Amazing Opportunities

Reading to students during reading week at schools across the city is the highlight of my school year.

Reading to students during Reading Week at schools across the city is the highlight of my school year.

As a mother and a journalist, I have had some amazing opportunities come my way. One of the things I try to reinforce to my children and to the students I speak to is that it’s important to take risks; to say “yes” to things that may be out of your comfort zone. I also encourage them to think “outside the box” about how they can use their skills and passions in many ways, even in ways they may not have thought of initially. And finally, I tell them that the age in which we live, this ever-changing age of technology, is one which provides us with the ability to accomplish things in a non-traditional way. As a writer you are able to connect with people and opportunities all over the country and the world, with the click of your fingers on the keys while sitting on your couch.

That being said, I thought I’d create a page which showcases some of the amazing opportunities I’ve had since leaving my traditional classroom teacher job a dozen years ago, to take on the world as a mother, author, blogger and newspaper journalist.

As someone who particularly enjoys taking on the next challenge or saying yes to the next big thing, I’m sure that I’ll be adding to this page in the future as well.

LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER PROVIDENCE 2014

Being a part of a cast of writers is something I'd never imagined I'd be adding to my resume.

Being a part of a cast of writers is something I’d never imagined I’d be adding to my resume.

When I first heard about the opportunity to audition for a 2013 monologue show coming to Providence about moms, mothers, motherhood and the like; believe it or not I could not imagine what I’d written that would be good enough for an audition.

That was 2013.

It’s a new year, and this time when the audition time rolled around and I saw a posting for the link, I knew immediately what I would audition. It was a piece I’d written about my mother and I had a hunch it’d be just perfect for the 2014 show.

Sure enough, I received notification that I had been accepted to the cast of the show!

The show will be taking place on Saturday, May 10 at RISD auditorium. You can purchase tickets here, and see my official blog announcement regarding my acceptance to the cast here.

Once the show has taken place, I’ll be posting links here as well!

***As promised, here is the link to the blog post that I wrote about my experience as a cast member in the 2014 Listen To Your Mother show in Providence.***

****Even better, here is the YouTube Video link so that you can see the performances yourself!***

 

I tell students all the time, "You never know where your writing will lead you!"

I tell students all the time, “You never know where your writing will lead you!”

WINNING THE 2012 HEALTHY LUNCHTIME CHALLENGE WITH MY DAUGHTER, MEETING THE PRESIDENT AND FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES

This exciting event was one of the true highlights of my life. My daughter Caroline and I entered a Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, sponsored by the White House and Epicurious. I was encouraged by my then-editor at the paper to enter the contest which was a child/parent entry, because of the writing and recipe sharing that I do on my blog, and the cooking that I talk about doing with and for my children. There was a winner from each state and four territories, and we were the Rhode Island winners for 2012. As the winners, we were treated to lunch at the White House in the East Dining Room, in the format of the first-ever Kids’ State Dinner. We met the President, the First Lady, White House chefs, television stars, musicians and more. We had a 36 hour, whirlwind trip to DC but it was the trip of a lifetime and we have maintained friendships that we made on that trip, still today. At the time, there were dozens of television appearances, speaking engagements, cooking shows, and newspaper articles. In addition to all of that, I wrote several blog posts about the contest process and the trip. You can read about them in order here, here, here and here.

ATTENDING A LUNCHEON WITH THE GOVERNOR AND FIRST GENTLEMAN OF RHODE ISLAND

Chef Alexandra at the Governor's Luncheon. Alexandra submitted our family's rice pudding recipe for the contest, which is gluten free.

Chef Alexandra at the Governor’s Luncheon. Alexandra submitted our family’s rice pudding recipe for the contest, which is gluten free.

Last year our new governor, the first female governor of Rhode Island, and her husband, created a recipe contest similar to the one we had entered for the White House in 2012. It was for students in grades five through eight and both of our younger daughters were eligible and entered. The students had to share a healthy recipe in one of variety of categories along with an ingredients list to go with it and an estimated cost of those ingredients. The goal was to show that healthy eating can be affordable, even for those on a budget.

Our second daughter, Elizabeth, entered her favorite recipe for her 30 Minute Meatloaf Burgers, which we eat all the time, and our youngest daughter, Alexandra, entered Rice Pudding, one of our favorite desserts which happens to also be gluten free, and something she can eat. Alexandra was chosen as a finalist for the state in the dessert category, and we were so excited! Just a year earlier, she had been chosen as a finalist in our city’s Sodexo contest for an oatmeal recipe she had submitted as a healthy snack. You can read about that contest here.

Alex and Don posing between courses with Governor Gina Raimondo.

Alex and Don posing between courses with Governor Gina Raimondo.

Being that both of girls had entered, the two of them were invited to attend the luncheon and Don and I were also invited to attend. On January 9, 2016 we headed over to the RI Food Bank where we were served a delicious luncheon consisting of the final winners’ recipes and where the kids who had entered were given a bound recipe book featuring all of the finalists’ recipes in every category, including Alex’s Rice Pudding recipe. Following the luncheon we were able to tour the RI Food Bank, which was something we’d always wanted to see. It was amazing to see the inner workings of a place that is able to help so many of our RI families.

If you’d like to read about the event and see the all of the winners, you can see that article here.

GUEST SPEAKER

Speaking to college writing students was a great opportunity for me to talk about my job as a writer.

Speaking to college writing students was a great opportunity for me to talk about my job as a writer.

I love speaking to students and large groups. I know that sounds crazy to some, but I get a thrill out of it. Therefore, speaking at school events or being asked to read out loud to students during Reading Week followed by a Q&A about my job is one of my all-time favorite parts of my job.

I’ve been lucky enough to speak to students at all age levels from the elementary level through the college level.

I actually wrote a blog post about my speaking engagement at the Community College of Rhode Island. You can read it here.

Recently, I was also the guest author at Hugh B. Bain’s “Lit Night,” which was a fun spoof on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” created in honor of Reading Week. I was the Guest Author and the tables were turned as I was the one interviewed and an eighth grade “Jimmy Fallon” asked me the questions.

You can read the Cranston Herald article about it here.

 

 

RECOGNITION AWARDS

Receiving such recognition makes you realize what a good job you are truly doing.

Receiving such recognition makes you realize what a good job you are truly doing.

Way back when I was a teacher, creating and keeping a “portfolio” of your best work was a task that we were encouraged to have our students do. It motivated them to do their best work, but also to really think about what the cream of the crop of their school year’s assignments were; the things they were most proud of.

As a journalist, there’s an opportunity to do the same thing. Each year, twice during the year, we are asked to submit several of our very best published pieces from the year before for consideration for press association awards. Living in New England, we participate in the New England Newspaper and Press Association contest as well as the Rhode Island Press Association contest. The New England recognition is hard because you’re up against thousands of journalists hailing from as far away as Maine and Connecticut. The Rhode Island recognition is hard because you’re up against journalists in your state who are write for bigger, more frequently published papers.

I consider myself blessed to have won three New England Press Association Awards and one Rhode Island Press Association Award in the past six years. I look at this accomplishment as being one of the biggest achievements of my lifetime. I am not a trained journalist, and I have won in areas other than (but including) education, which *is* my area of expertise. It reinforces for me that I am good at my job as a journalist, and it keeps me on my toes throughout the year as I consider my best pieces.

You can read my blog posts about these exciting awards here and here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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