Nerissa Golden

Four Graduate from Victory Christian Academy as Online Learning and Entrepreneurship Added to 2015/16 Program

WEYMOUTH HILLS – Victory Christian Academy, now heading into its 10th year of operation said it will be adding online learning and entrepreneurship to its curriculum starting this August.

During the Tuesday, June 30, 2015 graduation ceremony, keynote speaker and school founder Nerissa Golden said it was more important than ever to prepare students for a world which has changed drastically since the school was opened in 2006.

“Giving children what is called standard education is no longer enough to start them off in life. Most college graduates are unable to find a job in their field of study. Too many of our children leave high school without an opportunity to receive further education because they lack the access to scholarships.

“Our children must have skills which they can immediately put to use to empower themselves. As VCA students have learned diligence and integrity so we must add innovation and entrepreneurship to their vocabulary and knowledge base,” Golden told attendees.

The school has formed a partnership with Alpha and Omega Online Academy to provide the same Christian curriculum they offer in a new format. Students will be able to do more than 40% of their work online and even when at home sick, they can keep up with school work by logging on via their computers and tablets.

“We’ve always provided a personalized curriculum to meet each child at their academic level and with this new offer, today’s children, who are more comfortable with a device in hand, can access the same quality learning tools which has proven successful at VCA,” explained the director Dianne Greenaway.

The new graduates from the elementary program are Moses Augustine, JanCarlo Galva, Alyna Richardson-Comlekcioglu, and Abigail Turnbull.

During the graduation, the director noted that 254 students have already passed through their program, which has proven useful in helping children overcome their learning gaps and position them for more mainstream schools. One former student is already pursuing a nursing degree in Aruba and two others are applying for tertiary studies abroad.

Golden, who is a regional advocate for entrepreneurship, hopes that with the addition of online learning and classes in starting a business, they can prepare students even more effectively for whatever their future plans are. “We don’t want anyone to be disadvantaged because of limited opportunities. Our goal is to show each student how they can be an active participant in creating the future they want by being innovative and leveraging their abilities in business or any area they desire to be.”

Learn more about the curriculum here…

Beyond the Mess

There’s a crazy and wonderful thing that happens once you get beyond the mess.
Call it what you will but it only shows up when you don’t let your mess keep you stuck.
The woman with the issue of blood in the bible comes to mind. The story goes that she was bleeding for 12 years and couldn’t get relief. She’d already tried every natural and scientific method known to man at the time but her problem only got worse.
She was basically an outcast according to Jewish law. Once a woman was bleeding she couldn’t be part of everyday activities. Imagine never being able to be with your family and friends, living life on the fringes.
She heard about a man coming to town. Jesus.
This man was said to be doing miracles, feeding thousands with a handful of fish and bread, healing sick people and raising the dead. She wasn’t dead yet but probably thought I am pretty close to it as this is not living.
She had two options, give up and expect never to be well or break tradition and Jewish laws and get into the crowd and see this man.
The story says she thought if only I could touch Him I would be whole. The Hebrew word for whole is the same as peace. A better definition is “Nothing missing, nothing broken.” She wasn’t trying to have a conversation or tell her story. She just wanted to touch this man because surely that would be enough. She’d already told her story, everyone knew her business and all about her non-life. If this man was anybody of note, he wouldn’t need her story.

You’ve got to get tired of the story. It becomes the excuse, the reason why you don’t progress. You get addicted to telling the story and getting the commiserations from others.
She broke through the resistance in her own mind and her need to keep a distance from everyone. Her desperation to be healed was greater than her need to keep the law and to keep accusing eyes far away.
She must have been smelling. Her clothes may have been soiled. She didn’t care. She was already broke and had no relationships left to lose. She was out of options.
She touched Jesus and the story goes that immediately the blood leakage stopped. Jesus felt that someone had tapped into His power and He questioned who touched him. She confessed to what she’d done. He went further and declared you are whole (nothing missing, nothing broken). He not only healed her body but she also received a restoration of her relationships and resources.
You’ve been bleeding for a long time.
Your finances are a mess.
Your home life is in shambles.
You have maintained the façade long enough that you got it together. I know. They say “never let them see you sweat.” Don’t listen. Some situations will require you to sweat, cry, or bleed your way to victory.
Don’t worry about what they will say. Don’t mind the eyes on you accusing you of being someplace you shouldn’t be. Press in. Let them see you bleeding. Expose the areas of hurt, not so they can inflict more pain but so you can receive victory.
You have nothing left to lose.
Beyond the mess of your current circumstance is a miracle. It will be received when you make yourself vulnerable to the very people who have the most power to hurt you. It comes when you no longer care about maintaining an image or reputation and you hunger for freedom and victory more than the accolades of man.
The magic happens when you let go of trying to find your own solution and you surrender to the power of the Almighty to bring about victory in a way that restores and elevates you.
All of creation is waiting to do you good.

Caribbean elections will be won or lost with Social Media, says Media Strategists

MONTSERRAT/UK – Two digital media strategists believe that how Caribbean political parties use social media in the coming years will impact their chances at the polls come Election Day. Nerissa Golden of Goldenmedia and Ursula Barzey of Moxee Marketing say over the next 18 months more than 10 Caribbean countries and Overseas Territories will be heading to the polls to elect new governments, and not including a definitive social media strategy in their campaign could mean a loss of power for incumbents to parties prepared to win by any means necessary.

Nerissa Golden is a media strategist and business coach based on Montserrat.
Nerissa Golden is a media strategist and business coach based on Montserrat.

