Saturday, December 2, 2017

"Self-worth comes from one thing - thinking that you are worthy." Wayne Dyer

Teachers know all about giving second chances to kids . . .and then giving third and fourth chances, and more.  Educators want to help students to perform the very best they can, so that they will believe in themselves.  Often in life, however, those extra chances don't exist.  "You're late - you're fired."  "Failed to reach objective- employment terminated."  I found a story that is so inspirational that I must share it with you, and it is all about extra chances in life, and the impact those chances have on people's lives.

A homeless shelter in Dallas, Texas, has a homeless choir.  The choir started as a pickup singing group at a day shelter for the homeless, and it grew from there. Participants are not permitted to sing if they are under the influence; instead, they are asked to come back next week. Their director, Jonathan Polant, is more than a choir director to them; he is a friend and perhaps, their most stable influencer. 

After over 2 years of rehearsing, the director felt that the group deserved a bigger stage, and he made the necessary arrangements for them to appear at Carnegie hall in New York City. Under Jonathan's tutelage, the group procured appropriate clothing,  flight accommodations, and hotel reservations, and they were off to NYC!  For many choir members, this trip was the first experience on a plane, or the first trip outside of Texas. Indeed, appearing at Carnegie hall was the biggest event of their lives.

When asked if the choir was "that good" to appear at Carnegie Hall, Jonathan answered that it was not a question of "good", rather that they were "that worthy" to appear.  What a wonderful answer. Jonathan knows that self-worth can be more powerful than being homeless. 

Every person must feel that he or she is "worthy" in the eyes of another, and for some, what others see becomes a yardstick for the manner in which one measures himself. Just as teachers give lots of chances for kids to do better and to believe in themselves, Jonathan has helped his group to rise above being homeless and become a part of something greater than themselves.  He has created a personal relationship with his homeless friends, and given them a place where they feel secure and valued, helping each of them to see and understand their own self-worth.

What an inspirational story this is!  I appreciate the lessons offered by this special man who is the choir director, and I am uplifted by his approach of giving chances and recognizing the worthiness of others, no matter their current station in life. A great addendum to this story -  one of the choir members received a recording contract and one is in transitional housing.  Who can speculate how the choir experience at Carnegie hall will lift the others?

Here is the link to the story- well worth the few minutes to watch! 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom.  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit  

Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out! 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at  The website now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. 

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