I had the wonderful opportunity to be in the midst of a wonderful group of women.

The ages ranged from 22 to 92. The 92-year-old, needless to say, was full of wisdom. She spoke of how her career didn’t begin until she was 55 years old, and since then she has retired five times from five different jobs.

A 24-year-old told of how she was so worried because after having gone to school for so many years, she wanted to take a year off before going to law school but was afraid people would say that “she wasn’t serious” about her career if she took a year off. Of course, the rest of the women who were listening were all over that one.

I admit I was the first to tell her, girl, you can’t worry about what other people say or think, you must do what’s in your heart, what’s most important to you. Others reminded her that most professions actually prefer that you have a little real-life experience whether it is for school, work or play. This is especially so when it comes to law school, as the law is applied to real-life experiences–believe it or not, it’s not all textbook.

There was another young lady who traveled back to Kenya to find her long-lost father and actually found him, while another was about to embark on a trip to Trinidad, to find her roots. Bottom line, it was a good time to share, hear, support and encourage.

As always these days, the conversation eventually turned to what we are going to do about our youth, who act out their state of hopelessness by shooting one another. All of my weekly followers–and I know there are a lot of you out there–know this topic is high on my list of priorities. One of the elders in the group stated that in her opinion, the reason why the young men (and women) behave so violently is because they are broken. Broken in spirit, broken in dreams, just plain broken and in despair. Of course, they would never admit this because maybe they can’t articulate it in this fashion. But, if you believe that man is inherently good, then maybe this is a plausible explanation. Having said that, we still need to resolve what we going to do about it; and this is a serious question.

There was another mother there, who, with tears streaming from her eyes, told of how her son was expelled from a private boarding school. She wondered where she had failed. Hey, let’s be clear, being the “only one,” is not easy. This is especially so when you are in an environment that doesn’t support your values, your culture and some of the people are downright mean-spirited.

I gave her son credit for finally standing up and refusing to take it anymore. Yeah, he has to repeat his junior year. Yeah, mom spent a lot of money and yeah, it doesn’t particularly look good on his record. The flip side is, he freed himself from a humiliating situation designed to break his spirit, douse his dreams and make him feel less than a man. Having taken a stand, both mom and son are now free to pursue a nurturing environment without compromising who they are at the core. A year from now, I’m sure they will see–as my mom always says–“Even when things seem their worst, it’s usually for the best.”

It was rise and shine for the Mitchells as we packed the car (to the gills) and headed for the hills to Stowe, Vt., to attend the wedding of Anders Ferguson to Nancy Richards. The eight-hour ride was well worth the trip. Vermont is covered in pine trees and fresh air. Known for its ski resorts, Stowe has some of the steepest ski slopes I have ever seen and could never imagine someone skiing down them. However, summertime was equally entertaining. We were able to spend time canoeing on the reservoir and driving through those hairy, scary mountainsides.

The wedding celebration began with a barbecue held under a big white tent, decorated with tiny starlights. The next day was picture perfect, with the sun beaming down upon the happy couple and the enchanting, rolling mountains serving as a backdrop. Really romantic.

The West 118th Street Cultural Association 2012 Health Fair was such a blast. Neither rain, thunder nor wind could slow it down and dampen the spirit of all of those in attendance. It was such a success that a special shout-out of thanks as to be given to all of the vendors. It couldn’t have been done without the help and support of the following: Met Council, American Cancer Society, Harlem Hospital Center, Metropolitan Hospital Center and Metro Plus Health Plan,

American Cancer Foundation, Cross-town Foot Specialist, Lift The Bronx, Voter Registration, Sydenham Clinic, Can To Hoops, Met Life, NYC Hunger Free, Ms. P’s Hair Salon, Lee’s Lee Bakery, Walk It Out “Taking Strides Towards Senior Fitness”, Soho Pediatric, Papa John’s Pizza, Harlem Shambles, Fine Supermarket (116th Street and Lenox), C-Town 116 (8th Avenue) , the 118th Street residents, residents of the Rosa Parks Houses, Harlem United, Harlem Tavern, Manna’s Restaurant, Community Garden Harlem NY, Seeds to Soil, and all of the volunteers.

Moving a little further downtown, deep into the heart of the Lower East Side, plans are currently underway for the “Lowline Project.” Lowline you say, what’s that? Well, it has nothing to do with a neckline or hemline but with a new underground public park that is being developed. Plans to transform a 60-year-old abandoned trolley terminal beneath Delancey Street into what can only be described as a subterranean public park are currently underway and fundraisers are popping up everywhere, even as we speak, to fund the project. Co-founded by Dan Barasch and James Ramsey, the Lowline will be environmentally and ergonomically friendly, but of course. Its high tech, space age design will use solar technology to not only light the space but also enable trees and other foliage to grow. And what would a project be without a T-shirt and other Lowline paraphernalia to promote the cause? To get yours and learn more, visit thelowline.org.

In closing, yes, we did venture south of Vermont, diagonally through the state of New Hampshire, across the border of Massachusetts, through the city of Boston and straight into Woods Hole, all in time to catch a 6 a.m. ferry into Martha’s Vineyard. Forgive me if I can’t begin to bring the MV flavor to you tonight as for now I’m just a tad bit too weary; but I promise to take notes and bring it to you all next week.

Until next week … kisses.