Monthly Archives: April 2012
by Thyonne Gordon, Ph.D., Executive Director
Have you ever awakened to a morning with birds chirping and as you peek out the window the day is brightly lit by the sun and the early dawn dew drops are left on floral petals? That’s a Majestic morning that begins a majestic day.
Majesty can be found in every day situations if we take time to recognize it. From a quick run through your neighborhood see the trees, hills, mountains or ocean as compliments to beautiful skies. With an upward glance whether blue or grey, feel the majesty of the moment.
In torrential down pours of rain, mudslides or cold, the sun always returns peeking through the sky, to remind us of the simple message that majesty shines forth after the storm.
You already know what this means! No matter what struggles and difficulties we might have during our journey and no matter how dark and bleak things seem, there’s always sunshine in our midst. And that’s the majesty of creation.
Many times we forget that our journey always ends on the upside. It’s time we remember.
Find your majestic moment today and share it with someone who might not recognize the majesty in their own life.
Being broken usually makes one feel sad. The definition in itself is something fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order. Broken refers to being rejected, defeated or in despair. And usually, you can count on a broken piece to be discarded and left for not good.
Today, I heard homily referring to Jesus being broken on the cross. It made me realize that we all experience being broken at some point through relationships, emotions and maybe even in a physical sense. Though we are broken, we’re not designed to be discarded. We are human and in our brokenness we actually should learn a lesson. Whether that lesson is about how we care for our bodies or our hearts, the process of healing is always better when we ask for help or support.
In sharing our broken situation with others, we open the door for solutions and chances to fix or mend the problem. Even better than fixing the problem alone, we often can share our stories and as others add to the mix, we realize we’re not alone. You see none of us are unique in being broken — as much as we think our story is the only one — it’s not!
The next time you feel broken or down, find someone to share the situation with. Ask them if they’ve experienced anything similar and then focus on how you can support each other to fix the problem. I promise you, even if there’s no fix — there’s something special in store and your one broken piece will blend with others and become a part of a beautiful mosaic masterpiece.
1. How did you hear about CoachArt?
Through Volunteer Match on the Internet.
2. How long have you been a CoachArt Volunteer?
Less than a year. I also volunteered with Free Arts for Abused Children
3. What made you decide to volunteer with CoachArt?
It sounded like a way to participate in art, which I love. I specialize in portraits.
4. What do you like most about volunteering with CoachArt?
We (the 2 children and I) actually made something – a small quilt that they use
while watching TV or sitting on the sofa.
5. What type of activities have you done at CoachArt?
Just the one with my students where we did sewing and other projects: I brought some wooden cigar boxes that they decorated, I brought T-shirts which they drew on with artist pens (felt-tip pens), I brought in beads and they made bracelets, and I took their pictures (with parent’s permission) and they decorated the cardboard picture frames that I made for the pictures.
6. What has been the single most impacting experience working with a CoachArt student?
That we actually made something they can use – a small quilt.
7. Why do you volunteer with CoachArt?
I like to do art and sew, work with kids, and help people. I would also like to work
8. If you had to write an ad to recruit volunteers for CoachArt, how would it read?
Emphasize something fun the volunteer can get out of it. They can get their
picture in the newsletter, get a fun day at a picnic, maybe food – emphasize fun!
9. How has CoachArt affected your life?
I realized I can do more of a variety of projects than I thought.
10. Would you recommend CoachArt to friends? If yes, why?
Yes, if they have free time, but most people think they’re too busy, even if
11. What would you like for our readers to know about you?
I do portraits and hand-painted clothing.
12. How can CoachArt improve its’ services?
Make it more clear what opportunities are available, and directly contact
volunteers more often for activities. I was only contacted once (for my current
students). You have to poke people!
On behalf of the Board of Directors, staff and the thousands of chronically-ill children & their siblings being served through CoachArt, THANK YOU!
The art of improving lives began when you volunteered your first hour with CoachArt and will continue for a lifetime in the children you have touched.
As a small token of our appreciation, we are pleased to partner with The Original El Cholo Mexican Restaurant to offer our volunteers a 50% discount off of your entree during National Volunteer Week on Wednesday, April 18, 2012. This offer is only valid at the Santa Monica and Western Ave locations.
You must sign-up via the link below and wear your CoachArt T-shirt to receive this generous discount from El Cholo Restaurant, serving authentic Mexican cuisine.
Thanks for practicing the art of improving lives!
We hope this meal will be indicative that the life you improve, may just be your own. Have a great time at El Cholo Restaurant, a Los Angeles landmark since 1923!
