Letter from the Editor
Well, our AmeriCorps team is six months into our year of service and half way over with this service year. I wouldn’t say the time has been flying by any more than what the normal rate of time flow already feels like to me. I wouldn’t say that the time has been dragging along either. The passage of time has, however long it may or may not take, always sculpted our preferences and opinions. In my six months with AmeriCorps, I’ve met quite a number people that have had an impact on me. I have had my fellow team members who have all impacted me in some way, and I have some of my customers who have compelled me to analyze what a person really wants to get from their place of work. Some people value job security over a higher paycheck. There or those who want the work they do to be worthwhile. There are some people who desire a more friendly work environment over the size of the paycheck. Don’t get me wrong the people I’ve met would still prefer an awesome paycheck, but it’s not the only thing they need of their employment. Call me greedy, but I would prefer all of the above.
What has your personal passage of time lead you to want from your work place, or for your life? Over my time, I’ve had plenty of jobs that have steered me in the direction that’s best for me. What I have learned is I desire a position where I can practice being creative and be helpful for those in need. I believe this model has a nice way of balancing things out for me. I get the structure of helping people in the Career Resource Center and my outreaches, and I have the creativity with the newsletter and creating my workshops. In layperson’s terms, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Take a moment to look back at your employment history, and look at where you are now. How do you feel about it? Our own time isn’t infinite. I don’t think anything is a waste time if it that time is analyzed and used to your benefit later on down the road.
Priya’s Profiles: Southern Regional Center
The Workforce Center at the NC Southern Regional Center (SRC) is located at 130 North Judd Parkway Northeast, Fuquay Varina, NC 27526. We currently have one AmeriCorps member, Alex White, serving at this center. Her site supervisor is Jennifer Morrison.
The SRC has 6 computers as well as a printer, fax machine, and phone for customers to use for employment-related purposes. In addition to these resources, they have several books and printed handouts on job search topics. They have also hosted workshops through Wake Tech in the past, although having these regularly available to customers is difficult due to lack of public transportation in the area. The SRC also has a Talent Development Coordinator on site who is available to assist clients.
A typical day for Alex involves arriving early to prepare the computers for the clients that come in the morning, which is the busiest time in the center. She spends most of that time helping customers register with NC Works. The main demographic includes older workers who are looking for jobs in fields such as customer service and warehousing. The center is available for clients to come in from 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., Monday – Friday. Make sure to drop by and pay Alex a visit!
Quincy’s Quotes: Community
“Still I Rise and Still I Rise”- Maya Angelou
Team AmeriCorps goes that extra mile to praise and unite communities and individuals with seeking employment. Black History Month is ending and I decided to focus on an iconic figure who praises and unite communities and individuals with her words. Maya Angelou was the story behind the book cover everyone wanted to read about. She had toughness within and she wore wisdom like an evening gown dressed for a ball. Her eloquence in words was like the smell of fresh cotton hanging on the line. She obtained a crown that she never wore for the cameras. She wore her crown through words. Her words touched you like a magnet. Ms. Maya you were and will forever be the Laureate of now and future generations, Maya we never forget you. You are and will always be God’s most valuable “CHOSEN” and you are deeply missed by all. Continue to visit us with your words. Now I know why caged birds sing. We love you and we Miss you!
Chelsea’s Chats: Ross Yeager
Ross Yeager is the Director of the Northern Regional Center. Ross has been described by his colleagues as a man of integrity who is open, honest and true to his word. He has also been described as someone who is a great role model for himself and others, especially in terms of leadership. It has been said that Ross exemplifies what it means to be a leader because no department is left isolated, he makes the AmeriCorps member and other departments outside the Wake County staff feel like one team. I was fortunate enough to get a few minutes of Ross’s time and ask him a little about himself.
- Where did you grow up? Pittsburgh PA
- Where did you go to school? What did you study? Edinboro University, Business Administration
- Any family members or children? Wife and Son at NC State
- Tell us a little about your professional interests, career path, and what brought you to where you are today. After a 5 year career with Dun & Bradstreet as a business Analyst, I began my career with Wake County Government as a Case Manager. Now, some 22 years later, I’m a Regional Center Director.
- What do you like about being a Site Supervisor? What do you find challenging? We are very lucky. Our current member, Quincy McAdoo, is extraordinarily capable and profession. His dedication and interactions with job seekers and the community organizations, it makes me proud to know he’s representing both AmeriCorps and our center so well.
- How has your experience been working with AmeriCorps members? How do they fit in to how you run things at your site? Again, a very positive experience! We ask a lot of our members and it’s not always easy to be the only person stationed at a facility. AmeriCorps members have an important role in our employment services and compliment the work dome through ResCare and the Work First program.
- What are your hopes and goals for this year at your center? A more seamless and integrated experience for our job seeking customers.
- Any personal interests or quirky facts you’d like to share? Too many to list 🙂 (i.e.: one of my best friends is a French Psychologist; at age 50 I started running Sprint Triathlons; I could eat hamburgers and Pizza each and everyday and never tire of it…etc.)
