Saturday, December 22, 2018

WINNER OF THE BEAUTIFUL black & white checkered shawl

Hi Folks,

Thanks to all who participated in the raffle to help CHOOSE TO CARE provide a brand new pair of shoes for the child in need.  Your support will help to brighten their holiday celebration.

This beautiful black and white checkered shawl was won by Aisha Cayetano.

With Gratitude!

Visit us @

Saturday, December 8, 2018


All throughout the year we are faced with so much grumble and gripe.  We will meet bad days, after all it is not easy to navigate through this place we call earth.  And so, as I began to think what message I would send in my last blog for the year, I decided to repeat one that I wrote in 2012.
So here we go:

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

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


Have a joy-filled holiday and new year!

Sunday, October 28, 2018


I was surprised upon landing, at the distance between the airport and where I would spend the next four days with thousands of enthusiastic people, preparing to listen to innovative ideas about dietary concerns, environmental woes and the politics that come with all of this. There would be enterprising colleagues to keep us spellbound with new discoveries that would leave us hungry for more and immediately set us in motion to begin planning to attend the next event in the upcoming year; even if only in our minds.

I have diverted a bit. This far away place meant a change in plans, I would not be able to attend the closing session and that meant missing out on hearing from an inspirational speaker.  This last session is just as important as any other I would attend because it wraps up all that will unfold during our time at the conference and sends us packing with a reminder of how important and necessary the work we do is.  The words of wisdom imparted usually gives us hope not to give up on our inspirations.  And I would miss this!  Even a short time is better than none I told myself and for my short stay, I realized that the flavor of his advice was heading down BRILLIANCE road.  The speaker wanted us to look into the eyes of the person sitting next to us and say"You are so brilliant"
I left after that eye gazing exercise for the trip back home.

The opening session brought us Bonnie St John, a world renowned skier, who only has one leg.  I read about her years ago in  the Essence magazine, and was in awe of her and all her achievements then and even more so when I heard her speak.  Her message was RESILIENCE.
Rushed and unsure of the directions inside the airport, I kept asking until I reached my destination, that is when I realized I had left my coat in the security area.  It would mean going back.  As confused as I was getting to where I needed to be, I was not looking forward to starting over again. I asked a worker for help, explaining what had happened, he directed me how to return and ASSURED me I would make it on time to board the plane.  I took a few steps toward starting over and thought this was risky.  I asked another worker, who ASSURED me there was no need to take that trek, the airline staff would be willing to help me retrieve my coat.

As I explained my plight, I was met with a stern "impossible"  "we cannot do anything" "security does not want us to bring anything to passengers" "we could lose our job"  I was taken aback by the disengagement. It did not matter that I was traveling to a cold place, not a hint of an attempt was made to help me, all I received was a mouthful of why they could do nothing for me.

Desperation sets in and I approached the flight attendant who was standing nearby, thinking she might be a bit more sympathetic. "You heard what she said! And we will not hold the plane for you."
I tried one more time and approached another random airport worker and repeated my predicament.  He pointed me to the same people who had dismissed me and I let him on to my experience.  He heard me out but did not have a solution and we parted company.

I took my seat, waiting for my zone to be called, knowing that I should just make the best of a bad situation.  After all I had heard about resilience, now let me put it into practice.  Just as I was about to get on board, I heard someone, trying to get my attention; lo and behold, the young man came to deliver my coat and disappeared just as quickly.  I was shock and ran after him, after all he deserved a better thank you, one that came from the heart for an unexpected act of kindness. But he wanted nothing for his kindness.
The package that I took with me from this journey where BRILLIANT things happened, contained RESILIENCE,KINDNESS,BLESSED ASSURANCE.

One Love!


                                           EASING ON DOWN TO KINDNESS  ROAD

                                             She cried out to no one in particular
                                             Hoping anyone and everyone
                                             Would hear her plea
                                             "This is not a hard road to travel" she said
                                             "Come let me show you how
                                              Get ready for a journey down Kindness Road"

                                             Fret not if you come across a bump
                                             Here and there
                                             First timers may feel a bit sore
                                             But on your next round
                                             You will make it without a moan

                                             Just point to the way to Kindness Road
                                             She shows him, he shows another
                                             To the left, to the right, around the bend
                                             You can't miss it.
                                             Any turn will lead to Kindness Road

                                             "What if I have a change of heart?" you ask
                                              Too late, says the Genie
                                              That's the wish granted to your fellowmen
                                              And it has spread like wildfire
                                              Any Street, Any Lane, The Alley, The Avenue
                                              Will take you down Kindness Road
                                               There you will find them
                                               Joyfully banding together
                                               For a kinder world

psw(Jump for joy series)

Sunday, September 2, 2018


Choose To Care's(CTC) invitation to the Nutritionists and Friends In Action {NAFIA} team read:

                                       The NAFIA Summer Outing
                              Let's meet for a stroll to the High Line
                                        Bring your thoughts
                              Enjoy words of Inspirations, poetry and music
                              Spend some fun time with nature
                              Food taste oh so good in the open air

The threatening rain did not alter our plans.  We did not even have an alternate date. Grit and guts is how I describe our attitude.   So we met and began our stroll and there were a lot of nip and tuck on properties, along the way, passageways were blocked,we took a few detours but we made our way to our destination.

We joined others who were taking in the sights, walking aimlessly. Our group stopped to look at the flora and  marvel at nature's beautiful house, all manner of plants taking position along the path.  We came upon a tree loaded with fruit and someone in our group wondered out loud if this was really the anonna fruit also known as custard apple because of  flesh that looks like custard.  There were buildings rising from the streets on both sides of the park, beckoning to us to look at their unique structures; some were getting face lifts, while others had occupants, sometimes visible on their terraces.  We let out sighs and let our imagination run wild, knowing that owning one of these buildings was out of our reach, but let me take that back, all things are possible.