Receive 50% OFF of your entree at El Cholo Restaurant on Wednesday, April 18th when you RSVP NOW and wear your CoachArt T-shirt!
Valid ONLY at these locations:
This promotion is only good for one visit, per volunteer at either the Western Avenue or Santa Monica location on April 18, 2012. You may bring friends and family, but only CoachArt volunteers, wearing a CoachArt T-shirt and who have submitted a RSVP will be eligible to redeem this offer for their entree ONLY. Alcoholic beverages are not included.
There is no cash value to this offer and this offer may not be substituted for, or combined with any other promotional offers. El Cholo reserves the right to deny/rescind this offer if the volunteer does not adhere to the rules listed herein.
Harmony – orderly or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity.
“I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony
I’d like to hold it in my arms and keep it company”
Those “hokey” song lyrics first aired in 1971 in a Coca Cola commercial. I knew every word and used to sit on my front porch singing them. For some reason these words were comforting. It was something about how the tune and lyrics went together. They matched. They were harmonious.
When something is harmonious it just fits together and you know it was meant to be. When it gets right down to it, throughout life we’re always looking for the perfect match or harmonious situation. Whether job hunting, finding a new place to live or looking for that “right” someone – we are constantly trying to find harmony.
Why is it so elusive? How come it won’t just come together like the song? Perhaps the answer lies in how we perceive harmony.
During the 80’s I came up with a combination of a bright red dress matched with an awesome orange scarf and belt. No one believed it matched but I liked it. At the age of 6, in a piano recital, my daughter played the happy melody of Swan Lake in a minor key. It was shocking to the teacher but she beamed at its’ completion.
What “matches” or seems harmonious all depends on your attitude towards harmony. When we are happy about what we see and what we put together, there’s comfort. Too often, we are clouded by what we think others see. We want the perfection to come from the perception of someone else.
It is in releasing the “ideal” of perfection that we find true harmony. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek for the best of what we want nor does it give anyone room to settle. However, it does mean taking a look at what we truly see and feel verses what we think others view as harmonious.
That red and orange combination that I wore is quite popular today. I find it amusing that the CoachArt logo has the blend of colors. And that Swan Lake melody – well, let’s just say it earmarked my daughter’s untraditional style in which she’s always comfortably finding harmony.
What ways can you find your own harmonious tune? Share it proudly with others without feeling judged and see how that makes your melody a lot brighter.
How long have you been involved at CoachArt? I have been a Coachart Volunteer since January 2012.
What made you decide to volunteer with CoachArt? I loved the structure and the use of a person’s passions/hobbies as a way to connect with youths’ interests. I realized sometimes it is hard for adults to schedule in time for their own hobbies, art, cooking, sports, etc. If they can find a space to become actively involved in their interests as well as give the opportunity to teach a child or teen in need, everyone benefits!
What do you like most about volunteering with CoachArt? So far, just being involved in the mentorship program has been a blast! I like how well organized Coachart is. On my first day meeting my match I had a CoachArt representative waiting to transition me into the family. It was a great intro! Also, I believe that all people have hobbies that should be utilized to create a sense of self, community giving, and mindfulness- Coachart embodies this. It is great to see how fast CoachArt is growing in the Bay Area!
What type of activities have you done at CoachArt? So far my match and I have had cooking lessons together. We have made different foods such as peach cobbler to pizza and pretzels to pineapple upside down cake. Also, my match has expressed an interest in learning drawing skills and we will begin to incorporate this as our meetings carry on.
What has been the single most impacting experience working with a CoachArt student? One afternoon as we were waiting for our cake to finish, we played the board game Sorry! It was a great chance to connect with a family in a lighthearted setting. We were able to laugh, work together, and have fun. Also, I have appreciated the help and conversation with my matches family. When I meet with my match it is also a warm welcoming into a wonderful family. I hope to continue to provide new and exciting lessons for my match.
Why do you volunteer with CoachArt? Although I initially looked for this placement to fill field placement hours, I realize how important it is to connect and become involved in my community. I forgot how important it is to engage with youth and take a step out of my own generation. I am inspired by my matches personality and even though my week may be all over the place, it is nice to have the routine to connect with my match.
What advice would you give to a new CoachArt volunteer? Have flexibility and be okay with changing your plan. Plan out your lessons but don’t fret and be afraid to change mid course to what would fit the match better.
Would you recommend CoachArt to friends? Yes, absolutely! This would also be a great opportunity for companies to get groups of employees to give back to the community. I highly recommend! As a student who is collecting placement hours- it fits my needs and is really adaptable to what works for all parties involved.
