Tag Archives: African American

A Conversation with Zahn Patin, Founder of Comprehensive Solutions Inc.

I grew up on the notorious west side of Chicago where walking down the street exposes you to random violence and stray bullets. There seems to be a race to death. Between gang pressures, the lure of drug life, and police brutality, a child’s path to success is riddled with societal landmines. I appreciate the “safe places” I had growing up. Church, Vacation Bible School, Upward Bound, and Metro Achievement Center for Girls, were all safe havens where I could focus on learning and developing as a young woman. These educators chose to affect the future of children out of an internal desire to see excellence thrive in the next generation.

Zahn Patin
Zahn Patin, founder of Comprehensive Solutions, Inc.

Zahn Patin is impacting the lives of students as a successful business woman and founder of the nonprofit Comprehensive Solutions, Inc.  Zahn’s program provides a unique approach to addressing the gap in traditional education and the skills needed for personal success in college or the employment field. It is a pleasure to introduce her you.

 

 

  1. What is your business and what unique value do you provide to your customers?

My business is Comprehensive Solutions Inc. and we are a non-profit organization founded to develop unique academic and social enrichment programs that serve students, parents, and educators.

We fill a gap for middle-class families who need academic support services normally only accessible to wealthy families or households with low-incomes. Our programs are focused on engaging students to explore their purpose and allow that purpose to guide their academic career as they pursue personal success.

What are you passionate about? How does your passion help you with your current business?

I used to think I was passionate about education, because I love to teach and learn, but now I would say I am passionate about helping people find the light. The light to me is a game-changer. The light means; truth, knowledge, and information–a formal recognition of power over one’s circumstance—emancipation.

My passion motivates me to create an environment where the light it is the priority. I aim to encourage staff and volunteers to be the light to the students who we serve. To be an example of love, patience, and joy so even if the kids don’t experience that in their home lives, they can see it in us. In my direct work with families, I try to empower parents to get involved and explore their child’s interests and further assist him or her along the path to find the light. When I get frustrated, I remind myself that God created out of love but He destroyed out of frustration. I try to let that truth guide me in my decision-making and business activities and operate out of love / light.

2. What are some of the unique challenges you face? What will you need to combat these challenges?

One of our biggest challenges is that we sell something that most American parents don’t think they need–education. Parents assume by virtue of school attendance, their kids are learning. They are unaware of policies designed to mislead them into thinking their child’s school education is adequate. So even with scholarships and financial assistance, getting parents to actually sign up and show up is a hurdle.

In order to combat this challenge, we have to educate parents on the harsh realities of the school system and its effects on their child’s status as a key stakeholder. In addition to advertising about these facts, our podcast, scheduled to launch in August, will address some of these topics and raise awareness so that we can reach more kids in the future.

3. How do define fear? How do you deal with fear?

Fear is a device designed to delay execution of purpose–usually, based on a lie. Also masked as logic, risk aversion, or having too many advisors.

I have learned that sometimes I have to jump up and do things immediately, before I talk myself out of it. I deal with fear by praying and reminding myself of God’s track record in my life. ‘I cast down anything that rises itself up against truth’ (God’s Word). I try to think about why I am afraid, and then address that issue specifically with the Word. It’s a process, but it’s gotten me this far.

4. What would you do/try if you are guaranteed to succeed?

That’s an interesting question. There are a few ideas unrelated to this business that I would love to be successful financially. Oddly, in this particular venture, I believe I am guaranteed to succeed but by unconventional metrics. In this business success is that all men be saved/shown the truth. In 2016, I wanted to launch summer camp but it fell apart for several reasons. I was devastated, embarrassed, and angry with God etc. I prayed and said, I know YOU told me to do this. Why didn’t YOU make it work? He said, you prayed to have no stain on the organization and the rental agreement/insurance would have caused a stain. I accepted that and moved on. Then God allowed me to learn that folks who’d attended the staff training were motivated and excited about their role to be the light in their classrooms and schools. Co-workers who I’d invited to fast and pray with me were like I haven’t prayed that much in years or I’ve never fasted before. I was like, Ahhh I see it. I recognized ‘the light’ at work and realized that it was never about me being ‘successful’ by traditional metrics; this was about His purpose prevailing. If I aim for that, I will be successful every time.

5. What message would you give your 18-year-old self that would prepare you for what you are doing today?

You have a very real enemy, but you have already won as long as you choose to fight. Do not doubt–your purpose is worth fighting for.

6. What new things do you have on the horizon?

As I continue to grow the non-profit organization, I am working on building up my consulting business, as well as some family businesses, and a video game. In the non-profit world I am excited about piloting the Ally program in the fall of 2018. It’s really the brainchild on which the organization was founded, and I think it will prove to be highly effective in its out-of-the box approach to nurturing intrinsic learning behaviors in elementary school students.

