Friday, November 21, 2008

Interesting Story... 99 Cent Dating Experiment

A 99-Cent Dating Experiment
By Mark Miller
One man decides to try a daring dating experiment — a fun, exciting second date for under $20…
According to a recent research study, three of the hardest things on the planet are diamonds, iron, and … dating after divorce. Because after your divorce, you pretty much have to go back to romance school. You have to learn not just how to write an online dating profile, but how to love and trust again. After my divorce, I asked myself how I could trust that a woman genuinely loved me and not the material things I could offer. After all, don't all the great gurus tell us that true happiness and fulfillment comes from within, not from within one's wallet? Does dating success require that a man spend a small fortune on his date? Do women expect it? Is not a man more than a bank account and some testosterone? Do I ask too many questions? (I know, I'm working on that.) Last month, I decided to try what I viewed as a dating expense experiment. It would be an experiment never before attempted (or at least admitted to) in the course of human dating history: I was going to have a wonderful second date—you know, that all-important date following the initial coffee date, and spend less than twenty dollars doing so. That's right, less than 20 dollars on a date in Los Angeles. The art of the 99-cent dateOK, I get it. I can hear women across the land (especially those in my city) exclaiming, "Cheapskate! Loser! Creep!" But I thought it was a brilliant idea. Hey, they poked fun at Columbus, but he showed them. He found a way of impressing women without having to spend a fortune—simply by discovering a continent. Surely my date would admire my thriftiness, my resourcefulness, my imagination and creativity. I'd discover a continent of inexpensive fun. And if the woman "played along" and was fine with it, I'd trust that she wanted to be with me, whether we were having gourmet French cuisine or nachos at Taco Bell. I would once again be able to love. And so, armed with 20 big ones in cold, hard cash, I strode into the one place where I knew I'd get great value for my money — the 99-Cent-Only Store. The store with the motto: "Nothing Over 99 Cents Ever!" I looked for the "Cheap Daters Welcome Here!" sign, but apparently it was being repaired. I arrived at Sarah's place wearing my playful Looney Tunes tie (a $9.99 value!), with a gift for her—an official Olympics Souvenir Program. A collector's item! It originally sold for $12.95, but I got it for, yes, 99 cents. Oh, sure, it was for the 1984 Olympics, but that makes it a 20th anniversary collector's item. Nor did I forget her cat, Marvin, whom I surprised with a Whiskas four-pack of Chicken and Seafood.
Before we got in the car, I took out a 21-piece canister of jumbo colored chalk, and right there on the sidewalk I created a multicolored heart with Sarah + Mark inside. I bet her wealthy boyfriends never did that! She seemed amused. Either that or she was so stunned that she couldn't get that strange smile off her face. In any case, I was pretty sure she'd never encountered a date like this. She couldn't accuse me of not being unique. So far, so good. We drove to the beach (free scenery!) where the heat was no problem because I was thoughtful enough to bring along Pinnacle Drinking Water, six for 99 cents, with sports cap. We sat there munching on Granny Goose's 13-ounce-size of tortilla chips and a Sun Maid six-pack of raisins. I even immortalized our fun with my new 35mm "Famous Name" 99-cent camera, containing 99-cent color print film. Maybe our senses of humor weren't so in sync … By my count, we had only gone through $9 of my $20 of purchases, when Sarah said, "OK, what's going on?" I said, "What do you mean?" all innocent-like. She mentioned my tie, the chalk, and the cat food before reaching for my bag and pulling out the remaining purchases, including Sesame Street Chocolate Chip Cookies (our gourmet dessert), Krazy Glue (to bond my hand to hers), a solar-powered calculator (to determine how many happy days we'd have in the future), Famous Publishers Books (so I could read to her later; women love that) and Matchbox "Around the World" Cars (something for our future kids!). "Are you losing it, Mark? What is all this?" I told her of my experiment and my plans for the Krazy Glue (honest, I wasn't going to really bond our flesh together, but I thought the idea was pretty funny) and the cars. It's not that she told me that this was to be our last date, but I inferred it from the lack of response to my phone calls over the next three days. I'm sure Sarah told all her friends. And they told their friends, and so on. I'm sure all over L.A. there are people talking about that crazy loser of a guy who took that poor woman on the 99-Cent-Only Store date. The lesson I learnedBut even so, I consider the experiment a success. Not because I found the love of my life, but because I didn't. In my view, rejection is God's protection. He's saving me for a woman who will truly "get" me, offbeat sense of humor and all. So I still believe that true happiness comes from within. And that somewhere out there is a woman who will absolutely appreciate the notion of two people bonding their hands together with Krazy Glue before they've even kissed. That's the kind of woman I could trust and love. Mark Miller has written for TV, movies and celebrities, done stand-up comedy, and been a humor columnist for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. He can be reached at

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obama and McCain: Hypothetical Reversal

What if things were switched around?

