January Newsletter 2016 « AmeriCorps Access Workforce …

Letter from the EditorJanuary Newsletter 2016 « AmeriCorps Access Workforce ...

Dear Readers,

We ve recently lost a member from last year s program, Priya Balagopal. If you ve never met her, you at least had the pleasure to read her articles and seeing the fantastic photos she took from the 2014-2015 year. There was never an article she wrote that I didn t enjoy, and I don t how she did it but she could always take the best pictures of us during our projects. Somehow, when I take the photos there s always a finger in a corner. I learned a lot from her about life, and she also forced me to be a better and more thoughtful writer. When the program ended, I missed her. Now that she is no longer with us, all I can do is reflect on and cherish our past experiences and grow from there.

I think great things are going to happen for our group this year. We ve only been together for a few months, but this group works well together and we always have a great time when we are around each other. That will make us only grow closer, and I m looking forward to whatever comes our way. Have a Happy New Year!


Deborah s Desk

January Newsletter 2016 « AmeriCorps Access Workforce ... Close your eyes and imagine the best version of you possible. That s who you really are, let go of any part of you that doesn t believe it. This is what Priya Balagopal believed. Priya was an outstanding Member of the AmeriCorps team last year. Her columns in last year s newsletter were wonderful, insightful, and beautiful, just like her. We are very saddened that we lost Priya to suicide earlier this month, despite her vigilant battle with mental illness.

She is free of her demons now, and our world is a little sadder and less bright. What IS the best version of ourselves? As we start a new year, we often make resolutions and promises to ourselves that we will be thinner, eat healthier, be kinder, or set some new goals. How long do we stick with those promises? Every day is a new opportunity to be a better me. Every day I wake up in the morning, it s a real gift and another day to be kind to myself and others. Our AmeriCorps Members are kind to others every day of their service.

It s what their service is about helping others to help themselves. They brighten our customers lives every day. They assist each person to be the best version of themselves that they can be. I hope that our team also remembers to be kind to themselves, to take time to rest and re-charge, to remember why they are in AmeriCorps and that they are providing a much needed service. Sometimes our Members receive thank yous, sometimes they don t. They are doing what they do every day for their love of service. They are being the best version of themselves.

Beth s Bios

Adjective Name: Busy BridgetteJanuary Newsletter 2016 « AmeriCorps Access Workforce ...

Hometown: Raleigh by way of Newark, New Jersey

Placement Site: Cary

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

I decided to complete another year for three reasons. First is the opportunity that affords me to offer anything from referral resources to training opportunities that will enable unemployed or underemployed customers to return to the workforce. The second is the assistance and coaching I share that helps to steer these same individuals to acquire or retain a job in their community. Finally, I also find a rewarding feeling to witness ordinary people participating in programs that at first seem scary, and to see them later graduate with the skills and credentials necessary to obtain a job that can later lead to building life-long careers.

Do you have a favorite memory so far?

My favorite memory is the opportunity I had to visit a local food chain and at the register stood customer I assisted to find work. Now from a professional side I had no intention of acknowledging I knew her from the workforce center when I saw the customer, instead she asked me Did you come to check on me and if you did I want to thank you for all the help you provided , with tears in her eyes she goes on to say, Now I have a new apartment and I got my kids back! That was a proud and rewarding moment of my service that lead me to believe we never know what s the inside motivator for someone who is in search of a job.

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

If I had a 1,000,000 I would donate my portion to an agency that works to prevent homelessness by using available funding to build supportive housing. The reason I would do this is because when a person has a warm place to live, eat and sleep they can become successful. I witnessed and learned through research that chronically homeless individuals who have stable housing make up an essential component that has a successful recovery and work-ability. With that said it is my hope that my contribution will help in the solution to the problem of chronic homelessness; with the housing coupled with supportive services that avails the appropriate supports that can serve as a foundation for rehabilitation, therapy, and improved health and wellness.

