Wednesday, December 24, 2014

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

We hope you have a very merry time with your loved ones...

With love from some of our Perfectly Polished family to yours!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Parties, hosts, and gifts

Whether you've got one more holiday party to attend, a New Year's get-together on the horizon, or any party for any reason at all....it's a good time to think about bringing a gift for the party host. 


We love this idea and think it never goes out of style to show your appreciation in a festive way—and you don’t have to go overboard, either. A small but heartfelt token will do nicely! 

When it comes to host or hostess gifts, keep practicality first and foremost in mind. If the host is a good friend, then you’ll likely already have several ideas for the perfect gift. But if you don’t know the host very well, we have some ideas for gifts that have wide-ranging appeal!

• Are you traveling to the party? Bring some local interest with you! Non-perishable foodstuffs from your hometown (maple sugar candy from Vermont, or peach jam from Georgia, for example) are thoughtful presents.

• Go with a monogram! Stationary, guest towels, coasters…there are plenty of choices.

• High-quality tea often has the bonus of coming in beautiful tins or packaging. Or if your host prefers coffee, find a favorite blend—bonus points if you have a local roaster!

• Support local artisans while selecting something truly unique! Search for hand-made soaps, lotions, candles, jewelry, knitting, or other goods, which you might find in local stores, art galleries, or even farmer’s markets. (Remember that unless you know your host well, avoid strong scents!)

• Flowers in an attractive keepsake vase are a perennial favorite, no matter how elaborate or simple the arrangement. Potted amaryllis is also a beautiful choice that will come back next season. Make sure that if your host has pets, the plants are safe

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Holidays on a budget

Are you doing some last-minute holiday shopping, only to realize your budget is a lot smaller than you thought? 

Who can afford to be this guy?

Don’t be embarrassed—you’re not alone! Luckily, there are plenty of ways to show your love for friends and family during the holidays that rely more on thoughtfulness and less on money. That’s right—it’s time to revisit the idea of a “budget holiday." Here are some tips!

• For large families, consider drawing names, at least among the adults, to cut down on the amount of gifts to buy.

• If the children of the family are, well, no longer children, consider coming to a group consensus on gift giving (say, when the youngest graduates high school or college, or gets a job—or some other marker of maturity—agree to send holiday letters or cards rather than money or gifts).

• Rather than exchange gifts, think about all pitching in on an experience, whether that’s a weekend getaway, a road trip, or dinner and a movie. Younger children might have fun with geocaching or a more low-tech scavenger hunt.

• If you know what they love and are well aware of any food allergies, there’s nothing wrong with a plate full of cookies (or other such treats). Or how about a cookie-decorating get-together?

• If someone has a Christmas tree, it needs ornaments! Browse Pinterest or other handy sites for inspiration and get to crafting. (If all else fails, a good old-fashioned paper chain is always cheerful, and you can make it more meaningful with hidden messages written on each paper link.)

• Give the gift of your time. Make a date with a friend for a long talk, coffee, or spending time on a mutual hobby. The memories will last long after the holidays!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Peaceful Thanksgiving!

To our friends in the U.S. - Happy Thanksgiving!



Sometimes it's hard to stay positive amid all the turmoil, both everyday and extreme, that surrounds us in our personal lives and in the broader news of the world. Let's use this Thanksgiving as a time to gather how we can and appreciate the love that does surround us, whether you find it in family, friends, nature, or elsewhere!

For those anticipating big family gatherings, we have a few tips to keep the peace...

• Your family may be the type who thrives on lively, boisterous discussions and arguments, and manages to end all of them with a hug. But if your family is the kind to leave seriously upset after a debate, skip it this time, and avoid talking about politics, religion, or other hot-button topics.

• Unplug! Keep screens off the table, and save them for a little leisure time when everyone is resting, post-meal.

• Or get outside. A walk around the neighborhood can be a healthy respite after marathon eating, and maybe even inspire some good conversation.

• Remember that deep down, you really do love each other! 

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

To Ghost or Not to Ghost?

...From a party, that is.

As the holiday party season begins, you might find yourself with at least one work or social engagement already on the calendar. Such a time can be the pinnacle of fabulousness for the avid party-goer, and a dreaded responsibility for the classic introvert. For some, the idea of ghosting—leaving a party without saying goodbye, just slipping quietly out the door—can hold immense appeal.

