“What Do You Do?”

Yesterday, I was on the phone with a woman I had called for an event I’m planning. I had called her asking about her services and needing a pricing list. As we got to talking, she asked me, “What do you do?”

I always laugh (more to myself) when people ask me this question. And I’m always curious as to how I will answer. Some days, I say, “I’m the Facebook girl” or “I’m in marketing.” What I do isn’t an easy answer. So, my normal go-to is always something along the lines of, “I manage Facebook pages for businesses.”

They usually all laugh. This woman did.

I usually follow up with, “No seriously.”

(SERIOUSLY! I get to play on Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter and Google and all these other fun sites all day long! How awesome is that?!)

After I began to explain….”it’s called social media marketing,” “I set up pages and manage them,” “I create ads and analyze them,” ‘I run promotions and campaigns,” you know, the typical elevator pitch, she answered, “Wow, there’s really someone out there who does that…”

Sure is! ME!

As we started talking, she said she knew that Facebook could be used and heard from other business owner friends that it was a great tool. She just didn’t believe it. Then, she said, “There is one page that I follow that I really like. They have specials and coupons.”

Wouldn’t you know it? It was a client that I used to manage and one that I trained to take-over in-house. 🙂

When I told her that, she said, “We need to talk.” We scheduled an appointment right then and there.

We stayed on the phone a while longer just chatting about her business and about mine. I love when people get passionate about the thing they love. I do, too.

She eventually said, “I’m so sorry. I keep talking. I love my business and could talk about it all day.”

I told her, “I could do the same about mine.”

We’d never met. I had never spoken to this woman until about 20 minutes before this moment and we already shared a bond. A mutual respect. When you love what you do, it shows. When it shows to someone else who also loves what they do, well, it’s a pretty awesome connection.

I can’t wait to meet her next week. I don’t know if she’ll ever be a client, but I know that regardless, I have the utmost respect and wish her all the success in the world.


Because she knew exactly what she did. She loved what she did. And she’d made it happen.

I have always said that BLAZE was born out of necessity. I HAD to do this or I was going to forever be making money for someone else.  I HAD to do this or my daughter and I wouldn’t eat. I HAD to do this or I was always going to question myself later.

I did it and I haven’t looked back.

Now, when people ask me “What do you do?” I usually begin my answer with, “I absolutely love what I do….”

So…I ask you…

What do you do?



Danita Maldonado is the Owner of BLAZE, a Social Media Firm. Follow her on Twitter: @danitalicious & @blazesocialfirm

For social media marketing information, call 432.208.3339 or email danita[at]blazesocialfirm[dot]com.



Always Learning…

This was written back in February….but not published.


A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to attend the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute’s 2014 Texas Leadership Forum in Austin. I was even more honored to a part of the Leadership Team responsible for putting it all together. We got to enjoy a day of keynotes and breakout sessions in our gorgeous State Capital, along with a beautiful Leadership Awards Dinner honoring some impressive people in Texas. Plus, the training, inspiration and motivation that followed was indescribable…and priceless.

It was just what I needed. We can all get into ruts. It’s easy. We wake up and do the same thing over and over…like clockwork. I’m fortunate that my office is my home, so at any point in time, I can go off and do other things, but I get into a routine, too. I wake up and do the same thing, over and over.


When I got back from the Leadership Forum, i made a slight change in my business. I got a different reaction. I liked it. So, I started to change things up a little more and a little more. It was something I’d learned that weekend and something I used to be good at doing…until recently. Until I’d gotten older and complacent. Until I’d gotten scared.

So, while I was there, listening to some amazing people accept some pretty incredible awards, I got re-inspired. I got motivated. I got excited.

Since then, I’ve been having fun and watching things happen.

When I started my journey with BLAZE, I knew that I’d have to be ‘all in’ or it wouldn’t work. My livelyhood, literally, depended on this. I was good at what I did, so I made it happen. Since then, I’ve been left speechless…not only by the continuous support from family, friends and strangers, but by the results we’ve been able to tout for our wonderful clients.

