Monday, September 30, 2013

We're at 34 Days...Time to Meet Auntie Joanne!

What can I say about Joanne, my godmother and my mom's best friend since their childhood in Guyana?  She's one of the strongest, smartest, calmest, loveliest, and most rational people in my life.  I'll let her describe a few aspects of herself in her own words with my donor questionnaire:

MC: Diaspora's mission is to empower families and individuals, starting with young people. What's one of your favorite childhood (or teenage) memories?

JYM: One of my favorite childhood memories is waking up at 5.00am by [my] Aunt Vi. She would lead my brothers and me (and any of my cousins who were there) down a completely deserted Camp Street Avenue to the Sea Wall [MC: in Georgetown, Guyana, for those who don't know] to swim in the Atlantic Ocean. Well...she would swim. The rest of us just experienced the breathtaking magnificence of salt water, sand and waves while trying not to swallow water or drown. Afterwards, she would feed us butter and brown sugar sandwiches. It doesn't sound like much but they were delicious!! When she marched us back home under the towering flamboyant trees on Camp Street, she would lead us in singing campfire songs. It was a magical time for us. It was long before the usual traffic so it seemed as if the City belonged to us.

MC: No matter how many times I finish a marathon, it still seems a bit implausible. What advice would you give to someone tackling a difficult and seemingly insurmountable goal?

JYM: Well, first believe that you are capable of achieving it. Then break it down into small steps. Reward and praise yourself for each small step that you achieve. Say your affirmations every day. Visualize yourself reaching the final goal. Enjoy the process.

MC: What is a cause that you feel passionately about? (Feel free to promote a particular organization or organizations.)

JYM: Reading is for me the Key to self discovery. I learned to read at an early age and I read to my children. With a book you will never be bored (even when there is no wifi). I support Literacy programs everywhere!

MC: Click here and here to learn about top literacy nonprofits around the country. Finally, is there anything else you want to share?

JYM: I admire your commitment to helping families and young people who need assistance to improve their lives. Big Hugs to you, Lovey, for your hard work!!!

As you can see, she's the best. Thank you, Auntie Joanne, and thanks for sharing your time, resources, and wisdom! As always, you can join me and Joanne as Diaspora supporters by clicking here.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

35 Days...and Over $1,000 Raised for Diaspora!

35 days...and with the help of my lovely friends and family, we've raised 35 percent of my fundraising goal for Diaspora! Everyone's support has been amazing - thanks again.

Today's Diaspora program spotlight is the Medicaid Health Homes Program, a program that helps families manage medical and behavioral care and support services.  Learn more here on Diaspora's website: http://www.diasporacs.org/medicaid-health-homes/

On a totally separate note, I have several free tickets to a show for my brother AndrĂ©'s band the Wham Bam Bowie Band on Thursday, October 3 at 9:00pm. If you're interested in coming, email me!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

At 36 Days to Go, Say Hi to Sven!

This posting every day thing is no joke. Here goes. Just briefly: training continues, for the most part - I biked to work a few days this week and tomorrow I'm doing the Bronx 10 Mile, assuming I wake up in 5 hours. Wish me luck.


Today's profile is Sven, my dormmate during Freshman year, a fellow Econ major (okay fine, not fellow, I was an Econ concentrator), an awesome new recent reconnection (thanks, Facebook!), and an overall great person. I'm looking forward to learning even more about Sven, but here's a start!

MC: Diaspora's mission is to empower families and individuals, starting with young people. What's one of your favorite childhood (or teenage) memories?

ST:  Hmm...so, the road on which I grew up in small-town Germany had like a dirt patch in front of a set of garages, and we used to play in the mud after it rained. Earthworms would come out of the ground after it rained, and we would build them some houses to live in. Try as we might, they never took to the houses we built them, which didn't stop us from trying again the next time it rained.

MC: No matter how many times I finish a marathon, it still seems a bit implausible. What advice would you give to someone tackling a difficult and seemingly insurmountable goal?

ST: Hmm. Maybe it's easier to try it if it does indeed seem impossible; after all, you can't help but fail? Kinda takes the edge off.

MC: What is a cause that you feel passionately about? (Feel free to promote a particular organization or organizations.)

ST: Lots of. But I'll reference Habitat for Humanity in particular, because I go there a lot. So I guess that means I'm passionate about them. Habitat's real accessible, meaning the bar for participation is low, because all you really do is swing the hammer or something. Also, there is ostensibly a tangible benefit that is created for someone else. I say ostensibly because, shh, don't tell anyone, but they can get the house up without your showing up, after all, so really, you go there to exercise a certain "muscle" of your own, not to benefit anyone else. But shhh... that's a secret. (It's okay to quote that, I'm being... is it facetious?)

Anyway, my theory is that that then leads to other things.

MC: An interesting theory, Sven. And definitely interesting stories. Thank you for sharing with me, and for your support!  As always, you can go here to join me and Sven in supporting Diaspora.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

With 39 Days to Go, Let's Meet Miraida!

The glamorous Miraida.

As I mentioned, this year I want to put the focus on Diaspora's programs, clients, staff, and donors rather than just my run. Today's Diaspora profile is of Miraida, a PhD candidate at Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information, a Diaspora donor for almost as long as me, and one of my best friends.  I'll let her speak for herself!

MC: Diaspora's mission is to empower families and individuals to maximize their ability to succeed through culturally sensitive health promotion, family support services and advocacy. What's one of your favorite childhood memories from a time when you felt particularly powerful?

MM:  If being a teenager counts as childhood, I'd say my favorite memory of feeling powerful as a kid was the first time I flew an airplane. I had decided I wanted to become a pilot, so I enrolled in flight school and got an afterschool job to pay for gas for the plane.  I got my student's pilot license and for about 2 years, flew all over northern NJ and parts of upstate New York. I even landed in Poughkeepsie once.  Their airport has a control tower, so I had to radio in for permission to land and everything. It was the best.  I need to take that up again.

MC: No matter how many times I finish a marathon, it still seems a bit implausible. What advice would you give to someone tackling a difficult and seemingly insurmountable goal?

MM:  Don't think about the end--take it one mile at a time. And drink lots of water.

MC: What is a cause that you feel passionately about?

MM:  I feel passionate about supporting the arts in our community and making sure everyone has access to the arts.  To support this, I'm on the board of En Foco, an organization that supports minority artists and helps make art available to everyone by exhibiting in public places.

MC: THANK YOU MIRAIDA! Click here to join me and Miraida as supporters of Diaspora's work.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

40 Days to Go!

Me and Beth
(thanks for letting me use the pic, B!)
I've started this blog to feature supporters of Diaspora Community Services, but also to chronicle my progress towards the Marathon. This year's race is also a part of my commitment to live a healthier life and take better care of myself, so I'll post about that too.

Finishing a marathon is something I've done many times before. The real challenge going to be writing a post every day! 




Sasha (picture courtesy of
Diaspora Community Services)
Today's Diaspora profile is of Sasha, a dedicated student and volunteer in Diaspora's Safe Teens Acting Responsibly (STAR) Program. Read Sasha's story on Diaspora's site by clicking here and join my campaign for Diaspora by clicking here.