#Read4MentalWellness

Communities across the U.S. have celebrated Read Across America (RAA) Day on or around March 2 for 22 years. This year, RAA Day is also the inaugural World Teen Mental Wellness Day. Since reading can have a positive effect on mental health, let us encourage our communities to use reading as a tool for mental wellness! Let’s #Read4MentalWellness!

#Read4MentalWellness today and everyday!

Read Across America

The National Education Association (NEA) launched RAA with the main focus of motivating children to read. As the nation’s largest celebration of reading, a major goal of RAA is to improve performance in school.

“The year-round program can fit reading fun into your calendar daily, weekly, or monthly and includes big celebrations of reading on March 2 and throughout National Reading Month in March.”

ReadAcrossAmerica.org

On Read Across America Day, you can expect a great number of schools, bookstores, libraries, and more to host reading events. However, one event that is especially exciting is the #FillEveryShelf matching opportunity at DonorsChoose.org! When you donate to a DonorsChoose book project during this event and your donation doubles! You can help get books to students quicker! The match will be available from 7:00 AM ET on March 2nd until 3:00 AM ET on March 7th, therefore making this an ideal time to give!

World Teen Mental Wellness Day

Retailer Hollister is declaring March 2, 2020 the first World Teen Mental Wellness Day. Hollister is wants teens to use March 2 to practice self-care and silence self-doubt!

“World Teen Mental Wellness Day aims to raise greater awareness of mental health issues among teens, as well as provide education about removing stigmas surrounding preventative mental health.”

February 12, 2020 Press Release

Up to $12,000 will be donated to the Hollister Confidence Project Fund when teens use #WorldTeenMentalWellnessDay to share how they recharge!

Positive Effect of Reading: #Read4MentalWellness

My oldest son, who will be 13 this summer, has been struggling in a couple of classes. I told him to read more! I explained that reading will help improve vocabulary and writing; therefore allowing him to communicate better and feel more confident. I also mentioned that reading would allow him to be exposed to situations and experiences that he may never experience, or not yet experienced, first hand. In other words, giving him new insight and point-of-views from which to learn. But how much does reading help mental health and wellness?

8 Science-Backed Reasons to Read a (Real) Book

The article 8 Science-Backed Reasons to Read a (Real) Book, from Real Simple, discusses eight reasons we should read books. Amazingly, reading literally changes the mind. Here’s how!

  • Increases intelligence
  • Boost brain power
  • Make you more empathetic
  • Flipping pages can improve understand
  • May help fight Alzheimer’s disease
  • Can help you relax
  • Reading before bed can help you sleep
  • Reading is contagious

Establishing a love for reading is easier at a younger age. However, it is never too late for that one special book to create a life long reader! So this week, provide a classroom with books and get students a step closer to mental wellness. Need help finding a classroom to support through DonorsChoose.org? Check out this Twitter thread for ideas.

Support Not Mad. Motivated.

This week, Not Mad. Motivated. will help support students and teaches with daily donations to at least one DonorsChoose book project while the #FillEveryShelf match is active. We will also share projects so that other donors have the opportunity to make a difference!

We are brainstorming how to make a bigger impact within our communities and would love your support to ensure that we are able to grow! We invite you to shop at our online store, subscribe to and share our blogs, and subscribe to our newsletter. We may be small but we are eager to make our impact great!

So when you take your favorite books to share with your favorite people, have your Not Mad. Motivated. tote ready to help you carry the load. And remember to #Read4MentalWellness today and everyday!

My Not Mad. Motivated. Black History

My Black History written by Not Mad. Motivated. Founder Margaret Hall

When I was in high school, I participated in two separate college tour trips. One was to Atlanta, Georgia and the other to different areas of Virginia. Both tours included visits to multiple Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). However, I never really considered going to an HBCU during my college application process.

Instead I decided that I would go to the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. That is until I realized that I would not get the funds I needed to take care of tuition. My next choice was completely different – Clarion University of Pennsylvania – because I knew that I could get a significant amount of state grants to complete my college career. Fortunately, an unexpected opportunity presented itself to me.

North Carolina and HBCU Bound

Around the time of my high school graduation, I received a letter from Bennett College. Bennett, an Historical Black Women’s College in Greensboro, North Carolina, offered me a Presidential Scholarship that covered tuition plus room and board. Considering that I had never heard of Bennett College, this offer came as a complete surprise.

My mind was already settled on staying close to home. It was with the encouragement of my older sister that I decided to give North Carolina and Bennett College a try. My mother was at summer camp for the Army Reserves, so my sister and her good friend drove from Maryland to Pennsylvania to North Carolina to make sure I was at Bennett in time for orientation.

