January 2017 Newsletter


Happy New Year!

Madison’s Goal of The Month: Be Less “Goal” oriented, more “behavior” oriented.

It being January and knowing that many of us have certain goals in mind for the year, I thought this to be perfectly appropriate. If you are like me, and countless others, you make a New Years Resolution the first week of the year – and maybe it goes well for a while- but then you forget about it. I’ve realized that part of the issue of making them stick is focusing too much on the end goal and results rather than the small behaviors that I could change to meet that goal over time. Things do take time and effort! I am going to dedicate myself to focusing more on the behaviors that I can change and adopt to inch closer to my goals.

I want to wish you all well while working on meeting your goals, whether they be personal or professional. For some inspiration and tips on goal achievement, here is a 10-minute Ted talk by Reggie Rivers, a former running back for the Denver Broncos and current motivational speaker. This is a fun, quick little talk about focusing on behaviors, not just the end goal. Check it out!

Chef Michelle’s Black Bean Soup


Winter is upon us and we are desperately trying to work off all those extra calories we consumed during the holidays.  So, here is my super yummy, super filling black bean soup recipe.  If you absolutely must, you can add diced ham or chicken to this recipe, but I think it is a rich hearty soup on its own and you won’t miss the meat.


    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 1 carrot, diced
    • 2 stalks celery, diced
    • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1 packet of Sazon
    • 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped jalapeño chili with seeds, divided
    • 2 15- to 16-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 carton low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
    • ½ Bunch chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 small bunch chopped green onions
    • Salt and pepper to taste


    1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, 2/3 of the cilantro, 2/3 of the scallion and garlic; sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Mix in cumin, Sazon and jalapeño. Add beans and broth; bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer 3 cups of soup to blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to pot. Simmer soup until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper
    2. Ladle soup into bowls. Pass remaining cilantro and green onions.


The I.Q. Corner

(Inspirational Quotes that energize you to “get things done” this year)

“If you think you can – you can.  If you think you can’t – you’re right.”

“Life by the yard is hard, but life by the inch is a cinch.”

“The good news is that the bad news can be turned into good news if you just change your attitude!”

So until next time…….be inspired!!!


Program Success Stories

Here’s one from Kalen:

“Very often customers leave the NC Works Career center telling us that they have an interview. After a while, we assume that they have obtained employment because we no longer hear back from them. Just recently one of our customers, Travis, came back telling us that he is now employed. He is now working at Carrabba’s Italian Grill and volunteering at The Green Chair Project Travis has been working with our community partners EDSI and Job Corps.”

Go Travis!

Special Mentionsstep_up

As many of us know, StepUp ministry is a huge partner of our AmeriCorps team. Recently, Kalen asked some of our cohort what they liked most about doing their outreach with StepUp. Here’s what they said:

Successful Santisha: My favorite part about serving at StepUp is the transformation of the people. When individuals come in, they feel hopeless and leave out feeling empowered.

Sensitive Shelby: My favorite part about serving at StepUp is that it feels like family. From day one at the beginning they made me feel comfortable and welcomed. StepUp always gave me guidance. It makes me feel good because I am giving back to the community.

Thank you StepUp for letting our AmeriCorps team be a part of your incredible organization and mission!

January Babies

Let’s wish a collective “Happy Birthday” to all of our members who have a birthday this month!

Tracy (January 6)

Kalen (January 25)

We hope you all enjoy(ed) your special days. You deserve it!

Bright air balloons

January’s Photo Gallery

We had a great time at the Raleigh Boys & Girls Club for MLK Day! Here are the photos!



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