Monthly Archives: August 2011

It’s College Football Season!!!

I am a strong believer in the benefits that sports can provide for growing children.

Health | Communication | Education

I have an affinity for team sports, there’s nothing like watching young people work together to achieve a goal. I also believe that athletic achievement has a positive correlation to academic success. Add to that the fact that sports played such a major role in my life, including providing for my postsecondary education. To that end I am an ardent supporter of sports at all levels of schooling, but especially intercollegiate athletics.

I was blessed to attend FAU on a football scholarship. Little did I know about college level football until I actually stepped foot on campus, but I quickly began picking things up. My time as a part of FAU’s football team was extraordinary. It was filled with too many memories to recount in one blog posting. Many times I’ve been asked if I miss playing, my response is always the same – “I miss enjoying time with my teammates, whether it was on or off the field.”

My passions since my senior year in 2007 have taken me elsewhere, away from the game of football. I write not longingly, but testimony. My passions were sparked by my experience at FAU; my fire was fed by the gift of education and stoked by the rod of sports.

I grew up a fan of the University of Florida, but now I’m firmly an FAU follower. You can count on future FAU football references here – especially on Oct. 15, 2011 when the on campus stadium hosts its first game. Although I enjoy watching FAU the most these days, every time I see a college game on TV I can’t help but think of the wonderful educational gift is being earned by those young men on the field.

No one sport is above another in my view, we should all be encouraged to reach our athletic gifts in whatever activity we most enjoy. You never know where a game can take you, but just remember to be prepared for the ride.

Can you guess which one is me?

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Filed under achievement, college football, education, FAU, florida gators, new orleans bowl, passion, sports, teams

The Car Formerly Known As Prius

Thank you to all that heeded the call for names for The Car Formerly Known as Prius. I must say, it was not an easy process. Many times I thought I’d settled on a name, only to have another quality suggestion come in. The suggestions, with those that submitted them, included:
• White Lightening via the Booster

• Eleanor via @SoFlanativendn

• Big Bean via @discosoul

• Blondie via @awillie

• Nancy Botwin via @NativeLuVn

• Charlene via @lamefaceeee_ily

• Rez Hippie via @RezMama21

• Mellow, Marsh-Mellow (a la James Bond) via @AnnieSosa

• Whispering Wind (Deuce Dub) via the Ladies Man

• Scooter via Sham

• Electra via My Love

• Put-ke=Prius+Hutke via the Life Giver

• Gizzy via My Love

• Betsy via me

As you can see there were several funny and interesting names submitted. My award for funniest go to Blondie, Whispering Wind and Big Bean. The most creative goes to Mellow, Marsh-Mellow and Put-ke. I was most surprised by the number of suggestions that were woman names.

Ultimately there must be a winner…

May I introduce to you readers, the Car Formerly Known as Prius, is now GIZZY!!! (cue applause)


I found Gizzy to be most appropriate for two reasons:

1) it’s a spinoff of Gizmo, who doesn’t like him

2) the Prius has many fun gizmos inside to track performance

The next time you see me cruising around, be sure to give a shout out to GIZZY!!!

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Filed under contest, fun, gas, prius, toyota

5 Ways to Listen Better

Communicating – we’re constantly doing it.  It’s happening right now as I type and you read.  As much as we do it we also are constantly failing at it.  Generally speaking we could all get better at it, and that’s a process that isn’t easily understood.  The impetus for this topic is a video I recently watched on TED.com.  It’s revealing and sheds a few good points, one of which I’ll highlight below.  Take a moment to watch it:

http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf
Of Mr. Treasure’s (great last name by the way) list it was the fourth that struck me the most. The frames that we use to hear others are always present, and they don’t always do our listening favors. I consider myself a good listener; however, even I recognize that being good isn’t good enough.

