sassysage's Blog

Archive for April 2011

i absolutely love poetry of all forms  and April is National Poetry Month

words on the page

captivating your imagination without

giving away too much…

you can lose yourself

traveling with the writer

flowing creatively

line by line


into their world

if only for a brief moment

sometimes it lingers

sometimes not

but always a sweet spot… (-sage, 11)

i first became exposed to poetry because of an assignment in a high school english class. i chose the work of gwedolyn brooks, the american pulitzer prize winning poet. Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks  was born in 1917 in Topeka, Kansas. Her mother was a former school teacher and her father was the son of a runaway slave.   Ms. Brooks published her first poem in a children’s magazine at the age of thirteen. yes that does say 13. ladies, it’s never to early to pursue your dreams!

When Ms. Brooks was sixteen years old, she had compiled a portfolio of around seventy-five published poems. did i mention how much of an inspiration she was for me as a teen girl knowing all this great stuff!

Her first book of poetry, A Street in Bronzeville, published in 1945 by Harper and Row, brought her instant critical acclaim. In 1950, she published her second book of poetry, Annie Allen, which won her the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, making her the first ever African-American to be given this prize. what a history making woman!

Ms. Brooks was made Poet Lauret of Illinois in 1968. In 1988, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. In 1994, she was chosen as the National Endowment for the HumanitiesJefferson Lecturer, one of the highest honors for American literature and the highest award in the humanities given by the federal government. In 1995, she was presented with the National Medal of Arts. Ms. Brooks was awarded more than seventy-five honorary degrees from colleges and universities worldwide.  never sitting on her laurels (literally), she kept pursuing greater heights. 

Ms. Brooks was married, had two children and died in December 2000. she will be missed but her great works live on.

here is a one of my all time favorite poems by Ms. Gwendolyn Brooks


We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

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  • Comments Off on Hot off the Press: GATES MILLENNIUM SCHOLARS PROGRAM for ethnic minority boys- NYC Info Session on 4-30

Although this site is for girls/women, we support our brothers.   Below is a great resource for 8-11th grade boys.  Spread the word….


The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program-established in 1999 and
funded by a $1.6 billion grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundation-is hosting an outreach event at Murry Bergtraum High School
on Saturday, April 30, 2011, from 8:30-11:30 a.m. for male students from
underrepresented groups who are currently in grades 8-11.

Applicants selected as Gates Millennium Scholars are presented with the opportunity to receive up to five years of scholarship funding in any undergraduate discipline at the accredited college or university of their choice.

Please inform eligible male students to attend and learn more about this extraordinary opportunity to meet, greet, and obtain tips for crafting competitive scholarship applications. Eligible male students include:

* African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific
Islander American, or Hispanic American; and
* 8th-10th graders who have attained a cumulative GPA of 2.8 or
above, 11th graders who have attained a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above
on a 4.0 unweighted scale, and those who have earned a GED and have not
previously enrolled in college.

Please view the event flyer

Students and their parents/guardians may register for the event at

For questions about this event, please contact Jannitta Graham via email at <> or via phone at 1-877-690-4677 (GMSP).

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  • Comments Off on Sage’s Rage: Getting Into Shape for Spring

Its been a while since I lifted weights.  Although I run, my muscles barely exist anymore. So I decided to make a change and get back on it track.  Day one I start and I can’t make it to 10 by the second rep! I knew it was bad but I can’t believe it’s that bad…

Then I remember the words of Lauren Lake at the Women of Excllence, Strength and Tenacity, Inc. (WEST) conference I attended last week.  Focusing on the theme of strength, the conference was a day of empowerment, healing and learning for women and girls.  Ms. Lake, the amazing attorney turned media guru on CNN and host of HGTV’s Spice Up My Kitchen, gave us a rousing speech about how strength training is a meterphor for life.

She states the definition of strength is the will to move beyond obstacles and thrive. Her must do list of strength training for life is that:
1-u need a program and a plan
2-u need support
3- u want to have a good and balanced diet (pos thinking, time management, getting rid of people who are not good for us)
4-u need contingencies for when things go wrong (what to do when fear, low self esteem, anxiety kicks in)
5- u should be stretching and warming up (taking oneself beyond your comfort zone)
6-u need to be flexible (go with the flow and be willing to change)
7-u must get you heart pumping (find out what your passions are and go for it)
8- ur goal is to build muscles-for carrying and letting go of excess baggage (past hurts/guilt/drama)
9-u want to also build ur core (you can’t get far in life without truly knowing who u are)
10-u should never forget to cool down (make it a priority to take a moment for yourself)

I’m just getting started with strength training and its no walk in the park. But I’ve learned to never give up in life and I’m not gonna give up here. There will be pain and days that I just don’t want to deal. But I’ve got my Lauren Lake toolbox to keep me motivated and one day soon I’ll be buff and strong!

To learn more about WEST and the great work they are doing with girls/young women visit the website:

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  • Comments Off on Crowing A Queen: Resolute Racer Ashley Fiolek

last night i was jumping up and down, screaming with glee at the tv while watching 106 & park! freestyle fridays  has always been a favorite of mine because it takes me back to the old school days when hip hop was pure and reigned supreme.  normally i’m not so impressed with the skills of the rappers but this year there was blind fury;  the most amazing mc.  he flows with such ease, it’s a delight to listen to the rhymes.  last night he became a champion not just for his poetic ability but he showed us that being born blind doesn’t limit his vision to do great things.   i’ve learned a lot from him, as well as marlee matlin, who is currently on this season’s celebrity apprentice.  she is so dynamic, confident, and smart.  she never allows her physically challenge to stop her from pursuing what she wants to achieve.  

so imagine my awe when i read about Ashley Fiolek, a 20 year old motocross racer, which is a highly male dominated field.  ashley is deaf and is also the two-time national women’s motocross champion.  she became the youngest champion ever and was the first female rider on the cover of a motocross publication (she appeared in Transworld Motocross).  in a Marie Claire article, Ashley states “being a deaf rider, i can’t hear the other bikes behind me.  i don’t know where my competition is on the track until i get to a corner and i can turn and look.”  however, she takes that challenge and turns it into a strength by using the fact that she can’t hear to “shut out the distractions and just think about my goal: to win.”  

