This food truck is driving change for youth just out of prison

This week’s spotlight: all things prison.

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Jordyn and her sweet food spread. (photo courtesy of Jordyn Lexton)

In her English class at East River Academy one day, a school for incarcerated youth on Riker’s Island, Jordyn Lexton had her students read Langston Hughes’ poem “Harlem (A Dream Deferred).”

After the group discussion, one student asked if he could be an architect someday. She told him yes. Another student who had been sleeping throughout the class raised his head and shouted, “Hell no! No disrespect, Miss, but you’re selling dreams.”

In that moment she realized that most of these kids would never actually have a chance to live their dreams—not because they didn’t have the potential, but because the system was broken.

Her students were all 16, 17, and 18 years old, yet charged as adults in the New York state prison system, one of only two states to do so. And even if they were lucky enough to leave East River Academy with a high school diploma or GED, the chances of them ending up back in jail were high—70% would return, in fact. Future employment and further schooling would be also tough due to their felony record.

“Regardless of what I was doing inside the facility, it wasn’t enough. I wanted to literally stop selling dreams and actually create channels for young people to have a successful reentry experience,” Jordyn says.

So she left teaching at the beginning of last year to start working at the Correctional Association of New York on the Raise the Age campaign. She got interested in prison reentry, and afterward, worked at the Center for Employment Opportunities.

An unabashed foodie, Jordyn then had an idea: what if she opened a food truck in NYC and hired her students once they got out of jail? The idea stuck with her. So she started working at Kimchi Taco Truck to learn the ins and outs of the mobile food world.

“If knew if I was asking people to pick up the truck, drive it to a site, turn it on, get it going, do sales, clean up, bring it back—I wanted to know what that entailed and felt like. And it’s not easy by any means,” Jordyn says. “The knowledge of that experience gives me an edge.”

Food with a side of social justice

While organizations like Homeboy Industries and Mission Pie have been touting the therapeutic benefits of culinary arts for a while now, Drive Change is really the first of its kind.

“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, we’re trying to take the program and put it onto wheels,” she says.

One goal is that Drive Change will play parent to a bevy of other food trucks. Its first child, set for a soft launch at the end of November, is Snowday, inspired by the time Jordyn was 12 years old and had “the most amazing food in her life” on a family trip to Canada: maple syrup over snow. Other mouthwatering items on the menu include maple bacon Brussels sprouts and pulled pork bacon maple sliders, among others.

“I don’t want someone to come up to me and say, ‘This tastes like it has a social mission,’ ” she says. “I want you to walk away having this amazing food experience and then later, if you find out it’s one of the trucks by Drive Change, then you feel even better about the fact that you contributed to a lofty social goal.”

Although it won’t hit you over the head, that lofty social goal is the main entree. Jordyn envisions hiring a cohort of eight to ten formerly incarcerated youth, and training them over a period of eight months on everything from how to use propane gas to social media marketing to accounting.

The overarching goal of Drive Change is expansion: to train more kids who can use the skills they learned to get a job or open their own food truck; to make Drive Change the go-to caterer for social good events in the NYC area; and to help start lots more trucks in other cities.

The journey hasn’t always been easy for Jordyn, but it’s always felt right.

“If you have a good enough idea and the experience to know what it takes to bring it to life, and the ability to get investment from a number of community stakeholders, then I truly believe there’ll be enough support and noise whatever the hurdles,” she says. “And something positive is going to come out of it.”

Interested in seeing how this story progresses? Follow @DriveChangeNYC and @Snowdaytruck on Twitter, and like Drive Change and Snowday on Facebook. 

Drive Change is always looking for partners. If you know a corporate sponsor who might be interested in events or catering, or a food business interested in developing or donating menu items in exchange for promotion, get in touch with jordyn@drivechangenyc.org.

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3 things you can learn about entrepreneurship from prisoners

This week’s spotlight: all things prison.

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Days before his release from prison, Brandon Biko Reese reads during a session of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program. (photo from Tamir Kalifa and text from Maurice Chammah via The Texas Tribune)

An all-health food vending machine in schools and companies. A publishing house that only publishes words and art from prisoners. Car repair training for teens in the juvenile justice system.

Sound awesome?

These are just some of the many projects that are being given a fighting chance because of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP), a Houston, Texas-based nonprofit that aims to reduce the country’s high recidivism rate by helping inmates in Texas prisons start their own businesses.

It works like this: any man with an idea from one of the state’s 60 prisons can apply to the competitive program. Once accepted, participants go through a six-month MBA boot camp, complete with top business executives as mentors. After the cap and gown come off, help with funding, network building, schooling, and more continue both inside and beyond the prison walls.

