Guide Profile: Stacey Williams

StaceyWorkingName: Stacey Williams
Profession: Field Instructor & Student Wellness Coordinator, Institute for Sustainable Development Studies Institute

University: Westmont College (undergrad) / University of San Diego (grad school)
Major: B.A in Social Science and a M.A in Higher Education Leadership
Service Type: AmeriCorps VISTA and VISTA Leader

Service Dates: July 2009 – July 2011

Service Location: Pensacola, FL

 

Native to San Diego, Stacey jumped into a year of service directly after college because she felt like her degree was a glorified piece of paper (what is Social Science anyway?) and she wanted to gain some practical experience in domestic nonprofits. Stacey was brought on to serve as a project coordinator with United Way’s clearinghouse and 24/7 call service, 2-1-1, and the EscaRosa Coalition on the Homeless. A few months into Stacey’s second year, the BP/Horizon Oil Spill happened and she stepped into the role of VISTA Leader to coordinate a new team of volunteers coming to support the economic recovery efforts following the spill. At the end of all of this, Stacey had a much clearer understanding of the health and human service sector… and she was pretty disillusioned with a lot of what she’d seen. Burnt out and concerned about how much of her work felt like addressing symptoms, she recognized that her favorite parts of her service-years were in facilitating service and development opportunities for others. With that, she returned to school to obtain a graduate degree in Higher Education Leadership. While studying, she worked at the University of San Diego’s Women’s Center focused on social justice education and  leadership development. During this time, she began to cultivate her vision of social change as an internal process. In 2013, Stacey embarked on an adventure in international education. Since then, she has taught programs with three different organizations in eight countries. From facilitating human-centered design to asking big questions like Who Am I? and What is Development? to honoring the village-as-teacher, Stacey accompanies students on journeys around the world and within themselves. Sometimes, she also writes about these experiences at www.staceystravels.com.

 

Building Shelter for Those in Need Around the World

Patrick McLoughlin started using architecture for good during his AmeriCorps term at the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky. A few years ago, he co-founded Build Abroad, a volunteer organization that places construction volunteers in 5 different countries. Patrick manages his venture while holding a full-time job in construction. Learn more about how AmeriCorps strengthen Patrick’s natural leadership.

Points of Interest: 

  • Can voluntourism bring capacity to a village?
  • Houses made from plastic bottles?
  • Working in disaster relief (while simultaneously preparing for a zombie apocalypse)

Pat was the second speaker at the Journey to Social Entrepreneurship virtual summit hosted the week of January 18th, 2016.  The recordings are available at the link below. 

 

ACCESS OTHER #JOURNEY2SOCENT SPEAKERS

 

From the Classroom to a Tech Startup

Alicia Herald claims that she is neither a natural born teacher nor a natural born entrepreneur, yet when she noticed the need for a technology platform that matches teachers with value aligned schools her mentor asked her to take the lead. Alicia is the founder of myEDmatch, launched in October of 2012, they have raised $2.89M in angel and Series A investment. In 2015, St. Louis Business Journal named myEDmatch the Most Innovative Company in Education. Alicia’s path toward education reform started when a friend convinced her to meet with a Teach For America recruiter at her university’s bakery…watch to hear more about her inspiring career. 

Points of interest

  • Teacher turnover has more to do with job fit then low salary and hard work (most teachers know what they are signing up for after all)
  • How does someone with no computer science background launch a tech start-up?
  • The education gap in America is wide but there is plenty of room for technological innovation in a system critical to addressing injustice in this country

 

Alicia was the first speaker at the Journey to Social entrepreneurship virtual summit hosted the week of January 18th, 2016.  The recordings are available at the link below. 

 

Access other #Journey2SocEnt Speakers

 

5 Ways Service Years Prepare You for Entrepreneurship

I frequently meet students looking to become social entrepreneurs after they graduate. They are seduced by the idea of freedom, making a difference and not having “vacation days.” When I meet these students I often ask, “What is your big idea?” I am responded to with a shrug, indicating they will figure it out once they get real world experience. Used to hearing more traditional advice like get an MBA or work in consulting, they are surprised when I suggest a year of service with a program like AmeriCorps.

