Posted in Visionary Spotlight

Visionary Spotlight: The Action Jackson Project

As this year kicks off, I am focusing on more of the things that bring me joy.  One of those things is highlighting great people and their amazing visions.  So, I wanted to present some information for those who may not otherwise know.  The rate of homeless veterans has decreased significantly, nationwide over the last 3-5 years.  While this is a feat, there are still thousands of homeless men, women, and children in the United States.  The momentum to end the homeless veteran population was slated for 2015.  Unfortunately, at the beginning of 2019, there remains a significant need.  Now, I know this is a heavy lift.  I have volunteered at the Point-in-Time (PIT) count.  PIT is a fantastic way to gather information regarding the living conditions of any registrant that wish to participate.  It gets better.  Now, I love a little research (I am a little nerd), and in lieu of paying participants, they receive dental and health checks, haircuts, food, personal hygiene items, and various other resources.  It is an awesome thing to see.  No, I don’t have pictures.  I was too busy working.  Now, I am presenting this information just to provide you with an idea of how the numbers are gathered.  Unfortunately, these efforts are not enough.  I won’t bore you with the statistics, but I will link a site in case you’re interested in seeing the numbers. 

https://www.va.gov/HOMELESS/pit_count.asp

This week, I wanted to highlight a veteran who has turned his vision into a reality.  Mr. Anthony Jackson created the non-profit 501 (c) 3, The Action Jackson Foundation, in Florida.  His vision includes ending homelessness for veterans, and he is putting in the work.  Take a look at his site, tell a friend.  If you happen to be in the Florida area, contact him and volunteer.  Donations for the work he does are always needed and greatly appreciated.  You can also support him by donating through smile.amazon.com. 

https://www.theajf.org

As a veteran, I understand the myth that if you have served in the military, and you become injured, all your dreams come true. Resources must fall out of the sky for us. Um, no!  I say myth because it is just that.  Now, let me say this, there are many opportunities for veterans facing challenges.  Consider this for a moment, as a young man or woman, you decide on a career serving your country.  Let’s say 20 years old.  You ship out to training, learn your specialization, and you’re off to your first assignment.  Altogether, this may have taken about one year, give or take.  Let’s say you’re active duty, and your unit mobilizes a couple of times.  Now, we’re at about year 5, and you have done and seen quite a bit.  You have seen some of the good, bad, and ugly of humanity.  Even in such a short period, there is so much to process, and usually, there is not enough time.  The point is, veterans experience many things during their enlistments/commands.  Some of those challenges may be addressed while they are serving, and some are not realized until much later.  Just imagine, like many others, working in a field you knew you would retire from and not only losing your career but being injured and limited in your ability to find new employment.  Every effort to assist veterans and other homeless populations is needed.  This is a heavy lift, but as they say: “Many hands make light the work.”

Keep on pushing,

Visionary Trailblazin’

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Posted in Visionary Spotlight

Magic Maker

So, it has been a while since I did a Visionary Spotlight.  It’s long overdue.  So, of course, we all know people who seem to make magic happen with the simplest tools. I have always been a huge fan of people who can fix and repair things with ease.  Of course, some people are more technically inclined than others, and Romeo Guishard, Jr. is both creative and mechanically inclined.  I have seen this dude take a string trimmer that was found in a river and bring it back to life.  Yeah, I know anything is possible, but he fixed this thing in 30 minutes.  If I had found it, I would have been preparing to head to the recycling company to hand it over. 

So, a little background on this guy.  First, let me say I appreciate his continued service to others.  He is a U. S. Army veteran that began his career at home in the U. S. Virgin Islands.  He started out as a water purification specialist.  He still boasts about his ability to, not only,  make any water potable, but he can also make it drinkable.  He grew up in the British Virgin Islands and drove all sorts of vehicles (even as a child).  I mean, imagine a 7-year-old that can operate heavy equipment better than some adults (backhoe, excavator, tractor trailer…I know).  Eventually, he changed his job in the military to transportation, and, of course, he was excellent at it.  So, he can diagnose (and repair) anything, and he can operate any wheeled vehicle. 

Some of his hobbies include model boat racing.  Now, many people buy stock boats or have other build them.  Not this guy.  He puts everything together himself!  I never considered how many tiny parts go into a model boat.  All the pieces are, indeed, little boat parts.  Just imagine a small scale racing boat with an inboard engine.  It’s impressive to see in action.  It was even more interesting to see him modify the engine so that it could win races with his fellow r/c boat enthusiast.  Of course, being from the islands, he can captain a boat (and repair them).  I mean this guy should just open his own shop. 

He has done all sorts of cool and unusual things.  Long story short, he is a jack of all trades, but he has mastered a few, too.   Romeo continues to fix and repair cars, trucks, washers, dryers, and so much more.  The universe has genuinely gifted this guy with magic hands. If all of this wasn’t enough to warrant a look, he’s also working on his private pilot’s license.  So, click on the videos attached below.  Like the videos, follow, share, leave comments. And as always…

Keep on pushing,

Visionary Trailblazin’

Posted in Visionary Spotlight

Latin Flavor: RVA Salsa Bachata Congress

people dancing inside building
Photo by Mauru00edcio Mascaro on Pexels.com

Hello friends,

First, I must apologize for the delay this week.  I have been out and about this past weekend meeting with some extremely fun, visionary trailblazers. I may not have said it before, but I love to dance. I may not be the best dancer, but I will give it a darn good try. This weekend was the first official RVA Salsa Bachata Congress. It was packed with lessons to include: Salsa, Bachata, Argentine Tango, Kizouk, and Kizomba. This event was in the developmental stages for over a year, and, let me tell you, it did not disappoint.
The event was held at the Richmond Downton Marriot, Friday, September 7-Sunday September 9. I must note, the staff at the Marriot were exceptional. From the moment I walked in, I was greeted with a smile and an eagerness to assist. It is also pretty awesome that the in-house Starbucks opted to stay open late for attendees of the RVA Salsa Bachata Congress. Pizzas and snacks were available until 1:00 a.m. (very important when you are exerting that much energy). Every detail was thought out. There were t-shirts with the event logo, along with bags, and, even leggings.


Attendees were provided with the option to take classes from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. on the first night (I chose Bachata). The classes were filled with people who had no clue what to do and people who were Dancin’ with the Stars status. We had a blast learning what to do, laughing, and just having a really great time. After classes, we were introduced to the wonderful DJs from Virginia to Atlanta, all joining us to spin those dynamic Latin beats. We were given a sneak peek into talents coming from all over the world. The provided us with a beautiful representation of Latin dance. Following a presentation of talents, the social dance event began. There were four separate spaces for your choice of Latin dance pleasure, open until 2:00 a.m.


Saturday classes ran hourly from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. There was an amazing collegiate dance competition, complete with a scholarship for the winners. Yes, this event was fun, but it served a dual purpose. I had the opportunity to speak with some of the organizers, and yes, they give back to the community. The money raised from this event went towards continued events centered around diversity and inclusion within the Richmond and surrounding cities. Following the competition, the classes continued until 6:00 p.m. As you can see, this event was full of dance, dance, and more dance. There was an additional performance, and the social began at 9:00 p.m. I thoroughly enjoyed the event, and I encourage anyone even remotely interested in dance to check out the link below for additional resources. There are Salsa Bachata Congress events all over the country. Check them out with a quick search in your area. Make sure you like and subscribe to the channel linked below.

Until next time,

Visionary Trailblazin’

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-rooms/ricdt-richmond-marriott/

https://www.rvasalsa.com/meet-the-organizers

https://www.rvasalsa.com/rva-salsa-bachata-foundation