December 2015 Newsletter

Letter from the Editoramericorps-logo

Dear Readers,

Unfortunately, we have lost a Member of our team and a cherished friend this month. It’s never easy when someone you are close to passes away.  This month’s newsletter is a dedication to Monica and the joy she brought to our group. She wasn’t with our group long, but when someone passes no amount of time seems long enough.

Thank you,



Deborah’s Desk

Deborah sm 2It was been a very sad time for our AmeriCorps Team.  Our beloved team member, Monica Jeffery, passed away on December 21.  She will be missed, especially her sweet smile and her wicked sense of humor.  We can take heart from the words Monica’s daughter shared with me about how much Monica loved her service in AmeriCorps, and how happy she had been. I know that Monica would want us all to remember her with a smile.

We are at the quarter year mark for this year’s AmeriCorps program.  Everyone is going strong, helping our customers, and making a difference every day.  One of the best parts of my job is reviewing our customer comment cards.  They are all so positive and reinforcing of what a difference this program is making.  This one stands out to me, “. . . was very thorough, compassionate and understanding, very patient”.  That’s what it takes to be successful in this program.  That’s what it takes to work with our customers. That’s what it takes to empower our customers to find their ideal job, or at least a job to pay for the bills for now.  Our Members have what it takes.  I am so grateful for all of their hard work, their dedication, and their passion for the community they serve.


Motivated Monica

This is Monica’s last entry. She wanted to help get us all in the Christmas spirit. Christmas may have come and gone but the spirit doesn’t have to go too.

A Visit from St. Nicholas

– – Poem by Clement Clarke Moore

T’was the night before Christmas, when all through the house 
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; 
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, 
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; 
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; 
And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap, 
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap, 
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, 
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash, 
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. 
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow 
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below, 
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, 
With a little old driver, so lively and quick, 
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. 
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, 
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name; 
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! 
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen! 
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! 
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all! ” 
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky; 
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, 
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too. 
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof 
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around, 
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. 
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, 
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; 
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. 
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! 
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! 
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow 
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow; 
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, 
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath; 
He had a broad face and a little round belly, 
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly. 
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; 
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, 
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread; 
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, 
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose, 
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; 
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, 
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle, 
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

Silent Night! Holy Night!

John Freeman Young (verses 1-3), ca. 1859
William C. Egan (verses 4-6), 2007

Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright,
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child!
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace!
Sleep in heavenly peace!

 Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight!
Glories stream from Heaven afar,
Heavenly Hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Savior, is born!
Christ, the Savior, is born!

Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy Holy Face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy Birth!
Jesus, Lord, at Thy Birth!

Silent Night, Holy Night
Here at last, healing light
From the heavenly kingdom sent,
Abundant grace for our intent.
Jesus, salvation for all.
Jesus, salvation for all.

Silent Night! Holy Night”
Sleeps the world in peace tonight.
God sends his Son to earth below
A Child from whom all blessings flow
Jesus, embraces mankind.
Jesus, embraces mankind.

Silent Night, Holy Night
Mindful of mankind’s plight
The Lord in Heav’n on high decreed
From earthly woes we would be freed
Jesus, God’s promise for peace.
Jesus, God’s promise for peace.

 Mike’s Muse

Mike ProfileFor this newsletter instead of telling one long, mildly interesting story, I’m going to offer a list of 25 facts you may not have heard before.