7. How can interested parties get in contact with you?

Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/zahn-patin-6993307/ and I’d be happy to exchange info there.

 

You can check out the foundation and summer camp at the links below:

You Say You Want A Resolution

It is that time again. A new year is upon us. The Mayan apocolypse was a bust. Our planet is still spinning on its axis as God intended. Before it makes another full revolution around the sun, what do I hope to accomplish?

I resolve to live my life in the present. I no longer want to time travel expecting my life to be perfect at some future moment or event. My life is perfect now. I have my health and strength, my mom and family, friends and work. I truly lack nothing.

It is time for me to enjoy it. A friend of mine went to Paris. I have taken french for about 6 years and have dreamed of France. She brought me back some chocolate and an Eiffel Tower key chain. The gift reminded me that is time to make my dreams the reality.

I have completed my book. It is time to edit that bad boy and get it published.

I am leaving all crushes in the past. Remember my Confessions of a Serial Crusher. That teenage stuff is for the birds. My 2013 in based in reality – waking up.

I am realistically controlling the food I put in my mouth and the exercise of my body.

I am being honest about my feelings regardless of the response.

I am making money at every opportunity. No risk, no reward.

I am defining and enforcing all boundaries.

I will wear a red dress at least once a month AND some signature red lipstick.

I am going to chill and just be.

What about you? Please leave a comment or tweet me or Facebook me.

Why Would Anyone Want To Marry You?

The idea of marriage and finding the man of destiny that God has chosen for us, is a revisited conversation topic for me and my single friends. In fact, yesterday, I had quite an interesting conversation, in which a friend said that marriage is not your ministry when I have heard the message preach that marriage is exactly that – a ministry. Given the current environment of conflicting ideas and expectations, I was unexpectedly challenged in my idea of what a marriage mate is by an article someone posted on Facebook from Relevant Magazine, "You Never Marry the Right Person."

Yes, sometimes Facebook actually yields something thought provoking.

The gist of the article is that we expect too much from another person. We want someone to be perfect and fulfill our emotional/sensual needs while never expecting much from us in return. That person should just be perfect while accepting our crusty flawed selves. Yes, I mean crusty.

Another idea posed in the article is that it is impossible to find the perfect mate because marriage fundamentally changes who were are. When you enter into a marriage, you are learning to love a new person and therin lies the rub. 

I was talking to a guy and he was detailing what he expects/likes in a woman. What he wants is not unrealistic but did have a tinge of I want you to be more wholesome than I have to be. Having just watched an old Eddie Murphy stand up, I shied away from the knee-jerk reaction to snap my fingers and roll my neck all the while yelling, "and what about you?!" lol

The author of the article actually articulates in an analogous to the Bible sort of way how we need to love like Christ loves us. We are epically flawed yet eternally loved in Christ, right? Why cannot we love another flawed individual without the expectation of perfection on their part and not ours?

Interesting idea, no?

 

 

My Very First Vision Board Party

This Saturday was the big bonanza! Yes, I am confident enough to type bonanza in reference to my party. My Vision Board Party 2012 was an overwhelming success.

For all who are not familiar with vision boarding, it is the concept of putting your dreams and goals for yourself in a physical and visual format. What you see, you can ask, believe and receive.I know a lot of secular people may associate vision boarding with some new age philosophy but this is biblical.

"And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it." Habakkuk 2:2

Many of us have dreams and great thoughts but we never put pen to paper and run. I am running now.

 We started the afternoon with lunch. Next, we participated in a short exercise designed to help focus on what we really want out of life. I asked a series of ten questions and we all had fifteen seconds or less to complete them.

The questions included things like:

  1. What makes you smile?
  2. If you were a teacher of anything, what would you teach?
  3. What activities, when doing them, make you lose track of time?

With our minds freshly stirred, we began cutting out words, phrases and pictures from magazines and posting them on our boards.

No board was actually finished by the end of the party but we all went a away with a great start.

The best part of the afternoon was the conversation. It was nice to have a supportive environment to share your dreams out loud. This group of women is exceptionally talented. God is truly amazing bringing us all together.

My lesson of the day:

I have some extremely, smart, beautiful and talented friends.

Some pics from the event. I forgot to have someone take my picture 😦 I did take one of my board. It is the black one.

PsBoard
SsBoard
Mine
LsBoard

Jsboard1
Board
Yboard

 

In Dating – I Want A Little Magic

A chance encounter. A fateful event. Something to indicate that we (whoever that other part of we is) are destined to be. Is that crazy?

Don't answer that.