More Than a College Education

Even though I excelled academically, attending Bennett College was far more than just a college education. Bennett nurtured my sense of social responsible. I immediately learned that “Bennett Belles are Voting Belles”. Many freshwomen, including myself, voted for the very first time using a carpool system to the local voting polls. This was an effort led by the [now formal] art professor and current North Carolina Congresswomen.

It was at Bennett that I found my passion for writing. Specifically, it was a paper that I wrote for my Civil Rights Empowerment class that piqued my interest. The paper was about the effect of voting disenfranchisement of ex-offenders on the Black community, and it helped me introduce myself to myself.

More than a College Professor

My professor for the Civil Rights Empowerment class was also an inspiration, leaving a permanent impact on me. She spoke about her double mastectomy and her decision to not have her breast reconstructed. Her vulnerability allowed me to connect with, and learn from, her as a woman. It allowed a certain trust.

There is one piece of advise that she gave the class that I still think of regularly: Never pull over for a police office in a place that is not well lit! She recommended that we turn on our hazards and continue to drive at a slower pace until arriving at a well lit place, to help assure that you are seen by others. She suggested calling 9-1-1, while driving, to let them know about the situation. A real life lesson!

While preparing this post, I found out that this professor passed away about a year and a half after I finished her course and graduated from college. I appreciate the interactions that I had with her and her passion for teaching students beyond the limits of a classroom.

From Greensboro to Tobacco Road

After graduating from Bennett, I decided to attend the School of Public Health (SPH) at the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill. It was a huge change and took a great adjustment. After an unsuccessful first year, I took a year off before starting year two.

Upon my return, I realized how important to was to have a supportive community. I became a member of the Minority Student Caucus. This group not only provided opportunities to socialize with a diverse community of students, but it also allowed me to volunteer, and learn, at the annual Minority Health Conference.

I became a volunteer at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black History and Culture and participated in recruitment efforts for the UNC Graduate School, including a return to Bennett College. These types of activities, and interacting with students from all around the world, helped ground me as a student at UNC. Interacting with passionate students and being woven into the community made all of the difference!

The Tale of Two Chapel Hills

As a UNC – Chapel Hill alumni and as a Black woman, it has been heartbreaking to watch the “Silent Sam” episode unfold. People have spent many years fighting for the removal of Confederate statues and flags. In my opinion, it is because these items represent a culture and a people that fought to keep the institution of enslaving African descendants. These items have been used to tell generation after generation that the Confederate’s fought for an honorable cause and deserved to be memorialized.

It impossible for me to align my past with the current state of UNC. The social responsibility cultivated at Bennett. The passion of UNC students to make a positive impact on their communities. The intention of the “Silent Sam” protesters to remove reminders of oppress. None of these line up with the university’s agreement to award the statue AND a $2.5 million trust to cover costs to preserve it to the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Learning History with the Future

My life experiences offered me many opportunities to learn. However, learning with my sons have magnified my views on being Black in America.

My middle son is such a magnificent history guide. It was his idea to watch the PBS special, Reconstruction: America After the Civil War. This documentary is eye opening! It explores the brief period after the Civil War when formal slaves and free Black people had opportunities to achieve and advance. During this period of time, the formal Union continued to play a role in protecting the rights of Blacks in America.

But the formal Union had a change of heart when they were faces with losing the US presidency. They essentially gave the formal Confederates “free range” on African Americans in the American South in exchange for the being the “leader” of the nation. The idea of Reconstruction began to unravel and the rise of Jim Crow segregation took its place.

The effect of slavery and the failed “attempt” of reconstruction is still seen in our everyday lives. Hate ‘campaigns’ have been past down throughout families and communities, infiltrating all areas of our lives. Doctors, teachers, police officers, law makers, etc. who carry bias ideas about people of African descendant exist. These biases are dangerous to everyone and have no place in our communities.

A “Not Mad. Motivated.” Black History

The series will conclude with a focus on both the flowering of African American art, music, literature, and culture as tools of resistance in the struggle against Jim Crow racism and the surge of political activism. . .all at a time when black political power had been blunted and the dream of an interracial democracy seemed impossibly out of reach.

Reconstruction: America After the Civil War Preview

The “Not Mad. Motivated.” mindset to a cruel history is RESISTANCE! I resist biases by encouraging people to thrive beyond their past and their obstacles. We all are needed in this fight against biases and racism. How will you make a difference?

Help spread the Not Mad. Motivated. mindset with a purchase of a t-shirt or tote today. This Black Owned Business greatly appreciates your support!