This ghost has clearly been to a party

It sounds like a huge etiquette no-no, but there is support of the practice. Like this article, for example, which reminds us that saying goodbye to the host before leaving can interrupt conversations, grind the social flow to a halt, and result in an awkward bummer of a farewell. Replace the spoken goodbye with a text or email later, and you're golden, the writer says.

We can see the attraction of ghosting in some specific situations, like perhaps a social anxiety-fueled moment that requires an immediate exit...or, in less dire stations, simply being exhausted at the end of a long night. And what if you're at a huge party, where you're convinced your host wouldn't miss you—let alone be able to simply find you to say goodbye?

While we believe that etiquette is a nuanced, malleable thing that can change with the times, we also believe that whenever possible, saying goodbye to your hosts and thanking them for a good time is the best thing to do.

Imagine you're the host, and you've just noticed that a guest has gone missing. Vanished, in effect. Would you worry for his or her welfare? Fret over what happened? Spend valuable party time texting, calling, or wandering aimlessly in hopes of finding your friend? Assume that the party's been a total bust, or that you've offended people somehow? 

The host has likely spent some time, effort, and resources on creating a (hopefully) pleasant experience for you. Taking a brief moment to thank them before you leave is always most appreciated. 

And if you really, truly do need to split, right then, right there, send an explanation as soon as you can via call or message, and go ahead and thank them for the invitation!




Friday, October 17, 2014

Perfectly Polished Spotlight: William

Our etiquette school, Perfectly Polished, opened in 1985; today, we teach around 4,000 students a year in 12 area counties. We've loved watching our students grow up over the years. Sometimes, they become young adults who help us teach our younger students! Join us in spotlighting some of these young adults who make Perfectly Polished so special...

We are pleased to continue our series in spotlighting members of our Perfectly Polished student staff, especially those who have been with us since they were some of our youngest Perfectly Polished students! Today, we spotlight William English. William began taking Perfectly Polished lessons in third grade; now he's a third year student at UGA.

No missed opportunities!
"There is one story that I get to tell every single year around a month before the Spring Formal and it's one of my favorites. When I was a young seventh grade man, I had this beautifully massive crush on a girl named Caitlin. I wanted to dance with her at the Spring Formal so badly but I was terribly nervous to ask her (even though Ms. Lassiter does an amazing job teaching confidence). The boys got to ask the girls for the first dance, but I got scared so I didn't ask her. The ladies got to ask for the second dance and she didn't ask me which was OK! The boys had to ask the girls for the third and final partner dance and it was my time to shine and ask her. I would honestly like to tell you that I asked her for that dance. But I didn't. I didn't get to dance with her at that Spring Formal and I would never get the opportunity to dance with her again because she moved to North Carolina later that year. As heartbreaking as this was, I am very thankful for it because I learned from it, and now I get to tell this to students to encourage them to ask the partners that they desire. And if they don't, then there is a good chance they will move to another state."

Pushing through reluctance
"In all seriousness, if it wasn't for the persistence of my family, I would have ended my relationship with Perfectly Polished many years ago. I would 'forget' my tie and slacks at home, and by the end of the school day, they would be waiting on me in the office along with a note from my mother. My father would pre-tie my neck ties before he would leave on business trips to ensure that I had one to wear at that week's class...it is truly a family effort... I eventually realized that it was actually pretty enjoyable. I had the opportunity to dance with girls which is never a bad thing! I was beginning to really start implementing the table skills into my everyday life, putting me on the receiving end of many compliments at the dinner tables of family friends."

Staying power of social skills

"Perfectly Polished has been one of the single most powerful areas of my life that has had the most real influence on developing me into the man that I am today. And I chose to be an instructor at Perfectly Polished so that maybe the students will see how vital the program is to one's development and future."

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Perfectly Polished Spotlight: Leah!


Our etiquette school, Perfectly Polished, opened in 1985; today, we teach around 4,000 students a year in 12 area counties. We've loved watching our students grow up over the years. Sometimes, they become young adults who help us teach our younger students! Join us in spotlighting some of these young adults who make Perfectly Polished so special...

We are pleased to continue our series in spotlighting members of our Perfectly Polished student staff, especially those who have been with us since they were some of our youngest Perfectly Polished students! Today, we spotlight Leah Smith.