Which is leading me to the point of this blog…

I’ve come to learn that running/owning/maintaining/managing a business is an overtime job. You’re always working. It doesn’t matter when or where, if you’re a true business owner, you’re constantly thinking about your company. In my case, and with the nature of my job, I’m literally working ALL THE TIME. I go to sleep working. I wake up working. I nap working. I work working. All. The. Time!

And I wouldn’t have it any other way!!

With that being said, I’ve learned that there are very specific ‘investments’ you’ll make with whatever ‘profit’ you’re able to muster. Things like computers, software, labor/employees, etc. The other thing I’ve come to truly believe in, is conferences.

Last year, I was so proud to attend SXSWi in Austin. Mingling with other nerds was refreshing and motivating. I also attended a leadership conference in Boston where I came back ready to work and put the things I’d learned to use.

So, this year, I’ve decided to invest in my clients. I’m so outrageously excited to attend Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Marketing World. With the ever-changing face of social and online media, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of the latest trends and platforms. This conference will put me at the same table as the people creating the software and the ones creating the strategies that make them work. I’m going to be in heaven. PLUS, it’s all going down in the gorgeous San Diego Bay. (And right across the bay from my little bro and his family!! YAY!)

Now, I know that the ‘investment’ is one that is going to mean Ramen noodles for us for a while, but I know that the return on this particular investment is going to be huge.

After almost 6 years of studying and learning and strategizing and analyzing digital media, I’m still ready to learn more. I can’t wait!



From a blog by danitalicious

For the past 12 years, I’ve posted this story or a variation of this story as a part of my grieving process. I remember that day more than any other day (with the exception of Bella’s birth). There were things like smells & sounds that I just can’t describe and that have stayed with me all this time. The fear on our faces was genuine. The sadness was true. This is only one of many stories of people who were there that day.

I was fortunate enough to be in NYC in 2011 to commemorate year 10. It was something I needed. Since then, my little brother, Lt. Daniel Maldonado, US NAVY, has gone and come back from Afghanistan, fighting a war that was started all those years ago.

Earlier this year, they put the final spire onto the new Freedom Tower. A move that took over 11 years to complete and something that brought tears to my eyes.

Ever since I saw the Freedom Tower with my own eyes, I have breathed a small sigh of relief. THAT building signifies more than you can imagine. It signifies the tenacity of New Yorkers who were there, who watched, who cried and who persevered….every single day. It signifies the strength of our country. We will NOT back down and we WILL get back up and rebuild. It also signifies the future. And the future is bright!


Every year, this day rolls by and I think that it’ll get easier to handle. So far, I’ve been wrong.

I figured I’d start this blog as a way for me to deal with the pain and hurt and sadness that I’m feeling. Whether in NYC or in any other part of the world, those events on that day have completely changed our ways of life. And for me, have shown me just what it means to be American.

Feel free to repost and add your personal thoughts. Whether for those 3,000 souls who died that day, for those 3,000+ soldiers who have died defending this nation or for the first responders merely doing their jobs, let’s remember the fallen, as well as honor those who continue to serve, with memories of what that day held and what that day still holds.



I was living in NYC at the time and working near Union Square. I started my workday @ 9am everyday and I remember walking out of my Bronx apartment around 8am and walking to the train on an absolutely gorgeous Tuesday. I remember what I was wearing and I remember the smell of the bagel shop as I walked past to board my train. It was just a day like any other. As we approached the Times Square station at about 5 minutes till 9, the speaker system announced that trains would be bypassing the World Trade Center station due to police activity. That was all that was said. Nobody was concerned, that’s what happened on New York subways on occasion.

