Sunday, December 9, 2012


Dear Kindred Spirit,

                            I try all year to pay attention to those I hold dear to me.  And I hope I did just that!  The end of the year is in sight and I am grabbing yet another chance during this season of merriment to stop and take the time to focus on our blessings, to make amends and truly show my appreciation for the people who have meant so much to me.
                           Thanks for your support, your friendship, your kind words. We have teased each other, have belly laughs, bounced back from adversaries and continued to embrace this ever changing life.

                            And my hope is that even when the thread(spirit) that keeps us tightly woven seem to be coming apart(life's upheaval), we will still find the time to pull out our sewing kit( to find strength, courage, faith,hope) and mend(stay intact) as best as we can.

                               My wish, my friends, is that each time we are tested, we will think of gratifying moments and rise above our woes. So let's make a pledge to ourselves that when we think of life's difficult journey, we will also think of our blessings, no matter how small.  This balancing act you may discover will give you time to determine that life is not so bad after all.  It will give you a sense of security that will help you face life's challenges. You will not tarry too long in the 'pity department' anymore; instead you will find yourself expressing gratitude and appreciation, over and over for life's experiences.

                                  I am thankful for your presence, for life, family and good health.  As you celebrate and connect with your love ones, keep the holidays fun, safe and nutritious; work to maintain your weight and leave some wiggle room to enjoy your favorite food.

Keep Adapting! Keep it all sewn up!

Wishing you a happy holiday and a prosperous New Year!

"The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious to the rose."
Kahlil Gibran


Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Life Of Services

The wind is fierce, lightning flashes, the rain beats down from the skies and the earth reels.  We were promised this 'show' all day and mother nature is putting on a performance indeed.  Every now and then I pull aside the shades to get a first hand look at this tempestuous display.  Sometimes I opened the door to take in more of this 'showtime.'  Yet, I have no fear, the body is at rest, the mind is free and at ease.  I am writing by a battery operated lantern, a sensible gift from my mother about two years ago for moments like these when there is no electricity.  This was the perfect time for me to test out the trials and tribulations of youngsters and others all over the world who live in poverty and must complete their assignments, probably using a kerosene lamp or a candle.

Tonight I wrote all the children I proudly sponsor through CHILDFUND( and CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL(; two USA based organizations that work for children in need, providing them with clothing, medicine, education and nutritious meals.  I told them of my experience, functioning without electricity.  It was a letter of deeper compassion but also filled with HOPE for a better life for each and everyone. Of course I did not need a fierce storm and angry wailing winds to tell me how difficult life is for these children.

This year's MAKE A DIFFERENCE DAY (10/27) was just as special as those gone by even without the frou- frou. At my Saturday session at the Adult Literacy Program run by the Queens Public Library, I decided to talk about the significance of this day and encouraged them to work for the good of others as their means allowed.

A few days ago I was invited to a church event where a group of people described their work as Medical Missionaries. They bring a lifestyle program to anyone who will listen and will stay with you until you achieve your goals. I was struck by their enthusiasm as they talked about their work and the benefits many have achieved not only abroad but right here in our backyards.  They have dedicated themselves and found joy doing so.

For days my thoughts have turned to the gratitude I feel in helping others.  For month after month, the news kept coming of loved ones stricken with illnesses.  There is no doubt that a greeting, a cheerful note or a visit are uplifting and can help to bring new life to those struggling with life's challenges. I am inspired by the examples of faith and goodness of those around me.  The generosity of those who understand the satisfaction of bringing happiness to others, allow CHOOSE TO CARE to send the gift of a brand new pair of shoes to school children in a desolate area of Freeport, Bahamas.  We will certainly share our holiday gift giving plans with you.

                               "I am only one. but still I am one.
                                I cannot do everything,
                                But still I can do something."

                                                          Edward Everett Hale

Keep Adapting My Friends!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Choose to Care: STEPPING IT UP

Choose to Care: STEPPING IT UP: CHOOSE TO CARE that small organization with a mighty ambition celebrated it's 5th birthday.  Building the project from it's humble beginning...