Leah started taking Perfectly Polished lessons in fifth grade; now, she's a freshman at UGA. She says that her experience in learning and teaching etiquette has given her "crucial skills" that have helped with job interviews and college applications.

Awkward (but fun!) dancing
"My friends and I always enjoyed learning the simple table etiquette and fun line dances. However, I also recall how the boys never wanted to hold my hands to dance. They always held them slightly below mine floating awkwardly in the air without touching. I didn’t mind though, simply because I thought their hands were sweaty and clammy! I still have the memories of getting dressed up with our little white gloves and eating skittles or gold fish out of a bowl to learn how to properly eat soup."

Changing the world with kindness
"Learning the etiquette skills I have through Perfectly Polished has enabled me to be better prepared for real life situations. Also, the world simply needs more politeness! By teaching etiquette to children, the next generation is learning how to properly treat one another with respect. I’ve learned so much through Perfectly Polished that I hope more children are able to learn as well. Simple lessons, such as how to properly introduce yourself or eat politely and correctly, have helped me so much in life!"



Friday, September 12, 2014

Perfectly Polished Spotlight: Laura Margaret

Our etiquette school, Perfectly Polished, opened in 1985; today, we teach around 4,000 students a year in 12 area counties. We've loved watching our students grow up over the years. Sometimes, they become young adults who help us teach our younger students! Join us in spotlighting some of these young adults who make Perfectly Polished so special...

We are pleased to continue our series in spotlighting members of our Perfectly Polished student staff, especially those who have been with us since they were some of our youngest Perfectly Polished students! Today, we spotlight Laura Margaret Burbach.

Here she is practicing interview skills with students of The Ron Clark Academy .

Burbach started taking Perfectly Polished lessons at age 10; now 20, she's studying public policy at Georgia Tech.

Early highlights
"I loved dancing when I was little, so it was so much fun to get to learn the dances at Perfectly Polished. Once I joined staff, I thought it was so funny that the fifth grade boys already hated holding hands with the girls—even when they were wearing gloves!"

Teaching helps the teacher
"Teaching to someone else always helps solidify what you know. Teaching also serves as a strong motivator to carry out the lessons of manners, respect, and professionalism in your own life, because you know your students are watching you and looking up to you."

Etiquette's opportunities
"Etiquette is subtle thing that is only noticed in its absence. For anything—college meetings, job interviews, class presentations—it'd be silly to miss an amazing opportunity because you had poor posture, failed to hold eye contact, or couldn't hold a simple conversation. Perfectly Polished builds confidence from a young age in these critical areas so that they become natural behavior—one less thing to worry about when these important opportunities do arise."

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Charge your plates

What's a charger?




No, not the kind for your phone...but the big, fancy plate that makes your table beautiful. You know—the plate on which you don't actually place food.



Chargers, also known as service plates, sit under the dinner plate. They are typically larger than a regular plate so that an inch or two of the decorative plate is visible. Chargers help create a completed look for the entire table, and also allow for the addition of color.



If you've ever used or seen a charger, it's likely been at a formal event, or during the holidays, when many hosts use silver, gold, green, or red chargers with white plates for a festive table.



And, trust us—you really are not supposed to eat on the charger! It's truly an aesthetic touch, though it does have a practical use—it makes removing plates from the table easy, and also keeps a formal table from having an empty place setting. Next time you want to set an immediate dinner mood in a creative way, think of the charger!




Thursday, August 21, 2014

Perfectly Polished Spotlight: Emily Noakes

Since our etiquette school, Perfectly Polished, opened in 1985, we have had the distinct honor of getting to know some wonderful children over the years, watching them grow up, and - in some cases - later assist us in teaching our younger students! Since we teach around 4,000 students each year in 12 area counties, we truly appreciate their gifts—and the  fact that our younger students can see a glimpse of how etiquette and social skills can shape their future.

We'll be spotlighting one of these young people regularly, starting with...Emily Noakes



(That's her in the middle.)

Emily started Perfectly Polished in the 5th grade; now she's 16 years old and in the 11th grade. We asked Emily to share her early memories of being in Perfectly Polished and more...

