Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jenkins Award for Gifted Black Students- NEW DEADLINE - Oct 10th!!

Award Announcement:  The Dr. Martin D. Jenkins Scholar Award for Highly Gifted Black Students (6th - 12th Graders)

Dr. Martin D. Jenkins
This student award is named in honor of Dr. Jenkins, Father of Research on Gifted Blacks, and it is designed to honor the achievements of highly gifted Black students who excel academically in school.  
Award Benefits.  Recipients:
·  will receive $300 Cash Award and certificate of recognition 
·  and parents will receive 1 year Parent membership in NAGC and Special Populations Network;
·  are required to attend OR share a 3 minute video during a featured session at NAGC on Fri. Nov. 14th, 2014 12:30-2:45 pm
·  are required to share brief end of school year report on academic progress by email.
To Apply. Download the application file.
·  MS Word File of Jenkins Scholar Award Application:
·  In order to receive full consideration, materials must be received by Friday, October 10, by 5:00 pm. (deadline extended) Awardees and nominators will be notified by email and phone call by October 17th. 
Email all materials to the following three Jenkins Scholar committee members and let us know if you have any questions. 
·  Dr. Joy Lawson Davis, ( Virginia Union Univ., NAGC Executive Board Member. GRACE & SPN Member
·  Dr. Donna Y. Ford, ( , Vanderbilt Univ., NAGC Gifted Racial Accountability & Commitment to Equity (GRACE) Co-Chair
·  Dr. Tarek Grantham, ( Univ. of Georgia, NAGC Special Populations Network Convention Program Chair

Monday, September 1, 2014

Dr. Martin Jenkins Scholar Award, Grades 6-12!!

Award Announcement:  The Dr. Martin Jenkins Scholar Award for Highly Gifted Black Students (6th - 12th Graders)

This student award is named in honor of Dr. Jenkins, Father of Research on Gifted Blacks, and it is designed to honor the achievements of highly gifted Black students who excel academically in school.  

Award Benefits.  Recipients:
  • will receive $300 Cash Award and NAGC convention registration in Baltimore, MD
  • and parents will receive 1 year Parent membership in NAGC and Special Populations Network;
  • are required to attend a featured session at NAGC on November 14th 9:30-10:30 am.
  • are required to share brief end of school year report on academic progress by email.
To Apply. Download the application file.
    Email all materials to the following three Jenkins Scholar committee members and let us know if you have any questions. 
    • Dr. Joy Lawson Davis, ( Virginia Union Univ., NAGC Executive Board Member. GRACE & SPN Member
    • Dr. Donna Y. Ford, ( , Vanderbilt Univ., NAGC Gifted Racial Accountability & Commitment to Equity (GRACE) Co-Chair
    • Dr. Tarek Grantham, ( Univ. of Georgia, NAGC Special Populations Network Convention Program Chair

    Saturday, August 23, 2014

    Too Black to be So Smart OR Too Smart to be Black

    With all that our nation has seen, heard and experienced in recent weeks regarding racial discrimination, profiling, crime against black youth, and militarized policing- the multiple & complex issues of RACE IN AMERICA have come front and center once again. I sense, however, that this time some real and sustainable action will occur to change relationships between the black  community, police and other officials, and perhaps have a more profound positive effect on the future of race relations than since the civil rights era.

    As an educator my heart is always with the young people and how they are treated in our communities. Even moreso, I am always concerned about how the nation’s educational system is framed to provide for their educational needs or NOT. In the past few years,  I’ve had numerous conversations with parents and young people about accessing gifted education services..too many times I have heard them share stories of someone being told that they were ‘too black to be so smart’ OR ‘so smart, you can’t really be black’. If I hear it again.. I know I’m going to SCREAM!!!

