We Don’t say….


We Don't say....

Words and phrases such as “No Homo, Don’t be a pussy, Man up, That’s gay” are detrimental to society’s well-being because it keeps a social structure intact that says, you’re wrong for being who you are. And if it’s wrong to be yourself, then I choose to be wrong everyday. Duke University students begin a ” You Don’t Say” Campaign. Click on the picture to check out Duke University taking a stand!


“Try New Things!” Finding yourself in places you’d never go.


As I sit here and graduation approaches I think….

Where am I going to be this time next year? Where is my mindset going to be? What struggles will I face? Who will be on my journey who was not there before and who flew with the winds?


This morning I woke up at 6am worried about my best friends and all of the trials and tribulations they face. I prayed for them and their families but most of all I prayed for myself to be the strength for them in their season of frailness.


At 7am the sun beams in my room against my disco ball …I open the blinds to allow the light to take me over and in this instant I realize how beautiful life is. Then I think of John Legend’s song “All of Me” but the version I was listening to was featuring violinist Lindsey Stirling. There is just something about an instrument singing that made my heart tremble. I broke down crying because I’m 22 and I realized, I’m BLESSED. The way my life is set up I can fail over and over again but I’ve met some of the greatest people and truest friends in college that I can lean on whenever I please. My Grandfather once told me, “If you can meet at least two good friends in life then you are blessed” and I must say God gives in abundance; when you ask you shall receive.


As the song plays and my mind goes everywhere, I realize that the sun makes everything look soo beautiful but there is much scrutiny placed on darkness. Is darkness bad? I beg to differ….the light allows one to see, whereas the darkness allows you to feel . That’s why when we kiss we close our eyes, because in that moment you seeing what’s in front of you doesn’t matter, it’s about how that person makes you feel in that instant, whether it’s a female or male. Not only is darkness beautiful but the rainy days is what makes the sunny days worth it…if there was no rain how could things grow and blossom? And just like our lives there will be rainy days but how will you take care of yourself? The family I used to nanny for once told me that the way a person takes care of their car and cleanliness of it tells a lot about a person. Me being young at the time I didn’t really understand it. But I’ve recently started really taking care of my car and spending more “me” time and I realized the way invest in my car is the way I invest in myself.


But after the car theory, I realized how beautiful I was despite what people have said in my past and even in my present. While in college my friend participated in a pageant called Miss Black and Gold hosted by the men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. She could not find anyone to help her and at the time we weren’t really friends, more of associates. I knew how to do hair, make-up and knew I was a great cheerleader, so I told her to look no longer, not knowing her from Adam or Eve, and I would be her pageant mom. I helped her study, helped her with her speech and calmed her down during times of doubt. Needless to say she won 3rd place, receiving the title Miss 1906. The next year flew by and she wanted me to participate in the pageant and I kept saying “NO,” I was not beautiful enough to participate in a pageant, I can’t walk in heels and I was pledging for Delta Phi Omega Sorority, Incorporated in the Fall so I didn’t have time to participate in her shenanigans. So once again time passed and I gained confidence in speech, spitting out facts and being intellectually confident whether I was right or wrong. Time continued to pass and here I am senior year and this same friend tried to recruit me to do the pageant and I gave her the same excuses of why I would not participate. I believed pageants were anti-feminist, placing women on a stage allowing men to see their bodies and judge an “outer” beauty that has been euro-centralized. And there was a bathing suit scene? Oh helllllll NOOOOOO, I am not participating in that.

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Reporting for the WEB


*****Organizations Boom for Older Generations

The Shepard’s Center and Senior Connections help improve senior citizens’ lives by organizing services assisting with hardship and care-giving.

Click here to…  READ MORE on my article

Interviews with….

*****project: HOMES Strives To Improve Lives

With the help of volunteers, project:HOMES is actively seeking opportunities to help disabled residents, low income seniors, and others to push for better living conditions.Program manager, Ginger Hawks, and Director of Volunteer Services, Wayne Swatlowski, say….

Click here to listen to…Audio Report

    *****FEEDMORE Serves Seniors on Meals On Wheels*****

Director of Senior Feeding Programs, Mary Penet and employee Tawana Demery speak about the impact Meals on Wheels have on the Senior Citizen population in the Richmond area through the FEEDMORE organization.

Click here to view…SLIDESHOW

Often times we forget about the old and appreciate the new, but it’s time we appreciate those who came before us.



Organizations Boom For Older Generations

By Paola Chavez, Khiree Stewart and LaToria “Toria Vaughan” Todd

RICHMOND, VA (Nov. 10, 2012)- They claim to have been through it all, but with the “Baby Boomer” generation getting older and the number of senior citizens rising, more attention is being put on the organizations that help cater to their care. There are 83 listings of Senior Citizen Services and Organizations in the city of Richmond that each outlines their individual mission to help better the lives of seniors.

Among the listings is The Shepherd’s Center of Richmond who for over 25 years has been serving people over 50 with personal service and education. This non-profit organization is run by a community of volunteers whose mission is to enrich the lives of those over 50 and promote the importance of independent living.

Most people receive services through word of mouth because the center does not advertise due to the fact that people might take advantage of it in the wrong capacity. Advertising is also expensive which can be a problem because they are funded entirely by donations from the community.

“Most funds are from individuals and from some congregations and small foundations,” said Linda Frank, the Operating Director.

“I think it’s important for them to realize that they have a support system, our main goal is to empower them and encourage them to continue to give meaning to their lives,” said volunteer of the Shepherd’s Center, Brittany Houhoulis.

