Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 REFLECTION - Looking Back and THANKFUL


In the beginning of this year I had several things on my list to complete.  It was very tiring and wanted to give up several times but God!!  It has been a great year of completions.  As I end this year I am taking a look back at how faithful God has been.  Even in the times that I didn't know my next move I knew a move was possible. So when you feel like giving up DON'T!

Isaiah 26:3 ESV You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Remember it does get better the next day.  You know how strong you are when you push through the hard times. You are capable of more than you think.   We are a blessed people, but we sometimes forget that we are.  Take some time before 2014 and reflect on how blessed you are.  Even in our hardest times we are still blessed. 

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

I look back over this year and I am amazed at what God has done.  He is so faithful!!  I cannot complain and will continue to move forward in what He has called me to do in this season.  

 Luke 1:45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”  

Did you take back your VISION IN 2013?  I DID!! I'm looking forward to reaping from what I sowed in 2013.  I'm excited about 2014 and the New things that will be accomplished and revealed.  This year wasn't just about me, but also about helping others to walk in their purpose and destiny.  I had a lot of fun watching others reach their goals and move forward!! You are more fulfilled and blessed when you help others be successful!!  SERVANT LEADERSHIP


My trips to Africa, Germany, Ohio, Chicago, Florida, Michigan, Indiana, Kansas City,  GA had a great impact on my life this year.  I am a better and wiser person because of the experiences.  I'm Looking forward to adding more trips and adventures in 2014 - USA - France - London - Africa - India Here I Come!



50th Birthday Party

Abuja Nigeria Leadership Training and Book Launch
Visit to the Ohio State House 2013

Stop over in Germany on my way to Abuja Nigeria



Abuja Nigeria taping Lets Go Innovate Show

Abuja Nigeria Coaching and Training

Johnnyswim Benefit Concert for Youth Life - 2013 - Blessed to have been a part of Youth Life for many years

Sunday, March 24, 2013




There is much to celebrate about growing older, like earned success and experienced perspective. It is very rare to see young people who can truly appreciate the beauty and contributions of the generations ahead of them. It is worth doing and it will bless you. Mingling with people of all ages helps add richness, wisdom and a broadened perspective to your life. I have learned that first hand by spending time with many elders especially Ms B. (Ms Burnece Walker Brunson). It was an honor for me to spend time with her celebrating her 98th birthday.  She has mentored many educators during her many years teaching and training teachers and administrators.  She is still so full of energy and was waiting to hug Roland and I as we entered her home. Each guest received a gold coin greeted with the statement “You are worth your weight in Gold” I will always cherish my time with her and look forward to helping her celebrate her 99th  BIRTHDAY!

MS. BRUNSON with her parents and sisters & brother - Back row (4th) LEFT

What wisdom she has to share with all of us from her 98 years on this earth.  From the days of her youth to now! WISDOM



Ms. Burnece Walker Brunson
“Before the well runs dry”

Watch the elders slow walking pace and it will tell you their journey. 

Look at an elder’s bent back and you can see the loads it has carried.

Read an elder’s hands-they will tell you the task they’ve completed. 

Listen to their songs and you will know 
The burdens they bare.

Watch their smiles
And you will know the extent of their memories.

Listen to their laughter

And you will always have a pleasant memory of the moment

See them nap in their rocking chair and you will know how tired they are.

Observe them saying their evening prayer You will know how contented they are As they retire for the night – In Peace
YES - Yolanda E. Shields

Friday, February 15, 2013


Reforming Education in Tennessee

Youth Life Learning Center Student
I attended the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) meeting on February 5, 2013 to hear the report put out by SCORE.  A lot of information was shared about the State of education in our State.  The one thing that I took away was that we still have a lot of work to do.  Our students need to be able to compete with not just the students in our State, but across the nation and internationally.  The panel presenters  (Speaker Harwell, Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, Dr. Kandi Hill-Clark, Ms. Allyson Chick – TN Teacher of the year, Ayers Foundation) were very informative and shared several things that we have to work on as a State.  Ms. Allyson Chick (TN teacher of year) continued to bring us back to the student.  We can sometimes forget that at the end of the day it’s about the student and equipping and preparing teachers to work with them.  A statement that I will not forget came from Dr. Kandi Hill-Clark “We must have principals who are being prepared as instructional leaders."  Please click link to see the full report SCOREREPORT.   One of the things that we have to really focus on is preparing students based on their learning style and creating individual learning plans for each student. Individual learning plans shouldn’t be seen as something for special education students.  Youth Life has seen the benefits of using Individual Learning Plans for each student. When teachers focus on the individual student skills and abilities you move students progress forward.  

Steps to Individualized Learning
Inform: After getting teachers on board, provide information to parents and students on the benefits of individualized learning.
Inspire: Generate support by getting all parties to understand the benefits of personalized approach.
Investigate: Select a method to identify individual students' strengths and weaknesses, such as diagnostic tests.
Involve: Bring together all parties, students as well as parents and teachers, to help plan the process.
Create personalized "smart" goals and learning plans for each of your students.
Initiate: Organize resources (time, personnel, space, materials, computers) and set learning plans in motion.
Implement: Evaluate progress of each student's plan and measure achievement on a quarterly basis.
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CEO, Youth Life Foundation TN