Inspiration & Expert Advice on What Matters Most

Archive for 2019|Yearly archive page

Give The Gift of Education

In Contributors, Family, Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Lifestyle, motherhood, News, travel on June 10, 2019 at 15:34

By Gea Schmid

Hi!

I’m Gea Schmid. I live in a rural community in Northern Nicaragua with my husband and 2-year-old daughter. We are a one-hour drive from the closest urban town with grocery stores and adequate schools. Our community is in great need of quality education for all ages. This Learning Center will benefit the local Nicaraguans who desire English classes, foreign visitors/residents who want to learn Spanish and families who want to provide an adequate education for their young children.

Due to the current political crisis in Nicaragua, one of the housing developments in our community, called Azul, has seen a dramatic decline in activity. What was a lively and promising development is now a neglected space with a quickly-decaying yoga platform. This vacant building has great potential to be transformed into a Learning Center offering superior education to empower and educate our community in need. 

I am organizing this campaign to raise money to fund a Learning Center for the community. The initial funds raised will be used to convert the building from a yoga platform into a proper classroom setting. The majority of the funds will be used to pay the qualified teachers we hire to work in the center. By employing a well-educated staff we can improve the quality of life in our community. I will withdrawal the funds as needed for the various expenses itemized below.

During the first year of operation, I will lead monthly advisory board meetings to monitor the interest and progress of the Learning Center. The goal for the future is to be a sustainable center in the community for years to come. We just need a little help getting things off the ground! Please consider donating here.

I am donating my time and efforts to spearhead and ready the space, hire staff and direct operations. We have already received the approval from Azul who has kindly donated the space rent-free to us for one year. Now we need external funding so that classes can start on August 5th, 2019.

 

Our first step is to fumigate the space for termites, ants and bats. Then, we will have a local carpenter add temporary walls, screens and a front door. After a deep cleaning, it can then be transformed into a classroom with tables, chairs bookshelves and curriculum materials. In the mean time, we will be interviewing applicants for the available positions and enrolling students.

Below you will find a list with the estimated initial start up costs and operating costs for one year.

Who else in your network could help? Please share this fundraiser with your family, friends and colleagues, thank you for your time, and check back here to see our progress! 

Structure Set-UP
Wood, Screen, Front Door, Labor, Cleaning & Fumigation $1250.00


Furniture for Classroom
Children Size Tables 4 X $25 $100
Children Chairs 16 X $10$160
Book Shelves 4 X $50 $200
File Folders/Hanging Folders 1 X $15$15
Folding Adult Chairs 25 x $17$425
Folding Adult Tables 4 x $60$240
Drawer Organizer 1 x $44$44
Storage containers 2 x $30$60
Filing cabinet 1 x $92$92
White board 1 x $40$40
Total$1376


Facility Supplies 
Mop, bucket, broom, cleaning supplies, cleaning towels, trash cans, stools etc$175.00


Ongoing Expenses 12 months 
Water, electricity, facility supplies$1680.00


Employee salaries for 12 months 
Facilities Cleaner, English & Spanish Teacher, Tutor and Teachers Aid$6336.00


Head Teacher salary for 12 months (preschool/kindergarten/curriculum operations)$6000.00


Total$16817.00

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National Infertility Awareness Week: A Message of Hope

In Family, Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Health, Lifestyle, motherhood, News, Relationships, wellness on April 25, 2019 at 11:05

By Laura Sgroi

When I was 32, my already short cycle became even shorter out of nowhere. I had always experienced 21-day cycles with heavy bleeding at the beginning. I got my period at age nine, when a visit to the endocrinologist confirmed that my body was about three years ahead of my actual age. The solution back then? Medroxyprogesterone to help balance out the estrogen. But now I was bleeding just two weeks after my last period. I’d never experience a cycle this short. What was going on?