As I got out of the subway, I looked into the sky and commented to myself about the weather. This was probably the most beautiful day I’d ever seen. The birds were literally chirping as I walked to my office. On my way, I noticed tons of people at a local restaurant looking up at a TV. I didn’t know what they were doing, but I figured it had to do with the election going on. Rudy Giuliani was the outgoing mayor and today was election primary day.

When I walked into work, the looks on my co-workers faces were ashen. They had been able to log online and there was a picture of one of the towers on fire. We all looked at the computer with disbelief and a moment later, we lost our connection. Little did we know, but the other tower had been hit. In the office, we didn’t have cable and the only thing we found was an old radio that ran on batteries. We listened with utter shock as we were told that our city was under attack. The subway system was completely shut down.

My best friend worked in Windows on the World on the 106th floor. I started calling her, but our cell phones were already out of commission to any outgoing calls. I could still receive sporadic incoming calls and my boyfriend at the time called me and told me to leave immediately. I did. I walked over to Union Square and saw hundreds, if not thousands of people standing on Broadway on the West side of the park looking up in horror. When I got there, I saw what they saw. The World Trade Center towers were completely engulfed in flames. I joined this mass of people as we could only watch, stare and cry. People were shouting and wailing and holding each other. It was chaos. I ran into a small deli and bought a throwaway camera. As I walked out, I heard a collective gasp and saw the first tower fall. The entire crowd of people reached out as if we were all holding each other. It fell and then…silence. Nobody said anything. People were sobbing and hugging, but no words were spoken. What was there to say? All we could do was listen to the screams of agony and join them. I remember holding onto a man who couldn’t hold himself up and we looked into each other’s eyes and hugged. I still don’t know who that man was.

As time went on, we all stood watching the second tower. I took out the camera and began taking pictures just as the second tower fell. As before, there was another collective gasp and more wailing. I think we all became dizzy. I was able to snap a couple pictures. One prior to the fall; another as it fell and the other where nothing was left in the sky. At that point we knew that life would never be the same. Papers from the towers were floating up the street – memos from jobs, pictures of loved ones, receipts. It was like confetti blowing up from the site. As people fled from downtown, the soot that covered them from head to toe made us all realize that we weren’t in some big-budget movie production. This was real. Very, very real.

Cell phones were completely out of order…all the cell phone towers were on top of the towers. Lines for payphones were blocks long. The subway wasn’t running, so we had nothing to do but to walk. I ran into some good Samaritans who offered their place to me to watch what we could of the news and to use the bathroom. I still don’t know who these people were, just that they invited many strangers like me into their home on 23rd Street and allowed us to grieve with them.

After a while, we heard that the Pentagon was hit as well as learning of another plane that went down in Pennsylvania. After leaving the stranger’s house, I made contact with my frantic family in Texas and assured them that I was okay. I was getting information from them as I made my way back onto the NYC streets. It was a mass exodus uptown as people got away from the downtown area.

As I walked the 80+ blocks to get to a running subway, I passed blood banks that just appeared on street corners and small delis that were giving water to those of us who needed it. People looked into my eyes for the first time and when they asked if I was okay, I know that they meant it. It was the first time that I’d ever seen New Yorkers come together like they did.

It took me hours to get home. Once I got on a working train, it took me to the Bronx, but it was still out of my way home. It took a while for my boyfriend to get through all of the roadblocks that had been erected. By the time I got in the car, I could do nothing but sob. We held each other for a long time and all I could say was “Cristina?” I’d still not heard from my friend and with cell phone service still out, I had no way of getting through to her.

Later in the day, I heard from her boyfriend and all we could do was cry with each other on the phone and pray for the best. Later, that night, she called and all we could do was cry. She called me by our pet name, “Bunnie.” Once I heard that, all we could do was sob. I was so thankful that she was okay. Traumatized? Yes. But she was okay. (I love you, Bunnie!)

