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What a day?? As I am wrapping up my last few weeks at Crisis Nursery, I find that I’m working a lot harder than I’ve ever had to before.  This day has been so mentally exhausting, that I can’t think of a thought-provoking topic to write about.  So in keeping with My 30 Day Challenge, I’m going to write about Monday Night RAW (it’s a great mind-numbing topic).  

As some of you know, I love the WWE.  I wrote about it in my last 3o Day Challenge.  (Check out my last wrestling post by clicking here.)  

This weekend, the Valley was invaded by wrestling fanatics from all over the globe.  They all descended upon Glendale last night for Wrestlemania 26.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend :(.  

But tonight, thanks to my friend, Deonne, I was able to attend Monday Night RAW tonight.  And honestly, I think I saw the best match-up ever.  Yes, last night the Undertaker took on the Heartbreak Kid and the Undertaker won his 18th straight Wrestlemania match.  I’ve never really been a Shawn Michaels fan and honestly, it wasn’t a really good match-up against the Undertaker.  So I don’t think I missed much.  But tonight, my three favorite wrestlers were all in the same ring.  Randy Orten, John Cena, Batista…oh yeah, and they were also joined by the All-American American, Jack Swagger (he was just an add-on; they needed someone to complete the foursome) in a tag team match-up.  Batista paired with Jack Swagger and Cena with Orten.  In the end Randy Orten pinned Jack Swagger and Orten/Cena won.  That match alone made my night, not to mention my WWE decade 🙂  

Here are some pictures from my tonight’s Monday Night RAW.   

US Airways for Monday Night RAW

US Airways for Monday Night RAW

  

Batista "The Animal"

Batista "The Animal"

  

Randy Orten posing after his win.

Randy Orten posing after his win.

  

Farewell to HBK

Farewell to HBK

  

This was my first WWE event and I’m very happy I got to go.  Hopefully next time I’ll be able to go to Wrestlemania.  We’ll see 🙂

As many of you know, I’m a very social person.  I love meeting new people.  I love gatherings.  And I love organizing events.  So where did my social nature come from? 

Maybe it’s due to being  part of a large Filipino family and my social nature is in my blood.  As some of you know, I grew up in the Midwest with no immediate family around. So where does the large family part come in?  Okay, let me give you some background information and I’ll get to it in a round about way. My dad joined the Marines while the US had occupied the Philippines.  When he finished his tour, my parents came to America and ended up in South Carolina.  They decided that they wanted to be closer to family so they decided to drive to California where we had family.  At that time, my mom was pregnant with me.  They decided to stop in St. Louis to rest.  My mom was so tired of driving she asked (my dad said she more like whined)  if they could just stay in St. Louis.  Well, they never made it to California and still live in St. Louis (32 years to date to be exact).   When my parents came to St. Louis, they knew no one, but by nature my parents are social.  They created their own family of friends in St. Louis. My parents grew up in the Philippines with frequent large family gatherings.  They continued this tradition with their friends or what we called our “adopted” family.  Growing up, I remember every holiday or special event was celebrated with a party or potluck of friends.  Eat, drink and be merry was our philosophy and that’s what I continue on to this day. 

Maybe my social nature comes from being a Gemini.  This “airy” sign (keep airhead jokes to yourself) are known to be social butterflies.  Communication and interaction are fundamental to Geminis.  To learn the ins and outs of what makes a Gemini click, take a look at this synopsis at http://astrologyindepth.com/Gemini But bottom line, Geminis love people and interacting with them. 

Regardless of whether being social is in my genes or in my stars, it’s who I am.  And that’s why  I’ve been adept to organizing special events and love doing it.  Whether it’s organizing golf tournaments, CEUs programs for doctors, luncheon fundraisers attended by over 700 people, networking happy hours or an intimate cocktail party geared towards major donors, I enjoy it all.  Over the years, I’ve worked on many different types of special events and I’ve gained a lot of insight on how to plan successful special events.  On Monday, April 5th The Phoenix Nonprofit Professionals Meetup is allowing me to share some of my insights.  I will be joined by Dianne Rohkohl of Raw Cabbage Design and Robyn Broshears of Auction Events & Solutions to impart some helpful special event planning tips.   I’ve worked with both these ladies on different events for Crisis Nursery and I know you will leave the meeting with great nitty-gritty tips to apply to your special events.  The meeting is open to everyone, so please come out.