Dr. E, my gynecologist, did an ultrasound to determine if I had PCOS[1]. After finding nothing, she sent me home with a million-times-photocopied chart to track my cycle. That didn’t help. A few months later, I went to my trustworthy and dedicated endocrinologist, Dr. B, and after telling her the story, she couldn’t believe my gyn had not ordered lab tests to check my hormone levels. I couldn’t believe that either. Dr. B ordered new lab work, which showed that the abnormal bleeding was caused by low progesterone and high estrogen, a condition called estrogen dominance. She told me it was “easy to fix” with synthetic hormone pills, the same pills prescribed decades earlier by my doctor in Santo Domingo.

Thanks. But no, thanks.

It kept happening every other month–I thought maybe one ovary was having the problem. It had been a year of suffering with this hormonal balance.

I spent a year with those first two doctors and my own research, before finally deciding to take a more natural approach. A Naturopathic way to be clear, with an integrative gynecologist who prescribed bio-identical hormones and advertised in “Natural Awakenings,” the free magazine at the entrance to Whole Foods, which I’m not proud to say I pretty much blindly trust. I knew this approach would take longer, and I didn’t know if it would work, but somewhere inside me I felt that it was the right choice and that I had time. I was not necessarily trying to get pregnant anytime soon.

I went to pick up my medical records at Dr. E’s office, my old gyn. The girl behind the front desk window knew I was about to change doctors.

“Where are you going?” she whispered.

“I’m going to Dr. M.,” I told her, “because they use bio-identical hormones and I want to fix my hormones so I can start trying to have a baby.”

“She won’t be able to help you, even if they treat you with bio-identical hormones. Go to this place,” she said, handing me a business card from a center for fertility and genetics.

I thanked her, hugged her, and walked to my car in tears. As soon as I had the breath to speak, I called and booked the soonest appointment available. Their lead doctor didn’t have any openings for weeks, but they offered me their female doctor, Dr. K.

The Coral Gables office was upscale and modern–white, silver, accented with orchids. Dr.K was beautiful and extremely sweet. She asked me about my background, my marriage, my career, my blog, my health history, and did an ultrasound before ordering dozens of tests. “Everything looks good,” she said in her thick Turkish accent, rubbing the ultrasound wand over my pelvis with the help of cold gel. “Except that for your age, I don’t see enough eggs.”

That didn’t worry me much at the moment. I went for all the tests and came back to see her again. My Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) was 0.03 (a normal reading for a woman ten years older than me) and my Follicle-Stimulating hormone (FSH) was 31 (Panic high is 21). Dr. K’s suspicions were right: I had diminished ovarian reserve. Ultra low progesterone and high estrogen were another issue, just as the first labs results showed. My adrenals were not functioning well either. My husband Claudio had also been tested and his results showed low sperm morphology as a large percentage of men in their thirties. Luckily for them, men renew their sperm every ninety days, therefore with some lifestyle adjustments (multi-vitamin, smoking/drinking less, they can  improve their fertility.

I broke into tears. All the reasons why I had delayed pregnancy started rushing through my head: uncertainty and lack of stability in my marriage, the cost of health insurance, working like crazy to save up enough money, stepping on a tack the night before leaving Nicaragua, Zika (trying to conceive in the times of Zika sounds like the title of a Gabriel García Márquez novel). Sobbing, I wondered if I would ever be able to get pregnant.

Dr. K handed me a box of Kleenex. “I will hold your hand until you get pregnant,” she said. It was as if she’d heard the question in my mind. She wrote on her small yellow pad, explaining the different options available: First, two months of timed intercourse. If that didn’t work, we should try IUI, and our last option would be egg donors. IVF wouldn’t be a successful option for me.

She asked the nurse to lead me to a private room where I could cry alone until I felt better. She ordered some tests for my husband, Claudio, and then said, “You should be writing about this.”

