Just A Truck

Oftentimes, it’s the little things.  And, sometimes, it is just the matter of a truck.

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Frequently, I receive phone calls from friends of Caroline Center who have furniture they are replacing and they ask me if there is a trainee or graduate who might be able to use what they don’t need anymore. The issue is never if we have a trainee or graduate who is in need; it is almost always a question of how we can get the items to her.

What I’m talking about played out a few weeks ago when a good friend and her family were in the process of emptying out their deceased mother’s home. They had a lot of good furniture. There were even people who could help move the pieces, wishing to honor the memory of their mother who had so lovingly furnished their childhood home.

All we needed was a truck.

Linda (not her real name), the recipient of the donation, graduated from Caroline Center five years ago and has been working since that time as a CNA/GNA in a long-term care fargo-empty-bedfacility in the city. Linda and her three children had recently moved into a three-bedroom rental, and she shared with me that the only furniture she had was a single bed that her young son was sleeping on.

To the rescue: Sr. Betty Koehn, SSND, who oversees trucks and such things at our sisters’ office and residence on N. Charles Street, was happy to help. She had a truck ready for us on Saturday morning. In short order, we had the truck loaded with several donated beds, a sofa, and other odds and ends, such as lamps and dishes. Then, we were off to Linda’s in the truck, which was closely followed by our two-car caravan.

breakfast-counter-stoolsWhen we arrived at Linda’s house, all of us were taken aback at just how little there was inside. Although Linda and her family had been living in their house for a full month – even though Linda has had a steady full-time professional position as a CNA/GNA for five years – there was, quite literally, only a single bed and two kitchen counter chairs in the entire house.

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A thin bedspread on the floor of one of the bedrooms marked the place where Linda and her two daughters were sleeping. There was no TV, but Linda assured me that was okay because she and her children were able to watch movies together on her phone at night. There were no lamps, but the only tiny complaint came from Linda’s daughter who said it was hard for her to reach the pull chain on the overhead light. light-and-pull-string

Just goes to show that after you pay your security deposit, your first month’s rent, the charges to turn the utilities on, put a little food on the table, and pay for renter’s insurance, if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford that, you can eat up an entire paycheck – even a professional healthcare worker’s paycheck – pretty quickly.

That Saturday, it only took a truck to begin to change Linda’s reality; but hers was not the only reality that would be changed.

My friend’s family members who helped deliver the furniture – good people and long-time volunteers in the community who were certainly not new to grappling with and, in their own ways, helping to address issues of poverty, came away having experienced a new reality, too. After seeing how little there was in Linda’s home, our immediate reaction was to go back to my friend’s mother’s house, look again at what items remained, gather them up, and make a second trip to Linda’s.

We all had new energy for a task that had before been burdened with the sadness of a mother’s passing. The sense of loss that we felt at the REACH FOR THE MOONending of a loved one’s life was being healed by renewed purpose and meaning. Was this what Mother Caroline, our foundress, had meant when she said, “Now, take new courage and make it your own?” As we worked through the day sorting out my friend’s mother’s belongings, “Linda could use this” became our mantra. Throughout the afternoon and evening, the life-changing work at hand – made possible with just a truck – filled our conversations and occupied our thoughts and reflections.

At the end of the day, it would, once more, be just a truck that would change Linda’s reality yet another time.

After a long day of moving, when we returned the truck to Sr. Betty at the province and told her about our experience, Sr. Betty asked if we thought Linda could use an additional loveseat. We asked Linda, and she said “yes.” Yes LetterSo, that week, we borrowed the truck again and made another visit to Linda’s house.

And, so it goes.

A popular automotive industry commercial touts the strength of its trucks in an ad campaign that claims, “Real people, not actors.”  While we weren’t looking to replicate a “reality” TV show that weekend – there are certainly enough reality shows to go around – we will never again underestimate the power of a truck or of any small act of kindness to positively change the lives of all involved – both giver and receiver.

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“Just a Truck” was written by our Executive Director Patricia McLaughlin, SSND.

 

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The Company We Keep

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It’s good to be in the company of strong women. It’s especially good these days, when there are so many unsubtle reminders that misogyny is all too alive and well. We need an antidote for this poison; and, maybe it begins with the company we keep.