The growling stomachs and bags that were weighing us down, let us knew that it was time to scope out a spot to share our meal. We staked our claim on what we thought was the ideal spot; benches to rest our tired feet, a place to lay our spread and under a few trees that offered a tiny bit of protection from the raindrops that had become a little more than a drizzle.

We ate, listened to music and heard poems that eloquently described life's pathway.  Mother Teresa persuaded us to "Do It Anyway" the "it" referring to acts of kindness, practicing forgiveness, building, doing good, finding happiness, serenity, regardless of the backlash from naysayers.
"When Giving Is All We have" by Alberto Rios, an American Poet, resonates what we at CTC and NAFIA are about. He tells the story of giving, its many faces, he goes on to say, "You gave me what you did not have and I gave you what I had to give - together, we made something greater from the difference."  The Bridge Builder by Will Allen Dromgoole tells the story of the old man who had passed on a bridge that posed danger but he stopped to build a safer path for the youth whose feet must pass this way. Aboud Ben Ahem by Leigh Hunt, placed his name on the angel's list as one who loves his fellow men.

Our discussions after such inspiring words led to how else we can walk the good talk.  We know that we are something bigger than just us and promised to continue to use our platforms, health, nutrition and fitness and saving the earth, to help the youth in need.  We are thankful for CTC and NAFIA hard work and bright ideas.

The splendor in the High Line Park had to end with a photo session and selfies, the help of a stranger snapped us together. Lo and behold as we climbed on the benches for more snapshots, there was an artistic photo of Mother Theresa, staring back at us.  I stared back, bewildered. "Was there a message in that photo?" I whispered. I had reset my button out here with nature, feeling relaxed and the image of Mother Teresa will certainly help me to tackle the plans floating in my mind as I took the long trek home. I am sure the artist has a story why Mother Teresa's painting was placed there in the first place but I will call this my miracle on the High Line, and this sighting has found its way from my eyes to my heart. "Yes, I will give it my best shot" and "I Will Do It Anyway" accepting  Mother Teresa's invitation.

Sunday, August 19, 2018


What a cunning title, I thought, they are using the concept of a library, where books are taken out and returned.  But it saddened me when later as I scrolled through the shoe projects from classrooms that needed shoes for their students and realized what this really meant.  Teachers Ask/Donor Choose(, is the organization that seeks funding for teachers' classrooms, in impoverished areas all over the USA.  As the say,"an organization that connects the public to public schools."

In this particular project that I dubbed the cunning name,  the teacher found this as the answer to the students who came to school wearing ill-fitted shoes for sports. They borrow to play the game and at the end of the game they must return the pair of shoes to the shoes library. Needless to say,Choose To Care(CTC) along with other donors, fully funded this project.

Each time someone asks, why shoes, I only wish they would read some of these stories, the teachers tell of the way the kids come to school, some wearing shoes with holes in them or a size too small, wearing flip-flops in the winter months, duck taped shoes without laces.

Because of these inadequate footwear, that cause pain and soreness of their feet, the kids cannot focus in school.  These concerned teachers, use compelling titles to tell their stories of despair and anxiety.
Titles such as:

  • Shoes Blues - which conjures a sad note
  • Kids Needs Shoes - getting right to the point
  • Desperately Needing Shoes - a cry for immediate help
  • Get Every Kid Active & Moving During Physical Education - we certainly want to see energized kids

The Teachers would like us to know that donating to their projects will help the kids in poverty escape from some harsh realities for a little while and make playing safe and easier. CTC will do their best to put a brand new pair of shoes on the feet of as many children as possible.

"Yes we will, it is in our hands." psw


Tuesday, July 31, 2018


         Look at my feet
         They are swelling in the heat.
         But even when it is cold
         these feet of mine, still show big bulges
         I know for sure this is a result of  wearing
         Shoes that don't fit right.

          The only pair I own is so worn out
           My poor feet are left to the mercy
           Of where I tread.
           The sun beats on them.
            The cold makes them change color.

            But the shoes on my feet are truly making a statement,
             He chuckled.
            Only the sole is left standing, with the back attached.
            That's where I place my tired feet.
             I am using the brittle laces, to tie my feet in securely.
             But of course they keep popping out,
             And I quickly pop them right back in.
             I don't want anyone to see me, for it will put me to shame.

             I could have just as well go barefooted
             But the splinters, broken glasses, stones
             And even parasites, spell more damage.

            I need a pair of good shoes, any shoes will do.
            It doesn't have to be the latest style!
            What I need is a pair that will carry me
            So I can move a little faster
            To get to where I need to be.

            Give me that pair of shoes
            And I will leave my footprints, where it matters.
            I will move in the right direction
            When I get that pair of shoes.
            I will keep walking, until I get where I want to be
            Just give me that pair of shoes and you will see.

          And he awoke to a brand new pair of shoes, laying by his side
          And when he finally put his tired feet in that pair of shoes,
          He knew this was the opportunity he was seeking.
          With his new shoes on, he was about to conquer the world
          And on his way he did not forget to leave a pair of shoes,
          For anyone in need, who comes along.


psw/(Spread Joy In The World) series

Sunday, July 15, 2018


We at CHOOSE TO CARE (CTC) along with the Nutritionists and Friends In Action (NAFIA) Team have the inside scoop of where to find the best tasting nutritious dishes and snacks. Here is another of our mouth-watering recipe that was served at one of our shoe distribution event for the youth in Corona; not only did the children leave with a brand new pair of shoes, fulfilling the mission of CTC to provide a brand new pair of shoes for the youth in need but they and their families enjoyed this tasty delight.  We want to thank our NAFIA member Monica for this brilliant idea and Maricela, the resident chef for putting it all together.