A friend of mine jokes that I am like the character Sara Thomas in the movie Serendipity. She is all like, Felicia, the stars have to align and the heavens open as sign that he (whoever that he is) is the one. Ok, really? I get her point. I am not so delusional as to think the stars will literally align and the sun shine down on the forehead of my intended but I do have to admit, I want a little magic.

I used to be really bad at the Lord-is-this-a-sign-itis. I would literally, mid-conversation- stare intently at a guy and ask – Lord is he the one. I am sure all of those guys thought I was crazy. lol Maybe I am a little bit. I mean, I was a smart kid. I paid attention in school. Completed my MBA – yada, yada, and the yada. So, I am capable of learning. Yet, no one has ever taught me how to date. I truly suck at it. I always, always, always get my signals crossed. If I project friendship, I get love letters. If I project interest, I get the "you're the bomb.com" line from Just Wright.

Serendipity

I blame my mother! lol Isn't easy just to blame our parent(s). I distinctly remember a guy that would come by and visit me when I was like fifteen or something. It was so very benign. We would sit on my front porch and chat. Well, one day my mom was out there and this guy gets the courage to ask my mom if he could take me to the movies. To which, my mom replies, "I don't think she is ready for that." Point. Blank. Period.

I was MORTIFIED. So much so that I told him he should probably stop coming around. Overreacted much? You betcha. I have always been a bit emotional but the guy I did end up with, never asked her squat. He just would sneak around when she was at work.

Parents, smh.

Fast forward today and I am still mentally on that porch waiting. Wow, that was like the saddest line I have ever written, lol. I have to get off of the stupid porch, for heavens sake! But, how? Be more practical, I guess.

I am not saying that I am growing cynical;  maybe a little more, dare I say it, practical. Even as I type this, I still hope – just a bit – for a little magic.

I’m Melting, Melting! Oh What A World!

It is day 18 0f my 30 in 30 days of no eating out. Man am I feeling. . .SUPER. Someone told me today that I am MELTING! I put on a pair of pants that would not come past my thighs a few weeks earlier. Yes, people, I am melting.

As the old me – the tired, overweight, unsatisfied me- melts away, a newer, bolder me emerges. God is amazing in how he orchestrates things. This entire journey started with The Daniel Fast. The results were so stark – I lost weight, looked better, could sleep without burning acid reflux. Others around me were beginning healthy journeys, as well, providing support and accountability.

 

Weightloss

 

It all felt great and then a compliment, visible results. What can be more motivational?

I have added jogging to my workout routine which now consists of Danceaton classes 2-3 times per week. Felt so great today, I did both.

Will you join me? How can we keep each other inspired and motivated? I am eager to hear your thoughts.

Single, Saved and Social – No Easy Feat

This week has been trying physically, let me tell you. I have been subjected to mandatory overtime, while trying to maintain my amped up workouts and developing a social life. All of this has left me T.I.R.E.D.

Had to steal away and pray.

My social calendar this week – dinner with a friend, out to the Beamers again (my friend had free buffet passes) and a writer's workshop. Not too hectic until you throw in a ten hour work day that starts at 6:30 am. Try as I might, I just cannot enjoy Beamers, I am sorry. I know we went at "dinnertime" and left before it turned into a ""club but it still feels like a club when I am there. I still feel out of place.

My friend who went with me last week said to me, "Girl, that last man who asked you to dance was cute, something must be wrong with you."

BettyBoop

Yes, I am saved. I am trying to find a balance between being social and meeting people and staying in God's will and before you roll your eyes and dismiss my comment, please read on.

I bought this really cute dress, specifically for going out and being social. When I was trying it on, the dressing room attended states, "Ohh that is cute but if you're going out it needs to be shorter." I decide to not to be me for a while and take her advice. Let me tell you, when I walked through the door, men were just kinda drawn to me or it. lol The dress is form fitted black lace with a nude slip. In the right light it probably looks as if the wearer is naked when actually everything is pretty much covered up. Pair that with some five inch heels and you have got yourself a brick house. lol The illusion is grand.

I had not sat down five minutes when a guy buys me a drink and this is after I say, "No, thank you." I give the drink to one of the ladies I am with. That "man", that my friend mentioned,  was kinda all over me. He asks me to dance, we talk a bit, and I brush him off. He leaves. Later on in the night he comes back and is a bit more aggressive – respectful but aggressive. It gave me the creeps. lol.

I have tried, against my internal hesitation, to do the Single's Ministry thing. I have found that to be lacking in so many areas – poorly planned and executed. I have tried being more open and even tolerating people, behavior, and attitudes that I would have dismissed in a heartbeat in an effort to be more social. Trust me, I have a low threshold for untoward behavior. Yet, I tolerate more. I have been told that I am mean and dismissive. I actively try not to be those things.

The things that I enjoy are a bit more cerebral – museums, plays, writing, traveling, PBS, like-minded people, my family, good music, and dance class. Not exactly activities for casual meeting of strangers.