That’s why I wish every woman could start her day at Caroline Center. She would feel how real and see how empowering it is to be part of one of the hardest working, women-driven communities in the city. She would see what I see each day. That the women who come to Caroline Center for career training, most of them not yet 30 and still very much on the road to becoming the women they were meant to be, can quite literally take you to school on the subject of “strong.”woman-looking-in-the-mirror

In the company of Caroline Center strong women, I see my own strengths differently. I’m not afraid to show my authentic self. The steely parts and supple parts of myself that I never knew existed, that no mirror could ever reveal.

At Caroline Center, I have rarely, if ever, met a woman who was not strong; who did not possess, in good measure, many highly valued qualities of character. Frankly, most Caroline Center trainees are off the charts in this regard. Honest, responsible, respectful, and conscientious – yes. But, I’m also talking about the qualities that chisel the word “strong” into bas relief. They are there, too – qualities like grit, perseverance, self-discipline, optimism, courage, and kindness.

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Somewhere above the clamor of our current politics,

I know there are communities of strong women

just like the community at Caroline Center.

 

Women who embrace change through education and choose to listen to their own inner voices instead of the voices of their critics and naysayers.

Women who know that sometimes you just need to claim what’s yours, reserve what you deserve, even though others may say you’re impatient or selfish.

Women who choose to be exactly who they are, to do what they do, and to like what they like without regard to others who may judge them for it.

Women who recognize that there’s no need to apologize for having their own voice when others just want them to be quiet.

Women who love themselves – body and soul – even in the face of those who will try to shame them into invisibility.

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Being in the company of strong women at Caroline Center, especially during this election season, is making me really self-conscious. And, I’m happy about it. Caroline Center’s strong women are making me more self-conscious by being more self-aware, more confident, more emboldened – basically, more ready.

But, ready for what?

Ready, as the women of Caroline Center are, to have the confidence and courage to be fully themselves – and, to be the very best version of themselves – no matter what.

 

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A Book, Not A Gun

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So, I pen this article for everyone getting dressed for work, who are putting on their masks. For every student who is not only carrying the textbooks to improve their minds, but who also bear the weight of this reality on their backs. For everyone who has wept this morning because they are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

 For men and women whose emotions are boiling over because the pressure of frustration has them swinging wildly at the phantoms of racism and brutality which haunt them every news cycle.

from “Another Day Wearing the Mask,” by Big Baba Rob, theblackgeeks.com

As I write this early morning post, Caroline Center trainees are getting dressed for work, gathering up their textbooks, and waiting for the bus. More than a few are blotting away the tears. And, many more than we want to admit are putting on their masks. Because that’s what society expects. That’s what others need. It’s just another day. It’s part of the routine.

Four hundred and fifty miles away – but feels more like it’s right down the end of the block – Keith Lamont Scott waits for the bus that will bring his son home from school. It’s just another day. It’s part of the routine. But he never sees his son. Because the police see him first. Because? I know deep inside that he died wearing his mask. Because.

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 01: Children riding home from school on a school bus watch as Baltimore residents celebrate at the corner of West North Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue after Baltimore authorities released a report on the death of Freddie Gray on May 1, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore City State's Attorney, ruled the death of Freddie Gray a homicide and that criminal charges will be filed. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife on April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Education is something we all need.

Not because it makes us smarter. Because it makes us change.

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Whether you call it a renaissance or a revolution, maybe Baltimore is about to start one. About to become The City That Reads, Redux. About to read, write, speak, and slam its way onto the map of shared humanity. About to become a place where Black Lives Matter is the new “just another day in Black America.” Is the new just another day in all America.

Speaking of America. What would happen if citizens lost their right to carry?

Does it keep you up at night?

I mean books, not guns.

What did happen? What is happening?

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Today, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Tomorrow, where?

I don’t want to talk about tomorrow, right now. It’s pretty hard to talk at all.