 Fresh  Fruit and Yogurt Cones


2 oz. plain yogurt

1 tsp. honey

4 T. mixed fresh fruit

1 ice cream waffle cone


Mix yogurt with honey. Fill a waffle cone with a layer of mixed fruit
Top it with one spoonful of yogurt

FRESH FRUIT SUGGESTIONS: Sliced strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, sliced bananas, pineapple, mandarin oranges,kiwi grapes and any of your favorite fruit in season.

Happy preparation
Happy Eating

Saturday, July 14, 2018


As much as a fresh fruit salad will do for desert, there are times when you just can't resist the puddings, the cakes and sweets, but as is said, everything in balance.   This is a  recipe that was made for a shoe distribution event held January, 2017 and provided by Nutritionists and Friends In Action(NAFIA) member,Leoniza.


2 packages(4cups) grated cassava
1 can coconut milk
1 can condensed milk
1 bottle of macapuno(coconut strips)(use 3/4 only)
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup butter, melted for baking tray
1/4 cup sugar (optional)

Toppings Mixture for Cassava Cake
1/2 can condensed milk
1 egg
1/4  remaining sweetened (macapuno/coconut strips)

Procedure & Baking Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl, except butter
  2. Add sugar as needed(your preferred taste)
  3. Spread the melted butter evenly in a baking pan
  4. Pour in cassava mixture
  5. Bake in 350F degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour
  6. After 45 minutes when the cassava is dried on top, pour the topping mixture
  7. Return to oven and broil for another 10-15 minutes, until the topping becomes brown
  8. Remove from oven and top with grated cheese

Happy Cooking                                                                                              Happy Eating


CHOOSE TO CARE(CTC) strives to provide a new pair of shoes for the child in need.  We have made it our business.  But this is not the only thing we are drawn to.  At each of our local shoe distribution event, we invite the families of the youth we serve to join us in healthy eating.  These are delicious dishes with nutritious ingredients, prepared with the hands of our resident chef, Maricela.  She whips up amazing dishes, using a medley of fruits and vegetables, herbs and any edible thing on hand. Nothing is wasted!  The NAFIA team gives a nod to cooking with scraps, "From stalks to roots" is our motto, as we do our part to save this crumbling earth; passing the baton to bring awareness to the families of our communities, so they can hop on the bandwagon and be guided to become part of this passion.

You don't always need a recipe to take you to mouth-watering dishes, with practice it becomes easier to build your plate, swapping one vegetable for another, sprinkling a new herb to give it a kick, pour in some roasted nuts for that extra crunch, throw in some chickpeas or other beans of your choice, for protein goodness, top with a dollop of yogurt, some chives and scallion could only make it better.  Oh my, you are eating good and healthy.

Those who join us when Maricela is in the kitchen, leave with a nicely secured package containing:

  • nutritious plant-based dishes, lingering in your mouth
  • guideposts on how to prepare healthy meals
  •  ideas for ingredients that stimulate the imagination and reinforce our humanity

Maricela says: "I love to cook because when I am cooking I am in control of the flavor and seasoning of my own meals.  I enjoy cooking because through a colorful and delicious plate I can express how much I care for the ones I love.  Cooking is not only an innate skill but a gift from God, for which I enjoy and am thankful for."

"CHOOSE TO CARE has given me the confidence to share my talents with the families we have brought together, Along with making memories and sharing happiness, I genuinely believe that sharing is caring and cooking for a good cause is worthy."

Thanks Maricela for helping to build the foundation for a lovely world.

"Love and compassion are necessities,not luxuries.Without them humanity
cannot survive."
Dalai Lama

Thursday, July 12, 2018


Meet Denisse the Pied Piper!  We at CHOOSE TO CARE have made a commitment to do our part to save the earth.  Denise has taken up the banner to share with the youth and their families, tips to meet the challenges.  She engages them in ways to think differently about our environment and communities and draws their attention to destruction around the world; ocean strewn with garbage, dead fishes, trees that are cut down, causing erosion.  All of this so that the youth and their families can begin to think more seriously about their communities, how they can make changes that will have a positive impact on their health and surroundings.

There are clever ways to reduce waste, she tells them and shares some of CHOOSE TO CARE's  game plan for going green:

  • Don't keep the pipe running while brushing your teeth, water wasted
  • Lay off using straws for drinks, the plastic goes to the landfill
  • Serve smaller portions to avoid food waste
  • Ditch the plastic bag for a cloth bag at the grocery
  • Use the garbage bins to discard of rubbish

Anyone who has joined our shoe distribution event will come away with a package that:

  • Pleads with people of the earth to be aware of their surroundings
  • Makes you aware that caring for the earth transforms both materials and lives
  • Says it is possible to make treasure from trash
  • Lets us know that we are responsible to spread the word to others about saving the earth
  • Wants you to increase your vocabulary with RECYCLE, REPURPOSE and RENEW

Denisse says, "When I think of the Machu Picchu's fresh air that caresses your face while giving you a peaceful state of mind, I know how important it is to save the earth. There are things that are priceless  that only mother nature can provide us with. We must take care to maintain the beauty of the wonders of the world so our future generation can enjoy what we have now."

I enjoy being part of CHOOSE TO CARE because it is important to give back to our community and no matter how big or small your gift is, you should give it with love.