I am deeply concerned about Arizona’s future.  Last week, I learned that cuts to critical funding for early childhood programs and activities may lay in the hands of Arizona voters.  First Things First is an initiative that dedicates a tax on tobacco products to be used on expanding early learning and health programs for children birth through age five.  Arizona voters approved First Things First in 2006 by a landslide. This demonstrated that Arizonans value early childhood as the foundation of a child’s learning and are committed to investing in children to be more successful in school and in life.

In November, Arizona voters may be asked to vote to dismantle First Things First.  This will effectively wipe out Arizona’s investment over the last three years in early childhood education and health programs.  The elimination of First Things First will impact literally tens of thousands of children and their families throughout Arizona.  This will also effect hundreds of jobs supported by First Things First funds.

Arizona has traditionally ranked in the bottom 20% on almost all areas of child well-being.  Even in prosperous times, State funding for children’s services has not begun to meet identified needs.  Funding from First Things First has helped to keep essential human services intact.  If it is eliminated, I wonder where will vulnerable children and families in our community turn for help?  The State has eliminated or significantly cut funds to human services and education.  Nonprofits struggle to secure revenue to sustain their programs.  The loss of First Things First will only create a greater disparity.  Recognizing the current economic crisis Arizona faces, First Things First has offered an interest free loan to the State $3,000,000.  To date this potential win-win proposal has not been accepted. 

I encourage all of you who are concerned about the children and families to voice your concerns to our elected officials and at the ballot box in November. Our children, families and the future of our community are depending on all of you! 

 To learn more about First Things First, visit their website at azftf.gov.

I think I’ve kept everyone in suspense long enough. 

Drum Roll…PLEASE!

Today, I formally submitted my resignation as Communications and Marketing Manager at Crisis Nursery, Inc.  My last day will be April 14th.  On April 19th, I will start a new venture in my life and I’ve accepted the new Director of Fund Development  position for Central Arizona Shelter Services.

Crisis Nursery has been a big part of my life since I’ve moved to Arizona over four years ago.  I consider my co-workers as my family away from home and I appreciate each and every one of them.  It’s hard to leave them, but I know this is an opportunity I can’t pass up.  I am very excited for this new opportunity and I’m ready for this challenge.

I’m sad to leave my co-workers and friends at Crisis Nursery, but I will keep in touch (whether I like it or not).  My supervisor has locked into a 12 top table for their 7th Annual Breaking the Cycle Luncheon.  So if anyone is interested in attending the luncheon, please let me know.  I have space available at my table.  Seriously! The 7th Annual Breaking the Cycle Luncheon, is on October 19th, Camelback Inn at noon, RSVP with me 🙂

You can expect more blogs about my new endeavors; however, now it’s time to celebrate.  In the next couple of weeks there will be series of Happy Hours.  I’ll keep you posted. So please come out and help me celebrate. 

Woohoo!!

Tonight I had the opportunity to network with a wonderful group of female attorneys from Snell & Wilmer and their clients.  Every year, this prestigious law firm hosts a Women’s Networking Event.  Last year, they hosted a fabulous evening at the Phoenix Botanical Gardens with free admission to see the Chihuly Exhibit.  Tonight the event was at the Phoenix Art Museum and it featured the Ansel Adams collection.

Many believe networking is for people in sales or for those who love to be social; however, there so many benefits that are not always apparent to the nonprofit professional.  Yes, it can be fun.  And yes it can be exhausting at times, but it’s well worth the effort.  I’ve grown both professionally and personally through the people I’ve met because I’ve actively gone out and networked.  For me, networking is essential to my success. 

As a nonprofit professional, it’s difficult to strictly find networking events geared towards nonprofit.  Networking amongst nonprofit professionals normally happens at conferences and seminars.  Luckily a lot of nonprofit events in the Valley allow time for people to network.   ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation and The Phoenix Business Journal through their Nonprofit Business Summit are great opportunities to meet nonprofit professionals at different stages in their careers. A nonprofit professional can also choose to join associations or networks.  Two that I belong to are YNPN Phoenix (Young Nonprofit Professionals Network) and the Nonprofit Professionals Meet-Up.