Recently, City Paper writer Tariq Touré caught up with author and east Baltimore neighbor D. Watkins in the wee hours of the morning at The Bun Shop. He had a few words to say about tomorrow, and about books and reading – “Bro, from first through third grade the average kid is learning to read. From then on out they’re reading to learn. If these black kids don’t learn how to read, they’ll never understand the game being played out here. It’s like 10 things out here waiting to kill us. Reading prepares you for the first three.”
math-quote-by-einsteinOkay. I hear you, D. So, let’s do the math. If you add this up, we might be getting somewhere. Team Baltimore – Winner of the National Poetry Slam + Sadiq Ali + MK Asante + Nakia Brown + Ta-Nehisi Coates + Cija Jefferson + Bilphena Yahwon + + + .   .   .  all masters of the spoken and written word that are sky-rocketing Baltimore onto the literary landscape and, we hope, anchoring our city firmly and squarely on the map of shared humanity.

When women come to Caroline Center to learn and prepare for new careers as certified nursing assistants and pharmacy technicians, we share with them our hope that this place will be for them “a place of delight and rest.”

The work here is challenging, but pleasantly so. You can leave your mask at the door. Find healing. Create a new reality for yourself. Delight and rest.

Not long ago, I listened to what Michelle Campbell, CNA/GNA, had to say to her classmates at graduation. That day, I knew for a fact her vision was better than 20/20. That she could see the mask and under the mask at the same time.jiden

“What does a Caroline Center woman look like? I say, ‘strong.’ She cultivates her own history, and she shows her authentic self. She understands and appreciates her own strength; and, she uses her strength to achieve her own success.”

 

With a deeper understanding of all who wear their masks and great respect for all who have died doing so, I offer these words from Big Baba Rob as our new anthem. All rise.

These dark days will not break us. Our spirits may bend as we struggle with another death in our community, but our spirits will never be broken. They can never be broken. Be strong people, we will endure. We shall overcome.

 

Quoted material in this month’s post should be credited to: “Another Day Wearing the Mask,” by Big Baba Rob, bigbabarob@theblackgeeks.com; “Summer of the Slam: How two fearless Baltimore poetry slam teams took over the nation,” by Fire Angelou, City Paper (July 6, 2016); “Baltimore, The City That Reads Again: Black writers in Baltimore look to connect with local kids like never before,” by Tariq Toure, City Paper (July 6, 2016)

 

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Fighting Against the Fade

the-cook-up-d-watkinsI’m not sure if D. WatkinsThe Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir was on anyone else’s wish list for Mother’s Day this year, but it was on mine.

Having just been published and released in early May, this book was what I had been hoping for. Yes, to my mind, The Cook Up for Mother’s Day was right up there with the much-anticipated delicious brunch, lovely cards, and thoughtful phone calls from my family. “Look, mom, it’s signed,” my son said. “It is, indeed. Thank you.” A bold signature, I observed – one I hoped would not soon fade. I admired the cover, front and back, and placed the book snugly next to me on the living room sofa in my row house that sits just shy of three miles from the East Baltimore neighborhood where D. Watkins grew up and where I work at Caroline Centermaxresdefault smaller

This July at Artscape, my son caught up with D. Watkins at the Taharka ice cream truck. “I’ve got your book,” he said. “What’d you think of it?” Mr. Watkins asked. “Well, actually, my mother has your book. We gave it to her for Mother’s Day, so I’m waiting for her to read it first.”

“It’s been out awhile. Time is short. What’s she waiting for?” Mr. Watkins asked smiling.

Waiting for is right. Time is short, for real. On any given day in Baltimore, you don’t need to go far from your doorstep to see this truth. Time here can be painfully and breathtakingly short. If you live in the city, you’re going to know somebody, whether you realize it or not, who’s marking time’s brevity, whose life is already in some degree of “fade.”

bcp-local-street-artist-nether-creates-work-on-bus-stop-where-video-captured-police-beating-citizen-as-a-20141029Watkins talks about it this way – In Baltimore, “people are gained, trusted, and loved as quick as they fade.” One day you’re moving about in full living color; next day, you’re at some irrevocable percentage of “fade;” standing on the bus stop, losing the war with time, and receding against your will to a place from which it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to return.

“Fade” is for real.

 

Jason Parham, in his New York Times review of The Cook Up, observes “When you are black in America, fighting against the ‘fade’ – that is to say – battling against erasure – sometimes means doing things you would not otherwise do.”

