Spotlight on Pencils of Promise

11 04 2011

Originally seen on MakeCharityCool.com, March 28, 2011

Charity Spotlight | Pencils of Promise

March 2011 | By Jillian Diedrich

Founded less than three years ago, Pencils of Promise is a nonprofit that started out with a $25 deposit and has grown to build more than 20 schools in the developing world.  PoP also strives to train young leaders to take action at home and abroad.

To get the real story behind Pencils of Promise, I interviewed two amazing women who stand behind the cause: founding member and Director of Outreach, Mimi Nguyen, and the Director of Youth Programming, Jocelyn Kmet.

“PoP is a community of passionate individuals dedicated to education for all, and this community is built upon the belief that every person has the potential to create good in this world – regardless of age, ability, or money,” said Mimi, who has helped founder Adam Braun change the world ‘one pencil at a time’.

One of Mimi’s goals as Director of Outreach is to increase membership on the Professionals for PoP community site.  This newly launched program helps guide professionals on how they can get involved.  Visit the site directly at www.professionalsforpop.org.

The overall long-term goal is “access to education” – in order to bring down the statistic that 75 million children in this world are without access to education.

“We train young leaders by providing programs here that will inspire them to take initiative against a key issue: education as a basic human right,” said Mimi. “Through our education, our supporters become advocates for Pencils of Promise’s work abroad.  In our youth program, we’re launching PoP Leadership Institute this summer so check it out!”

Jocelyn Kmet, Director of Youth Programming, came aboard the PoP team last summer to run the summer internship program.  She didn’t realize then that the three-month commitment would change her life.

“I have the best job in the world!” said Jocelyn. “I get to work with the most amazing, passionate and inspiring young people who are looking to change the world.”

The youth programming team develops toolkits and campaigns for students to get involved, spread awareness or fundraise for PoP.  An International Youth Council is being created along with a social entrepreneurship and leadership summer training program for high school students.

“I want Pencils of Promise to provide students all across the world with the best programs to allow them to easily participate in the creation of good whether through PoP or within their own communities,” said Jocelyn.

PoP strives to engage students at the college level and under by hosting live webinars and video chats for students to get to know the team and to receive guidance on how to join the movement.

Interested in getting involved? Both Mimi and Jocelyn advise you to combine your passions and your talents with your volunteer project.

“I always wanted to find something I was truly passionate about and that I could devote myself to,” said Jocelyn. “That is what PoP is to me.”

Join The PoP Movement at    www.pencilsofpromise.org.

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March Madness

24 03 2011

If blogs have the ability to feel neglected, mine deserves at least a dozen roses.  With that said, tonight I get to spoil it with many juicy details that have occurred during this great month dedicated to women’s history.

As for the March Madness, let’s not even talk about the basketball due to the end of the run for my horns… let’s just stick to the happy stories…

The Bravery @ the ACL Moody Theater

I don’t even remember what happened during the first week of March, BUT two weeks ago Hackney Communications had the pleasure of representing RISE Week Austin, the largest free entrepreneurial conference in the world.  In its fifth year, RISE Global kicked off the week with Robert L. Johnson, founder of BET and the RLJ Companies.  As I sat and listened to his speech, I could feel the passion and motivation behind all the entrepreneurs in the room working towards success.  Austin is a city of innovation and a pinnacle for entrepreneurs.  Needless to say, RISE Week Austin was a huge success.  It ended with an Awards and Bash at the W hotel with a performance by The Bravery!

Next up was my much-anticipated trip back to THE city for the New York Texas Exes Seminar.  The week was FILLED with office visits, networking events, meeting new friends and visiting old friends.  I LOVED it.

Of course, it made me want to move to the city for good, like yesterday, but I am still determining my plans post-graduation.  Whether I keep living the life Austin or take a leap of faith to the city, I am so thankful for the support of my family, friends, and professional mentors.  I am full of motivation by nature, but it’s certainly nice to have people to cheer for and for those people to cheer for me!

One very exciting development that resulted from my trip to NYC is my new position with GirlsWhoRock NY.  As the newly appointed PR & Communication Officer, I will be helping create a rocking concert scheduled for June 10 benefitting girls’ education in Uganda!  More deets to come for sure.  Definitely visit the website @ girlswhorock.org and join the conversation on twitter #GWR2011.  See ya again in June, New York City!!!