  1. MIT researchers studying tongue twisters developed “Pad kid poured curd pulled cod,” which nobody could say 10 times fast. Some who tried it just stopped trying to talk.
  2. Louis Armstrong once asked Richard Nixon to carry his bags through customs for him because he ‘was an old man’. The bags had marijuana in them.
  3. In 1932 Australia fought a warw1da8Vp.jpg against a population of roughly 20,000 emus. The emus won.
  4. When the first iPod prototype was shown to Steve Jobs, he dropped it in an aquarium and used the air bubbles to prove there was empty space and it could be made smaller.
  5. Since 1945 all British tanks have come equipped the ability to make tea.
  6. High heels were first produced by the Persian cavalry to provide stability for their archers while firing from atop their mounts. They later became popular in Europe as a masculine status symbol until around 1630, when women adopted them.
  7. In an emergency, coconut water can be used as a substitute for blood plasma.
  8. In 2000, Blockbuster Video turned down a chance to purchase a one-year-old company called Netflix for $50 million.
  9. The largest snake that ever existed was the Titanoboa, measuring over 40 feet and weighing in at 2,500 pounds.
  10. A single year on Pluto is longer than the entire history of the United States.
  11. The blue whale can produce the loudest sound of any animal. At 188 decibels, the noise can be detected over 800 kilometers away.
  12. 16 pennies stacked equals 1 inch. 16 pennies placed in a line equals 1 foot.
  13. beer-and-pop-tartsWhen a hurricane is expected, Wal-Mart’s top-selling items are strawberry Pop-Tarts and beer.
  14. The top speed of the Bugatti Veyron is limited not by the engine, but rather its tires exploding.
  15. Dolphins give each other names and will answer to it even when called by dolphins they don’t know.
  16. Yo Yo Ma once left his 280 year old, $2.5 million cello in a New York City taxicab
  17. There is currently an international scandal in the form of a type of food fraud where honey is cut with cheaper sugars and syrups and then sold as pure honey. This is called ‘Honey Laundering’.
  18. The Great Wall of China was built using sticky rice, creating a super-strong mortar that remains the best available material for restoring ancient buildings to this day.
  19. France classifies books as an “essential good,” along with electricity, bread, and water.
  20. Both Tom Hanks & George Clooney are related to Abraham Lincoln.
  21. In the same way that humans tend to be right-handed or left-handed, elephants can be right-tusked or left-tusked.
  22. The US Navy diving manual has detailed instructions for escaping a giant clam.
  23. During the Cold War, CIA agents used a method of communication based on how their shoelaces were tied.
  24. maxresdefaultThere is currently a serial criminal in Colorado breaking in to homes, stealing snacks (namely hot pockets) and watching cartoons. He has never stolen any cash or valuables, only snacks.
  25. Reindeer eyes change blue in the winter.


Bridgette’s Board


Clint’s Corner: The Age of Passwords

10309340_340518589483945_2529511194063989212_nWhen I was around 11-years-old I had my first email address with I had used a fictional hero for my email address and I thought the easiest way to remember that password would be to make it relatable to the email address. So I used the hero’s villain as my password. To me, it was a cool email address and password combination. To this day, if I needed to log in that account I could still do so. The email address itself has long since been deactivated due to inactivity, but I have absolutely no troubles remembering it or the password that went along with it. I have a password for much more than just Yahoo. I have a password for my laptop, my home PC, my work PC, my email, my Facebook, my Myspace (if it’s still around), my LinkedIn, my Google, my NCWorks, my staff NCWorks, my online banking, and so much more than I can’t remember. I don’t use the same password for any of those. These days, I have so many username and password combinations people wonder how I am able to keep track of them without writing them down. I wonder that myself. hack-facebook-account-password.jpg

I’m sure all of my fellow AmeriCorps Members can say they have helped a disturbing amount of their customers with their different usernames and passwords. I honestly think I can’t go an hour in the office without helping a customer log into his or her account. I’ve had a few customers to return and remember their password, but that’s few and far in between. I know we all have different backgrounds and understandings, but I try to make the passwords as easy as possible for some people. For NCWorks, a user needs between eight to eighteen characters (subject to change) and the necessary characters for the password must include uppercase letters, lowercase letters, at least one number and a special character. I like to say it needs a little bit of everything. As for the NCWorks username, the most difficult part about it is when people try using the last four digits of their social security number instead of the last five. Getting back to passwords, I always suggest people use a word that they will be able to remember easily while still following the password requirements. Here’s one example of someone trying to create a password, “H!omdkr8”. I asked my customer if that’s something he would be able to remember and of course he said no. I normally suggest people use their first initial, a name, the year they were born and a special character. So a fictional customer, Kyle Caroll, who was born in 1955 would end up with a password like “Kcaroll55@”. Then of course I would suggest he keep track of his new password by writing it down just in case he forgot it.password_en

I see so many nonfictional customers forget their nonfictional passwords not just for NCWorks; there are also emails and the limitless job seeker profiles they use that can be forgotten. When it comes to emails, even though I hate the idea, I suggest submitting your phone number to whichever emails service is asking for it. When it comes to those never ending job seeking profiles most major companies require their applicants to use to apply for their positions, I suggest using the same password. My old Spanish teacher would always tell us during test that we knew the answers we just forgot that knew the answers. So I like to think that we all know our passwords, but we just forgot that we know our passwords when it’s time to login.

