackpot

I joined a 31 day challenge recently to write 500 words a day. It is all about finding your authentic voice. What is the message and vision you have to share with people? This is my day one.

What would you do if someone handed you a million dollars?

Not too long ago the Powerball lottery prize was 1.6 billion dollars. People who never would consider buying a ticket did. In California we heard of people standing in the pouring rain for hours just to get a chance.  Have you really thought about what you would do with that money? How it would change your life, what could you do to change the world? Now I didn’t stand in the rain but I did buy a ticket.  Now my coach whom I love said why…you have the ability to create money. I said to accelerate my dreams.

Now I have always been a big picture thinker, one of my best skill sets. Over the last three years I have been encouraged to dream big, to stay in the question what would I love to express, to be, to do, or create in four areas of my life. The first is time money freedom, the second is creative expression or work in the world, the third is relationships and the fourth is wellness. It took some real soul searching to come up with a vision that truly was an authentic expression of my values. How many of us have lived our lives based on should, trying to please other people?  How often have we taken the “comfortable or safe path” because we are scared we might fail?

Now I have a big, bold, audacious vision. I want to engage, inspire and connect one million creative activists. What is a creative activist you ask? They are people like you and me who have embraced their personal gifts and power to create a better life for themselves, their families and community. They see a problem and look for a solution. They know the best way to foster change is being an example of what they would like to see. They share their voice, their stories so you know you are not alone.

I know how hard it is to share your story. Now those who know me now would never believe this but I was shy, retiring, I never had an opinion, I sat on the fence and waited to see how the wind blew. I usually agreed with the last person who spoke. If you know a bit about my background it might make sense.

As a child I was sexually abused by my grandfather from age 7-13. Now in those days no one talked about it, not on the news, no after school specials and if you grew up in my house you know that like Vegas whatever happens here stays here.  I was afraid no one would believe me, a pillar of the community could do that…so I kept quiet. I never told anyone until I was in my early twenties and I went to therapy for the first time.

Over the years I realized traditional talk therapy was not enough for me. I was surviving but not thriving. I would lay in bed after my kids would go to school and contemplate walking in front of a train. At night I would drown my sorrow, my grief and fear with pints of ice cream, cookies and cake.  I reached a critical point, I could not go on like that…I was going to live or die. I chose life.

I became a workshop junkie. I traveled the world in search of answers. They came much closer to home, actually they were inside me all the time.  My imagination, my intuition, my inspiration, my creative genius was there all the time. Over the years I just lost sight of it. Actually I put it away because one teacher said you are not a very good writer, a choir director  said mouth the words, my parents said you will never make a living being an artist. Where have you experienced this in your life? Who tried to set you straight? What did it cost you?

So I took out my crayons and began to scribble and doodle. I read a thousand self-help books and answered the questions in them. I created a gratitude and did well journal. I painted, took photographs of flowers, did body work, listened to music and I danced. Little by little I saw enormous changes. I felt better, I looked better, I had more energy, more confidence, I had a positive attitude, and my relationships got better. People asked what happened you seem different. I was different. As I let go of the past, when I embraced my gifts and talents when I asked how I can use this experience to make a difference in the world, my life opened up. I experienced more joy and a sense of well being and love.

You may be asking how this relates to being a lotto winner. A 2015 Camelot study group found that 44% of people who ever won large lottery prizes were broke within 5 years. Other studies suggest that lottery winners frequently suffer from a high incidence of depression, divorce, suicide and addictions. They don’t feel they deserve it. They often lack a clear vision for how they will use the money, how they will relate to their friends and family when they ask for money. They don’t have a good support team in place to help handle their finances. They never really considered how they can use their increased wealth to make a difference in the world.

Well I still play lotto. I believe in miracle, magic and a bold vision for success. I have a burning desire and a clear action plan to engage 1 million creative activists. I am international speaker sharing creativity as a path to personal and planetary healing. We have an online program that offers tips, tools and techniques to become a fearless thought leaders and a creative problem solver. We offer a community resource guide of “best practices, creative programs and solutions.”  Finally, hosting Dream a Better World television. Everyone has a story. I love creating a safe space for them to share their voice and vision.