The weeks that followed were a blur. I know that I took a little time to become fully functioning again, but with the help of friends and the great city of NYC, I pulled through. That’s one thing that I’ll never forget –the endurance of New Yorkers. In the worst of times, we stuck together and we made it through the darkness.

Now, being back in Texas, I continue to think about my NYC days and on this twelfth anniversary, I remember where I was and what I was doing and how my life has changed since then. I’m now a mother who will have to tell my child what happened there and why. I can only hope that the patriotism instilled in me by my father, will be something that I can instill in my child. And I will never, ever let my baby forget the thousands of brave men and women who have died and who continue to fight every single day for the freedoms that we often take for granted.

To the victims of 9/11, to the heroes overseas in Iraq & Afghanistan, to those local first responders all over the country who continue to serve and protect and to all Americans…may we never forget this day. God bless you all.

So now I ask you, WHERE WERE YOU ON 9/11/01?

Do You Care Where You Spend Your Advertising Money?

– by Danita Maldonado, @danitalicious @blazesocialfirm

I love when I see small businesses taking advantage of the advertising options that Facebook offers…and there are plenty. At the moment, there are 27 ad units available. Facebook will be streamlining those offerings to about ½, but that still leaves more than 13 options to promote and brand your business. (source @Mashable: http://mashable.com/2013/06/06/facebook-ad-units-streamlining/)

While we see many businesses use ads and finding success, we are also seeing many others doing Facebook advertising all wrong. Bad copy, horrible pictures, inactive pages, outdated websites – you name it, we’ve seen it when it comes to ads.

Our question to you is simple: DO YOU CARE WHERE YOU SPEND YOUR ADVERTISING MONEY?? If your answer is “no,” you may as well stop reading. If you care about your money….hell, if you care about your business, you will care how your money is spent. When done right, Facebook can offer you some extremely targeted, cost-effective options. Seriously.

If you’re going to advertise on Facebook, keep a couple things in mind…

1.)    USE YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE – Nothing irks me more than to see an ad, click on it and see that the page it’s taking me to hasn’t been updated in days, weeks, months, years!!! If you’re spending the money, why wouldn’t you take the time to send people somewhere with updated information? If you’re not going to use your page, send them to a landing page on your website. If you ARE going to use your page, maintain it. Give people a reason to LIKE you and your page.

2.)    CHOOSE YOUR COPY WISELY – If you are creating your own ad, your message is extremely important. You don’t have a lot of space to say much (90 characters), so find the quickest, easiest way to say it WITHOUT abbreviations or slang (this is for your BUSINESS!!).

3.)    USE A PICTURE THAT MATCHES THE MESSAGE – Some people laugh when we mention this one. Sounds like common sense, huh? Well, you’d be surprised the kinds of pictures people/businesses decide to use to promote themselves. (Don’t believe us? Click here: http://www.smosh.com/smosh-pit/photos/24-totally-wtf-facebook-ads.) Studies have shown that people respond better to pictures of women, babies and puppies. If you can incorporate any of these and make it pertain to your brand, then, by all means, use them. If not, use something representative of whatever it is you’re advertising. Think of it this way – what would make you click on an ad?

4.)    DON’T JUST SET IT AND FORGET IT – Facebook moves extremely quickly, so leaving an ad to run for more than a couple weeks just won’t work. People will backlash if they get bombarded too often. Run ads in small spurts – one-to-two week campaigns usually perform better than long-term ones. Change up the copy. Change the target. Change the pic. Mix it up and get more use out of your budget.