    What  sensible person would suggest to someone that just because their skin has more melanin or they come from a different neighborhood  or their hair is of a different texture, that they can’t possibly be highly intelligent, smart, gifted, be a nerd, prodigy or whatever smart people are called in their circle. But believe it or not- it’s still being said!! Sadly, there are homogenous communities in this country where people can spend a large portion of their time and never come across, interact with, rub shoulders with or be in the same space with a person who is not of their ethnic/racial group. Thus, experiences with other race individuals is very limited. So in some communities.. if they see a brown or black person they are in a subservient role… cleaning up, serving, taking care of someone else. Even in 2014, this happens and so when we begin suggesting that BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLE CAN BE GIFTED, TOO the reaction is often disbelief or a ‘maybe, but..’ !! Following the ‘but’ thought is- that ‘there may be one or two, but they are just an anamoly.. surely there aren’t anymore.

    It does my heart so much good to see the numerous articles and pictures posted across social media and even periodically shared on the television news of Black and Brown prodigies, early college graduates, just remarkable young people who demonstrate their ‘smarts’ in countless ways!!

    I’m excited to see others join this very important mission to share with the world that our children are GIFTED, TOO!! JUST AS SMART, INGENIOUS, PRODUCTIVE, CREATIVE AS OTHERS!! That the time for stereotyping of black and brown youth is far from over!!! We have piles of evidence, stories, research studies, proof positive in every community in America that GIFTEDNESS EXISTS!! Homeless gifted, single parent gifted, male gifted, female gifted, tech savvy gifted, musical geniuses, math prodigies, early college grads, young entrepreneurs, young philanthropists, high IQ gifted, gifted of all kinds!!!!

    GIFTEDNESS KNOWS NO BOUNDARIES OF NEIGHBORHOOD, SKIN COLOR, GENDER, CULTURE, OR FAMILY TYPE. GIFTED CHILDREN AND YOUTH ARE EVERYWHERE, ORIGINATING FROM EVERY CORNER OF THIS EARTH!! What we need is for school personnel to recognize them and provide access to advanced learning opportunities for them, train teachers to meet their needs and help families become stronger advocates for them. No excuses, educators- it a program for gifted youth exist in your community, there is an arsenal of support to help you do better for ALL gifted children.

    Just in case you haven’t seen any of the evidence recently, listed below are a few links to validate everything I’ve written here. 

    Go the sites, share the links, discuss them, and

    Please don’t allow anyone to ever say again…that a Black child is-


    Thank you, Dr. Joy 

    Saturday, May 31, 2014

    Discovering the ‘Mayas’ among us..

    I am firm believer that for everyone who makes it, like Maya Angelou did…there are countless others who need to be ‘discovered’ and provided every support possible to help them realize their potential. – jldavis, 5/31/14

    Dr. Maya Angelou’s remarkable life prompted millions to recognize her work, her legacy and her meaning to us as individuals on Wednesday of this past week when we learned of her passing. Most know her story: Maya Angelou was a profoundly gifted and prolific African American poet/author/inspirational speaker/artist/civil rights advocate.  Maya’s story starts as that of a young girl born in St. Louis in 1928, and later sent to live in the segregated town of Stamps, Arkansas with a grandmother.  At the age of seven, she was sexually abused by a family friend, who was later murdered by the men of her family.  The abuse and her abuser’s subsequent death was so painful that for years, Maya would speak to no one. Of course, many assumed that there was something physically wrong with the litter girl from Stamps until one day years later she began to speak again. Her first autobiography ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ describing this painful story, struck the hearts of many worldwide.  In 2011, Maya Angelou won the highest award given to a civilian- The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

    Maya’s colorful life continued as she made every attempt to ‘find herself’ in varied art forms, through travels and later by embarking on the civil rights movement with some of our culture’s most infamous people- including among them Malcolm X, Amiri Baraka, Nelson Mandela, Former President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama. It is said that she was mentored by the great James Baldwin and later she became a mentor to Oprah Winfrey. Maya Angelou has been called a ‘literary giant’.

    Not unlike many highly gifted and productive adults – Maya Angelou never went to college. Her life as a young adult was spent discovering herself, dancing, acting, behind cameras, and traveling the world.

