Did you know I spent 16 years in the travel business?
I sure did. I spent 16 years as a professional travel agent, traveling the world and making people’s dreams come true. It was a wonderful career and I enjoyed most every minute until the writing on the wall said it was time to do something else. The birth of my third daughter, Morgan, helped me understand that change is good and it was now time to make a change.
For the last couple of years, I have done a little of this and little of that. I have worked in a call center for a hotel chain, served as the director of sales in a hotel, and helped out wherever I can to make a few dollars. Last November, I put on my big girl panties and got serious about finishing my book and organizing our local support group, Parenting Across Color. In one year, I have incorporated the organization, completed the process of becoming a non-profit with tax exempt status from the IRS, completed and now launched the book. Wow. I feel tired just remembering it all. And I wonder, what is next for me?
I am passionate about the cause of African-American children in the foster system, since all 3 of mine came from the system. I feel called to help these kids in any way I can, whether through workshops on being a trans-racial family or identifying needs that are not being met. For instance, what is the one thing a white family will never have on hand when a black child is placed in their home temporarily or permanently? Oil. White people simply do not have a need for oil, or grease, for their heads and will not have an extra bottle under the bathroom sink for the child who arrived in the middle of the night.
For a long time, I have wanted to create a care kit for African-American youth in the foster system. This kit would include the necessary items for proper hair care and would accompany any child being placed in the foster system. I shared this idea with a friend in the Department of Family and Protective Services and then bing, bang, boom—I am sitting across the table from Ursula Dudley-Oglesby, President of Dudley’s Hair Care and Cosmetics, talking about the hair care kits. I found an ally in Ursula, who recognized the immediate hair needs of black youth who have come from homes where they were abused and/or neglected and who may be living in a new home where their hair is not understood.
I have every finger and toe crossed that Dudley’s and the state of Texas will quickly work out a deal to meet the needs of these kiddos, any of one whom could easily have been mine. I am a firm believer that when we look good, we feel good and when we feel good, we do good. Let’s see what happens when we make some children feel good.