“Really, it’s reinforced my belief in the tremendous, untapped potential of people in prison—both with respect to entrepreneurship and life prospects more broadly,” says Jeff Smith, a former Missouri state senator who recently spent a year in jail and is now a PEP advisory board member.

Since its start in 2004, PEP has served over 800 graduates, with only five percent going back to prison three years or less after their release. To date, 120 of their plans have come to life, from a food truck enterprise to a shoe shining business to a company that provides legal assistance to inmates.

What’s more, for those on the other side of the barbed wire, it’s shifting perceptions of how we view the formerly incarcerated.

“It helps executives from around the country see that most people in prison aren’t that unlike them—they have families they love and miss, career goals and aspirations, dreams of something better,” Jeff says. “They made mistakes, but that doesn’t mean society should write them off.”

 

What can you learn from prisoners?

Jeff is a firm believer that inmates have some of the shrewdest business instincts around. Remember Stringer Bell’s unfailing dedication to macroeconomics in The Wire?

Here are Jeff”s three tips from inside prison that can help you with your own entrepreneurial project:

1. Cultivate side hustles.

Whether it was ironing another man’s jumpsuit, opening one-man barbershops, or smuggling cigarettes inside, Jeff witnessed lots of hustles happening in prison. The risks varied, as did the rewards, but there was something to be said about going the extra distance.

“Hustles can help you diversify your approach to solving problems, gain a new perspective, and broaden your networks,” Jeff says.

So in addition to your big project, considering picking up some side hustles to both increase your cash flow and your opportunities.

2. Make strategic alliances.

Jeff worked at the prison warehouse unloading food shipments. In order to allay suspicion that he might snitch on his warehouse colleagues who sold stolen food, he soon found himself taking an orange here or an apple there, and distributing them strategically upon returning to his cell block

Of course, in the outside world, building strategic alliances takes more than handing someone a piece of fruit. But the principle applies to entrepreneurship just the same.

In a letter to current inmate and former Illinois governor Rod Blogojevich, Jeff gives some advice for how to make the most of prison. Some of these include: corresponding with anyone who writes to you. Forgiving your enemies. Not complaining about how bad your job is, nor bragging about how good it is. Embracing your background, but not imposing it on people.

And finally, staying open to the possibility that your allies might end up being more meaningful than you think.

“When the novelty wears off and the people who approach you are doing more than rubbernecking, don’t discount the possibility of making lifelong friends,” he writes. “You will meet some of the most fascinating people you have ever met, from all walks of life. Listen to their stories, and learn from them.”

3. Tap into your ingenuity.

Doing more with less: that’s what prison life is all about. Like cutting hair with toenail clippers, or cooking grilled cheese with an iron.

If the genius juices just aren’t flowing and you need a fresh perspective, break free from your routine. Talk to people you haven’t seen in a while. Follow folks on Twitter who have different viewpoints from yours. And read, read, read.

“Think about problems you’ve thought about before, but from new angles. Then leave your desk and sit outside on a nice day and just think. On good days, somehow it flows,” Jeff says. “Failing that, write it down immediately whenever you get a flash of brilliance, no matter what time of night, etc. Gems can be so ephemeral, you gotta capture ‘em no matter what.”


Interested in prison issues? Search Idealist for almost 2,500 prison-related opportunities around the globe.

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Links We Love: Why your IQ doesn’t matter, classroom hacks for teachers, jobs & events galore

This week’s edition: all things education.

Watch an inspiring video from TED Talks on Education, like this one about how grit is key to success:

Read:

Take action:

There are over 250 events worldwide on Idealist right now with the tag “education.” Search the site and see what grabs you.

Idealist is currently hosting over 6,500 job postings throughout the world tagged “education.” We also have almost 4,000 education-related internships and 9,000 volunteer opportunities to choose from.

September is back to school time. Dive into Idealist.org and see what you can learn!

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Ask Ero: Answers for confused and baffled Idealists

Ero is Thoughtful Adjusted Cropped3In this series of blog posts, I’ll try to answer all your questions (regardless of how ridiculously unqualified I am to answer them.) Consider me sort of a tech-literate, bearded, Ann Landers, or a work-safe Dan Savage.

In the last installment of this series, I answered questions about editing for brevity, solving big problems, and listening to music. How were my answers? I hope you’ll tell me. Now, on with this installment’s question!

After recently losing a job, I’ve almost given up hope. I’m not getting call-backs, and it might be due to my age- I’m not fresh out of college anymore. When I do get calls, they’re for entry-level jobs. I’m also an artist, and appreciate a flexible schedule, so how do I know if I should be looking for freelance work or a full-time job? -Margo

This is such a great question that it deserves an entire post all by itself, so here goes!

