All posts by pws



When I was in 5th and 6th grade, my parents went through a divorce. Each time I think about that time in my life, it is almost as if I am reliving the experience for a moment – the uncertainty, the fear, the loneliness, the wondering if I’m ever going to feel “normal” again. It’s amazing how our minds work, what they have the power to bring to life inside.

I went through some pretty tough years in middle school and high school. I always worked hard, did very well in school, and never took a “wrong” path – for which I am unbelievably grateful for. Honestly, I don’t even know if anyone from the outside would have really known how alone I felt, but inside, I never felt quite sure if I fit in, if I was really loved for who I was. Divorce can do something incredibly harsh to a child’s esteem and over all well-being, even if they appear to be “fine” on the outside. Then two people each said three words to me that forever changed my life… “You Are Special.”

My step dad and my tenth grade English teacher both told me that at different times during my sophomore year of high school. I remember exactly where I was in both instances. Where I was sitting. How I felt at that moment each of them said it. Their sincerity and the truth I saw in their eyes and heard in their voices made me just know it was true, that I would do something special and “important” with my life, that I mattered. And now, every single time I hear those words – whether someone is saying them to me or I am saying them to someone else – those special feelings wash over me like a warm blanket, making me feel safe, happy, content, and… special. J And that is what fuels the fire in me to share that simple, beautiful message with as many children as I possibly can every day. Each precious child, each precious soul needs and deserves to know that.

Over the 20 years I have worked with kids, once in a “blue moon” someone will ask if my working with children via school assemblies and classrooms programs can really impact kids’ lives in life-changing ways. I have seen so many kids live their “greatness” and have heard from so many children over the years that the Right Road programs and messages have indeed changed their lives, but the way I really and truly know without a doubt that it can and does, is that it happened to me. Of course, the words can be adjusted… You Are Magnificent! You Are Awesome! You are Talented!… all variations work well, too. J But there is something incredibly unique and powerful about the simple 3-word sentence “You Are Special” said looking into another person’s eyes from the core of your being. It can truly fill up someone’s heart, soul, and life in an unparalleled way and give that person the amazing life-long gift of self-esteem.

I pray that each of you reading this will truly always remember without a shadow of a doubt that YOU ARE SPECIAL! If you do not have someone else in your life to say it to you, write in on a post-it note, stick it to your mirror, and say it out loud to yourself every day! And know that you can change a child’s life, a co-worker’s life, a loved one’s life, a friend’s life with those three simple words, said from the heart. YOU ARE SPECIAL! Pass it on! 🙂

Blessings, love, and light today and always,



While I was being interviewed on a radio program recently, the host excitedly said, “Paula, you need to write a “Paula’s Tips” column! He was energized by our “Right Road” conversation and offered that such a from-the-heart piece would be a great help for parents and teachers. I have often thought of doing something like that, so thank you Jim B., for providing the impetus for my sitting down to jot this monthly message to all those who will lend a set of eyes to read it! I truly hope each month’s tip will provide a spark that will help you brighten children’s lives in some special and meaningful ways.

TIP #1:

I must say, that for this incredibly meaningful “Tip #1,” while it is an ingrained part of my being, I cannot take credit for coming up with it! Many, many years ago (just about the time I started working with kids), I remember seeing someone on Oprah share the importance of “lighting up” from your heart and soul whenever your child comes into the room. It was one of those moments that from the second I heard the words, they stuck with me like glue. I realized right away it was something that I tended to do with kids, and when my son was born (he is 7 now), I remember it taking on an even stronger meaning in my heart. I have made it a life-goal to make sure that every time my son comes into the room – even if we are upset with each other, if he has just been disciplined, or if he just knocked over a project by accident (that took four hours to prepare!) – to always shine… make sure my eyes, heart, and soul somehow “light up” just for him.

When I met my husband’s parents, the first thing I noticed when we were all together was that they lit up for him – every time he walked into a room. Every time. Their love for and pride in him was palpable in the room – and I remember thinking from early on in our relationship, that my husband has always had a quiet confidence about him that I believe has come in big part, from that “light” that his parents always had (and still have) at the ready to shine for him every time he walks into a room. I pray that MY son feels that light and unconditional love from me every day of his life.
In thinking about the 20 years now that I’ve worked with kids, I realize that the “light” truly is a huge part of my presence with them. (And I absolutely know that for any of us, it is a central part of really being able to connect with kids.) Every time I work with a classroom or share an assembly, I try to look each and every child in the eye and shine at least a moment “just for them”. Even when there are 500 kids in the room for an assembly, when I’m sharing a reflective song for example, I don’t just look off into space while singing; my eyes move to connect with each child. When a group of kids excitedly gather around asking questions or sharing nuggets of information from their hearts, same goes – I try to at least catch every one of their eyes for a moment to let them know that they are special, loved, and worth listening to.

