It’s hard to believe music fans have been following Rozanda “Chilli” Thomas’ career with TLC for more than two decades. We’ve listened to her music and watched her on television, but what she really wants is for fans to focus on box tops. That is, Box Tops For Education, a program that provides has helped schools earn over $400 million dollars by clipping box tops coupons from participating products.
On March 15, 2012, Chilli will participate in a Box Tops For Education town hall discussion, hosted by Steve Harvey, to bring attention to the state of education and how parents and communities can help promote academic success and receive school funding. I recently had the chance to sit down with Chilli Thomas to discuss her involvement with the project, and a few other things.
Denise: How did you become involved with Box Tops For Education?
Chilli: Well, when I heard about it, I was drawn to it. My son is in school and I have been cutting those box tops since he was in Pre-K. So I’ve been on board with it.
Denise: How can parents and others in the community get more involved?
Chilli: For me, I take my son with me grocery shopping. Whatever you can do together is family time. As parents we hate it when our children want everything on the cereal. Now, many of General Mills cereals have whole grains. You can have them participate by having them look at the ingredients and look for those participating box tops. You can make it really fun for them. Besides cereal there’s Hamburger Helper also. So even if you don’t have kids this is a community thing. I have my sister always cut out her box tops and save them for me.
Denise: How do you balance work and motherhood?
Chilli: It is challenging at times. But my son is a part of my life and I was born to be a mother. It just works out for me. Priorities are everything. He is number one on the list and then there’s everything else. I’ve been in the music industry for twenty years now. My son is 14 now and in his fourteen years of living we’ve only been apart for a week in his whole life. As his mother I make sure that I’m there and involved in his life, his education, and everything.
Denise: You are known for your music, but also for fitness and people always comment on how youthful you look. What do you do?
Chilli: Well, it starts out with what you put in your body. You have to eat right. Eating right consists of very simple things. Think of all the bad things you eat, then get rid of that. I’m not a drinker. I don’t smoke. I only drink water, raw milk and herbal tea and I work out. I really have this high metabolism. I have to work out to keep weight on me. I’m a huge advocate of working out and eating right.
Denise: Do you ever have those days when you don’t want to work out.
Chilli: Yes, but working out should not be done to look a certain way. You should do it to feel a certain way. As a result of feeling great, you’ll look great.
Denise: You were once quoted as saying that “settling is for houses”. What is your advice on how to avoid settling in life?
Chilli: Start by loving yourself. Take care of yourself. When you want the best for yourself, it means surrounding yourself with the right people and feeling good about yourself.
With that said, one area she definitely doesn’t want our communities to settle in, is education. It’s important to support the schools in our communities so that they have enough funding. Next week’s town hall will discuss those very issues and how all of us can help. The event takes place on March 15, 2012 at 7 p.m. on the Morehouse College campus. Chilli will be joined by Steve Harvey, Susan Taylor, Tisha Campbell-Martin, and Monica to discuss Box Tops For Education. This is a free event but you have to register at boxtops4education.com. There’s limited seating so hurry!!