First of all, why limit yourself to one kind of work or another? You may not want the commitment of a full-time job. But keep your eyes open for that anyhow, and apply for what sounds appealing. You can even go to an interview, get a job offer, then decide to turn it down.

But you won’t know what’s out there unless you’re looking for it. Your dream job might be just where you least expect it. It’s not unheard of, after all, to work part-time or contract gigs, and have a low-key small business on the side. Unorthodox work is pretty common for artists of all kinds, so I’d advise looking for everything at once. Your solution may be a combination!

Now, keeping your morale up is hard, especially after losing a job. It gets even more frustrating when you’re highly skilled and experienced, and the only call-backs that you do get are ridiculously low-paid. Low compensation can be a problem in the nonprofit sector (though compensation is a complex issue). But although you may not be seeing them now, well-compensated jobs exist. Keep up the search and don’t get discouraged.

As for age discrimination, this can be a serious problem, but usually there’s not much you can do about it unless you see it happen. When first applying for a job you can’t affect the behavior of people who read your resume– but you can adjust how you present yourself. Make sure your cover letter and resume really represent what you have to offer specifically for the job you’re applying to, instead of just showing years of experience.

Discrimination happens, but you may also be missing opportunities because you don’t seem like you really want a position. This is not at all to say that you should hide your age. But you want to be sure you’re presenting your strengths properly.

After all, what you really want is to find work that values you for what you are: skilled, experienced, and not at all entry-level. Plenty of other folks out there are in the same boat: it’s an aging workforce, and some will see you as a talented youngster who’ll liven up the workplace with your crazy youthful enthusiasm.

There’s also a truth that isn’t often expressed, which is that the jobs ecosystem is not a bag of rice, it’s a bag of extra-chunky granola.

Every single job is a different size and shape.  Some are startlingly well-paid, some poorly paid. Some need decades of experience and advanced degrees, some want someone with strange new ideas. Some want specific odd types of experience, or unique individual skills.

During the course of my work day I see a lot of job listings – Idealist.org has 10,470 right at this moment! - and almost all of them are surprising in one way or another. They vary a lot! 

You’re the obviously-just-right candidate for at least one of them. As a jobseeker your task is to find that opportunity, and then make sure to make your obvious-just-right-ness clear.

After all, you’re looking, not to succeed with all jobs…just ones that are right for you.The right work for you will come along if you keep looking, and keep putting yourself out there. (You can find lots of useful tips on our blog).

I believe in you. You can do it.

Have questions about anything I’ve said? Or about anything else (and I do mean anything)? Ask me.

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Ask Ero anything (anything anything anything) at ero@idealist.org.

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How a Colorado company is reworking social entrepreneurship

One obstacle to doing good we often hear people talk about is a lack of skills and/or knowledge. Boulder-based recruiting firm ReWork tackles this obstacle by connecting a skilled talent pool to the social enterprises who need them most. 

You’ve probably heard the term “scrimmage” before. In sports talk, it’s a practice game that doesn’t count.  In ReWork’s vocabulary, it’s an event that matches startup social entrepreneurs with willing volunteers to help them problem-solve.

Here’s how a typical Scrimmage works: Participants are presented with a challenge or project , and then break off into teams. At the heart of the event is rapid prototyping as inspired by Google. Instead of brainstorming at length, for example, the teams hammer out ideas on the fly, continually testing and iterating on them in the moment to help get them in the best shape possible. Failure is viewed as an opportunity to learn.

The process is then repeated throughout the day until the teams report their solutions to the rest of the group, and everybody (of age, of course) can celebrate with a beer!

Since starting the Scrimmages last year, ReWork has collaborated with a variety of local incubators such as HUB Boulder, Social Venture Partners, Unreasonable Institute, and more.

Scrimmage in action

Meet Shane 

Shane Gring launched Denver-based BOULD in 2011 after becoming interested in energy efficiency and the ways it could create savings for the low-income families he was serving while working for Habitat for Humanity via AmeriCorps in Boulder.

Like most startups, BOULD, which strives to greenify affordable housing projects, had a few kinks to work out. Needing help on simplifying the enrollment process and creating enticing messages for potential participants, they partnered with ReWork for the very first scrimmage in November 2012.

Two teams took on one problem each. One streamlined the enrollment form. The other team came up with messages and tested them right there with people on the street and at CU Boulder’s architecture school, eventually coming up with simple, accessible communication.

“I like that this process allows you to see how people react, right away, without the space of waiting to roll out an idea and seeing how people like it,” Shane says.

Because of its success, rapid prototyping is something they do at BOULD all the time now in their day-to-day work as well as special events like their Green Building Hackathon.

Meet Brett

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Photo credit: ReWork team.

