Before you vote…Do your Homework.

Have you ever went to vote and not recognized all the names on the ballot? I have. Standing there overwhelmed, confused, and unprepared, I skipped over those names. Have you ever not voted because you didn’t know who or what offices were on the ballot? This is embarrassing to admit especially because the foundation of my platform is to provide information and resources. I should have the answers right? Not always. What I don’t know and want or need to know…it’s my responsibility to find out, and I didn’t. I share this to say you must seek the information you wish to find. It’s your responsibility and yours alone to ensure that you are equipped with the information you need to make the best decision for your life. I’ve also built my platform on sharing opinions and experiences to help shape perspectives.

You are not alone if you share the sentiment that you don’t know where to look, who to ask, or what information to trust. If you are eligible to vote, I encourage you to do so. Every vote counted is a voice heard. My younger, irresponsible self who went to the polls uninformed or stayed home uninspired is now older, wiser and equipped with more information. I challenge us all to seek the information…ask questions, read, and research. Self education is key to staying current and informed in an ever-changing world. No one is responsible for getting the information to you but YOU. In order to make an informed decision you have to make acquiring the information a priority, and I’m here to help! Here are a few tips and resources to guide you to the information necessary to make informed voting decisions. I still live with voters regret, you don’t have to.

On a recent show, I spoke with the Mecklenburg County (NC) Director of Elections, Mike Dickerson. Mr. Dickerson provided great information including a some Dos and Dont’s regarding mail-in ballots. Please feel free to like, share, comment and SUBSCRIBE.

Please remember that guidelines vary from state to state and from county to county.

Here a few websites to help you navigate the HOW TO vote by mail, inform you of who’s on the ballot, as well as providing details on events, news and other voting resources in your state.

Also, here are a few Google search suggestions: Board of Elections, Official Democratic Website, Official Republican Website, Democrat, Republican, Liberal

It doesn’t matter which party you are aligned with please know that your voice and your vote matters. As you send in your ballot or head to the polls, go informed…that’s the best way to vote.

Resources for families/loved ones of MISSING CHILDREN

HELP ID ME

Currently, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) is assisting in over 700 cases of unidentified human remains. When human remains are found that are believed to belong to a child, NCMEC can assist law enforcement and medical examiners in the effort to give that child back their name. This process includes assisting in the collection and dissemination of DNA, dentals, fingerprints, and other unique identifiers to help determine the identities of these children. https://www.missingkids.org/theissues/helpidme Please click on the link to learn more about HELP ID ME and you may visit the Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/HelpIDMe/

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

NCMEC provides statistics and identifies risk factors for children with autism, red flags that a child may be a victim of sex trafficking, and a support system for families of missing and exploited children. Please visit the website at http://www.missingkids.org for more information.

Kid Smartz

To assist you in initiating healthy conversations with your children about safety and setting boundaries please visit www.kidsmartz.org

Code Adam

If you’re a property manager or business owner please visit http://codeadam.missingkids.org Code Adam was designed to help businesses, parks, government buildings and other establishments ensure that they have safety protocols in place to respond quickly and effectively to situations involving a missing child.

Instagram accounts dedicated to disseminating information about missing persons:

@missingkids

@blackandmissingfdn

@findourmissingpoc

@help_findme

@ebonyalert_

@find_gods_children

MISSING Children

When a loved one goes missing, especially a child, fear and panic set in and it is imperative for you to act quickly to assist in the safe recovery of your child.

On this show you’ll be presented with information to aid in making a missing person report, provided with some history on the origination of Amber Alerts, why they are issued, and a summation of the Ashanti Alert. As your host, I will also dispel some myths about who can, when you can, and how to report your loved one missing. I was able to speak to the founder of @FindOurMissingPOC Ms. Ebony Gray who shared her mission to help find and bring missing children of color home.

The original concept for this show was to initiate a conversation about the racial disparities among missing women of color and missing white women. When missing person cases are reported by the media, people of color are vastly under represented. However, instead of stating the main reason that I deemed obvious I didn’t. I thought this conversation would be more impactful by not doing that and instead providing information and resources to help our most vulnerable: children. For starters, there are a several types of emergency alerts issued by law enforcement to aid in the search and recovery of missing persons of all ages.

