So after starting the project in 2011, A Bloodless Victory is finally nearing the end of its production process and is even available for preorder on Amazon. What an amazing eight years its been!

If you would have asked me when I started graduate school what type of work my first book would be, A Bloodless Victory would not have been my answer.  Of course, I would not have also guessed that I would be living in the D.C. area, working for Mount Vernon, and about to marry a New Jerseyan. For that matter, if you’d asked me when I started college, I would not have believed I’d go to graduate school in the first place. While I’d love to say that my accomplishments were the result of my own hard work, that would be a lie.

The truth is I would not be where I am today if a series of very special people that I really respect hadn’t sat me down and said “do better”. Further, not only did they say “do better”, they showed me how to. They mentored in the truest sense of the word, and I wanted to pay them back for their investment in me. Every paper I wrote, every conference I participated at, every time I picked out a tie it was to represent them. They showed faith in me and I didn’t want to let them down. Only through constantly trying to live up to their expectations did I manage to become even a portion of the person they thought I might turn out to be.

Many children, adolescents, and young adults don’t have that kind of mentorship however. Please, if you have the time or the resources, consider helping these young people. Reach out to someone you know, volunteer with a youth organization, or make a financial contribution to an organization in your local area.  It’s not enough as a society to tell people struggling to just “do better”; mentor them yourself or help them receive the mentorship that will actually enable them to do better.

You never know what they’ll achieve someday, and they probably don’t either.