CHOOSE TO CARE that small organization with a mighty ambition celebrated it's 5th birthday.  Building the project from it's humble beginning, introducing the mission to others, getting the goods to those in need takes a lot of planning and rolling up of our sleeves.  But the hard work does not deter us, we have continued to step up our effort because we hear so many stories of children both locally and abroad who do not own a decent pair of shoes.

Knowing the danger of walking barefooted, especially on rough terrain and the embarrassment of not having a proper pair of shoes, which could prevent the child from wanting to attend school, we seek out organizations that work with the youth in need, in order to assist in providing a brand new pair of shoes.

Last year October, on the nationally celebrated MAKE A DIFFERENCE DAY which gives everyone  a chance to do good in any community of choice, we created a health fair atmosphere and invited a Podiatrist to give the children advice on taking care of their feet. We included a workshop on proper nutrition, sending the message that it is important to strive for a healthy lifestyle and then we served up a healthy lunch and presented each attendee with a brand new pair of shoes.

 We are thinking of creative ways to fund raise and sustain our project,then we can expand our mission.  We will be sure to keep you informed of our progress every step of the way. When we receive photos of the children holding their shoes with a bright smile pasted on their faces, that's pure magic.  You can rest assure that we are totally happy to be involved in something so meaningful to us.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY and we wish you many more years of goodwill.

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world"
                                                                                                              Anne Frank

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Macy's yearly SHOP FOR A CAUSE day came with a lot of excitement.  The Macy's store where I shopped that day put on a spectacular show meant to entertain while you shopped for your favorite charity.  The store associates were busy selling $5 tickets for the March of Dimes organization, a great organization that I have supported for over 30 years.  But today I was touting CHOOSE TO CARE, the organization that makes every effort to supply the youth in need with a brand new pair of shoes.

I proudly showed my ticket to receive a 25% discount off my purchase as promised and a chance to win a $500 Macy's gift card.  Thanks to those who participated and purchased a ticket, your continued support is greatly appreciated. Thank you Macy's for providing this wonderful opportunity for so many charities. This was indeed a tremendous fundraising effort for CHOOSE TO CARE,  I consider myself a winner, every chance I get to give to someone in need.

Until Next Year!

One Love!

"Everybody can be great
 Because  anybody can serve.
 You don't have to have a college degree to serve.
 You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve.
 You only need a heart full of grace.
 A soul generated by love"

Martin Luther King JR

Friday, July 27, 2012


Each year as news break that another group of students is getting ready for their trip to New York, I can only imagine the excitement, the preparation, the anxiety.  These high school students from the School of Hope, Cape Town, South Africa have made the decision to finish their education in spite of the tremendous obstacles they faced.
Erika Lee, an amazing young woman founded this NYC based non-profit organization called Active Compassion Transforms(ACT) that E-Mentors to disadvantaged students.  The caring and willing volunteers communicate with the student on a weekly basis for a year through a guided curriculum of life skills and career planning.

This 10-day visit not only allows the student to meet their mentors but gives them the opportunity to job shadow someone in their chosen field of study while enjoying the BIG APPLE. The inspiring Chef, Kirsten Cuido was my charge for the day and we traveled to our Flushing Center to participate in a supermarket tour with our Healthy Lifestyle expert and participants from our Program. A Chef we told Kirsten must start with the best of ingredients to prepare simple and delicious dishes.  We were introduced to many new and familiar products and as we traversed the aisles we learned more and more about the intricacies of good shopping, helping us to become well informed consumers.

The shadowing  did not stop there, back at the Center where we serve women, infant and children(WIC), we continued our education on wellness and healthy living.  The Nutritionists prepared a great summer recipe for salsa, made with mango, tomato, lemon juice and cilantro. This easy to make dish, packed with nutrients had everyone in the audience smacking their lips at the refreshing and delicious taste.  A woman in the audience proclaimed that she was going home to try the recipe and so did Kirsten. We ended our visit with a bag of goodies, presented by the welcoming staff, items fit for an up and becoming Chef.  Kirsten left feeling very grateful for the lessons learned.

