December Newsletter 2014

Letter from the Editor

Happy Holidays,

December is an awesome month. There are all the holidays going on during December, people are getting gifts for their loved ones, sending off post cards, making their way to their place of origin to be with their families and getting into the festive spirit.  There seems to be so much going on and it flies by so quickly, but it feels like it takes forever.

It is also the time when we say goodbye to the old year and say hello to the New Year. The older I get the faster these years go by. 2014 has been an interesting year for me; my friends welcomed a new child, my sister got married, I had a few interesting jobs before I joined AmeriCorps, I have met a lot of interesting people and the year is not over yet. Before I wonder about 2015, I will use the rest of 2014 to look forward to what this year still has to offer.

Clint Exum


Deborah’s Desk

Deborah sm 2This month has passed so fast and now the holidays are upon us and soon it will be 2015! I always look forward to the New Year as a time of reflection and new beginnings. I am not one to set resolutions per se, but I think it is a good time to get back into a healthy and mindful life style after all the busyness of the holidays and the goodies that tempt even the strictest among us.

December was the month for our year’s first AmeriCorps Quarterly Site visits. I visited all seven of our service sites and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the Members and their Site Supervisors. All of our Members are doing such wonderful service, it is amazing to hear the successes, along with the trials and tribulations, of their work. The service that our Members provide is paying off–many of our clients are securing employment and that is quite a gift!  I wish all of our Members, Staff, and friends New Year filled with Love, Peace, and Joy!


Priya’s ProfilesFullSizeRender (1)

The Workforce Development Center at Cary is located on 742-F East Chatham St. in Cary, NC 27511.

There are currently two AmeriCorps Members serving at this site: Darrell Johnson and Blake Cotton. Their Site Supervisor is Tom Palmer. The center is fully equipped with 13 computers, several printers, copiers, fax machines, and phones for customers to use for employment-related purposes.

Furthermore, Cary’s center is stocked with different forms, pamphlets, and other information available for people to use at their centers. These include materials on things such as resume and cover letter creation, appropriate interview etiquette, and a list of temp agencies throughout Wake County. There are also a variety of staff members on site to help customers with their individual needs. These include

Veteran Representative (Darnel Thoms), Former Offender specialists (Kathy Froehlich), Work Investment Act Representative (Kimberly Cozart), Trade Agreement Act Representative (Neil

Hardman), Re-Employment Eligibility Assessment supervisors (Sarah Stone), and job counselors (Francine Wilson). You may also encounter their receptionist, Betty Johnson should you stop by the front desk to sign in!

While there is no typical day at the center (our AmeriCorps members may be helping one person or five people at once), there is always a diverse range of individuals who have recently become unemployed and are looking for work or people looking to file unemployment claims at Cary. Furthermore, the case managers on site help members from our target populations in accessing the specific pool of resources they offer.

The center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., Monday through Friday. Make sure to visit and see just how Darrell and Blake work diligently to help those with barriers to unemployment get back into the workforce!


Chef ChelseaChef Chelsea

Crock Pot Taco Soup

  • 1 (16oz) can of pinto beans
  • 1 (16oz) can of kidney beans
  • 1 (11oz) can of corn
  • 1 (11oz) can of tomatoes & chilies
  • 1 (28oz) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 (4oz) can of diced green chilies
  • 1 (1 ¼oz) envelope of taco seasoning
  • 1 (1oz) envelope of Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1 lb of shredded chicken (you can use ground beef or any other meat)

Directions:IMG_20141227_125654350

Cook and drain meat

Add all ingredients to the crock pot (do not drain the cans)

Stir together

Cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours

Keep on low until serving to keep it warm

Serve and garnish with sour cream, shredded cheese, and tortilla chips


Quincy’s Quotes

“Sometimes you need to be selfish to take care of self before you can take care of others”

-Quincy McAdooQuincy (1)

I am selfish because I am taking care of self, but I am not greedy. I do not steal and take, you know it is a difference. Do you give yourself the time you need to do wellness and take good care of your physical and emotional needs? If you cannot answer those questions in a satisfying way, I want to invite you to think about the following questions as well. How are you able to fully help your family, friends and clients if you do not help yourself? I love being near the sea or in the sea if that is possible. It is so calming! When I have time to myself, I go for a walk, if possible in the woods or along the beach. That really helps to put my mind at ease. Or writing in my journal, reading and sports, but also working out, playing a video game, writing, reading a self-help book.


