February 2016 Newsletter

Letter from the Editoramericorps-logo

Greetings Readers,

It’s a special year this year. It only comes once every four years. It’s the leap year. As we all know, the reason for a leap year is because it takes a little bit longer than 365 days for the earth to complete a full orbit around the sun. It takes 365 days, five hours and some minutes that have been rounded to bump those five hours to six hours. Apparently we’ve been doing this for a long time. It’s a tradition older than the United States presidential election. That election also happens every leap year… as well as the Summer Olympics. I’m not really going anywhere with this; I just find it interesting. Enjoy your extra day!



Deborah’s DeskDeborah sm 2

We have only a couple more weeks until the first day of Spring!  I had to google the date; disappointingly none of my calendars indicate that date.  It’s an important date, March 19, 2016:  the first day of Spring.  A time of renewal, a time of looking forward to flowers and sunshine, the beach, lazy summer days right around the corner.  For our AmeriCorps Team, we are also half way through the service year.  Wow, the time has flown.  Our team is well on their way to meet all of our performance measurement goals for this service year.   A job well done and they deserve congratulations, appreciation, and gratitude. They are well on their way to a successful and satisfying year of service.  Does Spring mean a time to start thinking of what’s next for each of them?  Perhaps.  We’ll see.


Mike’s MuseMike Profile

25 Facts #3

  1. The Ancient Greeks had a word, akrasia, to describe the lack of will that prevents us from doing something that we know is good for us.choices.jpg
  2. Two con men once sold a fake painting for €1.5 million, only to find out that all the money was counterfeit.
  3. A group of women in Kampala, Uganda who earn around $1.20/day breaking rocks into gravel sent $900 of their wages to help Hurricane Katrina victims.
  4. A local fisherman in Costa Rica once nursed a crocodile back to health after it had chito-cocodrilo-pocho-5.jpg
    being shot in the head, and released the reptile back to its home. The next day, the man discovered “Pocho” had followed him home and was sleeping on the man’s porch. For 20 years Pocho became part of the man’s family.
  5. Despite the NFL making more than $9 billion annually, projected to make more than $25 billion a year by 2027, pays its CEO more than $30 million a year, 68% of NFL stadium construction costs since 1923 coming from taxpayer money.
  6. Shaq was one of the original investors in Google and VitaminWater, but passed up on Starbucks because he didn’t drink coffee.
  7. Lawrence Anthony, an international conservationist famously known as the lawrence-anthony-elephants-2.jpg‘Elephant Whisperer’, died, some of the elephants he worked to save came to his family’s home in accordance with the way elephants usually mourn the death of one of their own.
  8. In the US, the “we’ll be back after these messages” often seen during kid shows of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s were mandated by the FCC to help children differentiate between the TV show and commercials.
  9. In medieval Germany, married couples could legally settle their disputes by fighting a Marital Duel. To even the field, the man had to fight from inside a hole with one arm tied mduel.jpgbehind his back. The woman was free to move and was armed with a sack filled with rocks.
  10. An investment bank that lost 66 employees on 9/11 has paid the college fees of 54 children of their fallen co-workers.
  11. In Quaker Instant Oatmeal with fruit pieces, the strawberries and peaches are actually dehydrated apples, and the blueberries are dehydrated figs.
  12. Two tablespoons of honey would be enough to fuel a bee’s entire flight around the world.
  13. Abstract paintings by a previously unknown artist “Pierre Brassau” were exhibited at a gallery in Sweden, earning praise for his “powerful brushstrokes” and the “delicacy of a ballet dancer”. None knew that Pierre Brassau was actually a 4 year old chimp from the local zoo.
  14. In 1759 Arthur Guinness, founder of Guinness beer, leased an old unused brewery for £45 per year…for 9,000 years.
  15. In 2007, a Bowhead whale was discovered with the end of a harpoon left embedded inBowhead-Whale its neck from a previous hunt. It was found that the harpoon tip was originally manufactured in 1890, indicating the whale had survived a human attack more than a century ago.
  16. Plants make caffeine to defend themselves against pests. Caffeine is toxic to birds, dogs, cats, and it has a pronounced adverse effect on mollusks, various insects, and spiders.
  17. In Japan, a few foreign cartoons including “Bob the Builder” were required to be Yubitsume-The-Art-Of-Slicing-Your-Own-Pinkie-Finger-Off-1-e1382371952127.jpgedited, adding a fifth finger to the characters’ hands. The reason was that having only four fingers implies membership of the Japanese Mafia.
  18. Colonel Sanders got fired from dozens of jobs. Including being a lawyer. He found himself broke at the age of 65, and decided to start KFC.
  19. Animals and their meat have different names (e.g. deer = venison) because the peasants that raised the animals used the animal’s Germanic name while the aristocracy that ate them used the French name.
  20. Einstein and his wife once visited the enormous Mount Wilson Observatory with astronomer Edwin Hubble. When told that Hubble’s telescopes were revealing the ultimate shape of the universe, Einstein’s wife nonchalantly responded, “Well, my husband does that on the back of an old envelope.”
  21. In 2009 a Hungarian art historian, while watching the movie Stuart Little with his daughter, spotted a long-lost avant-garde painting in the background. The painting was bought by a set designer in a Pasadena antiques shop for “next to nothing”, and later sold for $285,700 at an auction.
  22. Ethel Merman’s last film appearance was “Airplane!,” 11899-355.jpgwhere she played a man who
    thought he was Ethel Merman.
  23. The football huddle was invented at Gallaudet University, an all-deaf school, to prevent opposing teams from seeing their signs.
  24. The Apollo space suits were made by the bra company Playtex. After years of failures, they threw together a design in just 6 weeks and beat the aerospace companies. This was because one competitor’s design couldn’t fit through the door, and the other competitor had its suit helmet explode.
  25. The average pencil holds enough graphite to draw a line about 35 miles long or to write roughly 45,000 words.



