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Letter from the DC Mayor

Jae Alan

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Dear Washingtonians,

Today, on National Summer Learning Day, more than 4,000 DC Public Schools (DCPS) students are wrapping up their first extended school year. The students at our 11 DCPS extended year schools received 91,660 additional days and 595,790 additional hours of learning. All this additional time means less summer learning loss and more opportunities for students to learn, explore, and problem solve. As the year finishes up, I thank the educators, students, and families who have helped make the extended school year, both at DCPS and our DC public charter schools, a success.

Our city’s commitment to public education has been the foundation of Washington, DC’s renaissance. By improving our schools, we are building stronger neighborhoods for families and brighter futures for our young people. As our city grows and prospers, we must remain committed to accelerating school reform. To do that, my Administration has been focused on tackling some of our city’s most urgent and persistent education challenges. Last fall, we opened the Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, the first school of its kind in the District. Earlier this year, my Administration launched Reign: Empowering Young Women as Leaders, a multi-pronged initiative to support young women of color. And, of course, last year we expanded extended year to ten additional DCPS schools, primarily schools in Wards 7 and 8.

Each day, my Administration works to give all residents – from our oldest to our youngest – a fair shot. This means spreading prosperity across the District by connecting more Washingtonians to good paying jobs, investing in education and child care, building and preserving housing for residents at every income level, and developing programs and initiatives that level the playing field for populations that have historically been left behind. Together, by staying committed to these goals, we can ensure that Washington, DC remains a diverse, vibrant city that enriches life for residents in all eight wards.

Sincerely,

Muriel Bowser

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Blogs & Op-eds

How Adopting Mindfulness Can Benefit You and Your Business by Dr. Toya Wilson

Jae Alan

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What is mindfulness?

A simple definition could be stated as: the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. It’s a pretty straightforward word. It suggests that the mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you’re doing, to the space you’re moving through. That might seem trivial, except for the annoying fact that we so often veer from the matter at hand. Our mind takes flight, we lose touch with our body, and pretty soon we’re engrossed in obsessive thoughts about something that just happened or fretting about the future. And that makes us anxious.

Why should business owners care about mindfulness?

Top executives are starting to see by decreasing how much they stress out over today’s problems, and decreasing anxiety over tomorrow’s potential woes, they pave the way for mental clarity, creative thinking, higher-level awareness for better decision making.

But what about entrepreneurs: The startups, the one-woman show, life coaches, mentors, speakers, and authors— those out in the wilderness on their own, taking risks and trying to change the world in their own little (or big) way. How can mindfulness help these ladies?

When we give ourselves 10 minutes (or more) of space to quiet our mind we become better at noticing the opportunities that otherwise might pass us by as we go around in a state of overwhelm. As you create a regular time for yourselves you’ll notice that you can achieve more in less time, interruptions become less bothersome and life feels more effortless.

By creating time and space for you to think, to quiet your mind and focus you can grow your business without distraction and hard work. I don’t mean you don’t need to work hard, I mean it doesn’t have to feel like hard work. Here are 3 mindful practices you can incorporate into your day to help yourself and grow your business:

1. Create time for a ‘Creative Hour’ where you turn off all external distractions, gather your thoughts, settle into what you want to achieve for the day and bring your full attention to the tasks at hand. Perhaps you don’t need an hour – do what works for you.

2. Make time for regular breaks – get outside if you can and go for a walk around the block. It can transform your mindset and bring inspiration, focus, and insights.

3. Practice “active listening”. When we focus on listening fully to what the other person is saying we have to be present. Go into conversations with clients/potential clients/stakeholders with an open mind, trusting your intuition to guide you to say or do the best thing.

The benefits of all this on your business will be reduced stress, more time to think about your business and making decisions from a place of wisdom and authenticity, and strong working relationships with those you do business with and the clients you serve.

Read more HERE

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Blogs & Op-eds

#Winning by Dr. Deborah Tillman

Jae Alan

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For too many of us, perception has become reality, but perception is not always the TRUTH. The emergence of social media has afforded people the opportunity to become professionals at making their lives look like an awesome photo album of sheer perfection. We are bombarded with images of flawless faces, powerful positions, remarkable relationships and astounding abundance. All of which is wonderful and harmless if countless hours weren’t spent comparing and critiquing our lives based off of the “appearance” of someone else’s. We are not always the people we pretend to be which serves no purpose of showing the world what #Winning really means. Let me be transparent, it would seem in 2013,
I was #Winning. Founder and CEO of three schools serving over 300 children and families, the host of a Lifetime Television show America’s Supernanny, speaking and traveling all over the world and married for over two decades. However, the reality was within three years, I had to give up two schools, a show, and a 25-year marriage that left me with the broken pieces. But somebody said, broken pieces can still color. I have learned that #Winning is less about what we “get” in life and more about our ability to “give up” what we think serves our soul in order to “gain” life more abundantly.
#Winning requires us to Face Our Fears
Henry Ford said, “one of the greatest discoveries a man makes is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do. Never allow fear to stop you from being all that God has called you to be. When your knees are knocking, have the courage to do it afraid.
#Winning requires us to Fill our Hearts with Humility
It’s tough to be transparent and open–even those who consider themselves humble don’t want to look like they’ve messed up. But, as human beings we all make mistakes. It is through the lessons of life that we are able to provide value and be a blessing to others. As my Pastor would often say, we can’t heal it until we reveal it.
#Winning requires us to Focus on our Faith
We win when we believe that there is light at the end of a dark tunnel and
continue walking toward it even though we can’t see it understanding that if God brings us to it, He will bring us through it.
Finally, #Winning requires us to Finish Well
Read more HERE

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Blogs & Op-eds

Remembering Dick Gregory: Comedian, Activist, and Entrepreneur

Jae Alan

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Iconic comedian and activist Dick Gregory passed away on Saturday at the age of 84. Beginning his career in 1953, Dick Gregory used his comedy to convey his political ideals to white and black audiences alike.

For instance, he spoke for two uninterrupted hours at “Freedom Day” in 1963, which was a rally to drive black voter registration. He also unsuccessfully ran for president of the United States in 1968 as a write-in candidate.

Gregory eventually became a successful entrepreneur. A longtime vegan and healthy eating advocate, many may remember Gregory’s Slim-Safe Bahamian Diet—a meal replacement powder to help with weight loss.

Read more @ Black Enterprise

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