My Time 4 Talk

Parents as Positive Influencers of Their Children From Infancy Through Adulthood!

Three years ago, my father passed away as I held his hand and told him how much it meant to me to have had a father like him. It seems like yesterday as my husband Jim, and his exceptionally compassionate physician, Dr. Hawthorne, who to date, proudly speaks of the reciprocal role Papa played as a mentor to him, rendered their support.

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I feel compelled to mark this day with the brief letter below to the man of few but effective and wise words that I call “Papa”:

Dear Papa:

Three years ago, you took your last breath as I held your hand and seized the moment to send you off with a tear-filled tribute only deserving of the likes of you. Your legacy will forever live on if I have anything to do with it. I thank you for showing by example that it is indeed possible for one to successfully interact with people of differing points of view and orientations to achieve a common goal that speaks to the preservation of humanity.

Thank you, “Mr. Activity Cole”, for giving me something to think about with regards to  your resolve to uphold the true spirit of Fourah Bay College’s motto: Non Sibi Sed Allis  (“Not for themselves, but for others”)— through your service to others.  You know it is not easy, but if you did it, so can I.

It is a wonderful thing to daily recall moments of your caring and engaging fatherly spirit. I thank God for the gift of a father such as you.

Rest in Perfect Peace, Papa.

Your Daughter,

Madona Catherine

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Celebrate The Uniondale Early Childhood Center’s 25th Anniversary with Us

The following is an account  I wrote and presented in print to the Executive Director at the Uniondale Early Childhood Center’s first annual awards gala.  As UECC prepares for its 25th anniversary dinner, I find the contents appropriate enough to share today, in this format, as an introduction to what this Early Childhood Center stands for.  Needless to say, that you are invited to participate in this celebration with us. Please find the invitation and journal ad opportunity below this post.

Madona Cole-Lacy – 

 I Just Can’t Keep it to Myself: The Components of a Successful Pre-K Graduation Ceremony

The Uniondale Early Childhood Center conducted their graduation and moving up ceremony today. What a joy it was to see the bright, well-groomed, and talented graduates march in on cue! It was also obvious to me that this group of children had been taught so that it would not be necessary to teach them the basics when they reach adulthood.

These children had been prepared for a lot more than reading and writing. They were way up there in the social graces department. Dr. Mary Cameron and her staff had prepared these leaders of tomorrow, in a manner that is driven by a passion that is second to none. Kudos to them for a job indeed well done! Now what was it about this ceremony that grabbed my attention?  Aside from the impressive comportment of the children, the hearty rendition of  the song “I believe I can fly”, there were elements present that made the occasion truly meaningful. The guest speaker, Monique Euell, an aspiring Elementary Education teacher, who will be starting her 3rd year at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama, was most impressive in her delivery which comprised of a specially crafted message for each group present. As she addressed the graduates, I was excited to learn that she had actually spent time with them as a group at the center and that she was able to characterize each one of them by name.  That was meaningful and what’s more?  The children listened attentively! Another display of leadership was characterized by the poise, stamina and confidence of the Guest Soloist, Christina Phillips. Christina, a young lady on visit from St. Vincent.  It was wonderful to see Christina so comfortable in her skin even though she was in ‘strange’ surroundings. Sydni Baker, a 9th grade student at Half Hollow High School was featured as the UECC representative on the New York Child Care coalition. Sydni visited Albany to lobby for improvements in child care and included an essay of her experience in the graduation program. Yet another leader to be reckoned with!  Of note was the fact that Eric Musonza a past graduate of the Uniondale Child Care Center, received a full scholarship to Yale University.

The involvement of local public officials was also a good thing. The certificates of recognition served as a testimony that the executive director thought of her students and their accomplishments as newsworthy and important enough to invite these officials who have shown interest in the center over the years.

There were of course, many other activities that made the ceremony a grand one.

In summary, I would say that the components of this successful pre-school graduation ceremony, are as follows:

1. The involvement of young people in the program.

2. A guest speaker who knew the graduates well, due to interactions with them in the past.

3. The involvement of local public officials.

4. The overall empowerment of young people who already see themselves as leaders and role models to the graduates.

5. The dedication and passion for teaching and learning as demonstrated by the Executive Director and staff.


  Your Invitation

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Journal Ad Opportunity

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Madona Cole-Lacy, M.A.Ed., Program Director/Facilitator

James  A. Lacy, LCSW, Mental Health Director

http://www.mytimehascome.org

                 Madona Cole-Lacy is a registered Nassau and Eastern Suffolk BOCES Teaching Artist and can be reached at madona@mytimehascome.org 

My Time Has Come Program Provides art-related workshops for Schools * Libraries * Faith and Community-Based Organizations.

                       Promotes and Supports Equality * Inclusion * Diversity.

Fosters a sense of belonging, accomplishment and pride gained from the creation of well executed culturally-inspired works of art.

Develops skills and techniques in the execution of handcrafted contemporary and multicultural textile designs and visual arts.


