Local Hero

Kym Good has been volunteering at Community Solutions for three years now. She’s made a huge difference by running the Holiday Giving Program, the Walk for A Wish fundraiser, decorated therapy rooms and spends time with children at the shelter.

She is described as a “super star” by her peers. She is one to go above and beyond, spending all of her free time helping others. “I had no idea this would become such a big part of my life when I first started,” Kym said. “I’m here all the time, and there’s nowhere I’d rather be.”

Kym has decorated the seven therapy rooms at the new Community Solutions headquarters in Gilroy. The goal was to make them comfortable for clients to feel at home and safe. She’s secured all of the furniture and decorations from Craig’s list and bargain stores. Not only does she have a flair for style, and a knack for organizing, she’s been able to stretch the money further then expected with her smart shopping skills.

She loves to work with families at the shelter for domestic violence victims. She transformed the children’s room into a lively, beautiful place with all of her own resources. She visits the families at least once a week leading fun activities to enhance the children’s lives and give the moms a break.

Though she doesn’t have children of her own, she feels compelled to love these children like they are hers, and has the opportunity to pour her heart into this passion that has become her life purpose.


Rebecca and her children are prime examples of the struggles a single mother can have if she doesn’t have support. Despite their challenges, they are a happy family with hope for a better future.

This video was created by myself, Deanna Villareal and Audrey Diaz for our Multimedia Storytelling class at SJSU. It was our first project of this kind! A fun challenge and we appreciate the assistance and patience of this family.

To be a great mom or parent, one needs to take care of themselves. Eating right, exercising and having “you” time refreshes and renews you so you can help others and be all you can be!

Also, get mental food and exercise! Fill your thoughts with positive expectations and ideas and expand your horizons by always learning. It is suggested that we read 30 minutes a day. This can be on anything you want to get better at! Parenting, finance, relationships, managing conflict, cooking, whatever! Keep learning.

There are so many e-books these days- you can listen to books and inspiring people as you drive or work in the house or office. Doing this can turn your car to a university on wheels and you can maximize your time. You can buy books/CDs online at Amazon.com for a great price or even borrow material from the library for free.

John C. Maxwell is a writer and motivational speaker and trainer. In Success Magazine January 2011 he said in talking about flying, “before assisting children or other passengers, take the oxygen mask and put it on yourself first.” If we don’t care for ourselves, we can’t care for anyone else either. It’s so common to give all you have to everyone else and find yourself depleted- this year lets do something better!

Maxwell suggests that there are 10 things people should know and do before they are 40 (but if you’re 40 or more, do them now 🙂 Regardless of your age, they are simple and practical steps everyone should take to better their lives.

Know yourself- know your strengths and weaknesses. Know what you do well and what you don’t do well.

Settle your family life– Recognize what the issues are in your family and how to deal with them. Marriage is something that needs constant work and nurturing.

Determine your priorities- Know what s important and what you want to give your time to.  Robert Bulwer-Lytton says:”The man who seeks one thing in life and but one, may hope to achieve it before life is done; but he who seeks all things, wherever he goes only reaps from the hopes which around him he sows,  a harvest of barren regrets.” I hope you make a commitment to seek and spend time doing the things that give you the most joy.

Develop your life philosophy- What is your over all vision an attitude about your life? Know what you believe in, what you would die for and which things are optional.

Get physically fit- Early in life people give up their health to gain wealth. Later in life people give up their wealth to regain health.

Learn your trade- Through your life you will have opportunities to learn, earn and return. Be sure to give back more than you receive.

Pay the price- There is no success without sacrifice. If we succeed without sacrifice, it is because someone who went before us paid the price. If you sacrifice and don’t see success, then someone who follows will reap success.

Develop solid relationships– Life’s greatest experiences involve people.

Prepare for the future– Live your life in such a way that you have options later in life.

Find purpose in your life– Success is finding my purpose in life, growing to my maximum potential and sowing seeds that benefit others.

Make time for God and family, as those are the most precious gifts we have. Fill your heart with gladness and look for the good in your life each day. God’s always giving you ideas that will help you, you just need to be still and listen. He’s there before you get there, with you as you go and has your back. God fills all space and is communicating with everyone at the same time. How awesome is that?  Like the sun shines on us, so does God, renewing us and giving us strength. Recognize that your life is full of good and purpose already- maybe you just need to discover the good that God has already made and provided.