  1. Amber Alert: AMBER Alerts are activated in the most serious child-abduction cases. The goal of an AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the community to assist in the search for and safe recovery of a missing child.  These alerts are broadcast through radio, TV, road signs, cellphones, and other data-enabled devices. http://www.missingkids.org/gethelpnow/amber
  2. Ashanti Alert Act: The Ashanti Alert, like the other alert systems, would notify the public about missing or endangered adults, ages 18-64, through a national communications network to assist law enforcement in the search. http://www.warner.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2018/12/sen-warner-praises-final-passage-of-ashanti-alert-act This law was passed December 2018; however, it has not been implemented.
  3. Silver Alert: The Silver Alert system was initially created to help protect missing persons who have cognitive impairments, particularly the elderly. In most states the Silver Alert applies to the elderly, adults with a mental impairment, or both, depending on the state. The goal of the Silver Alert system is the quick dissemination of information about missing persons to law enforcement personnel as well as to the general public. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24051596/
  4. Blue Alert: Blue Alerts aid in the apprehension of violent criminals who have killed, or seriously injured an officer in the line of duty. Blue Alerts can also be issued when a suspect poses an imminent and credible threat to law enforcement, or when an officer is missing in the line of duty. https://cops.usdoj.gov/bluealert

Now that we know the types of alerts that are available, why aren’t they issued more often for persons of color when they go missing? The provision of as much information as possible can’t be stressed enough. I can’t pinpoint the WHY exactly; however, I’ve made some observations and learned a few things while researching this topic. Now, I’ll state what I think is the obvious.

  1. Racism. Black lives and the lives of people of color aren’t as valued as our white counterparts, especially white women by law enforcement or the media.
  2. Distrust of law enforcement. Many families are reluctant to contact police immediately due fear that an encounter may go awry.
  3. Immigration status. Residents who are not citizens may not contact law enforcement at all due to fear of deportation and separation of the family.
  4. Limited finances and limited awareness of resources. It costs money to make fliers, t-shirts and post billboards which may not be expenditures families can afford. In other instances, families can’t afford to miss work to conduct extensive searches. Often, families may not be aware of who to contact in addition to the police.

About 14% of US children are black, but black kids account for more than a third of missing child cases. https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/03/us/missing-children-of-color-trnd/index.html Now, let’s delve into what can be done to increase the visibility of missing people of color. It is imperative to provide as much information about your child or loved one as possible, from physical description (including clothing worn) to person last seen with (and their description), as well as a recent photo, how long missing and whether or not they are in imminent danger. A child being in imminent danger is the determining factor in whether an Amber Alert is issued or not. Remember the more information you provide the more effective an emergency alert will be. Don’t soley depend on law enforcement. After you have reported your child missing to law enforcement, call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST(1-800-843-5678). http://www.missingkids.org/gethelpnow/isyourchildmissing. Let people know that your child or loved one is missing, utilize social media. Organize groups inclusive of your family, friends, colleagues, fellow worshippers, and neighbors to help search for and find your child. Contact the local media (news stations, newspapers, and radio stations) to help disseminate information. If money is required to produce, fliers, t-shirts, post billboards create a crowdfunding campaign through sites like http://www.gofundme.com Most importantly, NEVER GIVE UP!

For additional resources to aid in initiating conversations about safety, assistance with the search and recovery of your child or loved one, and for support of families of missing and exploited children please visit the RESOURCES tab.

Thank for your time and attention…be safe!

Saran Almond

Please feel free to leave a comment or make a suggestion for future topics. You may use the Contact Us form to request an interview or to book Saran Almond for speaking engagements.

All views expressed on this site are my own and do not represent the opinion of any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any matter.

Doula Resources

In doing research on how to help expecting mothers have a more pleasant birthing experience, I found a ton of information on Doulas…thank me later!

 

Details on the differences between a Doula and a Midwife:

https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/doula-vs-midwife

https://www.thebump.com/a/difference-between-midwife-and-doula

https://www.popsugar.com/family/What-Difference-Between-Midwife-Doula-45654985

 

Learn more about Maternal Mortality and Morbidity

https://www.hrsa.gov/maternal-mortality/index.html

 

Vertical Birth

http://pathwaystofamilywellness.org/Pregnancy-Birth/vertical-birth.html

 

A need to know about Doulas

The following site was my favorite…You get the A-Z on the benefits of having a Doula, how to find one, how to become a Doula…and resources for those of you who are Doulas. https://www.dona.org

Doula: Sierra Shuler

Sierra Shuler 

20190306_130659

Birth/Postpartum/Bereavement/loss Doula

980-349-6359

A New Yorker and South Carolinian, Sierra Shuler has the feistiness of a New Yorker paired with southern hospitality. Her upbringing offered her the best of both worlds being born and raised in NY and later moving to South Carolina as a child.

