November, for me, is one of the greatest months of the entire year! Why you ask? Well, this month I turned a whopping 35, Fresno State's football team is undefeated, KYJO is celebrating our 6th year anniversary and I have just welcomed my 5th child into the world, baby girl Kemi! My 35 years have seen me through times of change and they came with many obstacles and road blocks. Instead of getting discouraged, I embraced the challenges. Many find it tough to go through change but the ones who accept it, embrace it and understand it are the ones who will be successful.
KYJO would not be where it is today if we didn't believe in change. We are always looking for the answer to how we can better ourselves. We embrace constructive coaching, that will change us for the better, and then we move on! Many of the foster youth that come to KYJO have a hard time grasping this concept at first. In the beginning coaching can feel negative. Once they understand the concept of bettering themselves by learning from their mistakes they improve by leaps and bounds! Some are not accustomed to the rigors of constant change, but they eventually understand it's necessary to get them where they want to go. In the end they finally hold the belief, "without failure there is no success!"
Speaking of change, we have a young man who has turned his life around so much he doesn't recognize the new person he is today. He is excelling in culinary school, works in our corporate office as an assistant, and is currently doing an internship with Fresno Unified School District's Nutrition Center. I also serve as his financial advisor! That's a lot for a 17-year-old to go through that only knew street life, before getting to KYJO. My hats off to the Marion staff and his corporate office supervisor, Jodi, for helping to guide this young man down the right path. He is getting experience that will help him succeed in the real world. He is well on his way! I love to teach, train and advise the youth, along with the staff, ways on how they can be in my shoes one day.
On Oct. 19th, we successfully completed KYJO's 2nd Annual BBQ Cook-Off/Bring It Home Weekend! Hats off to our valued sponsors: Gold Sponsor, Diamond Learning Center; Silver Sponsors, Esano Health, I Speak Hot Mess, Bautista Medical Group, North Fresno Primary Care, Thiesen Dueker Financial Consulting and Bronze Sponsor, Dethrone Base Camp. We would also like to thank our supporters and volunteers: Walmart, Silver Creek Almond Co., ABC Auto Body, the McLane High Cheer Team, and Fresno Pacific Women's Basketball Team.
I also would like to acknowledge my hardworking staff, Fresno State Football Alumni, and our many other supporters. When planning events things don't always go as planned but that's when you come together as a "TEAM" and knock it out! That is exactly what happened during the BBQ Cook-Off. I would like to thank Lorenzo Neal and Q97.1's Greg Hoffman for being our special celebrity guest judges. I was running around so much I didn't get a chance to taste all of the meat but with all of the lip smacking I heard, I could tell it was great! Some of the KYJO residents had an opportunity to help with the setup and tear-down of the event. They didn't know that so much went into throwing an event of this magnitude. To ease their pain, they had their chance to compete in the cook-off. Unfortunately, they didn't have adequate equipment to BBQ for over 200 people lol!
To my Fresno State Football Alumni, you guys have out done yourselves, once again! KYJO's BBQ Cook-Off featured Football Alumni but the highlight of Bring It Home Weekend came with on the field recognition before the start of the homecoming game. Many thanks to Coach DeRuyter
and Fresno State for embracing this Bulldog tradition. It's great that we can combine foster youth and Fresno State football so that together they can inspire each other. Our foster kids got to see the importance of brotherhood and comradery. Yes, it's different from loving a girlfriend or wife; it is the love for your fellow man. Even though we come from different walks of life, we are all family when it's said and done. To my KYJO and Bulldog family, I thank you for being the loving souls that you are! To view pictures of KYJO's Bring it Home Weekend please click here.
Speaking of families, we are always looking for loving families to be great foster parents that will exhibit the same loving and caring nature that we do! Answer that call...
Lastly, we at KYJO want to continue to go above and beyond for our foster youth. We believe that they deserve the same opportunities as any other child! With your continued help and support we can make sure they do not go without. We hope that you consider us for a year-end financial gift, so that we can continue to improve the lives of our youth.