Archive for January, 2008

Parents worry…

Friday, January 25th, 2008

I got an email today from a concerned mother who lives in Texas. Her 6 year old daughter is not getting along well with kids in school although she has no trouble with English or with academics.

After a long description of her daughter’s encounters with other children it is apparent to me that she could benefit from consulting with a therapist. But this is a taboo topic in the Latino community and many parents who notice that their children are having difficulties, don’t take the necessary steps to get them all the help they need.

If your goal is to have a happy and healthy child, that includes his or her mental and emotional health. Asking for a professional opinion at the right time may avoid years of difficulties in the future.

You may go to the American Psychoanalytic Association: www.apsa.org, click on “find an analyst” and then enter your city, state and zip code to find a list of professionals in your area. You can call and find out if they specialize in children and then set up an appointment.

Very often kids only need a few sessions to get over whatever problems they may be experiencing.

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Never miss a chance to network

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Two things happened recently to confirm my belief that you should never miss a chance to network.

    The other day, as I was about to get into a cab, a woman approached me and asked: “Are you going uptown?” After I confirmed that yes, I was going uptown, she asked to share the ride with me. I readily accepted, although this only happened to me once before when it was pouring.

      We talked until I got to my friend’s house and realized that there were people we wanted to introduce to each other. She was an executive at a TV network looking to change careers for which I could recommend a great coach and in turn she had a friend, the owner of a Think Tank with whom she wanted to connect me.We followed up with each other two days later and I already have an appointment set up with the gentleman she recommended.

        Then yesterday, while doing research for my upcoming interview on “Wake up with Whoopi”, I found a wonderful resource on the Internet. It’s a free guide to help people improve their chances of getting scholarships. I contacted the author, Christopher Penn, and he called me today. We agreed on cross linking our sites and on many future collaborations. His website by the way is: www.StudentScholarshipSearch.com.

          So give it a try, talk to strangers and contact people you find on the Internet who are doing something interesting.

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          There are scholarships for everyone, even adults!

          Thursday, January 17th, 2008

          Many people I know would love to go back to school and either finish their college degree or get their masters but they can’t face the financial burden. In many cases, however, this decision is key to their future as they will get stuck at a certain level unless they can produce the adequate degree.

          So, here’s the good news: there truly are scholarships out there for everyone, regardless of your background, your interest, and most importantly, your age!

          Check this website for a whole list of scholarships for adults and non traditional students:

          Also, fill out the forms with your profile on these websites to see what scholarships are available to you:

          If you want to study, nothing can stop you. Find the resources and move forward!

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          Yonkers Education Summit 2008

          Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

          How wonderful to see a city pull together its resources to share ideas on the best way to help its kids!

          I was invited to attend the Education Summit 2008 organized by Yonkers Partners in Education, an organization that partners with the private and public sector to ensure that all students at Yonkers Public Schools (Westchester County, New York) receive a quality education.

          The organizers invited New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg as the keynote speaker who shared some of the successful strategies implemented in New York City Public Schools and then we heard briefly from other presenters.

          Attendees (which included members of various community based organizations, private corporations, parents, government officials, educators and consultants) were then divided into break out sessions where we were encouraged to talk about what each one of us could offer the school system and to explore the best ways in which different groups could cooperate. For instance, the Jewish Council of Yonkers (a community based organization) is working with the Yonkers Public Schools in a plan to bring me to the district to develop a comprehensive parent involvement program that would impact administrators, teachers, parents and students.

          Both the concept behind this organization and the education summit they put together are a great model for educational systems across the country to emulate. Bringing all the stakeholders together (and under one roof!) is the best way to ensure our kids will get the best out of school.

          What a great way to start the new year!!

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          When students miss opportunities

          Thursday, January 10th, 2008

          audiencia-completa-2.jpgIt’s hard to learn about students who are not going to college because they can’t afford it. There are so many scholarships out there…

            The problem is that sometimes those who could guide and support students in the process of applying (guidance counselors, parents) are not familiar with the opportunities available for Latino students. Other times, kids get discouraged when they hear that they need to write an essay (or a few of them) not knowing that once they write the essays they can use them for multiple submissions. Or they get frustrated once they are turned down for a particular scholarship unaware that they can apply to numerous ones at the same time.

          One other problem seems to be that when the best student in a class submits his/her application to a scholarship, his/her peers give up participating. Yet, there are scholarships like Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) HACER with a focus on community involvement and not on GPA.

            The application period for many scholarships ends soon. HACER’s, for instance, ends February 15th and you’d be surprised how many students let the opportunity go by. Last year, the HACER chapter of the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area distributed 50,000 applications and they only received 1,700 back!Find info on this scholarships visiting www.meencanta.com.

          The positive side of losing your job

          Saturday, January 5th, 2008

          handshake.jpgWe’ve all heard the phrase “when one door closes, another one opens” and I think there is truth to that. Even in the worst of circumstances, there is opportunity when something ends.

            When it comes to losing your job, it may be a good time for you to do some introspection and find out if you really like what you are doing, the industry you are in or even the city or state where you live. You may be surprised at what you may discover!

          It’s possible that a few years ago you liked your industry or your job and now things have changed (whether with the industry itself or with yourself). Or you may realize that you were following your family’s mandate and it’s time to follow your own desires and goals.

            So try not to jump right back into the market without giving some thought to where you are, where you want to be in a few years and what you would really like to do with your life. Once you figure that out, it may take some planning to get to where you wish to be, it may even entail taking courses, networking or getting a specific certification.

          But even if you can’t do it all right now because you need an income and you find another job right away, make sure you register for those courses or you join a professional association where you can network, and set a target date in your calendar by which you wish to be working in your dream job. It’s a great way to turn the loss of a job into an opportunity for change!