Sierra returned to NY at age 20 where she had her first child and worked as an Executive Assistant for 10 years at one of the world’s major banks.

Sierra suffered many losses but after the loss of her mom in 2015, life took on a whole new meaning. So in 2017 she transferred her job and she and
her son moved to Charlotte, NC where she found her calling as a doula.

A doula is what she had been for those in her life, but a doula was also what she needed during the critical times in her own life. It was in those times that God developed her need for someone to hold space for her; to fuel her passion to hold space for others.

In early 2019, Sierra left her job to pursue being a doula full-time.

Sierra is a birth, postpartum, and bereavement doula in Charlotte offering personalized doula support.  Her mission is to provide individuals and families with the highest level of support, attentiveness, and prayer-centered care. She naturally finds fulfillment in supporting others as it makes her soul happy.

Sierra enjoys spending time with her son, family, traveling, and serving on various ministries at her church.

 

 

5 Reasons you should have a Doula

Screen Shot 2019-04-20 at 4.54.12 PM

So, what is a Doula? A non-medical companion who supports a birthing mother by providing continuous care before, during, and/or after childbirth in the form of information, physical support, and emotional support. They also may provide support to the partner and family.

This topic was important for me to cover for a number of reasons. First, like many other mothers that I’ve spoken to, my pregnancy, labor, delivery experience was very unpleasant.  If there is a chance that any mother can receive this information and have a better experience than I did, then mission accomplished.  Second, according to According to the Health Resources & Services Administration, the maternal mortality and morbidity rate is increasing.  Searching for ways to ease the anxiety, concerns, and risks mothers have regarding labor and giving birth, it seems that providing information on Doulas would be a great start.

On the show 5 REASONS TO HAVE A DOULA we heard from Sierra Shuler, a practicing Doula in Charlotte, NC who gave great information on the benefits of having a Doula.  If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, here are the top 5 reasons to have a Doula.

  1. Doula’s provide SUPPORT to the mother, spouse, and family.
  2. A Doula is an ADVOCATE for the mother.
  3. Doula’s EDUCATE the mother on what is happening to her body, how to respond and what to expect.
  4. Doula’s provide COMFORT to the mother (in the form of emotional support)
  5. A Doula’s presence has been found to REDUCE requests for pain medication, the use of forceps, and the number of cesarean births…among many other benefits.

While there are many great physical and emotional benefits to having a Doula this information would be one-sided if I didn’t give you some scenarios in which having a Doula may not be the best option.

  1. If you’re having a planned cesarean, a Labor and Birth Doula is not necessary; however, a Postpartum Doula may be right up your alley to assist with infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, mother–baby bonding, infant soothing, and basic newborn care.
  2. If you don’t know what you’re signing up for.  Sure, having a Doula sounds great but ask questions.  What are your needs and how can a Doula be helpful to your situation.  Remember the U in Doula is all about YOU!
  3. If your team is not in agreement. Always consult with your birthing team…your doctor(s) or Mid-wife.  All members of your team MUST be able to communicate and come into agreement with your choices and what is best for you and baby. This is a team effort towards a happy and healthy mother and baby.

Whether this is your 1st pregnancy or your 5th pregnancy there is always an opportunity to learn and make better decisions for your life.  I encourage you to do some research so that you can make a more informed decision.  To get you started, click on the Resources Tab for Doulas to get more information on organizations that provide resources on how to find a Doula, what questions to ask and even how to become a Doula.  To learn about our featured Doula, Sierra Shuler, click on the Guests Tab for Sierra to read her bio.

Please check out the show 5 REASONS TO HAVE A DOULA SUBCRIBE so you won’t miss out, COMMENT because we care about what you think, LIKE if this was insightful, and please share with someone that could use this information.

The opinions expressed on this site and on ‘WHAT WOULD she DO?’ are published for educational and informational purposes only, and are not intended as a diagnosis, treatment or as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Please consult a local physician or other health care professional for your specific health care and/or medical needs or concerns.

