Letter from the Editor
This is the month when AmeriCorps Week is celebrated. It’s a week when we recognize AmeriCorps members for the services we provide. AmeriCorps Members across the nation work on such varying projects. In our team’s case, we help out the customers of the Career Resource Center, go to different institutions helping the public with their job seeking needs, and volunteer with various organizations in the community hopefully making a positive contribution to the lives of those we work with. Be sure to recognize the AmeriCorps team; it’s a tiring but rewarding position.
Also, the Clayton NCWorks Career Center had its grand opening this month! The speakers in attendance included Chair of the Capital Area Board, Susan Jackson, Executive Director of NCWorks and Assistant Secretary of the Department of Workforce Solutions, Will Collins, Secretary of NC Department of Commerce, John Skvarla, and President of the Clayton Chamber of Commerce, Jim Godfrey. Many of our community partners came to celebrate and attend the ribbon cutting ceremony. Pictures from the ceremony can be viewed below.
In other news, spring is among us once again. I can tell, because nearly everyone is having some reaction to the pollen and the temperatures fluctuate wildly. I’ll be happier when I walk outside and not see a fine yellow coating on my car.
The week of March 5 to 12 was AmeriCorps week, a time to recognize and thank our amazing AmeriCorps Access Workforce Development Team. I don’t think I can top this letter to all AmeriCorps Members from President Obama:
It’s very rewarding to be part of National Service and AmeriCorps!
Adjective Name: Brilliant Bonita
Hometown: Zebulon, NC
Placement Site: Eastern Regional Center
What led you to doing a year of service with Access Workforce Development?
This sounded like a rewarding service to participate in. I enjoy helping older people with using the computer for the first time.
Do you have a favorite memory so far?
When one of my clients informed me that she had been offered a job.
If you had $1,000,000 and had to donate it to one charity, which would you choose and why?
To the study for a cure to diabetes. This disease takes an enormous toll on the African American population.
Who or what motivates you when you’re having a rough day or going through hard times?
What motivates me most is my desire to make a difference in someone’s life.
If you could have dinner with anyone (dead or alive) who would you choose and why?
My grandmother because she was the smartest, strongest woman I’ve known.
What is your favorite snack to grab when you’re hungry?
Mike’s Muse: Fun Facts
- Door knobs that are made of brass naturally disinfect themselves approximately every eight hours.
- To punish tree thieves who cut down trees illegally, some cities spray trees with fox urine around Christmas time. It freezes on them and is odorless outdoors, but would stink up your whole house if brought indoors; the smell is “eye-watering.”
- The woman who invented chocolate chip cookies sold the idea to Nestlé in return for a lifetime supply of chocolate.
- The average Bugatti customer has about 84 cars, 3 jets and one yacht.
- Humans can hear the difference between hot and cold water being poured.
- Most of the money George Clooney makes off his Nespresso commercials, he spends on a satellite that surveils over the border of North and South Sudan to keep an eye on criminal and dictator Omar al-Bashir to track his vicious army in an attempt to warn civilians before attacks occur.
- Carl Sagan was brought in to mediate an argument between Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke about what the aliens should look like at the end of “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Sagan suggested to not show them at all.
- On June 28, 2009 Stephen Hawking threw a party for time-travelers. He announced the party the day after it happened, and according to Hawking, no one came.
- Snoop Dogg helped hand out 1,500 turkeys to needy Inglewood residents last
Thanksgiving; he also stuck around to pose for photos with over 800 people.
- On New Year’s Eve, 1999, Brad Pitt rented a Mexican resort, filled it with his friends and at midnight had the government cut the power and phone lines and send in troops to raid the compound and “arrest” one of his best friends on drug charges – all as a practical joke.
- The Founder of FedEx Once Saved the Company by Taking its Last $5,000 and turning it into $32,000 by gambling in Vegas.
- Cliché comes from the sound made when plates with commonly used words or phrases were fitted into a printing press. These plates were called stereotypes.
- The founder of Macy’s, Rowland Hussey, who was a Quaker, is credited with inventing the price tag. Quakers believed it was immoral to barter – charging people different prices for the same product. Also, price tags made it easier to expand and quickly hire new sales people.
- Working out the area of the largest sofa that can be moved around an L shaped hallway still remains mathematically unsolved.