What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage, following the debate,including a three month-old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter?

What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law Review?

What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his college graduating class?

What if McCain had only married once, and Obama was divorced?

What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long affair while he was still married?

What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted to pain killers but also acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?

What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five? (The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisisof the late 1980s and early 1990s.)

What if Obama couldn't read from a teleprompter?

What if Obama was the one who had military experience that included discipline problems and a record of crashing seven planes?

What if Obama was the one who was known to publicly display a serious anger management problem?

What if Michelle Obama's family had made their money from beer distribution?

You could easily add to this list. If these questions reflected a reality, if the tables were turned, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative characteristics in another when there is a color difference.

And, think of this - the candidates' educational backgrounds:

Barack Obama:

Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specializationinnternational Rel ations.
Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

Joseph Biden:

University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science.
Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)

John McCain:

United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899

Sarah Palin:

Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Love These E-Mails, or Do I?

I Love These E-Mails, or Do I?
The Use of E-Mails in Psychotherapy and Counseling
By Ofer Zur, Ph.D.

To cite this page: Zur, O. (2008). I Love These E-Mails, or Do I?
The Use of E-Mails in Psychotherapy and Counseling. Retrieved 9/23/2008 from

I checked my e-mails the other day and saw that a client wanted to change his appointment for the following week. I swiftly responded affirmatively. Next I shot off an e-mail to a client asking her whether or not she could change her appointment the next Monday from 10 am to noon. Within seconds she responded with a one-word response, "Yes." A couple of months ago I discovered that I needed to be out of town the following week due to a family emergency. In one swoop I sent a single e-mail to a couple of dozen people (using Bcc not CC so their identities and e-mail addresses remain private), telling them that I would be out of town the next week, I would neither be available by phone nor by e-mail during that time, giving them names and phone numbers of my emergency back-ups, and asking them to let me know if they could make the same day and same time appointment for the week after.

Don't you like these e-mails? I do! They are simple, quick and effective. Long gone are the days where we play phone tag with clients; when we need to start the phone conversation with "How are you?" only to listen to a long winded response; hear long back-and-forth scheduling messages; get busy phone lines, get put on hold, deal with overworked, low paid, irritated receptionists or operators. These e-mails have saved us-therapists time and energy so we can focus on what is important. Many of us-therapists love the flexibility allowed in receiving and sending e-mails from our computers, Blackberrys or iPhones during working and non-working hours, from the office, living room, beach, boat, another country, or… from whenever or wherever.
Realizing how helpful e-mails can be, many therapists have started giving their e-mail addresses to their clients, including them on their business cards and posting them on our professional Websites. After all, they can save time and spare us from long, wasteful phone conversations.

Then, I woke up the other day to a short e-mail from a depressed client: "Doc, I cannot take it any longer!!!!!" I noticed it was send at 2 AM. Now what am I to do? Send an e-mail, call the patient back, call her listed emergency contact (not a good idea, it's her toxic mother), call the local crisis team or 911, or …?

Another morning, I got an e-mail from a client who was so excited about her 'break through' dream the night before, how it relates to our therapy, and apparently I was in it. Scrolling down the e-mail I noticed it was several pages long. Even though I was aware of the clinical significance of the dream, I did not have the leisure or desire to spend half an hour reading her dream that morning. She felt deeply offended and disvalued when, during the next session, she realized that I had not taken the time to read her 'break through' dream analysis.

Later on that very night, I checked my email and saw an e-mail from a client which started with: "I know we ran out of time, but there was just one more important thing I wanted to tell you." He proceeds to write an insightful e-mail, in essence extending the session by about 20 minutes. We neither have an agreement that he would pay for reading time nor would it fit within his rather tight budget.

A young woman had gotten into a fight with her best girlfriend, who is the topic of discussion during many of our sessions. She wrote: "I am so upset, can you believe that she told me ……" She went on to express her distress and rage in a long-winded e-mail. She got furious with, what she called, the "dismissive" response of "I am so sorry about the fight with your friend. Let's discuss it further when we meet this week."

Many therapists report that clients often ask them "quick" questions via "brief" e-mails, such as "My mother is coming over tonight, should I bring up with her what we discussed in our last session about my brother molesting me?" or "I met this girl, she seems perfect and I am panicked. Do you have any quick advice? We have a date later on tonight."