                        Dear Students,

                                           When we gathered to bid farewell, it was a time for fun but also to reflect on this
                        journey that took you from the despair you all described to where you are now.  Each of you said
                        that to even harbor the thought of leaving where you are from is unheard of but here you are
                        today, given the opportunity to better yourself and with a bonus added, the ability to travel to
                        a distant land. You also gave honor to Nelson Mandela, Madiba as he is fondly called, on this his
                        94 years of living.  And what a life it has been!  Amidst all the din and excitement, good music,
                        good food, my mind was occupied with your amazing journey.

                        By taking the difficult steps to continue your education is admirable, that you were able to veer
                        from the muddy path is courageous; you have planted seeds of HOPE, which when watered with
                        love, care and tenacity, will blossom and bear fruits of joy.  When weeds begin to creep in and
                        they will, I am sure you will get to work  and clear your path once more with helping hands.

                         The Principal of the School of Hope, spoke sincerely, about never  giving up on anyone and
                        never should you give up on yourself.

                        KEEP THE LEGACY OF MADIBA ALIVE!
                        KEEP ADAPTING!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Swinging Into ACTion

Another group of young and ambitious South African students from the School of Hope, Cape Town will be here to have an experience of their lifetime.  This eventful journey made possible by the Active Compassion Transforms Organization (ACT), that I gush over from time to time.  I am often times spell bound by the achievements of this young and vibrant organization that has touched the lives of so many of the youth whose impoverished lives have taken a toll on them.  But they have risen again through the helping hands of  Erika Lee, the Executive Director and all the others who work earnestly to make this trip happen. Their work throughtout the year which includes matching each student with a mentor is non-stop preparation for a brighter future.  The  preparation and the cost are not easy roads to travel down but the ACT team is at it again, making a difference, one ACT at a time.

Not too long ago I listened to a sermon of the mustard seed; when it is sown it is the smallest seed but it takes root and delivers in such abundance. My thoughts turned to this organization's mission and just like the mustard seed, no matter how small the efforts,  it continues to touch the lives of the children in so many big ways. I will bring a student or two to my place of work so that they will get a sense of the working world.  I will join with my colleague and take them all on a shopping spree, thus fulfilling the mission of the CHOOSE TO CARE Organization, which is to provide a brand new pair of shoes for the youth in need. I am triumphantly awaiting their arrival.

Cheers for a class ACT!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."

Early Saturday morning, April 28,2012, my pal and I were  revved up and ready to hit the stores.  The purpose?  Today's shopping spree is to purchase shoes for the young boys and girls that participated in our October 2011 MAKE A DIFFERENCE DAY CELEBRATION and did not receive their gift then.  We wanted to make good on the promise we made to provide them with a brand new pair of shoes at a later date.

We picked and chose, with thoughts about what the youth are wearing now, making sure they are kept in style while protecting their feet.  Choose To Care, the small organization with big dreams has made its mission a global affair and will make every effort, albeit small steps to buy a brand new pair of shoes for those children and young adults in need. Today, after shopping, a hop and a skip took us to the Vineyard International Ministries, Bronx, NY where we delivered the goods.

 Soon we are 'heading' to Haiti, where we will connect with school children in the town of  Chambellan, situated in Southern Haiti. The Solidarite Chambellanaise a Brooklyn based organization is handled by a woman who has been working tirelessly to bring education to the youth residing in this area.  About three years ago, we shopped for shoes for over 100 children who graduated from this school that is still under construction, yet partially occupied.  This is how great the urgency is to find ways for these poor children to be educated.  Visit to learn more about this vital project.

Getting involved remains essential for the CHOOSE TO CARE ORGANIZATION.  It is the hope that providing a brand new pair of shoes will boost the children's reason to take that trek to the classroom.  Heeding the words of Confucius, we will continue to do because we understand. Our work is never done!

Won't you join our DO-AND-UNDERSTAND movement?

Friday, March 16, 2012

LO ME GUSTA!! ^^^^^^^ I LIKE IT!!

