Wednesday, August 19, 2015

So Much Inspiration, Love and Empowerment!

It's Wednesday! SMILE :)

I want to invite you to join me on Saturday, August 29th 1:00-7:00pm as I host the 3rd Annual S.M.I.L.E. event at Saratoga Park in Brooklyn. (S.M.I.L.E.) is an acronym for So Much Inspiration, Love and Empowerment.

It’s about connectivity; People partnering with the past, present, and future of our evolving communities,’ says S.M.I.L.E. Visionary, CEO/Sr. Pastor Michael T. Lewis of Rapha Evangelistic Worship Center, Inc.

The last Saturday of August is set for various musicians, artists, educators, city agencies and public elected officials to be in attendance. Some guests include recent American Idol Contestant Quaasim Middleton, Hampton University graduate and artist, Aliya Pierre, Curtis Flow of Curtis Flow Music, NYC Emergency Mangement, Poet Joshua Bennett, Pastor Jamel Lewis of Can't be Stopped Movement and so much more!

Bring the family early with your lawn chairs and picnic blankets. Facepainting, food and fun starts at 1:00pm with performances by youth during the Kids Are People Too segment.

The S.M.I.L.E. Team and I hope to see you for an afternoon filled with So Much Inspiration, Love and Empowerment. P.S. If your organization would like to represent as well email and call 347-787-1111. Together the beloved community achieves more! :)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Volunteering Is like riding a bike!

Happy Thursday!

Do you remember when you first learned to ride a bike? For me it was the concerete sidewalk outside my apartment building. Training wheels definitely helped with the confidence though I recall the excitement of taking them off! Block parties were always cool cause you had the whole street to enjoy riding your bike. -The earlier the better before all the cool festivities!-FYI: Block parties on Putnum between Lewis and Stuyvesant were awesome in Brooklyn back in the day. :)

If you never learned how to ride then it's time to learn and if you know how to ride, then maybe you can teach someone! Today New York has CitiBike. Who would've thought we'd be able to keep bikes anywhere overnight? In addition to the convenience of riding and returning to different locations around the city. I hadn't rode a bike in years but my daughters convinced me to rent one this year. It was a comfortable ride that bought a smile to my face. I look forward to this experience again.

Adult beginners at the starting line up

So as an adult were can one go to learn without feeling uncomfortable? What organization should you turn to when there's so much on the world wide web? Well, I recommend Bike New York as a great place to start!

With a fellow volunteer that just moved to NYC from California. (Great idea to volunteer when you move to a new place!)

One of the ways I was able to complete over 1700 hours of service in AmeriCorps was to sign up for off-site service with one of our NYC Civic Corps partners via NYC Service. I chose New York Cares. I had the opportunity of attending the inaugural Volunteer Impact Program (VIP) in May 2014 so I had a little history with the organization. I had to attend a mandatory orientation which was led by an awesome volunteer. He'd been with NY Cares since early days, so he aligned the history of the org with his experience. -After completing orientation I was able to sign up for a voluntary opportunity on the date and borough of my choice. #GoodforNYC

I signed up to volunteer with Bike NY and had the opportunity to teach adults how to ride a bike. This particular location was in Brooklyn around the corner from George Gershwin Jr. H.S. in Linden Park. I got down and dirty not just showing how to balance and get started but taking pedals off, adjusting seats and fitting helmets. I always just rode the bikes I got on, so this was a good hands-on volunteer experience for me. -Not to mention the first young lady I worked with during the day asked me to place her foot petals on and she was off! She almost brought tears to my eyes. Beginners blessings! I will definently volunteer with Bike New York again.

Yours truly with a Bronx High School scholar enjoying learning how to ride! -She had it by this point. See that smile.

She rode for the first time!

Be sure to click the links within todays post for a new opportunity today. Tell them Melanie sent ya! :) Feel free to share your biking experiences below. Ride On!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Night Out With Law Enforcement

Hello World!

Yours truly and members of Transit Police District 32, Crown Heights Brooklyn

On Tuesday, August 4th I was able to catch National Night Out in my Community Board 9.
'National Night Out is a cohesive effort to promote involvement in crime prevention activities, police-community partnerships, neighborhood camaraderie and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.'-NATW.ORG . -This year Police Precinct 71 and Transit District 32 teamed up on President Street between New York and Nostrand Avenues. They blocked the street, had rides for the kids, 71st Pct. barbequed burgers and Dist. 32 registered bikes and phones in case they become lost or stolen.

Pct. Community Council President Karl Cohen likely reminded attendees of monthly meetings on 3rd Thursday nights at 7:30pm before recruiting more neighbors like yours truly to serve on the council. Local elected officials like Assembly Member Diane Richardson were present with a table of resources for community members with popcorn too! :) New York Life Insurance was also there printing id's for our children right on the spot. -I thought I'd only be able to catch the very last 15 minutes of this great evening, yet it turned out to be over an hour with all the great camaraderie.

Brooklyn Community Board 9 Community Emergency Response Team, CERT

I was elated to meet my BK 9 CERT Team as well.- I just completed my term of service as a NYC Civic Corps Fellow at NYC Emergency Management. I served as Volunteer Support Specialist on the CERT Team assisting in management of 2000 volunteers that serve when deployed in all five boroughs of NYC during emergencies. I also underwent the 10 week training with instructors from FDNY, NYPD and Emergency Managment to become a member of my local team as well. It's great to learn from the pros on what you can do to assist your family and community during an emergency. Click here for more Info.

Community relations and partnerships with local law enforcement around the country is very important in our United States right now. National Night Out is like a day of thanks and unity in the community. Click here for more opportunities to be positively involved with local law enforcement. Google the precinct in your area for more info today.

