Tonight, I went to one of the hippest (totally hipster inspired, literally I’ve never seen more boys with their hair in pony-tail holders in one location) things that Raleigh does in Downtown and with the local community. I’ve been before, but tonight I was really inspired by it and therefore want to show you what I learned, where I donated my money, and how you can take super cool mirror pictures like the ones you will see below. Oh Geezus, Beezus.
So, every month in the summer time, Raleigh Downtown does this thing called First Friday, where all the local art galleries, stores, venues, artisans, writers, fire breathers (yea, seriously, I was astonished too…especially how they do it with delicate plastic flowers in their hair) come out and participate in selling their work and coming together as a local community to celebrate Raleigh art. I really love it, even though my best friend Jess, who I normally go with, has been in Minnesota for the last six months. We finally got a chance to go again tonight though because she’s back like Britney!
I ate my vegetarian meal at one of my favorite Draft Houses (Veggie Pita; crisp cucumbers, melted cheese, diced tomato’s, mushrooms straight out of the forest), and then had some freakin’ delicious baklava (caramel flavored) from Turkish Delight (the purple house on Glenwood Ave). Of course after we became piggly-wigglies, we drove over to Moore Square to get a bit of art nightlife back in our systems. Jess is totally inspired by mixed media art pieces and is applying to art school for the spring (where she will shine like a giant light saber in the sky).
Let me describe my best friend Jess for a second, just for those who are wondering what she looks like due to my lack of a picture of our reunion. Jess is a free-spirited, dirty blonde (dirty like the martini, in that sexy and mysterious way) who is on a caveman diet (where she eats turkey legs for most meals) and she’s usually wearing all organic outfits. I learned tonight (hilarious) that her boyfriend’s full name means: “Handsome Victorious Dark Evil Foreigner” which basically lets you know that she’s a painted princess of the meadows, who hardly wears make-up and prefers barefeet. She’s also one of the most amazing penpals and the only friend I’ve had that has accepted all my disturbing flaws (believe me there are many) without even blinking her eye. (Oh yea, did I mention she’s a cyclops)? So, just imagine going to a mini-art festival with a chick like that (who also isn’t afraid to tell the dancing fire boys that they’re amazing after they get out of the circle of lights).
Her and I (aka my little dragonfly and I) were just enjoying the art galleries, the scenery, and the forty-year old women dancing after a few beers, no longer shy in their motherhood and tank-tops. Earlier this year I had actually taken photos of Jess on a few of the cobbled streets along First Friday and so it was good to reminisce. Mostly, we were purchasing odd things together. (Which by the way…is the story of our friendship. Whenever I put on some really weird item of clothing; for instance my polka dotted St. Patty’s Day Aladdin Pants, that’s a Jess-doing). I bought a scarf covered in colored-feather bow and arrows, printed in Durham by a local artist. Her work & my new scarf can be seen here. Or to the side….
Even though all of this is fine and dandy and wonderful, there is even better news and better inspirations for this blog.
Most of you know, I work at a teen center for inner-city youth and it’s actually the first teen center ever with Raleigh Parks and Recreation. It all began out of violence, unfortunately. Near where the teen center now stands, a teen was shot in a gang-related act, and the community reached out for a better place for their youth to hang out recreationally. Here, they can have fun in a loving, interactive, and educational environment. I really love my job (if you haven’t been able to tell from the amount of times I’ve already used “love” in this paragraph). A few of my favorite kids have definitely changed my life; they’ve taught me to play trains and doubles in UNO, read me their love poetry to their middle school crushes, we have secret handshakes, I’ve learned how to get out of a pin in WWE’11, I’ve started saying “slay” and “cray-cray” and no one can shoot like me in 2k11. Okay, that last one is a complete lie, I can’t play that game to save my life, I don’t have the finger yoga down. I need to start doing miniature finger workouts where I lift dollhouse furniture with just my pointer.
I didn’t always love this job though, or really care all that much, it was just something that worked, that gave me the right hours. At first, I didn’t take my job seriously, I usually read a good book while I worked or did my homework to get my teaching license. But lately, I’d say for the past two months or so, I’ve been really working hard at getting to know my kids, and learning to love their stubborn idiosyncrasies. And learning to earn their respect by showing I care and then, getting their respect in return (that’s a huge one, it’s definitely going to get me through my first year of teaching, I think). I know you’re saying, this is just a bunch of hooplah about Cassie’s life that we don’t really care about. We’re here to read book reviews, not a sappy sentimental story on her teens at the teen center.
