October 25

Up, Up, and Away!



This has been a trying week, as is often the case for many of us; young and old.  Sometimes it feels like a rollercoaster ride; one minute you are up and the next minute you are down.  Many may criticize our every move and discourage us by telling us it can’t be done.  We need to remind ourselves that you must stay on the ride and see it to the end.  In order to do that, you may have to face some fears and challenges.  This is all a part of the ride on your way to achieving your dreams.

Last year I found out my father had a hot air balloon ride, on his bucket list, of things he wanted to enjoy.  He would be celebrating his 80th birthday and most would tell him that it was too late for him to achieve this dream.  I disagreed.  One of my older sisters and I bought him two tickets for a balloon ride in Stillwater, MN.  He lives in Iowa so this had to be a well scheduled event.  The balloons cannot fly in bad weather and the fall of 2013 was a year for a lot of bad weather.  Many balloon rides had to rescheduled.  He would be coming to Minnesota for only a short time so we only had one back up date during his visit.  We scheduled the balloon ride and were reminded that it is very seldom people get to ride the first date scheduled.  Well guess what?  We were one of those few cases, that had a picture perfect day, on our scheduled date.  My father was a little nervous but also excited.  If I was prepared to ask him to face this fear to achieve his dream, I was going to have to be prepared to face it with him; I used the second ticket.  My dad, proudly, was able to accomplish the high climb into the basket with his camera in hand.  Others, riding with us, celebrated his  achievement that day.  Together, he and I, were able to float together sharing his dream.  It was amazing!!

Do not let others take away your energy.  I almost gave up many times this week and said it would be just easier to quit.  My father and I could have easily given in to those who said this balloon ride was not possible. 

We can give in to the first challenge or our fear of failure.  Remember, we are all afraid at times and we all face negative people.  Do not give into temptations that put additional obstacles in your way.   I am not telling you to go out and do something dangerous and you must listen to your parents.  I am telling you that it is okay to have dreams even if others tell you it is impossible.  It is also okay and necessary to face your fears of failure, if you are going achieve those dreams.


Kathi Ackerman, MSW, LGSW, LADC

Executive Director, Minnesota D.A.R.E., Inc.





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October 19

Helping Others



I recently read the following quote:

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others.  And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”

–Tenzin Gyatso

In addition to being the Director of the Minnesota D.A.R.E. program, I am also a Medical Social Worker for a Home Health and Hospice program just outside the Minneapolis metro area.  I spend several hours a week assisting people who are severely ill and/or dying.  When I’m asked why I would want to work with the dying, I always answer that it is how I can help others and, in return, they teach me about life.  These patients are looking back on their life much differently than you and I.  They can easily see that their purpose in life is to be there to help others.  These are the positive times that they remember, hold on to, and tell me they will miss.

You can help others too!

When you see others struggling at school; maybe people are bullying, teasing, and harassing them; you can help them.  IF you can’t, “at least don’t hurt them.”  Do not join in.  Do no laugh with the bullies.  If you would just reach out to that student, it would make a world of difference to them and you.  Others will trust you a whole lot more than the bully.

Think how much it would mean to you to have someone reach out to help you and how good you will feel when you do it!

Kathi Ackerman, Executive Director

Minnesota D.A.R.E., Inc.



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October 4

Show Your True Colors!


Did you know that the bright colors of fall are always present in leaves? These colors are hidden by chlorophyll until fall arrives.  In the fall, the days get shorter; as the chlorophyll fades, the hidden colors in a leaf begin to show.  We love to see those true colors!

We sometimes hide our true colors too.  We change who we really are to try to be like we “think” we should be; these ideas hide our colors.  However, we are not all alike.  We each have our own gifts and talents.  Those are the things that come easy to us and are things we love to do.  They make us feel happy.  Just like the colors of the leaves on the trees, they make us feel bright and beautiful.  They make us shine! 

We also need to recognize these gifts and talents in others and accept their true colors.  A true friend will accept you and your true colors.  You cannot change others you can only accept them.  You can only change yourself. 

Show your true colors and DARE to be Amazing!!! 

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