Contributing to Making the World a Loving Place: One Wearable Art Workshop at a Time

It is only fitting that I share my take-away from a wearable art silk scarf-designing workshop I recently facilitated at the East Meadow Public Library through my social and cultural enrichment program, My Time Has Come . The sources of inspiration for this workshop were many, with Valentine’s day and Passover on most minds, and not to speak of themes that some participants had already given thought to before they arrived! my-time-has-come-program-78

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I want to start by ‘commiserating’ with fellow artists around the world who prepare for, and facilitate workshops with the mindset that they have a ‘task’ that they must accomplish… otherwise known as a Job. This was not a job for me. It was yet another “this is why I do what I do” opportunity for me. Thanks, to the participants. For what is of utmost importance and most gratifying to me, as a facilitating artist, is the enthusiasm and willingness of participants of all age groups to try new things, the camaraderie shared by ‘strangers’ in some cases, and last but not least, the desire for excellence in creativity that results in exceptionally crafted pieces they can take home with them. This was present in great measure!   my-time-has-come-program-41 

I must say, I really expected nothing less from participants who did not use the pouring rain as an excuse to stay away. Suffice it say that it was that same spirit of determination that filled the room. Determination to try something new, to make the most of it and, as far as I am concerned, succeed at it. You, the reader of this post, can register your opinion on the accompanying visuals. 

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As my heartfelt gratitude goes out to this outstanding group, I must share that for the first time as a workshop facilitator, I was asked on  more than one occasion to stop for a moment to hydrate as a result of what must have struck someone as me “on overdrive”, as I passionately executed my task. I thought that was so sweet and nurturing! (I had no idea I was perspiring at all…as the pictures would reveal later!) I also want to thank those who privately shared with me their observations about  what they observed as my commitment to what I do. I intend to use those kind sentiments to further motivate myself as I strive for excellence in all I do. Those, who could, stayed behind to help with the inevitable post-workshop clean-up and pack up. How wonderful that was! Thank You, to Charlie who helped us settle in, Jude Schanzer, the Director of Public Relations and Programming, and last but not least, my husband, James Lacy, for his role as the photographer and another set of helping hands.   east-meadow-silk-scarf-1

 


Creatively Welcoming the Holiday Spirit at the East Meadow Public Library

What a pleasure it was to be in the company of willing adult learners (plus one child) who did not hesitate for one moment to unleash the textile artist in them as they recently designed their own unique holiday silk scarves! The sole elementary school student participant was just as comfortable. She confirmed my suspicion when she loudly declared something to the effect of, ” I am enjoying myself”.wp-image-1130220606jpg.jpg

With the exception of two participants with some art background, these ladies came in ready for the challenge-not knowing what to expect. It is clear to me from the nature of my interaction with each artist, that their anxieties were quickly laid to rest when they began to appreciate the fact that what they initially regarded as “mistakes” during a creative process were now valuable opportunities to expand their reach and embrace their own creative spirit in a manner that they can truly be proud of.  This was true for those who thought they had “messed up” their work! After a few demonstrations, they could see for themselves how creativity and the concept of messing up just do not mesh!

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If you are by now thinking that I quite enjoyed facilitating this Workshop, you are right. It was yet another pleasant reminder of why I have chosen to utilize my passion for the arts to creatively communicate and interact with others!

Thank You, goes to Jude Schanzer, the Director of Public Relations and Programming, of the East Meadow Public Library for granting me an opportunity to share my creative talent with the library’s patrons. I thank the workshop participants whose enthusiasm reinforced the “why I do, what I do factor” of my artistic journey and my other half, James Lacy – a fine example of one who believes in unconditional love and support!

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Silk Scarf designed by facilitator at Wear Your Art Workshop    

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www.mytimehascome.org

Madona Cole-Lacy, M.A.Ed., Program Director/Facilitator

                 Madona Cole-Lacy is a registered Nassau and Eastern Suffolk BOCES Teaching Artist and can be reached at madona@mytimehascome.org 

My Time Has Come Program Provides art-related workshops for Schools * Libraries * Faith and Community-Based Organizations.

                       Promotes and Supports                             Equality * Inclusion * Diversity.

Fosters a sense of belonging, accomplishment and pride gained from the creation of well executed culturally-inspired works of art.

Develops skills and techniques in the execution of handcrafted contemporary and multicultural textile designs and visual arts.


Making the World a Smaller Place: Embracing Multi-Culturalism Through Art & Fashion

My quest to contribute to the making of the world a smaller place took me to Bellport High School last week. It was a pleasure to meet and interact with a mix of multi-ethnic students with the express purpose of assisting them in identifying and celebrating their respective cultural heritage and family traditions in preparation for the designing and creation of their own unique Coat of Many CulturesTM  (This project is funded by a grant from South Country Education Foundation to the school)

There were students who spoke with a great sense of confidence, others who, even though they did not say it, would have preferred to introduce themselves in terms of a subculture they had created or acquired that they were obviously comfortable with. Others appeared to be disconnected from their cultural background because “they were born here” and had not been exposed to “anything” “cultural. Whatever the case may be, I stay committed to my role in the lives of these students as we work diligently toward designing a coat that will not only speak to their identity for years to come, but will take them on a journey of self-empowerment and appreciation for their cultural heritage.