A few months ago during a conversation with my fiancé she pointed out something to me. She expressed that there were times when, during conversations, I would interrupt her and proceed to speak at length. I wasn’t being a good listener and, thereby, not doing a good enough job at communicating. True to form, I interrupted and talked at length about why I talked at length <– now that is a (communicative) fail. The listening frame that I was using was effective and disrupted our communication.

The good that came out of her bringing up my failure was the opportunity to address it, I thank her for that. Believe me – I’ve worked on it these past few months! I’ve improved at waiting my turn, but there’s always room for growth. My listening frame has shifted for the better.

When we communicate with others there is no doubt that meanings will get mixed up, words misconstrued, and feelings bruised. But communicate we must, that’s what makes us human. So let’s take the opportunity to improve ourselves and our listening frames. Start at home and ask yourself “Am I a good listener?”

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Filed under communication, family, life, listening, reflection, self improvement, TED

Help Name My Prius

Until recently I have been the driver of a GAS GUZZLER nicknamed the War Pony…

My guzzler was a Ford F-150 and as proud as I was to drive Ford Tough I soon realized that my 140 mile round trip commute to work is none too friendly to my wallet. I was getting gas every day and a half! Most of all I was feeling like a hypocrite for publicly expressing concern for the environment yet not having those concerns reflected in my lifestyle choices.

With all that in mind I choose to invest in a Toyota Prius. Consumer Reports has the Prius listed as the best value for a family sedan in 2011 and also reports that long-term reliability is high. Of course Toyota touts the 48 City MPG and 51 Hwy MPG.

Thus far my Prius has been fantastic! I was practically doing backflips when my first fill up came 500 miles after I drove off the dealer lot and only cost $33 at $3.65 a gallon. However, all this excitement falls flat when it comes to what to call my Prius, names circulated by my fiancé and I have been:

• Gizzy – a spinoff of gizmo, since the car is electronically detailed

• Betsy – this was a first attempt by me

• Whisper – because when the car is using just electric it’s whisper quiet

Needless to say satisfaction with these names is lacking. So I turn it over to you readers, please suggest via comment what I should name my new Prius. I’ll select the best one and announce it next week.

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Filed under contest, ford, fun, gas, life, money, prius, toyota, travel

Hunger Across The Globe

I am currently serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA.  AmeriCorps is a great program, one whose mission is to fight poverty with a passion.  I’ll elaborate further on this in a future posting.  I am serving my VISTA year at Miami Dade College with the Single Stop program.  Nationally, I am a part of a VISTA cohort overseen by the New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH).  <==== wasn’t that all a mouth full!

With that foregrounding info being written, one of my primary goals with VISTA is to address the hunger problem in America.  I must admit that prior to AmeriCorps I mistakenly thought that hunger was a foreign issue, one that was seen only on those late night TV infomercials and the intermittent news exposé.  I now realize that hunger is one of Americas largest taboos subjects, difficult to speak about because how could this country really have starving and malnourished masses.  I came across the following video on TED (a great resource for ideas) and found it to be profound, as well as easily understandable.

Check out the video, it’s worth it to listen in its entirety.

http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf

What do you think of hunger now? What do you think of hunger in the US?

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Filed under americorps, americorps VISTA, hunger, Miami Dade College, poverty, TED

What Russell Means To Me

I recently read that Mr. Means was diagnosed with cancer and it struck me as any news of life and death would – I became afraid and unsure. Matters of life and death will do that to you. The news prompted this posting, as I felt the need to share my feelings on a person I’ve not met but feel an attachment to. I will say a prayer for Mr. Means’ health and leave the rest to our Creator.

Through my studies at Florida Atlantic University I became interested in the Red Power movement of the late 1960’s and 1970’s. This Native American civil rights movement emerged from a general attitude of unrest that pervaded the USA during the time. As with African Americans, Natives began to gather together and collectively exert their grievances against racial injustices. The movement had many leaders and victories, truly my discovery of this history brought a renewed pride of what our Native people have accomplished. I encourage you to look into this part of our past: start by going here.

