Letter from the Editor
As some of you may already know this will be my last posting for this monthly newsletter. It has been both a fun and frustrating experience. I wouldn’t have been able to complete this without the help of the other dedicated members of the committee, and I can’t thank each of them enough for their monthly contributions.
I didn’t do my normal corner piece this month. I’ve been working on this slide show for the past couple of months for our graduation ceremony last Friday, which received great reviews. Don’t worry, you’ll get to see it too. I put it at the end of the newsletter.
As always, thank you for reading and please enjoy!
Here it is, the end of August, the end of our 2015-2016 AmeriCorps Access Workforce Development Program. It is truly a bittersweet time. This has been an incredible year–an awesome team of 15 AmeriCorps Members, all of our goals reached, all of our Members graduating successfully, and now it is time for them to move on. I am sad, yet happy, to see what is in store for all of them. Some have new positions already, a few are returning for another year of service with our program (yay!), and some are still looking for that ideal next step. Whatever they all do, or wherever they go, I hope they remember this year as one of growth, hard work, and fun. Our clients will never forget them, nor will I.
Michael’s Muse: 25 Facts
- Most toilets in Hong Kong are flushed with seawater in order to conserves the city’s scarce freshwater resources.
- When a whale dies and its carcass falls into the Bathyal or Abyssal zone of the ocean floor, it can sustain a complex localized ecosystem of deep-sea organisms for decades. This is called a “whale fall”.
- Wisconsin Police busted a teen kegger in which the keg was filled with root beer. The party organizer was trying to show that they didn’t need to drink alcohol for a party.
- Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is the first billionaire to fall off the Forbes
billionaire list because of charitable giving: “You have a moral responsibility when you’ve been given far more than you need, to do wise things with it and give intelligently.”
- The first Olympic disqualification for drug use was against a Swedish pentathlete who drank two beers before his shooting event to calm his nerves.
- Antibacterial soap is no better than regular soap at preventing sickness, and children who use it regularly are more likely to develop peanut allergies and hay fever.
- Soda is fizzier in cans (vs plastic bottles) because CO2 cannot escape an aluminum can. CO2 escapes sealed PET bottles quite readily.
- Abercrombie & Fitch Co. offered to pay Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino to stop wearing their clothing.
- For an April fools prank, Virgin cola announced they had a new technology that would turn their cans blue when they expired. They advised their customers not to buy blue cans. Coincidentally, Pepsi had just released their bright blue can design.
- In 1999 a French Holocaust survivor reduced Shell Oil’s accident rate 84 percent by making oil rig workers talk about their feelings.
- Russian cosmonauts used to pack a shotgun in case they landed in Siberia and had to fend off bears.
- Approximately 80% of “close door” elevator buttons aren’t connected to anything.
- Bill Nye has a protective order against his ex-wife because she used herbicide to damage his garden.
- Hershey Bars contain only 11% cacao, only 1% more than the FDA legal minimum to be called chocolate.
- Mansa Musa, ruler of the Mali Empire in the 14th century, is the richest person who ever lived (inflation adjusted).
- In the late 1960s, the Shah of Iran sent a series of letters to the King of Saudi Arabia, saying, “Please, my brother, modernize. Open up your country. Make the schools mixed. Let women wear miniskirts. Have discos. Be modern. Otherwise I cannot guarantee you will stay on your throne.”
- A New York sociologist observed that women are a good indicator of good public places because they are more sensitive to annoyances. “If a plaza has a markedly low proportion of women, something is wrong…if it has a high proportion, the plaza is probably a good and well-managed one”
- Boring, Oregon is the sister city to Dull, Scotland and Bland, Australia.
- McDonald’s paid Justin Timberlake an estimated $6 million dollars to sing ba-da-ba-ba-bah as part of their I’m loving it as campaign.
- In 2001, a ten-year-old named Laura Buxton, released a balloon with her name and address in the hope of finding a pen pal. The balloon traveled 140 miles before coming down and was found by an almost-ten-year old also named Laura Buxton. They share a number of other similarities.
- There’s a diamond mine open to public in Arkansas that is the only diamond mine open to public. Visitors can keep whatever the gems they find. 31000 gems have been found so far since it became a state park in 1972.
- The Dutch built a nursing home for Alzheimer’s patients that pretends as a village, complete with shops, restaurants, movie theaters, all staffed by personnel trained to care for dementia patients.
- The United States experiences approximately 75 percent of all tornadoes in the world.
- New Jersey is home to more scientists and engineers per square mile than anywhere else in the world.
- Salty and Roselle, were two separate guide dogs who were in the World Trade Centre during 9/11. They were on the 71st and 78th floor of Tower 1 respectively. They each led their owners safely out of the burning tower amidst the chaos, and both owners and dogs survived.