Bridgette’s Board


Clint’s Corner: Can’t or Won’t?10309340_340518589483945_2529511194063989212_n

I realize some of the things people have to do can be nerve racking. In this office and during my outreaches, I see so many people paralyzed by their own fear or doubts it becomes frustrating. I’ll see some people come in and say they can’t use a computer and then once they’ve made an attempt at using it I realize what some of them meant to say was I won’t use a computer. I’ve actually had a few customers get up and walk away because of an absolute refusal to use it. Then there are the positions people apply for. There are a surprising amount of people who will read a job description and automatically decide they aren’t fit for the job because there is a specific job duty they’ve never done before.

There are two versions of “can’t” people use in every day conversation. The first version people use is after attempting a task and not being able to perform it implies at least an honest effort was made and the conclusion is not being able to complete a specific task. The second version people use is the belief of not being able to do something and letting that belief be an excuse or an “out” for doing an undesirable task no matter the severity of the necessity of its execution. The biggest difference between those versions of “can’t” is trying. Now I have to ask myself… what counts as trying? What percentage of effort goes into trying? Is it 100%? If I put in 50% effort and failed a task, did I really try or did I set myself up to fail because I was in an “I can’t” mindset? What if I put in 25% effort and succeeded?  So, at what point does “can’t” become “won’t”?Straight-Outta-Excuses-Women-s-T-Shirts

We just went over how “can’t” can be used two different ways. Let’s combine the first and second version of the word “can’t” I presented earlier. Again, I put some arbitrary percentage of effort into a task only to fail at it again. So now, it can be construed I lack the will to be able to execute this task and decide not to do it. Since a decision is involved and I decided not to do it, it’s a matter of “I won’t” instead of “I can’t”.

When people say “I can’t” it infers the owner of the issue is not of the person saying “I
can’t” but some outside factor for which that person is not responsible. This isn’t always a negative thing. Consider some of these examples. “I won_t_today_can_t_tomorrow_by_eone86-d6zg96o.jpgcan’t come in to work today.” Most of the time when a person states they can’t come in to work today the reason is they are sick. I see a lot of people come in to work sick all of the time. It probably isn’t the best idea to forgo rest and recovery only to risk exposing others at the place of work to that same ailment. Perhaps the better choice is to battle that illness in solitude and saying “I won’t come in to work today. I need to rest to perform my job efficiently.” For another example, “I can’t give the dog a bath.” It’s a very tedious task, especially if the dog has an aversion to baths. The person knows that it is a perfectly doable task, but it’s too time consuming and a hassle to attempt bathing the beast. I would just own up to the fact that I do not want to wash that dog and say “I won’t give the dog a bath.”

Whether you can’t or you won’t is up to you. It’s easier to hide behind the word can’t when you feel a lack of motivation. I see it all the time. It upsets me, but I understand. It’s human nature. Personally, I feel “won’t” takes ownership. After all, we are accountable for our actions.


B’s Bakery Spinach Lasagna 


  • Cooking Spray
  • 9 lasagna noodles
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach 1 (8 ounce) container ricotta cheese 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch dried basil salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup pasta sauce
  • Hunt’s Pasta Sauce Cheese & Garlic
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Add all ingredients to list

DirectionsSpinach L
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook 1 hour 5 minutes
Ready In 1 hour 30 minutes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain.

Place a steamer insert into a saucepan and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Bring water to a boil.
Add spinach, cover, and steam until tender, 2 to 6 minutes.
Drain spinach.
Mix spinach, ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, egg, nutmeg, basil, salt, and black pepper in a bowl until thoroughly combined.

Spread 1/4 cup pasta sauce on the bottom of the prepared casserole dish; top with 3 lasagna noodles, 1/2 of the ricotta mixture, and 1/4 cup pasta sauce.

Repeat layers of 3 more noodles, 1/2 cup ricotta mixture, and 1/4 cup pasta sauce.
End with remaining 3 lasagna noodles and 1/4 cup pasta sauce.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese on top.
Cover casserole with aluminum foil.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
Uncover casserole and continue baking until lasagna is bubbling and lightly browned, about 25 more minutes.

Let lasagna stand 5 minutes before serving.


Raleigh Rendezvous – FebruaryProfile Photo

The Truth of the Matter, by Beth

I recently had a new roommate move into my four bedroom apartment. Her name is Lea, and she is from France. It’s pretty cool having someone from a different country living with three Americans because we are able to teach her English and about American culture, and in turn she is teaching us about French traditions.

SYMOne thing my roommates and I have tried explaining is the differences between Northerners and Southerners. We broached the subject of honesty. Being from the North, I was taught to always speak my mind. Many things don’t happen unless the truth is spoken. I was raised to say what needed to be said. There was no “silence is golden” and being honest was held in high regard.

However, my roommate, born and raised in Mebane, NC was taught differently. She was Opiniontaught to be courteous and only speak her opinion when it was asked of her. To her, my directness and sometimes brutal honesty is looked at as rude. She commented that sometimes it’s okay to withhold the truth if no one is harmed and it maintains peace.

I have also found this within my center as well. All of my co-workers ask how I am doing before asking about paperwork or things they need. People from the South seem to genuinely care about each other and put work second to wellbeing. I find this mentality to be something I wish I had grown up with. It definitely shifts perspective from the mentality I have to the concern others have.


Feb Cover


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