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Was Freddie Gray fighting against the fade? Was Darius Kelly, the recent Poly graduate who met his end in an empty lot on N. Caroline Street, fighting against the fade? Was Lor Scoota fighting against the fade? Was D. Watkins, when he “took up the mantel of his [deceased] brother’s crack empire” on the East Baltimore streets he knew only too well, fighting against the fade? Today, is D. fighting against the fade still in his life as a writer, author, and educator?

It’s complicated – the choices we make, the things we do – to keep from being erased, to resist invisibility, to just stay in the world long enough to defy this street-bound shortness of time.

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On July 29, Caroline Center will graduate its sixty-fourth class of career trainees – women who are newly educated and professionally trained to enter careers as certified nursing assistants and pharmacy technicians. We want them all to be strong enough, smart enough, and, let’s be honest, fortunate enough to win in the fight against “fade.”

Women, blackwomenmatter-720particularly women of color, have been battling invisibility and erasure for centuries. Over-incarceration, sex-trafficking, and violence take women’s souls and lives every day. It’s complicated. But, our hope is that the single, courageous choice a woman makes to come to Caroline Center may be one powerful step in the direction of redeeming time – of her successful resistance to invisibility and erasure.

tumblr_nqcmfrbCRx1s8wl38o1_500When you read The Cook Up, listen up to D. Watkins. Pay attention. Because he’s going to tell you the truth. It’s a truth that every Caroline Center graduate knows – that reinvention is also for real. That it’s not, as the old saying goes, “how you begin,” but rather “how you finish” that matters.

For everyone in Baltimore who knows or is a witness to these struggles, our hope is that you “finish well” and that the unique brilliance you bring to the city and to the world not soon fade.

Quotations in this post are from D. Watkins’ The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir, May 2016, Grand Central Publishing, New York & Boston and The New York Times, Book Review section, “The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir by D. Watkins,” written by Jason Parham, published May 13, 2016. Mr. Watkins use of the word “fade” and Mr. Parham’s observations on the important use of the word as well as his expression “fighting the fade” inspired this post and its title. The bus stop image is by photographer Joe Robertson and features a mural by internationally renowned Baltimore street artist Nether. The mural of Freddie Gray at North Mount and Presbury Streets in Baltimore was created by Nether in 2015. The Black Women Matter image is by photographer Rayette Turner. 

Posted in Artscape 2016, Caroline Center, D. Watkins, Darius Kelly, Freddie Gray, Jason Parham, Nether, Taharka Brothers, The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jemella Nation: My Story

QUESTION MARK

 

 

Who am I? At the age of 34 years old, I’m still trying to find that out. When I was born, I was someone’s daughter. I had brothers and a sister. So, I was someone’s big sister and little sister.

 

When I was 13 years old, I had my first child. I was no longer someone’s daughter, big sister, and little sister. Now, I was someone’s mother. Not just a mother, but a provider, caretaker, teacher, and somewhat a big sister to my own child.

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I still attended school. But, I wasn’t an 8th grade student. I was the 13-year-old classmate with a newborn baby. I did not want to be that. I just wanted to be a regular kid, like everyone else. So, I acted out like everyone else. I was the bad, popular, cool, good grades girl everyone wanted to be around.

After school, I would pick up the baby from daycare. I was still a young black mother.

Who am I? At the age of 16 years old, I had my second child. No sweet 16 for me. It was two sweet babies and smelly diapers. I’m not going to lie. Times was hard and rough. It was way too late to be a regular kid. I completely skipped past being a teenager.

KFC2Who am I? I can’t even think about all that. All I know is I need a job. So, I started working at KFC part-time at 16. I really needed the money. So, I worked full-time. I would pay two different babysitters, just to work. Sometimes, I would bring my children to work. I worked beyond full-time – to the point where I had enough money to pay for my first apartment, years later.

But, that job wouldn’t last that long. That was the beginning of a lot of hard times.

September 11, 2001. Who am I? That is a day nobody will ever forget – not even me. Before, I was just a single black mom of two boys. Now, I am a single black mom of two boys on welfare. It was good and bad being on welfare. But, it really helped me get a lot of opportunities, knowledge, and be completely independent.

So, I really had to start focusing on my goals. LIFE PLAN

Social Services helped me get a lot of great jobs. I worked at a daycare for three years as a teacher’s aide. I also worked for Baltimore City Department of Social Services for a year and a half. I worked in many departments – Homeless Department, Energy Assistance Department, and Food Stamp Department. But, you know how things always get in the way.

