SMILE Focus Newsletter – March 2013


SMILE Focus Newsletter – March 2013
Volume 2013, Issue 1
January/February/March 2013
Getting Healthy w/Vanessa & Friends
Health & Wellness A Must
SMILE FOCUS Newsletter
SMILE Community Action Agency
oodbye — and perhaps, some will say
‘Good riddance!’ —
to diabetes, high
blood pressure and obesity.
That’s the goal of the SMILE’s
Health & Wellness Program. But
even if you have only a few
pounds to lose and you’re seeking new energy, the SMILE
Health & Wellness Program is
also waiting for you.
“Fitness is a part of life,” says
Coordinator Vanessa Williams
who represented Louisiana in
the Miss Fitness USA in 1995.
“I found my gift was not only
performance and competition,
but also the gift of helping others,” says Williams who enjoys
motivating persons no matter
what age or weight.
As Coordinator, Williams has
created several programs that
have grown in popularity. She
has also brought partners to the
Agency to help to make her
programs a reality, including Our
Lady of Lourdes Health Promo-
Coordinator Vanessa Williams (centered front) & SMILE Get N Step Walkers at
the recent Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Walk/Run in Lafayette.
tion Center, Delta College of
Nursing, Komen Acadiana Race
for the Cure, N.P. Moss Prepara-
tory, Blue Cliff College, Joseph Tyler
Center, Southern University Agri(CONTINUED ON PAGE 4)
Part I: Meet Sweethearts ‘Junebug’ & ‘Lash’
(Editor’s Note: This is the first of a
two-part feature. Part II will appear
in the next issue of Focus)
On January 10, 2013 , the
SMILE post on Facebook page
noted that love was definitely in the
air despite the inclement weather.
The reason given was that Junius “Junebug” Mitchell had proposed to the lovely Torell “Lash”
Nearly 300 persons viewed the
post. And 45 took the time to “like”
it. The congratulations came in for
At its first meeting of the year, the SMILE Board of Directors
reelected Deidre Ledbetter (Iberia) as President, Pernell Livingston
(Lafayette) as Secretary, and Thomas Guidry (St. Martin) as Chaplain. New officers elected were Kendall Wiltz (Lafayette) as VicePresident, Patricia Douglass (Iberia) as Treasurer, and Zachary
Landry (St. Martin) as Parliamentarian. Other Board members include St. Martin: Vonda LeBlanc, Richard Potier, Iberia: Arnold
Green, Bronel Hebert, Dina Pellerin, Roszella Viltz; Lafayette: Margaret Guidry, Eldridge Simon; and Ex-Offico: Frederick Wiltz, Policy
Council Chairperson, and Stacy Matthews, PC Parliamentarian.
the Louisiana sweethearts —
Mitchell who’s a Family & Community Partnership Associate at the
SMILE New Iberia Head Start/
Early Head Start Center, and
Palmer, who’s a student at Our
Lady of Holy Cross College in New
A week prior on January 4, congratulations had come from complete strangers when Mitchell
stood and announced that he was
about to propose to his girlfriend.
Director of Grants/Communications
Interim Executive Director’s Message
Editor’s Notes
SMILE — The Community Voice
A young man recently told me that he
just wanted to be heard. He had concerns and issues just like everyone
else. He did not want to stand on a
corner all day. He wanted more out of
his life. But nobody was listening.
I told the young man that SMILE was
listening, and there was a lot that we
want to do to make our community a
better place — not only for him but for
others who want the opportunity to
better themselves.
Not only do we want to listen, but we
want to be a voice in the community.
We want to be the vehicle that helps to
get the job done.
We’re not looking at reinventing the
wheel. We’re looking at bringing groups
and partners together so that we can
really make a difference.
We want to leverage our resources
so that we can reach more people. One
such group that SMILE is proud to collaborate with is Man Up. It was a privilege to walk the neighborhoods recently with founder Chris Bernard, and talk
with our residents face-to-face.
We have serious issues that need to
be addressed in our community, and
SMILE looks forward to playing a more
active role in our parishes.
Many of you have expressed your
excitement about our upcoming projects, and want to be involved.
Two words: Welcome aboard!
— Brenda Foulcard
For Next Issue of SMILE Focus:
If you have an article idea or news item, the deadline for submission is
April 19, 2013. If you have any questions, call (337) 234-3272, Ext. 210.
St. Patty’s Day passed, and Good Friday
is fast approaching with Easter two days
later. And now Spring is here — literally.
Are you like me, wondering also: where did
the year go? Did we miss Winter? Were
we sleeping when it passed by? The only
noticeable memories were a few spikes in
our electricity bills, a blink or two, and then
Summer was already flirting with us in February, and again, in March.
Still we wonder: were Christmas, New
Year’s, Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras
just passing bleeps on a radar screen because the year is already 25% gone? No
one is sure: Gone where?