Priya’s Pics

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Clint’s CornerIMG_20141024_173710

As I mentioned in AmeriCorps This Week earlier this month, I am a huge advocate for reading with comprehension. I am disheartened by the challenges people go through with literacy. It is not that they cannot read, it is that they are choosing not to read. A young gentleman asked me for help with his application. He needed to upload his resume. Luckily, he had one on his flash drive. So, I showed him how to upload it and then I moved on to see if I could assist anyone else. About ten minutes later, I came back to him; he was sitting there waiting for me on the same screen. I asked him if something had gone wrong, and he replied, “I was waiting for you to tell me what to do next.” I felt perplexed that he would wait that long for me to tell him what to do next instead of taking the initiative to try to figure out what to do next. He actually told me he sat there for ten minutes waiting for me to tell him what to do next. This was not the first time it has happened either. It amazes me how many people will do that.

All I ask is that when there are words on the screen is to read them. And I know they know how to read. Sometimes when my customers ask me what to do next, I will peer at the screen and ask them what the page says. Then they will read it and say “Oh.” Now, some of those instances it is absolutely necessary I help the customer when there are technical terms they do not understand or when they are having technical difficulties. That is one of the many reasons I am there for. However, there is a point at which one must take the initiative to just take the time to look at the words on the page, process them, and perform accordingly to the instructions within reason.

Here is another story. I was helping another gentleman in the CRC. He had received an email giving him instructions on how to apply for a job. The instructions were sent as a pdf with instructions about how to open the pdf and then to… well follow the instructions. At first, I thought he just was not well versed in computers. So I downloaded the file for him and went off to help the next person. I come back and he asked me what to do next. I asked him if he opened the pdf. He said no, and I opened it for him and went to help someone else. When I come back, I thought he was reading the instructions. He was not. He asked me what is next. I asked him, “Did you read the instructions?” He said yes, but when I asked him what was the next step was he said he did not know.  This is so frustrating! The story does have a happy ending. He followed the instructions, finally, and he applied for a temporary service agency.

As I am writing this article, not too long ago, I was helping a woman apply for a job at one of my outreaches. She told me she was happy I was there to help her get through the application. I responded by saying, “Most of these applications are pretty straight-forward with what they want you to do. All you have to do is read and you should be able to understand.” She replies, “I see that now.” I am going to start giving that advice more often.  


Chelsea’s ChatsChef Chelsea

In Johnston County the NCWorks Career Center is fortunate to have Michelle Jones as its Center

Manager.  Her leadership and her passion for assisting job seekers motivates the staff in Johnston County to reach their highest potential, not just for themselves but for the customers they serve.  I was fortunate to get a few minutes of Michelle’s time and ask her a few questions about herself.

  1. Where did you grow up?

I was born outside of Philadelphia, PA, and moved to Raleigh, NC when I was 10.

  1. Where did you go to school? What did you study?

I began college majoring in Architectural Engineering, however obviously my career took a very different turn.

  1. Any family members or children?

I have been married for nine years, we do not have children.

  1. Tell us a little about your professional interests, career path, and what brought you to where you are today.

My work background began in the hospitality industry.  This led me to about 12 years in meeting planning, six of which were in the pharmaceutical industry.  In about 2009, I was ready for a career change and was looking for a start in human resources.  During my search for human resources opportunities, I “stumbled” into workforce development and realized that it was the more appropriate industry because I was actually looking for a chance to help people reach professional goals.

  1. What do you like about being a Site Supervisor? What do you find challenging?

My first Site Supervisor responsibility came in 2013, and I enjoyed being a mentor for AmeriCorps staff. I did not find anything challenging about that role. 

  1. How has your experience been working with AmeriCorps members? How do they fit in to how you run things at your site?

I have had excellent experience working with AmeriCorps staff, which speaks to the care put into choosing each member.  They are courteous and willing to assist our customers.  We especially enjoy that they can be a part of our staff meetings and trainings because they are such an integral part of our team!

  1. What are your hopes and goals for this year at your center?

Our Center is in its first year of the Integrated Service Delivery model, so our goal is to achieve total integration by having our staff fully trained and knowledgeable in providing appropriate services regardless of the reason for a customer’s visit.

  1. Any personal interests or quirky facts you’d like to share?

My husband and I met while serving on a jury for six days in Wake County Superior Court.


Blake’s Blog

Blake (1)Earlier this month I helped a gentleman find and apply for jobs. He lacked the necessary skills to find jobs but he was able find them he was able to be fairly independent when it came to filling out the applications. So naturally the teacher in me came out, and stepped away to let him attempt it on his own. In education they refer to this move as supervised independence. Put simply, after a person has learned a new skill, you allow immediate independent practice of that skill, so they can master it on their own.