I would love your comments. Thanks

Gift of Imagination

imagination

We have this gift called imagination. As children we played make believe for hours, we were race car drivers, movie stars winning an Oscar or we were scientists living on Mars. We lived in the realm of imagination where anything was possible, our imagination was a bright and wondrous place to be. Then around five or six well meaning teachers said ” stop day dreaming, stick to the facts,” and we shut down our joyful imagination.

As adults we tend to use our imagination to envision the worst instead of the best. How many times have you noticed when your children were late getting home  your mind went to  there was an accident, they are in a ditch. When I was  getting divorced I kept imagining I was going to be a bag lady living in the street.( it never happened) Our minds are very powerful image makers and search engines. So the question becomes what is the vision you want to carry in your mind, freedom or oppression, peace or turmoil, lack or abundance, health or disease, love or hate? Instead of imagining what we don’t want it is time to start using our imagination effectively create what we do want.

I have been studying Napoleon Hill for several years and he says.” Imagination is the most marvelous, miraculous, inconceivable, powerful force the world has ever known.”  I believe that. So as creative, imaginative human beings what would you like to create for yourself, your family, your community and for the world? The question isn’t what do you think you can create,  rather what does a life that you would love to create, look like? What do you want to create with the gift of  your imagination?

What do you want. Buy yourself a journal. Take the time for yourself. You are worth it. Keep asking yourself what do I want. But instead of saying I don’t want to be sick, Say I want to be healthy. Instead of I don’t want to be stressed. I want to be calm and peaceful. I don’t want to be in debt rather I want more than enough money  to pay my bills and take care of my needs. Make it in the positive, your thoughts are magnets. Here is my partial list.

1. I want to paint and collage more
2.I want to have more fun and adventure in my life
3.I want to make welcome my beloved
4.I want to serve more people and host a Creative Activist retreat in April
5.I want to buy sexy new clothes in a size 12
6.I want more flexibility and stamina to walk 10,000 steps daily
7.I want the financial freedom  to spend three months in California
8.I want  a deeper  connection to Spirit
9.I want to travel and explore the world with family and friends

Now it is your turn to  write down at least 50 things that you want to have, do or be in 2016. If you want more information on using the gift of your imagination get our free visioning and goal setting report. http://thewinningadventure.com/

Put Your Dreamer in Charge and Feel Really Good

beauty of your dreams

 

Put Your Dreamer In Charge and Feel Really Good

 

When you were a kid, you didn’t have any “real-world” duties, so it allowed you to spend your time inventing games, talking to imaginary friends, making tents out of blankets, being a superhero, a ballerina or an astronaut.  Basically doing whatever you wanted to do for most of the day. You lived in the realm of your imagination…you dreamed…A LOT.

Somewhere along the way your teachers said stop day dreaming, get serious, stop playing…and you did.  Now,  you have obligations and responsibilities that help make sure that everything runs smoothly. You map out logistics and build routines that create a sense of comfort, security and stability for you and your family. You have serious goals but are you really happy?

While those elements are essential to being a grown-up, we still need to dream and play and creatively express ourselves in order to maintain our sanity and build a life worth living. Scientific studies have proven that play does a body good. When we play, we send a beautiful chemical called endorphins cascading through our bodies, which makes us feel really good. Getting into a state of dreaming  and wonder opens us up to new possibilities. Creative expression allows us to generate new ideas and inspire new conversations and instills in us a general sense of well being.

Here are a few simple steps to help you put your dreamer back in the driver’s seat.

