Monday, August 18, 2014

Our Children Need Us: With Shirley Harris-Slaughter

Mentoring in the Oak Park School District. 
I am very excited to welcome fellow author Shirley Harris-Slaughter as a guest on my blog.

Our Children Need Us
By Shirley Harris-Slaughter

Our Children Need Us: I found that out when I got involved with four freshmen girls in a mentoring program sponsored by the Oak Park School District. I volunteered to be a mentor in the Winning Futures Program conducted by the district. I have to admit that I had an ulterior motive for signing up. I was trying to get more exposure for my book.

I was surprised to have gotten so much more than I bargained for. I was assigned to four girls, which should have been three, but they didn’t have enough volunteers. Right away I realized the girls were jockeying for a seat beside me every week that we met. The leader of this program pointed that out one day, as part of a lesson on the dynamics that play out with these children in these mentoring programs.

I didn’t know that I had a gift when it comes to children and how that gift would bond us together and see us through the program from beginning to the end.  Most troubled kids are not able to do that because they have so much drama going on in their personal lives. The fact that my girls did make it through, was a testament to my skills interacting with them over the entire semester.

Other team leaders with their mentees didn’t fare as well. Some of the children dropped out of the program. They were looking to me to see what it was that I was doing and how they could learn from it. I felt so good about myself that I was able to successfully make a difference in these girls’ lives and they really listened to what I had to say.

Each week they were presented with a project to help them be more successful in life. The first week was “Career Day” and the mentors had to present their job careers. I presented a visual display of what I do as an author. I displayed my book along with poster boards, post cards, and business cards. Just like putting on a display at a book event. I went around the table and pointed out things that I did when putting on a presentation or speaking engagement.
"Career Day"
They learned about grooming, how to set goals, how to write a resume and look for jobs; they also learned how to decide on what college or university they wanted to attend. They learned how to play games and how to lose with dignity and grace while congratulating the winner. The biggest benefit was that they would be able to use this program as a referral when applying to colleges, looking for employment, or to add credits to their high school curriculum for graduation; showing how grounded they had become.

This program was a stepping stone to all that they could be. But the key was to get through it—to stick it out. And they did! I had certificates made up for them to be presented at the banquet put on by the school district. City council was there; the school board, some public representatives and most importantly, the parents.

I don’t know what my girls told their parents about me, but they sure wanted to meet me. Apparently, I was all their girls talked about and so these parents were anxious to see who I was and grateful that I had mentored their daughters. We took pictures and the girls were called to receive their awards. All of them got one because I felt that being in the program and not missing days, was worthy of an award. We have to praise children for everything so they can feel good about themselves.

In another instance, as a member of the Knights and Ladies of St. Peter Claver, a Catholic organization, I served as a chaperone for our Junior Daughter division at the conference in Mobile, Alabama. Again, the parents obviously got a good report card on me.

So, I am grateful I was able to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Our girls and our boys need us. I love them all because they are so innocent and so close to God when they are young and it is up to us to keep them that way. 

About the Book:

Writing this book was a natural outgrowth of my community activism. Thus, Our Lady of Victory, the Saga of an AfricanAmerican Catholic Community was born. Besides, no one else was going to do it. I didn’t understand initially that I was the chosen one.

Little did I know the “can of worms” I was about to unleash. But I needn’t have worried…no one was ready to challenge my findings. They just pretended like there was nothing to be concerned about. And so I was ignored for the most part with the exception of a few close friends. And then Nonnie Jules crossed my path and I joined RaveReviews Book Club and excitement for the book was re-ignited.

I am a proud member of Rave Reviews Book Club—the place for Indie Authors!

I tried to fight the ebook craze but gave in finally. I don’t think that is good for history and all that implies because you want to hold that kind of book in your hands. I feel the same way about Sci-Fi Fantasy thriller books now that I am a fan. Fortunately, I still have a remedy for you book lovers who cherish putting these kinds of books on a shelf. You can get your limited edition hardcover autographed copy of this precious book, OUR LADY OF VICTORY. Just click here:

Once these gems are gone, they’re gone!