E-mail, like any technology, has at least two sides, if not more. Like a hammer it can be constructive and helpful or can be misused and be destructive. In our MySpace era, where social networking takes much of many people's leisure (and often non-leisure time), there is an expectation that anyone with an e-mail address is instantly available and responsive, 24/7, therapists included.

We used to check our phone messages regularly or have phone message services page us. Now we need to be on the lookout for e-mails from depressed, suicidal or homicidal, or existentially depleted or spiritually lost clients. E-mails were supposed to make our lives easier, not harder. Then come the obvious questions, what if the client committed suicide a day after she sent her "end of the rope" e-mail to me; how to deal with the disappointed client whose elaborate description of her dream went unread; or with the furious young women who felt dismissed because I did not reply with a lengthy supportive e-mail, like her best girlfriend would have done.

The main issue has become what is the proper use of e-mail in psychotherapy? To add to the complexity, there are several legal, ethical, and clinical questions that are related to e-mailing our clients.

The main question is how do we deal with clients who expect us to respond quickly and/or read lengthy and numerous e-mails between sessions? The answer lies in the communication between our clients and us. We must be clear about our parameters in regard to general use of e-mails, time, frequency, etc. While our Office Policies should attend to these issues, personal communication is likely to be much more effective in bringing clarity to the e-mail dilemma. This issue is not likely to be resolved in one conversation. With some clients who rely heavily on online social networking, it is likely to be a continuous dialogue about expectations, disappointments, and boundaries.

If you are ready to engage in dialogue and treatment via e-mail in conjunction with face-to-face therapy, state this to your clients. In this case you many need to inform them how you charge, if you do, for such e-services. Do you charge per e-mail, per minute, or other ways? I suspect that most therapists prefer to use e-mails primarily for administrative purposes and only at special times for distinct clinical purposes. In this case I would explain it verbally either in the first session or when the right time comes. Our Office Policies and Informed Consent to Treatment (see form 1 at Clinical Forms) that we give to each and every client at the beginning of therapy should have a section on policies regarding e-mails. This section should discuss issues of privacy, confidentiality, security, availability, response time, content, emergencies, etc. An example of such a paragraph is:
E-MAILS, CELL PHONES, COMPUTERS AND FAXES: It is very important to be aware that computers and e-mail and cell phone communication can be relatively easy to access by unauthorized people and hence can compromise the privacy and confidentiality of such communication. E-mails, in particular, are vulnerable to such unauthorized access due to the fact that servers have unlimited and direct access to all e-mails that go through them. Additionally, Dr. X's e-mails are not encrypted, and faxes can be sent erroneously to the wrong address. Dr. X's computers are equipped with a firewall, a virus protection and a password, and he also backs up all confidential information from his computers on to CDs on a regular basis. The CDs are stored securely off-site. Please notify Dr. X if you decide to avoid or limit, in any way, the use of any or all communication devices, such as e-mail, cell-phone or faxes. If you communicate confidential or highly private information via e-mail, Dr. X will assume that you have made an informed decision, will view it as your agreement to take the risk that such communication may be intercepted, and he will honor your desire to communicate on such matters via e-mail. Please, be aware that e-mails are part of the medical records, and do not use e-mail for emergencies. Due to computer or network problems e-mails may not be deliverable, and Dr. X may not check his e-mails daily.

There are a number of other questions that come up in relation to e-mails between therapists and clients. They include:
Are e-mails considered psychotherapy or counseling?

Yes. These e-mails, whether profound or mundane, are part of the therapeutic process and are considered part of the clinical records.

If I give my e-mail address to my clients, must I check my e-mails often?

The fact that you give your e-mail address to your clients does not obligate you to check often or even weekly. What is important is that you provide your clients with written information and verbal communication about how frequently you check your e-mail, if you respond to e-mails, and what are your general policies regarding e-mails (see details in the body of the article).

Does using e-mail make you automatically a Covered Entity by HIPAA, which means you must be HIPAA Compliant?

Different experts may give different answers to this question. In my opinion, exchanging e-mail with clients is likely to mean that you have to be HIPAA compliant, if you are not already. (Becoming HIPAA Compliant is not that hard, check our HIPAA Compliance Kit or Online HIPAA Course for CE Credits.)

What about confidentiality and privacy?

Confidentiality and privacy are applied to e-mails in the same ways that they are applied to any other verbal or written exchanges between psychotherapists and clients.

Must e-mails be encrypted?

At the present time, e-mails between therapists and clients do not need to be encrypted, as long as clients are informed about the vulnerability of e-mails being read by unauthorized people, and they elect to use e-mail. (For more details, see above note about Office Policies and the next question.)