5.)    IT’S NOT TRADITIONAL ADVERTISING – IT’S BETTER!! You can’t ask your radio or TV sales rep to give you the exact number of people who heard or saw your ad. It’s impossible. They can’t do it. They can tell you how many people they reach and they can try to give you an estimate, but they can’t say that 100 people saw your ad, 50 commented on a post and 4 people shared your page. Facebook CAN! We can give you more stats than you will even know what to do with (for real!). If this is the case, why are you open to spending $1000s of dollars on TV or radio and you only allot $200 bucks to Facebook??? Start to shift your plan and you will start to see gradual increases overall. Use $200 of a bigger budget to test the waters and then jump in with a solid budget to get some substantial results. If you budget $5000 to television, don’t expect the same or better results on a $200 Facebook budget. We CAN give you some pretty amazing stats for that $200. We’d like to see your TV person give you that…after spending FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS!! If you can spend thousands on traditional ads, just think what you could do if you spent that on Facebook! (We’d be in heaven!)

6.)    FACEBOOK ADS AREN’T MAGIC, THEY’RE REALISTIC – While we can analyze your page all day, what happens after the ad is up to you. We are always surprised when people want instant results. Instant results don’t exist. Not in the advertising world, anyway. What DOES work is consistency. Whether you’re spending $200 or $2000 on ads, the more you advertise, the more people will start to notice you. It can take weeks, months, years, but in the process with proper maintenance, you will create a loyal community based on your brand. And THAT is priceless.

Can we help you with your online or Facebook advertising strategy?? Email danita@blazesocialfirm.com or call 432.208.3339 for more information.

Find us on Facebook here.

Follow us on Twitter here.

Connect with us on LinkedIn here.

BLAZE, a Social Media Firm, is a digital marketing agency based in Odessa & Austin, TX. Our services include social media marketing and management, digital ad buying, email/text message marketing, graphic design, printing and more. Locally, we serve the cities of Odessa, Midland, Austin & San Antonio and their surrounding communities. Our clients are based in TX, New York, Las Vegas and more.

What’s a #Hashtag?

By Danita Maldonado

If you’re not a Tweeter or an Instagrammer, you’re probably not familiar with hashtags, but we know you’ve seen them.

Hashtags got their start on Twitter. While on the Twitter platform, placing a simple # in front of a word would turn that word into an internal, Twitter search engine – capable of finding other conversations based on these words. Off the Twitter platform…well, nothing.

That changed with Instagram. The photo sharing app got its start with deep integration with Twitter, bringing hashtags to a new set of users. Hashtags also began to creep into posts that were shared on both Twitter and Facebook. When Facebook bought Instagram, hashtags became even more ingrained on Facebook, even though they had no purpose. People on Facebook who’d never seen them before would ask the occasional question about them, but they remained dormant and non-functional on Facebook. Until now.

On June 12, 2013, Facebook announced it would now support hashtags. Here’s their blog: http://newsroom.fb.com/News/633/Public-Conversations-on-Facebook.

Hashtags will allow you to find conversations that are being had on Facebook about a certain topic, show, movie, musician, etc. Based on your privacy settings you can find friends, friends of friends, or anyone in the public domain through these hashtags.

Do you watch The Voice (#thevoice) religiously? Maybe you love the Spurs (#gospursgo)? Would you like to learn more about Cajun cooking #cajunrecipes)? Add hashtags to your posts to find people talking about the same thing.

Here are a few basic rules about hashtags:

  • Out of common courtesy, keep it to a 3 tag max. Too many hashtags are just unnecessary, especially if you’re already using Instagram or Twitter. Keep your FB tags to a minimum.
  • Any word can be tagged, but be realistic when tagging – basic words like #fly or #blue won’t be as effective as #BrunoMars or #CNN.
  • When tagging, keep the phrase in-tact, no spaces. If you’re tagging ‘just do it’ it would look like this: #justdoit.
  • Not everything has to be tagged. Sometimes, it’s just not necessary.

Have more tips about #hashtags to add? Please share below!

Find us on Facebook here.

Follow us on Twitter here.

Connect with us on LinkedIn here.

BLAZE, a Social Media Firm, is a digital marketing agency based in Odessa & Austin, TX. Our services include social media marketing and management, digital ad buying, email/text message marketing, graphic design, printing and more. Locally, we serve the cities of Odessa, Midland, Austin & San Antonio and their surrounding communities. Our clients are based in TX, New York, Las Vegas and more.

Target YOUR Audience with Facebook Ads

We get tons of questions about the kind of targeting that can be done with Facebook ads. If you are looking to reach a very specific demographic, there are some pretty amazing tools you can use to target very specific ads to a very particular group.

For instance: We have bridal clients. They only need to reach engaged women. We can find only engaged women, within a 10 mile radius of a city, who like Brides Magazine and Vera Wang.

That is a very specific demographic and the only one that matters to our clients. We will focus our attention and our budget on them.

Considering the price of advertising online is MUCH cheaper than traditional advertising, you can experiment to find what works. Run multiple ads. Target different people. See what sticks. Start with a small budget.

Think about it this way: If all you have is $200 for advertising per month, wouldn’t you rather spend $200 on people you KNOW will eventually need your services, rather than spending it on a couple radio commercials that may or may not get heard?

**TIP: If you have a small budget, break up your campaigns into smaller, hyper-targeted ads that run for small lengths of time. $200? Put $100 to a generic ad that runs for a few weeks, $50 to a slightly more targeted ad that runs for a couple weeks and create two smaller $25 ads to an even more targeted group to run for a week.

Even if only one or two people actually call you, your $200 has branded you to the people who matter to you the most…over and over….so whether they need you or not, you’re in their mind for the future. (That’s called TOMA – top of mind awareness.)

And all you’ve spent is $200…for a whole MONTH of advertising That’s it. Well, a little time to track and analyze, but still, only $200. If you had run a newspaper ad or a radio commercial, you would’ve spent three-to-four times more and wouldn’t know who you’re reaching, if anyone.

Imagine if you were to think of Facebook marketing as MORE important than traditional and were to allocate an even bigger budget to it?

Facebook allows you to target the people you want and only them. You can also use interests to your advantage.

We have a client who caters to senior citizens. While we target ads to that general age demographic (men/women 55+), we go a little more in-depth and run ads targeted to people who have expressed interest in things like AARP, Medicare or Humana Insurance. Those are EVEN MORE qualified candidates to be clients. We wouldn’t mind spending a little bit of money on a campaign to them, and only them.

Let’s say you have a Hispanic demographic. You can target Spanish ads to them, specifically. We have legal and medical clients who run both English and Spanish campaigns. Not only can we find people who’ve told us they were Spanish speaking, we can then further target by zip code and by interests (Spanish channels, events, etc.) to find an even more targeted prospect.

In most instances, Spanish ads perform better and gain much more engagement with the page overall.

All of these searches will get even more in-depth as Facebook continues to roll out its Graph Search. This tool will give a whole new meaning to the term “hyper-targeting.” Using the information that we supply through posts, friend interactions, check ins, uploads, downloads, interests, etc., you will soon be able to find people within a 1 mile radius of you who are interested in French cuisine, who own a French poodle, who eat French fries at the McDonald’s down the street and who’ve seen the latest French flick at the local movie theater. (If you sell French food or décor or anything French, we’d assume you’d want to find this person…or people.)

Want more help with Facebook ads? We are available for one-on-one or group training. Call Danita at 432.208.3339 or email at danita@blazesocialfirm.com for availability, rates and more information.

Find us on Facebook here.

Follow us on Twitter here.

Connect with us on LinkedIn here.

BLAZE, a Social Media Firm, is a digital marketing agency based in Odessa & Austin, TX. Our services include social media marketing and management, digital ad buying, email/text message marketing, graphic design, printing and more. Locally, we serve the cities of Odessa, Midland, Austin & San Antonio and their surrounding communities. Our clients are based in TX, New York, Las Vegas and more.

Give Back on Giving Tuesday

So today is Giving Tuesday. Basically, after all of the consumerism of the past few days, today’s the day to give back. We dig it!

