The Connecting Project: Chidinma’s Education Fund

As a former teacher and a lover of education, I believe everyone deserves a chance to be in a classroom. I also believe that since dreams come true everyone should dream big. My friend, Precious Ugwumba, is raising funds to send Chidinma to university in Nigeria. Admission into higher education institutions is very difficult but this young lady beat the odds and got accepted. She’s ready to make changes!

Precious has raised $600 out of $1000. Help her reach her goal!

Click on the pic for more info.2718532_1417572776.631



The Connecting Project: Tag, You’re It!

My gratitude starts as soon as my eyes open.  I am grateful that I am awake. I am grateful I have a home. I am grateful for my cat, Lita, that wakes me up to remind me to feed her ASAP!!!!

If you need a jump start into gratitude, the Arise Tag Challenge is perfect. My friend, Jamaal Thomas, explains how to express your gratitude in three different ways. The attitude of gratitude will lift you up whenever you feel yourself slipping! Trust me.

Click on pic to learn more! Actually. Tag, YOU’RE IT!


Follow @jamaalthomas

IG: jt_inspiration

Pinterest: jt_inspiration

The Connecting Project: Erica Simone is a Shooting Star

form_ericasimone_41Erica is a photographer that sees the soul of her subjects through her lens. As she says, her purpose “to render all things beautiful: both physically and spiritually, and to put a smile on people’s faces”. When Erica isn’t travelling the world capturing amazing shots, she teaches at-risk teens photography with Shooting Stars.

Check out her website and her indiegogo campaign!

The Connecting Project: QuErica Does It All

Erica Lasan is a video host, jewelry designer, writer, philanthropist. When she isn’t bringing the underground above ground on QuErivca TV, she is also raising funds to send art supplies to children in Brazil, Cuba and Panama! You can click on the below image to become a subscriber as you can visit her site to learn more about her greatness!


IG/Twitter: @EricaLasan


The Connecting Project: Watt: You Power

5473bb39641d5_d558616523579de169492f66a2392703Sometimes it’s just best to use the words of the person who is bringing the awareness to their cause. Kenyanna Silverman-Maddox brings light to the situation:

I recently learned that 600 million people in Africa live without access to electricity, and this Hannuka and Christmas I’ve decided to do something to help.
I’ve started an Innovation: Africa campaign to help bring solar energy to a community in need, and to reach my goal, I’m going to need your help!

Donate to my page, and together we’ll make this holiday season brighter for families around the world:

Every little bit counts. Thanks for your support!

With Love,

Visit her page by clicking HERE.

The Connecting Project: Allverse “When One Succeeds, We All Succeed!”

6d6a60ac0f1ac9b0d0f8290ce5a53609Truth be told, I know two of the founders of this great organization. Neonu Jewell and Marc Christmas are two power house players who believe that everyone has the potential to be their best. They have been instrumental in my own life over the last couple of months with their passion and support. Definitely check out their consulting firm, Allverse Consulting that includes Life Coaching, Small & Medium Business Advisory Services, Personal Life Coaching.

The Connecting Project: 16 Days of People Doing Interesting Things

UntitledJust in case you didn’t get the memo, there’s 10 days till Christmas and 16 until the end of the year. Egads!

This has been such a great year for me in terms of giving back and all the cool stuff that people are doing. I learned about new platforms of giving as well as wonderful organizations that are doing some terrific work. So I decided that starting today until the end of the year, I am going to share information about organizations that my friends are connected to in order to bring awareness to their causes. I am also going to share some of their projects that may be of interest to you.
First up is ME! My personal charities are the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation for which I am participating in the Climb for the Cause and God’s Love We Deliver for which I have been volunteering. I will be climbing 66 flights of stairs in Rockefeller Center in March. If you would like to join my team or would like to support the cause, I’d love you on board. You can read my story on The Good News Project called Following My Dreams Through the Valley of the Shadow of MS.
I have also been delivering food for God’s Love We Deliver. It just happened to be the worst days we have experienced weather wise here in New York City. However, how lucky am I to be able to walk and be of service when others are sick and home bound. That’s what I kept fresh in my mind when I was knocking on doors and chatting with these wonderful people.
Happy Holidays!

The Eternal Space (endorsed by Kickstarter)

As always many thanks for supporting my projects over the years. It has gotten to the point that I am now being asked to be on production teams for upcoming projects that aren’t my own. This is great as it means that I choose the project that really moves me.

My upcoming project is Justin Rivers’ The Eternal Space about the demolition of Penn Station on October 28, 1963. What connected be to this project is that I am a hardcore New Yorker who lives for the history of this amazing city.  Grand Central Station and many other historic buildings are still standing as a result of the creation of the Landmark Preservation – created in response to the many losses especially Penn Station.

