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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Whitney’s story can strengthen America!

Whitney Houston was blessed with an amazing, inspirational voice. Yet, she abused drugs to escape her fears and pain. Whitney couldn’t save herself but her story can help strengthen others.

During the past 40 years, politicians spent billions trying to stop the drug epidemic. Abusing Illegal and prescription drugs takes a huge toll as domestic violence, child abuse and divorce increase. Disconnected youth drop out and follow self-destructive role models.

Whitney Houston had power, money and adoration but her ego kept her locked into drugs. It takes humility, seeking a higher power and time to become self-aware. The Bible, Proverbs 16-18 states, “How much better to get wisdom than gold, and good judgment than silver! Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall.”

As an inner city crime and violence prevention consultant
, I see addiction as a “crisis of the spirit. “ Users don’t know how to handle life’s problems.

I met AJ after he turned his life around. He had been a drug dealer, got hooked on drugs and became homeless. He was hungry and went to the Rescue Mission. He was told he had to listen to a sermon before eating. On the third visit, he fell on his knees and asked for help. Over time, he grew as a community leader and mentors 30 kids on his block. He also sponsors an annual Christmas party.

I worked with many homeless people and inner city pastors. I saw men turn their lives around.

Four reasons the national discourse limits discussion about God.
1. Americans are confused; don’t see the need for religion or lost faith in religious leaders. Some think religion is a cult or see religious people as hypocrites.
2. A spiritual solution doesn’t need money or experts. It requires faith, forgiveness and self-awareness.
3. We have to take full responsibility, which we don’t want to hear.
4. Separation of church and state negates what has worked for centuries.

Drug abuse is lack of understand one’s own spirit! Americans need the religious community to work together to help young people discover their inner power BEFORE they make bad choices.

We lost Whitney Houston and many other talented “stars” due to drug abuse. Time to spread the word… it is “better to get wisdom than gold.”

Stephanie L. Mann, Author, Crime and Violence Prevention Consultant
Host: MORE Public Radio International, Oakland, CA.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

15 Ways To Keep Children Safe!


1. Keep your hands to yourself. Settle disagreements with words, not fists or weapons. (Parents…model non-violent behavior at home.)

2. If a bully provokes you, stay strong. Remember: If you react, he is in control. If you stay cool and calm, you are in control. Walk away!

3. If disputes escalate, seek help! Don’t form an audience. Encourage others to stop tolerating bad behavior.

4. Be alert! Find safe routes for walking to and from school, avoid hot spots (bully or drug house, group hang outs).

5. Know all your neighbors. (Parents: Ask trusted neighbors to be a safe house, if you are away and your child needs help.)

6. Trust your instincts! If they feel threatened or sense danger, get away fast. Run to a group of people, a lighted area or in a store for help.

7. Report any threats, destruction of property or suspicious activities to an adult, police officer or a school authority.

8. NEVER go with someone you don’t know and trust, even if he/she sounds like a nice person. If forced, fight back and run.

9. Don’t use alcohol or drugs. They reduce your self-awareness and make you an easy target for sexual assault and abuse.

10. If someone tries to be mean to you speak up with confidence and walk away. Report if the bad behavior persists. (Parent: Role-play with children what you want them to do.)

11. Hang out with friends who show support for each other. Avoid “friends” who bully, criticize, use put downs and make you feel bad.

12. Get involved in school activities (yearbook, plays, arts) to strengthen your network of supportive friend. (Parents: Children need a variety of friends to see and evaluate healthy relationships.)

13. Be a role model for others to follow. Volunteer in the community or at your House of Worship. Learn to be a leader and encourage friends to join you.

14. Create a network of positive friends, family, neighbors and a religious family to help strengthen your character and ability to get along. A strong conscience (self-awareness) will keep you safe from harm.

15. Parents actions speak louder than words. Get involved in community activities and take children with you. When children are connected, they gain self-respect and respect for others.

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