April Newsletter 2015

Letter from the Editoramericorps-logo

Dear Readers,

Well this has certainly been an interesting month. During our team meeting, I was assigned the seemingly impossible task of balancing 13 nails on a single nail wedged in to a wooden block. The other nails aren’t allowed to touch anything but the one nail wedged into the wooden block. I tried for several minutes and I just couldn’t do it. I figured there was some way I had to structure nails in some fashion in order to achieve perfect balance, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure it out. Because I couldn’t figure it out, I gave up and looked up how to do it online. I was right. There was some genius structure that I probably would have never figured out on my own. Who cares, they’re just nails, right? Well earlier that day we had to go on a scavenger hunt in downtown Raleigh and find different service buildings located around the city. The purpose of the exercise was literally to walk a mile in our client’s shoes to see a small glimpse of what it’s like to go through what they do every day as a part of their life.

When it comes to a person’s livelihood a person just can’t give up as casually as I did on the puzzle. Giving up, as every other action, comes with consequences. I really enjoy puzzles. I feel accomplished when I complete one on my own. When I gave up on that puzzle, I felt defeated. However, I can dust myself off and find another puzzle and no harm will be done. Our clients can’t afford to give up. For many of the people we work with, a client giving up is a person who has stopped looking for work and has decided to let life defeat them. In economics, people of legal working age who have given up looking for work after being unemployed for too long are called discouraged workers. Sometimes my mind gets a little worse for wear, and I feel discouraged. I have to remind myself negative attitudes are easily transferable, and that’s the last thing our clients need.

-Clint


Deborah’s DeskDeborah sm 2

Spring is finally here.  I don’t think there is much prettier than North Carolina in the Spring (we won’t talk about the pollen).  I’m not only excited about Spring, I’m also excited about what our AmeriCorps team is doing.  They are serving many customers in need, helping them get jobs, and providing excellent customer service.  What an amazing team we have this year.  We’ve past the mid-year point and some of our Members are already thinking of what comes next, after their service is over.  So many opportunities! What an exciting time.  Speaking of time, we’ve started our recruiting for next year’s program.  This year’s team will be hard to beat!  I’m hoping we have another excellent group of team members who have a passion for a service, are problem solvers, creative, and fun loving.  Yes, we actually have fun here.  Last week’s team meeting included a scavenger hunt to learn about local Raleigh government and a tour of the North Carolina State Legislative Building. I had never been to the Legislative Hall–it is beautiful.  I’m planning a visit back when the legislators are in session; that should be very interesting.  So, if you know of anyone who would be a good fit for a year of National Service with our AmeriCorps program, please get in touch with me, deborah.bromiley@wakegov.com.


Priya’s Profiles

FullSizeRender (1)The North Regional Center(NRC) is located at 350 E Holding Ave, Wake Forest, NC 27587. We currently have one AmeriCorps serving at this site: Quincy McAdoo. His Site Supervisor is Ross Yeager. The center has a computer center with four computers and an all-in-one printer for customers to use for employment-related purposes. There are also informational pamphlets for customers to learn more information should they have any questions.

Quincy works regularly with ResCare Talent Engagement Specialist, Andrea Smith. Other specialistsnrc_sign on spite include Connie Petosky, the JobCorps Admissions Counselor. The NRC offers HRD (Human Resource Development) courses through Wake Tech on a regular basis. Their most recent workshop was the Social Media course offered last Monday.
Most of a typical day at the center is spent assisting customers registering with NC works, as well as the creation of resumes, cover letters, and job applications. The NRC is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Make sure to stop by and pay Quincy a visit!

 Chelsea’s Chats: Deborah Bromiley2008d18c-cf54-488d-b3a0-98e395c581e5

A leader…is like a shepherd.  He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.

-Nelson Mandela

The job of an interviewer is to report on facts and not feelings, however I will admit that I am completely biased about this month’s Supervisor Spotlight.  I cannot begin to tell you how fortunate I am to have Deborah Bromiley as my Program Manager.  Her compassion, ability to inspire and commitment to our program is inspirational.  I could ramble on and on about her being one of the kindness and most generous people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting but I am going to stick with the facts from here on out.  Deborah generously took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to answer a couple question about herself.

Where did you grow up?

Levittown, Penna.

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

I went to Bucks County Community College in Newtown, PA; and then Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey where I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in Business.

Any family members or children?10

I am the eldest of four children.  I am that special “aunt” to my sisters’ children that all kids want–the one that lets you stay up late and then eat pizza and ice cream for breakfast!   I am very happily married to the love of my life, and best friend; we just celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary.