Unfortunately this person’s strong suit was not patience, and this was not a teachable moment. So I helped him pick out a couple jobs to apply for, and pulled up the applications. I let him know that I was available if he had any questions, then I let him fill them out on his own. He sat there for around an hour and then called me over for help. I was expecting to that he did not understand a question, or the computer would not let him go any further in the application. Nope! Due to his impatience he had clicked on anything that was remotely close to what he wanted to do without giving it any thought. He was filling out an information sheet for Army recruitment. Luckily it would not let him go any further due to his age.

I am all about helping people follow their dreams, and if he felt it was his destiny to join the Army, I was going to help in any way possible. I asked, “Are you interested in joining the military, sir?” Without hesitation he responded, “No! I just want to fix electronics.” Thank goodness the Army put in at least some safeguards, or my friend may very well have been stationed overseas this Christmas.

I coined a new term that day…

Hyperclicker: One who responds to computer generated stimuli with rapid indifference.

For the record, it is not a good idea to leave a person who exhibits these symptoms completely unsupervised for long periods of time. This was humorous (and slightly terrifying) story that I think highlights a larger problem that some of our more vulnerable clients face. Problems like, accidentally storing social security numbers in the browser history, responding to junk “click-bait”, and giving too much information to people who do not need it. Adjusting the browser settings can help a little, but for the most part you cannot replace someone standing over your shoulder saying, “Don’t click that!”


Rick’s ReflectionsRev

When I look back over the past few months, I can now see where there is starting to be a difference being made here in the East. The word has gotten out or is getting out that there are people trying to help all who are considered desperately unemployed. That is the AmeriCorps team. I am hearing some good words about how the people are being treated by our team and how much effort is taken to get answers for the client. You go Team. Great Customer Service.


Holiday Fun: The Twelve Days of AmeriCorps Access

♪♫

On the first day of Christmas, Access Workforce gave to me:

a new job for all by Christmas Eve.

On the second day of Christmas, Access Workforce gave to me:

two at-risk youths,

and a new job for all by Christmas Eve.

On the third day of Christmas, Access Workforce gave to me:

three veterans,

two at-risk youths,

and a new job for all by Christmas Eve

On the fourth day of Christmas, Access Workforce gave to me:

four job fairs,

three veterans,

two at-risk youths,

and a new job for all by Christmas Eve.

On the fifth day of Christmas, Access Workforce gave to me:

five interviews,

four job fairs,

three veterans,

two at-risk youths,

and a new job for all by Christmas Eve.

On the sixth day of Christmas, Access Workforce gave to me:

six comment cards,

five interviews,

four job fairs,

three veterans,

two at-risk youths,

and a new job for all by Christmas Eve.

On the seventh day of Christmas, Access Workforce gave to me:

seven sites we’re serving,

six comment cards,

five interviews,

four job fairs,

three veterans,

two at-risk youths,

and a new job for all by Christmas Eve.

On the eighth day of Christmas, Access Workforce gave to me:

eight more months of outreach,

seven sites we’re serving,

six comment cards,

five interviews,

four job fairs,

three veterans,

two at-risk youths,

and a new job for all by Christmas Eve.

On the ninth day of Christmas, Access Workforce gave to me:

nine cover letters,

eight more months of outreach,

seven sites we’re serving,

six comment cards,

five interviews,

four job fairs,

three veterans,

two at-risk youths,

and a new job for all by Christmas Eve.

On the tenth day of Christmas, Access Workforce year gave to me:

ten pens-a-stolen,

nine cover letters,

eight more months of outreach,

seven sites we’re serving,

six comment cards,

five interviews,

four job fairs,

three veterans,

two at-risk youths,

and a new job for all by Christmas Eve.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, Access Workforce year gave to me:

eleven older workers,

ten pens-a-stolen,

nine cover letters,

eight more months of outreach,

seven sites we’re serving,

six comment cards,

five interviews,

four job fairs,

three veterans,

two at-risk youths,

and a new job for all by Christmas Eve.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Access Workforce year gave to me:

twelve perfect resumes,

eleven older workers,

ten pens-a-stolen,

nine cover letters,

eight more months of outreach,

seven sites we’re serving,

six comment cards,

five interviews,

four job fairs,

three veterans,

two at-risk youths,

and a new job for all by Christmas Eve.  ♪♫

The AmeriCorps Newsletter Committee

Dec 2014 Covers

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s