Missed Opportunity That Has Me Buggin

It’s the middle of the week, which means the weekend is ALMOST here. Anyone got anything fun going on? I’ll be getting lost in San Fransico and hiking Big Sur with the Hubs. I can’t wait to nerd out at Alcatraz, too!

ann-kathrin-bopp-634562-unsplash

For those who were around Monday and saw my balloon face, I’m happy to report my face has gone back to its natural saggy-self, bags under my eyes and everything, but if it’s not one thing it’s another 😉 … I missed an opportunity to inspire the kids I work with every Friday, and it’s eating me up.

Two weeks ago I put an ask out for school supply donations to help KidWorks provide for its after-school programs. Staples immediately gave me three boxes of notebooks and a promise to get back with me for the possibility of more supplies (which reminds me it’s been a week and I should probably follow up).

Because I had donations to drop off, I pulled my car up to the front and began unloading. Some of the kids in my class saw my car and started asking if I was rich, how much did I pay for this car and what do I do for a living.

Had just one asked I might’ve had enough time to respond the way I wanted to, but instead, there were about four little girls oo-ing and awing, demanding an answer. To which I replied, it’s not polite to talk about money and hadn’t you heard what none-ya said? None ya bees-wax. Cue laughter and comments about my jokes being old (wait, when did that happen?! haha).

This may sound like a reasonable response and a good lesson to learn early on, but what I wish I would’ve said was this,”I grew up just like you, so one day if you work hard enough for it, you could drive this kind of car, too.”

Ya know, a real Hallmark moment.

I fell back on what I was told growing up and it bums me out because I missed an opportunity to tell the kids (in so many words) it doesn’t matter what your financial circumstances are now, if you work hard enough and believe in yourself you too can drive around in a bright blue mustang one day.

And that’s what I needed to hear as a kid.

I get it, nobody is perfect and I shouldn’t beat myself up about this one time, so I’m going to keep repeating this until the anxiety of not responding how I wanted subsides, because next time I will have the wherewithal to express the importance of dreaming for better.

Also, their ‘you’re rich!’ statement made me extremely uncomfortable and a little offended. It’s the first time anyone has thought of me as ‘well off’ and I’m still not sure how I feel about it because I didn’t grow up rich, with a silver spoon in my mouth, and nobody gave me anything, I had to fight for it.

Now I’m torn between enjoying the fruits of my hard work and determination, and still being scrappy Shannon who pinches every penny to make sure when the bottom falls out, I can still pull myself up by my bootstraps and carry on.

It’s a strange path to be walking, and incredibly fascinating a comment from a young person can send me back to this place of uncomfortableness between how I grew up and what I’ve become. I never not want to remember my roots.

There’s no need to ignore the friction, the only way I’m going to figure out how to deal with these two worlds is by sitting in the comfortableness. Ignoring will only delay the solution. Right?

If you’re like me and have a tendency to plow through emotions that are tough to swallow, I encourage you to wade around in those uncomfortable waters to see what you come out with on the other end. You might surprise yourself with a simple solution.

My First Day at KidWorks KU Program

375030_581959181837934_1618564785_n

My first day at Kidworks KU program was this past Friday and I have to admit, my nerves were jittery all day in anticipation of my first-afternoon volunteer teaching.

Would a bunch of 3rd through 5th graders eat me alive? Would I say something wrong and secure their place in therapy twenty years from now? What if they hate my course outline and/or despise me?!

PS: When the hell did I turn into a worry wart? My lifelong goal of not turning into my mother and worrying about everything has apparently flown right out the window. #smdh

KU (Kidworks University) is a 5-week program where kids elect to take courses they’re interested in after their regular school hours. I volunteered to fill in as the arts & crafts teacher as they hadn’t found anyone to fill the position.

Craft one was making dreamcatchers. In an hour. With 12 kids and one of me.

Holy crow have I never heard my name said so many dang times.

It was hilariously exhausting.

The entire day before Day One at KU I spent preparing for the ONE HOUR class. I was super convinced they’d finish early and all be looking at me begging for something to do. I was pre-imagining the panic I’d feel with 12 sets of little eyeballs waiting for my next move, so like any wannabe Boy Scout – I made a plan for the plan and went in prepared…

This is embarrassing because your girl had a powerpoint presentation, a word search just in case kids finished early and a story about where the dreamcatchers originated from…

And there has GOT to be some kind of life irony/hidden life message within this next paragraph describing how the ONE HOUR actually went. 