How can serving in the nonprofit sector prepare you for the day when you start a business?

1. Expand Your Ability to Serve

Customer service is the new marketing. With the rise of social media platforms and comment boards, every brand is subject to word-of-mouth affecting sales. The most successful companies are those who treat their customers with a heart of service. What better way to understand service then to spend a year working in the nonprofit/social services sector?

2. Learn to Make Money go Far

Projection Hub recently gave a break down on how start-ups are funded. They noted that 34 percent are bootstrapped, literally funded off the founders’ personal savings.  Translation: founders have little to no paycheck for at least a few months during the startup phase. And for founders operating on borrowed money, salaries tend to be skimpy early on while investors wait for proof of concept.

To work at a startup, you must be able to create and market products on a shoestring while also living on a minimal salary. Service year programs, like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps, offer you the opportunity to live on a stipend (enough money to cover room and board). Service members are placed to work at nonprofits. That role gives you the opportunity to practice creative ways to market and provide services with out spending money.

Founders coming off of a term of service are already equipped to bootstrap their new startup.

3. Selling an Intangible

Being effective at sales takes practice. People often think that because most nonprofits are not product based and discounted services that there is no selling. In fact the opposite is true. Nonprofits are funded by donations and grants, meaning that the staff are responsible for selling an idea or vision. Wendy Kopp funded Teach For America by selling the idea, “One day all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.” Yup, people gave her money and the only thing they got in return was a tax donation receipt and the knowledge that they are part of something great. This is not much different than when an investor writes a check for your half-baked app idea that has not even been built or market tested. If you want to start a business, you better know how to sell an idea.

4. Long Job Descriptions

82 percent of nonprofits with a staff have 1-10 employees. This means there are 1-10 people trying to take on the mission of ending homelessness in their town, raising the reading level of every child in a low-income school district, providing a safe place for all the victims of domestic violence in a zip code. To execute on these missions, each staff member (and service year member) must take on multiple roles spanning from events planning to marketing to administration. This is similar to when a founder starts a company. On paper, they are a CEO, but they are also the accountant, the data-entry specialist and the blogger. It is important to be able to learn skills fast and be able to switch between roles if you want to work in the startup world.

 5. Family Style Workplace

Both nonprofits and startups tend to have tight-knit teams that are inspired by passion. They work together on the weekend and grueling late nights. Co-workers know who you are dating and when your father is in the hospital. They are like family. This type of work environment can come with challenges and drama. It is important to learn how to navigate these types of relationships sooner rather then later.

 

Real Service Alumni Running Social Enterprises

 

Meet 20 social entrepreneurs that started their career with a year of service on next week’s Journey to Social Entrepreneurship Virtual Summit. We are connecting with alumni from Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, City Year and Teach for America who leveraged the skills learned in their term of service to launch a start up that is working to solve today’s complex issues.

Register for your free spot today.

 

By Anna Lenhart

Founder, Next Generation of Service

Founder, Anani Cloud Solutions

Past employee of 3 start-ups

AmeriCorps Alum :-)

Culver’s and Boys and Girls Club Service Year Opening

Description: The Next Generation of Service is excited to be partnering with Culver’s of Sturgeon Bay, WI and the Boys and Girls Club of Door County to pilot a joint service year. The year long position (9-12 mo) involves working 20 hrs/week at Culver’s and 20 hrs/week serving at the Boys and Girls Club. The service year participant will be paid for the 40 hours through Culver’s. The aim of this program is to give a young adult a wide range of work experience and community engagement early in their career. We are looking for applicants with a positive attitude, willingness to work in food services and interest in serving their community.

Location: Door County, Wisconsin

Due Date: Rolling

Interested?

If you are interested in this position please read the job descriptions below and complete the application here. In mid February you will be given instructions for next steps. Note: all applicants will be required to complete a background check upon acceptance.

20 hours/week

Boys and Girls Club of Door County

Primary Function:

Implements activities provided within the scope of a specific program area as determined by the Program Coordinator. Areas will include: academic enrichment, healthy lifestyles and/ or character and citizenship clubs.

