Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sweet Sixteen of Service!

Hello World! Maybe I'll call new posts Testimonial Tuesdays!:) I checked my email this morning to find that I've been accepted to serve in the 2014-2015 NYC Civic Corps! "The NYC Civic Corps, an AmeriCorps program run by NYC Service, unites a diverse group of professionals to serve full-time with partnering organizations, working to increase their organizational capacity to engage volunteers and build sustainable volunteer initiatives."-NYC Service
This is awesome news and timely as well. "AmeriCorps engages more than 75,000 Americans in intensive service each year at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country. Since the program’s founding in 1994, more than 900,000 AmeriCorps members have contributed more than 1.2 billion hours in service across America while tackling pressing problems and mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve." - Americorps.
Americorps is celebrating 20 years of service in America on September 12, 2014. When I served in City Year Boston back in 1997-1998 Americorps was only four years old! Now I will serve in my City of New York 16 years after my first Americorps experience! Clearly volunteering is something I like to do. Engaging others in the power of service and civic education is important to me. God has blessed me to love it. I recall working jobs where I was really challenged because it wasn't what I wanted to do. I was taught to 'serve as unto the lord.'- Doing the very best with respect for the position. So I say whatever it is that you do, act as unto a higher calling than yourself. Or choose a job that will make a difference in someones life. -That will make you get out of the bed in the morning. ANNOUNCEMENTS*************************************************************************************************
(Pic~AP via Politico~President Bill Clinton helps blow out the 50 candles on his birthday cake with daughter Chelsea as first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton looks on at The Sheraton New York Hotel in 1996.) A very Happy Birthday to President Bill Clinton! -Amazing man, family and foundation continuing the legacy of making a difference in the world!
Definently praying Gods Peace and Justice for the family of Michael Brown, Officer Darren Wilson and the community of Ferguson. You can now send letters of condolence to his family via the NAACP website. Click Here! I encourage anyone interested in joining the police force to be courageous and do so! Make a difference in your community. I think of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. He went from policeman to senator and is now the 1st African American Brooklyn Borough President!
Lest we forget!-"Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” -Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Be blessed as you be the difference!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Power of Today!

"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” -Mother Teresa
My name is Melanie Shaleya Lewis. My purpose on this blog is to make you want to get up and swing into positive action! Especially those of us in Faith. We all know that many churches are not connected in communities as years ago. We'll continue to uphold the assembling of ourselves in fellowship, yet we need to invite and be involved in the communities in which we serve God. 'Love they neighbor as yourself' is the second great commandment.-Mark 12:31. No worries though.-'The time is always right to do what is right'-Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
I have a passion for service, events, international relations, politics and education. Yet Faith is my foundation. It all began as a child. My mother would take my siblings and I to many interesting places. We'd be exposed to great diversity in our City of New York. Camps in China Town, excursions to protest in Washington D.C. for development, seeing Nelson Mandela after his release in a parade on Broadway, taking us to work before there was and during Take our Sons and Daughters to Work Day. I love my momma and my poppa!
(Pic-Found on Rachiim Ausar-Sahu web page) My extended family all attended Washington Temple COGIC in Brooklyn New York. They were there when it went from 'tent to temple.' Bishop F. D. Washington was the Founder. Our youth choir would sing on youth days. We'd also engage those that couldn't attend services at Senior Citizens homes. My dad was part of the team that painted Washington Temple once. It used to to a movie theater, so that was a big project. I remember accompanying my brother and dad to Prisons where the Love of God was educated to inmates and how Jesus died for our sins/mistakes. The organization had many auxiliaries and groups to make a difference. There was a foreign missions outreach ministry shipping clothing and other items to different countries and so much more.
I was blessed to learn of Africa having been a youth in the Crown Heights Youth Collective in my community. Mr. Richard Green and Mrs. Myra Brown had an excellent team devoted to the community which actually started the year of my birth. << Check the video of Mr. Green. He worked on Shirley Chisholm's Campaign for President!- I later traveled to the Czech Republic as a Global Teen Ambassador with the International YMCA -(Young Men's Christian Association) It was awesome to meet teenagers from all over Europe. I was sent to the location that has Camp Phila. -Which meant friendship. So great to recall this as we just celebrated International Friendship Day last week. (See last Tuesdays post.)
I attended Medgar Evers College after High School yet didn't have the funds to continue and wanted to do something positive while out of school. So my brother lived in Boston and suggested to me to the opporunity to serve in City Year. I served as a corps member in the City Year Boston Americorps Program and loved that great experience. I then completed matriculation at Clark Atlanta University. I continue to work with awesome organizations today! Some of those include -Explore Schools, Brookyn NAACP and my current place of worship- Rapha Evangelistic Worship Center. ********************************************************************************************************************** So now I want to tell you of some great ways you can serve in making a difference; in addition to clicking on links above to some of the great organizations I've experienced.
Opportunities are still available this 5oth Anniversary of Freedom Summer!!! The Brooklyn NAACP is recruiting additional volunteers to assist at cool events in Brooklyn now into the fall season. Sign Up today and help register citizens to vote. Call (347) 836 - 9025 or Email contactus@brooklynnaacp.org Visit www.naacp.org to find an opportunity near you!
Join me on Wednesday, September 10th as an official participant in Cycle Around the Globe on World Suicide Prevention Day September 10, 2014! Click Here for more information about Cycling for Hope in Brooklyn ! Help me spread the word with this hastag #Cycle4hopeinbk. The plan is to hand out materials in the community of Brooklyn, NY at Utica, Franklin and Prospect Park Stations! The finale is a ride around Prospect Park! Everyone gets a certificate. If not in Brooklyn I still encourage some type of participation of awareness this day. Click Here for more info on getting involved or leading your own initiative!
Tuesday, September 23, 2014 is National Voter Registration Day! NYC Votes has diverse organizations signed up to assist on this day of registration and awareness. Contact them on volunteering today or contact your state organization or plan your own event before September 5th. Click Here! Is your teen active in the community? Check out this article in generation Citizen. They can be on the local community board!******************************************************************************************************************** Does your organization have an opportunity you'd like to see here? If it's related to Civic Education, Service, International or Faith- Based Intiatives, Email Me Today! -Blessmelanie@gmail.com ~Peace and Blessings!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

