I Visited Cleveland City Hall Last Month And It Was Awesome!


A trip to City Hall may not seem like a fun way to spend an afternoon but with my new found passion for government, I was stoked to be there.

I reached out to a family friend, Councilman Zachary Reed of Cleveland’s Ward 2, because my good friend, Deemyi, needed to interview a local political figure for a class assignment. I also wanted to pick his brain a little since I’m looking into a Master’s in Political Science. He, luckily, got back to me that same day and scheduled a meeting with us at the end of March. Deemyi and I were so excited and so grateful.

We took a half-day from work, we’re co-workers as well, and walked over to City Hall in the rain. It was well worth the short, rainy journey as we got a lot of great content and we even ran into Mayor Frank Jackson.

Deemyi is currently studying to obtain her Master’s Degree in Health Education and Promotion. She asked Zachary about his thoughts on the HR 610 bill sponsored by Republican Congressman, Steve King. According to the official Congress website, “The bill establishes an education voucher program, through which each state shall distribute block grant funds among local educational agencies (LEAs) based on the number of eligible children within each LEA’s geographical area. From these amounts, each LEA shall: (1) distribute a portion of funds to parents who elect to enroll their child in a private school or to home-school their child, and (2) do so in a manner that ensures that such payments will be used for appropriate educational expenses.”

Furthermore, unfortunately, “the bill repeals a specified rule that established certain nutrition standards for the national school lunch and breakfast programs,” Congress.gov explains. This rule HR 610 would “repeal requires schools to increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat free milk in school meals; reduce the levels of sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat in school meals; and meet children’s nutritional needs within their caloric requirements”. Deemyi does not support the bill for obvious reasons.

Councilman Reed, explained that the he and his colleagues wouldn’t actually be initially involved in finding solutions for the bill if it were to pass. In Cleveland, the CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District would be more involved than he would, personally, but he did mention his preference on the reach of the vouchers. He would prefer the vouchers be valid not only in private schools or for home schooling but in public schools in surrounding suburbs as well.

He then went on to talk about the importance of ensuring that every child is fed a nutritious meal during school hours as that could be their only balanced meal they receive that day due to their potential situations at home. He discussed after school programs and initiatives that even go as far as feeding some children dinner before they return home. I couldn’t help but feel sad that our federal government would want to take that away. Why? Because they personally have never experienced going without nor will their own children ever go without so, they just don’t care? That’s really upsetting.

I enjoyed listening to Deemyi and Zachary talk back and forth as it was a learning experience for me. I gained more understanding on the bill and had a chance to see how passionate they both are about children having access to a great education and the resources needed for healthy living.

A younger gentleman popped his head in the office we were talking in and invited the Councilman into a conference room to speak to a group of elementary students. Zachary and I still had a few things to discuss so he invited us to tag along with him to see the students. The kids were so excited to see him and he spoke to them with such kindness.

Mayor Frank Jackson walked into the conference room to speak to the children too. He took a few moments to speak with Deemyi, Zachary and I and even took photos with us. He expressed his concerns with HR 610, which was awesome for Deemyi to get a statement from the mayor for her assignment as well. He was friendly and so willing to chat with us.

On our way out, Councilman Reed gave me some much needed advice about my possible future in political science. He told me to focus on the issues are important to me and find a way to get involved. He said that people typically get into political science because they see a need for policy changes and want to help make those changes happen. I got to thinking and he was definitely right. With PoliSci, it’s not really a traditional career path where you start at the bottom and work your way up. It’s different than that and almost more difficult. I have a lot of planning and thinking to do but I haven’t even gotten through my prerequisites yet so I have plenty of time to find my purpose.

Councilman Reed formally announced that he is throwing his hat into the Cleveland mayoral race just yesterday! As he’s been a friend of the family since I was a child, I couldn’t be more proud of him and am ecstatic for his new journey. Mayor Frank Jackson is also running for re-election. I wish them both the best of luck! May the best man win! ❤

Thank you, Councilman Reed and Mayor Jackson for your time and your insight. Deemyi and I appreciate it more than you know.

