Category: Family

Reflecting on the last ten years…with gratitude.

Ten years ago I wrote down a goal that at the time seemed both attainable and important. Tomorrow I turn forty, an age that seemed so far away at thirty . The twists, pivots, peaks and valleys comprise ten of the best years of my life and even though I didn’t hit my goal, I have an incredible feeling of accomplishment.
Six things I learned in my 30s
  • There is no reason for the cell phone to be at or near the dinner table. Engaging with your family during dinner will generate some of your best memories from your thirties.
  • Trust your instincts.
Friends and Family
  • When people say “it all goes so fast” they are speaking the truth. You won’t really understand that until the end of your thirties.
  • Appreciate it all, the peaks and the valleys…especially the valleys.
Regarding Business (and running one)
  • A business is either growing or contracting. The key is to identify which one it is and manage it with purpose.
  • There are two types of people in business, those that strive to be the star player and those who thrive being on a winning team. Create a culture where team is more important that star.
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How old were you when you first felt empathy?

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There were many highlights for me last week but one has me compelled to share.

Backstory: About two months back my son (6), on his own doing, decided to open a juice stand in front of his Grandma and Grandpa’s home. His business model was solid; have someone else pay for the fruit and he provides the labor. What had me proud was not the fact that he crafted an entrepreneurial venture while others his age were playing Wii or XBox; it was the fact that he took it upon himself to use this juice stand to help promote and raise money for Project Hope Alliance.

Our family joined the Project Hope Alliance family in 2014, after I joined their Board of Directors. The Mission, accomplishments and highly passionate team spoke to me and my family. The rapidly growing organization embodies an entrepreneurial spirit rarely found in 40 year old non-profits.

Last week, Suzi Diaz from Project Hope Alliance visited with the kids of my son’s first grade class. She explained how she had the coolest job in the world and was fortunate enough to help kids move into new homes with their families. She explained to the room of 50 or so 6 year olds that in Orange County alone there are nearly 30,000 kids, who look and act just like them, who are without homes.



What happened next was simply inspiring. Suzi asked the group a simple question, “has anyone ever done something for you that made you feel good?”.

Hands shot up as one kids after another shared stories about how other kids helped them up after they fell at school, or told them that they liked their haircut.

Suzi then asked if they have ever made someone ELSE feel good by saying nice things or helping someone do something they couldn’t do alone.

Hands shot up and one by one as the kids demonstrated how they have helped others. It was then I realized that this room of first graders not only understood but demonstrated already at this young age, empathy.

As Susi went on to explain how Project Hope Alliance helps kids and their families end the cycle of homelessness, I could see one kid after another (and teachers too) connect the dots between empathy and action; doing good by others makes me feel good too.

I am proud of my son for feeling and showing empathy- and taking action.

I am proud of Project Hope for helping our next generation awaken the spirit of empathy that lives within.

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To learn more about what moves the CEO of Project Hope, watch this amazing video

To learn more about Project Hope Alliance or to have Suzi and team come speak to your kids’ school, visit:

“Kids who are strong readers do better in school and are better prepared to live successful lives”

The Rise Up Foundation released a report on literacy today, synthesizing research by leading literacy scholars and examining the impact of emerging media on reader engagement. A Question of Literacy investigates how trends such as transmedia storytelling and participatory culture are being designed to improve reader engagement and motivation, not diminish them.

“Kids who are strong readers do better in school and are better prepared to live successful lives,” said Wendy Alane Adams, CEO and Founder of the Rise Up Foundation. “By delving deeper into the psyche of today’s digitally advanced adolescent, we can better understand how to deliver content that will trigger their imagination and convince them to sit long enough to read a book, cover to cover.”

The report, available for download at, concludes that the tools of new media and transmedia storytelling present opportunities to meet young readers where they are, and to get them to a better level of literacy. As both media consumers and media producers, today’s digital youth have come to expect more immersive forms of engagement. Deepening their experience can both drive engagement and motivate them to take advantage of additional opportunities to read.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Youth today are experiencing notable declines in reading for pleasure, presenting a crisis given the correlation between the frequency of reading for pleasure and better test scores in reading and writing.
  • Research does not support the common assertion that “digital distraction” is the primary cause for the decline in reading. More notable factors include lack of access to books and an absence of encouragement to read for pleasure at home and/or in school.
  • Youth today are motivated by opportunities to participate in co-creation and by being co-constructors of meaning through reading, viewing, understanding, responding, and interacting through storytelling.
  • Transmedia storytelling can be used to create multimodal learning experiences that are designed to improve reflective thinking, reading engagement and literacy.
  • It is increasingly important to both broaden the definition of and approach to literacy, and begin to address how conventional measures fail to accurately recognize the reading activities that young people engage in when using digital media.

The Rise Up Foundation will use these findings to explore new ways to employ transmedia storytelling in the cause of literacy improvement.

About Rise Up Foundation

Founded by Wendy Alane Adams, the Rise Up Foundation strives to improve the lives of children and families living in poverty and difficult circumstances. Rise Up supports literacy projects as a path toward improving the future prospects of children in underserved communities by making book donations, providing classroom support, and grant-making. In addition to literacy efforts, Rise Up works with organizations committed to defining and solving the problems that chronic poverty brings to children and their communities. For more information, please, and 

Last Breakfast meeting of 2014


As I wrap up the last breakfast meeting of 2014 I am reminded by the rearview mirror of the peaks and valleys of the past and am excited for the adventures to come in the future . Happy new year to all my friends, family and colleagues. I hope you all kick some ass in 2015 !