What is an e-mail signature and what may it look like?

An e-mail signature goes at the end of the e-mail. It can be set automatically. Make sure that every e-mail to a client or patient includes an electronic signature that covers issues, such as confidentiality and security. Following is a sample of such an e-mail signature:

Notice of Confidentiality: This e-mail, and any attachments, is intended only for use by the addressee(s) and may contain privileged or confidential information. Any distribution, reading, copying or use of this communication and any attachments by anyone other than the addressee, is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this e-mail in error, please immediately notify me by e-mail (by replying to this message) or telephone (707-xxx-xxxx), and permanently destroy or delete the original and any copies or printouts of this e-mail and any attachments.
It is important to be aware that e-mail communication can be relatively easily accessed by unauthorized people and hence can compromise the privacy and confidentiality of such communication. E-mails, in particular, are vulnerable to such unauthorized access due to the fact that servers have unlimited and direct access to all e-mails that go through them. A non-encrypted e-mail, such as this, is even more vulnerable to unauthorized access. Please notify Dr. X if you decide to avoid or limit, in any way, the use of e-mail. Unless I hear from you otherwise, I will continue to communicate with you via e-mail when necessary or appropriate. Please do not use e-mail for emergencies. While I check my phone messages frequently during the day when I am in town, I do not always check my e-mails daily.
Name/Degree/License: xxxx
Address: xxx
Phone: xxx
E-Mail: xx
Web Site: xx

If we e-mail to clients, does it mean we are conducting tele-health or e-therapy?
If the e-mails involved are primarily dealing with administrative issues, such as scheduling, they are not likely to fall under the definition of tele-health or e-therapy. However, if they are clinically oriented (i.e., including assessment or interventions), extensive, and used routinely, they may be viewed as tele-health or e-therapy. There is not a clear line in the sand yet, differentiating between tele-health and face to face therapy, and mixing the two modes can be effective and ethical when done appropriately and competently. (For more information, see out Telehealth Online Course.)

Are these e-mails part of the clinical records, and can they be subpoenaed just like chart notes in the unfortunately not uncommon event of legal action?
Generally, e-mails between therapists and clients are considered as part of the clinical records and can be subpoenaed, just like chart notes. You may want to consider printing important e-mails and placing them in the chart, in case your computer crashes.

Guidelines To Using E-Mail With Clients

The subject and discussion about the role of e-mail in therapy is common, relatively new, unsettled, and very complex. There are a few things that therapists can do to keep clients informed, increase therapeutic effectiveness, and help protect themselves from board complaints and other liabilities.
Clarify to yourself your thoughts and feelings regarding e-mail communication with clients. What are your preferences, your limits, etc.?
If you are considering using e-mails as an adjunct to therapy, make sure you become HIPAA compliant.

Discuss the issue of e-mail communications with clients, when relevant, in the first session. Learn from them about their expectations and clarify your expectations and boundaries. Continue the dialogue as clinically and ethically necessary throughout the course of therapy.

Make sure that your office policies include a section on the use of e-mails.
If you are conducting tele-health, follow state laws, relevant codes of ethics, and have a separate informed consent, which is required in some states, such as California.

Make sure your computer has a password, virus protection, firewall, and back up system.

Make sure that each e-mail includes an electronic signature that covers issues such as confidentiality and security.

To cite this page: Zur, O. (2008). I Love These E-Mails, or Do I?
The Use of E-Mails in Psychotherapy and Counseling. Retrieved 9/23/2008 from

Copyright © Zur Institute, LLC, 2008. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with Permission.

South Carolina: The Most Violent State

Though it is unsettling to hear that South Carolina is once again one of the most violent states, it can be understood by this writer. Crime and deviance, though related, are two distinct concepts. Deviance refers to violations of rules that govern our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. Crime is any act that violates a criminal law which is broken down into two categories, violent offenses, crimes against others, and non-violent offenses, crimes against property. Knowing this, we can determine that all crimes are deviance, but not all deviance is criminal in nature.

Deviance and criminality are high in South Carolina based on statistics and therefore such behavior can be seen as social pathology. People that prescribe to this pathology consist of criminals, mentally ill, drug abusers, and other deviances and can define many reasons why such behaviors exist in our society. In many cases, it is a part of their upbringing, or more to the point, lack of upbringing. The rights of passages of old African tribes are no longer what they were. Black men now see such passages as going to jail, being shot or shooting someone.

Labeling theories indicated that deviance and criminality are attributes primarily associated with the African American population. In viewing it in that way, a person who does not adhere to this stereotypical view must then be viewed as deviant, at least deviant to the defined social perspective.

