Category Archives: Media

No Child Left Behind

Loved1

 

Our local paper wrote a story on my book; I thought I would share it on my blog (source) http://www.eaglebulletin.com/news/2014/jul/23/no-child-left-behind/

“During his more than 20 years of teaching in elementary schools in Brooklyn, Atlanta and Washington DC, Jason Galvez taught many different classes, several subjects and hundreds of students. And during his time working in Washington, DC, only one of his students came from a home with a mother and a father.

Galvez would spend hours searching through the school libraries for books that depicted all different kinds of family dynamics, and usually came up empty handed.  “I would either have to lie to my students and change the pronouns, or try to order special books that cover diverse families,” said Galvez, who now resides in Manlius. “And instead of continuing to try to find more, I decided to write one.”

On Feb. 25, Galvez’s first book, titled “I Am Loved Right Where I Am,” was released on Amazon.com and on Barnes & Noble’s website. The book follows a little girl named Sylvia who lives with her grandmother in Washington, DC. She takes the reader on a journey to meet all of her friends, who all come from different family dynamics: children who are raised by foster parents, same-sex parents, stepparents, an older sibling, a single parent and even a family with a mother and father.

“For children not just to survive but to thrive in life, your foundation, which is your home, needs to be relatively solid,” he said. “I remember seeing fellow teachers teaching a lesson on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, and you would see some kids sort of slump in their chair a little because they didn’t feel belonged. And if we’re going to arm our children for success, it needs to start at home and we need to give them a solid foundation [by enforcing the idea that] where they are is precisely where they belong and that they’re loved.”

Galvez, a self-proclaimed psychology enthusiast, said the bare-bones idea for the book came from psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which states that love and belonging are among the basic human fundamental needs in life.

He began writing the book when he was still living in Washington, DC as a way to help students who may not fit the traditional family dynamic feel that they do belong, and for children who come from homes with a mom and dad to realize that the world they live in is much bigger than what they may see or are used to.  And he’s noticed a real need for the book – since Galvez began working in public schools 20 years ago, he said it’s becoming more and more common to see children coming from untraditional households.

“Even statistically, if you look at the divorce rate ten years ago compared to now it has changed,” he said. “And family dynamics have changed, and we need our media and books to keep up with those changes if we want our children to survive.”

On the last page of the book, Sylvia asks the reader, “What kind of special family do you have?” Galvez hopes the book will be used as a catalyst for family discussion about family dynamics, a topic that’s as uncomfortable to many parents as sex.  A lot of times, for whatever reason, parents don’t want to say, ‘Do you know that so-and-so doesn’t have a dad?’ Or that ‘So-and-so is raised by their sister?’ And I don’t know why that’s such a taboo topic when it’s around us everywhere.”

Proceeds from “I Am Loved Right Where I Am” go directly to charities, Galvez said. Although he wrote the book for a third-grade audience, he’s received emails from parents with toddlers to eighth-graders who have enjoyed the book. To order the book, visit amazon.com/Am-Loved-Right-Where/dp/1630633038. “If I can help one child walk out of their house in the morning feeling a little more confident, my job is done,” he said.”

 

Please share this post as my book has helped many children and families, and I would love to see it help many more.  For a list of all ordering options;

 Amazon http://tinyurl.com/oyjmzxu

Barnes & Noble http://tinyurl.com/p822wrz

Signed Copy http://jasonj.biz/author.php

Youtube Video http://tinyurl.com/ocupldl

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Filed under Books, Education, Esteem, Families, Gods love, Library, Life, Love, Marriage, Media, parents, School, Youth

I Am Loved Right Where I Am

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Amazon http://tinyurl.com/oyjmzxu

Barnes & Noble http://tinyurl.com/p822wrz

Signed Copy http://jasonj.biz/author.php

Youtube Video http://tinyurl.com/ocupldl

I recall my first grade teacher (Ms. Martin) talking about a fun craft project which included the use of scissors.  I was beyond excited and could not wait to begin.  Ms. Martin placed the scissor rack in the center table and off we all dashed with anticipation. To my disappointment however the only options were right-handed scissors.  Being left-handed I did not know how to cut with right-handed scissors but seeing all my classmates I desperately tried.  Try as I may my cut-outs were looking nothing like those of my classmates.  Frustrated I secretly asked myself why I was different.  Ensuring the rack included a pair of left-handed scissors would have prevented the feeling of isolation I experienced.  It was there in elementary school I first experienced the feeling of being dissimilar and not belonging.

Fast forward twenty five years I became a teacher myself (obtained my Masters in Arts and Teaching at Trinity University in Washington, D.C.).  I taught various grades and subjects in Syracuse, N.Y., Brooklyn, N.Y., Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC.  Prior to teaching I was a youth counselor for many years – working with youth diagnosed from moderate to severe intellectual disabilities, behavioral and emotional challenges, those diagnosed with autism/Asperger’s syndrome and even including eating disorders.  While working with children I have noticed a disheartening truth over the years.  Regardless of the therapeutic setting, classroom or child population, one thing that became abundantly clear to me is that children who do not fit the “traditional family” mold at times face a tremendous sense of feeling alone and uncomfortable – especially because every book in their homes, schools and libraries mention a mom and dad. It is certainly no fault of the families involved but more so the fact that, as a whole, society caters to the commonly advertised mom and dad family.

