Today is International Women’s Day, where we honor women who have made amazing contributions to the world. Of course, we have the usual honorees, such as Frida Kahlo, Harriet Tubman, Marie Curie, Benazir Bhutto, Michelle Obama, Eleanor Roosevelt, Hanan Ashrawi, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Mary McLeod Bethune, and so many, many, more.
But I want to talk about some of the women who inspire me on the daily. They aren’t famous, but they contribute to my life and the lives of many others within their communities. They are women who are involved in helping others and kindness and giving back and they don’t think that they are heroes. But they are. And so, I’d like to dedicate my post today to them. Here is my list of admired women, in no particular order.
Roslyn is the Family Engagement Liaison for Sam Houston High School in the Arlington ISD. She serves over 3700 students, their parents, 254 teachers, community members, and local businesses. She has held this position since 2006. This woman is AMAZING. She has been the point of contact for marrying up parents and students and teachers with various resources over the years. She began a monthly “Coffee with the Principal” where the principal meets with parents and community members each month and shares coffee and light snacks while discussing ongoing projects, events, and issues at the school. This idea was picked up by many other FELs throughout the district and is a great way to keep communication open between school administrations and the parents of their students. Roslyn continues to work with various local businesses such as Texas Trust Credit Union, Vive by Design, South Texas Dental, to name a few. Roslyn is devoted to engaging parents in the Sam Houston High School family, not only because it is her job, but because she firmly believes that if these parents are able to access a walking club or aerobics lessons, classes in how to use a budget or apply for a credit union account, or find a good dentist locally, then the parents will know that this school is a trusted resource for them, as well as for their children. Roslyn Burch has taken her role as Family Engagement Liaison to an entirely different level by engaging, not only the families, but the entire community. She is a woman I admire because she is able to bring a variety of people and organizations together to work as a unit for the benefit of our students. And that is not a small thing. Roslyn Burch is also mother to two wonderful children, who remain her number one priority.
Sara is a Special Education teacher at Sam Houston High School. She used to teach my daughter, Randa, who has Autism. This woman has not only enriched the lives of all of her students, but also came up with an idea that would allow high school students with significant disabilities attend their own prom, leveling the social playing field and providing accommodations for some of the usual roadblocks that prevent these kids from attending their school prom. Her vision became an Eagle Scout project for Chase Christenson, in 2008 and has since turned into the Starry Night Prom, a registered 501 (c) 3 Non-Profit Organization of which she is President. Starry Night Prom is currently preparing to host their 11th all expenses paid prom. Sara Mayo is also very active in her church, the Arlington Elks Lodge, advocating for special needs students in the community, the Angel Tree project, and RSD awareness. She is mother to two amazing kids.
Venetia is one of those sensitive souls that will cry over any Kleenex commercial, but will fight fiercely for kids who have been dealt an injustice. This woman amazes me. She has six wonderful children, two grandchildren, and works a full-time job in the Arlington ISD, helps family members and friends in a moment’s notice, and advocates for the special needs community. Venetia learned the rules of volleyball in order to support her daughters throughout their high school, select, and club volleyball careers. She has been known to drive anywhere from three to seven hours to support her girls’ college teams. She is currently using that same enthusiasm to support her youngest three children in their love for the fine arts, by researching music and singing to help them find the right paths for honing their crafts. Venetia Wilson is passionate in everything that she does, from helping other parents to shape their student’s IEP to insisting that Coca-Cola is a vegetable. She’s an engaged member of our community and an awesome source of inspiration.
Monika is a recovering attorney, mother of two amazing kids, chronic volunteer, and the craftiest person I’ve ever met. She is where creativity, intelligence, beauty, and hilarity meet. Her ability to juggle so many commitments to school, work, and family and still manage to remember to go home and feed the dog, makes her the poster child for Multi-Tasker of the Year. I love that she keeps her law license current and chooses the cases that she wants to take. Monika has inspired her children to consider their own impact on the world around them by encouraging them to be kind to others, participate in inclusive events such as the Women’s March, and to appreciate nature in all its forms of beauty. She is the Co-Chair of Programs and Publicity for the Arts Board at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth. She is a recurring donor for the Starry Night Prom in Arlington. She is an amazing mom, aunt, and sister (mine!) and everything she does seems effortless, even though I know that it isn’t. She inspires me to be a better me.
My list of women I admire is not, by any means, limited to these four women. It is actually quite an extensive list of hundreds of women and I add more to it all the time. I am merely shining a spotlight on these four today. I am planning to highlight more in the coming weeks. In the mean time, remember that we should all support one another in our endeavors. Women are awesome by nature and we should encourage that awesomeness in each other as frequently as we can. It keeps us all strong and promotes kindness and solidarity.
Happy International Women’s Day.