STREAMLINING – Make more efficient and effective

I’m looking back at the previous words I’ve applied to my past days and my head is spinning. While I’ve so enjoyed these past few months to pursue this glamorous life of professional volunteering…I’ve also pursued EVERY. SINGLE.OPPORTUNITY. This is no bueno…that’s Spanish for nuh-uh…no way…stop doing this to yourself. Simplify and STREAMLINE. Instead of being all over…I really need to define my purpose and work on accomplishing my main goals. What ARE my main goals though?

A true passion of mine is working with our youth and attempting to stop this vicious cycle of creating broken and unloved humans. I’ve been guilty of complaining about the homeless population…disrespectful teens and adults…the de-evolution and stilted growth of our communities and the brokenness of our family homes. I was once guilty of complaining about these things and not proactively being a part of the solution. Now I’m guilty of trying to solve all of these and watching my head spin. STREAMLINING will most definitely help me figure out what my small role can be in helping with the degeneration I see around me.

Planting mentoring programs in much needed schools and communities is so needed…and I feel I can do it. Working with foster youth…in order to coach and guide them to a place where they are no longer at risk for repeating the cycle of creating broken homes…well…I place that high up on my list of priorities also. I love tutoring women in missions and passing out food to the worst and most desolate people on the streets. Where do I give 100% though? How on Earth does someone figure out what’s the most important? Can’t we just figure out this whole cloning thing so I can delegate to myself where to go and what organizations to work with? I’d listen to me….

Reading and studying has helped me to begin to figure out what I feel my gifts are and where I can be used according to those. I stumbled upon this link and it was a great read for me as I began my journey. I’ve also been pretty devoted to Francis Chan sermons (found here Both have fed my Christian beliefs and need to continue to learn and figure out what my life’s purpose is. (I know…I know…who ISN’T pursuing this?)

Well…here’s to STREAMLINING and figuring out purpose. In the meantime…should anyone figure out my life’s purpose…shoot me a message so I can get on with life and stop mulling and wasting precious time on thinking and thoughts and all that. It’s really such a waste of time. (she said with sarcasm).

ROLE MODEL – A person looked to by others as an example to be imitated

Wow…that is heavy stuff…those two words together….

Here I am…trying to figure my own self out and looking for my own mentor and I’ve been entrusted to train and recruit people to be examples to our future generations.  How do I select wisely and what do I tell them? I’m my own mix of hot mess and evolution right now…but I can’t tell a hurting 8 year old to hold tight with his grief and anger while I figure out how to live my own life.

I looked up the definition of ROLE MODEL before I began to type up the training I’ll administer to new volunteers and I thought about people who I would want as my own ROLE MODEL. Two wonderful people came to mind and I was fortunate enough that they agreed to join this program.

Cassie is an exuberant 20-something. She is mature and wise beyond her years and a co-worker I used to sit and talk through my own thoughts and life struggles with. I often find myself wishing I had the knowledge about life and her self-awareness when I was a young 20-something. I’d be so far ahead of the game by now. She will be such a gift to the two girls she works with and they will have a great mentor to guide them through some rough spots and elementary school. If I were one of her little ones, I’d be enamored by her perfect smile and her presence. She is so beautiful…I don’t mean that just superficially…her genuine compassion and kindness truly radiates and leaves you in awe of her as she enters a room.

Alex is the definition of spunky. Spunky isn’t even a long enough word to really harness the energy Alex will bring to his kids. He jokes about winning “favorite mentor” but he’s probably right. I don’t doubt that they will want to model his laughter and joy about life that he brings. My hope is that we can give them that true joy and light in their dark homes. If anyone can ignite that flame and light…it’ll be this guy.  (I will have to get the link to his dance moves and post that some day).

We’ll have more ROLE MODEL’s joining and I can’t wait to learn from them and tell YOU about them.

(QUICK NOTE: For my training and guidelines, I used, to supplement my training presentation for the new volunteers and mentors coming on board. )


Mentor – To advise or train (someone, especially a younger person)

About a month ago I sat with J, Belle and my baby brother, Chris, at a Mexican restaurant. Our original intention had been to advise Belle on what moving out would cost. Cramming tortilla chips and salsa down my gullet…I imparted my wisdom. “Turn the heat down when you leave. Ramen is a better choice than a store bought mocha. Body wash and shampoo are the same thing…save your money.” Around the second basket of chips…Belle waned and we lost her. She was fighting a stomach bug and our constant daggers of advice were pushing her to her limit.

Conversation turned to some of the kids at Chris’s school.  He works at a local elementary school that has a 99% population of kids that are living in or under the poverty line. 99%!!!!! In addition to the stresses that come with living in this economic bracket a lot of these kids have domestic abuse in the home and/or are foster children. The behaviors that some of the kids were exhibiting had Chris worried and overwhelmed. He wanted to help them all…but how much can one person do. An idea began over the quesadillas and a mentor program was beginning to blossom.  I’m happy to report that 4 days ago…we launched that mentor program!!!

After the high fives (ok…my brother and I don’t high five..we kind of just grunt approval at each other)…I sat to put together an itinerary and some words of advice to our volunteers (we currently sit at a whopping 2 volunteers). Mentoring is hard to describe and to define. I mean…according to my Australian King…Siri…it’s “to advise and train.” How do I tell these people the RIGHT way to do this? I’ve got some mulling….Give me a day.