Early days
"I was just like a few of those kids in 5th grade who were not too excited to be in the program. I couldn't see the positive influence it was having on me. I came out of my shell and became a social butterfly, because I learned how to show confidence through my appearance and actions. I want to help shy kids like the old me come out of their shells, and blossom into the kids I know that they can become."

Helping younger students
"I get to see these kids grow. I get to see the impact I have on them, and see the smiles on their faces as they finally break through, and see how much fun Perfectly Polished can be, if you open yourself up to it. I love seeing those shy kids who didn't know anyone laugh with the others, and participate the most by the end of the year."

Why etiquette matters
"I think it is very important to teach etiquette to children, because it teaches the kids how to grow. It teaches them how to conquer the oncoming future with confidence. Things like holding a conversation, keeping an audience's attention, and even writing letters can be a huge benefit to handling life. Skills learned in Perfectly Polished will probably stick with me my entire life, and have opened new doors for me...I learned how to face my fears of public speaking, while showing confidence. I learned how to ace a job interview, and to nail that first impression. Without Perfectly Polished, I would be a totally different person, and I am very glad that it has shaped me into the person that I am today."




Monday, July 28, 2014

Camping etiquette!


In our part of the world, public schools are gearing up to start the school year next month, but the summer is hardly over. Which means you still have lots of time to pack your gear and go camping! (Although, really, any time of year is a good time to camp.)

We asked our camping enthusiast friends for their tips on how to enjoy the great outdoors and behave in a way so others can enjoy them too. Before you roll up that sleeping bag and pack your bag, please remember the following...


• You’ve probably head this phrase: Leave no trace. Or maybe: pack it in, pack it out. This means leaving zero litter behind. Take time before your trip to learn how to do this.

• Be aware of other campers’ spaces. Make an effort not to walk through other people’s campsites, or smoke cigarettes where you know they are getting the lion’s share of smoke wafting into their area.

• Hang up your food! You don’t want bears pawing through you or your neighbor’s stuff. (One friend camped next to a campsite that left a keg out all night. A bear found it and had its way with it.)

• Sound pollution: this is a big one. Learn campground quiet hours ahead of time and follow them—but even during non-quiet hours, keep music (and extremely loud conversation in general) turned down. Also, embrace nature and try to leave the generator at home. “Why camp if you’re going to watch TV all night and not go outside?” a friend asks. Believe it or not, she was once kept awake all night by non-stop air conditioning blowing (in a tent)—and a leaf blower going off first thing in the morning!

Light pollution matters, too. “In an established campground, there’s nothing worse than headlights flashing in your eyes after dark,” says a friend. “Plant yourself at your site before the sun goes down!”

• Prepare for the dark. Besides keeping your food hanging up, one savvy friend recommends tying ribbons or handkerchiefs on rainfly and tent cords to make things easier on you and your friends— “So you don’t get clotheslined in the dark,” she says, should you need to get up and walk around.

• Leave pets where they are happiest. Some dogs make great camping companions; others, distressed, bark all night long. Make plans for your furry friends before you go on the trip. (And make sure the campground allows pets, too!)


Happy camping!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Training Week Success!

And just like that, another training week is over!



Since establishing The Etiquette & Leadership Institute in 2005 (when we acquired the Children's Training Division of the Protocol School of Washington), we've trained over 350 children's etiquette consultants from all over the world. Since we teach around 4,000 students a year in 12 area counties through Perfectly Polished: The Etiquette School, we really practice what we preach (and vice versa!).






We love certifying our consultants! Last week's highlights include 5-course dining tutorial; dancing with Perfectly Polished staff; a segment on tea etiquette; and all the many opportunities consultants-in-training had to practice teaching (including a class of UGA students on campus!).





And of course we enjoyed PSOW'Robert Hickey presenting on marketing, public relations, and more!





Would you like to join us? Please contact us  for information on our next training week!






Monday, June 23, 2014

World Cup Etiquette


Are you watching the World Cup? If you aren't, you probably know people who are, whether it's your co-workers, family, friends, or folks online. It's impossible to be unaware that it's going on, even if you aren't a sports fan in general, and for good reason—it's the World Cup. The whole world is invested in this, and usually with a fervor many in the U.S. would be more familiar with (American) football, if that. In countries where soccer is the sport, enthusiasm for the game is incredible, even inspiring.

As you surely know by now, if you've been watching the games.