Yes, Denisse, you have hit it on the head, if each of us do our part, small or big, our stewardship will make a difference in our communities.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


CHOOSE TO CARE wants to showcase the things we have been up to, share our connections with the community, our celebrations and more.  And Daniel has volunteered his service to keep CHOOSE TO CARE up to speed by putting together amazing videos that tell our stories.  Any plea for help has always been answered and this vast contribution carries a lot of weight and is a welcome support toward our mission.

Mr. Electronic Wiz delivers a package packed with:

  • Willingness
  • Confidence
  • Pride in his work
  • Straightforward talk
The above attributes and his creative work have won him an honorable membership with our NAFIA Team.

Daniel says that as an honorary member of NAFIA team, he is honored to be of help to the CHOOSE TO CARE organization because he has been blessed in a million different ways; "I feel it's important to give back when and wherever possible. CHOOSE TO CARE provides loving and caring help to many people locally and globally. It is great to be able to do anything that can help achieve their goals.  With help from donors, the work CHOOSE TO CARE does can continue."

 We are who we say we are, lowly creatures,  striving to do the best that can be done but we could not do it without your help.    We hope for an enduring partnership, Daniel, CHOOSE TO CARE and NAFIA Team.

"In a gentle way you can shake the earth."
Mahatma Gandhi 

Sunday, July 8, 2018


Merlyn has always given willingly to CHOOSE TO CARE (CTC) and so it was only fitting that she should be made an honorary member of the NAFIA team.  Merlyn, I call,"please visit and make a comment," and you can be sure she will oblige.  It won't take long for Merlyn to happily share her thoughts and feelings on the website's blog.  She has poured her heart and soul into something she loves, and we are humble that she thinks CTC is worthy of her time and attention.  Spending a few minutes with Merlyn, you will come away with a package full of:

  • Understanding
  • dependability
  • trustworthiness
  • attentiveness
  • humility
Merlyn says she is deeply honored to be of help to the CHOOSE TO CARE organization because:
I love helping people, especially for a worthy cause which helps to bring smiles to children and provides them with resources and smiles to create better lives.  I like CTC because it is important to give back to communities and people in need.

These are a few of the reasons Merlyn has given as to why it is important to make a difference in the community:
  • When you help the community, not only does it influence the children, it helps the families as well.
  • Knowing that my efforts as well as everyone's else in CTC brings joy to the children and their families, makes what we do worthwhile.

Thanks Merlyn for your willingness to offer a helping hand.  Thanks for your stewardship.

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony."
Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, July 7, 2018


Her calming presence and seemingly unruffled demeanor shouts, "I understand and I am willing."
This member of the NAFIA group has not shied away from her pledge to serve our communities. When we shop for shoes for our shoe distribution events, it means staying back to pick out the sizes and styles and toting them back to storage, to wait for that special day.  You never have to ask her twice and often times she volunteers her service, making the task so much easier; as is said "many hands, make the work lighter."

She welcomes and keeps the youth and their families together, so that there will be order in the "house" as we prepare to get the show on the road.  Aisha ensures that those who join us at our shoe distribution events, leave with a package containing possibilities that they too can conquer. In her glorious package the following awaits you:

  • joyful moments
  • harmony
  • patience

Aisha says, helping is important because it can have a positive impact on others, sometimes a little help can result in a big change for someone.  I think we get the opportunity to help others every day, we just have to look around us and we will see the need.  Helping others produce a feeling of satisfaction, not only for me, but also for the person being helped.

I assist CHOOSE TO CARE because it's an opportunity to help others and also help me to grow as a person, reminding me that we should always do something for others.  I want the world to be a different place, a better place for this and future generations.  Helping CHOOSE TO CARE may not change the world, but we decided to take a chance on even one person at a time, who we hope will influence another and soon it will seep through the whole community and keep trending unto the rest of the world.

Thanks Aisha, dreams do come true.

"If only I had a magic wand
To fix the perils we face.
But all I have is the belief
That better will come."

Thursday, July 5, 2018


With Leoniza in the house, things will get done.  She sets the groundwork, making this a group effort. She is the "flyer girl" who generously gives of her time to produce a flyer that showcases the theme we want to capture and comes up each time with fine art on display.  She is also the document producing wizard that makes charts to keep CHOOSE TO CARE (CTC) records together.

These CTC community events may seem to fall into the small category but requires a huge amount of effort, time and energy to accomplish.  Yet she embraces the tasks,read between the lines to understand my over the top requests, gets the troop together(NAFIA Members) and jump on the wagon to get the show(shoe distribution event) on the road.

As if she did not have enough demands put on her, she finds her way in the "Test Kitchen" playing with the recipe the we want to share with our community, until she gets it right.  One such food that comes to mind is the falafel, that delicious garbanzo bean dish that she knew nothing about nor even tasted before.  Fundraising for our events means baking that delicious cassava cake, that she sells out in a New York minute.These acts of kindness visibly states "I am in" and "I am willing to offer a helping hand."

Shopping and packing can be added to her resume for volunteer services.  When you make preparation for CTC's events alongside Leoniza, the package she leaves you with:

  • will make you into a cheerleader for CTC
  • allows you to join in spirited solutions
  • helps you to explore new possibilities
  • gives you an edge and you won't stop until you reach the finish line 

Leoniza says:
 Upon learning about the CHOOSE TO CARE organization and got to know more about the mission and how it started, I said to myself, "I want to be part of it."  From the founder to the members and all volunteers involved, the passion and commitment are evident.  What I like best about connecting with CHOOSE TO CARE is seeing the results of our hard work and the joy that we give to every single child receiving a brand new pair of shoes.  I celebrate with the mothers of the children we serve,as they express their appreciation and gratitude to all NAFIA members for taking the time to share important nutrition messages and tips on how we can all save the earth by doing our part to live healthier in our communities.
"Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference." Kathy Calvin, President of the United Nations Foundation.