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

Well going through hard times can really be difficult for anyone however, working in the workforce centers sometimes bring about challenges and the need for patience and support with every experience. Therefore without my strong connection with family and spirituality I just don t know how I get through tough times. In addition to my spirituality, I am inspired by the condition and situation I witness the customers I serve suffer through and as a result I am enabled to understand what I define as a big problem is actually small. Therefore, if my customer can get through each day, so can I.

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

If I could have dinner with any one dead or alive I would select my parents and I would ask them what is it like in heaven. I would also ask them if you could would you changes places and return to this life? Finally, I would say all the things I didn t say before they departed and I end the conversation holding them tight giving them big hugs and kisses while saying I Love you a million times.

What is your favorite Discount Holidays © holiday and why?

Christmas is my favorite Discount Holidays © holiday because it is a time of the year people seem to dig deep within to find the kindness to give to another person without reason. Christmas is when family and love ones far and near seem to share special times, laughs and moments that last forever. Also Christmas is a time for families to gather and create new memories that they hold dear to their hearts. As I look back on my own experiences during the Christmas holidays I am reminded of faith, hope and love. Christmas brings the faith that there is a higher power who watches over my family and yours each and every day. Christmas is the hope of a better today and the tomorrows still to come, it is the love of family and good friends preparing a meal and breaking bread as one.

These emotions and so many more are my reasons that Christmas is special day and it fills my heart with magic.

Adjective Name: Happy HannahJanuary Newsletter 2016 « AmeriCorps Access Workforce ...

Hometown: Lakeville, CT

Placement Site: Swinburne

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

In high school my mom worked for Habitat for Humanity and we actually had two AmeriCorps members live with us for about 6 months. I realized then I wanted to participate in AmeriCorps. After I graduated from the University of South Carolina I felt that this was the perfect time in my life to do my year of service.

Do you have a favorite memory so far?

I would not say I have a specific favorite memory so far. I would say my favorite moments have been laughing with the team at Swinburne or as Monica called us the Fab 5.

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

I would donate it to either Heifer International or Salvation Army, two of my favorite charities.

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

My mom is someone who motivates me when I am having a hard time.

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

I would have dinner with Oprah Winfrey. I love Oprah. I think it would be a fabulous dinner party and who knows which of her famous friends just might stop in.

What is your favorite Discount Holidays © holiday and why?

Thanksgiving is my favorite Discount Holidays © holiday because it is about family and food.

Mike s Muse

January Newsletter 2016 « AmeriCorps Access Workforce ...I got positive feedback about last month s Facts you didn t know list, so I figured I d follow up with some more this go round. Without further ado, here are 25 facts you probably didn t know.

  1. Tim Hawking (son of astrophysicist Stephen Hawking) added swear words to his dad s voice synthesizer as a prank.
  2. A 13-year-old made a Braille printer out of Legos after discovering that millions of blind people in developing countries buy Braille devices that cost $2000 and weigh 20 lbs. His device prints Braille from computers to paper using raised dots instead of ink, weighs a few pounds, and costs only $350.
  3. Axel Rose once postponed a Guns N Roses show because he was watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Secret of the Ooze.
  4. Vin Diesel broke into a Theater in New York with his brother when he was 7 with the intent of vandalizing it. When they were caught, instead of calling the police, the theater s artistic director offered them roles in an upcoming show, thus starting Diesel s acting career.
  5. If you don t pay child support in Texas you won t be able to renew your hunting/fishing license.January Newsletter 2016 « AmeriCorps Access Workforce ...
  6. Doritos were invented at Disneyland to help curb costs of leftover tortillas.
  7. Americans spend more money on pets yearly than Germany spends on its entire defense budget.
  8. January Newsletter 2016 « AmeriCorps Access Workforce ...There is a festival in Nepal called Tihar that dedicates an entire day to thanking dogs for their friendship and loyalty.
  9. A Green Bay Packers fan who paid for game tickets by donating blood, had a rare, undiagnosed condition in which bloodletting was the only treatment.

    Buying tickets continuously in this manner for 56 years saved his life.

  10. Camels can hold a grudge and wait for opportunity to take revenge.
  11. A sleeping Killer Whale (Orca) pod (approx.

    6-30 whales in a pod) breathes in unison they form a tight circle, then surface for air and re-submerge as one, while sleeping.