We think it's a great time to talk about sports etiquette! There's a lot to say on this subject, but for now, let's keep just a few things in mind, whether you're playing, watching, or coaching a game for adults or children:

Sportsmanship. This means enjoying the game for the sake of the game, whether you win or lose. This might be a hard concept to consider, especially when our culture often values striving for perfection— placing emphasis on the end result instead of the process of enjoying and learning from the game. A recent survey suggests that sportsmanship is on the decline among youth sports. We say: try to remember that playing the game can be immensely fun, whether you win or lose.

Respect. This doesn't just apply to cheating or being uncommonly rude to the other team. Grownups of young athletes: this also applies to Soccer Moms and Dads everywhere. This Washington Post article  reminds us of the perils coaches face...from parents. (Read this for more from coaches' perspectives...and this for tips on how to model good behavior for younger players.)

Unity. World sporting events can be powerful in drawing people together. Enjoy the World Cup as a way to reach out to other fans and bond over the exhilarating highs and heartbreaking lows of the game. Embrace the opportunity to learn about other countries and cultures. Bond while marveling at the feats of top athletes. Let the World Cup and other sports bring people together—and have fun!




Friday, May 30, 2014

Fun dining!

Imagine: children and adults sitting down to a dining tutorial with a rush of rush (So many forks!) and anxiety (I can't learn all this!)

We know about teaching dining manners—that's part of what we do with our 4,000 Perfectly Polished students each year, and that's part of what we teach the wonderful graduates of The Etiquette & Leadership Institute's Training Certificate Program.

So we feel confidant in saying...check out these fantastic napkins.



These napkins, made by Etsy seller Betsygrace, are an answer to setting a fun and elegant atmosphere. You don't even need to directly address these rules because the students will talk about them at the table. It's a great idea for families and etiquette consultants alike.

We are now preparing for our next round of training, held June 23-27. Come train with us and you'll learn how to use such props in teaching the skills of navigating both professional and social life. If you'd like to attend, please contact us!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Congratulations, graduates!

Congratulations to all graduates, from pre-school to college! 




Graduates: you've probably already sent out your announcements, so remember to keep track of any gifts you receive from family and friends! Thank-you notes are a must, and getting a handwritten card in the mail is a real treat these days. Even the very youngest graduates can send a thank-you note, and if they are unable to write it themselves, perhaps they could draw a picture (parents, feel free to translate).

If you want to give a graduate a present but find yourself economically strapped like so many of us, be sure to give this a read first, and remember it's the thought that counts!

Throwing or attending a graduation party? Have a quick refresher on good RSVP manners before your send out your invites or respond to one!

Just remember the two most important words to get you through the rush of graduation and the celebrations that follow: Thank You. And that goes beyond presents and party hosts—thanks go out to all the teachers for their dedication and commitment; families for supporting their children as they grow; and the community that proves it takes a village.

And thank yourselves and your brilliant minds—you did a lot of work to graduate! Congratulations!

Friday, May 16, 2014

NEW Day 5: Interact!

Happy Day 5 of National Etiquette Week: Be a Citizen Diplomat! So far, we’ve covered getting a passport, learning a language, the importance of traveling itself, and respect

We’ll wrap up NEW with one word:

Interact.


We’ve talked a lot about how to act while traveling abroad, but did you know that you can still be a citizen diplomat even if you never leave the U.S.?

Yes! You can welcome other travelers who are visiting the U.S. Perhaps you could host an international student for a meal…or a year of school. Student exchange programs are plentiful throughout the U.S. Or you could check into your state’s international visitors organizations, which matches adults with international colleagues in their common professions. What do all of these visitors want when they visit the U.S.? Real interactions with real Americans. You can provide these interactions—and make them great ones, leaving your visitors with a positive impression of both you and your country. That’s the power of a good citizen diplomat!

We hope you take the spirit of National Etiquette Week with you throughout the year!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

NEW Day 4: Respect!

Happy Day 4 of National Etiquette Week: Be a Citizen Diplomat! We’ve already talked about getting a passport, learning a language, and the fundamental importance of traveling itself…Today, we’re going to talk about…

Respect.


We encourage you to research your travel destination before you hop on that plane or boat. However, you may not be able to know every custom, etiquette rule, or accepted manners in another country, and that’s OK.