Well, tonight is different. Tonight, I learned of a brilliant, hula hooping organization.
I bought that flyer for 50 cents and got a free flower bomb with my purchase, can you believe it? (CHEAP!) By the way, flower bombs, are small cotton wrapped wildflower sacks that can throw on any dirt patch in an area of city that you think may need some sprucing up, or some color, or some wildflower joy and smells. Come on, let’s be honest and say that West Virginia is my favorite state to drive through because majority of their highways have wildflower memorials as the median. Wildflowers, equal happiness. It’s a life lesson, really. Boys who pick flowers straight from their yard and wrap them in Bounty Paper Towels for a girl on their first date (wildflower joy). Medians on high ways. Small patches of blow-able dandelions (I know their weeds, but I refuse to believe it). That dry spot that grows purple buds behind our AC Units in the backyard that my mother and I secretly water. Wildflowers, love, all the same.
Anyway, the Full Circle Foundation is a camp (and foundation) for girls to literally come full circle. I talked to the husband and wife team that started it (really for my teen center girls) about how they came to be, what was the thought process, and how they’re improving the lives of young girls in the Raleigh area. It was an amazing story. They were doing so much, with so little, out of just their home. They ran a whole summer camp for young women to learn about yoga, hula hooping, how to make organic materials to sell, how to make business plans, comprehensive sex education (can I get an AMEN!) and other just amazing tools that young women need to be armed for the world. (How many times can I use amazing to describe this; endless). Now, I’m a sucker for a good story and I’m always giving money to organizations that I think deserve it. What did I get tonight…my very first hula hoop – that’s right baby, you’re looking at the next world professional hula hooper.
The girls in the organization also made all the flower bombs, taped the hula-hoops themselves, created their own bath soaps to sell at First Friday, and are currently raising money for next years camp projects.
I’m just so proud to have something like this in my community. So, in an effort to further help these girls, this foundation, and hula-hooping America, I’m going to suggest that you donate money to this organization. I understand we’re in a debt crisis, we’re losing our jobs, our homes, our livelihood, and the most you can give is already going to your faith-based community. I’m just asking that you think about giving that loose change from the inner crevices under your car’s floor mats, and under those love seats you cuddled in over the weekend.
Your fifty-cents or two-cents, or even your dollar could go so far in helping these teen girls achieve their dreams, and this foundation to really give back to girls around the local area. Yes, you may not live around here, but you’re helping a girl, some girl you don’ t know who may not have it all together, put the pieces of her life puzzle in a better order.
This is how I justify it. I had a horrible first relationship that lasted about three years. Everything about it except the teenage love was completely unhealthy. And even that was totally deranged. However, maybe, if I had a foundation where I had a family of girls to learn amongst, rather than come-and-go girlfriends, and church retreats, I may not have gotten involved with the wrong boy for so damn long.
I can’t really say that this is or isn’t the case, or would or wouldn’t happen. I literally swam four-five hours a day in high school and attended every possible Catholic church retreat and still made silly/stupid teenage decisions. But just maybe, when girls learn to come together, rather than tare each other apart, they can create something bigger than themselves, and bigger than heartbreaks, high school football games, and broken promise rings. Just maybe…
So, with all that said, whip out your wallets. Haha, just kidding. I just want you guys to consider donating. Currently the foundation is trying to raise money for a veggie-powered bus to pick up the girls for camp next summer and bring them around to different venues in Raleigh. The woman who runs the foundation, asked me to donate to this, and so I gave my fifteen bucks, got my flower bomb and my hula-hoop, and was sent on my merry way to ease a few pounds off my hips (we all know that baklava wasn’t calorie-less).
Here is the link to donate.
If you’re really against veggies, or Veggie Tales, or buses, or small girls riding on buses, then feel free to donate on their website as well, here.
If I could get ten bucks out of just this blog post, I’d be happier than the Queen of the World (aka Mother Nature). In order to inspire you to donate, I’ve taken the liberty of making a fool of myself in front of all of you and my mirror. Also, I’ve taken many a fire-hula-hooping-circle picture for you to enjoy.
If the mirror pictures don’t do it for ya, I have no other options, folks.
On a few side notes:
- My cousin Brian is graduating! So give a quick heck yea for him when you get a chance. Maybe send a little prayer up, if you’re religious.