- Korean people use the phrase “my mouth is bored” to express the feeling where you want to eat simply because you’re bored and feeling like munching on something.
- Astronaut Ice Cream has never been taken into space.
- Two independent groups of researchers have shown that promoting random people to management is more effective than standard promotion methods like merit or seniority.
- In 1875 an octopus at the Brighton Aquarium would escape its tank when the guards weren’t around, eat the lump fish in another tank, then go back to its own tank before the aquarium opened.
- Martha Stewart once dated Anthony Hopkins, but broke up with him after she saw Silence of the Lambs. She stated she was unable to avoid associating Hopkins with the character of Hannibal Lecter.
- In medieval castles, stairwells ran clockwise, so attackers coming up the stairs had their sword hands (right hand) against the wall’s interior curve which made it hard for them to swing their swords. Defenders had their swords on the outside wall, which meant more room to swing.
Clint’s Corner: 0DD
March 1st is known as Zero Discrimination Day. This day’s first observation was March 1st 2014 by the United Nations; therefore, it is a relatively new holiday and needs more exposure. As the name implies, the day is to acknowledge the everyday embracing of the differences of others, or at least the hope of everyday embracing. Whether those differences be a person’s race, religion, sexual preference/identity or anything under the sun we recognize every person as what we all are. People. Although, this has not always been the case in our societies and in this case specifically the workforce world. You’ll notice that on applications today that many of them have a disclaimer stating they are an equal opportunity employer and do not make decisions on who to hire based on race, sex, age, religion, national origin, pregnancy, military service, bankruptcy, genetic information sexual orientation/identity, and citizenship status. It really shed light on me for how many different conditions there are to discriminate against people.
This March, our team took a trip to the Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro. While there have been many injustices in the past, one of the injustices added to the cocktail of racism was the classified section of the newspaper. “Coloreds need not apply” and “Whites only.” Today if an employer had an advertisement with a condition such as that posted, it would be a PR catastrophe. Yes this does mean an employer will have more candidates applying for the job, but I’m sure that wasn’t where the employers concerns laid. It has always been a mystery to me why people hold differences against each other. It always seem to take up too much time and energy when something positive could be done.
When I was in college I had filled out possibly one of the last paper applications for a major company before nearly everything switched to being online and I saw for the first time the disclaimer mentioning the hiring practices. Considering the company I was applying for, I found it funny they had to make this claim. Then I applied for another job and I saw that same disclaimer. And I applied another job, and I saw the same disclaimer, and again and again and again. I learned two things that year. It can be really hard for anyone to find a job, and every employer has to claim to give each applicant a fair chance. As mentioned before, the past wasn’t so kind to different people. If people weren’t in the majority and not a male, they were more than likely oppressed and denied certain jobs, or at least getting the job they wanted was an uphill battle with different obstacles in the way.
Not too long ago, I had a customer tell me no one would hire her because she was pregnant. I informed her it is illegal to deny a woman a job because of pregnancy. I didn’t know much about the law so I did some research and found out The Pregnancy Discrimination Act forbids employers from discriminating against pregnant women or medical condition related to pregnancy when it comes to practices such as termination, rate of pay, job assignments, workplace trainings, promotions or especially hiring. I knew there was a law for it, but I just didn’t know what to call it. It’s a shame that one of my customers feels that way. She’s not the only customer I’ve had tell me they feel discriminated against either. The majority of older workers I see feel like their age is what is keeping them from being hired. When people of a different national origin come through here, though their origin isn’t the biggest one of their concerns it is still on the list of concerns. About every former offender I work with are quick to let me know they are scared to let employers know about their history.
Many employers claim to follow the guidelines of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and part of that process is to ask applicants for their gender, race and ethnicity. I know it’s for affirmative action purposes and is in place to make sure everyone has a fair chance, but to some of the customers I’ve seen they feel this is not the case.
Success Story – By Beth
Michele first came into the Resource Area on November 6th of last year. She was with her mother, both of them looking clearly frustrated and dejected. Michele was actively looking for work and to no avail. Her mother was hoping she would find support within the Center. Michele has a background working in retail and food service and was looking for another job in a similar field. We began with her NCWorks registration and assisting her with resume preparation.