“Social media has become the most immediate and affordable means of communicating. While Caribbean governments have initiated the use of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, there is this sense that it is to follow a trend without understanding it is the space in which the electorate will deliberate on whether they want to reelect the same team or put new people in power. The present governments have been in power for four or more years and within that time, the power and influence of social media in the region has been amplified significantly. This means you can’t use it on the fly hoping for the best but be very intentional about the goal,” explained Golden, the author of Like. Follow. Lead: Mastering Social Media for Small Business.

According to Internet World Stats, the Caribbean has an estimated 13,480,693 Internet users as of June 2012, with 6,674,100 using Facebook – the most dominant social platform with over 1.15 billion active members. Facebook remains the most popular platform for Caribbean nationals with Twitter in second place. The nation of St. Kitts & Nevis was found to have the highest internet usage for the region with more than 79% of residents online, according to World Development Indicators.

Ursula Barzey, who recently launched the luxury brand portal Caribbean & Co., said in 2004 Barack Obama, then a long shot candidate for the US Presidency, developed an effective online/digital campaign which made heavy use of social media. They repeated and expanded their social media campaign with his second run for office, which was again successful.

However, as most candidates won’t have the financial backing or extended team like President Obama, they should consider a few things before campaigning on social media.

Ursula Barzey heads Moxee Marketing, a digital media company based in the UK.
Ursula Barzey heads Moxee Marketing, a digital media company based in the UK.The strategists suggest that political parties should ask and answer the following questions:

1. Do we have the required expertise to launch an effective social media campaign?

“A poorly executed social media campaign can do more harm than good,” says Barzey. “Having someone on their team who actually understands how to use online/digital marketing tools effectively is critical. With that person in place, two things should then happen. First, the entire team should be briefed/trained on what’s required to effectively implement social media as part of the campaign. With that training complete, the online strategy should be enhanced to include social media.”

“Being on social media doesn’t preclude maintaining a traditional website and other communication mediums, adds Barzey. “As the campaign trail heats up, all related content should be curated on the website, and then shared via social media. Curating on the candidates own website ensures that potential voters and donors can easily learn more about the candidate and their positions on the issues. Also journalists and bloggers covering the campaign have a reference point for background information.”

2. Which social media sites should we be on?

“Maintaining a successful presence on social media sites means being an active participant. It’s not just about pushing the candidates’ message out but being responsive to queries from voters and journalists,” notes Golden. “To ensure that it doesn’t become overwhelming, the social media manager should launch on the two main social media sites: Facebook and Twitter which are massive hangouts for potential voters, donors, journalists, and bloggers. Add YouTube to the mix for showcasing video recordings of political speeches, statements, campaign rallies and campaign advertisements. With an expanded team, candidates can consider establishing on other social media sites like Instagram and Flickr for images.”

The more platforms you add, the more support you will need, the strategists agreed.

3. What is the message to be communicated and how often?

“It’s important that the social media presence for candidates remain active throughout the campaign. So don’t just build up to the launch and then go quiet. Create a content/social media calendar for distributing the campaign message consistently via social media channels. Also, be part of the conversation and remember that once you place something on social media, you really can’t take it back even if you delete. This means, the person assigned to communicating the campaign message must be polished but also personable,” Barzey says.

4. How will the campaign handle a crisis?

“In an ideal world, things will go smoothly with the campaign and there will be no gaffes or scandals to speak of. However, social media can sometimes make a mountain out of a mole hill, so candidates need to be ready with a plan of action to move the conversation along and ideally back on message. That all starts with being empathetic and responsive,” says Golden. “You don’t ignore a negative comment, see it as an opportunity to engage in positive dialogue to clarify your position as the problem solver.”

Golden also recommends that politicians not overlook the Diaspora Effect. “Although they cannot vote in local elections, family and friends in the Diaspora can be a major influence in deciding who will win. The Diaspora use social media consistently to search, share and celebrate what is happening at home, often before many on the ground are aware. If they are able to grab the passion and purpose of a candidate and share that message within their network, the result is that those at home will give consideration to the officials whose names and images come up more consistently and effectively in the spaces where they spend the most time, which is online.”

Both strategists recommend that campaigns should have both a party platform as well as social accounts for each candidate. The individual pages should reflect the brand and message of the party but present a more personal look at the candidate running for office. These personal pages should then follow the politician into office.

Follow Nerissa Golden @trulygolden and Ursula Barzey @MoxeeMarketing on Twitter for social media tips.

I’m their Mother, Not their Father

orphans2I’ve been highly annoyed today as I am right before Father’s Day every year. Maybe it’s because I get the inevitable discussions with my children about their absent father, which requires honesty and lots of diplomacy. Maybe it’s mommy guilt for not being able to do all that I want to for them. Mostly its the Happy Father’s Day greetings I get from well-meaning friends who are trying to say that I’m both mother and father to my children.

Truth is. I am their mother and I am not their father. I can never be no matter how many light bulbs I change or soccer games I sit through.

Even if I wanted to say I was both mother and father my children know this is not true. They are very aware that their father is missing. Not just physically but spiritually.

You see fatherhood is much more than the supplying of money or the man in the house. It is a spiritual connection and calling that many men seem to miss. This is why there can be a man in the home and children still feel abandoned.

Thankfully God has promised to be a father to those who have no father. He can teach men who want to be better fathers how to accomplish that. He enables our children, though fatherless, to live complete lives as He fills those spaces which yearn for a father’s spiritual connection.

If fatherhood or motherhood were just physical acts then many of us would fail as we can never measure up or provide everything our children may need in their natural lives. But when we include the spiritual element that we give and is essential for their growth, then it balances out and in fact supersedes the limitations we have in the physical.

God’s promise to my children is that He will be their father. He will father those abandoned or orphaned. He does it in a way that allows us to continue being the best mothers we want to be for our children. It is a full-time job wanting to be a good mother and I have no desire to add to that by trying to be two people instead of one.

So to all the fathers out there Happy Father’s Day.