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs the feeling of belonging is one of our basic needs, and one in which many successes are based on.  Students, who do not feel belonged, long for understanding, yearn for relatability and, at times, struggle with isolation.  We live in a society where our books, music, conversations, holidays etc. are geared exclusively to families made up of a mom and dad.  While I think that we need to embrace and celebrate the mom and dad family dynamic, we also need to embrace and celebrate ALL family dynamics just the same.

When I worked with elementary students I was always careful with my pronouns during story time.  I would try and use “parents” or “family” instead of the usual “Mom and Dad.”  The reality is that there are many different family dynamics.  Children often come from a home with a step-parent, foster-parent, same-gender parents, single parent, grandparents etc., and sadly our books and language often (yet unintentionally) overlook this rapidly growing reality.  In order to thrive and succeed children need to feel affirmed and belonged regardless of where they come from, and with whom they happen to live.

Frustrated over the constant lack of children’s books on family diversity that spoke directly to a child’s self-esteem I decided to do something about it so I wrote and illustrated my own easy to read children’s book, “I Am Loved Right Where I Am” http://tinyurl.com/oyjmzxu

This book is a phenomenal educational tool for every child, and every home in America.  If the child reading I Am Loved Right Where I Am comes from a home with a Mom and Dad than they will not only relate to one of the characters in my book, but also learn that many of their friends and classmates may come from different family dynamics.  Children that come from other family dynamics (foster, step-parent, same-gender parents, single parent etc.) will also relate to some of the characters in my book and have a sense of family equality.  The goal of my book is quite simple; after browsing this easy to read children’s book the reader will walk away feeling belonged, loved, as well as, have a stronger sense of universal connection.

If we want our children to succeed in life it starts early, and especially in school where pressures of all types are constantly bombarding our children from every direction.  At the same token my book is just as educational for those that are home-schooled or children out of school.  Even such children are not safeguarded from the media, their (good-intentioned) friends and society.  We must ensure our youth feel safe, comfortable and belonged.  If a child is constantly on mental guard from friends, extended family members, society, the media etc., he or she cannot be fully focused on learning, or be able to reach self-actualization in life.

Please take a look at the wonderful reviews from those that have read my book http://tinyurl.com/oyjmzxu and treat that special or someone to a copy.  You have the option of ordering from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and even a signed copy via paypal.  This book is a great addition to your personal book collection, home library and most certainly gift to that special child or family.  Happy reading

 Amazon http://tinyurl.com/oyjmzxu

Barnes & Noble http://tinyurl.com/p822wrz

Signed Copy http://jasonj.biz/author.php

Youtube Video http://tinyurl.com/ocupldl

* Please share (links above) as proceeds of my book go directly to charities *

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Filed under Bullying, Discrimination, Education, Equality, Love, Media, parents, School, Youth

How Dare the NAACP take a stand for equal rights!

Alveda King (niece to MLK) is enraged that the NAACP has broadened its mission statement to support the freedom to marry for all.  Alveda stated, “To equate homosexuality with race is to give a death sentence to civil rights, no one is making them sit in the back of the bus.” With all due respect, Ms. King, for the record, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) did not equate anything to “them!”  You are the one grabbing the race card, inserting that mistruth, and attempting to stir-up division!  Second Ms. King, please allow me a moment to school you a tad on our “bus.”

Hitler had special concentration camps and protocol for gays where he and his followers ordered and assigned them to the most difficult of all jobs. Twenty-four seven gays were taunted, tortured, prodded, poisoned, stripped, whipped, beaten, used as horrific disfiguring medical experiments, their fingernails pulled, they were starved, went days without water, and had thick splint-filled wooden sticks shoved into their anus and penis until the majority bled to death.

Unfortunately, not much has changed since.  All throughout history (including today) gays are taunted, teased, humiliated, tortured, mocked, ridiculed and murdered.  A recent article stated that in Iraq gay men’s anuses are super-glued while forced to drink diarrhea inducing liquid resulting in a very slow and painful death.  In Jamaica, there is government sanctioned brutal rape to “cure” lesbians.  In over 75 countries, gays are imprisoned should they simply live honestly.  Many that have (and continue to) assault and murder our gay brothers and sisters are repeatedly given an insignificant penalty or found “not guilty” and still today, we hear pastors, politicians, teachers and preachers condoning hatred and violence toward gays and lesbians with little to no concern, consideration or care.

