Tag Archive | Children

The Young Angels of Sandy Hook Elementary School

Today, December 14, 2012, will be a date forever remembered. It will not be remembered as a day of eager anticipation for the holidays but as the day Newtown, Connecticut and the rest of the world lost 20 innocent young children in a senseless killing spree.

Policemen, teachers, students and parents alike are all devastated by the tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School. You can read details of this horrific event on ABCNews

These twenty children, all too young to have journeyed through the many experiences of life, will be more than missed…they will be mourned. Yet, we must remember that while they have been taken from this earth their lives should be celebrated for they have provided great joy to those who loved them.

There will be many people who are angry and they will call on revenge but what more revenge can be done that has not already occurred? Isn’t the need to react emotionally one of the reasons this heinous crime initiated in the first place? When will we realize that we, as a society, have fed this aggressive behavior. We are the first ones to seek vengeance yet after expressing confusion as to “what is wrong with people”. We are what’s wrong with people. We quote biblical texts of love and forgiveness only to be followed by words of bitterness and hate. We are willing to forgive the sin so long as we obliterate the sinner.

Actions of prevention, not of vengeance, are the necessary steps toward healing. There is nothing the families of these twenty innocent children and six adults can do to reclaim the lives of those lost. There is no man hunt and no acts of revenge…they must simply “move on”. They will be angry, they will deny, they will grieve and then they will accept. As difficult as it may be, and yes, there will always be a piece of them missing, they will get through this. So, rather than add fuel to an enraging fire, let us celebrate these beautiful children and the adults that lost their lives today because that’s what really matters.

And as a closing note, let us remember to never take those we love for granted. Let us kiss a little longer, hug a little longer, listen a little better but above all, love without limits. Be blessed my friends and shine brightly for all of the world to see!



Inspire a Nation, Save a Child!

Virginia, January 2, 2012: In an effort to keep dental professionals educated, prepared and trained when dental medical emergencies arise, Nicole Cuhna, the Executive Director of the Raven Marie Blanco Foundation (a 501C non-profit organization), has filed a petition with the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Board of Dentistry. The foundation was started in response to death of Raven Maria Blanco during, what should had been, a routine dental procedure. The guidelines when filing a petition are as following,

The Code of Virginia (§ 2.2-4007) and the Public Participation Guidelines of this board require a person who wishes to petition the board to develop a new regulation or amend an existing regulation to provide certain information. Within 14 days of receiving a valid petition, the board will notify the petitioner and send a notice to the Register of Regulations identifying the petitioner, the nature of the request and the plan for responding to the petition. Following publication of the petition in the Register, a 21-day comment period will begin to allow written comment on the petition. Within 90 days after the comment period, the board will issue a written decision on the petition.

The Raven Marie Blanco Foundation contends that Part II of the Regulations Governing Dental Practice sets forth conditions for dentists seeking to renew a dental license. Included in this part are requirements for the payment of fees and requirements for continuing education. Although requirements elsewhere in the regulations govern the use of certain anesthetic agents, no requirements exist mandating that all dentists maintain an ability to respond appropriately to an unexpected medical emergency either resulting directly from treatment (dental and/or anesthesia) or as a random event (e.g. myocardial infarction, stroke ,hypoglycemia, seizure). This petition asks the Virginia Board of Dentistry to establish standards in this area through the addition of a new section.

At least twelve deaths have occurred during or immediately subsequent to dental treatment during the calendar years 2010-11. Precise numbers may be higher because the dental profession has no mechanism to quantify medical emergencies (fatal or non-fatal) occurring during treatment.

In the last ten years, Virginia has suffered two deaths in dental care facilities, Raven Maria Blanco (private office, Virginia Beach) and Jacobi Hill (Virginia Commonwealth University Dental School, Richmond). As such, Virginia has the highest per capita death rate during dental treatment of any state in the nation. How many non-lethal medical emergencies have occurred during dental care in Virginia has never been measured or studied.

Currently, the only medical emergency preparation required for all Virginia dentists is maintaining basic CPR. Given an aging population, with increasingly complex medical histories and receiving increasingly complex treatment, the current standard is insufficient. The Six Links of Survival™ was developed to provide dentists with a practical method to assure that dental offices are comprehensively prepared to manage a medical event. The six areas of preparation are:
1.Dentist’s training
2.Staff training
3.Mock drills
4.Maintaining a written emergency plan
5.Stocking appropriate medications
6.Maintaining appropriate equipment (e.g. oxygen).