Who am I? At this time, I have four kids. My two boys are 20 and 18 years old and my two girls are 11 and 7 years old. Through all, the struggles, heartbreaks, and not having anyone there for me, I was able to get my driver’s license. I tried so many times to go back to school and get my high school diploma. This was something I wanted more than anything. So, I didn’t wait on anybody. I studied and taught myself. In 2013, I received my high school diploma.

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Who am I? In 2014, I was attending Baltimore City Community College. I loved being a college student. But, life happens. Everything happens for a reason. My sister became pregnant and learned that she had breast cancer at the same time. When she had the baby, I became his mother also. While she was getting treatment, I was taking care of him. Now, he’s back home.

It’s time for me – to find me.

Looking at my life, now. I am so amazed and blessed. I am still standing. Who am I? I am Jemella Marktina Nation. I am a strong, wonderful, smart, goal-driven, caring, and loving woman and mother. My past is who I was. Today – at this moment – is who I am.

Photo Of Jemella Nation

This month’s guest writer in The Breakroom is CNA/GNA candidate Ms. Jemella Marktina Nation. Jemella initially wrote her personal essay “Who Am I?” for a speech class assignment at Caroline Center. Jemella’s classmates were so taken by her remarks that they encouraged her to share her story with all of her fellow trainees during Halfway Hurrah – a time we set aside midway through the 15-week program – for each woman to reflect on her growth and progress and to reaffirm her resolve to achieving her personal and professional goals.

 We think “Who Am I?” deserves a larger reading audience. Jemella just says, “I like to write. I’m still learning.” We say, “Keep writing. Keep learning. Keep growing. And, keep being all that you are from this moment forward.”

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No Ordinary Journey

 

on-looking-9781439191262_hrThe cover of Alexandra Hurwitz’s book, On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the Art of Observation, could have been the only book on the shelf at the New York Public Library Store. It had me from the beginning. Before I knew it, I was reaching instinctively for its captivating gold and sepia-toned cover and wondering where the author’s forays into the familiar – her “eleven walks with expert eyes” around the ordinary city blocks of her own neighborhood – would take me.

Why do we often miss what is in plain sight? Why does so much of what we see go unremembered? How could having a walking companion serve to open our eyes? Or, maybe, as Ms. Hurwitz suggests, do more than just open our eyes by opening our hearts and minds as well.

ebfb663fc9520689b626049638c069c3Ms. Hurwitz’s walking companions, her “expert eyes,” ranged from her inquisitive, tuned-in 19-month-old to the fabulously talented illustrator, writer, artist, and designer Maira Kalman. With each walk on roughly the same familiar streets with 11 different companions, Ms. Hurwitz  reveals the rewards of paying attention, of being mindful, and of truly being with the companion of your journey.

Each day, at Caroline Center, we walk on roughly the same familiar streets with our trainees as our companions. And, we take this walk with the benefit of their “expert eyes.”

I hadn’t thought of it quite this way until I read On Looking and then, more recently, I spoke with our counselors and social workers about their specific gifts, the roles in which they serve, and the many ways they contribute each and every day to educating the “whole woman” at Caroline Center.

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Here’s what I learned. This education is all about the journey. It’s about the walk we have each promised to make alongside every woman who commits to doing her career training here. It’s about the risk we have all pledged to take to be more attentive, more mindful, and more open-hearted to one another.

It’s about the transformation that education and being able to see with another’s eyes make possible. It’s about real change that is bone deep as well as deeply personal – change that is so powerful that it radiates outward to families, neighborhoods, entire communities, and the world.

FOOTPRINTSCaroline Center’s Director of Social Work Services Vicki Cofield-Aber, LCSW-C, shared this amazing insight: “At Caroline Center, I walk with the women. I listen deeply to them because I know that within their personal narratives they will find healing and hope.”  Here’s a sage observation from Director of Counseling and Social Work Holly Knipp, LCSW-C: “I hope that I am helping the women make meaning of their lives by showing them that while you cannot change what may have happened to you in the past – you can change the meaning of those experiences, even how you think about those experiences – and, you most certainly can change your future.” Director of Counseling Nicole Robertson, MS, NCC, LGPC, had this wonderful reflection on the journey: “At Caroline Center, I accompany the women on their journeys so that, ultimately, they will be able to see all the potential they hold. As they journey, I want to help them to be able to recover their emotional availability for others – to be open, compassionate, and strong.”