Even though I’m in nonprofit, I do not limit my networking opportunities to strictly nonprofit events and associations.  Networkingphx.com has a great calendar of events.  If you chose to, you could go to an event (or multiple events) every day of the week. Sometimes just looking at the calendar can be overwhelming, but it is also nice to see that there are so many opportunities to networking.  Over the years, I’ve developed an eye for great networking opportunities throughout the Valley.

Snell & Wilmer Women’s Networking Event is tops on my list.  I love the idea of having events at arts and cultural venues.  I’ve wanted to go to the Phoenix Art Museum for a long time.  I saw this as a perfect opportunity to go. This also gave me the opportunity to talk to this group of women about my work with children at risk of abuse and neglect.  This is a great group for potential supporters and donors.

The Phoenix Business Journal also has great events.  Their monthly BizMix events are always popular and some of them even include giving back to the community.  Another event of the Phoenix Business Journal that I always look forward to is their Book of Lists Party.  The venue for this event is always unique.  Last year, it was held at the Fifth Avenue & Madison Event Center.  For the most part, it looks like an empty warehouse, but it’s a great location to host an elegant event.  The Phoenix Business Journal did an awesome job converting it to their “Route 66” Theme. 

For many of these events, people who attend are professionals from different industries, but for the most part, its geared towards the business community.  As a fundraiser, I find these events perfect opportunities to meet supporters and potential donors.  Many times I’m the only nonprofit professional attending the event.  Bottomline:  If you are a nonprofit who needs funding, go to where there’s money :).

I am not overly outgoing and sometimes I don’t break out of my shyness until I have at least a glass of wine, but I know that networking is important in my ability to do my job and to be successful at it.  Personally, networking has opened many doors for me and I know it can be beneficial for others.  You may not need it for your job, but you never know who you will meet.  You may meet the person who might be your ticket to your next job or can connect you to your next professional endeavor.  So my advice, put yourself out there and network.  There are many opportunities and you won’t regret it 🙂

P.S.:  I need one more day to unveil my announcement.  Please check in tomorrow.  The suspense is killing you…right??

Official Start

I am officially starting My 30 Day Challenge.  After a fun, yet very exhausting trip to Vegas, I needed a day to recoup and gather my thoughts. 

While I have a whole host of potential topics just swimming in my head.  I’ve decided, my first post is going to be a teaser.  Tomorrow I will blog about an exciting new chapter in my life.  I don’t want to unveil it now, because (honestly) I don’t want to jinx it.  Also, I’m a bit of a tease and what’s life without a bit of anticipation?

Anywho…Please come back tomorrow and check out my big announcement 🙂 . 

Also, please visit my partners in crime. 

Seth Anderson http://www.jsetheranderson.com

Tony Arranaga http://lightrailblogger.com

Ryan Glass  http://originalname.wordpress.com/

These brave souls are joining me in The 30 Day Challenge.  And I say the more the merrier, please comment below and let me know if you would like to participate in The Challenge as well.  Happy Blogging!!

I decided I’m a glutton for punishment and I’m taking on the 30 Day Blogging Challenge again.

The concept is easy.  Blog once a day, everyday for 30 days.

The tasks itself…NOT SO EASY, but I’m up for the challenge.

When I initially started The Challenge last year, my hope was to begin blogging on a regular basis.  Sadly, real life intervened and blogging took a back seat to work, love and everything in between.  I’m not a quitter and I’m going to take a second stab at it.  In the first challenge, I wrote about everything from the WWE to interior decorating.  I’m going to focus my blogs on community and nonprofit work. Now I am not going to make any promises that I can keep  my posts strictly to community and nonprofit.  I might have to slip in a few about the Real Housewives of New York, dating or something mind numbing that only I find interesting.  But that’s the risk you take coming into my world. Muahahaha!!

The 30 Day Blogging Challenge for me will start March 22nd.  I’ll be back from Vegas and ready to get back to work.  I also don’t want to do The Challenge alone and I say  “the more the merrier.” Last year, Seth Anderson (http://www.jsetheranderson.com) and Tony Arranaga (http://lightrailblogger.com) took the challenge with me.  I know Tony is up for the challenge and I think I can talk Seth into it as well 😉 Ryan Glass has thrown down his gauntlet and is also up for The Challenge.  You can find him at http://originalname.wordpress.com/ So join the bandwagon and let’s get blogging.