Social stratification is also a main contributor to the statistics that label South Carolina as one of the most violent states. Social stratification is a form of inequality in which categories of people are are systematically ranked in a hierarchy on the basis of their access to scarce but valued resources. Though it happened a long time ago, the aftermath of slavery seems to still have an impact on society in South Carolina. Here in Charleston, I am reminded every day as I drive downtown that slavery was a cornerstone of this society. Though no one in the city of Charleston were slave owners, nor was anyone a slave, the defined role of the ancestry has a large impact on the roles people play in this society.

Black people strongly contribute to the violent crimes which indicated South Carolina as one of the most violent states. These Black people see circumstances that they do not know how to get out of through socially acceptable means. If jobs and resources are scarce, is it not only natural for one to do what they have to do to survive? If there are no jobs available in the area which can provide for your basic needs, what is one to do? If the resources are stretched so thin, and the laws circumvent any thought of familial unity, what is one to do in order to benefit those that are dependent upon them?

At one time, I thought criminal acts and acts of deviance was a learned behavior or something an individual did just they wanted to, but have found out recently that men, with no criminal records, a strong family upbringing, and high level of education, often to think to resort to such paths. Why? Because of socialization and networks which shut them out, that keep them out, and therefore manifest a type of control over them. If opportunities are not made available, then opportunities must be made. If such opportunities can not be created, then what? Criminality? Deviance?

The disturbing thing is that many Black males are proud of this declaration that South Carolina is one of the most violent states. What happened to us to make us proud of such an insult? What happened to us?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Why I Want to Be a Counselor

Life experiences shaped the way that I see the world. I would not be the person that I am today it was not for the trials and tribulations that I encountered in my lifetime. Misery was not the only attribute that shaped my worldview, but it was definitely the most inspiring in determining my path in choosing the educational path in Counseling. I pursued a degree in Mental Health Counseling because of my unfaltering concern of the wayward ways of today’s youth and its affect on our communities and our society’s future. I have seen first hand on how the moral decay of today’s society has affected our youthful populations and I feel that by becoming a Mental Health Counselor, I will be able to make positive changes in our communities and therefore our communities’ futures.
Before I came to Webster University, I was already working in the field of Mental Health as Residential Team Counselor Coordinator at Alternative Behavioral Services in Summerville, South Carolina. I received my Associates of Arts in Human Services from Trident Technical College and my Bachelors of Science at Springfield College. There was a point on my journey to further my education that I was discouraged and almost chose a different educational path. My internships at Goodwill Industries and Department of Social Services were disheartening and disparaging experiences which questioned my dedication to this field of study. I decided that I would finish my degree and pursue a Master’s degree in another discipline. I learned a lot in my internships but that knowledge came at a cost of being a gopher and a witness to detrimental behaviors and work policies that were not in the best interest of the client population. I decided to stay employed in the human services field in hopes that I would find a job or career path through internships and tours of other agencies that would warrant me pursuing and finishing this degree.
One of the main reasons that I chose this field of study is because of some of the occurrences that I have been a witness to in my past. It started when I was a youth after my parents divorced. My mother struggled to raise us in the proper way and often had bouts of depression which lasted for extended periods of time. She never would seek services to help with her condition and her family as well as herself suffered because if it. It was later revealed that she thought it was normal to feel that way and her only outlet was to deal with it or pray. Well, she must have been doing a lot of praying because she did not deal with it effectively. As I was growing up, I came in contact with a lot of people that I could now say had some type of mental disorder. Neighbors would make jokes about turning certain people in to mental health so that they could get a “reward”. Drugs were also a debilitating factor in my neighborhood. I feel that some of the drug use may have been used to cope with some of the mental disorders that the users may have been experiencing.
I have volunteered for agencies such as 211 Hotline and found that I truly have a passion for the field of mental health. My educational background, work experience, and volunteerism are a testament to what I am capable of providing in regards to becoming an asset to the field of mental health. The qualities that make me a good mental health professional would be that I am empathic, genuine, open, and flexible. I have a high respect for other people and their viewpoints and am sensitive to individual differences such as gender, race, and ethnicity. Even more, I enjoy counseling and am committed to helping others grow in the mental health field. I exemplify high levels of conceptual functioning, have a clear sense of my own strengths and limitations as a counselor, and can identify how my personal traits and interpersonal style may affect the conduct of counseling. Finally, I feel such personal traits and relationship factors that I possess are considered as significant as technical prowess in counseling.
I have extensive training and wide experience in counseling, which has helped me achieve a broad perspective of the field. I can effectively employ a variety of interventions, and deliberately choose from these interventions based on my assessment of a client’s learning needs, learning style, and personal characteristics. I seek ongoing growth in counseling and supervision through continuing education activities, self-evaluation, and feedback from supervisees, clients, other supervisors, and colleagues. I believe I have a wealth of knowledge and experience to properly work in field of mental health. I affirm that I will be attuned to the needs of those seeking the services of mental health and those who contribute to this field as well.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Youth Empowerment Program