    Since her passing this week, I’ve been thinking about all of the Mayas in our classrooms in schools across the nation. I’ve been thinking about how noticeable her gifts must have been early on in her school career (or if anyone paid attention to her gifts).  In Stamp as a child, it is said the Maya read all of the books in the library.  I’ve been thinking about the teachers who came in contact with Maya, the preadolescent and later the adolescent learner. How perhaps among her teachers there must have some who saw nothing noticeably different about this young linguistic genius and then, those who knew in their hearts that one day this little girl would change the world.

    I also wondered about her family and believe that among her relatives there were some who saw her as ‘different’, perhaps more sensitive, compassionate, more creative, more determined to do what she ‘put her mind to’.  It is often within the family that gifted children are first recognized and identified as being wiser than the norm; a little ‘quirky’; and sometimes extremely determined, even at the risk of not being accepted by the wider community or doing something against the best advice of the elders in the family.

    I can imagine that Maya was this kind of girl, extremely creative, with an arsenal of words and a universe of strong feelings welled up inside of her.  In communities and schools across the nation, there are so many Mayas. Some have already been discovered and well on their way to being productive, creating novels, poetry, writing plays, or even becoming leaders organizing other students around humanitarian issues. Some of them have taken the lead and created organizations to help fight community hunger or to collect funds and materials for those less fortunate.

    But for every Maya who has already been discovered and participating in an advanced classroom for gifted learners there are two, three, maybe even four  or more who are sitting in a classroom with no blank book to jot down her notes, no computer to write her next story, with a teacher who is so busy looking at the color of her skin, the texture of her hair, and thinking about the poor neighborhood that ‘Maya’ lives in, that she overlooked the last creative essay ‘Maya’ wrote and gave her a blanket ‘C’ for a grade (with no feedback re: content, creativity, etc). This same teacher did not think of the ‘Maya’ in her classroom at all when asked to refer students for the gifted program or to provide a few names of students to participate in a summer enrichment program for budding writers.

    You know the rest of the story-

    One way that Maya Angelou's spirit can live on in our communities is for each of us to DO OUR PART to make Gifted and Advanced learner Programs more accessible to more children nationwide. There are countless highly gifted students who will not be discovered OR have the encouragement they need to pursue their dreams without substantial support from schools, communities, and families everywhere.

    My appeal to educators, families, and community leaders is to consider honoring Maya Angelou’s life and her remarkable contributions to society by looking deeper into our classrooms for children who may be just like her.

    Look deeper and work harder to make advanced programming accessible to more ‘Mayas’.

    Acknowledge the inequities and unfair practices that persist in keeping students of color and others from low income backgrounds, from rural communities, from immigrant families out of gifted and accelerated classrooms.

    Certainly there are many who will succeed without backing from institutions, but I am firm believer that for everyone who makes it, like Maya Angelou did…there are countless others need to be ‘discovered’, nurtured and provided every support possible to help them realize their potential. 

    Together, we can do this!! Just imagine how great a community, neighborhood, school, nation, and world we could have if there were more ‘Mayas’ among us.

    For more on Maya:

    Sunday, March 30, 2014

    What TIME is it? Part I

    “Nowhere is the crossroad of race and privilege more striking than in education” 
    – G.P. Collins, 2014

    “The day starts in a middle school. The bell rings. Students scatter from homeroom to get to first period before the tardy bell. Some missed homeroom and are just leaving the office checking in. The hall from a distance looks like a rainbow of all shades of brown, black and white.  Students gather into groups as they walk, some going in one direction, others into classrooms in the opposite direction. As they gather into groups you begin to see students of the same ‘shade’ together and all of the ‘white’ students clustering together. Approaching the small cluster of white students are one or two black students kind of ‘bringing up the rear’ of the group. As students settle into classrooms, the shades of black and brown students are seated in large groups as many as 27-30 per class.. this course is General Math 8 /Algebra I. Many in the group are new to the school, others went here last year. Of those in the class, 5 or 6 are already preparing for a boring lesson repeating the same skills they learned two years ago. Some are attentive nonetheless, others go to sleep, some socialize, some daydream and wonder what am I here for?

