Posts Tagged ‘success’

“Many paths to learning success.” ~ Doc Meek

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 . Today I am grateful for all the educators who strive to reach youth wherever they are, with active learning approaches. ~ Doc Meek

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

GRACE Nasha Thomas-Schmitt, right, national director of AileyCamp, in Newark.

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Alvin Ailey’s Mission Inspires Dance


By TAMMY LA GORCE, THE NEW YORK TIMES; Published: August 5, 2011
WHEN Nehprii Amenii of Brooklyn walked into Newark Arts High School for the first time this summer, she was prepared to be hit with what she called “full cannons of attitude.”

Since then, she has been spending weekdays teaching creative communication to 11- to 14-year-olds as part of AileyCamp, a full-day summer program offered by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and financed, in Newark, entirely by the Prudential Foundation.

Two weeks into the camp, Ms. Amenii, 31, recalled, “I used humor” to counteract uncooperative attitudes. “Then all that hardness starts to fall off,” she said, and the camp’s mission, which is not just to teach dance but also to help campers navigate adolescence, can take center stage.

(Read more about AileyCamp in the P.S. to this post, below.)

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

A student reads her poem in creative communications class. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Thank you, Nehprii Amenii and Alvin Ailey, and hundreds of others who bring to youth healing and hope!

Doc Meek, Wed, Aug 10, 2011, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

P.S. AileyCamp (continued)

The camp is free to its 96 participants, who were selected after personal interviews this spring from a pool of 250 candidates in Newark public schools. It will end Aug. 12 after a performance on Aug. 10 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, intended mainly for campers’ friends and families.

AileyCamp is new to Newark and to New Jersey. The program was introduced in 1989 in Kansas City, Mo., by the dance company in partnership with the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. By 1999, when Nasha Thomas-Schmitt of Maplewood became director of Ailey’s Arts in Education program as well as national director of AileyCamp, it had spread to Manhattan, Chicago and Bridgeport, Conn. During Ms. Thomas-Schmitt’s tenure, camps have been added in Atlanta; Kansas City, Kan.; Berkeley, Calif.; Boston; Chicago; Miami; and now Newark.

“This program is my baby,” Ms. Thomas-Schmitt, 48, a former Alvin Ailey dancer, said during a news media tour of the camp in mid-July. “When we open a camp, we’re looking for a partner that can sustain us. Hopefully this is staying in Newark for a long time.”

Stops along the way in the bustling high school, which was hosting two other summer programs for children at the time, included classes in ballet, jazz, modern dance, West African dance, percussion and personal development.

Seven instructors — all but one have experience teaching other Ailey Arts in Education programs — lead the classes. In West African dance, children traversed the dance floor flailing their arms and stamping their feet to live accompaniment on a djembe drum; in ballet, a pianist played through a series of ports de bras and leaps.

Not only did AileyCamp Newark get financial support from the Prudential Foundation, but it also received help from the high school, which donated its dance-ready spaces and classrooms, and from the performing arts center, which is providing its 514-seat Victoria Theater for the performance.

Despite the absence of professional dancers, that performance is likely to have plenty of Ailey flavor.

“One of the first things we did here is show the kids Ailey history,” said Felicia Swoope, 42, of Brooklyn, the director of the Newark camp. “We showed them videos of Ailey performing and explained the reason why he created the company.”

Alvin Ailey, who died in 1989, founded his troupe in 1958 to promote African-American cultural expression and American modern dance. AileyCamp welcomes children of all races.

Though dance experience is not a prerequisite for campers, several children applied to the program because of their interest in becoming professional dancers. By the end of camp, as many as a dozen may receive scholarships to dance with Ailey’s Junior Division at the Ailey School this fall.

As for the camp, Ms. Swoope said there were no “real criteria for getting in.”

“What we want them to understand most is that Ailey was a remarkable person, but he was also a person just like them,” she said. “He created work from his own experience, and we encourage them to do that also.”