I pursued a degree in Human Services because of my unfaltering concern for the wayward ways of today’s youth and its affect on our communities and our society’s future. I have seen first hand on how the moral decay of today’s society has affected our youthful populations and I feel that my becoming a Human Service worker will be able to result in positive changes in our communities and therefore our communities’ futures.

The personal goals that I set for myself for the final term insured successful completion and implementation of the Youth Empowerment Program project. One of my goals was to use each day as a learning tool to make the next day a better one. Another one of my goals was to empower the children in the Youth Empowerment Program through the seminars that my teammates and I conducted. My final goal was to use the lessons learned from this experience to make this program better next year and start new programs that will empower the youth as well as others.
Each day that my fellow group members and I, primarily Sharkea, Jo Ann, and myself, conducted a seminar, I learned a vital lesson to use for future implementation in the next seminar or another community project. Even when the seminar did not produce the results that we envisioned, there was an incident or an occurrence that took place that I learned from and was able to implement into utilization at a future date. Using experiences such as the ones that took place in the seminar made me a better group facilitator and moderator. I could have easily looked at such experiences as failures, but to learn from them and adapt made me better every time a seminar was conducted.

Empowering the youth though the seminars that were conducted through the Youth Empowerment Program was another one of my goals. Each Youth Empowerment Program seminar taught vital life lessons to the youth so that they could navigate through this voyage called life. In the seminars, the speakers gave empowering speeches and involved the youth in these speeches by utilizing activity therapy techniques which are fun and enriching. The children enjoy themselves at these seminars and they learned at the same time. Through media, the children are more susceptible to information than if they were just being spoken too. In this day and time, to teach, one would have to approach it in a unique and innovative way. A normal teaching approach can not compete with the constant bombardment of stimulus that typical media delivers such as in television, movies, and video games.

I used the lessons I learned through my involvement in the Youth Empowerment Program to start other community projects. I am currently working on an Empowerment Speech Program which will utilize a multimedia approach to teach middle school aged children important life lessons. I am conducting a pilot program at Oakbrook Middle School and so far it is working out for the youth and volunteers involved.
The overall effectiveness of the Youth Empowerment Program was evaluated by interviews, post-assessments, and surveys of the students, the parents, and the teachers. Comparing the results from the first interviews, the pre-assessments, and surveys gave the Youth Empowerment Program the information required to judge the success of the project. Though we were aware that the program fell short of some of the goals originally planned, it became obvious that the Youth Empowerment Program was a success with the students, parents, and the teaching staff.

Through this project I have developed as a learner. The experience has taught me to implement different methods for gathering information applicable to this project. The library provided an array of information in regards to this community project which my group has decided to partake upon. Information on non-profit organizations provided insight on how to establish communities project properly and what to do and what not to do in order to be successful. I also learned a lot of information from the internet and newsgroups. The internet provided information on how to set up a trouble free community project and warned of potential pitfalls that Y.E.P. could face. The newsgroups served as a forum for exchanging ideas and answering questions which would benefit the Youth Empowerment Program. Interviews conducted with community leaders, school administrators, and other non-profit organizations provided amazing insight. Brief surveys involving parents of school aged children also yielded substantial results which benefited Y.E.P.

As a community activist, I believe that this project will provide and has provided me with the knowledge I will need in order to benefit the community which I am serving. I have volunteered in many community programs and feel confidant about being a co-founder of a program that will benefit the at-risk youth population. I believe that this project has ultimately given me the experience and knowledge base to implement the non-profit organization called Empowerment MEDIA.

