Students Are Starving!

Ramen noodles are a staple for most American college students. One may say, it’s even a cultural norm, but what about the students who live off of ramen noodles alone–or worse, nothing at all! A while back I read an article here on LinkedIn how Temple University students and faculty established a food bank on campus to combat the epidemic of food insecurity. Food is a basic human need and it should be considered a crime to pretend like hunger doesn’t exist on college campuses. Moreover, to know about it and do nothing. Students young and old struggle with rising costs of tuition, costs of textbooks, and personal obligations, just to name a few. They shouldn’t have to add to their load of where their next meal will come from.

Knowing this exist on college campuses has motivated me to not only write about it to raise awareness, but to actually do something. Small beginnings. Baby steps. I’m no expert on this topic, I’m only a student and person wanting to make a difference. When we think of hunger we often associate it with people who live on the streets, but the issue goes far beyond that. Hunger doesn’t discriminate. One day hunger isn’t an issue for you and your family and the next you’re scrambling to figure out what and how you’ll eat. Hunger touches everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old. Black or white. Male or female. Affluent or unknown. Hunger has long been a serious epidemic in our society and within urban colleges and universities, it is now affecting those who are seeking a better education, a better life for themselves.

Students come to college from all walks of life with the desire to develop personally, professionally and academically. It becomes a collective effort on the part of their community to ensure they are successful in their endeavors. Supporting them from a holistic approach–nourishing their minds as well as their bodies is critical if we expect them to excel and be productive members and leaders within our society.

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Words on My Terms

Writing is a passion. It’s an art developed over a lifetime. Some days the words come to me slowly and others days… all at once. For me, it’s been a long, winding road of self-discovery and introspection. If you listen closely enough you will hear melodious tones throughout. The ebb and flow of each letter gracefully chasing after the one before. I pour my story onto a blank sheet praying the pen catches up with my thoughts. I could never write within lines. I never want to have my words put into a box to fit someone else’s skewed reality. My writing is a manifestation of all the moving parts of my life–the good, the bad and indifferent. Being able to express and release what’s on my mind into written form is a sense of immense freedom I think only writers can truly understand.

Linguistically, writing is defined as “the activity or skill of marking coherent words on paper and composing text.” To me, writing is so much more than that. It’s a delicate dance between the words in my head and what I allow the world to taste of them. E.L. Doctow said, “Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” That’s what writing is–an exploration of self, of life, of one’s own existence. As I grow older, I notice I am becoming more cognizant of my writing. Not so much of what I write, but how and why I write. There’s this profound reason behind it all. I don’t write for me. For my own self-delusions. I write because I believe as humans we all have a common thread running through us. That we all yearn to be loved and valued. We want to be accepted not just by others, but by our own selves. Through my writing, you’re able to peek into my world and perhaps, through that, you find your own light as I finally have.

~Gabriel Grove

We Are Not Who We Were

We are not who we were but who we are becoming. Our past is just that…history. They were moments in our lives of lessons learned and a chance to become better versions of ourselves. Every day we wake up is a new opportunity to try again, breathe again, and live in gratitude. We are not our mistakes. We are an infinite swarm of peaks and valleys with one foot grounded and the other delicately swaying back and forth…to and fro. Our emotions ebb and flow like an ocean with low and high tides. Our imagination takes us to distant places where we find solitude and peace within. Peace within is the true destination. A place where sometimes the road is linear and other times the path is a whirlwind. Yet, in the end we come full circle to who we truly are–mortal creatures yearning for love and acceptance…from others, but more so from our own selves.

Believe in the Possibilities of You!

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I had the pleasure of watching the new movie A Wrinkle in Time… twice. There were many subliminal messages intertwined within the movie intentionally and for a great reason. The key takeaway I received was to believe in yourself–your whole self even your faults. As humans, we all struggle with our inner voice telling us we’re not good enough, we aren’t worthy, we aren’t pretty enough and the slew of other negative voices trying to keep us down and out. This movie taps into those voices and dares us to challenge our own negative self-talk. It dares us to see all the good within us and to channel that goodness towards saving the world, but ultimately saving our own selves!

The Displaced Lives Matter, Too!

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At any given time here in America and even closer to home, in Philadelphia a woman and her child or a teen mom is faced with homelessness. It has been an epidemic in our society for far too long. On a grand scale social awareness, legislation, education, housing and resources are all critical matters needed to end homelessness, but what are some small, impactful actions that can be taken right now for displaced women living in shelters? Being able to alleviate a burden that we sometimes take for granted is providing toiletries for them so they can focus on reclaiming their independence and self sufficiency. As the founder of For Her Sake Foundation, Inc we are on a mission to support women and teen moms living in Philadelphia homeless shelters and safe havens by donating toiletries directly to them. Imagine not having enough money to buy something simple; yet critical as a toothbrush or pampers for your child? These are some of the challenges these women deal with on a daily basis in addition to all the other physical, emotional, mental and financial struggles going on simultaneously in their lives.

As a community, it’s our responsibility to help as much as we can the displaced who are often times forgotten. If it’s through volunteering at a local shelter, organizing a food or toiletry drive, writing to legislation, or by donating money, your support is highly appreciated and needed now more than ever. One of our greatest contributions to the world is our acts of kindness towards others.

http://www.forhersake.org

 

To New Beginnings…

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Today, I woke up and I’m both grateful and elated for what lies ahead. Today, marks a new chapter among many in my book of life. My previous employer for the past twenty years offered me the chance to begin a new journey. Now, I’m a graduate student, on a mission to continue building meaningful relationships, and establish my professional brand. I’ve learned along the way that when certain opportunities present themselves, its best to embrace them with an open heart and mind. When I sat down to write this piece it felt almost surreal. To be moving on from a place and time that began when I was still so young and immature–not knowing much about the world and even less about myself or the possibilities for my life. Over the years of laughter, growth, and self-reflection what I know for sure is that I’m not the person I once was. I now stand unyielding in who I am and what I will become…

Day 12: Girl Develop It, Rocks!

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I had the pleasure of learning from and connecting with some awesome ladies from Girl Develop IT this past weekend. They are a non profit organization that empowers, teaches and connects women from all walks of life through tech. We learned HTML and CSS–two powerful languages needed to create and design beautiful websites. It felt good to sit among women from all backgrounds, but on similar journeys–learning, creating and fostering relationships for the greater good.

Not everyone’s mission is to become Web Developers or Designers, but I believe we all are determined to become better versions of ourselves. I personally took the course to learn the fundamentals of web development; while connecting with like-minded women. My goal is continue building up my confidence and skill set in order to empower other women to do the very same. Along the journey, who knows maybe one day I’ll facilitate a class and share my knowledge and experiences as an empowered woman in tech!

https://www.girldevelopit.com/about