So, just as Oprah’s show shared all those years ago, make sure that every single day you interact with a child or children – whether as a parent, teacher, pastor, principal, nurse, youth director – that you SHINE for each child as often as you can. They will absolutely feel the love and care deep in their souls and it will make an indelible difference in their lives. They may not realize it right at that moment (especially when the moment centers around that accident that knocked over a half day’s worth of work!), but it will absolutely be the most special, amazing gift you could ever give them. It will help them truly know, deep inside that they are special and loved – and that is one of the keys to a life spent on the Right Road.

Paula’s Blog – February 2011


Welcome to my very first — EVER — blog!

RRK Paula Blog PhotoAs we have been preparing all of this for you over the last three years — this website and all of its wonderful resources and information, the long-awaited Right Road For Kids!™ DVD series, the Right Road online store and all of its uplifting products and resources, everything “Right Road” — something has kept popping into my mind as I have been thinking about writing this first-ever blog to you. If you are familiar with Oprah’s magazine, you have probably read her inspiring final page in each issue entitled “What I Know For Sure.” THAT is what has been popping into my mind over and over! Here’s what I know for sure…


Over the last 19 years since founding Right Road Kids!™ (known as The Dream Fund Outreach for many, many years), I have heard questions from kids asking, “But Paula, how can I possibly even think of going to college when my mom and dad can be deported any day for not being ‘legal’?” Or, how can I study and get good grades when I have to take care of my three brothers and sisters when I get home from school every day?” I have heard stories that make my heart literally ache… A teacher recently told me that one of her 4th grade boys was tied to a tree at home and beaten — just because. And kids at another school may not be able to get desperately-needed donated eye glasses because their parents may not have a social security number to include on the needed paperwork.

Here is why such stories are even that much more significant to my heart than ever before…

This last year — 2010 to right now at this moment — has been the the most difficult year of my life. In many ways, I am grateful for every second, every moment of it all, but the workload and the physical, emotional, and mental toll that the workload and what God has put on my heart for kids has at times, been beyond what words can express. I am not complaining one iota. Sometimes dreams are so big and so challenging that they seem… IMpossible. But I think that’s part of it. Tom Hanks’ character in the movie “A League of Their Own” says something like, “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.” Achieving immense, meaningful things can take literally everything we’ve got inside at times. And I believe it is the perseverance, use of talents, faith, determination, and simply “knowing” that it’s right and good and MUST be done — and then just DOING it — that separates the people and the world-changing projects that will and won’t ultimately succeed or come to fruition.

Throughout my life, I have heard people say, and I have always believed, that it is what we learn from and do with challenging situations that becomes a HUGE part of the ultimate success. As many of you know, I have been working with kids for 19 years now. It is my life’s calling, my passion. I look into kids’ eyes, and I can feel their hopes and fears, their dreams and insecurities. Yet going through a bazillion challenges this last year (that often simply come with dreams, callings, and growth), has helped me see challenges facing today’s children and youth in a whole new light, with a whole new — renewed — understanding. And I have taken every second of challenge into my heart, knowing that having gone through each twist and turn will somehow allow me to reach and help even more children just for having gone through the difficult moments and experiences. They have made me stronger. I have learned SO much. And I am more determined than ever to help kids know that they are special, amazing, talented, and loved.

To all of the children in this whole vast world (of course including my precious son Micah)… Thank you for fueling the fire of love, peace, hope, faith, joy, and perseverance in my heart and soul. Work hard and never give up on your dreams! YOU ARE SPECIAL just because you are YOU!

To each and every member of the Right Road team… You have made Right Road possible. You have taught me the value and importance of teamwork in a way that has humbled and amazed me. You are gifts to my life, to children, and to the world. I treasure you all.

To each and every one of you reading this, whether you are 5 or 105 or anywhere in between, if you are feeling confused, scared, overwhelmed, unappreciated… know that there is only ONE of YOU in the whole wide world. THAT is how special, how meaningful, how important your life is and your dreams are. Know that all the things in your heart, everything that you dream… EVERYTHING is POSSIBLE. It doesn’t mean that things will always be easy or that life will always be carefree. I believe it means that when we take everything that is inside of us and truly live our lives using them for good, ANYTHING we dream can come true. Imagine a world where we are all living on our Right Roads!

Here’s another thing I know for sure… Working joyfully daily — even through what may seem like insurmountable challenges — fulfilling the dreams God has put on our hearts, finding the good, right way to make them real, and making the world a better place just by being “you” every day… I believe THAT is happiness — and a life’s journey on the Right Road!

I wish you each an amazing journey! If there is any way that Right Road Kids!™ and I can be of help to you and your children on your journey, even if just in a small way, we would be honored. Everything that is available to you on this website has been a labor of love on so many peoples’ parts for kids, teachers, and families everywhere. I believe in everything presented and available here with all my heart and soul, and on behalf of the whole Right Road team, we all hope that everything Right Road will be an amazing blessing for you and your children and students.

With all of my love and heartfelt wishes to each of you today and always,
Paula 🙂