Key Roles:

    • Prepare youth for success by creating an environment that facilitates the achievement of Youth Development Outcomes:
      • Promote and stimulate program participation
      • Provide guidance and role modeling to members
      • Demonstrate leadership to assure conduct, safety and development of members
    • Program development and implementation:
      • Instruct pre-planned activities as outlined by a program coordinator
      • Effectively support programs, services and activities for members
      • Monitor programs, services, and activities to ensure safety, quality and appearance of club at all times
      • Ensure all members are encouraged to participate in a variety of program areas/ activities and receive instruction and constructive feedback to develop skill in program areas
      • Participate in staff meetings

 

Additional Responsibilities:

  • Staff may be asked to participate in or work at functions related to the Boys and Girls Club outside of their normal work day.
  • Staff may be asked to participating in marketing club events and activities

 

Relationships and Collaborations:

  • All staff of the Boys and Girls Club are to maintain professional relationships with club members and their parents as well as being mindful that all community members are potential members or donors to the organization.
  • Staff will be collaborative and supportive of all organizations the Boys and Girls Club works in partnership with at all times.
  • Staff will build relationships with classroom teachers at local schools and serve as a promoter of all Boys and Girls Club programming.
  • Staff will maintain a respectful and professional relationship with their immediate supervisor and the CPO as well as the Board of Directors for the organization.

 

Minimum Skills and Knowledge Requirements:

  • Experience working with youth and several developmental levels
  • Knowledge of youth development
  • Proven ability to manage behavioral issues
  • Proven ability to motivate youth
  • Proven ability to build meaningful and appropriate relationships with youth
  • Ability to organize and supervise club members
  • Ability to communicate with parents, teachers and other staff
  • Portray a positive image while in the club and community
  • CPR and First Aid Certification
  • A spirit of collaboration and willingness to embrace partnerships

Physical Requirements/ Work Environment

Must be able to function under fast paced and noisy conditions; May require being active for long periods of time; hear and understand speech at normal levels; speak in audible tones so that others may understand clearly; physical agility to push, pull, lift and or carry up to 50 pounds, stand for long periods of time, walk up to two miles without stopping and play vigorously with children for several hours.

Work Environment 

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job; reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions; duties are normally performed at the Boys & Girls Club of Door County.  The noise level in the work environment is usually moderately quiet while in the office and moderately loud when in the field.

 

20 hours/week

Culver’s

Job Summary

Provides personalized, exceptional guest service ensuring that every guest who chooses Culver’s® leaves happy.

 

Essential Functions

  1. Consistently provides excellent guest service and hospitality.
  2. Demonstrates proper personal hygiene and food safety practices consistently.
  3. Maintains a neat, well-groomed uniformed appearance.
  4. Follows restaurant policy on attendance, respectful conduct of team members and all other policies consistently.
  5. Assists guests with product knowledge and promotional information upon request accurately.
  6. Follows company safety standards at all times and looks out for the safety of other team members and guests.
  7. Demonstrates proper food safety practices by accurately completing the Quality Control/Safe Food Checklist.
  8. Handles guest comments promptly and courteously.
  9. Performs primary position responsibilities timely and accurately.
  10. Performs secondary position responsibilities timely and accurately, after the primary duties are accomplished.
  11. Performs back-up support accurately and timely after secondary responsibilities are accomplished.
  12. Assists with odd job responsibilities timely, upon manager on duty (M.O.D.) request.
  13. Answers the telephone courteously and professionally, within three rings.
  14. Prepares quality products while maintaining: portion control and presentation within service goal times.
  15. Attends all team member meetings.