  12. Sean Bean often gets fan mail intended for Rowan Atkinson, who played Mr. Bean.
  13. The North Face clothing company sued a clothing company called The South Butt.
  14. 75% of the world s food is generated from only 12 plants and 5 animal species.
  15. The United States has more people of Norwegian descent than Norway.
  16. Ligers continue growing throughout their entire lives due to a genetic disorder called growth dysplasia. They grow twice the size of their Tiger mama s and Lion papa s. The largest cat in the world is a 922 pound Liger.
  17. Kurt Russel is the uncredited voice of Elvis Presley in Forrest Gump.
  18. January Newsletter 2016 « AmeriCorps Access Workforce ...Dunbar s Number is 148, the predicted human mean group size of the limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships.
  19. During Hurricane Sandy, one soldier stood watch over the tomb of the unknown for an unprecedented 23 hours straight.
  20. January Newsletter 2016 « AmeriCorps Access Workforce ...A group of ferrets is called a business
  21. The inauguration of US president Andrew Jackson was an open party at the White House. The public got drunk and trashed the place, and could only be removed by tempting them out with bowls of punch on the lawn outside.
  22. Russian cosmonauts used to carry a handheld, triple barreled shotgun with a fold out machete into space to fight off bears and wolves when they landed.
  23. There is no month where there isn t a chance of frost in Minnesota.
  24. Bob Ross made an episode where he painted all in grey for a colorblind viewer.
  25. Conan O Brien pranked Bill Cosby when he was 19. He wanted to meet Cosby, so he created a fake award for Cosby to accept.

Bridgette s Board

Clint s Corner: No TimeJanuary Newsletter 2016 « AmeriCorps Access Workforce ...

When a man sits next to a pretty girl for an hour it feels like a minute, but let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and it s longer than any hour. That is relativity Albert Einstein.

January Newsletter 2016 « AmeriCorps Access Workforce ...All of the time I feel like there are just not enough hours in the day to do what I want and need to do. That being said, there are times where I feel like the time can t go by fast enough when I m doing some dreaded task. If time really is only an illusion, it s quite possibly the most powerful illusion.

Think back to the time you had to arrive to an appointment. You might have been running late and felt compelled to rush to your destination, throwing all caution and reason to the wind. I know I m definitely guilty of doing that from time to time. It s such an enigma how time can make all humans act various ways. On Sunday evenings, people are struggling to come to terms the weekend is over. During the holidays, some people are a bit jollier than their normal selves. Some reserve the morning time to be the grouchiest they can possibly be. When the Earth has completed its journey across the resident star, its dominant inhabitants are the only beings in the known universe to celebrate and make promises to themselves that are extraordinarily difficult to keep and fall through quite unexpectedly.

When a person first comes in the office looking for a job, there is no telling how long they have been unemployed. The time ranges I have observed are people who recently became unemployed a few minutes ago to those have been in prison for around 12 years. No matter which situation it is, the most common barriers I ve seen when it comes to people seeking employment are how the process of applying for employment has morphed over the years and the seemingly uncountable applications someone has to put in to even get a single interview. I hear how job hunting has changed from a few years ago; it s not like it used to be anymore. Change and repetition are key components of time. Repetition helped us create measurements of time, such as days, months, years, seasons, and hours. The failure of repetition acknowledges the change , and the change acknowledges beginning of a new era.January Newsletter 2016 « AmeriCorps Access Workforce ...

What I hear most of the time from long term job seekers is, I need a job, yesterday. So that automatically tells me how fast time is moving by for them.

Then there is the long, tedious and extremely judgmental job application process. These applications ask for one s employment history, gaps in the employment history, why one left an organization, if one has ever been arrested, what one s ethnicity and/or race is, if one is a veteran, if one has a disability, or if one is a veteran with a disability. I can t blame people for just wanting to blow through those things as quickly as possible. When it comes to time, the best we can do is keep track of it. Stars, fossils, carbon-dating, history books, repetition or any form of evidence; time is definitely keeping track of us. Whenever there is a mentioning of a certain event, people want to know what time it starts. How long with the event last?