As a team member I have gained greater knowledge than previous group projects in which I participated. In the past, a group project would last a couple of weeks at the most. If the group was not cohesive, it really did not matter because we would not be working together for very long. If I had to do more work than I was initially assigned to make up for someone else’s shortcomings, it was not much of an issue because it was a short-term project. Because this group project spanned over three semesters, it took more of a group effort in order for it to be successful. Every group member had a substantial workload, so if someone was detrimental in their duties, the whole group suffered. I found my patience being tested as a team member because of this phenomenon. I strive to do the best that I can in whatever I partake in, but found that some of my team members did not have the same drive that I had. Because I have been designated as team leader for the Youth Empowerment Program, I felt that it was my responsibility to make the group a cohesive unit. Though we all were assigned particular duties, I strived to have a more fluid working environment in which everyone helped everyone else in regards to their duties and assignments. An “individual” team approach to finishing assignments would have made the group project harder to succeed in the mission of empowering the youth. The sooner my team accepted that ideology, the more successful this group project became in accomplishing their mission. I got feeling that my team was only looking at the short term goal of getting a passing grade for completion of this group project. After the conclusion of this project, I feel that most of us are in agreement that we will continue shaping and nurturing this program to benefit more youth in its mission of empowerment. It was my mission to educate my team members in seeing the long term goal of having a successful group project which would benefit its target group and possibly grow to become more influential in servicing a larger population in empowering themselves.

My learning related to the larger world because I believe that society is failing in its mission of servicing and teaching the youth. The behavior patterns and academic deficiencies in the school system offer evidence of this phenomenon. Single-parented households and dual-working parent households may supply answers to why such detrimental social norms are becoming more prevalent in our society. Some of the surprises that I found in partaking in this project are the unwillingness to help change what is going on by the community my group is servicing. Many people felt that it was not their concern because it was not a problem that directly affected them while others felt that it was not beneficial to their families. I was frustrated by the results I received from non-profit organizations such as Y.E.S. and Y.A.P. because they seemed unwilling to help another non-profit program. I am also frustrated by my group’s lack of drive. Some of the dilemmas that I felt the Youth Empowerment Program faced was the lack of funding, host location, and proper implementation of the project by its members.

My personal goals for this project was to learn about non-profit organizations, make this project beneficial to the population that it serviced, and to make an impact so that it affected all those that are involved. I feel that if proper focuses are geared towards children than they will have better opportunities in the world. Society is changing and in such a way that children are suffering because of it. If more time is taken to help children stay focused on their endeavors than they can grow to be better people and overcome obstacles that may stand n their way.
I hope to improve myself by becoming a better team member and team coordinator in the non-profit organizations that I am a part of and the company that I currently work for, Alternative Behavioral Services. I hope to learn more patience when dealing with people that do not share my same values and who do not have the same passions that I have. I want to grow as a person and by doing so, people will look at me as an example of excellence in what they want to become in their lives.
One of the skills that I want to improve on is motivational speaking. I want to be able to empower people by my speeches and evoke emotions in those that hear the words that I speak. I want to be a great communicator in which those that listen to me will feel and comprehend what I am saying and be able to make positive changes in their lives because if it. I also wish to acquire information on establishing a non-profit organization that truly benefits the people. I believe that a non-profit organization needs to know who it serves, what their needs and wants are, and how best to respond to these needs and wants. Non-profit organizations should exist to serve a constituency or cause and must strive to be successful.

I believe I accomplished great things as a team leader. As the team leader, my concerns were for my team and the youth that we were servicing in terms of empowerment. I hope to get my team to work effectively together, building on strengths, and mitigating weaknesses. I hope to make this project innovative and to meet our mission.

I believe success lies in having the children believe in themselves and overcoming the negativity that they are facing and may face in the future. I hope this project showed them the path that will lead them to better things in life. My grandmother once told me that if you don’t know where you want to go in life, any road will take you there.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

We Are Having a Financial Crisis!!!

For those of us who work… times are hard, real hard. Bush has really messed up things in America, and how did he do it? He was able to do it because of you. Yeah, you! You decided that your vote was not important, so he got reelected. That indecision on your part is something that we all are paying for now… and man, we are paying. Gas is around four dollars and it is effecting everything that we encounter. Such things like food, clothes, entertainment and more. I'ma be honest with you, this financial crisis is really jacking up my social life. I would love to go out for a night on the town, but between buying clothes at an elevated rate, paying for gas at an elevated rate, and buying dinner at an elevated rate, it's just not happening. One of my cousins commented to me the other day, after paying all that, he better get the drawers! Well… I'm not going to say all that, but I can see things from his perspective...

I need to ask Georgie… why did we go to war? Why? We invaded the country with the oil, and now we are paying more than ever humanly thought possible. It was told to me by a military official that our elevated gas prices are secretly funding the terrorists who plot against America. I thought that view was a bit extreme, but since I can not come up with a better reason for it, I have to accept it.

Bush hit us with a stimulus check, but damn, all that did for me was pay one month mortgage and put a dent in my electricity bill. As soon as it arrived, it was gone. Thanks a lot Bush! How about give us a gas break, a significant one at that, because this price gouging is killing everybody's pocket.

