A little about Mario Depeine, Sr.

As an educator I get the opportunity to get a small glimpse of how our society is shaping up. Children come into the classroom with all types of perspectives. A lot of the perspectives are a result of their environment. Some of those perspectives reflect the home life or lack of. Some reflect the street life and some just reflect the media that the children are exposed to.

Middle School children are just starting out in life. You see how their characters and personalities are shaping up. Many can be molded or adjusted easily others are a lot more resistant to change depending on their circumstance.

I work in an urban district. While there I see many interesting and at times disheartening things. Hopefully my experiences as an educator can shed some light on what we can do to better prepare our children for the future.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

T-Mobile, where you used to "Get MORE!"

T-Mobile should get into the banking industry. While the banks are finding ways to strip consumers (very few have the means these days) of any money that they may acquire, T-Mobile seems to be following their lead.

Most banks now use our money and give us "not a dime" in return (interest). They raise our credit card rates to rates higher than "loan sharks" - we're talking rates as high as 25 to 30%. Now it is popular for them to charge 12 to $20 a month because of minimum balance requirements! Where, in this economy, will most people ever come close to maintaining these minimum ($1500 or more) requirements?

Well, now T-Mobile seems to be moving in the direction of the banks. Here is how they are doing it. If your bill is not paid on the expected due date, you get a text message that reads: "Your bill is past due & payment is required to avoid suspension & $20 restore fee per line." $20!!! Wow, with two lines you are charged $40, three lines $60. I pity the customer who has a family plan and has difficulty making the "deadline." Speaking of "deadline," they do even specify the "suspension" date or when you need to pay the bill by to avoid paying the fee. So you can get two warnings and then, BAM. Your monthly bill can be increased by 33, 67 or even 100%. A family plan subscriber can easily double their bill with this new "penalty."

I wonder how many extra millions of dollars per month T-Mobile is making in this very bad economy. Yes, the cell phone is still an optional tool, but increasingly, that is what is being used for most communication these days.

So T-Mobile, is not the company where you "get more." In the past, I did not feel this way, I thought they were great at customer service and making the customer feel important and valued. Their slogan has been changed from "get more" and I have a better understanding of why that is the case. I see them as a company who wants to "take more" from its customers. In this very bad economy, T-mobile is "getting more" from the consumer when it should be looking at how to have even better customer relations by being a little more "reasonable" and sensitive.

What a great thing it is when you work with a business, company or provider which understands the state of the economy and "works" with its customers. They will have that customer for life! That customer will feel like they are working with an organization that has a "heart" and values the business relationship. In T-Mobile's case, it seems that its all about the MONEY!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

BACK TO SCHOOL TIPS for children and parents, a teacher's perspective

Summer vacation is over. Those can be some very sobering and haunting words for a student and at times, a teacher. It means back to work and back to "discipline." Here are some tips for parents who want to help their children to have a constructive, productive and disciplined school year.

Parents, it is your role to prepare your child to be the best "learner" that he or she can be. What you say or don't say to your child will make all the difference in whether he or she is a great or poor student. Your continued input and influence is so critical to your child's success. Don't ever underestimate that. You are a driving force for your child's success. My mother, almost daily, reminded us that "You have to get your education, no one can take it from you once you get it." It was true. She made a tremendous impact on all of us. She is now gone, but her words will always live on in our hearts and in our thoughts.

Quick tips:

1. AUTHORITY: As a parent, decide what your view is of authority. If it is a "negative" one, figure out how you can reconcile them so that you can help your child to "respect" the authorities (teachers, principal, etc.) in his or her life. Without a healthy view of authority, your child will automatically "shut out" those who are there to direct him / her while in school.

2. BE THE ADULT: Don't be so quick to "side" with your child when a conflict comes up. You are the adult. You must remember that children (you were one) have a very limited perspective on life. They would like to have fun, shake off responsibility, and "get away with things." If the teacher calls you in for a conference, it must be important. Try to understand from the teacher, what the issue is. It takes time out of the teacher's schedule to meet with parents, they don't do it "just for fun or to get at a child" as some children try to tell their parents.

3. CONFLICT: If you have a "problem" with the teacher, try to discuss and resolve it as adult to adult. Avoid having your child in the middle of a dispute. That type of situation will just put an unnecessary "burden" on your child. Let your child be the child, you deal with the adult issues. This will help your child to be able to go back to the class and still "learn" from the teacher. Regardless of personality or style issues, the teacher still has a lot to offer your child.

4. BE PRESENT: Make regular (every other week or once a month) visits to the school. Stop in or volunteer to help in the school. Send an email to the teachers and encourage them to send you a "note" if there are any concerns or victories to be shared about your child. Most teachers are there teaching, because, they want to make a difference. They do want your child to succeed.

5. COMMUNICATION: Make it a habit to let your child talk about their school day. Don't just ask questions, let them talk about what was good, funny, unpleasant about the day. Create an atmosphere that lets them feel that it is safe to talk about whatever is happening at school. This way, when other things come up you can have a broader picture of what your child may be experiencing.

6. GADGETS AND GAMES: Decide the amount of time that you will let your child play games, watch television, text, be on the phone, be on Facebook, etc. Wow, I'm exhausted just writing these things down. It must be exhausting trying to keep track of all these things. Remember, you are the adult, you are the parent. You have to set boundaries for your child / children. If you don't, your child will be "lost" in those things and education or learning will be the furthest thing from their minds.