What IS absolutely essential is the respect, curiosity, engagement, and thirst for learning that you bring with you when you travel. Kindness, friendliness, and being interested in others will help transcend any etiquette mistakes or confusion in cultural differences.

So, instead of loudness, self-centeredness, not listening  or watching…we suggest you aim for quiet observance, a willingness to learn from others, and respect. It’s the difference of communicating negative versus positive standards—it’s you being a good citizen diplomat!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

NEW Day 3: Travel!

Happy Day 3 of National Etiquette Week: Be a Citizen Diplomat! We’ve already talked about getting a passport and learning a language…Today, we strongly suggest you do one thing.

Travel.


We especially encourage this of teenagers and young adults. There are many organizations designed to help young people plan international trips; some of them are through religious organizations, and many are through college study abroad programs. You might be able to find scholarship, sponsorship or other financial aid—find a way!



Traveling is a phenomenal and eye-opening education. It will fundamentally enrich your worldview and how you move in the world, both in your hometown and in other countries, now and in your future!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

NEW Day 2: Learn a language!

Happy Day 2 of National Etiquette Week: Be a Citizen Diplomat! We’ve already talked about getting a passport…Today, we’re going to encourage you to…

Learn a language.



If you are traveling to another country, make a concerted effort to learn some helpful phrases and make the effort to communicate. It’s true that in most large cities, at least some amount of English is spoken. But what if you travel to a smaller city? Even if you do spend all of your time in an English-speaking space, your effort to learn the local language will speak volumes about your consideration of others, especially while you are a guest.

So, try your best. If you mess up a phrase, just smile and laugh—that’s a language everybody speaks.

Monday, May 12, 2014

NEW Day 1: Passport!

Happy National Etiquette Week: Be a Citizen Diplomat! Let’s kick things off with…

NEW Day 1: Get a Passport


Summer is travel time! Did you know that if you travel, you’re a diplomat by default? That’s right—your actions represent your experiences, values, and hometown. While a public diplomat represents his or her government overseas, being a citizen diplomat simply means that you are engaging in some way with someone outside your own country.

And how do you become a citizen diplomat in the first place? Get a passport! You might think, “Why do that if I don’t have any trips planned?” Well, getting a passport will help you and your family understand a bit about the process of becoming an American citizen. It’s helpful to have a passport on hand for unexpected opportunities. And you’re a lot more likely to make exciting travel plans if you’ve already got your passport!

So, get that passport—and then fill it with stamps from all over the planet.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What's N.E.W. with You?

Next week – May 12-16—is National Etiquette Week! Established in 1997, NEW is an annual event that encourages us to examine the state of civility in the U.S. This year, we look at not just civility here, but also the civility we bring with us when we travel elsewhere…

Because this year’s theme is Be a Citizen Diplomat. 


It’s all about the impact that courtesy, kindness, and good manners have when traveling outside of the U.S. and while interacting with guests visiting our country. (Great timing- May is also Global Civility Awareness Month!)


Check here every day next week, starting Monday, for a new topic that will help you be a fantastic citizen diplomat! In the meantime, we leave you with the following quotes to keep you inspired!

“The work of the citizen diplomacy community is not just a nice thing to do; its repercussions have far-reaching implications. Future global prosperity, peace, and stability are dependent upon increased international cooperation, collaboration, and mutual understanding.”—Jennifer Clinton, President, GlobalTies U.S.

“Civility – though you may live in a different world ideologically, you live in the same world physically.  Play nice.”—ChooseCivility

“I have long believed, as have many before me, that peaceful relations between nations requires understanding and mutual respect between individuals. If only people will get together, then so eventually will nations.”—President Dwight D. Eisenhower

“When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.”—Henry J. Kaiser

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”—Plato

“Average Americans, in their natural state, are the best ambassadors a country can have.”—Eugene Burdick & William Lederer, authors of The Ugly American
  
“America’s greatest asset is our citizens. While governmental interventions and assistance are crucial, they leave a lot of room for purposeful citizen diplomats to generate sustainable achievements that result from partnerships built on merit, trust, and mutual interests.”—Benjamin Orbach, Founder & Director, America’sUnofficial Ambassadors

“Be real.  Try to do what you say, say what you mean, and be what you seem.”—Marion Wright Edelman