Loft & Learn Celebrates!!! | National Teacher’s Day!!!

Happy National Teacher’s Day to all the amazing educators out there.

You are more valuable than all of the professions combined because you teach and inspire us all!!

In a family of educators on both my mom and dad’s side as well as teachers and healers from my in law’s side of the family, I say a deep heartfelt thank you, you are truly appreciated! And to my favorite teacher of all time Mrs. J (Choral teacher Hannah Middle School) you opened my eyes to my potential and I will forever be grateful.

In honor of National Teachers Day I especially wanted to share a letter that was written to my Sis Marian “Mern” Stepter recently from one of her past students!! Kudos Mern, I am so proud of you and it must feel so good to know that you have impacted a life in this way!!! You Rock Girl.

Quoted Letter Below:

“This is very out of the blue and I’m not sure if you remember me but you were my first grade teacher almost 20 years ago. When I came into your classroom I was a new student that didn’t speak English, had just immigrated into the country, and kept forgetting to write down her name on papers. You taught me to read my first book ad I still remember getting bags of chips for math problems that we got correct. You taught me countless life lessons and started my education in America off better than I could have ever asked for. I think back a lot on your class, my first American classroom ever, especially today as I’m completing my last class ever at Tulane Law School in New Orleans. I will be taking the bar exam in July and then starting my career as an attorney. I hope you are doing well and if you are ever in Chicago let me know, I would love to get lunch. My parents and I praise you to this day. Thank you Ms. Stepter.”

 

 

Auntie Mern Suggested Reading Selections | Kiddie Book Club

Reading Is Fundamental!

 

It is important to include books of struggle, diversity and overcoming obstacles from every background in your children’s personal library. Thank you Auntie Mern for sharing these important books of History.

 

 

Loft & Learn Thought of the Day | Responsibilty

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Responsibility

So today I want to talk about choices and responsibilities. My 6 yr old ace was involved in an incident that gave me pause as a parent.

It became so much more than a lesson for Ace but made me think deeper into a lot of issues as a whole not just as a parent but as a human being.

Ace was with a few older kids who were throwing rocks and hit a neighbor’s car. The incident in itself would have been an accident had the same issue not been brought up a week prior. Ace was told at that time that even though he did not throw the rock that he had a responsibility to stop the action and or leave the situation and tell an adult. So one week later here we are in the same situation, but different neighbor and car. Ace again was not the perpetrator but was at the scene and apart of the crowd. This time he said stop, but as far as anything else goes he stayed right there in the group and carried on as usual. After being properly called out by the offended neighbor, the children scattered and  Ace and I walked back over to their home and Ace had to apologize for his part of the shenanigans and accept the punishment for all involved. It was not enough to just sit on the sidelines and say stop. But he should have made sure the rock thrower (who is a great kid) know that it was wrong and then Ace should have left the scene to really make his point that he did not condone the behavior and would not be a part of it in any way and tell an adult.

AS I was trying to explain to ace how his role in the situation landed him in a heap of trouble it made me think of so much more as my role not only as a concerned parent but as a member of human society. Always speak up when someone is doing something wrong, especially if it harms someone else, and make sure to distance yourself from the problem and go tell Someone who can help.

Why do we forget the things we were taught as kids? Why, after a certain age do we allow ourselves to not be governed by those same rules and general principles we were taught as youngsters. When little you were told, If you witness someone being treated unfairly, bullied or harmed you should speak up and say something, no matter the consequence. It seems as we get older that we feel  those rules no longer apply ? The Golden rule has always been and will always be relevant. It should always remain at the forefront of what we think say and do. Our very ability to have compassion and reason, and acceptance should be what binds us all right?

Kindness and wisdom ultimately lead to enlightenment and the ultimate goal is love right? This is what we teach our children, So then once we reach a certain age, why do we divide ourselves by anything other than love, kindness, respect? I mean we do not have to share the same facial features, in order to share the same bond as caring individuals wanting to live the best lives for ourselves and our children. We want our kids to be treated fairly, thrive in their environment, love and be loved. Right? Well if we all as adults would display that same acceptance and behavior towards each other, we can and will affect positive change for them and them their kids.

We must hold ourselves accountable. Sitting idly by on the sidelines witnessing poor behavior while sipping lattes and hitting awesome yoga poses all the while condoning bad behavior on  any front must no longer be tolerated. If a child is hurt, the first question you ask is what is wrong! Not criticize them for their feelings! Well do the same for your fellow-man and woman.

Have more compassion and empathy and less judgment and hate for your mankind. We are all in one giant classroom together of life. Find out why someone is hurting or first better yet, just stop and acknowledge that they are hurting!! Then proceed to find out why, you may be surprised at the outcome.

