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I’ll never forget my first summer job. I was a junior counselor at a summer camp in Southwest, Washington, DC. At 14 years old, I was tasked with organizing materials and preparing activities for a group of energetic five year olds. I remember the sense of accomplishment I felt, completing my assigned duties and cashing my first check! That experience was the beginning of my vibrant teenage work experience that led to a 5 year internship with the National Library of Medicine (NLM) in the Office of Computer and Communication Systems.

Unfortunately, young people today will not experience such joy. Nationally, 16.5 % of youth (16- 24 yr old) are unemployed. For Latino youth that figure jumps to 20.5 percent and for African-Americans that rate jumps to a staggering 30.2 percent- four times the national average. Specifically youth in Washington, DC, from economically depressed neighborhoods experience unemployment rates as high as 89 percent.

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According to a report  released by the Justice Policy Institute, programs are needed to provide quality professional development training, mentoring, job placement and supervision to combat the youth unemployment crisis. The report acknowledges that delayed entry into the labor market, especially for underesourced youth, could have lasting consequences in hire-ability and earnings.

Quality youth employment programs provide youth with the experiences and knowledge needed to make informed career decisions.  Research suggests that work-based learning may increase school attendance, decrease dropout rates, reduce school suspensions and increase school engagement. One study  found students who participated in work- based learning were more likely to attend college or immediately enter the workforce than their peers.

The lessons that I learned while working at the summer camp and internship placement proved invaluable and truly shaped my future career decisions.

Sadly, in today’s difficult labor market, many of the entry-level positions that were traditionally available to youth are filled with out-of-work adults.

The Bottom Line: It is imperative that we invest in quality youth employment programs to ensure that we have a qualified, productive workforce in the future.

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Happy Friday Bottom Liners!  I hope you all have awesome plans for the weekend!  Before we end our work week, I want to share a short story with you guys.

As I normally do in the morning, I took the redline train into work. I have a really short commute and today I decided to stand for the entire train ride. It was a pretty normal train ride. The only sound that caught my attention was a young lady typing loudly on her MAC Book. Now, I don’t usually see people using laptops on the metro but hey , it Friday!  As I am standing in the middle of the train car, I spot a young man. He actually reminded me of some of my former students. Immediately, I drifted into a state of nostalgia and began to recall the different interactions I had with my students.  I really MISS MY KIDS!!!

After 30 seconds of  daydreaming, I snap back into reality. I focus my attention on the young man again and he seemed really nervous. For whatever reason he caught my attention. Normally if someone catches my attention I  pray for them.  But the first thought that ran across my mind was that he was going to try and steal the cell phone of the woman sitting next to him.  As soon as that thought ran across my mind and as if the woman heard my thoughts, she adjusted herself and held on to her phone more securely. I immediately felt bad for judging this young man. Part of why I advocate for young people in DC is because they experience judgment like this daily.

As I went through the process of personally berating myself and CHECKING my biases, the train stops. The young man jumps up and snatches the MAC Book of the young lady typing loudly.  I was shocked at how quickly he moved. I was sad for the young woman who was distraught over the loss of her computer. Then I became embarrassed for the young man who stole the computer. THEN…… THEN I BECAME ANGRY!  There are so many people I know, who are fighting for access to opportunities for young people like him. Why would he do this ,so publicly?  As I stood there and listened to the different riders retell the story, my heart broke.

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Nationally, 1 in 3 Black and 1 in 6 Latino boys born in 2001 are at risk of imprisonment during their lifetime. According to a report released by the justice department in 2008, “of the 2.3 million inmates in custody, 2.1 million were men and 208,300 were women. Black males represented the largest percentage (35.4 percent) of inmates held in custody, and Hispanic males (17.9 percent).”

Black males continue to be incarcerated at an extraordinary rate. Black males make up 35.4 percent of the jail and prison population — even though they make up less than 10 percent of the overall U.S population. Four percent of U.S. black males were in jail or prison last year, compared to 1.7 percent of Hispanic males and .7 percent of white males. In other words, black males were locked up at almost six times the rate of their white counterparts.

I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine and he put my perspective in check. The first question he asked me was, “Are you mad that he stole the computer or are you mad that he did it publicly?” Honestly, I wondered what drove this young man to steal this laptop. What pressure is he under that requires taking something from another human being?  He was obviously nervous, so did he really want to take it?

The Bottom-line: The troubles that face our youth are greater than some of us can imagine. I have committed myself to fighting on behalf of all young people. BUT THE PROBLEM IS TO BIG FOR ME ALONE. WILL YOU JOIN ME?

*Please respond and tell me what you think. And share this post!

Good Day Bottom Liners! As I mentioned in my New Year’s Post I have been a  pretty busy lady!  So I had the great opportunity to be a guest on The Intersection, with hosts Jeff Johnson and Elsa M. The show discussed the future of education in our country. My segment begins at the 1hr:33min:26sec mark. Please let me know what you think. Special thanks to Jeff Johnson and Elsa!

The Bottom Line: Listen!

