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Divine Silence December 29, 2009

Posted by oluwawa writes in Recent Posts.
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My break has been enlightening, engaging, entertaining and a bit exhausting.  Surprisingly I ended up confronting some old school wounds of self worth, caught me completely off guard. With that said I am excited to enter the new year with a more solid sense of who I am. So, I decided to share an “in-the-moment” poem that I wrote a few months ago that have never been truer for me. Most of the time I am no poet, but every blue moon, I am, and I even know it and sometimes I gotta show it, so without further ado I present me, the poet:

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Re-guiding the Gift Guide. . . sans currency December 22, 2009

Posted by oluwawa writes in Recent Posts.
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I had a brief conversation with a young man and here’s how it went:

Oluwakemi: Are you getting any gifts for your family this year?

Young Man: I don’t have any money.

Oluwakemi: You didn’t save any money for the holiday season?

Young Man: [Blank stare]

I thought about it and there was a time when I myself had little or no money to give a gift. Then I thought about it some more and then I finally thought about the meaning of the word gift. . .

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Illuminate! December 21, 2009

Posted by oluwawa writes in Illuminate!.
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William Kamkwamba

This young man is one of millions of examples of innovation in Africa. . .

In-deed! December 18, 2009

Posted by oluwawa writes in In-deed!.
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This holiday season one of the organizations that I am supporting, MISSSEY, is working to create gift bags for the young women that they help. They are in need of gifts so I am reposting a message that was sent to me by MISSSEY’s executive director, Nola Brantley. So if you’re in the area:

MISSSEY REALLY NEEDS YOUR HELP!!!

We have not received many gifts for the girl’s Christmas bags )o: Anything you can contribute would be MUCH APPRECIATED. Drop-off one or more new unwrapped gift(s) suitable for a teenage girl to MISSSEY,Inc 470 27th Street in Oakland between Broadway and Telegraph Mon-Fri 9-5pm. After hours and weekend drop-off can also be arranged. For more info or to donate contact MISSSEY’s Executive Director, Nola Brantley at nola@misssey.org or 510-290-6450. We are trying to provide gifts for 50 children.

If you plan on dropping-off later this week, I will look forward to it!

Peace…Nola

Meet the Organizations Part III December 17, 2009

Posted by oluwawa writes in Recent Posts.
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7. Black Adoption Placement and Research Center: I used to volunteer for the Alameda County Adoption Day as an art facilitator. As families waited to officially adopt their children, I kept them occupied with arts and craft projects. Through this volunteer experience, I discovered the good work of the Black Adoption Placement and Research Center that services families in Northern California. It was saddening to discover that. . .

  • California leads all states with over 100,000 children in out-of-home placements.
  • In Alameda County, 66% of the waiting children are African American.
  • In San Francisco County, 66% of the waiting children are African American.
  • Older children are less likely to be adopted.
  • 62% of children in the California Youth Authority are children who have been in foster care.
  • Youth between 13 and 18 years of age comprise roughly 1/3 of the population in foster care, despite the fact they represent only about 12% of the U.S. Population.

Love: In volunteering for the adoption day in my area, I met a great deal of loving families who realized the importance of every child needing a loving home and making themselves accountable. Because I am committed to adopting children sometime in my future, it was only natural to promote this organization’s commitment to all children.

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Meet the Organizations Part II December 16, 2009

Posted by oluwawa writes in Recent Posts.
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4. MISSSEY (Motivating Inspiring, Supporting and Serving Sexually Exploited Youth): In 2005 I received a grant to produce a series of workshops, Damsels in Distress: Saving Ourselves, which explored self-esteem and awareness through writing and photography with young women who were exposed to sexual exploitation. All of the young women I had the opportunity to work with were referred to me through MISSSEY, an extraordinary organization led by Nola Brantley that is combating sexual exploitation of minors in Alameda County and beyond.

Confidence: It was really an honor to work with these girls but I have to say it was quite challenging. To hear the truths that these girls had lived at very young ages was heart breaking and infuriating. Many of them had no sense of existence, living on automatic and accepting a life of tragedy. I was fortunate to witness a many of those same girls reclaiming their existence, their power and their lives with the support of MISSSEY.

Nola Brantley, Executive Director of MISSSEY

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Meet the Organizations Part I December 15, 2009

Posted by oluwawa writes in Recent Posts.
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Just the other day I was asked, “How did you choose these specific organizations?”

Over the next three days, I will give brief introductions on how I met and came to know each one:

1. UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley: I work at the Botanical Garden and to be honest, I had not one clue the Garden existed until that fateful day that I was called in for an interview (I don’t even remember applying for the job!). I’ve been with the Garden for a little over three years now and I can personally and professionally attest to the maginifcence of the Garden and its commitment to the environment and public education about the environment.

Patience: Working at the Garden has definitely allowed me to gain some much needed patience. I joined the staff back in 2006 with a very corporate mentality about working environment. In the last three years, I have learned a simple yet paramount rule of nature: slow and steady wins the race.

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Illuminate! December 14, 2009

Posted by oluwawa writes in Illuminate!.
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Letitia Ntofon

I met visual artist, Letitia Ntofon, through my sister about three or four years ago. I’ve always admired her own DIY ethic, from organizing a Bay Area fashion festival to grant-writing, Letitia’s list of talents that she shares with her community are both innovative and multifaceted. So a few weeks ago, I was not surprised when I heard of Letitia’s exhibition in West Oakland’s Black Dot Cafe, which featured her amazing paintings. She recently launched an artist website that showcases her rich work,
the secret life of black eyed peas and the art of Letitia Inyang Ntofon
. I was itching to share, so without further ado. . .


To find out more about Letitia Ntofon and view more of her work visit her website here.

In-deed! December 11, 2009

Posted by oluwawa writes in In-deed!.
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Viva Terra

I am in LOVE with Viva Terra. Why? Because I purchased a really great stone mat (pictured above) for my bathroom from their website, they have really lovely items that would make great gifts for the holidays (*wink – wink*), like these:

and most of all, a purchase with them runs so much deeper than a predictable act of consumerism because:

All of our products reflect a commitment to . . .
ecology and elegance:
The finest goods that uniquely fuse exceptional quality and design with eco sensitivities.
organic, sustainable sources: The purest ingredients and sustainable resources possible – selected to be the best available.
earth and people friendly: Partners and suppliers who share our values and work to make a positive difference in the world.
handcrafted by artisans: Distinctive goods of uncommon value, handcrafted by passionate designers and artisans.
celebrate life: Celebrate life and human spirit by honoring traditions from cultures around the world.

Staycation December 10, 2009

Posted by oluwawa writes in Recent Posts.
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Global Oneness Project

In about two weeks I will have a much needed (and deserved) break from work. I thought of traveling to somewhere hot and humid to shake off the winter jitters that have hit California with full force over the past week and a half. But I’ve decided to stick around and be creative, work on my garden (when it’s not raining or freezing) and relax at home. Yet, what’s a staycation without a get together of some sort?  I ran into this great organization, Global Oneness Project, that features docummentaries of creative and courageous people making the world a better place. And what are they asking of you? All they ask is that you browse the site, watch some great videos and possibly host a screening and then pass it on. That’s it! What a great concept! So, my staycation get together will be a screening of a collection of documentaries produced by the organization. I encourage everyone who reads this to do the same.