So I implore us all who have fallen victim of sitting on the sidelines to take action if nothing else have a conversation about it. Let’s not just talk about injustice in our own home, neighborhood, culture, society, religion, tax bracket, education status or other things that divide us on the surface. Look beyond your usual circle and ask yourself, have you heard, seen or witnessed a wrong committed to someone just because of their social, economic or ethnic standing? Have you just said that’s terrible and then gone on with your day? If so you too are guilty of just letting it go and that we can no longer afford to do.

SO pick up a newspaper or go to a community meeting of another nationality, social organization or operation than you are used to. Read about what’s going on outside of just your normal circle. Educate yourself on other matters, such as immigration discrimination, inner city education needs or many of the other issues that may or may not affect you directly.

WE have to stop viewing things according to our direct pain. WE all should care about each other and each others feelings. I don’t have to be Native American to be deeply concerned and saddened by the Cleveland Indians ridiculous logo, or the Washington Redskins mascot.  Or what’s going on at Standing Rock. And you do not have to be Black to feel that Black Lives Matter! Wrong is wrong. You do not have to be Muslim in order to be offended at the thought of not be fairly admitted into the United States of America. You do not have to be white in order to say that OJ did it and HE WAS WRONG. You do not have to be over weight in order to have empathy of someone getting fat shamed, or vice versa. You do not have to be disabled or have a disabled family member in order to be enraged when someone who is made fun of or not allowed certain access or rights. You do not have to be a Mexican American in order to be completely and utterly disgusted by the vile references to an entire race and culture in modern politics and you certainly don’t have to be Asian American to be offended by the utter lack of consideration and mere refusal to acknowledge their presence!! Let’s get off the sidelines good people and get in this fight, for our children, for what’s right, for our souls, for humanity.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Malaika@loftandlearn

http://www.loftandlearn.com

Loft & Learn | Legendary Hall of Fame Racer Eugene Coard!!!

My Day with Eugene Coard!!!

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I was so fortunate recently to be invited to speak with the legendary racing Hall of Famer Mr. Eugene Coard. He is truly an extraordinary man who along with other members of the famous “Mutt Brothers” changed the scope of street,drag and pro stock racing. He is so charismatic and is quick to share his journey of racing back then for African-Americans along with his ventures post racing in the entertainment industry as a blues artist, rapper and manager!! 

A film is currently being filmed about his significant and historic contributions to the pro stock racing and drag racing industry. Make sure to check out his book “Hole Shot”

 

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“The Betrayal” | Loft & Learn Must See Movie

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The Betrayal

 

I am so moved and honored to recommend this extraordinarily powerful and astonishing film about, family, resiliency and survival. It is a story about the Phrasavavth family that must be heard. The subject of the film and director Thavi, tells a gripping tale over the course of 23 years that seldom know about. We are so proud to call him a friend. After personally receiving a copy of this Academy Award winning film I can now say I am also truly a fan. It will make you cry, root and reflect.


This best documentary feature was not only Academy Award nominated but Winner and official selection of The Sundance Film Festival, The Berlin Film Festival, and the International Film Festival among others.

Fun Times Catching Up!! | Loft & Learn Village

The Loftus Village

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It’s Always a great time when Betty & Grace are around!! We had such a ball hanging out last week. Thanks for visiting us while also visiting friends on the outer banks of N.C. Of all the weeks it just so happened to be when Hurricane Matthew was roaring. So glad that everyone was safe and we were able to have an amazing time! Thanks for visiting and can’t wait until the next time!!

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Community | Hurricane Matthew Relief

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Please contact your local American Red Cross and find how you can donate whatever you can spare; Your time, clothes, items, food, dollars, blood, and Prayers. I am sure that all or any would be such a welcomed and needed act of kindness! Our Prayers and well wishes go out to the families and victims in Haiti, The Bahamas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

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It’s Time For A Field Trip!! | Pullen Park

Loft& Learn Field Trip


Pullen Park!!

Play time just isn’t like it used to be..The stakes have been upped. We were very fortunate to get invited for a Play date at Pullen Park with our new Friends. We had an amazing time and can’t wait to return!

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Below are some cool facts about Pullen Park provided by wikipedia.Make sure to check it out when you are in the Cary/Raleigh area!

Pullen Park is a 66.33 acres  public park in Raleigh, North Carolina west of downtown, adjacent to the campus of North Carolina State University, between Western Boulevard and Hillsborough Street. The park features picnic areas, a concessions stand along with several small rides including the Pullen Park Carousel, train, and kiddie boats. Pedal boats are also available for rent seasonally on the park’s large pond. The Pullen Aquatic Center, Pullen Arts Center and Theatre In the Park are also located on the park grounds. It is one of the most famous and known parks around the Raleigh/Durham area.