Good day Bottom-liners!  I have been deeply engaged in the elections and after a grueling seven month political battle President Barrack Hussain Obama emerged the victor. Not only has he made history by becoming the first African American President in the United States, but he has cemented his place in history as an “Advocate for the 47%”.

Let me be clear, Governor Romney ran a tough campaign that shed light on some of the issues that the President and his administration must address. So to Governor Romney and his campaign, although the outcome of the election was not what you intended, know that the concern about the economy, job creation and overall government spending  has been elevated to the national conscience and many Americans will be looking to the President and his administration to lead this country in a way that address all of the aforementioned issues in order to truly move America “Forward”.

Below you will find the final Electoral Map: As Published by http://www.examiner.com/

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THE BOTTOM LINE: President Barack Obama has claimed the presidential victory but it is clear that there is alot of work to do!

For some reason lately, I have been thinking a lot about my  journey through life.  I am a very spiritual woman and I am not one who believes in coincidence, happenstance or luck. I believe in “divine purpose and destiny”. That simply means that the events that occur in my life are a part of a bigger plan that God created for me even before I was formed in my mother’s womb. The interconnectedness of our life plans continues to amaze me and so far I have been fortunate to meet some amazing people along the way!  Of course when things get tough and I want to cry and scream, my beliefs bring me comfort and solace. Even more importantly, the journey through life is just as important as the destination. Today I ran across an article that captured this well:

#6. Enjoy the Journey!

…….If you don’t love the journey taken to realize it, the actual fulfillment of your dream won’t mean as much. You’ll find yourself questioning whether or not it was worth the trouble. So, do yourself a favor and have a little fun.

Read More: http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/7-steps-to-making-your-dream-come-true

The Bottom Line: The fruit that you gather along the journey of life will be the ingredients you use to create the desserts of life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well folks, last night’s  Vice Presidential debate was one for the books! I expected tough political discourse but I never imagined the verbal boxing match that occurred! I will not take up to much of your time with a play-by- play recap. But I would like to focus on a question that pulled on my heart string. The question concerning abortion.

RADDATZ ( Moderator):… I would like to ask you both to tell me what role your religion has played in your own personal views on abortion. Please talk about how you came to that decision. Talk about how your religion played a part in that..

RYAN (Challenger): I don't see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or 
from their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do. My faith informs me about how to take care
 of the vulnerable, of how to make sure that people have a chance in life.  Now, you want to ask basically 
why I'm pro-life? It's not simply because of my Catholic faith. That's a factor, of course. But it's also 
because of reason and science. You know, I think about 10 1/2 years ago, my wife Janna and I went to Mercy 
Hospital in Janesville where I was born, for our seven week ultrasound for our firstborn child, and we saw 
that heartbeat. A little baby was in the shape of a bean. And to this day, we have nicknamed our firstborn 
child Liza, "Bean." Now I believe that life begins at conception. That's why -- those are the reasons why 
I'm pro-life. Now I understand this is a difficult issue, and I respect people who don't agree with me on 
this, but the policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortions with the exceptions for rape, 
incest and life of the incest and life of the mother.

BIDEN( Incumbent): My religion defines who I am, and I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life. And has particularly informed my social doctrine. The Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who — who can’t take care of themselves, people who need help. With regard to — with regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position on abortion as a — what we call a (inaudible) doctrine. Life begins at conception in the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the — the congressman. I — I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that — women they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor. In my view and the Supreme Court, I’m not going to interfere with that.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/82310.html

Amidst the arguments over  foreign policy, tax increases and government spending, this question captured the fundamental differences between both campaigns.  Romney/Ryan will use their life experiences and beliefs to shape policy for this nation. Obama/Biden while sharing the same beliefs as their opponents will not impose their beliefs on the American public.

The Bottom Line: As voters we must weigh each side carefully and decide whether we want a country ran based on personal ideology or general principles that will move the country forward.

As I do every morning, I scan a number of news networks for the latest , political news, pop-culture updates and fashion trends. As I was reading, I came across a very interesting article on Business Insider .com entitled, “ 21 Ways Rich People Think Differently from the Poor” written my Manddie Woodruff. What struck me the most was point 4:

  “Average people think the road to riches is paved with formal         education. Rich people believe in acquiring specific knowledge.”
“Many world-class performers have little formal education, and have amassed their wealth through the acquisition and subsequent sale of specific knowledge,” he writes.“Meanwhile, the masses are convinced that master’s degrees and doctorates are the way to wealth, mostly because they are trapped in the linear line of thought that holds them back from higher levels of consciousness…The wealthy aren’t interested in the means, only the end.”
From Steve Siebold, author of “How Rich People Think.”

     All my life I have heard that the only way to succeed is through getting your education. In elementary school that meant completing high school. In high school that meant completing undergraduate degree. In undergrad that means getting your masters degree ( depending on what you studied). After completing the aforementioned degree parade and as I prepare to go to school again, I am forced to consider the point Steve Siebold author of ,”How Rich People Think” makes regarding formal education. I would much rather spend time identifying one skill that I execute well and develop that skill……..

The Bottom Line: Consider other means to achieve economic or social success!