the first donations!

I have been working hard on my grant proposal (the hardest part has been the budget….how do you plan when all the money coming in goes back out???) I even have a sort of large list of foundations to sumbit to…..woo hoo.

And I officially have 2 donations for my scholarship funds!


My good friend Christa donated money, and my surrogate grandfather Papa Jones donated funds to support 4 girls at Glenwood to participate during the month of January. My in laws gave Rahul and I money for Christmas, and since we have everything we would ever want or need in life, we have decided to use this holiday gift to support the 4 Glenwood girls for the month of February.

I am so lucky to have folks in my life that believe in what I am doing….this makes my heart happy this holiday season!



We have talked about the importance about not excluding others before, but the issue resurfaced at our final lesson of the year at Willow Oak.

Today we finished up our discussion about what it means to be a friend. Some girls shared that they have really been struggling with being excluded, so we spent some time brainstorming ideas. But honestly, after a while I simply said that excluding people is never ok and why would you want to be friends with someone who excludes others and does not follow the rules? You can really only be accountable for yourself (i.e., don’t be a girl who excludes others) and make it a rule to be kind to everyone. I am planning on checking in with the girls about the exclusion issue to see if some of our ideas helped.
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Our book reading was Horace, Morris, but Mostly Dolores. In the book, Horace and Morris exclude Dolores in their new club for just boys. Then Dolores joins an only girls club and they find that they miss hanging out with each other. Super cute book.

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I have some updates for another post, but for now I am going to enjoy the weekend with my family. It has been one crazy, busy week!


mid year celebration

Today was our mid year celebration at Willow Oak. The book reading was How Full Is Your Bucket. The concept being that you either fill or empty someone’s bucket with your words and actions. The girls came up with some great ways to fill their parents and teachers’ buckets: follow directions the first time, clean your room, be respectful to others, not talking when you are not supposed to, etc. My hope is that they will “think it through”  before doing or saying things and always be bucket fillers

As a part of our celebration the girls decided on one thing they liked about the inside of themselves and one thing they would like to work on and whispered this to their pink balloon. I stressed coming up with something on the inside to avoid physical attributes they like about themselves. Then we released our balloons in celebration of all that they have learned!

Next we headed to the Bean and Barrel for hot coco and some tasty treats. When we were walking in, a man said “good luck with those girls.” My response was “I look forward to hanging out with them every Wed.” And I really do. Mr Pete even joined us for a few minutes and listened to some of the goals the girls have for 2015! Here are some pics of our fun.

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Being a friend (part 2)

Wow, we had some great conversations this week. We are continuing on the theme of how to be a good friend. I wanted to push a little bit today in terms of what that really means, especially when there are problems. I was really proud of the problem solving that the girls have already done, and with some encouragement, will do with parents and/or a teacher. I reminded them that some problems need some adult assistance.

We also played some friendship building games.

The book reading was Can I Play Too? By, Mo Willems. Super proud of my Jr Counselors at Willow Oak for helping out with the book reading!

PS – The picture quality from this lesson was not great. The same cannot be said for the fun we had 🙂

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Endeavor lesson: making good food choices

It made my heart happy when one of the girls burst into the room this afternoon at Endeavor and said “boy am I glad it is Monday. I have a problem that I just cannot solve by myself.” I am so glad the girls have this forum to talk about issues that come up at school. Once this girl started to share her problem, some others chimed in with similar stories. We spent a lot of time talking… but it is Girls TALK, right?

The girls made TALK reminders, which was fun. Then we read Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake. Betty loves chocolate cake and makes some poor choices as a result. This prompted a really honest discussion about making healthy food choices. I used the Choose My Plate as a resource –

Relay races were our way of being active today. Girls had to place one part of the my plate on a board. First team to complete the board was the winner. Here are some pics of our fun.

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What does it mean to be a friend

What it means to be a friend was the topic of this week’s lesson. The book reading was Making Friends Is An Art…one of my favorites. The message in the book is that you have to like yourself before you can be a good friend to others. I loved what the girls said that they liked about themselves when we shared.


We will continue with the friendship theme throughout the month of December.
Our way of being active – dodgeball. It was definitely a hit!

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the generous Harris Teeter!

Most of my friends know that I visit our local Harris Teeter everyday….for my afternoon Starbucks habit 🙂 And everyday one of the Asst Managers greets me in a loud voice….. “Dr. Shimpi, how are you today?” One day last year he asked me what I did for a living, and I explained my work. He asked me how long you have to go to school to do that. Bahahaha. I laugh because I was in school *forever* trying to work and pay for school at the same time. But once he knew I had a PhD, he would call me nothing except Dr. Shimpi.

Today I had a real question for him….does the Harris Teeter donate items from the store to non profits? I asked because I would like to do a balloon release as part of the fall celebrations. I need 30 balloons for all 3 sites. Ask and you shall receive….isn’t that the saying? All I have to do is write up a letter with my request, and I will get a gift card in the amount needed to buy the balloons. Woo hoo!
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breathing…not as easy as you would think

We all breathe, right? So why is it harder to do when we think about it and need to do it to calm down? Yoga was the exercise of choice this week at the Endeavor Charter School. We spent some time just breathing, and I suggested the girls take a few minutes at the start and end of each day just to be present and breathe. It really can help make our busy lives seem more manageable. The trick is finding the time to just sit and breathe. Check out one of the ways the girls practiced….