While I was working with Michele, her mother was sitting patiently beside her, motivating Michele to keep going. Her mother, Gwen, had a stroke within the last year and lost all function of the right side of her body. Another AmeriCorps member, Patricia, walked over to us and said “Hey, why aren’t you looking for work too?” Her mother was taken aback. Patricia was able to talk with her mother and get her onto a computer and registered with NCWorks.
Michele continued to use the services provided by the Career Center and came in to use the computer frequently. She wasn’t having much luck with either the retail or food industries so she turned her attention to the flyers in the Resource Area. She gazed upon the Department of Revenue flyer and inquired about the Office Assistant position. She met with Silvia Sugg who was able to answer her questions and give her a referral. She applied for the position and got the job.
She was able to continue her career in a field she wouldn’t have otherwise considered with the help of the resources and staff at the NCWorks Career Center. Her mom is still seeking work, with the help of Patricia.
Yield: 12 to 16 servings Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
No-Bake Banana Split Dessert – Graham cracker crust, cream cheese, bananas, pineapple, strawberries, whipped cream, nuts, chocolate & a cherry!
For the Crust:
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
For the Cream Cheese Layer:
- 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 8 ounces Cool Whip
For the Fruit & Toppings:
- 3 to 4bananas, sliced
- 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained well
- 16 ounces strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 8 ounces Cool Whip
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- Chocolate syrup
- Maraschino cherries
- Grease a 9×13-inchbakingdish; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter, stirring until all of the crumbs are evenly moistened. Dump the crumbs into the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Refrigerate while you prepare the next layer.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the Cool Whip until thoroughly combined. Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the graham cracker crust.
- Arrange thebananaslices in a single layer on top of the cream cheese filling, top with an even layer of the crushed pineapple, and then an even layer of the sliced strawberries.
- Cover with the Cool Whip, smoothing the top. Sprinkle with the chopped walnuts, then drizzle with chocolate syrup and top with maraschino cherries. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Note: If you would prefer not to use Cool Whip, you can use fresh whipped cream in its place, both for the filling and the topping.
“Ain’t it funny how the simple things in life are the only things that really matter”
This is a common theme in life that people follow, but these are also lyrics from the song “Rich Kids” by Judah and the Lion. Judah and the Lion are an American-folk band that formed in Nashville, TN. They recently came to Raleigh on Wednesday, April 16th at the Lincoln Theatre. I was invited by a one of my co-workers at the Ale House and one of my roommates.
I usually spend my weeknights at work or various committee meetings, so I chose to step out of my comfort zone and go to downtown Raleigh to listen to a band I had never heard. It was a small venue and there was a crowd of upwards of 800 people. There were students and parents there. People of all generations and backgrounds. And I was surprised to find an equal number of males and females for I figured there wouldn’t be many men in attendance. Seems like many people have heard of this band. Who knew?
The concert began at 8pm with the opener, The Saint Johns who are an indie/folk band with a mellow tone. The crowd was supportive when the band had technical problems. But that was nothing to the support they gave Judah and the Lion when the band took the stage.
Their set lasted two hours and it was a jam packed performance. There were all types of songs from country to rock to folk. There was something for everyone to listen to. It ended with an encore and much applause.
My friends and I left around 10:30 and we still had time to go to Sonic to get milkshakes. It was a perfect way to spend a weekday night in Raleigh, with many people I wouldn’t have otherwise crossed paths with.
Another first for me this month was attending my first NHL game. I spent Easter Sunday at the PNC Arena watching the Carolina Hurricanes take on the New Jersey Devils. My expectations of hockey included: being cold, an abundance of beer and seeing players fighting. These expectations were definitely met, but the energy of the crowd was the most tangible thing I felt during the game.
There were plenty of empty seats, but the sound of the crowd did not reflect that. There were cheers, chants and screams louder than many sporting events I have attended. It was exciting to see the goals scored (5 in total) and watch the fans cheer on their teams.
I was amazed at how many people chose to spend their Easter Sunday at a hockey game, especially watching two teams who aren’t even in contention for the play-offs.
These two events were similar in one way that makes me smile. Through all the political mumbo jumbo, wars, pain and suffering in the world, people can still come together and support their favorite sports team, or their favorite band. These two simple events really do mean the most to people, and I am certainly one of them.