 

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Fall Into Giving! | Loft & Learn Challenge

Loft & Learn Challenge

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It’s time to get ready for fall. Orange and burgundy décor all around, pumpkin spice scented candles aglow and crisp air fill a home with a season’s new freshness. With the changing of seasons comes the beginning of a new phase or chapter of the year and the closing of another. What an awesome time to be thankful of all you have and give to the less fortunate what you no longer use.

It’s always a great time to give to charities or volunteer in the community, but for some reason, once the first leaves begin to harden, lose life and fall to the ground and the air of change is upon us, I am reminded that there are so many who have so little. When pulling out the seasonal decorations and sorting through the countless items that are no longer in use, I feel this is a great opportunity to give items away that can bring joy to someone else. Along with spring cleaning, fall cleaning is also a great opportunity to lighten your load, clear some space and brighten another person’s day.

So get ready for another Loftus Challenge! Yes, it’s time to go through all of your household items (furniture, knick-knacks, clothing etc.) and donate to your local goodwill, homeless shelter, food drive, church or other non-profit organization of choice. Along with donating items there are so many organizations and people who could use a helping hand with a volunteer. Even if it’s 30 minutes of your time, it could mean so much to someone to share yourself, your belongings and your love.

 

It’s Library Time | Reading Is Fun

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Take advantage of your local library!!!

 

 

 

There’s no better way to get your kids out of the house when you’re on a budget than to head to your local library. It’s about more than just checking out some new books to read together. Today’s libraries offer a world of fun with their free membership.

1. Free Books

Obviously, the most well-known benefit of joining the library is that you and your children are able to read books for free. This means that you’ll never have a stack of books your child is bored with, and your child will be exposed to many different books about all different subjects. And you won’t have to open your wallet.

2. Reading Programs

Many local libraries offer help story-time with including online read-along programs in addition to reading lists for every age, online tutors, and research databases.

3. Free Programs

Most of today’s libraries offer free musical programs, story times and craft hours for children. It’s a great way to get out of the house and have some fun together. Plus your child’s brain will be boosted by the exposure to music, reading, and crafts.

4. Play Areas

If you have children of various ages, you won’t have to worry about keeping the little one entertained while the older one checks out some books or visits story time. There is likely a play area in the children’s section with fun toys to keep your toddler occupied.

5. New Friends

When you visit the local library, you’re likely to meet other parents, which opens the door to making new friends for both you and your children.

6. Discounts at Other Local Spots

Local libraries often offer members discounted visits to local museums, aquariums, and other fun spots for families. All you have to do is ask at the front desk and you can sign out a discount card to take with you to the local children’s museum.

7. eBooks

Libraries have entered the digital age. You can borrow eBooks without even leaving your home with a virtual library that can be accessed from anywhere.

Libraries are one of the best resources a town has to offer. If you haven’t taken advantage of the benefits of having a membership, now is the time. Plus, your child will feel so grown up with her own library card.

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Kindness. | Community

 Good People. Kind Acts.

Community

Well It is now the end of July and we are safely and happily settled into our new home in Cary, NC. We plan on living in this amazing community until we move into our dream home on our land. We were overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude and joy as we were welcomed in to the neighborhood with a greeting chorus and wonderful people who rolled up their sleeves and actually helped us unload a U haul full of a four bedroom house well into the wee hours of the night.

I will never forget the smiling and welcoming faces that came to our aid that evening  in a huge act of kindness. Our children all met, and played with each other as we lifted box after box learning about each other in passing. As our kids played with such reckless abandon and sheer joy off meeting new friends we too learned of our new friends and they us. We discovered that although coming from different backgrounds, nationalities and ethnicities, we shared common interests and education to some degree. We are business owners, consultants, academy award winners, I.T. personnel, Graphic designers and more.

We went beneath the obvious surface to find out who we truly were as people. It was a magical evening that I hope is the beginning of life long friendships for the young and old..

With all of the current troubling issues we face in today’s times I felt that it was important to share of goodness and kindness. A tale of how when people truly put the outward division and judgements aside we can come together and we can teach our children by example to treat others how you would like to be treated. It is such a simple and golden rule that many adults have sadly forgotten. We don’t have to agree with one another to understand and appreciate one another. I for one am hopeful that as a whole we will not fall into the divisive trap of separating ourselves over matters of ill consequence and instead focus on a common goal of bringing more light and love into this world instead of darkness and despair.