I went home devastated. Once again, I had to take charge of my health, my healing and ultimately, my fertility. I knew every month was an opportunity and I only needed one egg. I started Googling everything I could do to fight those results. I found invaluable tips and resources specific to my situation: probiotics, acupuncture, yoga, massage therapy, supplements, all kinds of foods and seeding for fertility. A dear friend recommended health coach Beth Hill. I contacted her and we agreed to trade coaching practice hours as we were both finishing our coaching programs. Beth took the time to go over my case, and gave me helpful advice ranging from nutrition tips to relaxation techniques. She inspired me to try new foods and helped me become more mindful about grocery shopping, meal planning, and time management. Her flexibility and understanding made our sessions possible, despite the challenges of my ever-changing schedule. Our work continued during a five-country tour with a rock band in South America when I was sleep deprived, out of my routine, and attempting to adapt my fertility diet to what I could find at Latin American markets and restaurants. I always carried a suitcase full of supplements.

The most amazing thing happened. Four months after we started our program, with the aid of timed-intercourse, faith and divine mercy, I was able to conceive naturally. As my prenatal yoga teacher would say: “My baby and I are happy, healthy and whole.” I even got the bonus of an extremely “fast and easy” childbirth. Thank God.

Photo by: Isis Santana Photography

With the thorough diagnosis of Dr. K, the help and guidance of my health and wellness coach Beth, and a positive mindset, I embarked on a mindful journey to health–and received the gift of a lifetime. As a message of hope, no matter where you are in your health or fertility journey, please know that anything is possible. My baby and I are living proof.


[1] Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Note: This post is an adapted excerpt from our upcoming book, ‘Now That I Am in My Thirties’. I would appreciate your constructive feedback. Stay tuned for the launch!

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International Women’s Day

In Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Lifestyle, News on March 8, 2019 at 12:37

Screen Shot 2019-03-08 at 9.47.59 AM.png

I have to admit I only started celebrating International Women’s Day a few years ago.

I had not defined my position about it. Why did we need a day to celebrate us?

Fortunately today, I understand the importance of dedicating one day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural & political achievements of women. And yes, there is an #InternationalMensDay to celebrate men and their contribution to society (Nov 19).

This year, I celebrate #IWD2019 even more because I deeply identify myself with the theme #BalanceforBetter. As the campaign says: “A balanced world is a better world.”

Today the question is:

How can I take more action for equality?

Ideas welcomed.

I am sharing the image and invitation from @internationalwomensday_global :

Let’s make IWD our day – everyday.

Cheers!

Laura

 

Miami: Vision-To-Action Board Workshop

In News on February 6, 2019 at 18:31

This Friday February 8th, I am honored to join MGH Women’s Empowerment & WEvolution, Empowering Women from Within and invite you to “The Power of Breakfast” to enjoy together a powerful:

Vision-To-Action Board Workshop

Register Now!

As your Certified Positive Lifestyle and Business Coach in this workshop I will inspire you to set goals for your life this year and focus on how to take action to get your 2019 off to a successful start and keep the momentum all year long! Join us for a fun and creative way to make your resolutions and dreams more tangible and attainable while you recycle magazines and upcycle yourself!

What’s included:

– 2.5 hours of group coaching with Certified Positive Lifestyle & Business Coach Laura Sgroi

– Canvas Panel Board, Scissors, Markers, Glue Sticks

– Magazines (Please feel free to bring your own magazines and personal photos to personalize your board even more!)

Friday February 8th | 9,00 to 12 pm (Doors open 8,45 am for Check in & Networking)

WE Members: $33 | Non Members: $50.-

Register Now!
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#visiontoactionboard #takeaction #laurasgroi #bilingualcoach #lifecoach#businesscoach #positivelifestyle #bilingualspeaker #latinacoach#miamicoach #careercoach #resolutions #newyearresolutions #goals#visionboard  #bilingualspeaker #latinaspeaker #hispaniccoach#hispanicspeaker #miamispeaker #lifestylespeaker #lifestylecoach#careerspeaker #miamispeaker #positivelifestylecoach#positivelifestylecoaching #coachlaurasgroi

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