    Down the hall,  the cluster of white and two black students settle in. This is the higher level math class. The teacher is assigned to teach Algebra II, Problem Based Learning with Math, and some PreCalc if the time allows (the class is called Gifted Math II). The students are on task, some socializing but they appear to be ready to engage. Did I tell you that it’s a very small group..only 9 students in the class. They come and go each day believing themselves to be the only ones ready for this course so they dig in and start their studies. They feel special, unique, set apart. The two black students wonder why they are the only ones ‘like us’ in this small group and think about some of their friends who they know to be just as bright, some even smarter..but somehow, didn’t make the ‘cut’.

    So I ask you - what TIME is it? Could be 1960 or 1970 when the country’s schools were in the throes of responding to the 1954 desegregation ruling of Brown v. Board of Education. White and black students are in school together, large class size is the rule of the day, limited resources are the norm. Few states responded immediately to Brown, and those the few who did, still had some of their school districts struggling with desegregating schools.

    But to make a long story short.. because I know some of you know where I’m going to with this. It’s not 1960 or 1970, not even 1990, it could easily be  2012, 2013 or even 2014. This middle school could be anywhere in the country. Not just the Mid Atlantic (Maryland or Virginia) or Deep South (South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississsippi), but could just as well be in a district in the Northeast (New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts), Midwest (Illinois, Wisconsin), or Southwest (Texas, Arizona, California). The school could actually be anywhere in our great ‘fair democracy’. It could be in your community, actually may be the school your child attends.


    Each day students of color are relegated to some of the nation’s worst schools. They suffer, we suffer. In particular, each day bright students of color, those from limited economic backgrounds are relegated to classrooms with limited resources, schools that don’t offer high level coursework, teachers who are less qualified, administrators who are watching the clock to retirement. Each day that these students spend in these segregated, poorly funded environments is a day lost that can NEVER be REGAINED. A day of high level instruction, intellectual stimulation, creative engagement, opportunities to work with practicing professionals that these student lose simply because of the color of their skin or the holes in the parent’s pockets. These conditions in the 21st century are UNETHICAL, IMMORAL, AND ABSOLUTELY ABOMINABLE!! Our students deserve better.

    Of course, there are some schools that have allowed more students of color to enter, more students of color to be enrolled in gifted and advanced learner programs. There are some who have said ‘WE HAVE A PROBLEM, AND WE NEED TO ADDRESS IT’. In these more progressive environments student still suffer. Entrance into an academically advanced, culturally discriminatory environment is close to ‘cultural death’ for some of these students. They find themselves having to give up who they are internally and become someone else to fit the mold and the expectation of the teachers who rule the classrooms. And in most cases, there are so few within the school or classroom who share similar cultural backgrounds, ethnic legacies, that students feel lost, out of place, as if they don’t belong. Without culturally responsive teachers, support for their affective needs, mentors and role models- some will not survive the ‘high end’ environment.

    In the past month, seemingly endless streams of articles, blog posting, videos have emerged speaking to these inequities and to this national embarrassment. I encourage everyone reading this- whether you are a parent, community leader, student, scholar, faith leader, policymaker, or concerned citizen to PLEASE DO SOMETHING WHERE YOU ARE TO CHANGE THESE CONDITIONS!!

    All of our students deserve the best TEACHERS, the best ACCESS to opportunities, a fair chance to demonstrate THEIR ABILITY TO BE SUCCESSFUL in Gifted and Advanced learner programs, and a brighter future.


    Together, we can do this!!!

    MUST READ/SEE resources:

    High school student builds ap for black students attending predominately white high schools

    From PBS’s Rundown page- overview of recent Federal Report on Education Disparities

    2010 article from the Village Voice about a segregated ‘school-within-a-school’ model

    Next week for part II: one state’s efforts to bring equity to programming for their student population, and other programming initiated by compassionate educators & parents to change conditions for children in their own communities. 

    Sunday, March 23, 2014

    Access and Advocacy are Keys to Change!!