Ashley inspires me to do better no matter what challenges may come my way.   she is resolute and doesn’t see limits which allows her to reach higher and higher.   she’s learned to dust off the scrapes and bruises and keep going until she meets the mark.   

are you holding back from a dream, idea, or adventure that your heart desires?  are you allowing a challenge, whether physical, economic, family or emotional, to stop you cold?    make a promise to yourself today to try it anyway. you never know how far you can go…

To learn more about Ashley Fiolek visit:

I was contacted about this casting opportunity for moms and daughters.  After speaking with the producer, I’m excited to hear about the show and can’t wait to see the great transformations that will occur in these families lives.  Want to be a part of it? 

See below to contact the show directly:


OWN-The Oprah Winfrey Network is searching for Moms and daughters whose relationship seems to have switched roles.   

“MOM & ME”  chronicles mother/teen relationships that don’t fit the traditional mold, and would like to build a better relationship.  OWN is looking for dynamic moms with extreme lifestyle choices and articulate daughters between 16 and 21 years of age who sometimes have to take on the role of being the parent.   Challenges could include: moms that are shopaholics, moms obsessed with plastic surgery, exercise, gambling, dating, exercise or internet, etc.

If you and your mom are ready to face an extra-ordinary, life-changing journey toghether then we want to hear from you.  Must live in/around Southern California area or in New York tri-state area.  NY, NJ, PA.

Please visit our website at and click on “MOM & ME” and fill out our online application, we will contact you immediately.  If you need more information you can contact us at or call us at 818-563-4131   

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  • Comments Off on Hot off the Press: Paid summer program for Hispanic/Latino college students- Deadline April 15th

I was forwarded this information and thought it would be a great opportunity for college students interested in health.   This is not a program that we provide, so please respond to the contact listed below.

Hispanic-Serving Health Professions Schools (HSHPS) in collaboration with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
& Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) is hosting PAID, mentored traineeships during both the summer of 2011.

Application Deadline: April 15, 2011

-Hispanic heritage and Spanish fluency NOT required but highly desired
-Commit to improving Hispanic health
-4th year undergraduates and current/recent graduate students in a health
profession, including social work and psychology

Award Package:
-Monthly Stipend
-Airfare Reimbursement
-Sponsored Housing
-Local Travel Allowance

For more information on how to apply through HSHPS, contact
or visit under the “Training Programs” icon.

Hispanic-Serving Health Professions Schools (HSHPS) is a 501c3
institutional member-based nonprofit that strives to improve the health of
Hispanics through academic development, research initiatives, and training.

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  • Comments Off on Sassy says: u got in; now what?

on friday thousands of eager high school seniors and their parents received news they had been anxiously awaiting for months.  it was decision day, the time when many colleges and universities send out decisions of who has been accepted at their institutions.   i’m sure some were overjoyed with news that they would be able to attend their top choice. but there are many who are left with the news confused.   you know you’re going to college, but which one should you choose? 

as a college professor, i am an advisor to students and i’m often struck that many students who aren’t doing well in school are often the ones who don’t feel like it’s the right fit.  sorry to say it but the pressure is on because what college to choose is such an important question to answer.

 just this past week, i was facilitating THE MIND MAKEOVERsm workshop at a suburban high school and was inspired by the motivation and confidence of the girls i was working with.   however, i noticed that many of them felt pressure to pursue colleges that their parents, friends and others wanted for them.   some of the girls were interested in attending a historically black college and university (HBCU).  but they commented that others felt those schools may be perceived as inferior and an ‘easy’ choice.  i couldn’t have disagreed more knowing the high level of education many HBCUs provide.  there are countless of graduates from those institutions who are leaders in our communities and in the nation.   it seemed that the girls just went with what they were told.   they didn’t do their own research.  so as you sweat through the process of deciding which school to choose, here are five questions to mull over:

 1) does the school have the course options that you are interested in? interested in, not that you want to major in or pursue a career.   i say this because college should be a time for you to explore topics that are intellectually stimulating.  widen your view of the world, so you have something interesting to offer when you talk to people no matter what you plan to do with your life.

 2) is the college located in a community that you would feel comfortable?  this is where the college visit is so important. you need to check out your top two choices and see which one feels right.  even if you’ve already visited, go again. this time with the eyes of someone who is living there.  can you see it? or not? it may take time and money for the visits but you don’t want to spend four long years, 24 hours a day in a place you can’t stand. some schools will provide financial support for the visit and it doesn’t hurt to ask.

 3) have the graduates from the college been successful in many different fields?  even if you are considering a specialized school, the breath of career options for graduates is a sign of how good an education you are going to get.  in this economy, you don’t want to be pigeon-holed with one or two options.

 4) are you being honest? take a deep breath and muster up the confidence to stand in your truth.  let your family and friends know what your heart truly desires.   as a soon to be young adult, you have to learn how to make choices that may not be what  others want to hear.  college is the beginning of your grown up life and that choice should be based on your wants/needs.  if you have done your research, it will be easy for you to explain to them why you feel the way you do.   many parents may disagree with my advise but my word to them is–it’s time to let go. 

 5) did you forget to have fun? getting into college is a huge accomplishment.  make sure to celebrate, live in the moment and enjoy what you have worked so hard to achieve.

 Congratulations! Let me know what you decide…

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