For more information about seeing God’s care in action- visit www.ChristianScience.com and you can subscribe to a free inspirational called the Daily Lift with 2 minute topics such as identity, purpose, relationships, etc. http://christianscience.com/prayer-and-health/inspiration/your-daily-lift

Have an awesome day- and walk with Love.


New Year is right around the corner. 2013!

Where does the time go? Well, you still have some time, it’s not yet Christmas, but I wanted to inspire you and give you some tools to start your year off right.

I subscribe to Success magazine and just love it. They have inspirational stories in there of real people and how they found success and there are tips on happiness, business, fitness, family, relationships, self-education, finance, etc. because we are a full package. Success is having purpose, feeling good, doing good and living the life you want.

In the January 2011 edition, they listed 8 ways to Make Your Resolutions a Reality.  Again, the only way to make things happen is to have a goal and intention of doing it- that’s the first step. But it doesn’t stop there- otherwise we’d all accomplish our resolutions!

First of all, Write it down. Writing your goals with pen and paper helps you clarify what you want and commits you to it more than thinking or talking about it.

Find a replacement– trade bad habits for good ones, like trading TV time with family time, or candy with fresh fruit, talk radio with inspiring audios.

Tell someone- by telling others about it, you become more accountable to your goal, and allows others to encourage and help you.

Take baby steps every day- even small steps taken toward your goal consistently  will move you in the right direction. Once you experience a few small wins, taking bigger steps becomes easier.

Take some BIG steps– don’t take all year to accomplish what you can in a day. Once you’ve written down your list of goals for the year, figure out which goals could be accomplished this month- or even today.

Decide and act– mental hurdles may keep you from making decisions and taking action. Get over it! Make a list of all the reasons you want to accomplish your stated goal. Refer to that list when indecision, [fear] or inaction threatens to take control.

Team up- even if you don’t share the same goal, having a “success buddy” can keep you accountable as well. Meet weekly (in person or by phone) to check in on and encourage each other.

Celebrate your success– every time you reach a milestone, acknowledge your accomplishments in a positive way. For example, if you drop a dress size, buy a new outfit. If you pick up a new client, have dinner with a mentor. Celebrating your success will keep you focused on the larger goal.

You can do it. Dream big! Have a quality holiday and a wonderful new  year!!

Remember, each day can be a fresh start. We get do overs every moment. We are always making choices. It’s never too late to start fresh on a good/new path. So what if you didn’t meet your prior goals? Why not start again? Each day is new, each moment is new! Living with regret or feelings of failure doesn’t serve anyone.  Start new, today! You have all you need to succeed, right there inside of you.


Quality Time

Being a busy parent, it’s sometimes hard to find quality time to spend with your kids.

Quality time can be found in the nooks and crannies of your day. It’s important because it tells your children that you love them, and that they are important. Here are a few ways you can spend quality time with your loved ones:

Go for a walk/scooter/bike ride after dinner– the whole family benefits because you get exercise, the kids get their energy out and you spend time together.

Cook together- everyone can help cook the dinner- maybe someone can stir, another can grate, someone can help in the menu selection (often in advance is ideal- like prepare a menu for the week on a Sunday), another can set the table. You can put some music on to rock out to and sing/dance together as you cook or just enjoy talking and listening to the kids stories.

Bedtime stories- This is one of the few times my son is still without electronics. It’s a great way to unwind after a bath/shower and spend time together while promoting literacy and expanding their vocabulary. My son and I have been reading the Jack Sparrow series and we love it!  I read while he listens. For very little kids, you can rock them in a chair as you read- it’s the best! Start reading when they are babies- or in the womb- it will always be a special time for you both.  It doesn’t have to take long, either- 15 min is just fine! You may find you don’t want to stop.

Clean together– It has to happen anyway, get everyone on board and help out.  If done as a team, it’s not so bad. Put some music on and the time will fly by. My son loves to organize. Find jobs that they like and praise them for their good work!

Game night- Board games are so fun! Our family enjoys playing games together. They often collect lots of dust, but when we make times for games, we all are glad we did. Our new favorite is Rummikub! This is one that everyone can play and enjoy. Cards, Candy Land, Pictionary, Apple to Apples, Stragego, Lego Harry Potter and Boggle are a few that come to mind. Bust out a game and make it a tradition to have game night weekly or monthly at least! You’ll be glad you did.