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

My professional interests include working with an organization that provides service to those who have barriers to success, whether that is a job, an education, or a small business.  I worked in the corporate environment for many years.  That experience gave me great experience and knowledge to make a good transition to the non-profit/service sector.  My personal values of integrity, simplicity, peace, community and equality validated my pursuit of employment working with the AmeriCorps team.

What do you like about being a Program Manager? What do you find challenging?

I love being an AmeriCorps Program Manager.  It satisfies my desire to be part of a community and to be of service.  Our team of 18 is wonderful; however, keeping track of everything and everyone can be challenging!

How has your experience been working with AmeriCorps members? How do they fit in to how you run in your program?

My experience with this year’s AmeriCorps Members has been amazing.  I continue to be humbled and amazed at the service that is being done and the interests that each AmeriCorps Member has and is pursuing.  Our team this year is just that, a team.  It is gratifying to see everyone come together for the same purpose and also to realize that a community of support and caring has been formed.

What are your hopes and goals for this year’s Program?

My hopes and goals for this year’s AmeriCorps Program are that each and every Member has an exceptional year of service, growth, and fun.  I think fun is very important and I hope each Member takes time to have fun and enjoy life.  My goal for the program this year is that we exceed our quantitative goals and that the program is strengthened by each Member’s contribution.

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

I love to travel, and if I can’t be traveling, I like to be reading about travel! As much as I like to read both personal growth books and just some fun best sellers, my true love is reading travel essays.  I think that began when I first read “Out of Africa”.  I have a small collection of travel essay books that I cherish.


 Quincy’s Quotes: Reality

When you determine what you want, you have made the most important decision of your life. You have to know what you want in order to attain it.

-Douglas Lurton

Quincy (1)Douglas Lurton quotes apply to our consumers seeking employment. Our consumers may be qualified in so many areas, even over qualified. But the question is, why can’t they land any jobs? Employers aren’t looking for your skill set or talent, but perhaps they are making note of your character and drive. In general, what our consumer chooses to go forward, we just hope the consumer finds a job they would enjoy doing and work their way up from there. A lot of people take jobs because it’s economically going to support them, even if it’s not what they want to do. Sometimes your dream job is just not realistic. If you want to be in the NFL, well, 234 people get drafted each year. Out of millions of people that is like winning the State Lottery. I’m not saying don’t go for your dream job, I am saying you have to be realistic with your dream job or life vision which leads back to Douglas quote. The quote agenda is finding your vision, brainstorming the vision and executing the plan. Follow these three steps, win or lose, at least you can’t say you didn’t try. And trying in my opinion is never failing.


 Chelsea’s Chuckles: Hey Boss, you are never going to believe this…

Here are my top 10 ridiculous reasons employees called out from work.

  1. I got stuck in the blood pressure machine at the grocery store and couldn’t get out.
  2. I was sprayed by a skunk.
  3. My shrink says I need the day off.
  4. I got my first gray hair
  5. I had a dream I died at work.
  6. I have to stalk my previous boss.
  7. There was a spider in my bathroom so I couldn’t get dressed.
  8. I fell into a cactus.
  9. My false teeth flew out the window on my drive to work.
  10. A rat touched me and I think I might have the plague.

Priya’s Pics


 Rick’s ReportRev

This month, I selected Stephanie and Ashley to be our featured AmeriCorps members, and thankfully they accepted the request. Stephanie performs her AmeriCorps service at the Tillery Place office located in Raleigh, and Ashley assists the clientele at the Swinburne office, also located in Raleigh. Enjoy getting to know them a little bit more.

Stephanie

Can you give me a brief overview of what it is you do in your work?

I am currently serving as an Employment Advisor through the AmeriCorps Workforce Development program.  I help customers with their job searches which includes assistance with resumes, cover letters, and job applications.  As part of my service I also volunteer at Dress for Success and the Literacy Council.

What would you say most motivates you to do what you do? What are the goals you hold personally?

The appreciation of customers that I help is what motivates me the most.  It is rewarding to see smiles and receive “thank yous” from people who needed assistance to get on the right track.  

What led you to this AmeriCorps project?  What were you doing before you came here? 

This AmeriCorps project caught my attention because I wanted to gain additional experience working with vulnerable populations. I had previously worked on community projects involving homelessness, which is how I knew I wanted to work in this field.  I love helping people, and that is what I get to do everyday in this program.

Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life?  Tell me a little bit about them.

My high school soccer coach is one of the most influential people in my life.  Through his example I learned how to balance family, friends, faith, work, and fun.  He took the time to make sure each person he interacted with knew they were valued, and I intend to do the same!

