Meanwhile in the Recession…

My full-time job is in the staffing and recruitment industry. With the economy in a poor state of being, unemployment is becoming a way of life for so many. The staffing industry is not short of people who need a job. This in turn increases the competition for those all vying for the dream jobs out there.

Meanwhile in the Recession..

I recently heard that 50% of college grads are either underemployed or unemployed all together. I graduated in 2010 with my bachelor’s degree and can relate to this statistic. I searched for a job for nearly a year before I got the job I currently have. It was tough. I had to stand out and prove that although I recently graduated, I had more to offer than those who already had years of experience ahead of me.

So what does this all have to do with the theme of this blog? One word, your… Resume.  You need to have a resume full of amazing abilities and accomplishments.

I am going to totally sound like your High school counselor right now, but if you’re stuck and can’t find a job, I can only suggest one thing. Volunteer.

There are countless non-profits that need FREE help, to make their programs successful. You need to first identify the field you are trying to work in, pin down your skills and give to those who need you.

In my personal example, I helped to create, develop and write a “Community Service” Club Curriculum for high school students. I used my time available to work on something that I will never get paid for, and then when I started to apply for jobs I used this act of goodness to prove my abilities. Because, I could prove that I had the ability to successfully develop programs I was recruited to do so for the company that I am currently working with.

Daily we receive inquiries from potential candidates, stating that they went to school for web design. But when it comes to proving the skills learned many fall short. You need to prove more than your ability to pass a class. Web developers are expensive, and non-profits tend to have little money to put towards this aspect of their programs. If you’re a web developer looking for work, do a free job or two. Make your portfolio shine with the work of a humanitarian.

Although I used only a few examples here of the skills that you can apply to volunteerism, there are countless others that I know you all have. Skills, that the non-profits out there would be so gracious to receive, free of charge.

To give is to receive.

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Meanwhile in England…

As summer time arrives and I begin to plan out my adventures, I am brought back to November 2011.

Meanwhile in England…

Warwick Castle Built in 1068. The entire time I was there, I kept imagining how may people lived and died here and the impact they had on their community, both good and bad.

It was in the great U.K that I saw some extraordinary pieces of history and was able connected with some amazing students. The non-profit organization that my husband works with, was invited by the community of Wolverhampton, England, to bring their 3D community service assembly to the local schools. This was my first trip to Europe and it was welcomed excitedly, as it gave us all an opportunity to reach out to a different part of the globe. Working with my husband, has so many perks! We did however have to find the money to sponsor an outreach such as this. Of course raising the money is always the hardest and most humbling part, but in the end the hard work always pays off for all parties involved. We had excited donors that gave with the hopes that the program we were bringing would begin to spread globally, and it did!

Once we arrived we were greeted with immense appreciation and gratitude, which it made the nagging jet lag seem like a simple yawn. Just hours after arriving we were whisked from the airport to the green lands of Wolverhampton, where we immediately put on our first presentation. By the time our heads hit the pillow it felt as if we were being awakened at the crack of dawn to present our volunteerism program to the first of many schools.

Our kind and amazing audience sporting the DayOne3D glasses.

During the presentations we often like to include humor to keep our audiences interested, as well present our most personal experiences with volunteerism. We soon became aware of the “stiff upper lip” that so many reference as a characteristic of the Brits. The room often felt, well… extremely polite.

The extreme politeness began to take a psychological toll on me. Whenever I am speaking and the crowd is too quiet something happens in my head… “Oh wow it sure is quiet. Geeze my voice is loud. Maybe if I move the mic. Nope still loud. Is that my voice? Oh how horrible! Yuck, why do I sound like that? Oh no, what have I been saying this whole time?”

“Is that my voice?”

We of course began to think, maybe were not presenting as well as we think we are, and then floods of students would rush to us at the end of the assembly. We were told we nearly brought them to tears, or that we were hilarious. Ohhh, cultural differences! Americans tend to wear their emotions on their sleeve, and as public speakers from America we found ourselves looking for feedback in the wrong place and at the wrong moments.