  1. Play Like A Child. Maybe doing cartwheels is no longer in your wheelhouse, but you can still run across an open field with your arms out like an airplane. You can sit on  swing and reach for the stars. You can lay on the grass and imagine the passing clouds as mermaids or castles in the sky.
  1. Love Your Friends. Before we learned to guard ourselves against rejection and heartache, we laughed openly with our friends, told them how awesome they were, and gave them lots of hugs. Guess what…you can still do all that. We need physical contact to feel connected to something other than ourselves and to feel a little less alone, especially in times of need. Hugs reduce the levels of cortisol in the body and lowers our stress level and therefore improves our mood. AND IT IS FREE.
  2. Creatively express yourself. We were all born creative  that is until someone told us “cows weren’t purple. If you want to be taken seriously you need that power suit.”  Creativity is your authentic soul yearning to be free. Take some time and scribble and doodle with crayons and see what emerges. Indulge your senses with a new cologne, find an accessory that says clearly who you are. You can put on your favorite dance music and rock out. Try out a new recipe for a spinach souffle or a decadent chocolate cake. Creative expression is your birthright.creativity1
  3. Be Curious. All too often we let our brain go on autopilot through rigid thinking.Don’t rush through your day, rather indulge in wonder. Ask open ended questions. What would I love? What feels better? What can I do with what I have to to experience more joy and happiness?
  4. Dream BIGGER.  Sure, it makes sense to put “realistic” goals on your list, but what about your “impossible” dreams? Let your imagination run wild and your curiosity guide you…What if you could end world hunger? What if you could have numerous homes all over the world? What is you could make the world safer for women and girls? What if you could  make a fabulous living only working four hours a day? Or lead the cause that ended global warming?   Let your mind become limitless again…and just see what happens.

One of the biggest keys to happiness is to do the things that you enjoy. Chances are, they are the simple things you’ve done ever since you were a kid.

 

How will you put YOUR dreamer in charge TODAY?

Join the creative activist community and collaborate with other big picture thinkers. Share your big dreams on https://www.facebook.com/groups/CreativeActivists/

Are You Tuned In?

 

 

radio Are You Tuned In?

Have you ever noticed yourself being the worst possible version of you? I have done a lot of noticing what I am noticing lately. Let me share a story with you. I had been waiting for my new eye glasses to come in. Last week the frames arrived and they were broken and had to be returned to the factory.  Yesterday they called and said here they are. I had gotten a new prescription and now it was several weeks and I am really annoyed because I can’t see very well out of my old glasses. The person who had previously waited on me had given me the cost. A new gentleman rang it up and it was $200 more. Needless to say I was upset and told him so.  But I could see how unfriendly, nasty I was being. I asked myself who do I want to be? If it all worked out perfectly what would that person do? Well I changed my attitude and inquired how long he had worked there and changed the energy of the experience. The manager came over and reduced the cost to the original price I was quoted.

Fast forward a few hours and I picked up the mail. I had been waiting for some checks, actual refunds from my airline travel insurance. When mom got sick and I had to change my reservations. The airline charged me additional money and I wanted to be reimbursed, isn’t that why you buy trip insurance. Well I did not get what I thought I deserved. I went into a tail spin. When I get upset, my first response is food, drown my feelings in vast quantities of food even if it healthy and good for you.

After I calmed down a few hours later. I knew there was something I needed to look at. I was so mad at myself, beating myself up for eating and my “unskilled behavior today.” Through my mindfulness practices I noticed twice today the same core message showed up.  “Life is hard, you have to fight for everything, the world is not to be trusted. ” I knew I did not want these messages running my life anymore so I dug in.  So I started tracing it back to some real old stories about deserving easy and effortless. (Here is part of my inner dialogue, maybe you can relate)

“I can’t believe this is happening again. I am so sick and tired of this experience. Everyone else seems to have it easy. They say they want something and it miraculously appears, happens. They are lucky. I have never been lucky. I must have done something really bad to have this repeatedly be my path.”

I have been blessed with some wonderful coaches and I stay in a container of success; study people I admire,  read books, listen to positive tapes, I have a cadre of tools. This one comes from Joe Vitale, The Attractor Factor on  page 127. To clear old messages and beliefs he suggests this practice:

Dear Spirit please locate the origins of the feelings and thoughts you want to release. Write them down. Take each and every level, layer and area analyze resolve it perfectly in God’s truth… Come forward in time healing every incident based upon the foundation of the first…until I am at present filled with the light and the truth, Gods’ peace and love, forgiveness of myself…With total forgiveness and unconditional love I delete the old from my DNA, release it and now let it go…I feel and fill in the blank ( I am attracting into my life calm, peace, riches that will make my life easier and allow me to expand into a greater version of myself doing work I love in the world. I am a vibrational match for easy and effortless.) I allow every …problem and inappropriate behavior based on the old feelings to quickly disappear. Thank you Spirit for coming to my aid and attain the full measure of my creation. THANK YOU.

Are you tuned in?  What messages are running your life? Please share how you clear limiting beliefs.