    It’s been a busy winter, weather challenges and traveling have kept me away from this page for a while now. I’ve also taken some time to rest a bit, but still paying close attention to issues and concerns related to educating children of color. 
    Most recently, a scathing report about the conditions in our schools for Black students in particular has raised the eyebrows of many across the nation. This report, released by the U.S. Department of Education cites numerous inequities that persist in schools that are creating egregious inequities. (An overview of the report was published in the New York Times- )
    These inequities are a major reason why so many bright and talented students are unable to succeed and are not reaching their highest potential. 

    In reference to access and opportunities for high ability students of color, the report cites:

    1.   Algebra II is not offered in 25% of schools  with the highest percentage of black and Latino students.  1/3 of these schools did not offer chemistry.
    2.   Less than half of American Indian and Native-Alaskan high school students had access to the full range of math and science courses, which consists of Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, calculus, biology, chemistry and physics.
    3.   Black and Latino students accounted for 40 percent of enrollment at schools with gifted programs, but only represented 26 percent of students in gifted programs.
    This is the 21st century, and over one half of our nation’s students attend schools each day where resources are limited, teachers are ill-trained, and access to the coursework and programming they need DOES NOT EXIST.
    Until we have full access to equitable high end learning opportunities in this nation, our students will continue to suffer discrimination that is unjust, unfair, and simply abominable!!
    I know that it seems sometimes that this ‘access and equity song’ is getting old and those of us who argue and advocate feverishly to change conditions should be pleased with the progress we’ve seen and be patient. This report is SCREAMING to us that the progress that has been made is not enough and thus, our being patient with slow change is insufficient.
    Patience will not help the mathematically gifted student attending a high school where Algebra II is not available at all, being patient will not help the budding inventor and scientist who has NO access to professional scientists or competitive science programs, or teachers who have an interest or understanding of the full scope of services available that will nurture and develop innovation and ingenuity. Patience will not help the verbally gifted student without a mentor who can expose them to career options for their giftedness or the artist with no opportunities to visit museums, be in contact with professional artists on a daily basis. Patience with these egregious conditions will NOT change conditions!!
    As Americans we should all be alarmed and upset with this report!! Upset enough to join forces with others to ADVOCATE AND FIGHT to improve conditions in EVERY SCHOOL ATTENDED BY CULTURALLY DIVERSE STUDENTS IN EVERY COMMUNITY IN AMERICA!!
    The data is clear, the numbers don’t lie!! Without access and opportunity, infinite numbers of young people with intellectual genius, talents, dreams, ideas, will power and motivation will never reach their highest potential!!
    Each person reading this can do SOMETHING!! If you are a parent, make sure you know the full range of coursework and programming offered in your child’s school; organize meetings with other parents and educators who are concerned and develop a plan of action to address inequities NOW! If you are a community leader, bring these reports to the attention of your churches, community organizations, arrange meetings to discuss and develop a plan of action in collaboration with families and city/county officials. Everyone can do SOMETHING!!
    The challenge of change always appears impossible! That is, until we look back in history and are reminded of happened when a few committed people determined that the status quo was no longer good enough!! The data revealed in these reports is NOT GOOD ENOUGH!! We can and MUST do better!! Our children deserve so much more and are counting on us to make a difference!!  I encourage you to read the report, share it with others, and search deeply to determine what you can do! When you are called upon to join others, attend meetings, provide feedback, please don’t hesitate to act.
    If you have been a part of a ‘change process’ that has effectively created better conditions in your community schools, please share your ideas here or email me at I’d love to share positive, effective ideas to encourage others!!  

    PLEASE JOIN ME AND OTHER ADVOCATES FOR EQUITY & ACCESS IN THIS FIGHT!  We won’t quit until conditions improve and access to high end learning opportunities, highly qualified teachers and advanced learning opportunities are available to ALL CHILDREN, REGARDLESS OF THEIR ETHNICITY, CULTURE, INCOME OR THEIR COMMUNITY!! 

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

    TWO Books (2) MAKING a DIFFERENCE for Culturally Diverse Gifted Students!!!

    Last month I promised that I would feature programs and people who are MAKING A DIFFERENCE in the lives of culturally diverse students. There are many. Scholars, Parents/Family Members, Policymakers, Teachers, Community Leaders who work hard everyday trying to open new doors for gifted children for whom access has been limited. 

