Engineering Communities of Practice

Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.”

I mentioned it a bit in a previous post, related to giving student-learners the appropriate focus prior to throwing assignments and books at them.  The concept and uses are based off work of  Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner.

To Engineer Life we don’t want to escape, it has to be done in conjunction with the people that we share this life with. We have to be able to first become fully aware of our needs and desires; and, be able to effectively communicate that in an effort to understand whether people align or misalign with goals that have been set.

So, never hesitate to tell your story! 

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Engineering Balance: Sacrifice = Success

I don’t know about you, but the growing responsibility of maintaining a clean bill of health, debt, and clutter has gotten to be a bit overwhelming most days.  But I’ve learned how to create balance.  It often happens through laughter and realizing how much you’ve grown.  Sacrifice comes in many forms; starting school with a family to improving earning potential, rebudgeting to gain the perks of being in affluent neighborhoods, relocating your business to an underserved area for tax breaks, just to name a few.

But no matter what decision you make, your hopes for a profitable return/successful outcome is often weighed against the kind of investment you’re required to make.  Our brain bias has a tendancy to hold on to the negative things and replay them more often than we do the positive ones.  For that reason alone, I say, find your balance by seeing your sacrifice as a success.  All though you may incur additonal expenses, relocating or returning to school, or getting a life coach could help provide the guidance you need most. And anything leading to success, even sacrifice, is a success.  So, laugh more & remember…

Sacrifice = Success

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Early Childhood Literacy, Writing Poverty Out of Homes.

Writing in style  might encourage preschoolers to engage with reading and writing literacy early on.

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So the “Three Little Birds” decided to offer “Pink Sky Polish Parties”

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Everyone loves color!  So to add a little dazzle to learning time, and to offer your little something to hold so they can admire their pretty nail polish, Pink Sky Pens & Accessories will be available.  Check a few of our options out below and read more about the Heroes that use Pink Sky Pens here.


Coming up is our Pink Sky’s: Polka Dot Diva Party, so be sure to come out and get yours “Pretty Pen Pack” promo price of $11 dollars which includes your choice of beauty treatments during your next “Polish Party” visit.

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Roanoke Valley Educators: Free Writer’s Workshop June 24th

Hey educators! Make sure you have this pinned on your bulletin boards. If you’re an educator in the Roanoke Valley, award winning author is returning to home turf to “reach back” and offer a writer’s workshop to the community.  Be sure you’re there because you could also gain an opportunity to start or boost your acting career with auditions for literary work going to stage play, by Ms. Shiela Moses, herself.


June 24, 2017 – 9:30 AM – 2:30 PM 20 slots available.  Led by poet, author, playwright, and producer Shelia P. Moses was raised the ninth of ten children on Rehobeth Road in Rich Square, North Carolina. She is the co-author of Dick Gregory’s memoir, Callus on My Soul, as well as the award-winning author of several books for young readers: The Legend of Buddy Bush; The Return of Buddy Bush; I, Dred Scott: A Fictional Slave Narrative Based on the Life and Legal Precedent of Dred Scott;  and The Baptism.  


Engineering Success: Turning Fear into Fearlessness

When I think about engineering a life that I don’t want to escape, I think of a life where I wouldn’t have to get out of bed, unless I absolutely had to.  I’d have no worries if the bills were going to be paid, and if liberty and justice was going to be afforded to all.

Living in a region where my county and all surrounding counties are ranked in the lowest performing schools in the state and the 3rd poorest income in the United States, I’m left to identify THEE Path that my daughters will have to take to ensure they are well. Wellness, in this context means, financially, emotionally, physically and environmentally balanced.

The lesson I learned when I move to this region at the age of 9 was that educational resources and rigor varies significantly based on the demographics.  This puzzled me. This was a school, with teachers, and learners. Learners that were creative and capable of learning, but what was the difference?  What is the difference?  The only answer that I could come up with was their access to high quality enrichment activities and resources.

That’s how the IERN WILL movement was born identifying opportunities to learn and grow more self-sustainable was accessible to all.  A place where you could “Grow Your Brain” and learn ways to communicate and share our growth.

Teaching learners how to craft their voice through multiple opportunities to utilize the “Engineering Kind of Mind”  that they naturally possess.  Take things families in the neighborhood love to get behind, like athletic competitions and introduce programs like ARC 12 that help with the conditioning of the body, and conditioning of the mind.