 

Qualifications 

  • Flexible schedule
  • Reading and writing skills required
  • Communicates with guests, team and management
  • Maintains a sense of urgency
  • Demonstrates trained food safety knowledge

 

Physical Abilities 

  • Stand Constantly
  • Walk Constantly
  • Sit Occasionally
  • Handling Constantly

 

  • Lift / carry 10 lbs or less Constantly
  • Lift / carry 11-20 lbs Constantly
  • Lift / carry 21-50 lbs Frequently
  • Lift / carry 51-100 lbs Occasionally

 

Team Member Performance Success Factors

 

  • COMMUNICATION:  Verbal and written communication is timely, clear, concise; delivers ideas for solutions with problems; communicates well with team members and guests.
  • CHANGE MANAGEMENT:  Supportive of change; reacts quickly and appropriately; accepts direction and constructive feedback.
  • DECISION MAKING & PROBLEM SOLVING:  Uses judgment, common sense and sensitivity in addressing issues and seeking solutions to problems and challenges; gathers appropriate information.
  • INNOVATION &CREATIVITY:  Seeks new ways to improve efficiency, effectiveness, quality; offers suggestions and solutions to obstacles and challenges.
  • PLANNING:  Organized and able to establish priorities; delivers the desired results; manages multiple deadlines and priorities with a professional attitude.  Recognizes priorities and responds with a sense of urgency.  Follows procedures and policies in planning and executing job responsibilities.
  • COOPERATION:  Supports fellow team members and is cooperative in providing excellent guest service.
  • QUALITY OF WORK:  Delivers quality work on time at the desired standards.  Performs work duties in support of safety and security policies.
  • ACCOUNTABILITY:  Delivers results on time and at the quality level promised.  Is punctual and ready to begin work assignments.  Delivers quality work product using resources and time allocated.

Apply today

 

 

Top 5 Sources of Inspiration

Where Do We Find Inspiration?

At the Next Generation of Service, we pair students and recent graduates with peer guides that educate and encourage national service. We start this process with our intake form where we ask, “What Inspires You?” This year we have had over 100 students tell us about their sources of inspiration. We’ve noticed that while we’re all inspired in different ways, there are several common areas that many of us draw upon.

Here are the top 5 sources for inspiration:

 

1. People Who Overcome Adversity

Everyone loves a good underdog story, so when you are feeling uninspired, revisit your favorite (I really like Disney’s Big Green). Take the time to reflect on the adversity in your life; we’ve all faced challenges and grown from them. What is something you have overcome to get to where you are?

 

2. Making a Difference

It is inspiring and empowering to feel like we can change aspects of our world for the better. Think about the things you want to change, the issues you care about, and look for organizations or thought leaders working to address those issues. Follow these organizations on social media and consider supporting their work through donations or by volunteering.

 

3. Family

Our family can be a source of stress at times but also a major source of strength. What you consider family is likely the group of people that know you best — that cherish you, that you cherish in return. At the end of the day, your family is there to support you throughout your journey and to succeed, and that is inspiring.

We often hear stories of students inspired by parents who faced challenges or family members with certain career paths. Our family serves as the primary influence on our values and worldviews. As we grow, we are able to internalize, test and reject these values. At NGS, we hope you build upon the foundation your family has helped foster and achieve personal growth through working with others.

 

4. Art

Humans seem destined to create – to channel their passions into things we can see, hear, and feel. Some would argue that the purpose of art is to inspire – to inspire action or contemplation. Each of us responds to art in different ways, which is truly the beauty of art.

When was the last time you went to your local museum or high school play? Where is the art in your own backyard?

Here are some examples of individuals using art to inspire social change.

 

5. Teachers & Mentors

A great teacher works not only to create captivating and timely curriculum aimed at teaching you critical thinking skills but also to change you and help you develop a sense of purpose.  You might not remember those ideas or facts your teachers taught you, but you will remember those experiences that made you feel inspired.

Teachers help guide you in self-discovery through providing opportunities for collaboration, to overcome challenges and to make connections in the world. Along the way, they instill a sense of ability and worth in the student. It is no wonder teachers are commonly listed as a source of inspiration, and also that many of our service opportunities involve teaching others.

#whatinspiresyou

How to Join AmeriCorps In 5 Steps

1. Set An Intention

What do you want to get out of your AmeriCorps participation? Community service, professional experience and development of life skills are just a few of reasons that might be drawing you to a year of service. Once you’ve set your goal to serve, you need to do your research. There are several types of programs and service areas actively serving communities in over 60,000 locations across the country. In finding the right opportunities to apply to, it’s important to know where you want to work (urban vs rural), what kind of service you want to do (direct service vs indirect service) and the issue areas that excite you. We can help guide you through this application process. Sign up for a one-on-one session today with our NGS guides, most of whom have served a year (or more) in an AmeriCorps program.