    We recognize ALL of these people and APPLAUD your work. There are so many books and programs that are available and are beginning to improve access & equity for diverse gifted learners. In the coming weeks, I will seek out stories of special programs to share via this blog. Your recommendations are appreciated!! 

    This blog features two books that are truly MAKING A DIFFERENCE for diverse gifted students. 

    #1- Retaining & Recruiting Culturally Different Students in Gifted Education  by Dr. Donna Y. Ford. This phenomenal book has recently been recognized by the nation's premier Civil Rights organization - the NAACP as it has been nominated for a prestigious 2014 NAACP IMAGE AWARD in the Literary Arts/Instructional category. This nomination is remarkable in that it places Dr. Ford's work in a Literary category that seldom recognizes the scholarly work of educational researchers. What is critical about Dr. Ford's nomination is that because of her work, a much wider audience of families, educators, philanthropists, policy makers, governmental officials, and civil right advocates will recognize (some for the first time) the critical problem of UNDER-REPRESENTATION OF BLACK & BROWN GIFTED CHILDREN IN GIFTED EDUCATION AND ADVANCED LEARNER PROGRAMS NATIONWIDE!!

    See the link below to locate this book on Amazon.


    #2- Young, Triumphant & Black: Overcoming the Tyranny of Segregated Minds in Desegregated Schools by Drs. Tarek Grantham, Michelle Frazier Trotman Scott, and Deborah Harmon. This trio of scholars has devoted their careers to examining the challenges of being young, gifted & black across a wide variety of publications, scholarly positions, and leadership roles. This unique book explores the experiences of African American students enrolled in predominately white schools where they are oftentimes looked upon as being 'less than' or 'not worthy' of being in gifted and advanced classrooms. While many know of these stories, very seldom do we hear the experiences from the 'voices' of the students. The book's chapters tell tragic, yet triumphant stories from the perspectives of the students and adults who work with them and their families. Highly recommended reading for educators, families, scholars, and policymakers. This book is clearly MAKING A DIFFERENCE for culturally diverse learners!! See the link below to locate this book on Amazon.


    I encourage readers to share titles and descriptions of other books that you believe are also MAKING A DIFFERENCE for culturally diverse students by noting them below in a comment!! Your feedback and support of this blogspot is always appreciated!! Dr. Joy Lawson Davis 

    Monday, January 6, 2014


    Fifty two posts ago, in April of 2012- this blogspot was born. The idea and title for the site came to me one night while I was pondering, no worrying - about the state of gifted education in this nation and mostly about about what little progress had been made in the WAR on INEQUITIES in gifted education. I was so upset one night, when I kept seeing so much about gifted education and saw little or no representation of gifted children of color in the materials. So, in a 'fit' of disgust and anger- I shouted aloud- 'WE ARE GIFTED, TOO!!' ..thus, this site was born. Since then, this site has had over 26,000 pageviews. The great interest in these children and the issues that concern them is evidence that there are many people around the world who want to do more to MAKE A DIFFERENCE for under-served gifted children. 

    It was in 1982 or so that I first learned of this discipline, this distinct field. I fell in love.  I realized that I had found a place (in gifted education) that I could really dig into and contribute to so that I could help MAKE A DIFFERENCE particularly for a group of students whose needs were seldom attended to in regular educational settings - gifted children from culturally diverse groups including those from low income, rural & urban communities. These students were bright, creative, and very intuitive. At the time, I was working in a small rural school district in Virginia. The community was isolated, yet, there in that place I came to love and dedicate myself to MAKING A DIFFERENCE to address inequities in the lives of very bright children who were under-challenged and under-served every day! Even with limited exposure to a wider cultural arena that existed in urban and suburban communities, these children were extremely smart, they were funny, compassionate, many were excellent artists, had remarkable leadership skills, had persistence, and caught on easily to complex concepts. The schools, while limited in resources, were staffed with educators who were committed to their work, cared about the children, and did very well with very little to MAKE A DIFFERENCE and nurture the best in the students, doing what they could to help them reach their highest potential.