That may be more of a challenge in Newark than at the other AileyCamp sites, Ms. Thomas-Schmitt said. Though it is the camp closest to her home in Maplewood, and the easiest for her to visit, “I was a little nervous when we started here,” she said.

As Ailey’s Arts in Education director, she has led several residencies in Newark’s public schools. “I knew about the negative hardships a lot of these young people are dealing with on a daily basis,” she said. “We don’t have as many daunting situations in other camps.” Those include incarcerated parents and drug-addicted ones, as well as unsafe neighborhoods, she said.

“When we did our interviews for this camp,” Ms. Thomas-Schmitt said, “one of our questions was, ‘If you could change something in your life, what would it be?’ Ninety percent said, ‘Where I live.’ ”

By the end of camp, they may feel differently about that. As part of Ms. Amenii’s creative communication class, campers are taking pictures of their neighborhoods and writing poems about them; the poems will accompany a show of the photographs as part of the performance.

“When I think about them getting up on that stage, how important it makes them feel, it makes me teary-eyed,” Ms. Amenii said. “It will be one of the biggest moments of their lives.”

By mid-July, some campers were already showing signs that the camp had been an enriching experience. “What they want us to remember is that all kids can dance, and no one is special or more important than anyone else,” said Briana Thomas, an 11-year-old from Newark who will enter Newark Early College High School as a sixth-grader in the fall. “I used to catch an attitude, but not so much anymore. It takes two to argue, and I have to think about being responsible for myself.

“I learned that from AileyCamp,” she said.

“The world breaks . . . ” ~ Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday, July 12, 2011. Today I am grateful for the knowledge that obstacles and crushing defeats can be a means of greater strength and character. It’s just that I can’t feel that in my heart right now. 😮 Maybe later, eh? ~ Doc Meek

Image from:!

VIDEO: Water breaking on rocks, from YouTube:

“The world breaks everyone

and afterward

many are stronger in the broken places.”

– Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961); novelist, Nobel Prize winner

Quote from:

Thank you Ernest Hemingway for your universal insight for all of us!

Doc Meek, Tues, July 12, 2011, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

“A gondola and a taste of Italy.” ~ Doc Meek

Wednesday, July 6, 2011.  Today I am happy and grateful that I was able to spend my 17th Wedding Anniversary with my beloved spouse Jeannette. ~ Doc Meek

A gondola and a gondolier

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I didn’t have the money to take my spouse Jeannette to Italy for our 17 Wedding Anniversary, so I rented the Venice Room in the Anniversary Inn in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

We slept in a gondola in the Venice Room at the Anniversary Inn, and that gave us a nice taste of northern Italy. The gondola was anchored to the floor so we didn’t get seasick! 😮

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Doc Meek, Wed, July 6, 2011, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

“Learning we are loved, even when we don’t feel it.” ~ Doc Meek

Wednesday, June 29, 2011. Today I am grateful that somewhere . . . somewhere . . . there is always a heart that beats in unison with our own heart (even, and especially, when we feel that no one loves us!). ~ Doc Meek
I am grateful that I received an emailed quotation from today: - Pass It On
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“For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it.
For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it.
For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it. ”
– Ivan Panin (1855-1942)
Thank you, Ivan Panin and, for helping us to discover, remember and learn consciously, fundamental truths!
Doc Meek, Wed, June 29, 2011, en route from YEG (Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA) to SLC (Salt Lake City, Utah, USA), to spend my 17th Wedding Anniversary with my beloved, my wife Jeannette!

“Changing from Empty to Emotionally Rewarding Relationships.” ~ Doc Meek

Thursday, June 23, 2011. Today I am grateful for those who have defied personal hopelessness, and learned how to bring dead relationships alive again, and enjoy life. ~ Doc Meek

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The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to

Love That Lasts

Gary Chapman (Author)

(935 customer reviews)

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Where’s The Needle On *Your* Love Tank?

How’s your relationship with your mate? Your children? Your parents? Your siblings? It may be a matter of the state of the “love tank”.