As for this week, I am writing my life away as a PR major and preparing for my grandma and aunt to visit Austin for the first time EVER next week! Kind of fitting to end Women’s History Month with a few generations of my favorite women: my mom and her sister and the woman who started our history together: my grandmother.

Then I will be jet-setting to Miami for the IMG World Congress of Sports, another perk of working for Hackney Comm.  Bienvenidos a Miami!





“Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.” – Charles Eames

25 02 2011

Oh my goodness, it’s been too long.  Even though I haven’t been writing it down, SO MUCH has been on my mind lately.  My senior year of college is literally flying by – go figure!

But I’ve certainly been making the most of it.  From music and friends to work and nonprofits, I have been loving every minute of it.

Although, living in the same apartment for three years is starting to grind on my nerves…  *Moving on up!* We can only hope.

I must tell the story of how this very blog led me to a great person and a great cause.  Although we have not met in person yet, Stefanie Cronin, founder and CEO of Make Charity Cool is my new role model!!! http://makecharitycool.com/

After Google linked one of the images I used in a post to my site, Stefanie stumbled upon my blog.  Flashback to my Nov. 19 post entitled “Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

My post looking for a change made a cause that has the power to change the world fall into my lap! Funny how things work out.  Although it’s already been said, here’s a shout-out to Stefanie for finding me on the wonderful world of Facebook and reaching out.  A simple message is all it takes to make a connection.  It’s true.

I am planning to write Charity Spotlights for the Make Charity Cool website as well as help with future events and promotional efforts.  I will keep you posted on the organization’s developments.  Join the movement on the website, Facebook and Twitter!

Make Charity Cool began in a suburb of New York City in December 2010, and guess where I’m headed on March 14?! Yes, it’s back to the Big Apple!

I will be attending the Texas Exes NYC Seminar where I will meet other UT grads who are now working in the city.  I can’t wait to get insights and advice from those who were just like me not too long ago.

Right now, I’m getting excited to go home to Dallas for the weekend to see the family, shop ’til I drop, and eat my mom’s fabulous treats.  No guilt, because another plus to going to NYC over Spring Break: no bikinis just yet!

 

Oh my goodness, it’s been too long.  Even though I haven’t been writing it down, SO MUCH has been on my mind lately.  My senior year of college is literally flying by – go figure!

But I’ve certainly been making the most of it.  From music and friends to work and nonprofits, I have been loving every minute of it.

Although, living in the same apartment for three years is starting to grind on my nerves…  *Moving on up!* We can only hope.

I must tell the story of how this very blog led me to a great person and a great cause.  Although we have not met in person yet, Stefanie Cronin, founder and CEO of Make Charity Cool is my new role model!!! http://makecharitycool.com/

After Google linked one of the images I used in a post to my site, Stefanie stumbled upon my blog.  Flashback to my Nov. 19 post entitled “Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

My post looking for a change made a cause that has the power to change the world fall into my lap! Funny how things work out. Although it’s already been said, here’s a shout-out to Stefanie for finding me on the wonderful world of Facebook and reaching out.  A simple message is all it takes to make a connection. It’s true.

I am planning to write Charity Spotlights for the Make Charity Cool website as well as help with future events and promotional efforts.  I will keep you posted on the organization’s developments.  Go to the website, Facebook and Twitter and join the movement!

Make Charity Cool began in a suburb of New York City in December 2010, and guess where I’m headed on March 14?! Yes, it’s back to the Big Apple!

I will be attending the Texas Exes NYC Seminar where I will meet other UT grads who are now working in the city.  I can’t wait to get insights and advice from those who were just like me not too long ago.

Right now, I’m getting excited to go home to Dallas for the weekend to see the family, shop ‘til I drop, and eat my mom’s fabulous treats.  No guilt, because another plus to going to NYC over Spring Break: no bikinis just yet!





The Only Thing Certain

4 02 2011

Today I found my journal from high school, which contains some written entries, but mostly poems.  Like I said, poems come to me when life gets emotional, and we all know high school was an emotional time.  Or shall we just say a hormonal time?  Jokes.  Anyways, I will be posting my old school poems sporadically until I post them all.  Here is my very first poem of my beloved journal:

 Written at 10:38 p.m. on Sunday, January 11, 2004 (which just so happens to be my Mother’s birthday)

The Only Thing Certain

Who knew time would fly?