All we know is that Spring break, if you’re
in school, is around the corner because of
the upcoming Easter holiday. And fast on
its track are Festival International and a
whole heap of other festive celebrations.
Having said that, let me thank you for all
the positive feedback on the re-launch of
SMILE Focus. Please enjoy this issue too!
— Ruth Foote
In Her Own Words: New Year’s ‘Blessing’ Comes in the Form of a Car
What do
you do
when your
car breaks
That was
the predicament that
Lafayette Shelter Coordinator Cinnamon Perkins found herself in last year.
“Even though my mother helped me out as
much as she could, it was still a struggle to
get back and forth,” she recalls.
An active teenage daughter, who needed to attend events at school, only compounded matters. “During these times,
transportation is not a luxury but a necessity,” Perkins says.
Perkins remembers praying “to God that
a door would be opened for me and I
would be able to move around again in
something that I could afford.”
However, each time she looked for a
car, nothing materialized. “So I began to
change my prayer and ask God that
when the time came for me to get my
transportation that everything would fall
into place, from the payments to the
paperwork to the car itself.”
Her prayers were answered and today
Snip, Snip, Snip: The Haircut that Became an Act of Love for Others
“Oh my gosh!”
was Human
Director Rosalie Brannon’s
Page 2
first response when the hairdresser accidently cut off her hair 23 years ago after
confusing her with another client. But another customer quickly stepped up and
told the startled Brannon that there was a
place that needed her long locks.
The woman told her about a group that
turned hair into wigs for cancer patients.
Although Brannon welcomed the opportunity to share her hair, it didn’t stop her
from later being “upset because it took
forever to grow out.” But that passed. “The
Lord gave me peace about it,” she recalls.
Six years ago, Brannon felt compelled
to cut her hair again, and send it off again
to a similar group. She hasn’t looked back
since — except when she recently posed
before the latest haircut.
Once cut, Brannon shows off her pigtail
locks — her act of love for others.
SMILE FOCUS Newsletter
SMILE News, Views & Reviews...
How Does the President’s New
Term & Sequestration Affect Us?
Irma J. Bourgeois Thanks God,
Family & Friends for Recovery
her daughter Chassity Breaux and Linton
James Jr. The baby was born at 5:37 p.m.
on December 13, 2012. He weighed 7
pounds, 2 ounces, and was 19.5 inches.
Damar joins his older siblings, Christian
and Cherish, according to his mother who
graduated from Remington College with a
diploma in pharmacy technician.
Remembering Carolyn Guidry:
A Personal Tribute in Her Honor
President Barak Obama was sworn into
his second term at the beginning of 2013 —
a landmark year that also serves as the
50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King
Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech.
The new year brought forth also another
new term: sequestration. If you google it,
you’ll find that its synonym is seizure. A
noun, it is defined as the “action of taking
legal possession of assets until a debt has
been paid or other claims have been met.”
In regard to Uncle Sam’s Congressional
Budget Office, sequestration is “an enforcement mechanism by which the President
orders the cancellation of budgetary resources in amounts sufficient to eliminate a
deficit.” In other words, the government
starts cutting across-the-board; however,
programs such as Social Security and Medicaid are exempt.
But what does the term mean for SMILE
and other organizations receiving federal
dollars? According to Interim Executive
Director Brenda Foulcard, the Agency has
only heard tentative figures on its two biggest areas of funding, Head Start/Early
Head Start and Community Services Block
Grant (CSBG), which mostly funds the
Agency’s community action centers.
Updates on the issue will be forthcoming
from the Interim Executive Director.
“God is good,” says Director of Field
Operations Irma J. Bourgeois who returned to work on an intermittent basis in
January before resuming full-time status
just recently. “I just want to thank everybody for their prayers. We bombarded
heaven with our prayers.”
Bourgeois was out on medical leave to
undergo surgery for breast cancer. “I
think women should be made aware of
having self-examination and mammograms at a certain age.”
What kept her strong during her ordeal? “My family and friends,” she says.
“People who I didn’t think were thinking
about me, and my faith kept me strong.”
If you haven’t already had the chance
to visit and say hi when you’re at the
SMILE Central Office, be sure to do so.
Welcome back, Irma Jean!
Proud Grandmother Pat Butler
with Daughter & New Grandson
Joe Gregory Elected to St. Martin
Council on the Agency Board
Quality Control/Special
Projects Manager Joe
Gregory recently was
elected to the St. Martin
Council on Aging.
Gregory previously
served as Board chairman of the group two
years ago in 2011.