What other volunteer activities are you involved in? I volunteered in the past through Hospice and Glide Memorial Church. I have also volunteered on the peninsula through my school, participating in open art studios for Homeless Shelters.
What would you like for our readers to know about you? I am currently studying Marriage and Family Therapy and Art Therapy at Notre Dame De Namur. I believe that art can change lives. Also, it has been really nice to be in a recreational program such as CoachArt to switch up my week from therapy-based activities.
How can CoachArt improve its services? So far this experience has been great! Maybe develop a partnership with larger companies to recruit more volunteers. At Glide Memorial Church there were company team days that would have volunteers help with special events. This may be happening already in CoachArt, but if not that would be awesome! Great job CoachArt and keep it up- what a great resource!
The act or power of forming a mental image of something present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality; ability to confront and deal with a problem.
On Sunday, the Masters Golf Tournament was played. The winner, Bubba Watson won his first major without ever having a golf lesson. When he played the Masters the ball went into the trees making it an impossible shot.
Bubba stated after the win, “I just got into the trees, I saw a crazy shot in my head, and now I’m wearing the green jacket.”
It was Watson’s mind-set that helped him win the Masters. He wasn’t necessarily the best player and he hadn’t been prepared for golf his whole life – but, his mind was creative enough to see the possibility of something without knowing how that something could be.
Have you ever had a problem to solve that you didn’t know how it would end? Life throws us these situations often. It is how we address them that determines whether we get resolve or frustration.
When we use our imagination to create solutions to problems, it allows us to step outside of conventional space and see possibilities that are beyond what already exists. This is when resolve becomes fantastic wins.
Think of your problems as possibilities on the spectrum of reality and watch how your creativity starts to flow. Send us your creative ideas and let us incorporate them into our imaginative world at CoachArt!
Chronically-ill teens in Los Angeles and New York City will come together digitally for a “photo slam” to talk about what matters most to them. A team of teens from each city, guided by volunteer mentors, will have its turn to throw down a photo challenge for the other city to answer.
COACHART ENTRY SPECIFICS
CoachArt provides free lessons in arts and athletics to chronically-ill youth and their siblings, to promote normalcy and creative distraction from the pain and isolation often associated with their illnesses. CoachArt will use $2,500 to hold a 6-week “photo slam” between teams of teens in New York City and Los Angeles. Each team will have its turn to thrown down a challenge to the other city around the theme of “what matters most.” Funds will provide photography equipment for participants. The final project will be showcased through CoachArt’s website and social media outlets. Please vote for our project to improve the quality of life for chronically-ill youth and their siblings. Follow the project on facebook! facebook.com/coachart
GOOD recently combined forces with Jumo to further their mission of helping people take meaningful action in the world. GOOD Maker is first of many exciting developments to come as we build more online tools to help people make change out in the real world.
GOOD knows the Jumo community is filled with organizations doing really interesting, inspiring work for social change, and they want to learn about what they’re working on. Better yet, they’re offering $2,500 in grant funding for projects that are exclusively from organizations who are former Jumo members.
Vote for us to win $2,500 to support and expand the valuable work that we do.
by Thyonne Gordon, Ph.D., Executive Director
Driving up the coast to Northern California the sky was bright and clear. This was going to be a carefree drive to start a fantastic week. The goal was to make it to Hearst Castle by noon, take a tour and then get into Oakland before dark. In the planning, no problems were expected and quite frankly, I anticipated a lovely day. About an hour into the drive, the clouds turned dark, the sky cracked open and I found myself in the eye of a rainstorm. Not even 20 minutes later there was snow!
What in the world was happening? This wasn’t expected and I certainly wasn’t anticipating snow. But, one thing I knew for sure — there was a lesson to be learned because in these challenges, there are always ways to improve.
The rainy, snowy route lasted a good hour and finally made way for the entering sun. As bright as the sun shined through, it was pale in comparison to the gift, which would provide the lesson—a perfectly beautiful rainbow. That rainbow was nothing I could have expected but it reminded me of the promise of something anticipated after the storm. The promise of better days ahead.
So I wondered, what if I’d sat at the side of the road when the rain hit? What if I turned around because of the snow? Not only would I have missed my mark, but I’d have also missed the beauty of the rainbow—meaning I’d have missed my promised reward.
No matter what we expect in planning goals along life’s journey, strange things can happen. But surely, as much as we work to bring these goals to fruition, the perseverance leads to a promising end. It leads to our rainbow and we must continue to expect the best and be in high anticipation with excitement and zest towards our goals. And, when things don’t go just as we’ve planned, we must endure to the end. That’s where we will find our rainbow.
How will you capture the rainbow along your life’s journey?