I take part in the shoe distribution events because there is a feeling of satisfaction after we complete each event from start to finish.  Success should not be measured by how much you have but by how much you give back. I share whatever talent,knowledge and skills I am blessed with and use these gifts to help the community. What good will it serve if all these good tidings are kept in hiding. There is a need to educate families on how to live a healthier lifestyle.  There is a sense of responsibility to connect with the community and bring awareness to healthy living, one event at a time.

Thanks Leoniza for this wise investment in our communities.

"How can a title less creature be of help, I keep asking myself.
This is the work of the famous.  But I know better and I begin
once again, that unfinished job."

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


Meet Monica, the health and exercise guru. She takes you to a new level of physical health and fitness, spiced with lots of fun.  Her fitness series have the children and the families getting up to speed.  Full of passion her creative sessions scream " WORK OUT, SHAPE UP."  These amazing endeavors have helped CHOOSE TO CARE to present this Healthy Lifestyle Community and Group Project at all our local shoe distribution events.

When the attendees leave they would have received a package filled with benefits of healthy living.
Monica gives them:

  • A feeling of exhilaration
  • Inspiration to get moving
  • Many possibilities for fun ways to healthy living

Monica says:

I use physical activity and nutrition together to move others to a healthier lifestyle.  With physical activity, I express my emotions, and feelings with joy.  I enjoy it myself and also enjoy sharing with a new person.  One of my personal and professional goal is community education, where people of all ages,sizes, shapes and abilities can benefit from understanding the importance of physical activity.
My sessions run the gamut from dancing, playing with kids, or pushing a baby in a stroller and any means that will have everyone moving.

I have given my help to CHOOSE TO CARE because this organization opened the door for me to teach kids the importance of physical activity from an early age, as well as allowing them to enjoy the learning experience.

Thanks Monica for choosing an attitude of joy as you strive to deliver activities that make an impact.

"It is health that is real wealth
And not pieces of gold and silver"
Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, July 2, 2018

MEET MERIANNY - A Member Of The Nutritionists And Friends In Action(NAFIA)

With those nimble fingers, she has got us covered.  For a CHOOSE TO CARE (CTC) fundraising event she created an invitation that helped us to get the ball rolling.  Time after time, her contributions to our local shoe distribution events have helped to enhance our work toward improving the lives of the youth and the families we serve.  Whether it is imparting simple messages of good health, she makes them truly believe that they can do it  or putting that special touch on decorations for our events; the help she gives and the joy she spreads are gifts we hold dearly.

When we have the honor of your presence at a CTC event, you will leave with a package:

  • full of energy that she emits
  • the rosy outlook that she paints
  • a downright display of good nature 
Merianny says:

I use my artistic skills to express and share.  To express my thoughts and feelings and to share my knowledge.  I believe in making learning a fun and interesting experience, as a visual and hands on learner part of my goal is that at least one person leaves with the message and shares it with someone else.  That is my goal, to try and make a difference little by little, one beautiful mind at a time.

As to why I love being part of CHOOSE TO CARE is because to me, one person can start a change but a group can make a bigger difference.  I believe being part of CHOOSE TO CARE is a privilege that allows me to give back to the community.  Also it is a feeling that has no words to be described, other than the joy of seeing a smile on a child's face.

Thanks for your heartwarming words!

"Help me to help them
was the cry. And you
all came running, banding
together for a kinder world."


CHOOSE TO CARE(CTC)strives to provide a brand new pair of shoes for the youth in need.  They have made it their business.  But that's not the only thing that they are drawn to.  At each of our local shoe distribution event, we invite the families of the youth we serve to join us in healthy eating.  Of course if we want the families to eat more nutritious foods , we must also introduce them to dishes that are tasty.  Our recipes call for a medley of fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices and other ingredients on hand, nothing wasted.
We encourage going green and give ideas that will help us to save the earth.  No one leaves our events without participating in an exercise session, plastered with fun.

To make this happen, a group of volunteers jump in to help deliver these activities.  They are known as Nutritionists And Friends In Action (NAFIA).  To become a member, the individual agrees to abide by the following:

  • Willing to work with the youth
  • Bring ideas, share and learn from each other
  • Truly believe in creating a fun-filled learning environment
  • Support CHOOSE TO CARE's Mission
  • Will venture out, offering other skills they may have(graphic designer, photography, recipe testing, accounting,etc)
  • meeting will take place on a time and frequency convenient to members

CTC will post a series of blogs, featuring each member and the gift they bring in those amazing "packages" that every recipient will treasure dearly.

Thanks a million for all your support!

Monday, June 25, 2018


Paulette Sinclair-Weir says:

"I am seeking, I am striving,
I am in it with all my heart"
Vincent Van Gogh

It has been 10 years since I had the nerve to think that I could make a difference.  While on a trip in a distant land, I came up on kids playing barefooted where broken glass laid like a carpet on the dirt road.  With mouth agape, a feeling of despair overtook me and later on I began to notice so many kids with callous heels, wearing flip flops with half the rubber worn away.
"Kids without shoes will not go to school"
"Shoes with holes and broken down heels, will bring shame to the owner"
With those two thoughts I entered the unknown, actually it was a plunge, nothing could stop me until I got this ambitious project off the ground.  It did not matter that there were mounds of paperwork to complete to make this official, to keep in steps with governing laws of charitable organizations.

