Give Children A Voice

 Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” – LaVita Rodriquez

LaVita Rodriquez and I met at the Library of Congress in DC where I was doing research recently. She caught my attention as I descended the marble steps leading to the main floor rotunda below. This woman had an aura of elegance, peace, and poise that stood out in the sea of faces.

I knew in that instant she had a story.

Anyone who knows me is aware my curiosity and love of people have never stopped me from finding a way to get a story. And share it.

LaVita’s life dramatically changed course when she was paralyzed in a car accident in 2008 at the age of 23. The nurses and doctors who saved her life led to what she calls “a second chance” to both give back and focus on changing children’s lives through the law.

It turns out this was her 1st trip traveling alone to learn more about our nation’s epicenter of democracy and to look at law schools including Georgetown and Catholic University of America. She was laser-focused on her life’s goal; to attend law school to “give children a voice” as a human rights, family, and healthcare attorney.

She currently is an advocate for abused, abandoned and neglected children in Tampa, Fla. through Guardian ad Litem. As a volunteer, LaVita is so much more to a child than just their court advocate. She has become a role model, mentor, educational surrogate, friend, confident, and most important, a consistent caring person on whom the child can rely.

“To the world you are one person, but to one person you are the world.”

Hopefully, her story will touch your heart, inspire you to use adversity as your advantage and perhaps help to reframe how you think of a disability to being “abled differently”.

Writing this was a joy because LaVita and I are now bonded together in our core values and friendship.

Be good to yourself,

René Delane

 

 

Share this:

Fire-Engine Red

 

“The stories of women who have given gifts to all of us 
without regard to gender, race or skin color need to matter.
 They are meant to be shared, cherished, and honored.”
-R. Delane

Read more

Share this:

Born White…

“My mission in life is to connect people with people and people to ideas that cause us to pause, reflect and learn.”
– René Delane

As I write the first blog of 2016 the topic was never in doubt.

It’s about lessons learned as a child living in a values-rich but economically poor family where books, learning and curiosity were the staples of our daily life.

Going to the local library or the rare big-city trip to the Pittsburgh Carnegie Museum followed by a meal in an ethnic restaurant eating matzo ball soup or fried rice became my idea of a splendid day. Read more

Share this:

Listening Is An Act Of Love

“Only through communication can human life hold meaning.” – Paul Freire The modern world we live in fast-paced, filled with “to do” lists and is often defined by the mere eight-second attention span. The gift of listening with intention therefore has the power of making us stand out in a sea of conversations. Close your […]

Share this:

The “F” Word…

“Failure is a stepping stone to success, a challenge to overcome not to be undone”
-Rene Delane

The “f” word… failure, is one of the most misused and misunderstood words in our language. We use the word against ourselves as a label rather than what it is… an obstacle or challenge in our path.

When it isn’t challenged, the label gains traction in our inner voice fueled by shame which then quickly cascades into loss of courage and fear of risk.

I know this because I used the “f” word against myself as a child when I did poorly on my first algebra exam and quickly confirmed it in my mind with the culturally-accepted mantra, “girls don’t do well in math.”

Read more

Share this:

Unplugged…

“Turn off your email; turn off your phone; disconnect from the Internet… Technology is a good servant to a bad master.”

-Gretchen Rubin

There are 3 things that are the same in all people. We want to love, be loved and know that our lives matter – that we have lived at all.

We are at a new crossroads of living with tech-generated faces, voices and images that are game changers in our work and play places. But at what price does this addiction cost?

Read more

Share this:

Like A Girl

“If she can see it… she can be it.”

-Geena Davis

Girls need role models. Girls need to see real-life role models that represent gender and racial diversity who are excelling in STEM, in the arts, in public service… and in everyday life.

We need girls, women, boys, and men to stand up, speak up and challenge the gender, racial, cultural and immigrant stereotypes that have rendered so many courageous women invisible.

Here are my 5 fave girls from age 11 to 18 who have achieved role model status: Read more

Share this:

3 Steps To Courage

Vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage.” 

-Berné Brown

Courage is all around us. It is found in everyday people who step our of their comfort zone and share that they are LGBT or stand up to a bully or refuse to conform to those who want you to be like them, vote like them, dress like them.

So, why is it hard to step our of our comfort zone? Because we are afraid to take off our mask and display the courage it takes to be different, act different and believe differently. It takes inner courage to be vulnerable… to be yourself by trusting in your heart and your smarts… to simply trust your gut.

But what of the courage of these everyday women, men and children who never makes the news and do not seek celebrity? What of their courage in the face of pain and fear?

Read more

Share this: