The RKM Foundation

The RKM Foundation
Thank you!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

For My Daughter, My One and Only – Only One!

I am so honoured and thrilled to be a guest blogger, as well as a proud member of the RKM foundation.  
I remember being class monitor for a few grades in high school and ultimately becoming the president of student council. My approach at the time was never to be bossy or condescending {well that was not me}, and I felt that the best way to communicate and get classmates to listen to me was through respect – I respect you and it works the other way around too. It was so important to me, I had a reputation to maintain and I wanted to keep it positive, no problems, and no complaints.  So, I did my best to set an example and be a role model and I think it worked pretty well.

Here I am today, a mother and a wife. I feel that I have to be the best and STRONGEST positive influence for my eight year old daughter.  My husband and I work very well together as a team - we teach, we encourage, we advise, we criticize, we correct, we don’t spoil, we don’t submit, we punish, and we love her.  Most of the times I’m so busy and determined to inculcate, and I see that it works - she displays good manners and behaviour, and teachers and friends even compliment her constantly. This does not faze me, this is how it is supposed to be, she does not have a choice, I was raised this way and the tradition will go on regardless of where we live. I told her that good manners and respect can take her anywhere around the world. What I have realized is that the most humbling, beautiful part of this process is that I also learn from her. These are the moments that I savor; these are the moments that resonate with me.

I am not a perfect parent.  I often lose my cool and patience, and even forget that I have to be the role model, not just for some things but for everything.  I apologize, I admit that I am wrong; we move on, it happens again, I feel guilty, because she is extremely forgiving, grasps concepts quickly, and adapts all while still giving me unconditional love.  Little humans are just plain amazing! It’s been eight years of continuous learning as I struggle and falter as a parent who wants nothing more than to make sure this growing mini me is safe, resilient and understands the importance of good behaviour, discipline, good values and morals.
Apart from the do as I say, you must respect your parents, no questions, no talking back, I respect her too, but what is the real approach - the unsuspecting, undetected, root approach? It is simple. It is her heart.  Teaching her to have a heart and extracting those feelings and emotions that drive everything else – the love, the forgiveness, the conscience, and the actions.  l strategically try  to open her eyes, build awareness and teach her what it means to have a heart. 

Even though she has seen my faults and know that I am not perfect, she still tries to emulate some of my positive traits and is always so impressed with my art work and various little projects “Oh mommy this is so beautiful!” Instantly inspired, she immediately gets busy re-creating her version of my creation. It surprises me every time and I am just so happy that she is so proud that I am, according to her and what she tells her friends, “a great artist”!

We always have our daily discussion about what happens at school – the girls’ politics and the observed behaviour.  She is not allowed to report on others and exclude herself.  This is usually a good time to check on her use of discretion, that she’s being considerate of feelings and respecting her peers. These are great discussions because she’s allowing me to get to know her better as she grows into herself and how she deals with certain situations when I am not around.  She relieves my worries by confirming that she’s trying to be and do her best according to what she learns from home and even at school. I know that her heart is healthy and is the very thing that controls her and makes her, HER. It is my key to her, it is the ears that listen, the eyes that see and brain that comprehends all the positive nourishment necessary for her growth.

She is enthusiastic about the purpose of the RKM Foundation, that toys and books are collected and given to the children who need it in Jamaica. She is proud to know that her unused toys, clothes and shoes are either sent home to my family who are poor in Jamaica, or donated the Veteran’s Organization.  She loves to recount the time she and her father went to McDonald’s and bought a meal for a homeless person.  She insists that when she grows up she wants to help the poor and also be an artist. I tell her that she still has plenty of time to think about what she will pursue when she’s older. I think her father and I may have a strong influence here – we are always creating or building something at home so the creativity is contagious. We are always telling her not to take things for granted and to consider herself fortunate and privileged to enjoy some of the things a lot of children in the world cannot, even foods that she does not like – wasting is not an option.

She’s my breath of fresh air, a different perspective, yes I was a kid too but our experiences are different, but she does not know that I am learning from her as much as I want her to learn from me, and she does not know how much she impresses me. For instance, we were driving to swim practice and there is usually a homeless guy limping by the cars as they exit the highway. I remember giving him an extra juice box we had taken with us a few months prior, but just this week as we sat stationary waiting for the light and we saw him she told me that she had packed an extra juice box just for him! WOW – did you really? “Yes Mommy I did!” 

How rewarding is that! She is my best creation and work in progress that I am most passionate about, stepping back from time to time to admire - observing and absorbing the things I can’t see while I compose- and invest  the love and time to keep working on it.

Kerry-Ann Chin

Guest Bloggers

 Family, we  are changing things up  a bit because sometimes the same old, same old  gets(wait for it) really old:-) I really  couldn't think of another word  but  old. It has been a very long  day  of  labor and  love  for our foundation and  we are  going to  put in a  few  more  hours just  to ensure that  we are  doing the right  thing!!!

WE SO EXCITED TO WELCOME  OUR  GUEST BLOGGERS SEGMENT---- What  is that  you  say? Let  me explain. For the next  couple of weeks  we will be asking members of the RKMFoundation team and other wonderful individuals  to make a post  about  something they  are  passionate about. This way  you will all get to know and love them as  much as  I do, they are all fabulous and I am not just saying that. Two weeks ago we did a post on allergies and then I asked an" expert" on the matter, C.Allen  to submit a post  on that  topic because she has an allergy home with  over 30 allergies  among her family  members and counting. The Allens  have been dealing with food and environmental allergies for over 14 years.( I am sure  if you wanted to borrow a few environmental and food allergies to ease her burden for a few days she wouldn't mind:-)) C.Allen  is also  the co-founder and secretary  of the RKMFoundation.Inc.

 If  you didn't  get a chance to  read  her  post  Iwill do a  repost  so you can all  take  a look. It was very interesting. Tonight  we  will  be  seeing a  post  from K.Chin who is our  design and development coordinator. I am excited about  this  process and I  hope you all will  be  too.


Sunday, October 20, 2013


 Everyone's  birthday  in our household was a big deal, we were that  family, honestly  we are  still  that  family. Mommy and Daddy still do the early morning phone call, yes the phone call  comes at  5-5:30AM, 6AM if they slept late.It will be the first call you receive,  theirs will be the  first voices you hear even if you are  married with children of your own. If we happen to all be together then we know that whomever is celebrating their birthday  will be getting the age equivalent  in punches with the finally punch leaving the most impact... OUCH!!
 Growing up October  20th  was always an important  day because  it was  Rohan's birthday  and we would hear the story of the firstborn's birth; he was a crier at birth, he needed to be fed ASAP and the small hospital sized  Similac/S-26 formula  wouldn't  do it,the new mother had to stay with her mother to get the hang and learn the vital skills of motherhood, daddy was so excited about his son...He was serious about  his food, he wouldn't drink any other formula except  for Similac or S-26, he crawled on his tummy every where but somehow avoided getting a single scratch, he was inquisitive and got into a lot of trouble... picking all the baby oranges from the tree.

He was the first born, the first grandson  for both sides of the family and he was loved by every aunt, uncle cousin,friend, church member and the list goes on and on. He was the best big brother to Christine who he loved  dearly as his baby sister, his love for her was only  overshadowed by his need  to play with his friends  or  to regain mommy's attention even for just  a minute...He was her defender and protector in every and anything as they  grew  to adore each other, even in the unanimous  decision that it was indeed a good idea to bathe the cat.( That is never a good idea..:-))
He hated wearing a shirt when he was indoors and he always made everyone feel comfortable  whenever they came to our house. His favorite fruit was ripe bananas and  loved to eat bread  with butter. His favorite pass time; sliding on old cardboard boxes down the steep hill  not too far  from our house and playing football(soccer). He was daddy's helper, mommy's confidant, Chris's savior and a friend  to everyone he met irrespective of their  age.

I know, I know  this sounds  like a mystical ,magical being. No one could really  be all of these  things to all these  people  and only  lived for 10  years. If you  are  having any of these delusional ,doubtful thoughts, you  would be very  wrong ,because  this amazing  person was  my/our  brother  ROHAN KEIL MILLER. I was  far too  young to remember  him and our younger brother has grown up with  stories, pictures and tales of this person who was such a major  part of our family. These  stories  and memories  weren't just  from our parents or sister who had the pleasure of growing up with him, it came  from everyone who  knew  him and that  always  made  me  feel  that  he was a part  of me, I was also  Rohan's little sister. Though  I can't  remember  him, believe me I  have tried to jog my memory, I was called Rohan's and Christine's little sister  for most of my  life  or "Bandun" by  his school friends  because he told them  that  I had that special  name for dumplings. I am  sure  if  I see  Andrew( one of  my brothers') friends  at this point  he would say  " What a gwaan bandun" :-)

Other  significant memories came  from our cousin  who still refers to him as her  best  friend 31 years  after  his death  or seeing  my grandmother and aunts cry when they  talk  about  him.Our dear family friend Mr. Ledgister who was a retired returning resident, was a friend to our brother, he was probably 65 when Rohan was 9 and  they would talk  for hours about life and travels since Mr.Ledgister had lived in Paris before returning to Jamaica. Not many 9 year olds  can have serious thought provoking conversations about life, war,the future and traveling to far away places.

The memories are never sad, they are  always focused  around how unique this young, gifted, vibrant,loving boy was and I am  always honored and eager to hear the stories and form my own opinion of the person he was based on these wonderful memories. We  are  all honored  to be his younger siblings,our mom always told us  that  we all have some of his traits; Chris  is warm and loving like Rohan, Jan is the talker who  makes friends easily like Rohan and Shawn  loves sports and always  has a large group of friends around, like Rohan. We have continued  to  share the legacy  of our brother with the next  generation and remind them that   October 20th is Uncle Rohan's Birthday.

This is a love post, dedicated  to  our brother whom we  love and miss  in  so many ways, we want to  wish him  a  very  happy  birthday. We  are so grateful  that our parents  kept his memory  alive  by  telling us the  stories of their  firstborn, never  taking down  his pictures or the last mothers day card and crafts  he  made. Cherishing each memory and telling it with such relevance that  we could feel his presence, he was never  our brother who died, he is our brother.
We are  thankful  to the strangers  who became our friends  and looked out for us because of who he  was  and  humbled  that  he  is still  able to impact the lives of children and adults  after  so many  years through this foundation.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

EXCITED...THANKFUL...HOPEFUL...TheRKM Foundation,Inc.&The Gleaner

  Family, you know we  have to include you all in this process, because of you we where able to touch lives. We are so happy that we are related to all you wonderful selfless  people.

RKM Foundation Inc gives back - Lifestyle - Jamaica Gleaner - Saturday | October 12, 2013

Much Love&Walk Good

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Living with a family with Allergies

I was given the privilege and title of guest blogger today to have you take a peek into the crazy life of living with and catering to a family of 5 all with different food allergies....better me than you you're thinking right ? No worries I get that all the time. 

For most when you think of allergies you think seasonal, sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose etc and I know how annoying that can be as I too suffer through those, but for this family when we mention the word allergies we think of food, epi-pens, emergency rooms, hospital stays, asthma, anaphylactic shock, label reading, cross-contamination, air-borne and let's not forget eczema. Living with life threatening allergies is no walk in the park everyday is a challenge but I can say that it does get easier once you understand the severity of it and the triggers. 

First off my husband is allergic to shellfish and some nuts, I am allergic to fuzzy fruits and soy, my eldest Troy was allergic to wheat, eggs, dairy, beef, nuts, and my youngest son he has amazed us all he has 19 food allergies and counting not to mention also airborne allergies such as the smell of fish and pineapple, he had horrible eczema which we now have under control by using steroid creams, and both boys still have asthma, his twin sister however has nothing I can't believe how lucky she is, but hey someone deserves to eat everything right?

To ensure that we keep each family member safe we always use separate utensils during meal preparation  all drawers and snacks are labeled. We have a list of each family members allergies posted in a common area for Grand-parents and friends alike, always washing hands and for us no cooking of any fish or seafood ever in the house and no pineapples ever, even the smell of perfumes and colognes can make my youngest son develop hives etc. We are very careful of who touches or holds him and I typically suffer from mild heart attacks each time we go to the play-ground or play group and see kids with messy hands or mouths. I'm the hawk I can spot a kid with food anywhere then I typically swoop in and move Maddox away and of course always heavily armed with wipes and Purell.

In the past 14 years I am almost sure I have died over 2000 deaths as people are so willing to share what they are eating with a cute baby and I just want to scream as soon as I enter a room please do Not touch or Feed the Child for heaven's sake, but as the years roll by people are thankfully more aware of what's going on they are more choices in food and snacks and we have just learnt how to be more creative with our cooking and our baking to accommodate each family needs.

If you are suffering from food allergies here a few of the allergist that we have seen  
Dr Scott Sicherer - The best We saw Dr Arthur Frost at the time not a fan of Dr Weinstein
There is more that we have seen but these are the best in my opinion

Thanks for reading
Christine Allen 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Allergies and Anaphylaxis

The issue of Allergies and Anaphylaxis  which we  are  about to  address in this post would be considered  outside of our  normal  focal point. We do believe it is imperative to  address this issue as  I have been the aunt of children who has severe food and environmental  allergies  for  14 years. Allergies,Allergens, Anaphylactic shock, Epipens, Food and Environmental triggers, Label readings or Obsessive label reading for cross contamination or minor ingredient changes that  could cause major reactions,Food dyes,Parfums,Smells,Clean surfaces.The importance of keeping your hands and everything around you free of contamination  have become second nature  to  me, it is now  as simple as putting on my socks. The truth is for more and more families this is becoming their way of life, the new normal.

 I  won't attempt to sound  like an "expert " in this area, because I am not. I will leave that  to my sister  whom myself and numerous others have dubbed "SUPERMAMA" because she has at this point seen  it all and know it  all. Having  had children with extreme food and environmental allergies and the impact  it can  have  on   the child/children who have them and the  necessary adjustments needed  for everyone around them to be comfortable.

 Spreading awareness about food allergies and the realities of anaphylaxis in children is just as important as any other issue  which plaque these little angels, when they  hurt  we hurt  and  it is important to  understand the reasons and causes  behind these  issues whether  we are  in  direct contact with someone who has  a child who is affected  or you are  removed from the situation.  It is important to  know.
As  these children  become teenagers and  adults with  food allergies  it become harder  to think of them as children  in a bubble or children we don't interact with on a daily basis. They will instead  become  your college  room mate,team member, colleague,friend,counselor, doctor or  your  husband or wife with food and environmental allergies. Knowledge is never a  negative  thing, we cannot understand  what we do not know, the end result is always to raise awareness and help individuals to understand a plethora of issues which will help to bring about change.

 Today our aim  is to raise awareness by  sharing  links and articles  about  food allergies and anaphylaxis. It is our goal to  have someone who has first  hand knowledge on the issue to  write a  post  on the topic in the upcoming weeks, to directly  share with the challenges and triumphs of raising a child with severe food and environmental allergies.

Get schooled on Allergies& Anaphylaxis!!!
Much love& Walk Good


Birthday wishes

Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday Dear  T.J
 Happy Birthday to You.

How old are you now ?
How old are you now ?
How old are you now,
Happy Birthday to You!

It's OK if  you want to,we won't judge how well you  can or cant sing, you are among family,this is a safe space:-)

As you  all  may or may not have  known  last  week Thursday  was the birthday  of  one of RKMFoundation, Inc.  youngest team members and to honor his birthday we dedicated our TBT( Throw back Thursday) topic to him. We  wanted our twitter followers  to reminisce about childhood  birthday wishes that  had materialized and those that didn't. It was only  natural that the hashtag should be #wishes!!!

The responses were quirky,fun and unpredictable. The one thing that became evident to us was how simple childhood birthday wishes are, it made us all yearn to be back in that innocent state of mind if only for a few minutes. Mature birthday  wishes brings about  different hopes and desires that  has been far removed from the simple  things we wanted  to make us happy as children. Although that  is a necessary part of adulthood  and in most cases we welcome that  growth,It is never a bad  idea  to hold on to one simple innocent wish that  we can reflect  on every now and then. A wish is a strong feeling or desire  of wanting something  to happen and it is perfectly acceptable to wish for that thing you wanted  on your fifth birthday that you didn't  get  even if you are 45!!

These  were  some of the wishes that were emailed, text or tweeted to us last Thursday, we  urge you to keep the conversation  going  and tell us about one of your  birthday wishes that may or may not have materialized as a child or teen.

" I wished for a barbie doll"
" I really wanted to have a soft baby doll that could really cry"
" I wanted a real fire truck with the ladders that could extend"
" I wanted a train"
 " I wanted a jeans pants"
"  I wanted a dream light"
" I wanted a little sister"
 " I wanted my very own CD player"
" I wanted to  meet Santa Clause"
" I wanted a doll house and real doll clothes"
" I wanted a real cricket bat"
" I wanted a house"
 " I wanted  Lincoln Logs "
" I wanted  a Tevin Campbell CD"
 " I wanted Leg warmers"
 " I wanted a Nintendo"
  " I wanted  to have a real birthday cake"
" I wanted to have a birthday party"
"I wanted to get a real gift wrapped in pretty paper"
" I wanted to meet spiderman"
" I wanted to be superman"
 " I wanted a game boy"
" I wanted my very own room"

To everyone who every made a birthday wish...

Happy Birthday!!!!



"No one who  achieves  success does  so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with  GRATITUDE" Alfred North Whitehead

"GRATITUDE is the sign of a noble soul" Aesop

"No one  is useless in this world who lightens the burden  of others" Charles Dickens

These quotes  are a few of my personal favorites about gratitude  and what  it means to be grateful or  thankful and the emotions and depth that comes along with this expression.  As parents we often  teach this concept to our little ones  at an early  stage..." Say  please, Say thank you" or  "Did you remember to  say  thank you?" " I didn't hear you say thank you!"

As individuals it  gives us a sense  of pride and purpose when someone acknowledges something you said or did, it symbolizes connection between two individuals or a group. Those two little words evokes pleasant thoughts of appreciation.

We have launched  the  One One Cocoa  fundraising campaign  for a few weeks now  and we very happy with the progress because  you have been giving your "ONE,ONE COCOA" to help us ship and distribute  the toys and books YOU donated  to the children of rural Jamaica and we are grateful to you and we want to say THANK YOU, as you continue to donate to this cause and help us reach  our goal of $5000.


                            "THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SELFLESS GIVING "