The Raven Maria Blanco Foundation and its advocates believe implementation of the Six Links of Survival™ in every dental office will provide a necessary stepping stone in saving the lives of dental patients.

The petition was accepted on January 6, 2012 will be published in the Register of Regulations on January 30, 2012 and has also been posted on the Virginia Regulatory Townhall at http://www.townhall.virginia.gov to receive public comment ending February 19, 2012. The request to amend regulations and any comments for or against the petition will be considered by the Board at its meeting scheduled for March 9, 2012. Sign the Petition Here!

For more information about the Raven Maria Blanco Foundation, go to www.rmbfinc.org

See all those involved in the making of this video here.

Laura Contreras-Rowe Inspires Hispanic and Latina Women to “Aim High”

Laura Contreras-Rowe is an award winning author of Aim High: Extraordinary Stories of Hispanic and Latina Women. She has traveled around the world speaking and inspiring women of all ages but her passion lies in helping underpriviledged women realize their value and worth.

Born in Dallas, Texas but raised in Laredo, Laura offers students, adults, and business persons of all industries the hope and advice they need to raise themselves to their highest potential. Her training and expertise has brought her all over the country as well as abroad. Recently, she has had the opportunity to conduct seminars for Keller Williams Realty in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the Remax Argentina National Convention.

Laura recieved her BS in Broadcast Design and Telecommunications from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is a franchise owner of Keller Williams Realty located in California and Virgnia Beach, Virginia. When asked what inspired her to write the book Laura speaks of her own experience and how she was curious as to how many other latina women went through a similar journey such as hers.

Laura mentions that in her research she discovered latina women have the highest suicide rates for 8th through 12th graders, the highest percentage for drop out rates, and the highest percentage of teenaged pregnancies. Scary statistics…for a latina woman who has seen these statistics in real life…absolutely!

Yet, Laura, like many women in her book, is proof that positive outcomes can come from otherwise very gloomy circumstances and she has devoted her life to making a positive impact on all those in similar circumstances. This is precisely the reason why she founded “Got Sole”… an organization dedicated to donating new or lightly used shoes to the underpriviledged population of the Eastern Shore and Hampton Roads, Virginia.

As a latina woman I am proud to highlight the wonderful light that Laura has demonstrated in her actions, her attitude but especially in her journey. A special thank you for being a positive role model for writers such as myself as well as an extraordinary business-woman. Que Dios Te Bendiga!

If you would like contact Laura to speak at your organization contact, click here.

Watch the latest video at <a href=”http://video.foxbusiness.com”>video.foxbusiness.com</a&gt;

Tyler Lynne Fago: Spoke to Many Hearts Without Ever Saying A Word

On January 19, 2012, the earth lost one of its little angels. On January 23rd his family had a viewing for those who wanted to say their last good-byes to Tyler. There were so many people that it literally took almost three hours to get through the line to his casket. The following morning at 11:00am. there was a funeral service celebrating the life of this sweet boy. I walked in with my son and since we were a few minutes late we decided to take a seat in the very back where churches usually have their “overflow” benches. After we sat down…we listened. We listened to Tyler’s children’s ministry leader speak about how much Tyler and the Fagos had taught him…about unconditional love, patience, and understanding. He said that he was happy to know that Tyler was no longer broken and walking with Jesus. You see Tyler Fago had Cerebral Palsey. He did not have just a mild case either….Tyler’s case was probably as severe as it can get. He could not speak, he could not walk, he could not eat on his own, and as far as I know…his ability to think was limited or not at all.  Then his father Dale took the podium. He told everyone that when Tyler was born he struggled with the fact that his son had this disability. He also told us that once he decided to release his struggles over to God that everything just naturally took its course. However, his main message was not one of despair or pain but of rejoicement. He celebrated his son and the lives that he touched and the people that were a part of it.