Will power magically propels and I did not fret that there were only few coins in the till,  I would not allow anything to deter me.  I wanted to give a brand new pair of shoes to the child in need.  We have purchased shoes for kids living as far as Haiti and Jamaica; nothing beats the polished look of a kid in school uniform and wearing a pair of clean looking shoes that fits right.  We are grooming the next Pele,Messi and Ronaldo, famous soccer stars, through our sponsorship of soccer teams in Colombia, Haiti and South Africa.  The kids in Zambia had a smile on their faces, as they stepped out with confidence, with their new shoes on.  There are children in The Gambia, waiting for the arrival of their new footwear, which are on the way.

Here at home we "travel" from State to State, through Donors Choose, an online charity organization that allows teachers to submit projects for classrooms in America; hoping to be funded by individual donors, so that their students may have amazing experiences.  So cruising through, I read the plea in some of the teacher's notes, as they seek donations.

  • "Just a flip flop away from happiness"
  • My students need new shoes to fit their feet, so they will be comfortable at school"
  • Running towards a better future"
  • Making future soccer stars"
  • "Get a kid hooked on running"

Who wouldn't want to help the boys who wear cleats with holes in them or the girls who come to PE wearing boots because that's all they have. I also want to add that at each of our shoe distribution event that we throw locally, in our boroughs, we have added two platforms.  We are sharing ways to a healthy lifestyle and we are pushing to gain the attention of the children and their parents with ways to help us save the environment.

My gratitude to our supporters who have continued to help us make an impact, this could not happen without you. Cheers to wonderful thoughts!

"From a little spark may  burst a mighty flame"

Sunday, June 17, 2018


We sat on the deck in a high rise apartment and stared into a man made lake.  From where we were, we could see pedestrians going about their daily chores.  The scenery provided a tranquil setting for our conversation.
 We chatted about anything and everything that came to mind.  We laughed, we screamed with excitement when one of us found the right words to give life to our story.

We stopped a moment for hot and spicy chai and between bites of sweets and sips of that delicious beverage our souls warmed up even more.  We tapped our feet, shook our heads, beat on our legs and doubled up in excitement, because our story telling brought out the happiness in us.

We lingered, refilled our cups with piping hot chai, eager to continue down HAPPY ROAD, as if we did not have a care in the world.  It was late evening before we became conscious that dusk had fallen.  We jumped, in a hurry to get going, in disbelief that we had allowed time to slip by without us noticing.  But our thoughts meshed and we immediately sat back down fully contented. We knew it was important to let the joy and high spirits take root before we returned to a hurried life.

Aware of the simple and splendid time we experienced, just talking and living in the moment, we smiled broadly as we calmly rose to bid farewell and promised to do this again.  This was the ultimate tea drinking experience that had awoken our mind, body and spirit.

Life is beautiful!

(From :The jump for joy series)

Thursday, June 14, 2018


                                      He is calling her name
                                      How should she respond?
                                      Are you ready to close the gap? She screamed.
                                      The time is drawing nearer, he shouted back.
                                       But when will that happen, mystery man?
                                       How much longer will she be at the Waiting Post?

                                         Her soul has grown cold
                                         Her heart has hardened
                                         Her body creaks with aches and pains
                                         Eyes that once sparkle, have grown dull.
                                         She no longer smiles, She wears a sullen scowl.
                                         She kept hoping to catch a glimpse of you
                                         But now she holds her head to the ground
                                         Hoping she never sets sight of you.

                                           She is done pining over you
                                           Long gone is the hope
                                           That you will be together.
                                           She has grown tired and weary.
                                           You must go your separate ways.
                                           Let her learn to live once more.
                                           Let her heal.


                                           psw(From the Series: That Forbidden Fruit)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


                                        Yesterday his words were like honey
                                         Sweet words spewed from his mouth.
                                         He knows when to pitch them, to the
                                         Girl who basks in these sweet nothings.
                                         Her eyes sparkle,
                                         A wider smile you have never seen.
                                         He cocked his head and put his chest out,
                                         So proud of his handiwork.
                                         "I have given her true love,
                                          Like she has never seen before."

                                          Today the story is different.
                                           He speaks in a sober tone.
                                           A change has come over him.
                                           His language has grown sour,
                                           His frowning face is filled with doubts.
                                           There is a Waiting Post, set up for her.
                                           How long will she remain there, no one knows.
                                           He has not bring to light, that he will
                                           Only return to fetch her
                                           When his Master Plans fall apart.
                                            Dark clouds have set in!
                                           Empty promises are consuming their lives.


                                          Her inner voice is speaking.
                                          Two different versions have appeared
                                          Which one will she cling to?
                                           The one that has placed a dagger in her soul?
                                           Has she chosen the obsessed being
                                           That resides in her mind?
                                           These see-saw emotions
                                            And forlorn experiences,
                                            Have weighed her down,
                                            What a baggage he wields!
                                            Step away from this confusion, Dear Child.
                                            Make adjustments for this bitter taste.

                                             Be kind to yourself
                                             Embrace this defeat
                                             Move on and cherish the wisdom gain
                                             Be guided by that voice,
                                             That will lead you down freedom way.

psw(From The Series:That Forbidden Fruit)

Sunday, April 15, 2018


So our intention for our April's7th meet-up was to "Go Further With Food"  capitalizing on the Academy Of Nutrition and Dietetics, National Nutrition Month 2018, theme.  At Choose To Care, the organization that provides a brand new pair of shoes for the child in need, we are in the mood to celebrate the skin and the stems of fruits and vegetables, usually referred to as SCRAPS. We wanted to showcase that by using these parts of food that are discarded, such as beet stems, broccoli florets and others, we can make edible, delicious dishes and even a tasty dressing. A Member of our Nutritionist And Friends In Action(NAFIA) presented the idea of using the skin of the pineapple to make a salad dressing. And she went to work!