The honest truth is, when I was out, I felt dishonest. I am not the woman that dress and heels projected. I want to meet someone being me – nerd glasses, afro and all. The man I want to want me has to know that I am more than a big butt and a smile. Trust me that dress I was wearing was a total big butt and smile kinda dress. lol

What is a single, saved girl to do when trying to be social?

Think I Will Buy A Cat and Call Her Fe-Fe

I went to Beamers with a friend. It was supposed to be this great buffet for $5.00. It ended up being a camouflaged club but I had on a cute dress and high heels so I was gonna make the best of it.

#underwhelmed

The music was too loud, the people  a little too extra. Chris Rock has a standup bit in which he states he got married so that he would not be the old man in the club, not really old, just too old to be in the club. O. M. Bananas there were so many old men there. I just kept willing myself to enjoy myself but the whole environment was making me uncomfortable.

 My coworker later lamented that I kept saying no to every guy that approached me. As soon as I sit down, this guy offers to but me a drink. He proceeds to go get one after I politely declined. I end up giving it to my friend's cousin. This other guy practically begged me to dance and I simple stated no thank you like a million times. He had a nice smile but he seemed like he had lived half his life in a club, starting out when they used to be called juke joints. 

I know I am just a church girl who just does not fit in in those type of environments no matter how I try. I just kept thinking that what I want/need is definitely not sitting in here.

Catwhite

So, why did I even go? I just wanted to experience what others were telling me was the place to meet and mingle. It seemed benign enough from their descriptions. I wanted to silence the audible fears that others were blaring at me.

'Felicia, you have to get out and meet people."

"Felicia, there isn't a perfect man out there."

"Felicia, you have to compromise."

Argh!! Felicia has had enough.

This weekend, I will visit a pet store or rescue shelter. I am going cat shopping. I want something in all white. I will name her Fe-fe.

 

I Don’t Wanna Be Joan!

My faithful readers know that I love the now defunct TV show Girlfriends. I wrote a post about. Like to read it? Here it go.

Well, someone today compared me to the main character Joan Clayton and not in a good way. This person – who shall go unnamed because she does not want to be mentioned on my blog – said that, like Joan, I was beautiful, successful, and possessed the inability to find a man due to my unrealistic standards and overall craziness. Can you believe that?

Arnold

I am totally capable of self-analysis and I can admit that I can be a bit dramatic at times but I do not believe I have unrealistic standards.

Okay, truth moment, I do need a lot of attention. I expect a guy who wants me to really show it. I want to come first. I want him to be God-fearing  diseased free, heterosexual, intellectual, financially responsible, over-the- moon about me, love-his-momma-without-being-a-mommas-boy, no-baby-momma-having, Laz Alonso look alike.

Too much?

Okay, I'll take or leave the Laz Alonso part but ugh! Why must I be antagonized for wanting something good? Does not the Bible say that no good thing will He withhold from him who walks upright?

I was watching this episode of Girlfriends on YouTube – don't judge me! In it, Joan messes over a super nice guy and a super fun guy for the exciting guy who was not all that in to her. She went too far and gave too much only to be let down in the end.  I had an epiphany. Oh gosh, I am Joan!

Is not admitting that you have a problem the first step to recovery? I am just still learning how to accept someone's imperfections without accepting less than what I deserve.

 

Don't judge me. Help me! lol

 

 

What Is It With Men and Cars?

Why do men love cars so much? Is it the speed, the shiny paint job? Maybe its the fact that they can tinker with it for hours, never quite fix anything but still feel good about their performance?

Yeah, I don't know either.

I had to go do the whole oil change, inspection sticker thing today. I always go to the same shop because they never try to sell me the line that I need a million other things done and the mechanic is super cute.

So I get there, and super cute mechanic dude is nowhere to be found. Just my luck, I think to myself. I decide to use my time to transcribe some recordings for my article. I am a few minutes in and super cute mechanic walks in. He is all smiles per usual and asks about what I am doing. It's extra cute because he gets all nervous and says, "Are you doing school work for your job?" He laughs and clears it up and a conversation ensues. He asks about where I went to school and I hesitate a minute. I hate this part right here. Cue Pussycat Dolls. I then go ahead and tell him where I went to undergrad/grad.

Conversation stops.

LeSigh

This always happens. When I tell a guy (African American guy) my college credentials he seems to get intimidated. Like this dude's whole demeanor changes. He starts stuttering a bit as if he is scared he may say something stupid. So, I put down my recorder and laptop and try to spark the conversation again but I can tell that the spark had dissipated.

He did, however, fix my battery terminal for free. When I asked him what did I owe, he simply smiled and said, "just make sure you have a great day."

Le sigh.