Leah Blevins is pink-haired and bright-lipped, with a sweet voice and a permanent smile. She is gentle and warm - has the kind of presence that puts anyone at ease. You would never know that Leah has experienced what many adults never will. At 18 years old, she found herself pregnant and alone. She'd dropped out of high school and it seemed her story had been written - that she was destined for a life of struggle. She wasn't. In fact, she was destined for a life of triumph. "
Rightfully, community leaders and educators around the country have turned their focus and dollars to programs that support early childhood development. We have learned the architecture of the brain - the circuits and neural connections - is established in the first few years of a child’s life and reinforced as he grows older. It’s this architecture that “provides the foundation for all future learning, behavior and health.” The foundation can be strong, or, as is too often t
I can’t lie. I was nervous about having 11 days to coach 10 kids into creating a book full of professional-grade photographs and an in-depth story profiling a significant moment in their lives. But as I began to put together the layouts for each spread, filling in the spaces with their pictures and with the stories they’d written, I was amazed at what they were able to create. Leah, a young mom of a precious baby girl, discovered an outlet for her creative spirit. She soaked
There’s a segment of service in health care, a conditional response for the most serious of cases. Semantically, it means any course of care that deals in relief and not cure, but palliative care is most often referenced in regards to the desolate and incurable cases. End-of-life cases. Make-them-comfortable cases. It’s a course of healing that exists for those that can’t be helped. The too far gone, the forgotten. And it is not a small decision for doctors to place a patient
There’s a growing divide in the United States. Not the one between political parties, though this seems to garner most of our attention lately. There’s a much more important, consequential divide in education. More and more opportunities are tied to a college degree. It’s woven into the new American Dream, a nearly ubiquitous marker of success. And in our national consciousness, the path to college is fair, even, entirely reliant on a student’s aptitude, effort, and talent. B
Jose Montoya* is the kind of kid that can walk into a room, and you just know. You know he’s going to give you some kind of hell just by the way he struts—sly and cool, no hint of effort on his part. He makes a plain uniform look cool with his clean red Vans, his white shell necklace, and his hair spiked into a faux-hawk that looks like he woke up that way.
Jose Montoya is the leader of my first class of the day—a class dominated by fearless boys, who will do anything to en
I am a die hard, unashamed lover of Tulsa. I've traveled and am aware of what other cities across America have to offer. Yet, despite the benefits of other places, I’m certain Tulsa will forever be my home. When I describe Tulsa to those who are unfamiliar, I try to paint a picture of a community that has a natural inclination to help one another without expecting anything in return. There are good people here who promote good values. Because I was baptized in this ethos of v
Success comes in many forms. Ralph Waldo Emerson once described achieving success in these words: “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier
Over the last three years I have had the pleasure of teaching high school students in North Tulsa at both Central High School and McLain High School. My students have a lot to say and share with anyone willing to listen. However, they often lack a formal platform to voice their opinions, and, maybe most importantly, they often lack an audience dissimilar from themselves. You see, my students generally receive one of three reactions when they’re out around town: they’re overlo
Creating change. It was the most challenging part of being a counselor. I remember the sobering experience of sitting across from a client who was in distress. When I looked at her, I could see her strengths, her potential, her resilience, and the overwhelming spectrum of possibilities that lay ahead in her future. All she could see was her circumstances rising up around her creating a wall of limitations. The truth is, it’s really difficult to change someone’s perspective us
My students lived lives filled with tragedies and realities that most adults would be traumatized by. For the first semester of my first year of teaching, I would get in my car some days and just cry.If you love someone, you can’t bear to see them go through pain the way many of my students had in their short lives. My kids confided everything in me. I taught English, a subject that gives ample room for self-reflection and storytelling. Their narratives were often thrilling,