Will it okay to show up late? Time is just this necessary evil that imprisons us and blesses at the same time. We are forever stuck in the present heading to a completely unpredictable future armed only with our past experiences and faith. Time controls such powerful and January Newsletter 2016 « AmeriCorps Access Workforce ...trivial things; the amount of time on the Earth we have, we get paid in units of time, the amount of time it takes to heal a wound, how worthy an event or person is of our time, the amount of time before a destination is reached. Think about it. How many times do you wander what time it is?
Have you ever thought what it would be like to have no concept of time? For such an experience to happen, remove the notion of when s , how long s , just a minute s from your bank of knowledge. Then rid yourselves of words and phrases such as later and hurry up . The entire grammar structure would have to change so that verbs would no longer have tenses.

There would be no gerunds, participles or any such thing. Then you would have to deal with your location. Move off the Earth, go to a region of space where you can t see anything; this includes planets, stars, or any other stray/heavenly objects in the universe. Just be in a complete void. Finally, work on getting rid of ideas like sleepiness, hunger, pain, age, and anything else that acknowledges change or repetition. Even if all of that would be possible, would that be any way to live?

B s BakeryJanuary Newsletter 2016 « AmeriCorps Access Workforce ...

Mini Lasagna Bites

Easy bite-sized appetizer recipe with a sausage filling in fillo shells topped with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses

Prep Time 25 Minutes

Total Time 40 Minutes

Serves 15

IngredientsJanuary Newsletter 2016 « AmeriCorps Access Workforce ...

  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces Odom s Tennessee Pride Hot Country Sausage
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 3/4 cup Hunt s Tomato Sauce with Basil, Garlic and Oregano
  • 2 packages (1.9 oz. each) frozen mini fillo shells
  • 1/3 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Chopped parsley, optional

Nutrition Information

  • 85 Calories
  • 5 grams Total Fat
  • 4 grams Protein
  • Serving Size: 15 servings (2 tarts each)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Stir together ricotta cheese, water and pepper in small bowl; set aside.
  2. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and onion; cook 5 minutes or until sausage is crumbled, stirring occasionally.

    Drain; stir in tomato sauce.

  3. Place fillo shells on large shallow baking pan. Divide meat mixture evenly between fillo shells; spoon ricotta mixture on top of meat. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake 15 minutes or until hot and cheese melts. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

Raleigh Rendezvous by Beth JanuaryJanuary Newsletter 2016 « AmeriCorps Access Workforce ...

Southern Snow

Last year, Worcester was America s snowiest city with totals reaching well over 100 inches of snow. Our biggest storm dropped 33 inches at one time. For two days the city of Worcester was shut down. By the third day, roads were clear (enough) and work resumed. Seeing over snowbanks to make safe turns was just a small oversight.

People s cars were buried and various means of public transportation remained shut down, but we were still expected to carry out our responsibilities and go to work, which for me, meant a 45 minute drive to an unpaid internship.

January Newsletter 2016 « AmeriCorps Access Workforce ...Flash forward one year to the sunny South. I laid in the sun on Thanksgiving Day and left my heavy coat and gloves at home. Summer can last until January and spring comes in March. What a sub-tropical paradise. Hello why is there snow?! The city shut down. There was no milk, bread or hamburger to be found. I managed to find a reasonable loaf of bread from what was left at Food Lion.

But then, it happened. The curse of the heat pump and no electricity. Cold, icy boredom with bad bread and cereal with no milk. I discovered that eating Captain Crunch like popcorn wasn t so bad and sleeping away the hours was the only way to get through this. Then it came, the sound of electrical joy coming to life. A euphoria soon followed which
was celebrated with microwave popcorn and many hours of watching the Lord of the Rings.

I danced around the Keurig as the delicious aroma of caffeinated inspiration brought my senses to life.January Newsletter 2016 « AmeriCorps Access Workforce ...

Thank you Ben Franklin for flying that kite.

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