Black History Month by Kenikki Thompson age 11

February is recognized as Black History Month in the United States and Canada. During this month, people are encouraged to learn about African and African American history. Black History Month actually started out as a week. It was celebrated the second week in February because it was between the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. They were both important to Black communities at that time.  It was began so that people would not forget about African American culture and accomplishments.  Because of slavery and Blacks not being able to learn to read or write, a lot of the history was not written down.  What a lot of people knew was by memory and stories being handed down from generation to generation. 

In 1970, the week celebration officially became Black History Month. It was especially for kids in school to learn about African American history because most schoolbooks only talked about Blacks as slaves.  The history was much more than that.  There were so many pioneers.  Their stories needed to be told too. There were scholars, inventors, musicians and more to learn about.  Many schools now make sure their students are learning about some of the very important accomplishments of African Americans during Black History Month.

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There  are a few things you might not have known. Dr. Charles Drew helped create blood banks. 

 

 

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Marie Van Britton Brown was a nurse who was worried about people possible breaking into her home so she invented the first home security system. 

 

 

 

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Garret Morgan created the gas mask and the traffic signal.

 

 

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The Underground Railroad, which helped guide slaves to freedom, even has history where we live in New Jersey. Harriet Tubman, the most famous fugitive from slavery traveled to Lawnside, NJ, where a home was used to hide escaping slaves.  She also worked as a cook in Cape May hotels during the summers of 1849 through 1852 to help raise money for her Underground Railroad journeys.

Although February is actually Black History Month, you can learn about it all year. There are so many interesting facts and people to learn about.

Kenikki Thompson

Valued Girl Talk Marlton member

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Who do you want to be in the New Year?

new-year-resolutionsA new year is upon us and with it, a chance to renew.  Many of us are getting ready to make resolutions to change something about our lives in the new year. The top resolutions for me were always losing weight, eating healthy and getting more organized. As good as my intentions are, by mid-March I usually forget the resolutions and don’t think about them again till years end (or bathing suit season-ugh) only to promise myself, “this will be the year I achieve these goals!”.

01smarter-resolutions-facebookJumboNew Year is a chance to start fresh, so this year I am going to try something different and start the year off right with small, manageable changes to my lifestyle. Seriously, who is this person I believe I will become if I finally organize my house, lose the 40 lbs., join a gym, etc.? These are my LIFE goals and daily struggles not my New Year’s resolutions.  So, I started to ask myself, “Who do you actually want to become within this new year?” And the answer is an impactful positive influencer who is giving and gracious.

newyearresolutions2016-1200x630Here is my plan for achieving my resolutions. I am going to practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon all things I am thankful for.  I will start prioritizing the people that matter most in my life and make more time for them. I plan to remember important dates, be present in the moment, promote positivity by showing others small tokens of appreciation, practice daily acts of kindness, affect change by inspiring others and I will learn to be kind to myself. Whew!

Sixty-and-Me-6-New-Years-Resolution-Ideas-for-Amazing-Women-Over-60Now that I have my plan, I can think of ways to achieve my goals. Volunteering will always be a huge part of my life and can be as big or small a commitment as time allows, but it’s always time worth spending. By donating your time, energy, and money to others, you’re practicing selflessness and kindness. Please consider volunteering for a cause close to your heart at least once a year.  Helping others can improve your well-being and give you a great sense of fulfillment. There is no greater gift than helping others. You’re not just making a positive impact—you’re being positively impacted, too.

new-years-day-open-houseIf you are looking for ways to help others this year and do not have time to volunteer, one of the easiest things you can do is to donate your clothes instead of throwing them out. Donating things that you do not use or have in excess can help many that are homeless, fire victims and in a financial crisis right in your own neighborhood.

960x0Also, make your spare change count. Save up coins and then donate them to a good cause once you’ve accumulated a sizable amount. Our Girl Talk chapter saves our change and donates the funds to children in our school’s lunch accounts. Another suggestion is spending time with the elderly, or helping the disabled or underprivileged. Help combat loneliness by spending an hour a week with someone who needs a friend. We all have a special skill or ability. Share your talents and offer your skills to a non-profit that could benefit from your help.

newyear2018_25As I work on my plan, I hope you will think of your own and how you can improve someone else’s life and make the world a better place. By helping others, being kind and spreading love to those around you, the world would be a much happier place. Happy New Year!

 

~MB

Queen of Wishful Thinkin

Will YOU Give Back this Holiday Season?

joyThis is one of my favorite times of the year, it is not the weather I like (I prefer the sun and beach), but it’s the season of giving I adore.  Although giving back is a great thing to do all year round, everyone seems a little more generous and charitable as the holidays draw near. Our country has been through so much with recent devastation to millions of families from hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, and other disasters, now is a great time to help.