Did you have any life-changing experiences that put you on the path that led you to be doing what you’re doing today?  Tell me about them.

There have been a lot of experiences that led me to where I am today.  These include service trips to poverty-stricken communities, academic research, a love for volunteering, and experience in community development projects. Along my path I have seen well-managed and not-so-well-managed organizations that focus on helping those experiencing poverty.  The not-so-well-managed organizations are what drove me to desire working in one of these organizations, learning from the negative and changing it to positive. 

What do intend to do after your service with AmeriCorps? Go to school or continue with other employment avenues?

After AmeriCorps I will be attending graduate school for my Masters in Public Administration.  I intend to use this education to pursue a career in either local government or non-profit management. 

Ashley

Can you give me a brief overview of what it is you do in your work?

I serve as an Employment Advisor with the Capital Area Workforce Center at Wake County Human Services. In this role, I provide individualized employment assistance to persons facing homelessness, individuals with disabilities, veterans, former offenders, at-risk youth, and older workers.  In this role, I have identified my personal strengths when working with both vulnerable and diverse populations.

What would you say most motivates you to do what you do? What are the goals you hold personally?

Most of my early social work experience has been performing community outreach to youth in cities such as New York and the Raleigh/ Durham area of North Carolina. I have always been extremely concerned with both the welfare of others as well as the educational advancement of African-Americans in urban areas. In the last 10 years, I have worked closely with youth ranging in ages from 5 to 18 from low income neighborhoods. I have helped them reach grade level in reading and math, encouraged youth to leave gangs and return to school, and helped them prepare for college.  As a sociology major, I spent my senior field experience working in a yearlong internship serving children and families at Loaves and Fishes Ministries in Raleigh, NC. While there I assisted with the educational advancement of the students through tutorials and leadership development that encouraged responsibility, employability, and other positive social behaviors. It is my passion for youth development and education that ignited a desire in me to learn more about historical as well as current laws and policies that negatively impact African-American/minority success.  Consequently, my personal objective in completing my MSW is to assist in the fight to end educational inequality in America. 

 What led you to this AmeriCorps project?  What were you doing before you came here?8

My reason for joining AmeriCorps particularly, the Access Workforce Development was to gain experience in the field of social work.

Where did you grow up?  What was it like to growing up where you did?  Did you go to college?  Where did you go, and what was that like?

I was born and raised in New York. However, I attended college in Raleigh, NC at Saint Augustine’s University.

Did you have any life-changing experiences that put you on the path that led you to be doing what you’re doing today?  Tell me about them.

Specifically, I have learned a great deal from working with John Doe, a man who emigrated from West Africa when he was 26 years old. He has had a very difficult life here, overcoming language barriers and poverty on the path to establishing himself.  Despite the many obstacles that hinder his ability to attain steady employment, his perseverance and resilience are what motivate him to come into our center every day and actively seek employment. Clients like John Doe inspire and encourage me to persevere when faced with the socially challenging situations we encounter daily while working at Wake County Human Services. This experience has given me the chance to establish lasting relationships with several of our customers while providing comprehensive guidance and counseling focused on career exploration and the development of work readiness skills. This position has allowed me to invest an   interest in the personal success of my clients and in result; they see me as a source of support.  Additionally, this job has given me great insight into the role of a social worker as I assist individuals who have dealt with homelessness, abuse, or other barriers to gain employment. By spending 8 hours every working day connecting clients to supportive services from both public/public community agencies and learning from other staff, I have significantly improved my communication skills, my patience, and my sense of initiative. During my time with the Capital Area Workforce Center, I have become more aware of my own values and beliefs while demonstrating respect for all persons and their values, belief, needs and preferences, an ability I believe is highly important in any effective and compassionate social worker. Mahatma Gandhi once stated that “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of other.” I have found this to be an incredibly accurate way to describe my experience with the Workforce Center in Human Services. At times, the difference I made in a client’s life was small, but I believe that all great things come from simple beginnings. The seed was planted in me through my service experiences in college and has bloomed into a passion for the field of social work.

What do intend to do after your service with AmeriCorps? Go to school or continue with other employment avenues?

After AmeriCorps, I plan to complete my MSW at Columbia University!


Chef Chelsea: Buckeye Brownies

Buckeye BrowniesChef Chelsea

Ingredients

  • Brownies:
  • Box of brownies of your choosing. I prefer dark chocolate because it is a nice contrast to the butter cream.