Citizen, George Walter has been served by The Shepherd’s Center of Richmond, for about three years. Pictured enjoying his afternoon with volunteer Brittany Houhoulis.

Citizen, George Walter has been served by The Shepherd’s Center of Richmond, for about three years. Pictured enjoying his afternoon with volunteer Brittany Houhoulis.

The center provides transportation to medical appointments, groceries, light handyman help, bookkeeping, and friendly calls and visits. In addition the shepherd’s center offers a variety of classes in the Richmond area for higher learning.

“I volunteer for The Shepherd’s Center of Richmond, because I like to give back. I believe all these people deserve the attention and to be cared for. As volunteers we get nothing in return, but the simple satisfaction of making people happy,” said volunteer Dante LeGare.

The Shepherds Center shares the same goals as many senior citizen organizations and even operates with some other organizations as well, such as Senior Connections.

Senior Connections is a private Richmond area non-profit agency that provides resources for senior citizens. Established in 1973, the agency provides services to seniors such as caregiver support, insurance counseling, money management, senior employment, and many others.

“They’re helping my grandmother with finding volunteer work around the area,” said Chris Naji. “The work they find her keeps her out during the day and she loves it.”

Another one of the agency’s distinctive is the ability for volunteers and others to support a senior. The agency has a webpage with a story about a senior and their family who may be going through hardship and trouble. People can donate to help support that person through the webpage.

“I read a story about a lady who lives in an unheated home and cannot afford to have it heated and it really kind of made me feel prompted to give something,” said Matthew Gu.

The organization is funded with an undisclosed amount of money through the Virginia Department for the Aging along with the city government but people can also just donate to the organization even if they chose not to support a senior.

One of the agency’s most used services is information and assistance which helps its members locate services that best fits their needs and they receive roughly 25,000 calls annually.

The Shepherds Center and Senior Connections are a part of a network of around 700 area agencies on aging which is also known as the AAA which has around 25 located in Virginia. Together, these organizations help improve the lives of the people responsible for building the world we have today.



Richmond Senior citizens’ services/organizations- http://www.yellowpages.com

Ladies…this is something you can’t afford to miss out on.



Christy’s Beauty Salon

Ladies and Gentlemen::Irresistible Prices You Can’t Resist

Conveniently located in Midlothian, VA, Christy’s Hair Salon excels in all aspects of what a Dominican hair salon does. Ladies love the shop and their prices matched with their quality of work is incomparable.

The outside of the hair salon is easily identified with convenient hours for both employee and clientele.

The outside of the hair salon is easily identified with convenient hours for both employee and clientele.

By: LaToria “Toria Vaughan” Todd

MIDLOTHIAN, Va. – Dominican Hair stylist and business owner, Christy Estebez is a trending hair stylist in the Richmond area.

Estebez always loved to do hair, but having a hair shop was the last thing on her mind. She grew up in house full of teachers; even her siblings aspired to be teachers.

It wasn’t until 2009 that Christy opened up her shop because she enjoyed it so much. Her Husband Emilio Estebez works at their other shop, also conveniently located in Richmond.

According to Estebez her salon specializes in styling African American hair because it is similar to the hair texture of a Dominican.

For Estebez, tending to the clients and being able to speak to customers on a personal level is important because it allows her to have a personal relationship with her clients, which in turn increases retention.

Cleanliness and spaciousness is an important aspect of Christy’s Hair Salon.

Cleanliness and spaciousness is an important aspect of Christy’s Hair Salon.

“What makes this shop different from every other shop is that this one is clean, spacious, and we tend to our clients,” said Kenia Marte, 18, an employee of Christy’s.

Customer satisfaction seems to be an ongoing theme with this hair shop. The value and priority of this salon is the customer.

“ I specialize in relaxers, natural hair, and everything; I love it when a customer is satisfied with their hair and love it,” said Rosa Reyes, 20, an employee of Christy’s.

Not only does it matter to Estebez that her clients are satisfied, but the direct impact she is able to make on her employees are just as important.

“ This is a second home for us, not only does Christy treat us well as a boss, but she is understanding and I just enjoy going to work everyday, most people hate going to work and dread it everyday when they wake up…. me, I love it,” said Marte.

Priding herself on teaching and training her employees without experience, Estebez encourages cosmetology licenses in order fro her employees to further not only their education, but within the profession as well.

 “I’m studying right now to get my cosmetology license,” said Estabez translating what Lisa Hernandez said in Spanish.

This is on the second level of the hair shop where there are plenty of dryers to assist many clients at the same time.

This is on the second level of the hair shop where there are plenty of dryers to assist many clients at the same time.

There are two levels at Christy’s. The bottom level is where the main hair stations are and a few hair dryers. The second level is up a short staircase where the hair is washed, deep conditioned, rolled up, and ready to be styled.

“Clients are special to me and it’s important that they feel as though I have personalized a style for them” said Estebez.

The prices at Christy’s are unbeatable, not only is their work quality, but their prices are affordable.

The prices at Christy’s are unbeatable, not only is their work quality, but their prices are affordable.

According to Marte there are $15 specials on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for a wash and set.

“My prices are similar to that in New York. There is so much competition here that I have to keep my prices low in order to continue to receive customers, though we do get a lot of consistent customers,” said Estebez.

According to Estebez, owning her own hair salon is her best investment yet because she gets to do what she loves while making others happy.

“It’s important to make the client feel at home and comfortable, that’s my trick. You get to know the customer and personalize styles for them, they’ll come back.”


Reporter: LaToria “Toria Vaughan” Todd


Christy’s Beauty Salon: http://christybeautysalon.com/