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BeAttitudes

07/31/2008 05:00PM ● Published by Super Admin

For kids, standing apart from that which doesn’t hold value or empower, sometimes means standing alone. But to do so confidently with an understanding, appreciation and acceptance of others, is to foster personal and community change. That is the meaning behind BeAttitudes In Me – a local nonprofit that teaches area youth (grades K-12) to celebrate uniqueness in order to embrace differences.

BeAttitudes, still in its formative stages, began as The Artist In Me Foundation, which provided art classes for special needs children. Today, “BeAttitudes serves children, parents, schools and the community,” says the organization’s president and founder, Susan Lee. “This organization not only helps children, but also parents, [because] adults are role models. It is my hope that [BeAttitudes] will instill lifelong values in our children, while we as adults, recognize our own.”

BeAttitudes recently celebrated its inception during a kick-off party at the El Dorado County Library – an event that also helped inform parents about the mission of the organization, which centers around monthly attitudes, such as Be Polite, Be Respectful, Be Forgiving, etc. A slew of activities help foster the “BeAttitude” in focus, including a themed book club, poster and story contests, and a charity project. As ambitious as the undertaking has become, Lee is actively fostering the organization’s evolution. She says, “I am developing a BeAttitudes Toastmaster program for middle and high school [students], which will incorporate presentation skills, empowering [participants] to share their opinions and respect others.”

Not only does Lee preach (and teach) the importance of community involvement, she practices it too, with efforts that make a big difference in a small community like El Dorado Hills. This past June she started a “story time” at a local Starbucks, and is currently planning other story hours with area businesses. And while the organization has yet to host any fundraising events (BeAttitudes currently relies on personal, local and community sponsorships), it is one of Lee’s future goals.

Since Lee is in the business of attitude adjustments, how is her own? Insightful and perceptive as always. “Children today are bombarded by so much from the media, video games, music, schools, peers, friends and even their families,” she says. “So many of our kids feel pressure to be many things to many people, but cannot truly be themselves. They are so busy going from activity to activity that I feel they’ve lost sight of who they are, and who they can be. I want to help kids develop a positive self-image, which includes recognizing and accepting their strengths as well as their weaknesses.”

Is there a place for such idealism in today’s world? Judging by the enthusiastic reception BeAttitudes has received, the answer is yes. Powerhouse Ministries in Folsom is interested in integrating BeAttitudes into its children’s program, and Lee plans to present the organization to school districts and youth groups to see how its precepts may be incorporated.

“BeAttitudes In Me is anything short of a dream come true,” Lee says. “I realize it is not the answer for everyone or every issue, but to me, it’s at least an opportunity to do something rather than just sit on the sidelines complaining and doing nothing. Our children are our future.”

For more information on BeAttitudes, visit beattitudesinme.com (coming soon).

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