Beth’s Bios: Michael and Patricia

Adjective Name: Precious Patricia 5

Hometown:  Wilson, NC

Placement Site: Tillery

What led you to doing a year of service with Access
Workforce Development?

What led me to doing a year of service with AmeriCorps is I was doing “On the Job Training” and looking for employment, a co-worker of mine (Dorothy Winters, Clayton Office) told me about it. I had been told that being an older, unemployed worker, I needed to think “Outside the Box”. So when the chance came to join, I decided that this is what it meant to think Outside the Box, I would be doing what I have always done, assist people in need.   

 Do you have a favorite memory so far? 

My favorite memory re-plays over and over of Customers telling me of how appreciative they are of me helping them.

 If you had $1,000,000 and had to donate it to one charity, which would you choose and why?

I would chose a charity that feeds the children. 

 Who or what motivates you when you’re having a rough day or going through hard times?

My faith in God almighty keeps me going. There’s a song that goes along with my belief and the words are as such… 

“I don’t believe HE bought me this far to leave me”. 

 If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? Why?

If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be Maya Angelou. I think she could give me words of wisdom as an adult black woman.  

 What is your favorite movie?

Independence Day, I will sit and watch this movie each and every time it comes on. 

Adjective Name: Modest MichaelMike and Price

Hometown: Fuquay-Varina, NC

Placement Site: Swinburne

What led you to doing a year of service with Access Workforce Development?

I had recently graduated from college and was looking to do something in the professional realm while trying to figure out my next step. I had hoped that whatever I did in the interim would be something that involved working with/helping people, so when I stumbled across the AmeriCorps opening I was overjoyed.

Do you have a favorite memory so far?

Not one in particular, but certainly each and every time someone I’ve worked with comes in to tell me that they’ve found employment. There is nothing quite as satisfying as seeing the looks of elation and relief on their faces.

If you had $1,000,000 and had to donate it to one charity, which would you choose and why?

Amnesty International. They have worked with countries all over the world for over 50 years now to stamp out human rights violations. I can think of few greater causes than that.

Who or what motivates you when you’re having a rough day or going through hard times?

Jim Peck. In 1961 during the freedom rides, Jim Peck volunteered to be the first off the bus in Birmingham, Alabama. In doing so he knew that, because he was a white man, he would immediately draw the attention of the assembled mob and their attack on him would give the rest of the riders an opportunity to get off and get to (relative) safety. I remind myself that if Peck was able to look through a window and see a hundred people with weapons, brimming with rage, and still voluntarily walk out among them unarmed, knowing that his life would very possibly be forfeit, and all to help people other than himself, than I can definitely overcome whatever I’m struggling with.

If you could have dinner with anyone (dead or alive) who would you choose and why?

Probably the alive one. It seems like conversation would be a bit one-sided otherwise.

What is your favorite style of music? Favorite artist?

I really couldn’t name just one. With the exceptions of Screamo I really can’t think of a genre I don’t enjoy. As for favorite artists….I’m going to have to do a top five list. The Beatles, Dave Matthews Band, A Tribe Called Quest, G. Love & the Special Sauce, and Marvin Gaye.


B’s Bakery: Meatball Ziti Bake


  • Cooking spray, for baking dish
  • 2 c. ziti
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. ground round
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 c. panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1/4 c. dry red wine
  • 1 (24 oz.) jar marinara
  • 2 bunches flat-leaf spinach, stems discarded and leaves torn (about 4 c.)
  • 3 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 3 tbsp. chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 8 oz. bocconcini (small fresh mozzarella balls)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish.
  3. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
  4. Gently combine ground round, onion, breadcrumbs, garlic, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl; shape into 16 meatballs.
  5. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  6. Add meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes.
  7. Stir in wine, gently scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the skillet.
  8. Stir in marinara, spinach, parsley, and basil; bring to a simmer.
  9. Remove from heat and fold in pasta.
  10. Transfer mixture to prepared pan; top with cheese.
  11. Bake until cheese is melted and edges are bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes.
  12. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  13. Garnish with parsley and basil.


Raleigh RendezvousProfile Photo

Bubbly Beth

Football – Southern Style

College football where I’m from looks like this: boys playing in old uniforms, with two different logos. A fan base of 15 loyal parents, a sister who wishes she could play and a few girlfriends of the quarterback. The schools don’t financially support the program, so all funds are paid for by the athletes themselves and through private donors. Nothing is televised and nobody wants a picture with the mascot. In reality, no one really cares.