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Zachary mailed me signed copies of our photos!

-D.O. ❤

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Life Is Hectic! Get Organized!

If your life is anything like mine, you have a TON of things to pencil into your weekly calendar. This can get super stressful and exhausting, resulting in a total meltdown. My best advice is to stop stressing and complaining, be optimistic and add more organization into your life. Here’s my new method of balancing all of my many responsibilities and obligations.


Work

This one is easy because I have a set schedule and there’s no room for negotiation. I work 8:30am – 5:30pm, Monday through Friday. My position does not require me to take work home or be connected through email or company cell phone so no organization of my schedule is needed, I just need to stay on top of my workload during the day.

Economics Class

As some of my readers may know, I recently started a Microeconomics course which is needed as a prerequisite for the Master’s program I’ll be applying to soon. Now, because my work schedule is non-negotiable, I opted to take this course online as there were no classes available after my work shift or on weekends. Because I am taking the class online, I have to schedule time myself for studying and watching the course videos. This, in my opinion, is more difficult than attending a scheduled class because there’s a higher level of autonomy. I time out how many weeks I have until the next exam and divide that by the amount of chapters covered in that exam. That is how much I’ll read each week and I watch the videos whenever I have a moment. I even listen to them on my headphones at work as opposed to listening to music. I have to watch them again at home but the lessons sound familiar to me because I’ve heard them before. This method clearly works for me since I got nearly a perfect score on my first Econ exam *dusts shoulders off* 🙂 You don’t have to use my method but any organized schedule should work.

Family Time

I have a husband and child at home so I have to make sure I spend quality time with them. My husband is not my son’s biological father so my son spends a couple of days a week with his father. While, of course, I miss my little man, this actually helps me fit in time for studying, chores and working out. This also frees up some time to have date nights with my very busy husband. On the flip side, since I don’t have my son everyday, I make sure that we do something fun together every other weekend when he’s with me and in the evenings, I set aside time to look over his homework and make sure he’s organized for school, bathed and fed. We live in a bungalow so almost all of the rooms are on one floor so we are always in close proximity with one another and I love it for the sole purpose that I have my loves close to me at all times ❤


Working Out

I just started a gym schedule this week because summer is sneaking up on me pretty quickly. I’m really trying to live in a crop top all summer so gym time is essential :-p So this week, I woke up at 5:45am and hit the gym before work on Monday. My gym has classes so Tuesday, I went to Zumba in the evening. I took Wednesday off and went back to the gym on Thursday evening. I’m taking Friday off and going back for a class on Saturday. My schedule wont always look like this as I have to accommodate when I have someone to babysit for me. My plan is to know by Sunday what days I’ll be working out that week and actually writing it down in my planner. I luckily have my husband who will cook dinner for me when I go to the gym in the evenings so that is a HUGE help.

Housework

This has to be my least favorite because I hate cleaning!! But, I make sure that I thoroughly clean the house and do laundry either every Saturday or Sunday.Since I’m off work on those days, I have hours to dedicate to this project. Throughout the week, my husband and I alternate doing the dishes and straightening up. Nothing makes me happier than coming home from work and seeing that my husband already did this! I literally want to hug him immediately and worship him at his feet. This means I only have to shower and then go straight to studying! Score! It pays to have a partner.

Paying Bills

I swear all my bills are due on all random days. It’s so frustrating and hard to keep up with so I only pay bills on pay days. I pay whatever bill is due closest to each pay day. I even write the hard to remember ones in my planner. Bills are my least favorite part of pay days because I can’t get too excited about it when I know I’m also using that money to pay bills. Such a downer! Then I go to Target and cheer myself up with at least one thing! 🙂

Grocery Shopping

I try to shop on Sundays but I get a case of the lazies on Sundays so often times shop after work on Mondays. We don’t eat frozen foods, really, so we do have to shop weekly since fresher foods expire quickly. I need to push myself to shop on Sundays more so I can go straight home from work during the week but that’s easier said than done. 😦

Social Life

I don’t schedule social events because I think it’s fun when social outings are more spontaneous and plans don’t tend to work out the way you plan them for some reason anyway. I really only schedule birthday outings and weekly TGIT viewing parties with two of my best friends. If someone asks me to go somewhere or I have the urge to hit the town, I gauge what I have going on at the time, measure my level of tiredness and just make a decision to go or not. Whatever you do, make sure you pencil some fun into your weekly schedule or you’ll go nuts! I love date nights and girls nights!