Clint’s Corner: CAPTCHAs…
Okay, so everyone has encountered one of these CAPTCHAs at least once by now. If you do not know what a CAPTCHA is, then I will explain. CAPTCHA is an acronym for Completely Automated Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. Basically, it is a message or an array of numbers or characters that have been distorted in way that makes it nearly impossible for computers (or humans in most cases) to decipher. I know they serve the important purpose of keeping bots from abusing a system, but these things appear far too frequently for my taste. You see it every time you need to create an online account for a website. It pops right at you every time you forget your password. This thing haunts you at the gates of completion every time you think you are nearing the end of an application. And even though these things are set out to make the internet a better place, they are extraordinarily annoying. Now, I will not completely condemn their existence. I will admit that when I first encountered one it was a fun deciphering the code, but with time, as most other tedious tasks, it became annoying.
Sometimes, as I make my rounds around the center, I will see people on a webpage hosting a CAPTCHA. So, I ask them if everything is okay, and they normally say they are fine; usually, when I come back around, they are everything but fine. More often than not, they are being blocked from continuing their business by those CAPTCHAs. I often wonder if these CAPTCHAs have a hidden agenda that is to make operating a computer more complicated than what it already is. With all of these lengthy applications, the mandatory work assessments and other various everyday intricate processes that are executed in this office, I do not like the fact that on the list of necessary evils that this particular necessary evil is… necessary!
Recently, I have witnessed a new version of these CAPTCHAs. They request that a user solve an equation, and if they get it right, they are allowed to continue. The only thing is I wish the equations were a bit tougher. The only math questions I have had the pleasure to encounter have been simple arithmetic equations. Subtracting nine from fourteen seems all too easy. A five-year-old could that! It is rare when I have a chance to practice the tougher math skills I learned in school in any capacity. It would be nice if whoever makes those things would give the user the choice to throw something like trigonometry or some algebraic equations into the mix. That would be so much more fun! Now I am just going on a tangent, but is that not the point of this section?
As no day would be complete with at least three of my customers forgetting their passwords, I am constantly finding myself helping them stumble through CAPTCHAs. Every now and then I get a headache just trying to figure out those characters. Is that a horrific “d” or is that an awkward “a”? Is that a straightened “2” or is that a curvy “z”? Is that a contorted “k” or is that a funky “x”? Is that a short “h” or is that just a really distorted “n”? As I complete those CAPTCHAs, I wonder if some of the characters that are on the page are even keys on the keyboard. The confusion never ends. At least we have the option to refresh the CAPTCHA if it is really puzzling; although that usually results in more frustration and confusion. I find it is best to just dive in head first and try to attempt to solve it and either be wrong or right. It is better to guess and fail than it is to remain ignorant to what could have been. And I hate to leave myself wondering “What if?”
- 1 block of extra firm tofu that has been drained and pressed
- Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic powder or onion powder to taste (this is optional, but you can sprinkle some additional flavors on the tofu).
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup Korean barbecue sauce (or your favorite BBQ sauce)
- 1/4 cup finely diced pineapple
- 1/4 cup finely diced mango
- Drain the tofu and press it with a tofu press for at least one hour, or overnight.
- If you do not have a tofu press, wrap the tofu in paper towels, double or triple layer them, wrapping around the tofu several times. Lay the tofu on a cutting board or flat surface. Put cookbooks, a heavy metal frying pan, or something with substantial weight on top of the tofu and allow it to be pressed for at least 1 hour, gently pressing down with your hands from time to time, to help the water to release. After at least one hour, unwrap the tofu and slice it into 16 thin strips, about 1/8-inch wide.
- Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with aluminum foil (do not skip this step!!), transfer the tofu to the pan and place all slices in the pan, making sure the edges do not touch each other. (If you want to season it with optional spices, do so).
- Drizzle with olive oil. Pour the barbecue sauce over the tofu. It will look like a lot, that’s okay. Allow the tofu to marinate for at least one hour, or all day. You can leave it at room temperature or in the refrigerator based on your preference.
- Note: When ready to cook the tofu, make sure you have 15 minutes where you can be attentive.
- Preheat oven to the broiler setting. Place the tofu under the broiler and cook for 10 minutes. Remove it, flip all pieces over, and broil for 4 to 5 more minutes. Remove it and sprinkle with the pineapple and mango and broil for 1 more minute.
- Note: Do not be alarmed if the marinade on the edges of the pan starts turning black.
- Allow tofu to cool for a few minutes and serve, scooping up any extra marinade from the bottom of the pan if desired.
Chelsea’s Chuckles: Jenny, I forgot my password.
What is Forrest Gump’s NCWorks password?
Rick’s Reflections: Loss
From the start of this journey to where we have come to, brings on the sad losses we have had to our team. Not just in team members leaving, but the natural losses and downward spiral of doing good to the best of our abilities. Sometimes, even I admit that the efforts to help people have been wordless when they show no signs of progress; even when we give the client all of our attention. I am reminded of Delois and her loss, which sank deep within me, because I wanted and maybe we all wanted to reach out and do something to help her also. Our Creator has placed the rest of us in charge of continuing this work and we hope to see some results soon. Let us all keep each other lifted up and encouraged, for our reward may not be visible yet, but it has its place for us. We ask our Creator to keep us healthy and strong to finish.