United Nations of Brooklyn!

United as 'One Brooklyn' Sunday the borough in all it's diversity joined together for the First Annual Celebration of International Day of Friendship at Borough Hall in Brooklyn, New York.
(Pic-Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna) Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams hosted his signature event Sunday as the community covered the steps of Borough Hall. The entire building was surrounded in love with delegates from many nations of the world.
(Pic-Yours Truly with Mini me#2-Legacy Lewis) Attendees enjoyed a free international cruisine tasting, back to school giveaways and cultural performances throughout the day. My daughter and I enjoyed getting our sodas from Coca-Cola (aren't those new cans cool?) and tasting Italian and Panamanian foods. Book bags from Healthfirst and school supplies of crayons, glue and dial and teacher resources from the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) were much appreciated.
(Pic-Fan dance) Words of welcome came from elected officials like the 1st elected Haitian Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene, who looking at the crowd addressed them as the 'United Nations of Brooklyn'. Business leaders like Dr. Roy A. Hastick Sr. CEO and Founder of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Inc. -(CACCI) addressed the crowd as well other diverse leaders.
(Pic-Delegates from Nepal) One could see smiles on the faces of volunteers, attendees, performers and delegates. One Brooklyn! Enjoy these amazing photos and video on Instagram.
(Beautiful ladies of Tanzania )
(Brooklyn United Marching Band Represented!)
(Amazing People's Republic of China) It was a great day in Brooklyn! We are all connected by our diversity. Together we can make beautiful things happen for all. If you live in Brooklyn volunteer for great events now! Click here* Or contact your local community president on ways to be involved in your part of the world today.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Service is as Service Does

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is one in which I love to serve with City Year in my home state of New York. I'm a proud alumnus of the City Year Boston Americorps Program. I've learned how big our work is and the impact it has in the community on MLK Day. On this special day we see the community, service partners and corporations all pitch in during our dedicated service year.
So on Monday, January 20th my daughters and I took the train to Newtown High School in Elmhurst, New York. We were assigned to a team whose project was to write inspirational letters to accompany care kits for a local women's shelter. Some other projects of the day included: Book shelves being built on the spot by corps members, cool posters of the school's namesake by some of the high-school students, awesome colored bulletin boards and murals which could be found on most floors of the school.
I took the girls around to see the impact of service. The volunteers, partners and all the paint :) Special shout to all sponsors. It was really awesome. Anytime we see a red jacket in our travels, my girls always point out to me someone from City Year. They understand what corps members do, served alongside them on MLK Day and see the impact of service.
Click here for a video snipit of the day!
It's so great to see the ripple effect of service and the partnerships that make it all possible. I was blessed to introduce my neighboor Jason Klein to City Year and see him become a corps member in the early years of the New York site. Jason served on the civic engagement team. It was on an MLK Day that his team led a service project in our neighboorhood of Crown Heights, Brooklyn at Ebbets Field Middle School. Can you imagine?- I had the opportunity to paint the halls of a school I once attended.-It was I.S. 320 at that time.
The experience of City Year in my town with Red Jackets coming down Franklin Avenue!-Priceless. Later that year, Jason became the keynote speaker at our annual fundraiser-which was held at the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers that particular year. One of our corporate sponsors, paid for a table for 10 alumni.- Which was awesome cause my funds were low and I was in transition. I didn't even know that Jason was scheduled to speak. It was a surreal experience as he talked about me telling him about this work. He told the audience, 'It wasn't just a job, it changed his life.'
Happy 25th Year of service City Year! Special Thanks to our founders Michael Brown and Alan khazei for your vision and ripples of continued service in Boston to South Africa! Hey world, -Do share this excellent program with someone in your town today!