Between the two of us, we sit on various boards & committees & participate in events for some great non-profits & they could all use your help.

Check ’em out below and whether you can help them or not, do something today that gives back.


Spread the word. Pay it forward. Give back!

From Danita Maldonado:

Recording Library of West Texas –  www.facebook.com/recordinglibrary

I have sat on this Board for 3 years now and am the incoming 2013 Secretary. We record books, newspapers, magazines and textbooks for those with vision impairments, those with learning disabilities and those who can’t access the written word.

As an avid reader, I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t read things like street signs or phone numbers, but take away my books?? Oh no! This program brings the written word back to life for so many people who are suffering from things like blindness, macular diseases and other impairments and even learning disabilities like dyslexia.

In my 3 years with the program, we’ve seen technology take over and help our clients. Our offerings increased from our basic telephone reader, to things like podcasts, mobile apps and now, our very own radio station – RLWT!

We always need volunteers to read material. We could especially use Spanish speakers. Our new radio station is broadcast on a special signal & through a special radio. We could use sponsors for these radios. Whether you can sponsor 1 or 100, someone out there will be forever grateful! We are also looking for sponsors for programs on our station – from the weather to grocery ads, we have a really great avenue for advertising while helping us out in the process! (Our internet stats are pretty impressive, too!)

American Diabetes Association – Permian Basinwww.facebook.com/ADAPermianBasin

I have just finished my first stint on this year’s Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes Committee in Midland and this was my 2nd participating year in the Odessa Step Out Walk.

Diabetes has affected my family, so this cause hits very close to home.

We are always looking for volunteers for just about everything we do – from our committees for our Step Out Walks in both Midland and Odessa, to fundraising captains to walkers to showing up on Walk day & helping us setup and tear down.

In addition, we are always looking for sponsors to underwrite our Walks & recognition awards. All money raised here, stays here, so consider a donation, too!

(Also, check out their page for a special #GivingTuesday promotion. Donate to a Step Out Walker & get them entered for a trip to Hawaii!)

Junior Achievement of the Permian Basinwww.facebook.com/JAPermianBasin

I was flattered when JA asked me to be a part of their Board this year. As someone who believes that a great education along with great mentoring can go a long way, this organization had my name written all over it. I’m extremely excited to begin working on the great things we’ll be doing in the coming months.

If you’re in the education industry, we need you! We are looking to add more schools in the Permian Basin to our growing list. We are also looking for mentors and speakers. We also have various events throughout the year (like next week’s Jingle Bell Run!) that always need sponsors.

Consider volunteering or donating some time or money. We could use it!
These are causes that both of us hold near and dear to our hearts. Please consider giving back to one of these great organizations or give back to one in your neighborhood!

From Raquel Pena:

This year, I embarked on a major endeavor! I decided to train for a half-marathon and raise $1,500.00 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through Team In Training. Not only did I make a lifestyle change, but I added on the task of helping others in need. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society not only funds blood cancer research, but they also help those that are currently undergoing treatment.

It’s important to help those that are battling cancer. When someone in your family has cancer, everyone does. LLS is a community to assist financially and emotionally. Through Team In Training, we band together against blood cancers. Before each practice, we listen to a story about someone affected by blood cancer and dedicate our practice to them. We wake up at the crack of dawn for this person, run in 110 degree heat, stand at the corner with a bucket for money, sell t-shirts, hold concerts, write letters, and anything else we can do for this person.

It’s not just one person. It’s THE person battling cancer or blood cancers. It’s about the family supporting this person. It’s about everyone who could or who has been affected by blood cancer. Knowing that you can actually help someone in need keeps you going in your plight to train. As soon as you step foot on the track, running in 110 degrees seems so trivial. This is the very least I could for someone that’s going through the worst.

Consider a donation….or push yourself to do something you never thought you could in their name. 🙂


BLAZE is extremely proud to be involved in our communities. On this Giving Tuesday, consider doing something for others.



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