There are places and depending on the location that as soon as you call their names, images emerge of dancing in the street, carnival time; hips swinging and swaying to the rhythm of the country, even when there is no music. And let's not forget, playing and frolicking on white and pink sand beaches while others are stretched out on deck chairs, hugging a glass of concoction with the little umbrella.  As great as those experiences are, I like to leave the beaten path to discover unexpected places. I was ecstatic to travel to this gem of a country where my sponsored child, pardon me, adolescent, calls home.  I was here to meet Elvis for the first time after 11 years of letter writing and receiving photos, an exchange made possible by Children International, the Kansas based organization that sets up shop in many countries to provide for underprivileged through donation from sponsors.

Yes indeed, my first impression was that Guayaquil, the largest city of the country, Ecuador was not making a lot of noise, almost demure.  It did not say "look at me," it was not in your face, yet you had to stand still in admiration. It was that kind of atmosphere.  It is evident that Guayaquil is on a beautification effort to make it's environment welcoming while caring for it's citizens.  A walk through the park lifted your spirit and I guessed it was designed to do just that giving John and Jane Public a place to rest their weary selves, to chill out, to have some quiet time.  This same kind of serenity and order could be felt while walking through the zoo, with it's tropical foliage, mangrove swamps, chirping birds, chimpanzees climbing and swinging, showing off their acrobatic skills and other breeds of animals, chomping away at their food or sunning themselves.

The city seems not in a hurry, although the streets are far from empty, the movement of the people seem orchestrated.  They seem to know where they were going and at a pace that gave each of us enough breathing room, no elbowing, no stumbling into each other.  As I looked from the hotel window in the downtown area, the sweepers were at it again; a ritual that would be seen throughout the day, brooms making a sweep clean, going after any scrap that dared to mess up their lovely city.

Don't be fooled by it's unassuming ways, it is by no means a sleepy town.  There is lots of energy.  I believe they are making preparations and they want to do it just right.  I am guessing that when they are finished, they will say to the citizens of the world "come discover what you are missing." Even if they are not quite ready they do pause for those who have come, they make you feel comfortable, they make you feel welcomed.  You arrive at the door, they say Bienvenido{glad you are here}. You leave and they say gracias{thank you for coming}.  The strategy, and if you ask me a smart one,  I am sure, is to make you their ambassadors, this I have no doubt is the plan for us to spread the word about Guayaquil,Ecuador and I certainly will.

A few hours at  Elvis's home with his giggling siblings and father was a delight, mother was at work. This young man was able to embrace the support from Children International to put him on the right track; a journey he hopes to continue through higher education in order to gain a better life for him and his family. He showed me where he has began his first job, he is in training now.  The shopping was quick, he picked a few essentials and because we were famished, we all headed out for lunch, the taxi driver, the Children International official, Elvis, my traveling companion and I. Good company, good food, makes for a happy occasion.  As we parted company we vowed to stay in touch with Elvis.  We wanted to see more and the tour guides were surprised that we stayed pass the overnight visit that is the norm. "Visitors are just passing through," they told us.  Then I told my story of what brought me to Guayaquil and thanked them for showing me their lovely city.

A few Days later, we headed off to  the Galapagos, Ecuador, a fantastic destination unto itself where you will communicate with nature. It is the perfect place for unhurried living, whether hiking, strolling by the beach,staring in awe of the red-footed booby, the sea lion, the huge turtles and other creatures that roam around on the many Islands in their natural habitat.  The sun beats down on you in these Equatorial Islands and  the sound of the waves coming from the Pacific Ocean is relaxing, it makes you forget your troubles.  You feel your heartbeat, you clear your mind and get your priorities straight.  Although I am saying ADIOS{good-bye} I will spread the word about this amazing country and I would like you to know that I am coming back for more, I promise. And Elvis, I am keeping my fingers crossed that you have aced that entrance examination for College.

"To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity
to do it, is the key to happiness." John Dewey


Sunday, February 12, 2012


                              "Wherever you go, go with all your heart"

Once upon a time I wrote the names of my sponsored children and their Countries alongside their names. On this list are also a list of Countries I would like to visit. Each time I discover another gem, tucked away in this giant of a world, I go through the ritual of updating the list, knowing that one day these journeys will come true.  There are no set dates because I have learned the value of waiting, besides it does not cost anything to have wishes, and each new discovery brings pure joy and anticipation that someday I will set foot on this land.