Friday, January 24, 2014

To do, or not to do, that is the question-

Welcome to Thresholdworld 2014! This year is already surprising me. I reached out to a longtime friend that was going to be celebrating her birthday. Since our high school senior ski trip to the Poconos, we always knew how to get it in our dance! So I asked her where the party at?
She sent me an email about where she'd be Saturday night. “House of Idle,” -Launch party for LAZYMAS.COM. –The online platform that allows adventure seekers to Book, Manage and share their Carnival Experience. I pondered about this one. “Slackness is mandatory.” -What? Google it! I attend events where I need to dress up and prefer to be where people will be respectful, (though one can’t determine potential actions of strangers anywhere.) I wondered; what kind of party will this be?
I guess I sort of identify with Genese Jamilah of I Don’t Do Clubs. After toiling off and on for hours if I should go and what I’d wear, I decided -since I reached out to my friend to attend, I should go and experience something new. It’s not like she’s an inappropriate person and we've been out before. Through her I met my first financial advisor and other important leads. She was actually our high school valedictorian and is a young professional. –Like many people that were in attendance.
It’s amazing how what were taught or heard growing up plays on our future decisions. A phrase spoken often as I grew up - "An idle mind is the devils workshop" -I'm sure many people would take a shot at what that means and/or have heard it before. –No goals of a positive life, leading to that of a negative one-(to put the definition lightly for all to relate.) For the most part in this text/post we refer to laziness and action.
Most of my West Indian friends are very hard working individuals, so to coin the term House of Idle; even in doing so they definitely are not. -Like my friend and that of LazyMas.com CEO Trena De Laundro, the go to woman for booking your trip to the Caribbean. Trena is also Senior Sales Manager at OfferMobi, a Mobile Performance Advertising Network and member of Technically Brooklyn, which focuses on building community through technology.
The awesome action packed evening of soca, reggae, hip-hop, and more was enjoyed by attendees! It takes a lot of action to dance until you the sweat just flows, everywhere. In true Caribbean fashion, as time grew later the party was still just getting started.
What are you on the threshold of doing this year? Whatever it is, don’t allow (what my current pastor says is-) False Evidence Appearing Real –FEAR! Deter new great experiences in your life. Be Blessed!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Comfort and Joy!

Happy December World!- I just got in from The Flat in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The newly formed Brooklyn Women's Collective hosted a Comedy, Coats & Cakes holiday event at this unique venue. Great partners generously contributed to this thoughtful endevour.
(Pic-Raffled in-kind donations) The YWCA and Safe Horizon will be recieving warm donations from attendees of the event. While speaking with Lauren Paige Richeson, Founder of The Brooklyn Women's Collective, I learned that over 200 coats have already been recieved by the YWCA from prior collections earlier this season.(Pic below- Donations from attendees)
(Pic-Jeli Laya Daniel, Board Member) It was reported in local publications that NY Cares Coat Drive recieved less donations this year. So while people are still welcome to donate to them now, talk has begun of partnering with the Collective next year.
(Pic-Lauren) Lauren was really sweet and made everyone feel so welcome as she 'Spread Love the Brooklyn Way.' She is from Virginia and felt there was something missing in the borough she now calls home. The focus of this Women's Movement is community development and women's empowerment.
(Pic-Amber Chandler, Board Member)
(L-R Lauren, Melanie, Board Member, Anna)-In January the Collective will host an open forum. So check their site soon to see when this date is availiable. "If you're an artist, entreprenuer, homemaker, innovator, dreamer, hunter, gather, crafter, teacher, learner- this is a great opportunity to get out and meet similar talented creatives!"-Brooklyn Women's Collective. If you feel something is missing in your part of the world initiate the pieces in coming together. Bring comfort to those in need and joy to those able to give in your community. Peace

Monday, November 25, 2013

What A Character!

(L-R Jeffrey Wright, Melanie Shaleya Lewis, Michael Kenneth Williams) On Sunday I went to the cool and cozy Bedford Hall for a screening of the season finale of Boardwalk Empire. It was a highlight that Michael K. Williams was to be in attendance. I was even more pleasantly surprised to see Jeffrey Wright as he entered the room. Now picture screens all around and nicely positioned seating to choose from, drinks of choice and food. I had some yummy mac and cheese and must mention my appreciation of the kind staff from entering to leaving. After some light research I found it interesting that Jeffrey Wright was a political science major in college and is the co-founder and Chairman of Taia Peace Foundation. He works closely in economic development in Sierre Leone.
(Melanie Shaleya Lewis and Michael Kenneth Williams) Mr. Williams was a professional dancer before pursuing acting and founded Making Kids Win. -A charitable organization building community centers in urban neighborhoods that are in need of safe spaces for children to learn and play. The actor's backgrounds supported the character's in which they played. Mr. White (Williams) with the running of the Onyx Club and Dr. Narcisse (Wright) with his many political dealings were all played out very well. Another interesing fact found was that Mr. Wright's mom worked in U.S. Customs. I love how there is always a connection to the global community. There was also alot of history as the series is set at a historic time. My screening partner continued to shout, 'respect to the writers, and I agree they did an great job. I enjoyed getting out and meeting these talented actors. -While we study and work towards our passions let's remember that our backgrounds help to bring out our character in the future.-Be Blessed!-Melanie