Here in North Carolina, it is a complete 360. The pride for each team supersedes that which I have known. Rivalries between colleges are discussed more than professional leagues. The stadiums are packed with family, friends, alumni and the random couple down the street with three dogs – all named after former players. Anyone in the town is welcome to support the home team and they absolutely will.  414244_630x354

I live just off of the NC State campus and 90% of the cars parked in my lot have NC State license plates, bumper stickers, flags, and logos. There is an overwhelming sense of spirit that rises up from my complex.

College football is the focus of so many individuals who live in south and I am jumping on as a bandwagon fan for not only NC State – but the Panthers as well.


Words for Monica

We loved Monica!  She made such an impact on our AmeriCorps Team.  She will 20150916_093737-1_resizedbe missed, especially her sweet smile and wonderful sense of humor.


I knew Monica for a very short time.  But during that time she was always fun and uplifting and a joy to be around.  She would often tell me that after we finished our AmeriCorps service we would go on a trip together.  Monica started her journey without me.  I will always remember her as a shining light.  We all can honor her memory by allowing her light to live on within us to brighten our pathways.



To my Mentor (Monica)

unknown (3)The day she walked into Tillery she looked at me and said “I have something for you”.  The same day she was at the center, someone raised their hand and there is Monica helping. She comes to my desk and goes in her bag and hands me that something. (I forgot that she said she was going to bring it to me). I then said “when I decide to go get my Master’s I will open your transcript.”               

When it’s time to go back to school I know I can pick up your transcript to encourage me not to give up I look around now and who do I call to hear the words “If I can I know you can”. I no longer have to call because you left a piece of you with us all. I can now call the Fantastic 5 and say what Monica would say/do. The days we shared, the last thing I said to you was “I will call you back later”. In a humble voice the words were “ok”. I say to Monica now I’ll talk to you later.


unnamed (1)My tribute to Majestic Monica was based on a need, a need of two people determined to be independent.

I grew closer to Monica when we both discovered that we took the bus. I was in also in the process of looking for an apartment and she had all kinds of good information. She wasn’t one to tell you something and let it go, nope, she would not let it go until she was sure you understood and did it. We looked out for one another, as did the entire 2015 AmeriCorps group.
Monica also had the “Inside” to lots of things and again, she was willing to let you in on it. I’m still waiting for the outcome of one of her “Suggestions”.
I was told that during her last conversation with Geriatric Geri, Monica asked her to look after me, true to herself, she knew of my situations and didn’t want me to do it alone and for that I thank her for leaving me an Earth Angel, for now I have two.
Rest in Peace my friend,
Precious Patricia

Monica (Majestic Monica) was someone special…

I only knew Monica for a short time; but long enough to know when in conversation with her, she spoke from the heart and said what was on her mind.  Whenever she was unnamedaround, you could count on seeing her beautiful smile.  I’m glad God had us cross paths, even though it was just for a season.  

“RIP Majestic Monica, you will truly be missed, but never forgotten”.

Love you,

Your sister in Christ, Dorothy Winters


1The urban meaning of the name Monica is the sexiest woman on the planet. Monica never announced she thought she was sexy but everyone took her as a woman that loved men. Blunt and candid in speech one would never have a problem understanding where she was coming from because she was not only outspoken, quick to tell you that you are wrong, she did it within a manner of kindness that would not harm the spirit. She was humble and gracious, kind and my best friend. I can’t imagine how I will feel sitting in her office alone since we were supposed to share the office. I want to remember her how I saw her Thursday when miss Pat covered for us to go to lunch together. Like Monica, I love you all and ask that you continue your prayers.

Love always,

Reverend Geraldine Larkin M.A.December Cover


3 comments on “December 2015 Newsletter

  1. Carmen C. says:

    Very nice tribute. Monica will be missed a great deal at Swinburne. She seemed to finally be getting settled in. Her death just seems so devastating & untimely. She left her mark here and will be fondly remembered by many of the staff and the AC members that remain in service here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jane says:

    Wonderful tribute to Monica. I enjoyed reading everything and know she would be pleased as well. Continue your hard work in her spirit. She will be greatly missed but not forgotten.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. wbrenda3122015 says:

    Great newsletter! Your personalities, commitment, and passion for helping others really shines through.

    Liked by 1 person

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