Simply, I am asking for you to join our campaign. Our goal is $20K!

What’s really awesome is that Kickstarter, the actual organization, donated to our campaign which is a huge endorsement about how much they love the project. We are also one of their featured shows in Theatre. 

Please take a moment to visit our page by clicking HERE

The Eternal Space Brings the Old Penn Station Back to LifeThe Eternal Space Brings the Old Penn Station Back to Life's video poster

To Russia with Love: Nicole Kontolefa’s Journey

about nicoleWhen I became a contributing writer for The Write Teacher(s), I knew I wanted to stretch myself with my writing and my topics. My hope over the next year is to visit other cities outside New York City with the intention of seeing theatre. So far I have been lucky to meet many artists who have performed abroad. Since I Am Me is opening this weekend, I wanted to share my article with you.

Originally published on September 11, 2014 on The Write Teacher(s).


Happy Fall, Friends!

This month we travel east of Edinburgh to Moscow.  My friend, Nicole Kontolefa, is performing her one woman show, I Am Me, in two languages – English and Russian.  It’s a site unspecific one woman show that she developed in Russia. Nicole Kontolefa  was born and raised in NYC and is a graduate of the only American Class of the Moscow Art Theater. She is the managing director and a founding member of Studio Six Theater Company – the sixth studio to be born out of the Moscow Art Theater School. Nicole also performs with other theater companies, performance artists and is developing new solo performances. Her favorite places to play have been at The Chekhov International Theater Festival, Baryshnikov Arts Center and the New Stage of The Moscow Art Theater.

My knowledge of Russia is very basic: the history I learned in school, the wonderful community in Brighton Beach, and Stanislavksi and Chekov. I studied at the Actor’s Studio Drama School where the core of their MFA program is presented by Stanislavski‘s books, An Actor Prepares, Building A Character and Creating a Role. As a young and inexperienced artist (specifically, director), I was so hungry to learn the roots of  “The Method” formerly known as the “System”. As I allowed myself to be immersed in this new world,  I fell in love with the short stories of Anton Chekhov. I wanted to visit and actually had a passing thought of visiting Moscow. Now that I am writing about theatre for Beyond Broadway and my circle of international artists is getting bigger, I want to know more and want to share it with everyone. Nicole was eager to share her experiences with me.

Malini: Nicole, what is the theatre scene like in Moscow? How does it differ from the US in your experience?

Nicole: It is very vibrant and robust I would say. There is a lot of theater going on all the time. The biggest difference I would say is that while in America the playwright is often the deciding factor for seeing a show,  in Russia it is the director. Theater is a director’s medium there so you can get imaginative and wildly different stagings of the same play going on at the same time just across town from each other. Also, the repertory system allows plays to live longer. A great production can run in rep for years. As an actor it’s amazing because one night you’re doing Shakespeare the next Chekhov the next a contemporary play – it keeps you on your toes and allows shows to grow over time. My class played Our Town once or twice a month for two years and by the end of that run, the show was more rich and alive than anything we else we had done. This is feedback I got from someone who saw it at the beginning of its run and then saw the very last show.

Malini: Your show, I Am Me, was written by  Alexandra Chichkanova who was from Nizhny Tagil but lived in Yekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains region. Were you able to visit other cities in Russia and explore?

Nicole: I have been to St. Petersburg to perform – a beautiful city and Kolumna – a pretty small city to perform as well. Pretty similar differences as when you travel to big and small cities here. People are a bit more welcoming and exciting when you come to their small town. I met an acquaintance in Yekaterinburg this June when I was there and she was just so surprised to be seeing an American friend in her home town. Moscow is definitely very different than the rest of the country. Maybe that’s why I felt at home there though. Like New York – it is not a quintessential example of the culture but it still is a big driving force in the country. I’m not sure that makes sense…. I also did the Trans-Siberian railroad through Siberia down into Mongolia into Beijing. Amazing trip. Amazing trip  to Lake Baikal and feel the great expanse of the country.

Malini: Did you get a sense that theatre and the Arts are an important part of the culture?

Nicole: Yes. Absolutely. And importantly, for artists I think, it is a respected and appreciated profession. It is not looked down on as a selfish or capricious pursuit. It is considered great and important work to be an artist. I rarely feel that way here outside of creative circles. I think it leads to an insulated creative community. And that stinks!

I am finding that the more I talk to artists who have worked beyond our borders, the more I am really yearning to take a year off and do a world road trip. I even wrote a blog about it. Are any of you performing in Prague in the near future?

Visit Coming Soon right here on The Write Teacher(s)’ site for more info.

Live, Love, Learn,

Malini & The Write Teacher(s)

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