Is Arizona a Lost Cause?

About four years ago, I moved to Arizona.  And I won’t lie, I moved here from Missouri for a guy. Even though the relationship didn’t last and he moved back to Missouri.  I continue to live here.   I love Arizona; from the weather (ok not the summer but the other seasons) to the hiking to the great nightlife and restaurants.  What’s not to love about this state?

While there’s a lot of glitz and glam, I believe this facade only hides some big issues this state faces.  Everyone hopes that the recession will pass, Arizona will get out of this economic slump and become a thriving and bustling state.  But this seems like a “pie in the sky dream” when Arizona is considered one of the worst states in the nation suffering right now.

While politicians debate about how to balance a nearly $2 billion deficit through exploring budget cuts and increasing taxes, real children and families are hurting.  As I work to help raise awareness and funding for a children’s welfare organization, I constantly question the measures taking place to balance the budget.  Is it in the best interest of ALL who live in Arizona?

I would like to think that the state and community I live in cares about the most vulnerable children and families in our community, but I’m consistently disappointed by decisions made by lawmakers.  Today Gov. Janet Brewer signed a package to cut $300 million in state spending to reduce the budget deficit.  Through this package, DES is facing yet another significant cut.  This time it’s $155 million dollars.  Education is facing another cut of $144 million.  My concern lies within how our state continues to operate essential human and educational services after imposing more budget cuts.  Also, is cutting programs that help children and families the only way to balance the budget ?

When the government makes cuts, it’s not a gradual process.  It’s quick and swift, and action takes place immediately. It takes a lot of time for programs and services to recover from these hits.  Time human services and education in Arizona has not been afforded.  While some would say that the current human services and educational system lack skilled workers, proper management and leadership, one has to wonder can programs be adequately operated and maintained when resources and funding continues to be cut?  Just because budgets are cut and programs and services are reduced or eliminated, that doesn’t mean these issues and/or people go away.  It just adds to the growing problems and increasing number of struggling children and families in our community.

Many people feel that in order to resolve all the problems Arizona faces, we need to stimulate the state’s economy.  While I agree that’s part of the resolution I don’t think it’s the end all be all to save Arizona from total despair.  We all want  businesses to move and remain in Arizona.  Economic packages are being created to try and stimulate our economy. But is that enough of an incentive to move or live in this state?

Great economic package helps to bring business here, but who actually moves to this state?  People.  Would you want to move to a state that actively does not support families?  The actions taken by the state makes it evident to me they don’t support families.   If I had kids, I would not want to send them to schools in this state, especially with the current budget cuts.  Unemployment, loss of housing, substance abuse, untreated mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence will continue to run rampant with an inadequate human services system.  And at this point, can we truly rely on nonprofits to totally pick up the slack.  They too are suffering with losses in government funding and flat and waning charitable giving. 

As a fundraiser, I constantly think about the future.  My organization has been hit by cuts in government funding.  We struggle day to day on how we are going to make up these losses and it’s been a real challenge to fundraise.  While I and my co-workers hope the economy will turn around and our government will rebuild the educational and human services system, some of  more experienced co-workers I know seem to think it won’t make a difference.  The tell me, “Look at what happened to education.  This is a issue that hits everyone.  They rallied, signed letters and talked to politicians, yet they cut education even more.  If they are willing to do that to education, they won’t think twice about cutting human services.  They just don’t care.”

It’s unacceptable to me that Arizona is ranked 40th (out of 50 states) for overall children’s well-being (Kidscount 2009).  We have some of the highest teen pregnancy, dropout birth and death rates in the nation.  The list of very disappointing statistics for Arizona children and families goes on and on.  Despite these dismal facts and statistics,  I don’t agree with my co-workers.  I believe there is hope and if we work together as a community we can change these outcomes.  Call me an optimist, but I belive something can be done.  I’m ready and willing to work for a healthy, strong and thriving Arizona.  Are you?

The End

For me to say that I’m sad that My Challenge is coming to an end would TOTALLY be a LIE! 