This site does not endorse or recommend any commercial products, medical treatments, pharmaceuticals, brand names, processes, or services; the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and education of the viewing public, and the mention of any of the above on this site or the show does not constitute an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Saran Almond and/or NARASARAN Media.

 

 

 

Mommy Dearest

They say age ain’t nothing but a number but it is much more than that.  Age is an indicator of life experiences…triumphs, failures, overwhelming joys and life altering losses, all of which you’ve survived.  I am a firm believer that every lesson doesn’t have to be learned as a result of personal experience.  You can learn from the experiences of family members, friends, co-workers, and stories that you’ve read/or heard about.  Every loss or failure doesn’t have to be your own in order to apply that lesson to your life.  So where do you go when you need guidance, encouragement, or wisdom from someone who has been through some of it all?  That’s right!  Our elders.  For me, the wisest and closet person to me is my mother.  I think we all, at some point have reflected on what our mothers and mother figures have told us and thought ‘I should’ve listened’ or ‘she was right.’ I know I have.  For some of us those thoughts may be different due to not having a mother/mother figure.  Maybe your mother didn’t have the experience at that time to offer advice to help you on your life journey or maybe she was ill-advised.  So, instead of giving you one Mommy, I gave you three.

YT Mommy Dearest

It’s one conversation, three Mommies, and a variety of topics, hosted by Saran Almond.  Meet Lady Di, Granny, and Ramona Big Eagle.  These ladies offer advice that you can apply to your life right now.  Their chemistry, personalities, and responses will make you think, laugh, and wonder ‘WHAT WOULD she DO?’  Remember to be proud of the years you’ve acquired and celebrate each day of your life by living on purpose.

Mommy Dearest,

Thank you for being the ultimate example of strength, love, and beauty…and for showing me what it looks like and what it means to be a woman and a lady.

To all of my Mommies, thank you so much for the joy and insight that you bought to the show.

You are appreciated!

Sincerely,

Saran

 

WATCH the show here!!! MOMMY Dearest!

Remembering Our Veterans

remember.connectSo, I had an idea to do a show about Veterans Day. The goal for ‘WHAT WOULD she DO?’ is always to provide information and resources while encouraging, uplifting and inspiring our viewers.  As the idea evolved I wanted the show to be less about the “day” and more about the people the day honors…Veterans.  With camera in tow, I headed to the Veterans Day Parade.  It was a bright sunny Saturday morning and the chill in the breeze reminded us all that winter is near.  Onlookers like myself stood along the sidewalks of blocked off streets in Uptown Charlotte, NC.  We were there to support and honor our veterans, encourage members of the local high schools’ JROTC and ROTC marching in the parade as well as a host of other participants.  The smell of street food, the sounds of car horns, motorcycle engines and drums and trumpets from the various school marching bands filled the air as we cheered and waved.  The children were happy, parents were proud, and veterans looked on in remembrance.  The energy was tremendous…it was positive, it was happy, and it felt good.  That good feeling ended abruptly.  As the parade ended, I was approached by a young man asking for spare change to buy food.  He shared that he was homeless and a military veteran.  I told him I don’t carry cash, he said he understood then we walked our separate ways.  There was something in me that would not let that conversation be the end.  I wanted to help, even though I didn’t have change.  My curiosity needed to know how this happened.  I stopped the young man (who I’ll call RG to protect his privacy) who looked sad and tired and was wearing only a t-shirt in the windy cold.  He was very soft spoken and passionate about the loss of his parents, being thrown out of his home by the mother of his children, being separated from his children, and being disappointed by family and friends.  He was alone and in need of help.  I knew that I could make phone calls to get him information but, in that moment, I could offer nothing more than kind words as comfort.  I doubt that I was helpful and that saddens me.  We remember those in service, our fallen soldiers, and on Veterans Day we have parades in honor of all who served…as we should.  But, what happens when they come home?  What can we do to help them return to a life of normalcy, a life of happiness and one in which they can thrive.  During my conversation with RG he said something that really stood out for me.  He said, “It was quick and easy for us to enlist but trying to get the benefits that I earned is long and hard.”  What can WE do to help our veterans?

I’ll keep you posted on RG. In the meantime, lets us always remember those who sacrificed so much for the freedom and safety of us all.  THANK YOU for your service, your commitment, your courage, and your sacrifice!

Please click the link below to check out the latest show from ‘WHAT WOULD she DO?’

Remembering Our Veterans and Connecting them to Resources

ENJOY!!!