An integral part of the movement was the group better known by its acronym AIM, which is the American Indian Movement. A leader of AIM was a man by the name of Russell Means. Earlier this year I read Mr. Means’ autobiography “Where White Men Fear To Tread” and he gave me an entirely new perspective on the man.

I have a profound respect for this man, one that can only be understood if you’ve been treated unfairly, been looked upon with disapproving eyes, felt disenfranchised, and been beat up physically and emotionally. This man experienced it all, this man isn’t perfect, this man failed, this man fought and won, most of all this man exemplified Native spirit when Natives needed it. What Russell Means to me is a symbol of that Native spirit – suffering, sacrificing, and loving.

We Natives cannot do life alone – we need one another in incalculable ways now more than ever. What are you doing to exemplify that Native spirit? This question deserves a conscientious and vocal answer, but I also realize that actions speak louder. I answer and re-answer this question daily through my actions – by honoring my elders’ determination, by loving my family, by viewing the future as a direct result of today, and by making mistakes and learning from them. What do your actions say?

See Mr. Means’ advocacy site http://www.russellmeansfreedom.com/ for live video updates from Mr. Means himself.

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Filed under AIM, American Indina Movement, cancer, civil rights, family, FAU, life, Native American, red power, reflection, Russell Means

The Moldy Tour 2011


Press Release

August 15th, 2011

Attn To: Interested Parties



On June 30th The Moldy Tour of 2011 began in earnest. This tour was impromtu and cobbled together on only a few days notice – a distinction that cannot be understated. Tour headliners were the quartet known as Sugar & Spice. The following are tour highlights:

  • The tour began in Pembroke Pines, FL.
  • The first few days fo the tour were spent in beautifl Key West, FL. Night hotspots such as the famed Sloppy Joe’s Bar, island resturants like the A&B Lobster House, and iconic tourist spots like the Southermost Point Marker were visited.
  • The following days were spent at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in always welcoming Orlando, FL. These few days were spent petting animals, collecting random and useless suveniuers, and taking countless pictures.
  • Brief stops were made in Hollywood, FL and Clewiston, FL before the tour finally came to a stop in the remote swamps near the Big Cypress National Preserve.

The tour came to a close at the end of July, 2011, having logged thousands of miles and many bustling days. For the tour participants it was a journey of perseverance and character defining growth. The following quotes are directly from Sugar & Spice:

  • “Never again!”
  • “I’ve never woken up feeling so sore and tired.”
  • “It was tough, but most important is that we’re still together.”

Indeed, The Moldy Tour of 2011 was unlike anything its participants had ever experienced. You can bet that first among the lessons learned from the tour is to always check your home for mold before moving your family in. When asked if there are plans for a Moldy Tour 2012, Sugar & Spice frontman J-Style answered – “I pray not.”

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Filed under family, key west. animal kingdom, mold, satire, tired, travel

Reward for Missing Native!

It’s been too long to count since I last posted here – thus the reference to a missing Native. There are a myriad of factors as to why it there has been so much time in between posts. I will comment on those in up coming posts. I have been up to much, I promise 🙂

Check out some pieces I wrote at iNative.wordpress.com – the blog is a collaboration between myself and several other like-minded young Natives.

Also on WordPress is a blog I’ve created as apart of my workplace responsibilities. I am currently an AmeriCorps VISTA serving at Miami Dade College with the Single Stop program. To view the blog go to MDCSingleStop.wordpress.com

I’m only partially active as far as status updates on the Facebook these days, although I do frequently log on to the site – find me by clicking here Jarrid on FB. Also, view the work I’ve done with Single Stop on Facebook.

I’ve also picked up a Twitter fetish, to a mild degree of course – you can find me at @jarridsmith. And while your there also check out @MDCSingleStop, which I am responsible for as well.

Thanks for bearing with me through all those links. I’m looking forward to rekindling this blog with some of the excitement that has been going on these last few years.

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Filed under americorps, americorps VISTA, jarrid smith, Miami Dade College, Native American