This was probably the hardest thing I’ve voluntarily committed to in the past six months.  I would say it’s the hardest thing I’ve voluntarily committed to in my life, but I almost forgot doing the P.F. Chang’s Half Marathon.  Honestly, what was I thinking when I committed to that one as well.  But what’s life if you don’t challenge yourself, right??

My Challenge was definitely a CHALLENGE.  When I first started, I thought this would be easy.  Yes, the first week wasn’t too bad, but then as I was following the stats that WordPress so graciously provided I started to become obsessed.  What are topics people will read about? 

As I started to put pressure on myself to come up with interesting or thought provoking posts, I found it difficult to write my blogs.  Well, that mindset only last a few days.  Because…I DO WHAT I WANT!

My committment at that time rested on the idea that I finish My Challenge.  So I went back to writing what I felt like that day.  What I found through writing on a variety of topics is that there were certain things people like to read or comment on.  I found those topics to be the most fulfilling and ones I know I can write more about in the future.

So in Day 1 of My Challenge I committed to this…

I’m excited to see what I come up with and can look back upon after the 30 days.  I also hope that with this challenge, I make blogging a habit.

I’m excited at the fact that I finished My Challenge.  Did I make it a habit?  We will have to see.  My Challenge has provided me with insight on topics I can focus on writing about in the future.  Maybe I can write about the Day in the Life of a Thirty-something Non-Married, Non-Cohabitating Social Worker Turned Fundraiser Who Loves the WWE, Bowling and Can’t Decorate…0r maybe not 😛

Anyway…despite the challenges, I had fun at doing My Challenge.  But it will not end there.  I will continue to blog, but I will blog on a more focused topic.  I’m taking a mini-vacation from blogging to gather my thoughts.  If you guys have any insights to what I should blog about in the future I want to hear those as well.  Please leave a comment.

Thank you to my boyfriend for letting me write about our relationship and for reading my blog (especially when I demanded he read it).  Thank you to Tony Arranaga and J Seth Anderson for doing My Challenge with me.  I appreciate your support.  Check out their blogs as well http://lightrailblogger.com and http://jsethanderson.com. And last by not least, thank you to those who read my blog and commented.  I enjoyed reading your feedback.

There’s more to come.  SO STAY TUNED…

At the end of the day my supervisor likes to come into my office and chit chat.  I don’t mind it at all.  She is probably one of the most entertaining people I know.  I think we get along well because I remind her of herself when she was my age.  She is turning 60 this year and doesn’t look it one bit.  Like me, she has her Masters in Social Work and works in development (fundraising). 

We are both hard workers and don’t like to hear “we can’t do that” or “we’ve never it done it that way (so why change).”  We firmly believe that if it’s not working…FIX IT!  However, where we differ is that she knows her limits and I pretty much will work myself into the ground to get it all done. 

A few months ago she asked me if I ever just sit around and do nothing.  I inquired, “What do you mean…do nothing?”  She asked, “do you just sit and watch tv or read a book?” 

You know, I haven’t thought about doing those things in a long while.  I do watch tv, but I “watch it” while working on an article or emails when I work from home.  Lately, the only things I’ve been reading are articles associated with work.  I’m in the middle of reading “Middlsex,” but haven’t picked it back up in about a month.

While my supervisor likes my work ethic and appreciates my hard work, she knows that taking a break or a mini-vacation is important as well.  She knows I love my work and have a passion for what I do in making my community a better and safer place for all of us to live.  She also knows that I need to take breaks.  For awhile there she ordered me to take days off.  “You are off Friday, don’t come to work.” 

I think it’s pretty funny she made me take days off.  However, I think she realizes that I need to step up and say “I need a vacation.”  So instead of demanding I take a day off, she now suggests it.  She told me that  “I am the type of person that’s always on the go; however, I won’t learn to slow down until I hit that brick wall.”  And you know and I know she’s freakin’ right.  And I really hate that!

What good am to my work or community if I am out sick or dead of a heart attack?  Bottomline, I need to take better care of myself.  And honestly, I don’t want to give her the satisfaction of being right.    So  I’m sorry to those people if I leave work on time and have to get answers to you the next day or after the weekend.  You guys can wait.  I took today off to do some chores and get things done so I can spend the rest of my weekend relaxing.  Soooo…Happy Four-Day (labor-free) Labor Day Weekend to me!!