Sticky Bun Pancakes
Make 4 Pancakes
- 1cup all-purpose flour
- 2teaspoons baking powder
- 1⁄2teaspoon salt
- 1cup milk
- 1tablespoon canola oil
- 1large egg, lightly beaten
- 1⁄2cup butter, melted
- 3⁄4cup brown sugar, packed
- 1tablespoon ground cinnamon
CREAM CHEESE GLAZE
- 4tablespoons butter
- 2ounces cream cheese
- 3⁄4cup powdered sugar
- 1⁄2teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Prepare pancake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in milk, oil and egg, just until batter is moistened (a few small lumps are fine).
2. In a medium bowl, mix butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Scoop the filling into a small zip baggie and set aside.
3. In a medium, microwave-safe bowl- heat butter and cream cheese until melted. Whisk together until smooth; whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
4. Heat large skillet over medium-low heat. Spray with nonstick spray. Scoop about 3/4 cup batter onto the skillet. Snip the corner of your baggie of filling and squeeze a spiral of the filling onto the top of the pancake. When bubbles begin to appear on the surface, flip carefully with a thin spatula, and cook until browned on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a baking sheet or platter and keep in a warm oven until ready to serve.
5. When ready to serve, spoon warmed glaze onto the top of each pancake.
6. A few helpful tips: *Keep the heat low or your pancakes might cook up too quickly. Don’t flip them until you see those bubbles starting to pop on top. Flip them with a wide spatula so you can grasp the whole thing without batter and filling dripping all over the place!
7. *If your baggie of filling begins to get too thick, just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it up again. Same with your glaze.
Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.
Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”
The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”
Within our line of work it feels as though there are miles of beach and countless starfish.
So many job seekers, not enough jobs. It difficult to see how helping one person on a computer, or editing one resume can really make a difference. We are overrun by meeting goals, statistics and numbers, we often overlook how much one hour of our time really does make a difference.
There’s one starfish I’d like to describe named Ronald. He was a center regular. He would come in almost daily sine I began this program in October. He had a thick binder full of his job search materials and always had a pleasant demeanor. He was also part of The Healing Place, a center that helps people overcome addiction. He came in, sat down at the computer and would spend hours applying for jobs. He would write down every link, every password and every outcome.
Around the holidays, he gave me a Christmas card, addressed to me, by name. This was so powerful. I didn’t spend too much time helping him, for he was pretty self-sufficient, but he still gave me a token of his appreciation. I still have this card today.
Around March, I was driving home from work and noticed a man biking away from the Farmer’s Market. I squinted and noticed it was Ronald. He had gotten a job and now a bike and, I found out later, he was biking to his own apartment. I spent the rest of my ride home that day in tears. As far as I know he is still happily employed by one of the vendors that sells various products at the Farmer’s Market.
Another jobseeker that I’d like to mention is Staci. I met her while I was doing outreach with the Cameron Village Library. We worked on her resume and I realized she is very high energy and made me laugh from the start. She told me she wanted to work multiple jobs because she liked being busy and needed the money. Sound like anyone you know? J
We tailored her resume to a few different types of jobs. I also referred her to the Resume Style & Organization class at the NCWorks Career Center. She started coming in semi-regularly and attending workshops and reconstructing her resume.
Then, like many of the other job seekers we work with, she disappeared. I haven’t seen her step foot in the center since.
However, I did see Staci at the Farmer’s Market Restaurant as she was my waitress. When I looked up to see who would be taking my order, I stared right into her eyes, leaped up and gave her the biggest hug. She mentioned this is one of her three jobs. She was so excited to share that she is working as an Administrative Assistant, while working at the restaurant and Rite Aid. It was great to see her again, and she did a phenomenal job.
Job isn’t always easy. We’ve all dealt with people who are rude and disrespectful. I’ve been called names, cussed at, been called unprofessional and been mistreated. It’s not an easy role to fill.
During these hard times it’s comforting to have the AmeriCorps team as supports to laugh and be with.
I’m not sure I would have been all that great working in a center by myself. I am grateful I had Tisha, Patricia and Tasha to keep me sane during these past eleven months.
I am also grateful to the AmeriCorps team as a whole. We’ve had some laughs. We sorted a lot of potatoes. Cleaned and washed way too many chairs and tables. Oh, and helped over 100 people find jobs. Overall, our team is pretty extraordinary.
Through all the ups and downs, team services and group services, professional developments and team meetings, it’s the Ronald’s and the Staci’s that make it all worthwhile.
As Bonnie told me on day one “every day may not be great, but there will be something great in every day.”
Instead of the regular monthly article, I decided to post a slideshow I spent a couple of months working on. Though I feel there’s no way to accurately express our experiences and accomplishments through pictures alone and words alone, I tried and I believe I came close…
However, to put a number on our accomplishments… our goal for one on one customers served in our target population was 2500. By July, we recorded 2607. Our target populations includes veterans, the homeless, older workers, at risk youth, people with disabilities, and former offenders. Our goal for community outreaches for the year was 475, and we did 1251 outreaches. We set to help 100 job seekers find work; we recorded 103 customers obtaining employment as of July. This team deserves the right to feel proud of what we achieved this year together.
Please enjoy the slideshow and I thank all of you for viewing!