Making time for family and fun is important to keep the unit strong.  I read a book by Linda Ayre once called “Life Balance”. http://www.theeyres.com/richard_eyre_books.html and found some very helpful ideas about how to balance work-family-self. She talks about planning family time- having goals for family and self as well as work. Work goals are often a given, but making plans about family time and personal time is often overlooked. I highly recommend this book to all busy parents for practical ideas and a great new perspective.

I love books! I especially love inspirational stories of people that have overcome adversity. If they can do it, so can I!

I’d like to share a story with you, written by Dr. Seuss. It’s one of my favorites that really depicts how rough and confusing life can be- but that life is an adventure and you can overcome anything!

Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss

Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to great places! You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care. About some you’ll say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down any not so good street.

And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town.

It’s opener there in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right a long. You’ll start happening too!


You’ll be on your way UP! You’ll be seeing great sights! You’ll join the high fliers who soar to great heights.

You wont’ lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you’ll top all the rest.

Except when you dont, because sometimes you won’t. I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump you’re not in for much fun. Un-Slumping yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you  turn left or right…or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You’ll get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place. The Waiting Place…

…for people just waiting. Waiting for a train to go, or a bus to come, or a plane to go, or the mail to come, or the rain to go, or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting for a yes or a no, or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for a fish to bite, or waiting for wind to fly a kite, or waiting for Friday night, or waiting perhaps for their Uncle Jake, or a pot to boil, or a Better Break, or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants, or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting!


That’s not you! Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where boom bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they dont. Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ’cause you’ll play against you.

All alone! Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike and I know you’ll hike far and face up your problems whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with some strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that life is a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed? YES! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)


So… be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ali Val Allen O’Shea, you’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way! ~the end

This is my wish for you!  Things will come up- obstacles of all sorts in different times in different shapes… but don’t give up. You’re here for a reason, God has a good purpose for you- and you’re doing his work each step of the way… with each expression of love and patience, each helping hand you lend. And you’ll  move mountains, I’m sure!

Take life step by step… and enjoy the ride.





“Oh, you’ve made your choices in life, you can’t go to school,” someone once told me.

This was after I’d had two children and had started a new life with them as a single mom. I went to adult school and got my GED because I had never finished high school. Then I got some office training and learned to type, use a computer, Microsoft Office, all that. I wanted to better myself so that I could give the girls the best life possible. I wanted more for us!

I got a job right after secretarial school thanks to a referral from a family member.

There I successfully completed their training and landed the job (where I worked for over 10 years.)

My FIRST office job! The people were so wonderful and supportive. They were all so successful and smart, well dressed and accomplished.

I was a secretary there and being the hard worker and fast learner I am, did well. I met people who encouraged me to pursue a college degree and helped me believe in myself.

Those words rang through my head that said it was too late. “You’re not good enough. You’ve made your choices. You need to care for your children now. You can’t go to school. I never went to school, you don’t need it. Why should you get to do it, if I didn’t?”

That was  a lot of garbage!

It’s never too late!

Sometimes people we love try to spare us heartache or pain- or prevent us from making mistakes. Other times they don’t want to see us do better than them. Sometimes they just want to keep us down.

Whatever the reason… don’t believe it!

It’s never too late to follow your dreams! To make a difference! To be who God made you to be!

I was able to find help to pay for childcare and got financial aid to go to school. My employer was wonderful and supportive allowing me to attend classes as an extended lunch break of sorts, so long as I completed my work. My children didn’t miss anything and I was showing them that school was important.

As a result, they have strong work ethics too, and have no doubt that they’ll attend college.

Sure, it’s been a long road! Going to school part time while working full time and being a mom isn’t easy- but it’s worth it!

I took 2 classes a semester/quarter and  years later I’m about to complete my BA degree in Communications and minor in Public Relations. I have a double AA as well, as it took me a little while to figure out what I wanted to do. I was going to major in Business, but discovered Communication Studies and found that it was exactly what I wanted to learn more about!

I’m so grateful to the friend who believed in me and told me that I should go to college. I’m grateful for a supportive team at work who helped me through some of my tough classes and let me know that the time passes anyway. So what if it takes longer to get a degree, you might as well be doing something good with your time. Sure enough, I see the end in sight!

School has been a wonderful journey of exploration. I’ve learned so much about myself and gained confidence as well as knowledge. Who knows exactly what lies ahead, but God has a good plan for me.

Follow your dreams! Don’t listen to the negative people in your life. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and believe in yourself. If I can do it, so can you!

God will take you step by step all the way! You don’t need to see the whole path- just keep going forward and trust.

I believe in you! You have so much potential! Go get ’em tiger!