Feel free to share your your ideas on ways to engage with local law enforcement for crime prevention or community development in the comments below. -Together Everyone Achieves More!-Peace.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Blessed Autumn World!-As we begin to transition from warm to cooler weather we'll learn of opportunities to rededicate ourselves in community initiatives. I've listed some common and perhaps unknown ways to participate in this post.
Did you know that your local Police Precinct has meetings with the community each month? In all five boroughs of New York City there is a Community Council. Check your part of the world for meetings and engagement with local police departments. Learn what the department has achieved, ask your questions, learn how you might even be able to participate in some initiative. You'd be surprised what you may learn!
The local police department usually has representation at your Monthly local Community Board Meeting. New businesses, road work, zoning issues and more are discussed at these important meetings. Local elected officials and/or their reps attend these meetings as well. You'd get info about their initiatives in your community. Remember you voted them in office and you also can voice what you'd like to see done. (They also have constituent hours for as well.) You're able to ask questions, attend committee meetings and by way of recommendation from an elected official -join as an official community board member. As a community board member you'd be able to vote whether you'd approve certain changes in your community. As a regular attendee you can even ask ahead to bring forth an important issue as a speaker. Your community is your neighbor. You are an excellent voice in your community.
Parent Teacher Association! As a parent leader and education instructor it's absolutely essential that I express my deep concern for us as guardians and teachers, etc. to be proactive in our children's educational upbringing. Representation from each partnering education entity has a great contribution to share. Meetings are once a month! FYI-Parent leaders are volunteers, as are community board members who give their time to serve and represent the general community on specific projects. They certainly get great things done with the communities participation. So..... if your company will sponsor the food at the fall festival or give tickets to the upcoming Christmas show or you are great at baking a cake, by all means Do It! :)) Dues are not usually mandatory but help to support the operating budget of of membership initiatives. If you have the ability to serve on the School Leadership Team assisting in the Comprehensive Development Plan of the school, serve as a Learning Leader or just help at lunch time WOW!!! what an appreciated help you'd be! I did recreational activities during recess when my girls were in their earlier years and those kids where ecstatic. :) I had fun too! P.S. Many parent memberships are now on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram-for you to stay abreast with what's going on. -Parents that support their child, teachers, and school are powerful. Implement positive change as much as you see the need. Our children and schools benefit greatly.
Church Meeting- Now you know your tithes or 10% given to church plus offering are going towards the bills of the church right? P.S. Many pastors got jobs too! Don't get mad when they get a cool car. They deal with some stuff. They're like psychiatrists, etc. Buy yourself a cool car too! I'm just saying that the church that you attend every Sunday or on Easter and Christmas, Funerals and Weddings is there year round giving inspiration for our life's journey. They got bills like we pay rent and/ mortgage.- Let's not forget that when the offering tray passes. Got questions??? They've also got meetings. Trustees meet to discuss financial matters. Church business meetings are at times held annually. Support the church that your great grandmother helped build and it may still be there when your grands are christened.
Family Meetings-Last but not least I'll end with the family meeting because we can make a great difference in our community and world but we must take care of home. Supporting one another and asking how things are going. Speaking of what to do in event of death, emergency or dealing with difficult situations are necessary. -We've gotta talk about those uncomfortable things. That's what family is for. Family will be there when no one else will. So yeah there's a lot that we can put forth this season. If ya can't make certain meetings, definitely get the minutes and participate in other ways. Just ask how you can take part. Together the beloved community gains more! Be blessed as you meet and greet for a change.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Happy Thursday!-I got this certificate via email today! I remember when I first said these words in August 1997! I was in Massachusetts and the late Senator Ted Kennedy was the keynote speaker the day I took this oath. Now you can do the same, 'In Spirit of AmeriCorps,'Click here! Pledge to GET THINGS DONE for America! or wherever you are in the world.
The Edward M. Kennedy Institute where Students, Teachers, Government Officials,and Life Long Learner can be engaged in educational programing in democracy and public service is set to open in March 2015! Click Here for the video.
This weekend I had the opportunity to attend AfroPunk. I'm a member of the Brooklyn NAACP and serve on the Civic Engagement Committee. We partnered with Progressive Pupil, a sponsor of the event on Activism Row. I was able to register attendees to vote, engage them in signing petitions against brutality (especially that of African American Men, and new members that signed up got free tshirts! I met some amazing people as I enjoyed great music, vendors and prayerfully made a positive difference.
Next week well be at pier 5 in Brooklyn at the smosgosbord! Come register to vote, join the chapter, sign a petition and enjoy an awesome day in Brooklyn Bridge Park! You can also Volunteer.- Click Here!! FYI You don't have to be black!- Yes I said that :)
Praying for the family of James Foley. His parents were proud of him because of his unselfish service. Foley lived to make a difference, once served in Teach for America (amy wang reports) and died bringing attention to what's going on in Syria. May he rest in peace. Journalists have lost their lives bringing attention to a specific subject matters they've deemed important. "These rare individuals believe that as journalists they have a responsibility to regularly put themselves at risk so others will be informed, enlightened or compelled to action" -Mark H. Masse In this story he also references the Journalists Memorial at the Newseum in washington D.C.
What are you willing to die for? Many died paving the way for others to bring about positive change in America and abroad. I believe that's the day were living in today. Let's live to get things done and when we die leave a legacy of having made a positive difference. Philippians 1:21 Amplified- "For me to live is Christ [His life in me], and to die is gain [the gain of the glory of eternity].

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 Visit 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! ~Peace and Blessings!