As we gathered, we greeted the community and asked the children and their family to join us in moving to the beat; besides making our limbs nimble, the laughter that comes with our less than perfect steps always bring laughter from deep down that oftentimes bring joy of tears and excitement  so vital to the soul.

We are also serious about saving the planet and do our best to make a difference in our communities. We have invited the children and their families to join us in this effort. This time we made tags and invited them to choose one, which they will try to carry out.
Sayings such as:

  • I will not keep the pipe running while brushing my teeth-do not want to waste water
  • I will make less copies - less trees will be cut down
  • I will carry a cloth bag for my grocery - less plastic will find its way in the soil
  • I will use a smaller plate for meals - to avoid food waste
  • Stop sucking through the straw - the plastic makes it way to the ocean and kill sea life.
  • I want to keep my neighborhood clean - find a bin for my thrash
  • I will talk about saving the earth to 1-2 persons
  • I will ask 1-2 persons to spread the words to others about saving the earth

With earth day around the corner, our hope is that we will join the fight and do our part, nothing is ever too small.  Go to to check out the deeds performed around the nation that add up to win-win situations.

We sat down to a delicious bowl of salad with dressing made from the lowly pineapple skins, combined with pieces of apples, peaches and covered with water for a three week period. A tasty boost to the greens and chickpeas, that made us crave another bowl before the event's ending.
Here's my ode to the skin of the pineapple, rescued and revived, of course the dual message is to extend kindness and a helping hand to those in need.

                                        Sweet Tasting Flesh
                                        Juice running down
                                        The sides of their mouth
                                        They took what they wanted
                                        And your skin?  for the garbage,they exclaimed!
                                        But you were RESCUED 
                                        From that dark pit, where you were placed to rot

                                        Someone had an idea
                                       You can still be of use
                                        It took a little work, here and there
                                        Patience, Caring, Watching over you
                                        Was the process
                                        And look at you now, REVIVED
                                        Your story has been told
                                        You are given another chance to be whole again




Sunday, March 18, 2018

2017 Annual Report

FOUNDERS NOTE:  The year 2017 found us actively trying to find innovative ways to bring to light the things we believe are important, such as nutrition and health and environmental issues.  We are constantly thinking of better ways to be stronger in our communities and globally.  For that reason we have added a GOING GREEN platform to our shoe distribution events.  It is so importance to us that we utilize all and control waste.  This has become such a crisis in the US and worldwide.

CHOOSE TO CARE'S MISSION:  We have proudly continued our mission to provide a brand new pair of properly fitted shoes for the children and young adults in need, here at home and abroad.

EVENTS:  For the year 2017 we held 3 shoe distribution events in the months of April, August and December.  We also sponsored 2 schools in the State of Texas, through Donors Choose, Teachers Ask; the organization that helps teachers to gain supplies for their classrooms in impoverished areas throughout the US. In these schools the boys needed running shoes and basketball shoes.

SHINING OUR LIGHT:  We have continued our collaboration with the Nutrition and Friends In Action group(NAFIA). These amazing volunteers assist in the planning of the events, from purchasing the shoes, labeling them for the right child, participating in the topics for the day,preparing the healthy dish that we gladly serve to seal our message of healthy choices, transporting everything to the venue and so much more. We also have on our team, two honorary members who contribute in their own special way; donating to our fundraising and another who puts together our videos from our events to help us tell our stories. We value this wonderful team!

MONEY RAISED:  Through Macy's Shop For A Cause, a yearly event that allows charities to apply   and if accepted, participate in their fundraising.  This year for the first time, this was an on-line event and it created a buzz and competition.  Choose To Care was also a winner of $500.00, a special prize offered through Crowd Rise Funding, the organization that handled the event for Macy's. Thanks to our friends also, for their support and belief in us.  Our website, shows our full IMPACT - our financial report.

WHAT's IN STORE?:  For 2018 we want to propel ahead, finding creative ways to  work with our communities to stem the waste that we see everywhere.  There is such an urgency that we are starting from the ground up, with the young kids and the their families that we serve.  On our mind also is the desire to expand our reach, particular when a disaster occurs.  For now, a most grateful thank you, for whichever way you contributed to keep us going.

"Tell me and I forget,
Teach me and I may remember,
Involve me and I learn."

Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, February 11, 2018


"This world of ours with lush offerings abound.
Where astounding ways to soothe the soul can be found.
What a wonder to behold!
On it's beauty I am sold.
Caught up in this lure, I let my spirit soar.

As my heart beats for more
Thoughts of love and sweet music fill my mind.
With eyes wide open, I jump for joy
Grateful that we live in a world where blessings flow."
Marvelous World - psw

"Where next?" The travel genie asked and I responded.  There I was landing in Ben Guenon Airport, Israel with sixty-nine travel companions from two church parishes in Nassau County, USA, ready to start a spiritual journey to the Holy Land.
We began our exploration of this tiny nation and experienced Israel's diverse religious heritage, visiting sites steeped in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  I must ask you to bear with me  as I trace our voyage through multicultural traditions and the ruins of ancient civilizations.  The tales are too detailed to recount here but you will get a taste that is enough to push your curiosity button to make you want to take a visit or do more research on the places and incidents mentioned.

We began our tour from the town of Netayana where we stayed overnight.  A walk to the shores of the Mediterranean sea brought out a WOW from my lips, a majestical view indeed. Our venture took us to Caesarea, an ancient landscape, where if you listen carefully, you can hear the victorious shouts of the gladiators.  Along the way we stopped in the Roman amphitheater to watch a film on the Roman period. It showed the heyday, when the gladiator games and chariot racing were held.