Volume 2013, Issue 1
Three generations — Lafayette Assistant Parish Coordinator Patricia Butler
shows off her darling new grandson,
Caysen Damar Breaux, who was born to
The SMILE family said
goodbye to St. Christopher Head Start Center
Manager/ECD Teacher
Carolyn Faulk BeaversGuidry during her homegoing celebration on January 5. Following is a tribute from Mildred
Narcisse, who was asked to speak during
services by Guidry’s sister. Here is what
Narcisse, who was appointed to Guidry’s
position, said: To My Friend, my mentor,
my confidante, my boss. God only knows
all that I have truly lost. You didn’t bite
your tongue, but somehow you knew just
what to say. And if necessary, I GOT OUT
of your way! You put me on the path to
success; with school and at work, you also
demanded that I do my best even when it
hurt. You talked with me countless hours
on the phone, and you made sure that I
never felt alone. Now God has made the
FINAL call to lead you to your eternal
home. But somehow, I still don’t feel
alone, you’re with me every step of the
way, and for this I will always pray. He has
an awesome Christmas present. I know
you’re up there straightening things out
and organizing your space. Knowing now
you have won the ultimate race! I know
you’re looking down on me in this great
journey called life. You are pulling and
tugging on me not to feel strife. I must now
accept what IS and allow your legacy to
live on!!! And in doing so I must remember
all that you have warned! Many people will
walk in and out of our life, but only true
friends leave footprints in our hearts. I was
trained by God’s handmade, his very
BEST!!! And for this I am truly blessed.
Page 3
Pre-New Year Off to “Brake-y”
Start for F&CP Associate Edel Deal
Family & Community Partnership Associate
Edel Deal, who’s scheduled to retire soon after a
30-year career with SMILE, had a “brake-y” entry
into the new year.
Deal, who works at the New Iberia Head Start/
Early Head Start Center, was leaving from a
church meeting in December 2012, when she
decided to stop at her favorite store for her favorite item — a Coke.
But this time she didn’t stop. Instead her
brakes went out on her, and she felt herself
heading straight into the building. The clerk later
told her that she remembers thinking: “Oh, Ms.
Edel must be coming to get her soda.”
Instead, Deal went over the barrier speed
bump and onto the sidewalk, and that was the
only way she stopped. “I just thank God it wasn’t
a person,” she recalled.
We’re thankful Deal’s okay, but we’re going to
miss her cheery smile when she retires.
New Year’s: Resolutions & Hopes for the Future
Henry Ford
Katrina Dural
Lisa Melancon
Iberia Parish Transportation
Head Start/Early Head Start
Head Start/Early Head Start
“Give up smoking.”
“Striving to be ready.”
“Take better care of my
mind, spirit & health.”
Lois Andrus
Sandy Pierre
Steven Easton
Lafayette Parish
Community Action Center
Lafayette Parish
Community Action Center
Head Start/Early Head Start
Policy Council Treasurer
“Make me a blessing, Lord,
to someone each day.”
“SMILE receives more funding to help more people.”
“To be a better person, and
continue to help the youth.”
— Serving St. Martin, Iberia and Lafayette Parishes (Acadia & Jeff Davis Parishes too!*) —
Continuation of SMILE Stories from Pages 1, 2 and 3
Lead, Know When to Follow” and “You Have
to Give to Get.” She encourages her daughter and goddaughter to do the same.
What keeps Williams going is her faith and
her strong family base, including her mother.
Her fitness advice for others? Don’t wait
for an illness to happen; prepare yourself
gradually — don’t overdue it; and make it a
part of your everyday lifestyle.
For more info on the SMILE Health & Wellness Program, call (337) 234-3272, Ext. 245.
Ruth Foote, Editor
(337) 234-3272, Ext. 210
Vanessa Williams (right) assists participant on
the treadmill at Lourdes Fitness Center.
Cultural Center, as well as networking with
SMILE programs such as RSVP.
Programs include water aerobics, cardiofitness, walk group, nutrition, empowerment
support group, line dancing, screenings and
Williams is busy working on two new initiatives with the SMILE Head Start/Early Head
Start Program and N.P. Preparatory SchooI.
She lives by these mottos, “Know When to
Joe Gregory, Assistant Editor
(337) 234-3272, Ext. 248
Veronica Figaro Benoit, Assistant
(337) 234-3272, Ext. 200
RoxAnne Chaisson-Pitre, Proofreader
(337) 234-3272, Ext. 231
* * *
They were in Florida celebrating her birthday
with dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. And
just like it the movies, Palmer remembers,
“Then he got down on his knees.”
When he asked for her hand in marriage, she
replied,… (Next issue, read why Palmer was
embarrassed by her own answer, how the lovebirds met, and how friends became engaged.)
Perkins is the owner of a 2007 Hyundai Elentra,
which she calls “my blessing.” She thanks everyone who prayed and encouraged her to not
give up, especially Executive Secretary Rita
McCoy and Receptionist Veronica Figaro
Benoit for usage of their vehicles. “I am on the
road again in my blessing,” she says.
Please Send Submissions by April 19, 2013
Please include your Name & Phone Number
Now my Dearest friend take your Rest. Take
your eternal rest!!!
for the Next Issue of SMILE Focus
SMILE Central Office/501 St. John Street
Page 4
* SMILE provides only LIHEAP (Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program) services in Acadia and Jeff Davis Parishes.
SMILE FOCUS Newsletter