By then end of the 12 day trip we presented 19 assemblies and met countless excited students and school administrators. We heard stories from the students that brought us to tears, and found the heart England within the youth. They are ready to give, to give it all not looking for anything in return. The moments where I, was encouraged by students and their stories of volunteerism and overcoming amazing circumstances were the highlights of the trip.

Buckingham Palace

With the help and transportation of our host families, we did somehow find time (although we were extremely exhausted) to take in England and all it’s glory. One of the perks of traveling while giving!

Without our financial supporters the entire trip and presentations would have been impossible, we are gracious for their support and dream of a greater future. Thank you, Wolverhampton for your open hearts, ears and arms. We are excited to take up your invite for a second round of presentations and to find out what the students have accomplished since our last visit.

Meanwhile on Mother’s Day…

This post is dedicated to my Mom this Mother’s day 2012. I Love you mom….

There are experiences on this earth that we all share, no matter our geographic location, religion, race, culture or financial status. One of them is the birth experience.

Of course we cannot recall our own birth, but we can reference the stories that we may know about our own birth or get a pretty good idea of what it may have been like from encountering the events of our family and friends. One encounter of such an event, occurred while I was on an aid trip in November 2010.

Mari, lived in one of the small, 10×10 sheds that I have described in my past posts. She was 19 years old, had a fiancé, a 2-year-old baby and was pregnant with a new baby. Teen pregnancy in the place where we build homes for the poor is pretty much an epidemic. Lack of education and finances do not help, in these situations.

In July of 2010 a woman who met Mari early in her pregnancy decided that through fundraising she would finance the house we would be building. The dream of the home was coming alive for both of them. After waiting nearly 9 months Mari was experiencing 2 life altering events simultaneously. The first was a new house, that the team I was working with was building for her. The second was the birth of her baby. Both these events were converging upon each other during the same week.

Mari 2010

The entire week we worked on the house, Mari quietly watched us with her petite belly pulling on the seams of her clothes. I remember thinking about is how beautiful she was. she was glowing! She had soft features and kind eyes. Had she not been pregnant I could tell that her figure was that of a movie star or model. Her baby was going to be blessed with good looks. Each afternoon, she would shyly bring us food that her mother and aunt had prepared in gratitude for our work. During this break time her adorable 2-year-old daughter would be passed from person to person. The lunch time breaks were a welcomed portion of the day.

Keys to her new home and future. 2010

Keys to her new home and future. 2010

Mari’s mother relayed to us that the upcoming, Friday morning Mari would be going to the hospital where she would be induced into labor. Being that she had no vehicle and lived an entire town away from the nearest medical center, induced labor was the safest and most preferred option for Mari. The whole week Mari spent preparing for her big day, packing and preparing her child for the few days she would be away. She was extremely attentive to her toddler and from the amount of time she spent holding her Thursday, it was evident that the time away from the toddler was going to be difficult. By Thursday evening we finished the house and watched Mari tearfully and thankfully walk into her new home.  The house that we built was just a house, but the moment that Mari moved her small family into the structure it became a home. We said our goodbye’s to Mari and wished her luck and congratulations.

Mari opening the door to her home for the first time.

Friday evening came and a few of us anxiously decided to take a drive to the hospital to find out if Mari’s family would be there to tell us how the labor went. As the sun began to set over the hospital a picture was brought out to us. It was the picture of a beautiful baby girl, who would soon be playing with her sister in the new house. The labor went as planned and Mari would soon be back at home, just in time to settle into the house. Mari is a young mother, but a good mother. The birth experience of her child was celebrated by friends from near and far. It will be a birth that I will never forget. So many things happened that week but the highlight was the miracle of Mari’s child.

Mari’s beautiful baby girl 2010

Happy Mother’s Day moms across the globe and thank you for all you do. Especially you mom 😉