It’s almost summer. So, go outside and take a walk. Then, take the same walk with a companion – your favorite “expert eyes.” And, if you find that you like doing this so much that you could do it over and over again, you might want to consider walking with Caroline Center. We hope you do. It’s bound to change the way you see the world.

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Posted in Alexandra Horowitz, Caroline Center, Holistic Approach to Learning, Journey, Mindfulness, On Looking, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Right Reverence

 

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The forgotten virtue of reverence, as classicist and writer Professor Paul Woodruff suggests, may very well be the mother of all virtues – the virtue that makes all of the other virtues possible. The virtue that ensures that the center will hold and that civil society will, indeed, be possible.

But, as long as there is gravity, won’t the center still hold? And, what’s the purpose of having laws if not to ensure an orderly and civil society? Isn’t respect more important than reverence? What’s the difference between the two anyway?

So many questions. The most important of which may be: Why should we spend time thinking about virtues at all when there is so much else to worry about these days in Baltimore? Will virtues help us eradicate poverty? Will virtues help us reduce violence and crime? Will they create better, more equitable educational opportunities? Help us address addiction and other serious health issues? Will virtues stimulate economic growth in Baltimore? Will they help strengthen our most vulnerable neighborhoods?

As much of a “lost art” as virtues are today, their sagacity and power were not lost to the ancients. In Plato’s Pythagoras, we find this bit of wisdom:    wisdom99

Whenever they gathered into groups [early human beings] would do wrong to each other, because they did not yet have the knowledge of how to form society. As a result they would scatter again and perish. And so Zeus, fearing that our whole species would be wiped out, sent Hermes to bring Reverence and Justice to human beings, in order                                                                                                that these two would  adorn society and                                                                                            bind people together in friendship.

This week at Caroline Center, we welcomed our 64th class of nursing assistant and pharmacy technician trainees at Somerset Street and Gibbons Commons/St. Agnes Hospital – seventy-six courageous and dedicated women who have committed to preparing for new, sustainable careers. Within the first week of their arriving, I experienced firsthand one of the chief reasons our program is so consistently successful. We haven’t forgotten the wisdom and practical power of virtues – or “values” as we call them at Caroline Center.

Values are woven into the fabric of our teaching and career skills training at Caroline Center; but, they really shine, as individual stars in a constellation, in the “Values Curriculum,” with which our trainees begin each day. In their first week, Caroline Center trainees learn about the value of respect – seeking to properly define it; to fully understand its meaning; and, to know how to apply it.

Respect pinned on noticeboard

Paul Woodruff’s book, Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me provided excellent teaching and critical thinking support for my trainees’ discussion. We learned that respect has reverence as its guide star. Paul Woodruff says, “.  .  . without reverence, things fall apart. People do not know how to respect each other and themselves. Without reverence, we cannot explain why we should treat the natural world with respect.” (p. 13) We explored how reverence creates the capacity for respect – how it guides us in giving proper respect and permits us to withhold respect when it is warranted.

We discussed the lessons that Ta-Nehisi Coates’ grandmother imparted to him – lessons that seemed, on the face of it, solely about respecting his teachers at school, but they were really his grandmother’s way of teaching him “how to ruthlessly interrogate the subject that elicited the most sympathy and rationalizing – [himself].” The discovery that he was not “an innocent;” that his motives were not always “filled with unfailing virtue” meant that he was fully a part of the human condition that pertains to us all. (pp. 29-30)

As Lansing-CNA-courses-photo-of-CNA-and-elderly-patienthuman beings, we are not perfect; but, as one trainee reminded us this morning: “Respect begins with you. How you express respect is a reflection of yourself – of who you are and who you want to be.”

In the coming weeks, Caroline Center trainees will delve more deeply into the virtues and values beyond respect that will help to ensure their success in both work and life. We will explore the contemporary meanings and applications of the values of: integrity, empowerment, determination, responsibility, compassion, loyalty, community, diversity, and personal growth.

And, we will, I am certain, allow each of the values to shine as individual stars under the celestial canopy of reverence.

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