7. GET HELP: Talk to and spend time with people who are getting victories with their children. If you know a parent who has children who are focused and get their work done at school, get input from that parent. It could only help. Speak to "veteran" parents. Learn some good "old fashion" values from the wise parents from "back in the day." It can only help. The point is, talk to people who are WHERE YOU WANT TO BE as a parent. They are good resources. Ask your teachers, especially those who are parents they will tell you what can make a difference. Read a book on parenting. The point is, ask for help!

8. BEDTIME: Set an appropriate bedtime for your child. They need at leas 8 hours of sleep. Don't let them stay up all night doing WHATEVER and then expect them to function at school the next day.

9. HOMEWORK: Help them do the work. If you have difficulty helping them, get help. If you find the homework is overwhelming your child, get help. Talk to their teacher / principal. The point is, do something.

10. INSPIRE: Find ways to inspire your child. Help your child dream of possibilities for the future. Help your child see the benefits of being smart, being intelligent, being a leader. Help your child to develop self-awareness and worth. Help your child understand that as an individual, he or she can make a HUGE DIFFERENCE in the world. Look at videos, read books about people who made a difference in the world. Because, in school, too often, their peers treat them as "uncool" and worthless if they seek to do well and be excellent. Help your child believe that excellence and doing good work can only help him or her to be his / her best for the future.

I leave you with this quote: Train a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (Proverb 22:6)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Racism in America

If you had a meter to measure the "racist" attitudes of the United States of America today, what do you think you would rate it as? If one (1) meant "very little or no racism among the majority of the people" and ten (10) being "a lot of racism among the majority of the people" what would you rate the current "mood" of our nation? A rating of five (5) would me in the middle, neither high nor low.

Are we in America working toward common goals or are there entirely different and opposing agendas at work? Are races of various kinds seeking to understand each other more or are they simply remaining in their respective "corners?" To me racism starts when a culture is primarily dependent and driven on the common appearance (skin color) of a group. The group has an affinity to each other and the members make it a point to engage in similar functions with each other. The more they remain with each other, the more they learn to develop similar language, likes, dislikes, etc. They start to develop a culture, initially based on the skin color and then later on their shared values and experiences. As they interact with each other, they may irrationally believe that the race that "binds" them together is actually superior to the other existing races. The thinking can become one where one may conclude that all that belongs to their race is superior and worthwhile, while the attributes of the other races are inferior, and useless.

Too many people make many assumptions simply on race. One may conclude that if the person is "white" he/she may not want to be with a black person and vice versa. Another may conclude that if a person is black, he/she may "love" hip hop. One may also conclude that if a person is white, he may "hate" hip hop. The list can go on and on. Racism can develop simply from culture that is maintained and driven by a person's identity with a group that has a common skin color or tone.

The reality, however, is no skin color no matter how light or dark intrinsically determines anything about a person's contribution to their society. The culture and what is done with it will determine how much or little a group or groups will contribute negatively or positively to society. A "better America" would result, I believe, if as people, we accept and admit that the race is not so much what defines us but more so the culture that we develop based on the groups that drive our identity.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Depeine MediaWorks: Health Care Reform Repeal? Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness?


It is sad to see that Republicans are pushing to repeal the health care reforms that have been signed into law by the Obama administration. This has been such a need in America for many decades. So many people are suffering because of nonexistent health coverage. Many are dying prematurely and unnecessarily because healthcare has simply become a "luxury" that they cannot afford to have.

Many are working at or below minimum wage and they will never be able to afford to pay for individual or group coverage. Are we saying as a nation that the "poor" are not worth the basics of citizenship (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - US Declaration of Independence). Are they not to have life? Should they have a reduced life expectancy because they happen to be on the "wrong" side of the economic divide that exist in our great country? Should our elected officials be well taken care of while the average citizen scrambles to find "home remedies" just to stave off symptoms that eventually will lead to more serious health issues? I do not agree when the lives of American citizens are left to deteriorate and expire when our elected officials can do something to prevent that situation.

As far as I know, all the members of Congress (Congressman/woman and Senators) are very well insured. They are our elected officials and they are well compensated. These members of Congress, as far as I know, have received yearly raises. They have no concern about health coverage or financial stability while in office.

Why is it that these elected officials enjoy such a privilege to serve the people and have generous health coverage for themselves and their families, yet they don't want to extend that same privilege to the Americans that they serve? At the very least, they should be willing to forfeit their health coverage just to understand what it is to live without insurance. Perhaps they would have a little more empathy as they enthusiastically run to repeal a provision that is designed to help so many Americans and reduce exorbitant health costs associated with the uninsured.

We must expect more from our elected officials. I don't believe that elected officials should be so comfortable in their compensations (insurance, raises, etc.) that they "forget" what it is like to serve those who are less fortunate then they are. If you are quick to prevent others the opportunity to get health coverage, then you (Congress member) should be willing to forfeit the coverage that you so happily accept and take advantage of.

New Jersey Rally of May 22, 2010

New Jersey Rally of May 22, 2010
Young ones making their voices heard.