Opinions, November 12-25

To Whom it May Concern:

The Haynes-Nugent Family would like to thank all of The New Citizens Press readers!  Your thoughts and prayers for my father were heard and answered.  At this time, our father’s recovery is going well.  We still have a long road ahead of us, but its good to know we have good people praying for us.

We really appreciate the love we are received from Michigan.  We just wanted to take the time out to say…Thank you.

Kendra C. Haynes-Nugent
Bay Shore, New York

My name is Angelica Bryant.  I met you at a workshop during DeShawn Snow’s “Empower Me Camp”, in Atlanta, GA, this past July.  After hearing some of your poetry and learning that you also created your own newspaper, I asked you if I could send you some of my poetry, and if you liked it, if you would publish it in your paper.  I apologize for the delayed pace at which I wrote to you, but life has been busy.  I hope that the opportunity has not passed, and if you are still interested please respond to me at your earliest convenience.   

Below is a sample poem to refresh your memory of my writing.  Thank you for speaking to us that day.  I know that it may have appeared that some of the girls weren’t really into it, but I guarantee they took something from it.

Thank you for your time.

I wrote this poem (see Page 5) about my upcoming journey into college and how that will affect my relationship with my boyfriend and best friend. 

"Forever’s End"
Does the new beginning ahead,

signal the ending of forever?

Will the world as we know it,


And from the rubble grow a distance so cold,

so mean,

so unknown,

that neither of us,


what has always been known….?

And shared between only us?

That our love was special!

Untouchable in it’s OWN right.

By any man or woman

whose feet touch the ground from which we blossomed!

Hmmph I think not.

‘Cause what was before,

will always be,

no matter what ends..

or begins

This love

Our love

Too complex to be explained by mere words

is ever enduring.

Angelica Bryant

Note:  In the summer of 2006, I was a poetry/writing teacher at the DeShawn Snow Foundation “1st Annual Empower Me Camp for Girls”.

It was an exciting experience.  I had 200 girls in my classes ranging from 10 to 17.

I taught a workshop designed to assist girls with the development and enhancement of their communication skills through non-verbal communication.

The girls had an opportunity to express themselves through creative thoughts in expressive writing.  They learned about the beauty of poetry. They learned how to use a thesaurus.

I picked the word and asked the girls to yell out other words that meant the same thing. Like the word ‘beautiful’.  The girls responded with words like, pretty, gorgeous, adorable and so on.  It was such an interesting class on the first day, the girls were so excited but not because of their own self empowerment but because of the basketball players who were slated to visit.

DeShawn Snow is married to Eric Snow, former Michigan State University basketball player.  He currently plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

We quickly got beyond the hype as I told them that I traveled all the way from Michigan and I did not care if I met one basketball player.  I told them that I was in Atlanta because I cared about them.  I explained that I was sort of introverted at first.  Before the classes started, I had a whole different idea about how I was going to run the class.  Writing out a syllabus was out of the question.  I would not have been able to follow it.  I was dealing with a whole different group, mostly inner city Atlanta students.

I told them that communication is key.  I also told them that verbal as well as non verbal communication could tell you volumes about a person.  (You know some people are very expressive.)

I explained that when I was is grade school, I had English phobia.  My fourth grade, six grade and eleventh grade English teachers were particularly brutal.

In college, during my last semester, I took my last English class.  My professor cared about me and what I had to say.  She took the time to teach me.  I find that today as an adult that it is our responsibility to teach others the right way through our experiences.

I told them to always express themselves with dignity and grace.  Our motto was “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  I quoted Eleanor Roosevelt and then read my poem about a bully.  The poem I explained to them was loosely based on my bully in high school.

I communicated the pain that I experienced as a teenage. If you are interested read the “As I See it Column” on Page 2.

As you know one of the major components of communication is listening?

After performing  “The Bully” they were perked up and listening.

One of the major components of communication is listening and 80% of the class was paying attention.  My first day was a success and I knew when I received the e-mail from Angelica Bryant that all the volunteering that I do is worth it.

If any of you live in the Holt/Southwest Lansing area, please support Bargain Books in Cedar Plaza at the corner of Cedar and Willoughby Road.  They have lovely journals and with almost every question, I had the students had an opportunity to win one if they knew the correct answer.

It was an incredible time and I am hoping that we will be able to serve at risk youth in the Lansing area in the same way.

Their  low self esteem, behavioral problems and bad grades.  Teenage years are a very difficult time.

Let’s work together to get young women to be better prepared for this society.  How can we have the Hope Scholarship program, and promise an education, when the child may be having problems at home, ie. drug or alcohol addicted parent, not enough to eat, not enough heat, a sick parent.

When you realize that 6 girls are fighting over a 18 year old boy who is in the 10th grade or pregnant by one.  It becomes a nightmarish reality.

Whose responsibility is it?  If you can’t figure it out, read this over again.

Rina Risper