 

2. My AmeriCorps Application

Navigate to the My AmeriCorps site, and select “apply to serve.” From here, you will create a profile and begin your application. The application process is similar to a “common app” for applying to university and allows you to apply to opportunities across a variety of nonprofit organizations in the AmeriCorps network. You will provide information on any past community service and work experience, a personal essay and letters of recommendation. This is a job application and should be treated as such, but it is also imperative that your application as a whole answers the question: Why do I feel called to service?

 

3. Apply to the Max Positions

Your My AmeriCorps application can be submitted to as many as 10 positions at a time. As positions are filled on a rolling basis, you will receive application status notifications. Do not take rejection too personally. Just trust that you were not a great fit for the program. I highly recommend submitting your application to the maximum of 10 positions at a time even if some of the positions fall outside your primary interests. If the organization is working on issues you care about, submit your application. You may get a first round interview, and this will give you a better sense of fit with the organization. Remember, you will be working at an organization with multiple projects and plenty of need for leaders. There are often opportunities to make contributions to the organization’s mission beyond your stated role. Whether you enjoy your experience is heavily dependent upon your connection with individuals in the organization, so give yourself an opportunity to get on the phone or face-to-face with potential supervisors and colleagues.

 

4. Reach Out

With My AmeriCorps you are using a standardized application, which does not always give you an opportunity to describe your qualifications for a specific position. A great way to work around the limitations of the application is to reach out to the contact listed on the AmeriCorps position posting (see side bar in My AmeriCorps), and make yourself known as a strongly interested applicant. Some programs will respond with their own additional set of application questions or give you an opportunity to write 1-2 paragraphs (like a cover letter) explaining why you would be a great fit for the role.

 

5. Persevere!

Again, as with any job application, accept that you might not get the role. Some AmeriCorps programs, like VISTA, are more competitive based on the sheer number of applicants for certain locations or other factors. However, there are plenty of smaller, lesser-known programs across the country that have unfilled positions. If you are passionate about being of service and learning new skills, be patient and there will be opportunities for you. Undertaking national service is having the courage to tackle challenges and build a better future for our country, so don’t give up!

 

Writen by Anna Lenhart

Edited by Nicole Campbell

Photo Credit: http://magazine.outdoornebraska.gov/

Teaching Teachers in Guinea

Christina Kuriacose is a Returned Peace Corps volunteer from Guinea. She put her optical engineering degree to use as a problem solver and teacher of teachers.

Our Inner Truth on Leading the Self

By Jessica Tang

 

Four years ago, when I first started teaching yoga, I always aspired for the one day when I can be like this teacher or that teacher and have my own following. I wanted to be a leader, and to me, these teachers were leaders because they had followers. At that time, leadership to me meant being in a position of power, having a “management” role, or having a large following. Although there is no definitive answer to what leadership is, I learned over the past few years that leadership has less to do with your job title or the amount of followers you have. Rather, it is related to how much you inspire and motivate not just other people, but yourself.

 

Right out of teacher training, I experienced a steep learning curve in finding my own voice as a teacher. The words with which I led class were my teacher’s words. And despite the number of different classes I took to learn from other teachers, I found myself feeling like an echo or a shadow of someone else. As I taught more classes, my knowledge grew, but I felt lost at the same time. Confused as to what my own voice sounds like, another voice started developing in my head — the voice of doubt.

 

When it comes to my own voice of doubt, it usually comes in the forms of self-defeating statements and constant comparison. As much as I was learning from other teachers, I also found myself comparing my experience level to theirs. The dialogue of comparison soon turned to one of harsh statements that left me feeling small. Despite the positive feedback I received from students, I had a tough time letting go of the nagging internal dialogue that said I was not enough. This voice of doubt not only left me feeling defeated, but kept me from venturing outside the comfort zone I found in a particular studio.