How does a child that has no way of communicating with others carry the ability to touch so many lives? I think the pastor described it best when he said (paraphrasing)…”Tyler’s purpose was to touch the lives of others…to teach them about selflessness, unconditional love, and the value of life…especially his parents: Dale and Melissa…and his siblings: Corey and Halle”. God used Tyler to mold them into the people they were meant to be and in doing so fulfilled his purpose without ever saying a word. However, as he spoke I realize that Tyler was about to touch the lives of others now…in his death as much as he did in his life. See, the Fagos and my family share a love for sports arriving at the eventual fact that Corey and my son were able to play on a baseball team together. I had watched Corey and Halle for years in their carefree playful spirit and how extremely opposite it was to how I grew up….in a much more conservative home. At that very moment while I was in the church I suddenly realized why…its because Melissa and Dale learned to appreciate life so much more than I did. They understood that life is precious and all the horseplaying and monkeying around was a celebration of that life….a life that their son Tyler would never be able to enjoy in the same manner as his siblings had. So as the tears rolled down my face I realized how little I really knew Tyler yet the message of his silence and broken body touched me to the depths of my soul. I realized that suddenly I was changed and everything I thought I knew…I really knew nothing at all. And so, today I dedicate this post, not just to Tyler, but to the entire Fago Family….it is your faith in the Lord that has carried your loving light through to the hearts of your family, your friends, and your community.

January 24, 2012

To my dearest family, some things I’d like to say…
but first of all, to let you know, that I arrived okay.
I’m writing this from heaven. Here I dwell with God above.

Here, there’s no more tears of sadness; here is just eternal love.

Please do not be unhappy just because I’m out of sight.
Remember that I’m with you every morning, noon and night.
That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through,
God picked me up and hugged me and He said, “I welcome you.”

It’s good to have you back again; you were missed while you were gone.
As for your dearest family, they’ll be here later on.
I need you here badly; you’re part of my plan.
There’s so much that we have to do, to help our mortal man.

God gave me a list of things, that he wished for me to do.
And foremost on the list, was to watch and care for you.
And when you lie in bed at night, the day’s chores put to flight.
God and I are closest to you….in the middle of the night.

When you think of my life on earth, and all those loving years
because you are only human, they are bound to bring you tears.
But do not be afraid to cry; it does relieve the pain.
Remember there would be no flowers, unless there was some rain.

I wish that I could tell you all that God has planned.
But if I were to tell you, you wouldn’t understand.
But one thing is for certain, though my life on earth is o’er.
I’m closer to you now, than I ever was before.

There are many rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb;
but together we can do it by taking one day at a time.
It was always my philosophy and I’d like it for you too…
that as you give unto the world, the world will give to you.

If you can help somebody who’s in sorrow and pain,
then you can say to God at night……”My day was not in vain.”
And now I am contented….that my life has been worthwhile,
knowing as I passed along the way, I made somebody smile.

So if you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low,
just lend a hand to pick him up, as on your way you go.
When you’re walking down the street, and you’ve got me on your mind;
I’m walking in your footsteps only half a step behind.

And when it’s time for you to go…. from that body to be free,
remember you’re not going…..you’re coming here to me.

Ruth Ann Mahaffey (author)
©Copyright 1998

A Message from the Friends of the Fago Family

A message from Melisa Loftis Pouleris:
The Tyler Fago Memorial Fund The “Friends of the Fago Family” are pleased to announce the establishment of a memorial fund honoring the life and legacy of Tyler Lynn Fago. This fund has been established to assist Dale Fago and Melissa McClenney Fago with any medical/final expenses related to the care of their son Tyler. “Friends of the Fago Family” have founded the fund, however, Nansemond River …Baptist Church is the “account holder”. Therefore, checks must be made payable to NRBC, with “The Tyler Fago Memorial Fund” noted in the memo section. Checks may be mailed to, or dropped off at, NRBC located at 2896 Bridge Road, Suffolk, Virginia 23435. This is our opportunity to give back to a family that has so graciously and selflessly given of their time serving others in the community. Thank you for your generous support of the Fago family. I encourage each of you to share this with your friends and family. God Bless♥

The Raven Maria Blanco Foundation: Guardian Angel…Raven’s Song

So, when I first decided to initialize this blog I decided that I wanted to share stories of people who not only shined but allowed the beauty within to expand out…something that went past just the surface. So, when I started blogging for the Raven Maria Blanco Foundation I knew that at some point I would have to speak about the wonderful people who have dedicated so much of themselves to this cause.