Peanut Butter Cream:

  • ½ cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tablespoons milk or heavy whipping cream

Glaze:

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

InstructionsbrownE

  1. BROWNIES:
  2. Follow directions on a box of brownies of your choosing.
  3. After the brownies have cooled, prepare the peanut butter cream.
  4. PEANUT BUTTER CREAM:
  5. Beat butter and peanut butter on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time to hopefully avoid powdered sugar everywhere! Next add your vanilla and milk. Continue to beat on medium for another 1 to 2 minutes. If the cream is too thick, add a little milk. If it’s too thin, just add some more powdered sugar. Spread the butter cream over the cooled brownies.
  6. GLAZE:
  7. Melt the 1 cup chocolate chips in a saucepan on medium-low heat. Stir constantly until smooth. Let this chocolate cool for a few minutes then pour the glaze over then butter cream. Taking a spatula, smooth the glaze evenly over top.
  8. Chill the brownies one hour before serving.

Clint’s Corner: Hey! Listen!

IMG_20141024_173710I spend a lot of my time listening to others. I listen to my teammates, my coworkers and my friends. When I ask my clients how can I help them I used to expect to listen to their job searching needs. More often than not, when I ask that question I get stared at directly into my eyes and they open up the floodgates that is their life experience. I listen to their political beliefs, religious affiliations, dreams, accomplishments, frustrations and concerns, views on current events and family stories. You better believe I’ve heard many tales of people being fired. If you can name it, then I have probably heard it at some point. Listening is an absolute must in this field. If I never listened I would never know how to help those seeking help. However, listening can navibe very taxing on the mind, especially when you hear such a wide range of happy stories, sad stories and random off the wall stories in quick succession when you didn’t ask for that much. To me, it kind of feels like my mind is the rope in a game of Tug of War between various forces.

One of these forces I come across is doubt. “Doubt is the enemy of success.” That is one of my favorite quotes. When I hear this quote, a particular client comes to mind. This client currently has a job, but she is looking for a second job. The disheartening part is she always finds reasons to not even bother applying for jobs. It could be the requirement of lifting heavy objects, her belief that she lacks computer skills, having to managing others, or having the responsibility of closing. Almost every job she has had, there was some form of a negative experience that came along with it. She told me she didn’t want to be in a situation where her supervisor has a problem with her performance. After I sat with her for almost an hour listening to her talk herself out of applying for a job, I realized she might be her own worst enemy. After that, I think I hit a breaking point. I told her that there is no such job where your supervisor is not going to try to get you to do better. It’s one of their duties to get their employees to perform their best. I told her she was going to apply for that job because she has nothing to lose by trying. I can’t even remember what the job was for, but she was perfectly qualified for the position. I was not happy she had originally come to the conclusion she couldn’t do the job. So I hope that she can at least push those doubts away and try to do more. I don’t just mean job searching wise, I also mean just being more confident in her abilities in general.

Some of the other things I hear make me feel a heightened emotion or mixture of emotions and I can’t exactly put my finger on it. A man came in earlier this month and told me he wasn’t terminated from his job; his boss told him he wasn’t working fast enough and he was “let go.” So I tried to explain to him that this is the same thing as termination or being fired. I was trying to put it as nicely as possible, but that was hitting on nothing. I don’t know what exactly his manager told him but, he was still under the impression that being terminated and being let go for performance reasons were two different things. I really don’t know how that makes me feel. In this situation if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, and swims like a duck then I’m sorry, but you got terminated seven ways to Sunday. I don’t know how to put it any other way. I said most of communicating in life is listening. If someone fails to listen then that person will fail to understand. Ask most of my middle school teachers; they can back me up on that one. The stories I hear in the prison where I do outreach are understandably rough. I hear how some of my clients will never do anything that would make them go back to prison. Then I have those who have told me they really don’t know what else to do due to their life circumstances.

Honestly, there isn’t a day that goes by when I hear something more than what I asked for that makes me feel some kind of way. People have told me of loan sharks trying to break into their house to get their money, who they like and who they don’t like, their pets dying and not knowing what to with the body. People tell me everything. I’m honestly stunned by most of it and would like to forget it, but “in one ear out the other ear” is not an option here. I’m not quite sure what to tell them in most situations. I normally say your may want to go to the authorities or advising them to seek medical advise. I’m merely an Employment Advisor, not a doctor, lawyer or therapist.


Rick’s ReflectionRev

In our Reflection Segment, I find that as the time draws nearer to graduation from our AmeriCorps program, I seem to be working harder now that my Work Investment Act representative has left. I’m now finding more of those I have helped in their confidence to continue looking and not give up, working and glad about it. I am now getting hugs from all who have accomplished what they set out on. At present, after losing some of our AmeriCorps family the AmeriCorps team as a whole has worked even harder to double up the effort to assist people in employment distress. I(we) miss all of them, but the project must continue.

April Cover

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