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(Madona Cole-Lacy with Art Students at Bellport High School – Easing Into the Creative Process Through Engagement)

As I anticipate an unpredictable yet successful execution of these series of workshops which I facilitate in Long Island and beyond, I want to highlight a few points that I believe society can bear in mind as they nurture and empower their children particularly in times like these when teachers are reporting bully related incidents that are targeted at children who may not necessarily represent the race and cultural background of those who torment them.

1. If we instill a strong sense of belonging in our children, there will be no need to worry about them being victimized by others. There are no “others” in an all-inclusive world where people work together for the common good of humanity.

2. It is important to maintain family traditions that reinforce cultural values.

3.  Parents should do an ancestry search, and share information about family heritage with their children.

4.  We should research and/or review the history of our cultural/ethnic/racial/religious group, and hold family discussions regarding this background and how it currently impacts each family member.

5.  Promote social studies and history education in schools that is fully inclusive of all ethnic, racial, religious and cultural groups.  This should emphasize their values and contributions to humanity.

We can’t know where we’re going until we know who we are and where we as people have been or been through.

Learn more about my art-related personal development and social/cultural enrichment workshops tailored to schools and community organizations here.

 

 


The Joy of Self-Actualization

When was the last time you did something that was work-related and felt so satisfied  from that experience that you actually thanked yourself for having made the choice to follow that career path?  That high level of satisfaction was all mine as I worked with a group of ladies at the Wyandanch public library who for the first time last week, had a go at textile designing and fabric stamping…on silk fabric, no less !

It was not the resulting designs that each participant executed that caused this level of excitement and satisfaction. It was the way they each looked inwardly to draw strength and determination to get there. It was the intense nature of their interaction with the tools, their determination to master tools they were unfamiliar with, the ease with which they connected with me as their facilitator, the presence of great camaraderie, and last but by no means least, the sense of pride they each exuded as they modeled their final product. Enough said, see for yourself by watching the presentation below.

 I invite your comments and the sharing of your latest experience on the Joy of Self-Actualization.

Libraries, schools and community organizations can request this and other social and cultural art-related workshops that can be tailored to their needs or desires.             

Contact Us    

www.mytimehascome.org

 

 


School and Community Collaborate to Empower Children

The Christian Cultural Center’s Cultural Arts Academy Charter School – a charter school of the arts- hosted a homecoming event at their Brooklyn location recently.  What was so special about that event was an element that served to raise awareness of the importance of entrepreneurship for those who pursue the arts – especially for children at the primary school level. 

The event coordinator, Mrs. Joy Spruill, a Fine Arts graduate herself, who gained first hand experience on how difficult it is for creative people to successfully follow their bliss through entrepreneurship, was right on target with this vision.  “Far too many African Americans lack the knowledge or financial soundness to even consider this as an option. It is my intention to surround our students with familiar faces that have accomplished the challenge of owning their own business. It is my hope that through exposure that entrepreneurship will no longer seem so foreign to our scholars.” Mrs. Spruill said of the motivation behind this event.

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Worthy of note and a great delight, is the fact that a kindergarten vendor participated as a seller of lemonade – which not surprisingly – sold out before long. “She exemplified one who demonstrated to her peers, that regardless of age, one can acquire an understanding and an interest at all different levels that can lead to a successful experience.” Mrs. Spruill added.

I was quite flattered when asked to participate as the featured vendor of an event that would serve to plant the seeds of entrepreneurship in the minds of our children. Kudos to Principal Laurie Midgette for working with Mrs. Spruill to bring this vision alive!  It was a delight to be able to engage in meaningful conversations that were initiated by these young and curious minds. I was told that I had been selected as a featured artist/ entrepreneur, not only because of my “beautiful works of art” but because of my “willingness to give back to causes such as the arts, cancer, children, etc.”

“Character development is one of the main missions of our school. Thank you, Madona Cole Lacy for your example of good character.” -Joy Spruill-

It is fitting for me to end by saying it was indeed a pleasure to execute my duty as a “Good Villager” and join the church, school, home and community as a whole, to creatively empower our future leaders. The Cultural Arts Academy Charter School can count on me to collaborate with their creatively supportive spirit in the future. The warm embrace I received from Principal Midgette, Mrs. Spruill and her husband Ron Spruill, and others I encountered, will forever remain with me, and serve as a catalyst that adds to fueling the connection of the dots of my creativity! 

I believe that much encouragement should be given to community-generated initiatives aimed at encouraging self-sufficiency that can be realized by practitioners of the arts. This is a start to acquainting our children with the many elements that make for successful entrepreneurship.

 What innovative ways to embrace and steer young minds toward success have you entertained or implemented? Please share.madona-cole-lacy-2

This lovely display by the Joy Spruill team of an almost life-like photo and bio was as humbling as it was amazing! My husband,  James Lacy, and I extend our gratitude to everyone who made this a special experience for us.

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