Let me start by giving you some background on who Raven Maria Blanco was. Raven was a beautiful 8 year old little girl who loved life and her family. As all children must do as one point or another, it was time for Raven to see the dentist.  Well, I’ll let those from the RMBF, Inc. tell you:


On March 9, 2007, 8-year-old Raven Maria Blanco passed away unexpectedly, leaving family and friends with the challenge of learning to live in a world dimmed by her absence. Raven’s passing was devastating, especially to her parents. In an instant, the world cracked, swallowed joy, and the little angel disappeared. Imagine a room of bright lights, glittered streamers, laughter bouncing off the walls, star-lit ceilings, and music dancing in the air – then darkness and silence, disorientation and pain. There are no words to express the void we have in our hearts. Raven’s short, spirited life touched so many people; we are truly blessed for each and every moment we had in her presence.

Raven died under conscious sedation during a routine dental procedure. The autopsy showed Raven had a blood concentration of 24 mg/L of chloral hydrate — three times the average range — which the medical examiner considered lethal.

After the loss of Raven, her mother Robin clings to her daily routine as a way of somehow maintaining normalcy. She constantly adds items to her to-do list; staying busy is a band aid to the wound that never heals. Robin also helps her other two children deal with the loss of their sister. Raven was the oldest, the one they looked up to. Now when they miss her, they look to the Heavens to feel the sun rays of her heart and the glimmering stars of her curiosity. Robin also devotes her time to making a difference in the lives of children.

Mario, Raven’s father, watched his world crumble after the death of his first born child. He left living, lost somewhere in the limbo of grief. He could not move in the fog. For a little over a year, Mario spent his day’s sitting by his daughter’s gravesite and writing to Raven on her website every day. One day, love and chance gave Mario the strength to pick himself up. Thus begun the RMBF, Inc..


In all honesty, I can’t imagine a world where my children don’t exist…none at all where they were taken away from me unexpectedly. So to think that this family, still grieving in a pain that never ceases, decided to use the pain of their loss to help others…well I can’t think of a brighter light than that.  RMBF, Inc. is dedicated to the education and advocacy of Pediatric Emergency Preparedness.  Mario and the rest of the family believes that perhaps had the office been prepared to handle the situation his daughter, his angel, Raven Maria Blanco, would still be here with us today. Over the years there has been several deaths of children due to similar causes and the foundations provides resources for Dental Health Professionals, Educators and Parents to become better prepared and aware of the preventative tools available.

While RMBF, Inc has worked extremely hard to get the word out to individuals that can make a change…there is still so much work to be done. So RMBF, Inc. representatives participate in several dental forums and conferences a year trying to advocate their cause. However, never did Mario Blanco think that he would just happen to meet Grammy Award Winning composer/producer Michael “Magnedo7” Crawford and much less that, after telling Raven’s story, Michael would want to write a song in her dedication.  But it did happen! In fact, Michael Crawford’s wife Shameia honored them all by singing it live at the RMBF Masquerade Ball.

Guardian Angel “Raven’s Song” was later re-recorded by the Dream Little Dreamers Foundation as a tribute to all the lost “Angels” of this earth. To read the full story and to hear more about the Raven Maria Blanco Foundation click on the Inspire the Nation, Save the Child Project

Here’s a sneak peek into the live re-recording:

Project Title: Inspire the Nation, Save a Child

RMBF, Inc. would like to offer their deepest thanks and appreciation to all those who participated in this project!

Written by: Shameia Crawford | Purchase Michael & Shameia’s version on iTunes Original Composer/Producer: Michael “Magnedo7” Crawford | Purchase Michael & Shameia’s version on iTunes

Executive Producer: Alisha “M’Jestie” Brooks | Purchase Dream Little Dreamer’s version on iTunes Mixing Engineer: Paul Arnold “The Bodega” Musical Production: Courtney Beard “The Bodega” Performed by: Dream Little Dreamer (see artist names below)

Arielle Hromada Cabell Jones Caleb & Jada Bright “Graesin Rayn” Brownell Kadance & Keshaun Sawyer Hosea “Legit” Sawyer Romel Brown Natalie Moreland Morgan Miller Chardonnay Hawkins Elisha Barnes Marki Mitchell Dontrey Fields “Shaun Strings” Ingram Madeline Smith Tedra Ballard Mercedez McCullers Kirsten Daniels