Sheelagh Cabalda is a partner, mama and educator, who has worked extensively in youth development, cultural studies, multicultural counseling, cancer support, higher education, events administration and non-profit management. Redefining success is a combination of positive & changing self-concept, inner directedness and a balance of priorities. It is personal empowerment -- taking charge over what we can control & accepting what we cannot. Every day is an attempt to do just that.
In my advocacy work, I find myself sometimes struggling between wanting to help those less fortunate, yet despising those who take advantage of the system that is established to assist them in improving their circumstances -- economic, educational, overall wellness. Oprah has said that she will never make major donations to causes in the States because folks here have the support they need to succeed beyond what may be tremendously traumatic situations. Elsewhere around the globe, that is not the case. Social services as they exist in the States are not available in other countries.
I observe my friends' and family's kids who have every item they could ever want, every opportunity available to them -- music class for toddlers, soccer camp for tweens, the latest electronic accessory. For the most part, their parents (and the kids) have worked hard. Most of them haven't had to overcome neglect, abuse, or poverty to have their privileged lives.
I spend my days commuting from the Jersey bay into ESS' Manhattan headquarters in Chelsea. Days out in the field in low income neighborhoods like Mott Haven in the Bronx, the poorest U.S. Congressional district, or BedStuy in Brooklyn, meeting with public officials, trying to figure out which are the most effective public policies that will have the most positive impact on working families' lives.
This social justice work . . . it's a challenge . . . (and can be draining). What I am thankful for, is being in the company of predominantly fierce women who truly believe in social justice.
May people find comfort in others To know that they care
May those of all backgrounds, various experiences know their blessings