Author Gary Chapman in his book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate believes everyone has a love tank, and that tank is filled by different love languages. These five languages are Gifts,…

Thank you, Dr Gary Chapman and countless couples who have given up hopelessness, avoided divorce, and (unbelievably) were able to become emotionally caring again, after spending years in dead relationships.

Doc Meek, Thurs, June 23, 2011, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

“Girls think boys . . . ” ~ Reader’s Digest

Tuesday, June 21, 2011. Today I am grateful for common sense. ~ Doc Meek

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It must have been 60 years ago (at least) that I read in the Reader’s Digest one of those famous one-liners that I love so dearly:

“Girls think boys are rude and uncouth when they stare at what they are trying so hard to display.”

The other day I read an article in the daily newspaper wherein a woman was decrying a policeman’s warning women that it was in their best interests not to dress like “sluts”  because it gives the wrong kind of message to men.

Since this was after a rape horror story, the woman was upset that the policeman seemed to be blaming the victim for her rape, that the policeman should have been blaming the rapist.

Never Blame the Victim

Of course we should never blame the victim of any kind of crime. Never.

Something is missing here however in the public dialogue on serious criminal matters.

If women go into dark alleys at night  alone, if they hitchhike, if they wear really provocative clothing, they will generally, sooner or later, come to unwanted grief of some kind, minor or serious. Or really serious.

Of course women have the right to go anywhere they want, behave any way they wish, and wear anything they please.

And be safe.

However, they do need to use their common sense. They need to notice that we are living in a society where it is unsafe (generally speaking) for women to advertise their defenselessness or their sexual assets.

Women Should Rebel

Women should rebel. Yes, they should rebel against a fashion industry that puts incredible pressure on women to display themselves purely as sexual beings, instead of displaying themselves as  good personalities or intelligent beings.

We are all sexual beings. To display this as a front-runner is simply unwise if sexual safety is desired.

This does not, in any way, excuse rape or rapists! Nor does it excuse any kind of sexual predators or “unwanted-remarks” from men!

It is just common sense to dress modestly and display your intelligence instead!

Doc Meek, Tues, June 21, 2011, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

“Learn When to Reverse The Golden Rule.” ~ Doc Meek

Saturday, June 18, 2011. Today I am grateful for people who are able to treat others as they themselves would like to be treated. ~ Doc Meek

l_225dda5b73d6fb4626f165efbbb54667.jpg golden rule

“The Golden Rule” in 5 different philosophies/religions

Image from:!cpZZ2QQtppZZ24

As a general rule, The Golden Rule is a great yardstick for our behavior and our mental/emotional  health.

However, in the specific case of a specific individual, we need to remember that our particular “language” of receiving what we want may not be the same “language” that the other person recognizes.

Here is a simple example:

I, Doc Meek, love books and reading. Applying The Golden Rule as a general rule, I would want to make sure that others had access to books and reading. I might even buy a book and give it to someone.

Here’s the catch.

And here’s why we need to learn when to reverse The Golden Rule.

What if the other person hates books and reading? And loves action-oriented things, with which I am miserably unacquainted.

I probably wouldn’t even think of action-oriented things! 😮

So in this case, I would have to try to see the world through the other person’s eyes, to try to treat him/her as they would want to be treated, not how I would want to be treated.

Reversing The Golden Rule

Reversing The Golden Rule (by saying, “Do unto others what they like, not what I like,” or something like that. :o), I would give the other person a pair of skates or a hockey stick, say, or a basketball, or a baseball, or a kite.

Or a tree to climb. 😮

I would give the other person whatever action-oriented item that I knew (or could find out from his/her friend) would “warm the cockles of their heart.” I would definitely not give them “some dumb book!” 😮

Lesson learned?

