Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fashion Frenzy

I miss blogging.

I come to work every morning and BLOG is written on my schedule in big, bold letters. Sometimes the word is underlined, sometimes it’s circled, and sometimes it has six exclamation points after it. Lately, it’s the only task on my list that is left undone and unchecked.

I have a good excuse, really I do. The blog doesn’t have a deadline.  

The second half of my year is filled with writing appeals to meet drop dates, writing magazine articles to meet editorial deadlines, writing press releases while news is still HOT, creating the calendar in time to have it ready for a large volunteer mailing group, writing the Shepherds Sunday material to get it to churches prior to Shepherds Sunday, managing the newsletter to meet publishing deadlines, helping in the creation of a commercial that needs to air… in three weeks, promoting events before they actually happen, and on and on and on. 

I’m not complaining – I LOVE almost everything about my job – but lately my schedule doesn’t leave a lot of time or brain space for the undemanding and very patient blog.


Today I’m blogging! And do you know why?

Because I’m sooooo excited about a really unique and fun opportunity for our students to help in the promotion of Shepherds College.

You’ve heard me talk about Apostrophe Magazine before. It’s a magazine written for people with intellectual disabilities, as well as for the people who love and care for them. It’s filled with important information like how-to articles, self-advocacy advice, news, and current issues.  When I first started working for Shepherds, the magazine became a valuable resource to me as I learned about People First Language, disability rights, and books that could help me in my search for more information. There isn’t another magazine out there like it and, over time, I started to think of Apostrophe as a partner and friend in my efforts to promote the college.

Well, (and I’m screaming a little in my head here) not only has Apostrophe Magazine offered us our own editorial space in each issue, but they want our students to do a college fashion layout for their Summer 2014 issue!!! 

How can I concentrate on anything else?!  I can’t focus on the Food For a Day Follow-up appeal, I can’t focus on Friday’s article deadline, I can’t focus on content for the Winter Folder, I can’t think of a topic for the Year End appeal, and the 2014 calendar? WHAT 2014 CALENDAR?! It’s still 2013, and I have a fashion photo shoot to plan!!!

My mind is going in a hundred different directions at once –
We need a great photographer… Leibforth Photography! Let’s call Jim and Cathi and see if they’d like to do it. 

Cathi needs special lighting. Should we rent the equipment she would like to have for the shoot? 

We need a backdrop. Do we own a good one? Is a solid color okay or should we jazz it up a bit?

Can we get hair and makeup done? Gateway Cosmetology students did a phenomenal job with our 2013 graduates. Would they be willing to do it again?

Oh goodness, I have another deadline! I have to get all the photos turned in by March 10th. We’ll have to do the photo shoot early in February. February 1st? February 5th? February 12th? Can we get everyone coordinated for the 1st?

And who’s everyone? How on earth are we going to choose the students for the shoot? They’re all so blasted cute! Do we select students based on grades? On behavior? How about a lottery… or maybe we should announce, ‘everyone with a birthday in February, come get your picture taken!’ 

Or could we just photograph all 59 of them and let the magazine decide which ones to print?I like that.

And, good grief, the clothes… how do we get clothes to photograph? Does Apostrophe have advertising contracts with certain stores? I’ll email Jim, the editor, and ask how to do this. While I’m waiting I’ll just peruse the fashion sections in all the old issues. Take notes. Well, hmmmm... it looks like they photograph the models at the stores. That makes sense, but now we have to figure out how to get the students on location. But what location?! Jiiiimmmmmm!!! Email me back! 

Let’s focus on what I can control right now. I’ll write down styles of college clothing we’d like to feature – comfy classroom clothing, lounging in the dorm clothing, heading to basketball practice clothing, Sunday best and social event clothing, interview for an important job internship clothing, did I forget anything? Shoes! I forgot shoes. And accessories. I wonder if the store will let us model those as well…
I need to start thinking like a marketer. How can I make the most of this opportunity to benefit the college and Leibforth Photography and Gateway and Apostrophe Magazine and the store…? What store? Jiiiiiimmmmm!!!

I should create a large sign featuring all the logos and place it on an easel in front of the shoot so shoppers can see all the businesses involved. Maybe I should write a press release so the local papers can share the fun with our community.

Whew!!! Jim just emailed. The store is up to me. I just need to find a chain or franchise that’s nationwide. Should I call Boston Store, or JcPenney, or Target, or Sears, or… hmmm… I don’t know what else is in the area. Research time…

For the last couple of minutes, you just lived inside my head. Unfortunately for my co-workers though, my adrenaline is pumping too hard for all this stuff to stay inside my head. I’ve been rambling, bustling, laughing, shaking, planning, and thinking loudly since late last week. It’s been very hard to focus on anything else, and I’m unintentionally making it very difficult for other Shepherds staff to focus on anything else as well.

Mrs. Harvey, with all her great wisdom, said to me, “Susan, since you can’t concentrate on your other work, and you’re so excited about the fashion shoot, why don’t you put all that energy into writing a blog about the fashion shoot?”

So there you have it. I did it. I check-marked BLOG off of my to-do list for today.

Just don’t expect to see your 2014 calendar any time soon.

If you don’t want to miss any of the Shepherds College editorials or the photos of our students, please visit the Apostrophe Magazine website to subscribe. It’s only $19.99 a year. If you enter SHEPHERDS (all in CAPS) in the promo box, Apostrophe will donate $5 per subscription back to Shepherds.

Shepherds College - Guiding Your Transition to Appropriate Independence. Please visit us at www.shepherdscollege.edu.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Walk

 Autumn has come to Shepherds College. How do we know?

Chef McCarthy moved his new Culinary Arts students from their desks to the kitchen.

Mrs. Leith is giving away the last of the tomatoes grown by the Horticulture students to Love Inc., a local non-profit.

Pumpkins are popping up as part of the lessons in classrooms.

The students are starting to talk about Christmas break.

And the DSAW held their annual Down Syndrome Buddy Walk at the Milwaukee County Zoo.

The Buddy Walk is an exciting event for the students. They have the opportunity to participate in a fun activity on a slow Sunday. 

They interact with family, friends and staff. 

They get a chance to see their favorite animals.

But most important, the students have an active role in raising awareness for a cause with which they are intimately familiar. Someone they care about, whether a friend, a family member, a classmate, or maybe even themselves, has Down syndrome.

For Shepherds College, this is an important event, not just to promote our program, but to empower our students to serve others in an impactful and meaningful way.


Shepherds College - Guiding Your Transition to Appropriate Independence. Please visit us at www.shepherdscollege.edu.