 

One of my teacher friends once shared that we can’t truly be compassionate towards others until we learn to truly be compassionate towards ourselves. In Sanskrit, there is a term — ahimsa — that loosely translates to “do no harm,” “non-violence” or “compassion.” Although in my classes I taught students to practice compassion and non-judgment, it was paradoxical that my own internal dialogue towards myself was anything BUT gentle and kind. I eventually shared my insecurities with a coach who was also one of my students. In response, this is what she asked me:

 

If it were a friend who told you about the voice in her head that says “I am not enough,” what would you tell her?

 

I thought about this one for a second, and this was what I would have told my “friend:”

 

Come into a comfortable seat, and start to tune into your breath. Take a few deep inhales and exhales, letting go of anything you find that is weighing you down as you breath out through your mouth. Do this for about 5 cycles of breath. Now notice the thoughts running through your head. Without any judgments or labels on them as “good” or “bad,” ask yourself: “Are they true?”

 

After that meeting, I returned to the dialogue I would have told a friend every time I caught my mind chatter talking down on myself. Instead of teaching others what ahimsa means, I started practicing it too. The breath work practiced in yoga served as a tool for greater self-awareness and mindfulness. In turn, I realized that as much as it was important to share my teachings with students, it was also important to BE a student to my own inner teacher.

 

Similarly, leadership is not gained through having a certain title or by setting out how many followers one must have in order to be considered a leader. Inspiration is derived from living out our personal values and making choices that align with our inner truth. Beyond the physical practice, yoga teaches us that we each have our own style as leaders, teachers, etc. and most importantly, to always honor and lead with our inner truth.

 

Jessica is a yoga teacher from Vancouver, BC and recently started the project – Wanderlove Yoga – to share how yoga can be experienced anywhere, anytime. Off the mat, she loves exploring places and capturing moments on her camera.

 

When we start our career with service it is easy to get overwhelmed with the social issue at hand, to put all our energy into “fixing”- it is important to remember to breathe, to make space for our own growth and healing.

The Future of Work, Community & Service

How long-term service encourages a freelance future

 

The Atlantic recently published an article titled the A World Without Work (read it here). In summary, as cashier, office clerk, and driver jobs are replaced with artificial intelligence (47% will be by 2050 according to the article) our society is predicted to veer off into a combination of two worlds. The first being massive unemployment and all the negative impacts of that: increased domestic violence, alcoholism and depression, a world where people sit in solitude on couches staring at screens that deliver movies and TV shows. The second is a world of self-employment, filled with communities of creatives, people who are civically engaged, build furniture, volunteer three days a week and trade crops for locally-sewn clothing.

 

I am left thinking about the role long-term service programs play in this new paradigm. I think of the journey my close friend Katie (also an AmeriCorps VISTA alum) and I have embarked upon.  We both launched our freelance careers after our AmeriCorps experience, and the work we produced at our service locations remain significant projects in our portfolios, the nonprofits we served were in some ways the first domino in a cascade of clients.

 

It was a day, early in my year-long term as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Shakti Rising when the business development director approached me about this Salesforce CRM they had signed up for months ago, but she had not had the bandwidth to implement (I would come to learn this is a common dilemma amongst the nonprofit sector).  I agreed to take a look having recently completed an entry to programing class. Implementing Salesforce became a nine month project and involved me clearing out the entire database 3 times and reimporting because I messed up the data architecture. Regardless after completing the project other NPOs in the area started asking me for help, and with a strong testimonial from Shakti Rising, I became a freelancer.  The money I bring in from consulting at times is my sustaining income and at others is additional “side hustle” but one thing is for sure- I would not have the flexibility to operate NGS (a volunteer-led organization) without the consulting life style.

 

Katie has a similar story with her design freelance work (Golden Grouper). It has allowed her the flexibility to travel and help her husband with the operation of  the Raptor Institute, an environmental education program. Katie and I are not the norm among AmeriCorps Alums, many work full-time jobs but I think we both recognize that the fast-paced, multi-facetted, creative problem solving roles we held during our service terms provided experience that made running our own business seem more manageable. And if, one day, there is a world without work those that have focused on service early in their career, I imagine will have the skills and wherewithal to choose the path of community and service.

Writen By Anna Lenhart