5a1ddc36ca37b.image.jpgIt is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle that the season brings. The endless commercials and advertisements combined with the pressures to shop, bake, decorate and wrap overshadow the true meaning of the holiday and can turn anyone into a Grinch. But take a second to stop and breathe. Count your blessings- your family, your friends, your job, and all that you have to celebrate. Just things we take for granted. Many people in our community do not have it as lucky as we do-and YES, even in our town.

give_6152c.jpgOne of the best things I believe you can do is teach your children that the holiday season isn’t just about getting gifts. Start some new holiday traditions by engaging your family in community service projects. Spend one day thinking of others and to help spread your holiday cheer to more than just your family. Donate some non-perishable foods to help community members facing food insecurity during the holiday season. No matter your income level, you can find time to donate to others.  Find ways to practice kindness, a kind word or smile to a homeless person, serving others during the holidays, drawing a picture, writing a note, or comforting a friend or family member does not cost a thing but will be priceless.5a1cb02a75e46

Enjoying the little things, special moments, and the people in your life is a great way to celebrate the holiday season. But there’s nothing like the warm and fuzzy feeling you get from making someone else happy, and that taps into the true meaning of the holiday season.

If you would like some ideas to help local families this holiday season, please reach out to me at GirlTalkMarlton@gmail.com

Happy Holidays to you & yours,

Mary Beth

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HALLOWEEN -A TWEEN GIRL PARENTS NIGHTMARE

This weekend as I was perusing the aisles at the local Halloween store, I overheard a parent and a young girl, who couldn’t have been more than 6 years of age, arguing over her costume choice. It was hard to ignore, as the girl was very vocal in her choice of a sexy police girl costume. WHAT?!SEXY” police girl costume for a 6-year-old?! NO! I identify with this mom’s concern and admire her for telling her daughter no.

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Of course, the child did not take no for an answer and kept throwing her tantrum in the crammed aisle. As I got closer, I noticed these sexy police girl costumes, in a size 4-6x, come with a mini skirt, black thigh highs and a low-cut top. FOR A CHILD?! The mom looked tired, frustrated and defeated by her daughter and the pressure from the selections of costumes the store had to offer. I leaned in to the girl and said, “I never saw a police woman wearing a skirt or any of those clothes, you won’t look like a real cop.” She looked up at me confused so I googled DIY police woman costumes and showed her how she could look like a real police woman at almost no cost. Mom smiled at me and the two of them started discussing how they were going to go home and make their own costume that looked like a real police woman. They both thanked me and were on their way.

Leopards-1024x804.jpgIt’s estimated that more than $1 billion dollars will be spent on Halloween costumes for kids this year. Halloween is meant to be fun, and dressing up should be creative but age-appropriate. Halloween costumes are a great way for kids to have fun expressing themselves and show their creativity, but sometimes it can cross the line — especially for the girls. The pressure to wear a sexualized Halloween costume is increasing both in the marketing industry and among peers. Sexy Halloween costumes, long popular with adults, are now turning up in the kiddie aisle. Revealing getups are now available for girls as young as 3 and 4. WHY?

We want our daughters to grow up feeling comfortable in her sexuality -whatever form that takes -and to have the freedom to express that however she so desires. But that doesn’t mean it’s ok with them being taught at such a young age that her sexuality and looks are more valued above all other traits — on Halloween or any other day of the year.

Pirates-1024x702.jpgIt’s normal for girls to use Halloween to want to look more grown up, but there’s a fine line between enforcing family rules and shaming girls for their clothing choices. So how do you negotiate kids’ outfits without killing their Halloween fun?

If you are a parent of a tween, (I will pray for you-lol) Halloween just got a hell of a lot more problematic for you with all the provocative costumes available. Before you decide to take your daughter shopping for a costume, have a conversation. You are going to have to help your daughter manage the image she’s putting forth with her costume. This is a parenting moment. Our children rely on us to set boundaries for them, so do it. Set clear expectations and share your values. Encourage her to express her creativity and have fun, but in a way, that is appropriate. Pre-teens/Tweens have no real comprehension of the negative message they’re sending when they put on a sexy Halloween costume. They are way too young to dress sexy, don’t give in to this.

If you are a parent of a teen (I will pray for you A LOT-lol), it’s normal for them to want to experiment with dressing provocatively, and Halloween is a prime opportunity for them to try to get away with it. As a parent, I don’t like it, but we need to understand it. As the girls are now into their teen years there are big changes in their bodies that we want them to love and accept. Adolescent girls should be able to expose a little bit of skin – whether it’s Halloween or not -without feeling ashamed or vulnerable. This is another great parenting moment. Although we want our young ladies to love their developing bodies, it is also a great opportunity to revisit and share your values with your daughter. Help your daughter to explore her creativity and choose a tasteful costume that also satisfies her desire to fit in, explaining that it doesn’t need to be focused on sexuality.

There’s something sad about the world that the trend in young girls’ clothing is so sexual. They grow up quick enough. Let them have a childhood that is free from worrying about who society expects them to be.  Our girls deserve to be free to discover who they are on their own. All these provocative costumes do is bring negative and unwanted sexual attention to our little girls. They are too young to comprehend the ramifications and it is our job, as parents, to protect them. There is never a reason a kindergartener should be dressing as a “sexy police girl” costume for Halloween.

Have a Happy& Safe Halloween

Mary Beth