Those who have followed CHOOSE TO CARE'S blogs know that wishes do come true.  In 2010 I visited Elizabeth and Margret, two of my sponsored children who live in Zambia, Africa.  Now I am planning this ambitious trip to Ecuador, South America where I will meet Elvis, a nineteen year old young man with whom I have shared years of letter writing, since he was at the ripe age of eight.  I have kept each letter and each photo.  I received a letter a few weeks ago, and I will share tidbits. Elvis wrote "I am writing these lines from my beautiful city......(full of pride, I noticed.) And he also said: "I want to continue studying and have a good future. I want to help those who have been very supportive."

Music to my ears, joy to my soul, with that mind set and given the opportunities, I am sure Elvis will will succeed.  This is a tale of transformation, a young man making his way in this harsh world, supported by the Children International Organization that makes it their duty to help children who are in dire need  and would not do well if not for their helping hands.  I have read enough about Ecuador to know that it is a destination where life is not laid out for comfort and amusement for this young man and many others.

I am setting off on an adventure of a lifetime, heading for Guayaquil, that beautiful city as Elvis described it, and on my return you will be the first to read about  how I fared.  My message remains the same as it was for the two girls in Zambia, "study hard, keep your hopes alive, we've got your back"

It was John Dewey who said:     
"To find out what one is fitted to do And to receive an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness"



Sunday, January 22, 2012


                               "How wonderful it is that nobody need
                                wait a single moment before starting
                                to improve the world"
                                                          Anne Frank

When 2012 came around I did not list any resolutions. Yet in my mind, the need for doing more to make the world we live in a better place has been gnawing at my soul.  This thought has stayed with me, pops in my head without notice, catches up with me when I leisurely stroll feeling at peace.  And when I have completely attempted to remove it as I like to do with annoying thoughts, it creeps right back and comfortably settles in. No amount of meditation has been able to remove this 'beast'  It has dared me to ignore its presence and it has won.  "Yes I can do more."

It is not that I am not aware of my obligations to my world my excuse is that I am waiting for the right time, a cue to step up my game plan.  This everlasting tugging tells me that there is no escape and the time is now.  So I am going to roll with this divine order that I have been given.  This morning I began to take giant steps on this journey. I am all pumped up with the possibilities that lay ahead. The gnawing buzz has turned into a happy soul and a lighter mind, giving me the strength to make plans to do more.

I truly believe each of us must give to whichever cause is laid upon our heart.  I know what I am good at and I know that I must use what I am good at to help my world, realizing that persistence is the key.  I know about uplifting feelings and I know this generous and trusting heart will set me in the right path.  Talk is cheap you may say but once my mind is set, it is action all the way.  I want to know that I made it better for others and I know the 'Gnawer' will not allow me to lag; he is somewhere keeping an eye on me.  Stay tune for Choose To Care upcoming events.


                                  "I am only one, but still I am one.
                                   I cannot do everything but still
                                   I can do something."
                                                      Everett Hale


Monday, January 16, 2012

SAY YES to Investment In Our Children's Nutritional Health

Nutrition and Health messages are not only for the grown ups. As we continue to battle the alarming growth of obesity , we must be committed to address the obesity epidemic in children and adolescents.  It is important for me to be part of this change we are seeking and make every effort to do my part to explore effective and doable strategies.

Through MyPlate, the easily recognizable USDA Icon, messages are communicated to the public to help apply the behaviors.  For example: MAKE HALF YOUR PLATE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES; this is a start to get the public adding fruits and vegetables to their diet even when on a budget. This is the beginning of many buzz activities that are planned to get the attention of the public.  Similarly at "KIDS EAT RIGHT" there is a plethora of useful information and ways to get kids started on a healthy track, eating better and participating in physical activities.

CHECK OUT "Kids Eat Right" and see what resources you can use to join in this all important campaign.