Sadly, however, we do not need to look outside of our own back yard to see this type of repulsive abuse.  Every day across the U.S. gay couples and their houses are robbed, egged, vandalized, and burned by hate-motivated arsonists.  Every day gays are brutally beaten, sodomized, burned, mobbed, assaulted, bashed, intimidated and killed as acceptable “punishment” simply for the way they were born.  It was not that long ago here in the U.S. that gays were imprisoned, and while there, used as medical experiments.  Gays endured endless months of water torture and gruesome shock therapy to “cure” them.  Today every minute in our nation a crime is reported from a gay person being harassed, bashed, bullied, and often including death threats – and these are just the ones on record.  Incalculable acts of gay bashing are never reported due to shame, humiliation, and embarrassment, threats if they do, and the list goes on. Gay people cannot, to this day, peacefully walk in their (long awaited and much deserved) pride parades or get married without hearing insults, slander and verbal attacks from scores of deluded people with bullhorns. Trust me Ms. King, if we had a choice, we would happily sit in the back of the air-conditioned bus!

Lastly, Alveda, though your uncle may not have officially went on record supporting equal rights for his gay brothers and sisters, his wife (your aunt) Coretta has made it abundantly clear numerous times that they both believed in, and supported equal marriage for all!  Alveda I have a proposal.  How about instead of using your time, energy and money preventing loving, monogamous, faithful and devoted gay couples their civil right to legally marry, you put all of your time, money and energy into making your fourth one a success – deal?

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Filed under Bullying, Celebrity, Civil Rights, Crime, Discrimination, Equality, Gay, Media, Religion

“Talking” Points

I just wanted to address some talking points I hear over, and over, and over, and over…..

      When people spout out ridiculous terms like Homosexual Behavior, Activists, Preference, Liberal, Extreme, Radical, Choice, Agenda, Morality, Destructive, Perversion, Lifestyle and all other ignorant and non-applicable talking points, they may as well hold a sign up that states in bold letters, “I have spent little time earnestly getting to know loving same gender people/couples.”  My initial thought is usually; there is no substitute for experience.  Until you walk a mile in a gay persons shoes, you have no substantial input to offer.  I really cannot engage in a decent debate on the Muslim culture because I’m not Muslim nor have I done the necessary time researching their culture.  Similarly I’m not black (and they have their culture).  Now I’m not saying that unless we “are” we need to be silent, however we need to be very careful with stereotypes and spewing things when we have not done our due diligence.
      I also have to roll my eyes when I hear some spout out, “talk about intolerance, gays are intolerant if you don’t agree with gay marriage etc.”  First off no one needs anyone to agree, believe in, or tolerate anything.  We should however, ALL be striving toward celebrating each individual culture/community.  That being said a hundred years ago there was “another side” to women’s rights, fifty years ago there was “another side” to black’s rights.  Today if anyone disputed their rights they would be viewed as strange (at the very least).  A few years from now there will not be “another side” to gay rights either.  Let’s all wake up, smell the inclusive coffee and celebrate one another.

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Filed under Civil Rights, Discrimination, Education, Equality, Gay, Media, Uncategorized

My Reel (One of many and very vintage)

I am about to start working on my next blog entry entitled, “Forgiveness.”  I however recently came across an old reel and thought I’d post it to remain humble http://www.youtube.com/user/JasonjDotBiz/videos

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Filed under Acting, Celebrity, Media, School, Uncategorized, Youth

Stop Hijacking Our Fight

I want to begin this post by stating that I am no historian, theologian or expert in any related field.  This is my blog and simply my opinion.  I wanted to probe the term “Civil Rights” because as of late I have been hearing how the gay community has “hijacked” the term.  I began this process by first going right to the dictionary and copying the very first definition of each word.  Civil, “of, pertaining to, or consisting of citizens” and the word, Right, “in accordance with what is good, proper, or just:”  I then researched the term “Civil Rights and nowhere in my research did I find this term owned or patented by any particular group, it applies to the many that were denied equal rights in our nations stained past.  Let’s take a look at a few;

Woman’s Civil Rights –  Woman were denied the equal right to vote (suffrage); to hold public office; to work; to fair wages or equal pay; to own property; to education; to serve in the military or be conscripted; to enter into legal contracts; and to have marital, parental and religious freedom. Sadly, some of this fight continues today.

African American Civil Rights: African Americans were denied racial dignity,economic and political self-sufficiency, freedom, and the equal right to marry who they fell in love with regardless of cultural/ethnic background.  Sadly, some of this fight continues today.

Native American Civil Rights: Native Americans were denied the equal right to free expression of their culture, to travel, and land ownership Sadly, some of this fight continues today.

I could go on and on listing other communities/groups/cultures (Asian American Civil Rights etc.), but I am quite sure you get the point.  Bottom line: Civil Rights are just that, equal rights and protections under the civil law granted to ALL American citizens – No exceptions.  If one group of American citizens claim that another hijacked the term Civil Rights than we must conclude that the term was also hijacked from the Civil Right movement that preceded theirs.

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Filed under Civil Rights, Discrimination, Equality, Legislation, Media

My “It Gets Better” Video

http://www.youtube.com/user/JasonjDotBiz/videos 

I am sickened by the harassment, taunting and teasing of our gay youth.  Of all gays actually but primarily our vulnerable gay youth.  After hearing of Jamey Rodemeyers suicide, I created my own “It Gets Better” video.

Although my lack of eye contact is distracting, let it not take away from the sincerity of my message.  God bless you.

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Filed under Bullying, Education, Gay, Legislation, Media, Religion, School, Youth