We didn’t start until 20-minutes after planned because the program manager wanted to make sure to get all the last minute kids in the classes they wanted. There was a class before mine so I couldn’t set up the room until it was my turn – but I was standing outside waiting for my kids to arrive (per protocol) and had zero prep time, especially since we all started 20 minutes late.

As I’m learning the kids’ names, half of them start asking if we’re going to make slime instead of the pre-designated craft I’m in the process of setting up. Probably four kids in total repeatedly asked, when are we going to make slime?!

After getting the kiddos started all of them needed help. At the same time.

After helping one, another would ask, and then another, then another and then another.

I’ve never tied so many damn knots in my life. Which thinking about it now, why didn’t I just tell them to tie their own knot? Those fools got me ❤

By the time the hour (and an extra 15-minutes) was up, most of the class finished their dreamcatcher and ran out the door while I was left trying to catch my breath, clean up the bead mess and figure out where I’d left my brain.

Nobody wanted to read my dreamcatcher story. And there was no extra time for the word search I had printed out. Not even sure where my flash drive with my PPT went.

I made an IG Story from the beginning to end, so I’m sharing it with you now so that you too can enjoy a laugh at my expense.

Moral of the story: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Once the party train starts rolling there’s no stopping it. And I must repeat – don’t try to make a bunch of 8 and 10-year-olds make a dreamcatcher in an hour. Safe a life, color a book.

PSA: Kidworks NEEDS volunteers. If you’re in the Orange County, California, area please consider donating some of your time. Check out volunteer opportunities here. Kidworks is a community development organization whose mission is to restore at-risk neighborhoods…one life at a time.

Join me in being the change we wish to see in the world. If you volunteer your time, tell us where in the comment section so we can love on you and each other!

Stay dreaming.

Cultivate it.

My Morning Wearing Red

Unknown
Photo Cred: Google

This morning a few PRSSA members and me visited the offices of The American Red Cross North Texas Region in Dallas. Our host Regional Marketing Manager, Amy Yen and Communications Associate, Lisa Morgan, showed us around the impressive and irreplaceable organization. We were also rewarded with a shortened version of the regional communications programs.

Its mission is to, “Empower online social communities to execute our mission.” A lot of its disaster response is done through social media, and on any given day the organization is mentioned around 4,000 times each day, according to Yen.

During Super Storm Sandy, there were an estimated 2.5 million conversations occurring on social media between users, The Red Cross tagged 4,500 tweets to follow up on. Workers and volunteers tracked tweets by keywords, such as: lightening, tornado, ice, and storm. How were they able to do this?

IMG_3845
Photo Cred: Shannon Randol

The DigiDot is a humungous operating system sponsored by Dell and ran on Radian6. “A Hootsuite on steroids,” explained Yen.

The monstrous network is located on the second floor. Upon entering the room, you immediately notice the large projectors hung front and center. To the left there are four plasma screens, each monitor various media aspects around the country. There are only two DigiDots currently operating, one being in Dallas, the other in Washington D.C.

There are two reasons why The American Red Cross North Texas Region acquired the DigiDot, the first being DFW had a huge presence on social media, the second being North Texas is the most disaster prone area in the country, you name it we got it, now even earthquakes!

Though all the technology and high tech equipment is impressive, it’s the people behind the computer screens who are the real life changers. A majority of the workers at The Red Cross are volunteers, 97 percent, actually.

Volunteers are the bread and butter of this organization and The Red Cross is ever so thankful for those people. There are 75 volunteer positions offered and they are always searching to hire a few rad interns throughout the year. If you are interested in becoming a part of this nonprofit organization, check out their website here. You’ll be grateful you did. I could only hope I score its summer internship.

As we toured the rest of the building, we were able to see their emergency storage areas. The first being a medium sized room with black containers, each labeled with its materials. Items like snacks, flip-flops, t-shirts, stuffed animals for children, and their new pet comfort bags – thanks to their new partnership with Don’t Forget to Feed Me.

IMG_2284
Photo Cred: Awo

Up to six or seven times a day, police and firehouses call The Red Cross to notify them about families or people, who are in need of aid, circumstances ranging from house fires or flooding.

The next storage area was in a large warehouse. Where supplies were stored on pallets and carried in bulk sizes.

To conclude my experience, I leave you with a fun fact: President Obama sent his first official tweet from The Red Cross Twitter handle page, as he too was once a volunteer with The Red Cross. What a catch phrase, right?

IMG_3846