Off to Tiberius we went, where we cruise on the Sea of Galilee and Capernaum.  This is the place believed to be the site of Jesus' sermon on the mount. Our visit to Tabgha, believed to be the site of the miracles of the loaves and fishes,one of my favorite scripture story. The mount of the beatitudes where Jesus preached the famous sermon and chose the twelve apostles was one of our stop.  At Cana, the site of Jesus first miracle of turning water into wine. Here Twenty-two couples from our group renewed their vows.  At Mt. Tabor, we visited the traditional site of the transfiguration.  We made our way to Nazareth the boyhood home of Jesus and visited the Church of Annunciation.

Our tour continued to the archaeological ruins of Megiddo, which is labeled a UNESCO world heritage site.  Our tour spoke about the Druze culture, which was new to me and pointed out women on the street who by their dressing could be identified as a Druze.  He described them as people who preferred living in the mountains.  The many wonders and sites continued and we headed to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem.  We visited the western wall and asked for blessings for many by poking our pieces of paper with their names in any space available on the wall.

The Dead Sea is described as the deepest hyper saline lake in the world and is fed by the River Jordan, which flows from the Sea of Galilee.  Many of our travelers came prepared with their swimsuits and floated on their back in the Dead Sea. I had already experienced this phenomenon on a previous visit and this time only placed my feet in to enjoy the mud slide.

What is a pilgrimage without shopping for the religious artifacts, crosses, rosaries, images of Mary, mother of Jesus, Jesus himself; you name it, numerous biblical figures lined the shelves of the local market, made out of authentic olive wood, they touted.

I ate a lot of crisp falafel and as a vegetarian, the cuisine was enticing.  Thanks to the guides whose regional expertise shone in their commentary. This journey is indeed memorable, Israel's captivating and unique culture, bargaining with the street vendors, strolling the cobbled alleyways, descending below sea level, renewing our baptism at the River Jordan, strolling into the Palestinian section, lingering in Jericho, celebrating masses in these significant churches, a delight even from the sighting of the sycamore trees, walking in beautiful gardens with varied plants and age old olive trees,plus all the other things we participated in gave me a deep insight into this region.
What a privilege to have been immersed in the enactment of biblical passages.

Chop, chop! Sholom! Yalla! are words that keep ringing in my ears, learned from the pleasant yelling of our tour guides. I will be ready to say "yalla"(let's go) to experience another region in this marvelous world of ours.

Saturday, January 20, 2018


                                            "Help me to help them was the cry.
                                              And you all came running, banding
                                              together for a kinder world."

The small quarters worried me when I arrived for the fundraising brunch for the Choose To Care(CTC) organization.  I gave the butterflies a second to play havoc in my stomach and quickly flipped the "this is not going to work" button to "we have to make it work."  It was time to make lemonade out of lemon.

The dear folks came in and took their position and I no longer saw tight space.  I am of the belief that there is enough space for everyone on this amazing earth, if we just shift over a little.  This movement is about showing kindness, recognizing that someone could use a helping hand. This profound message was literally playing out before my eyes; the place seemed to have magically widened.  As old and new acquaintances began to arrive, the room was buzzing with excitement.  Each person had carved out their niche and I could feel my worry lines fading away, my face was relaxed as I scanned the room, feeling satisfied.  The revelers were settling in waiting for a bite.

I told the story of CTC and it's humble beginning and although it was delivered in a nutshell, I am sure they understood my passion and commitment to carry out the mission to provide the children in need with a brand new pair of shoes.  I am also revved up about establishing a healthy pathway for the kids and their families and at each and every gathering to continue to encourage the kids and their families to be caretakers of this wonderful world we live in; starting with the community where they call home. Later on while viewing some photos, I laughed at how the depth of my feelings was captured when I told my story; by my expressions my inhibitions of facing the crowd seemed to have disappeared as I poured out my soul. The onlookers were also at attention, listening to my simple words, that told my reasons for serving these precious kids.

                                               "How can a Title less creature be of help,
                                                I keep asking myself.
                                                This is the work of the famous
                                                 But I know better and I begin once again,
                                                 that unfinished job."

It was heartwarming to hear a representative from an organization that serves the children of Haiti spoke about what it meant to be able to distribute a brand new pair of shoes to children so they can walk to school without getting cuts on their feet. She told the story of a young woman who thanked her for a pair of shoes, she received over three years ago that allowed her to travel to college to become a teacher. This my dear friends is what we describe as "happy feet"  Oh, the power of a brand new pair of shoes.

How fitting it was that so many kind folks came out to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther  King.  It is he who said:

                                                  "Life's most persistent and urgent question,
                                                    is what are you doing for others."
My hope is that you will go where your heart leads you to be of service to others.

Thanks to the hands that prepared such great tasting food, as many reached for more helpings, there were words of praises for this scrumptious meal.  As I began to reflect, the space that seemed so small at first ,widened to fit everyone;  there were drinks and food to satisfy thirst and hunger. I did not hear any grumbling and connections were made. If anything was out of sorts, it was promptly amended. Indeed, we made lemonade out of lemon.

And for me, a little extra came my way from a girl scout leader in California who shared with me via e-mail that her troop, in order to earn their "staying fit badges" have to learn how to be their best healthy self.  She said she had been helping them research all about healthy eating habits, exercising and managing stress.  They came across health information in a blog posted on CTC's website which really helped the girls and she wanted to say thanks.  She shared a link that she thought would help others also:  This is icing on the cake, never underestimate the impact you can make in this world, no matter how small.

"I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart"
Vincent Van Gogh

Kindness begets kindness. Your presence and assistance were greatly appreciated.
Wishing you many more.