Doc Meek, Sat, June 18, 2011, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

P.S. Here is a reminder that “The Golden Rule” is present in more religions/philosophies than just the 5 shown above:

Click on image to enlarge

“The Golden Rule” in 13 different philosophies/religions

Image from:!cpZZ2QQtppZZ24

“God’s Blue Roses.” ~ Doc Meek

Sunday, June 12, 2011. Today I am grateful for my friend who reminded me of the gift of “God’s Blue Roses.” ~ Doc Meek

Light Blue Rose

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A Blue Rose

Having four visiting family members, my wife was very busy, so I offered to go to the store for her to get some needed items, which included light bulbs, paper towels, trash bags, detergent and Clorox. So off I went.

I scurried around the store, gathered up my goodies and headed for the checkout counter, only to be blocked in the narrow aisle by a young man who appeared to be about sixteen-years-old. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I patiently waited for the boy to realize that I was there. This was when he waved his hands excitedly in the air and declared in a loud voice, “Mommy, I’m over here.”

It was obvious now, he was mentally challenged and also startled as he turned and saw me standing so close to him, waiting to squeeze by. His eyes widened and surprise exploded on his face as I said, “Hey Buddy, what’s your name?”

“My name is Denny and I’m shopping with my mother,” he responded proudly.

“Wow,” I said, “that’s a cool name; I wish my name was Denny, but my name is Steve.”

“Steve, like Stevarino?” he asked.  “Yes,” I answered. “How old are you Denny?”

“How old am I now, Mommy?” he asked his mother as she slowly came over from the next aisle.

“You’re fifteen-years-old Denny; now be a good boy and let the man pass by.”

I acknowledged her and continued to talk to Denny for several more minutes about summer, bicycles and school. I watched his brown eyes dance with excitement, because he was the center of someone’s attention. He then abruptly turned and headed toward the toy section.

Denny’s mom had a puzzled look on her face and thanked me for taking the time to talk with her son. She told me that most people wouldn’t even look at him, much less talk to him.

I told her that it was my pleasure and then I said something I have no idea where it came from, other than by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I told her that there are plenty of red, yellow, and pink roses in God’s Garden; however, “Blue Roses” are very rare and should be appreciated for their beauty and distinctiveness. You see, Denny is a Blue Rose and if someone doesn’t stop and smell that rose with their heart and touch that rose with their kindness, then they’ve missed a blessing from God.

She was silent for a second, then with a tear in her eye she asked, “Who are you?”

Without thinking I said, “Oh, I’m probably just a dandelion, but I sure love living in God’s garden.”

She reached out, squeezed my hand and said, “God bless you!” and then I had tears in my eyes.

May I suggest, the next time you see a BLUE ROSE, don’t turn your head and walk off. Take the time to smile and say Hello. Why? Because, by the grace of GOD, this mother or father could be you. This could be your child, grandchild, niece or nephew. What a difference a moment can mean to that person or their family.

From an old dandelion!  Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

– Maya Angelou (African American writer, poet; activist; born Marguerite Ann Johnson, 1928)

Maya Angelou

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Thank you my friend B, Maya Angelou, and all of you who love Blue Roses! God Bless you all!

Doc Meek, Sun, June 12, 2011, Sherwood Park, AB, CANADA

“Learning is enhanced by good music.” ~ Doc Meek

Julia Ward Howe in her later years

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Thursday, June 9, 2011. Today I am grateful that good music is becoming more a part of my life. For reasons that are not clear to me, I have been thinking of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” ~ Doc Meek

I “lucked out’ and found the history of this song on the internet:

“The story of ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’ told from the historical perspective of the great-great-great grandson of the song’s author, Julia Ward Howe”:

Learn about your own family history at: or

Thank you, Julia Ward Howe (and your great, great, great grandson) for this amazing and invigorating song!

Doc Meek, Thurs, June 9, 2011, Sherwood Park, AB, CANADA

“Learn about health hoaxes.” ~ Doc Meek

Tuesday, June 7, 2011. Today I am grateful for people who research and try to find the truth, instead of hyping a product. Such a one is the “Natural Health Sherpa.” ~ Doc Meek

Doc Meek, Tue, June 7, 2011, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

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