It’s having access to high quality programs that help learners access new tools for their personal and professional growth that connects to the things they care about the most.  That why the “Hairs to Your Health Campaign“, “Crafting & Drafting at Garysburg Volunteer Library, Girls Who Code“, “Leadership at the Lake“, “Mommy & Me Polish Parties“, and lastly the “Pittsburgh Bridge Campaign”.  

The Pittsburgh Bridge Campaign was about realize that the life I had engineered for myself was based around finding a solution for creating a life I didn’t want to escape.

  1. Where “Communication Arts” mattered and followed THEE Path’s Cs to cultural clarity and confidence.

  2. Where educators utilized “An Engineering Kind of Mind” and mastered how to teach in poverty.

  3. Where my daughters had access to the people and resources that could help them build bridges to community leaders and stakeholders that could guide them on THEE Path to being and doing their best. 

The Pittsburgh Bridge is just one of the many bridges that must be built to ensure our learners have access to experiential learning that will help guide them to sound decisions. In an effort to engineer a network that could help me accomplish any task I face, I designed “Tea, on Me” in effort to tap into the collective knowledge of the community.  In partnership with the Buhl Foundation, The Sprout Fund provides Neighbor-to-Neighbor Grants of up to $1,000 to support small-scale community projects with broad citizen support on Pittsburgh’s Northside.


Learn more about how to apply online at Applications will be accepted on June 9, July 7, and August 4.

The IERN Sharpens Iron Summit Tour’s Creative Director, LaToya Williams (resident Resource Fairy) won and to the Neighbor-to-Neighbor grant, “Tea, On Me” was able to connect with business leaders that could assist in cultivating an enterprising mindset within families, and spread that model to families beyond the bridges of Pittsburgh, here to rural NC, and that’s what the Pittsburgh Bridge Campaign and our other creative community engagement programs are designed to do. See how we’re connecting learners internationally to their passions by viewing our updates on the Pittsburgh Bridge Campaign.

The same models offered for improving the quality of life for a neighborhood in the boroughs of Pittsburgh could be used here.  As I’ve previously explained; for small towns like my hometown, we have to do it, together.

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With the business leaders I’ve been able to connect with on the Northside of Pittsburgh I have no doubt that their successes will help those interested in started businesses locally through Incubator Business Program for Garysburg Community Center.


This and the models that Pittsburgh has revealed for a multitude of opportunities for our agricultural region to thrive. With the help of Garysburg Farmers Market, our local farmers will be able to make the best of a tough growing season.


Farmers Market takes place 1st and 3rd Saturday from 8AM – 12

But being a part of creating an infrastructure that will lead to sustainability for our families is extremely difficult and intimidating work.  So if you can go from fear to fearlessness, I have no doubt that you’ll be able to engineer a life you don’t want to escape.

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Pink Sky Parties: Literacy with Pens & Glitter Polish

Pink Sky Diva Parties are designed to get Mommies and their mini out for an opportunity to bond, work on self-care, and improve literacy.

At our upcoming Polka Dot Diva Party, Parents get pampered with facials and hand-massages while their mini crafts a custom Pink Sky Pen. Our pens have been purchased by community heroes like Ms. June Seale.


Ms. Juneyetta Seale: broke through the glass ceiling and left the challenging world of Wall Street as a Senior Vice President of a major International Investment Firm with only 1-1/2 years of early childhood education courses at Howard University. Attributes her success to the family members and community that nurtured her. Taught to love math by the pharmacist at Silvermans drug store in The Hill District of PITTSBURGH. (August Wilson’s Hill)

Ms. June too is a pioneer in education, and having mentors with a focus and dedication like hers she’s engineered math learning in ways that connect culturally and creatively to the learner.  That’s why we’re offering an $11 pen-party pack that includes a decorative flower, smooth tip writing pen, and supplies if you schedule a Polish Party date with your little.  Your pre-school aged child will be able to gain interest in writing and letters earlier.  In addition to the $11 pen-party pack our “Creating a Legacy of Greatness” journals will be available to offer you and your school-aged child and will offer them a space to communicate creative ideas and plans to share.  Quite often, writing offers our youth a voice they feel otherwise would go unheard and the “Wake. Pray. Slay” insert for moms offers you a space to always write, read and re-read positive affirmations and daily successes.

We know nothing brightens your day like seeing cute polish on those hands that work so hard, typing, serving, writing and caring for others. Take some time to pamper yourself at a Pink Sky Polish Party!  Schedule your session early, parties begin June 21st!