Who knew you wouldn’t feel any different?

That growing up would produce a sigh?

The world is a sphere of irony.

It can’t be avoided or faced – it’s unexpected.

It comes alone at times, and at others with company.

When you feel exactly the same, yet completely changed.

When all you want to do is be you – no mask or screen.

Just stripped down to the true self that only wants to be seen.

The irony is, you have no idea how to escape your own fallacies.

Who are you? The end all of all inquiries.

Funny how the only thing holding you back is yourself,

And the only thing to fear is fear itself.

Where to go? Who to turn to? When

The Only Thing Certain is You.

________________________

Ironic, huh?  That I can relate to myself right now as a college senior exactly the same as when I was at the beginning of my high school years.  The only edit I made was to the last sentence; it ended with a question mark, and now ends with a period.  It’s not so much a question to me anymore as it is a truth.





The Contagion Effect: Let Your Voice Be Heard

3 02 2011

After watching news coverage of the developments in Egypt and now Jordan, the words “contagion effect” have been used.  (See http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/02/02/don_t_forget_about_jordan_a_regime_caught_between_contagion_and_consent , among others.) It is a contagion effect of people coming together to bring about change – and in our hopes, to bring about democracy.  But of course, the footage of the chaos in Cairo doesn’t exactly give me the warm and fuzzies.  It DOES, however, make me realize the power of the people.  At one point, we fought for a change and for a democracy too.  Now that we have it, ask yourself: what are you doing with it?

Last week, the Mubarak government shut down most of Egypt’s internet connectivity due to the antigovernment protests.  Just think if Obama took your internet away right now.  Can you imagine?!?! I can tell you one thing; I’d be putting together a message a lot stronger than this to get out there on the net.  Watch out for an upcoming U.S. cyber security bill though… complements of Senator Lieberman (see http://gcn.com/articles/2011/02/02/egypt-blackout-rekindles-kill-switch-debate.aspx).  My point is, we have the ability to make our voice heard in the world, and we must make sure we use it.  We must also be aware of legislations and “security bills” that may limit these freedoms.

I wish I had my own personal newscast to keep me informed every morning, because, yes, it takes effort to know what’s going on in the world! What interests you? What do you even care about?  The beauty of it is — it’s up to you!  We have so much access to information, and public opinion is often taken advantage of by the press.  Don’t let yourself be the uninformed, or even worse, the misinformed.  Read, listen, check your sources, and be critical! And then share YOUR voice – not a voice that has been spoken for you by others.

This leads me to my other pet issue of women’s right and women’s equality.  Notice in any coverage of Egypt (and any of the Middle East really), there are no women.  As a woman, I would not want to be in the midst of chaotic violence, but I would want to be heard.  At a pivotal time in the country’s government, the women have virtually no say in the outcome.

So although we are sitting peacefully in our homes in the United States, think about the chaos in the Middle East, the contagion, and the people.  Be thankful for our democracy, but take advantage of what we have by letting your voice be heard.  Of course, I’m not talking national television (but, by all means, DREAM BIG), but share your perspective with family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, the web, anyone who’ll listen, and dare to start a contagion.





I AM BEAUTIFUL BECAUSE…

31 01 2011

I am beautiful because I am true to what I say, what I do, and who I am.  God placed beauty in everything and everyone, and we are ALL beautiful when we live through Him.  Beauty comes from happiness and bringing happiness to others.  As a woman, I am beautiful for my femininity and the intuition that only females possess.  As women, we should not place ourselves in competition but embrace our differences for we are ALL beautiful.

In support of my beautiful friend, Veronica Chavez, BIAO Skincare, and the concept of beauty, please “Like” my post on BIAO Skincare’s Facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/?sk=messages&tid=1654672320796#!/pages/Biao-Skincare/141902365867892 

We want to win a $500 gift card from Sephoras by receiving the most “Likes” and spread our beauty everywhere! THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU WHO CLICK “LIKE”.  Comment if you have any questions!





“I wish you couldn’t figure me out, but you’d always wanna know what I was about.” –Kate Nash, Nicest Thing

26 01 2011

This one’s for my ladies.  Chick songs on repeat… Love Kate Nash and her beautiful, real lyrics!