Please visit the “Contact Us” page to ask questions.

Resources for Veterans and their Families

Mecklenburg County Veterans Services

The Mecklenburg County Community Support Services Veterans Services Division is open 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday to provide service to clients on a walk-in basis. ​Our main office is located on the 2nd floor of the Hal Marshall County Services Center at 700 N. Tryon Street in Charlotte. We invite you​ to come into the office and speak with one of our certified veterans services officers.

(704) 336-2102

Mecklenburg County Veterans Services

 

Veterans Bridge Home

VBH works with Veterans and their families to identify and prioritize their goals, then educates them on the resources available to reach those goals before finally connecting them to community resources, as well as other Veterans, to create a holistic network of support.

(704) 332-8802

Veterans Bridge Home

 

The Salvation Army

Shelter Care for Homeless Veterans: Providing resources for veterans and families

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has selected The Salvation Army as a contractor to provide temporary residential housing and supportive services to homeless veterans and their families. A special wing of the Center of Hope shelter has been reserved for this unique program, and partners such as Charlotte Bridge Home are helping us to provide veterans the resources and support they deserve to live independently and fully.

The Salvation Army Center of Hope

 

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans

Mission: The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) will end homelessness among veterans by shaping public policy, promoting collaboration, and building the capacity of service providers.

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
1730 M Street NW
Suite 705
Washington, DC 20036

info@nchv.org

Phone: 202-546-1969
Toll-free phone: 800-VET-HELP

Veteran in crisis? Dial 877-424-3838 for 24/7 assistance.

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans

 

Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

DMVA has a devoted team of professionals committed to ensuring that all those who served –and their loved ones –are made aware of and maximize all the benefits and resources available.  DMVA has qualified benefits specialists in 12 offices throughout the state, an established relationship with County Veterans Officers which are in most counties in the state, and an established relationship with the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs.  We work to ensure that veterans are appropriately served.

Charlotte VSC
(704) 563-2037
5500 Executive Center Drive, Suite 132
Charlotte, NC 28212

Please visit website for other office locations.

DMVA: Benefits and Claims

 

Remembering our Veterans: Jacqueline Tyes

Jacci

Jacqueline Tyes, Past Commander

First Female Commander of NC State & Mecklenburg County

Jacqueline Nicole Tyes is the daughter of Edwin and Marion Tyes. She is a native of Buffalo, New York, but currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. Jacqueline comes from a strong military family. Her father served in the United States Army. She and her three sisters also served in the military, her youngest sister is still serving in the United States Army. Upon graduating from Leonardo Da Vinci High School at the age 17, Jacqueline joined the United States Navy. She honorably served in the Navy as a Boatswain’s Mate for a Diving and Salvage Unit for three years before being injured and medically discharged. She obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and a Master’s Degree in Education both from D’Youville College. Jacqueline then went on to serve as an Educator for 17 years until she retired in 2015. Over her 17 year career as an educator, she taught Pre-K through eighth grade. She taught all subject areas including Spanish. She also taught four classes as an Adjunct Professor at Buffalo State College early on in her career. Ms. Tyes acquired credentials to teach in New York State, Florida as well as North Carolina. Upon retirement, Jacqueline began writing professionally. She started a blog in February of 2018 theENCOURAGErcom.wordpress.com , coauthored a book with other female veterans that released spring of 2018 (Behind The Ranks, Vol II), and will be releasing her first Children’s Book in November 2018 (The Beauty of Black A-Z).

Behind the Rank

Jacqueline currently serves as an advocate for veterans with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), where she was unanimously elected to serve as the First Female Commander for the state of North Carolina in June of 2016. She speaks regularly at various institutions on Veterans’ issues such as Colleges, Legislative Forums, ROTC Ceremonies, and Veteran Symposiums just to name a few. Ms. Tyes also participates in Veterans Day Parades, Ceremonies honoring Veterans, Stand Downs, and DAV Conferences and Conventions both State and National. Jacqueline is also an active member of Alpha Omega Phi Military Sorority & Fraternity. She was one of ten veterans who received the National Victories For Veterans Award in June 2017. She is also a recipient of the Legacy Award for 2018. Ms. Tyes is committed to empowering military personnel, veterans, and their families to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. Jacqueline aspires to enlighten, encourage, and empower people of all ages through her speaking, teaching and writing in hopes to give them a lifelong love for reading, learning, and self-improvement.