    For the past thirty plus years, I have worked with educators, scholars, researchers and families in urban areas, suburban communities and rural communities across the nation. My commitment to MAKING A DIFFERENCE is greater now than ever! What has changed in my quest to do this work is that I've learned that I'm not in this alone. Over the years, I have met hundreds of people who are deeply dedicated to addressing the inequities in gifted education, deeply passionate about sharing their own resources and gifts, deeply committed to working hard at almost any cost to ensure that the gifts and talents of ALL children and youth are challenged and that they are given their fair and equitable share of resources in schools and programs across the nation!!

    This work is not the work of a few, but the work of many. This is also not for the 'faint of heart'...sometimes we have to fight and draw attention to the needs of the under-served gifted child in ways that others may be offended by. But, being courageous does not mean that we are always going to be liked by everyone. This is a battle! 

    There is so much to be done, at any given time, there are thousands of culturally diverse gifted children in classrooms with ill-trained teachers who see little if any potential in them. These same children may possess the potential that can change the life outcomes for themselves and their families, communities through discoveries in the sciences, creations in the arts, or systemic theories across many disciplines. There is so much work to be done. We need everyone's hands and hearts in this together.

    My networking across the nation has been very powerful and effective. I have been  fortunate enough to have met many people who are doing great work for children and MAKING A DIFFERENCE everyday. So, I have decided that I will dedicate  the first six blogs of 2014 to profiling  individuals and programs that are MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR UNDER-SERVED GIFTED CHILDREN. 

    Some of these individuals whose work has great impact are NOT educators...they are from many different fields. Most recently, through a connection with a good friend and literary agent (Patrick Oliver), I came in contact with a multi-talented artist who began her career as a gifted child actress/vocalist. This young woman has had the ingenuity to continuously re-invent herself so that now she is not only performing to entertain but is now sharing her gifts to motivate and inspire other young people. I was so excited to make her acquaintance and to talk with her. I asked if she'd like to share some of her work and rationale for MAKING A DIFFERENCE and she generously agreed to do so. She shares in this brief testimony below and her website just how passionate she is about MAKING A DIFFERENCE by sharing her gifts to help others. She has lived the life of a child prodigy in one of the toughest fields of all- the entertainment industry and  survived!! 

    Please read and share Rhona Bennett's story below, go to her website, and share her story with others. Many thanks to you Rhona for MAKING A DIFFERENCE!:

    "Well, I must say that I feel it is a pleasure and a privilege to be given the opportunity by Dr. Lawson Davis to write something for this blog. When I first spoke with her, the passion for what she does just oozed through the phone. Her enthusiasm to try something new with me, and to explore the potential of the current cutting edge of how our children are supported in their uniqueness and abilities was refreshing. Aside from the great energy being exchanged, we connected in that we both hold a strong desire to make a difference.

    As a professional entertainer in the industry of the fine arts for over 25 years now, I've definitely had to reinvent myself due to some of the discouraging changes my business has gone through; and I have been willing to stretch into something greater in order to thrive and support more of my purpose on the planet. Since this stretching, I've discovered that I want to also motivate and inspire others by sharing my story of challenges and successes, and also some of the tools I've picked up along the way to help someone else maximize what their capable of. I am a student of life, and for life.

    There are several pathways to learning; and embracing the arts as a way to continue tapping into the creative minds of the “gifted” for self development is something I look forward to building on with Dr. Lawson Davis.

    I welcome you to visit my website, which is home for the brand of Rhona Bennett 'Where Entertainment and Inspiration Meet'.

    Readers: If you have a story to share or know of someone whose work should be featured here who is MAKING A DIFFERENCE for under-served gifted children in any capacity, please contact me!  I want to share their stories and programs here. 

    Your support of this blogsite is deeply appreciated by all the gifted learners, educators, and families whose  lives have been positively impacted by your reading and all of your hard work to MAKE A DIFFERENCE for under-served gifted children everywhere!! Dr. Joy