It’s good to be busy but without organization, there’s room for error and a cause for going insane. Don’t be afraid to pick up extra hobbies, don’t talk yourself out of that degree you want to earn and don’t set aside family time for work. Simply come up with a plan and try your best to stick with it. Life is entirely too short to be stressed all the time! Happy scheduling, loves!

-D.O. ❤

“Why you call it Late Registration? Cause we takin these muh’f*ckers back to school”

Kudos to those who get my Kanye reference! ❤

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Me in Clark Kent Mode

Anyway, I’m going back to school! Attaining a Master’s Degree is something that has always been a goal of mine but I was never sure of what my concentration would be. I thought about Journalism or English. I definitely have a passion for writing but didn’t really see the value as my undergrad is enough to pursue a career in those areas. An MBA has much value but my heart isn’t in the subject of just strictly Business. I knew I wouldn’t perform well. I hit a road block. Without knowing what my concentration would be, there was no way to move forward.

It finally hit me after this very confusing election, Political Science!

Now, this does not mean that I’m knowledgeable in the subject but I find myself wanting to know and understand more. We had a huge problem this election year with propaganda which led to misinformation and ignorance in American voters. As awful and confusing as this was, it inspired me. I want to be a resource to people who are looking for facts.

I want to do that in a couple of different ways;

  • Freelance Writing. I never thought Political Journalism would be something I’d want to do. I always thought I’d focus on fashion, beauty and entertainment. I’ll still write about these subjects on my personal blog, of course, but I’m definitely striving to also be a contributor for a political publication.
  • Teach Poli Sci courses. I’d like to teach students while they’re young, high school age to freshmen/sophomores in college. They’re either about to hit voting age or between 18 and 19. I want to influence young voters to think for themselves and research facts prior to casting their votes. I’ll need my PhD to become a professor and a teaching license to teach a high school class so, more and more school is on the road ahead.

Now that I’ve decided on a concentration and possible career paths, a few things need to happen before I even start;

  1. I have to take both Microeconomics and Macroeconomics as they’re prerequisites for the Master of Arts in Global Interactions (MAGI) program at my college of choice. MAGI is their version of Political Science. (I took both economics courses in my undergrad but we’re not even going to talk about what grades I received lol. I was more of a Communications course type of gal!) So, this will be round two for me. I just enrolled in Micro and will start January 17th!
  2. Cross reference the classes I took in my undergrad to make sure I have all other prerequisites. Literally crossing my fingers that I do or else I’ll have more classes to take before I start.
  3. Take the GRE and score in 50th percentile or above. I just got my Kaplan study guide and will be cracking that puppy open very shortly. It’s huge and overwhelming but I’m ready for the challenge.

I’m so excited to get going on this very big goal. I’m nervous as well but I know all of the hard work and stress will be worth it. There are quite a few female politicians right now along with Hillary Clinton, of course, that are so inspiring to me. Politics is male dominated and not to mention, lacking diversity. As a minority woman, I’m excited to add to that diversity. You might not see me running for any political office but hopefully you’ll see my words published and my name on a class schedule 🙂

My experience in deciding to go back to school is proof that it’s never too late. I graduated college in 2009 and here I am stepping back into the classroom setting. If you’ve been wanting to go back to school and aren’t so sure or may feel discouraged, please do not hold yourself back or stand in your own way. You can definitely do it! “Better late than never, it’s orien-tation!” (More Kanye 🙂 )

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please do not hesitate to contact me (My customer service attitude is showing there 😉 ) Or, If you want to share your back-to-school story and/or any advice, I’d love to hear from you.

-D.O. ❤