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.

 

 

 

 

 

One Person Can Make A Difference

be the change

Do you believe one person can make a difference to the world?

Many people believe that they don’t have what it takes to make a difference to the world. They believe only people like Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, or celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Oprah or George Clooney are capable of making a difference.

The truth is, every one of us is put on this earth to contribute and make a difference to the world in our own unique way. It doesn’t have to be on a grand scale, it just has to be with the intention of making the world a better place, doing a little bit of good.

Here are some of my favorite quotes to inspire you.
I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. – Mother Teresa
If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
A tiny change today brings a dramatically different tomorrow. – Richard Bach
Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. – William James
You really can change the world if you care enough. – Marian Wright Edelman.
Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. – Leo Tolstoy
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better it’s not. Dr. Seuss

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. – Nelson Mandela
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. – Richard Buckminster Fuller

 Look into your child’s eyes. Stop what you are doing, sit down, and just look into them. Do that every day and you will change the world. Noel Cocca
It takes a better man to acknowledge goodness in others than it does to merely be good oneself. Anyone can criticize or accept praise, but initiating a positive exchange is a hallmark of a difference maker. Scott Berkun

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. – Anne Frank

Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. – Barack Obama

change-the-world steve jobs

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one. – Mother Theresa

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. Buddha

The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own– Benjamin Disraeli
There’s always a story. It’s all stories, really. The sun coming up every day is a story. Everything’s got a story in it. Change the story, change the world. Terry Pratchett
I have never been especially impressed by the heroics of people convinced they are about to change the world. I am more awed by those who struggle to make one small difference. Ellen Goodman

What is one small difference you can make?  We all have a sphere of influence. Every day we interact with people, the bus driver, the cashier, our families and co-workers. Smile, say hello, and bless them silently with the good health, happiness and peace.  Become a messenger of peace.  firmly believe one person can make a difference.

 

Do you have other suggestions on how we can make a difference to the world? Please share them in the comment section below.

 

 

 

 

Sandra Yancey Succeeding Inspite of Everything

the future

According to Sandra Yancey the Founder and CEO of eWomen Network Inc, International Award Winning Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Movie Producer and a Bestselling Author. “I didn’t realize that I was poor and that my mother was on welfare. I didn’t know  that these two very handsome men in suits that would come to the house once a month with  groceries were from the church, Saint Vincent De Paul, bringing food to the poor.”

Sandra may not have had lots of money but she had lots of love and support from her mom. Her mom inspired her to become a leader. My mom said “Sandra, go out and set yourself on fire. Everyone will come and watch you burn.” And I never really understood what that meant until later in life. We are attracted to those people that are bright, those people that have that glow, that essence, that energy, that vibration that is a quality of a great leader. People are drawn to you. You have to have followers to be a leader.

I first met Sandra at the Lisa Sassevich, Event Profit Secrets. I was so impressed with Sandra’s commitment to serving others is the eWomenNetwork Foundation, a 501(c) (3) non-profit, which supports the financial and emotional health of women and children in need I donated 100 Art From My Heart books and became a member of eWomen. I had the opportunity to interview her for The Winning Adventure.                                                                                                                                                                                                         303

How did you get started in leadership?

My family  wanted me to go to college. So I went on my own, I paid my own way; I worked and was the first one in the family to graduate with a college degree.  And then I went after my advanced degrees. I worked my way up the corporate ladder from the clerical ranks to running a department.

After 13 years of being in corporate America, I moved from the “Little ‘D’” to the “Big ‘D’” – Dayton, Ohio to Dallas, Texas. At that point in time, I started a solo consulting practice, which is when I got my first real taste of what it meant to be really successful. I was making great money but I was just miserable, I mean I was always on a plane and my children were little that’s the time in my life where I wanted to be home– that’s part of the reason why I left Corporate America.

What inspired eWomen?

I started going to networking groups, which were predominately male and I had my “Aha!” moment about the “good old boys” network – I mean this in a good way! These groups focused on best practices, leads, strategic introductions, and me being a female and in the minority felt welcome, but not quite “allowed” to play the game.

I went to a few women’s groups, but they just didn’t compare. I said, “Where are all the women that want to build million-dollar businesses?”  I thought something’s missing that what we need is a hybrid, the integration of the focus and the strategy that I witnessed with the men’s group but in a way that was more comfortable for women, that’s relational.  I wanted to create a system and structure that allowed women to be very clear about monetizing their goals.

We’ve grown from being simply a networking organization to a success system. We have the richest online portal of resources from women subject matter experts that can be accessed at any time, by anyone.

What are the qualities of a great leader?

  What really differentiates great leaders is the secret sauce, relationships. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a really great idea, a great business model,  fancy website with all the bells and whistles today and you have a four color business card and you’ve got the perfect tool or the opportunity that can change the planet.  I mean if you aren’t good at building relationships you really do have nothing, I mean at some level I think we’re all in the relationship business no matter what product or service we sell. 

 

Do you have any secrets for people just starting out?

  Don’t fake it till you make it. I did that and I think that was part of  my early struggles and almost my demise. If someone asked how are you” oh I’m fine, yet I wasn’t sleeping and the doors were to about to close. When you do that you’re being an impostor.  When you’re being an impostor you’re not living your authentic self and I don’t think that you can really create sustainable happiness and success when you are faking it. It doesn’t mean you have to cry and tell everybody your problems but it doesn’t mean you need to tell the people that can help you most that everything is fine because then they can’t help you.

 I think that multitasking for women is the kiss of death.  We think that nobody else can do it quite like us, so we micromanage and struggle.  And that’s for everything, from your business to how you fold your towels. The truth of the matter is if your customer has a great experience does it really have to be done by you? Every towel can be folded slightly different, none of the corners match, but my guess is the customer, which is your family, would be more thrilled to know that the towels are available and they’re clean rather  than the frustration and pain you go through knocking yourself out because you feel like you’ve got to do it all.

What legacy would you like to leave?

I want my legacy to be that she talked her talk. She provided access to others to be able to experience and live their purpose, their greatness and their contribution. I want to be missed. The greatest gift for me, would be that someone would say I’m better as a result of knowing her.

What legacy would you like to leave? Would love to hear from you.