Another military member stated that the United States is in such debt, that the price gouging is in part to pay for this ill advised war. This war is ensuring that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Like many of my brothers and sisters, I am tired of being poor, and I want this trend to end, and end now.

My grocery bill has increased by at least $30 per week… and for gas, I pay approximately $65 dollars or more a week when at one time, it was only $30. I have to travel around 1000 miles a month in connection with my job, and get 44 cents a mile, but even with that, I am hurting at the pump.

I have two family reunions scheduled this summer… one in Detroit, and the other here in Charleston. I can easily afford the Charleston trip, haha, I live here. But that Detroit trip is going to hurt not only my pocket, but everybody in my family's pocket as well. My father said if we get a chartered bus, it would run $120 a head. What?!? The last time I did a bus trip is was around $40 a head… and that does not include the motel rate, the food, the entertainment, and the clothes, you know when you do the family reunion thing, you got to show out a lil bit… it's a subliminal rivalry between families, and unfortunately, this year, this part of the Blue clan will not be able to compete. We secede… it's all on you black.

For work purposes, I want to carpool, but in doing so, I probably can only do it two or three times a week, because of what my job entails. I want to park at K-Mart and take the CARTA bus to work… I am pleased that CARTA has maintained their pricing structure during this economical crisis and I may find myself being a loyal customer, and you should consider doing it too.

See, we are hooked on the oil reserves from other countries, and we are fiending for it to feed the veins of our big trucks, nice cars and fast bikes.

How do we shake this nasty addiction? Ride a bike? Carpool? Hitchhike? CARTA bus? Taxi? I don't know… but whoever wins this presidency has a lot of cleaning up to do. I will be praying for you Obama. America will pray for you.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Email Me For the Latest Entry... Do Not Want It to Be Googled

I believe I have a wealth of knowledge and experience to properly work as a Human Services Professional. I affirm that I will be attuned to the needs of a human services organization and will be an asset to it, the clients, and the employees within it.

Email me for clarification on this mission statement.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Photobucket Album



From the Perspective of F. Khristopher Blue: The Latest Mission of Mister Blue

From the Perspective of F. Khristopher Blue: The Latest Mission of Mister Blue

The Latest Mission of Mister Blue

Felipe Khristopher Blue is a man on a mission. His mission is to change the Black perspective and empower Black men and women to become better individuals, partners, parents and community leaders. His mission statement is to empower through education and entertainment. He calls the concept E3. Through his company Empowerment Media, he, along with fellow colleagues, uses editorials and articles, presentations, seminars, workshops, interviews, videos and documentaries, music, and more to make positive changes for people that need positive changes.

His latest endeavor is improving the conditions of Black people, and that movement starts with Black men and Black women. In his first book, titled LOVE: A BLACK MAN'S PERSPECTIVE, due for release Fall 2008, Felipe addresses many issues that effect Black people. He addresses employment, education, past histories, relationships issues between man and woman and parents and children, community involvement, social norms, politics, sex and sexism, classism, ageism, racism, and the future of Black America as it lays before us on its present path and what Black people can do to make it better. He plans on working with other writers, poets, educational systems, non-profit organizations, and human service agencies, to make this project a meaningful success. His hope is that the book can galvanize change and bring forth more awareness for all those that such issues may have an impact. It's not just a Black book, it's a perspective book for all those affected by such social norms and attributes.

This book has manifested in the mind of Felipe Khristopher Blue for a number of years, but after working with a mental health agency, Charleston County School District, and the Department of Social Services, his determination to write this book was catalyzed. It was even more solidified after working with Dr. Dee Hann-Morrison on a project based on her book "Even Superwoman Needs To Cry Sometimes: An Intimacy Guide For Men Partnering With Strong Black Women". Her book is currently on sale at AMAZON.COM. She is a very interesting person and is one of the only people that helped me become more grounded and focused in the field of empowerment and in my educational pursuits.

She can be reached at .


Mister Blue
Empowerment Media


...I am simply attempting to master the art of losing myself in everything in which I can invest myself...Self evacuation procedures to follow in case of ego...

Blogging... My New Hobby?

On this date of Friday, June 20, 2008... I have made a decision. I will blog. In therapy sessions, I have discussed journaling with clients. I can see blogging as a form of journaling, so I guess that is what I will do. I will not commit to blogging everyday, but I will commit to making at least a weekly entry. It may be an anecdote, or a summary of the activities of that day, it may be my thoughts on a particular subject, a vent session, an emotional plea, it can be any number of things... so we will see. Here begins the journey... I hope I travel well.