After a stint with TOMS shoes and living abroad to pursue a master’s degree in sustainability, Brett Dioguardi moved to Colorado and found himself without a gig. He learned about ReWork through Twitter, and was accepted to their talent pool in the midst of his move.

Brett was familiar with BOULD before the Scrimmage, having worked with them in a volunteer capacity, including helping to get them ready for the event. The day of, he worked on the team that was responsible for putting together messaging.

“I was a great fit for this group because although I had some knowledge of BOULD beforehand, I was still able to bring fresh ideas and thoughts to the discussion in a group of folks who were new to the company,” he says.

To him, it was an amazing experience where he got to meet new companies and people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. More significantly, however, after helping out BOULD pre and post-Scrimmage, Brett was offered a full-time position to work on partnership development.

“When I reflect on the experience, prepping for the Scrimmage and all the work before and after was even better than a job interview because I got to show [BOULD] what I was actually capable of,” he says.

Ultimately ReWork’s Scrimmage taught both Brett and Shane a lot about the power of face-to-face interaction, how iteration is key, and that continued problem-solving can help them tackle a constantly evolving business model.

In your everyday life, how do you practice the principles of Scrimmage?

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While they’re mostly in Colorado right now, this year ReWork will be holding open Scrimmages across the country as well as private ones for companies. Get in touch by emailing info@rework.jobs. 

To learn more about green building, starting your own social enterprise, or any of BOULD’s programs, contact Brett and Shane.

Learn more about Colorado month at Idealist!

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7 tips to consider if you want a career in human rights

On Friday, we shared a list of opportunities and organizations to explore in human rights, in honor of Human Rights Day. However, breaking into this field can be a bit challenging, so we invited Akhila Kolisetty, a law student and blogger who has worked at various human rights organizations, to share a bit about her journey and experiences.

by Akhila Kolisetty

Photo credit: ind{yeah}, Creative Commons/Flickr

I first developed a passion for international development and human rights as an undergraduate at Northwestern, where I studied economics and political science. My time studying development economics in London and working with an international access to justice NGO in Geneva hugely influenced my worldview, convincing me to work at the intersection of access to legal services and women’s rights in the global South. After graduation, I chose to work at a civil rights law firm and also to fundraise for a start-up NGO in Afghanistan that sought to open legal aid clinics promoting rule of law and women’s rights throughout the country.

Having spoken with women and girls in Washington D.C., Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, I’ve noticed the interrelated nature of poverty and violence against women and the impact a passionate legal advocate can have on the lives of the poor. And yet, legal services work remains underfunded in the international development realm. This interest has eventually led me to law school, where I’m hoping to develop the skills to be a better human rights advocate not only through fundraising and running an NGO, but through direct representation of the poor – especially women, girls, and refugees.

Is a career in international human rights for you?

Getting into international human rights can be a challenge; it is a difficult field to enter and can be especially competitive, particularly in today’s economy. In addition, there are many things to consider: how willing are you to travel abroad, live away from your family and friends, acclimate to a completely new and unfamiliar environment, and sometimes live in rough environments? The more flexible you are, and the more passionate you are about living abroad and learning from poor communities, the better chance you’ll have to breaking into this field.  Here are a few tips to help you get started.

1. Volunteer and intern as much as possible

Unpaid internships are essentially a requirement to get into the development and human rights field. Check out a start-up social enterprise’s website and email them offering to contribute something: a social media presence, website development, event planning or grant writing. These things can go a long way for a small NGO! In fact, small organizations can actually be more receptive to your help, and more willing to give you a significant role than large NGOs. At the same time, internships with well-established NGOs can be vital in giving you credibility and valuable experience. Try everything you can to gain experience, skills, references, and a strong sense of what work setting you thrive in.

2. Learn and think critically about development and human rights.

If you’re just starting out in international human rights work, educate yourself! Even if you’re not majoring in international relations, development studies, human rights, or a related subject, you can still learn by reading relevant books (check out works by Bill Easterly, Paul Collier, Dambisa Moyo, and Amartya Sen – among many others) and useful development and human rights blogs (such as A View From the Cave, Chris Blattman, and How Matters). More than anything, I think it’s valuable to think critically about your involvement in international human rights, and about how you can realistically contribute and best make an impact as an outsider in this work.

3. Study or intern abroad as an undergraduate, and learn other languages.

Studying and interning abroad can give you critical “field” or in-country experience that can help you get your first international human rights job. Studying or working abroad can give you a much better sense of the issues facing the country or region you live in, and can also impart valuable language skills. Knowing another language and having the ability to speak thoughtfully about the politics and economics of a region can be a real asset. Spending time abroad will also give you key contacts; maintaining these contacts can help you find a job down the road, or perhaps even apply for programs such as the Fulbright, which allow you to devise your own research project.

4. Learn concrete skills relevant to NGO management.

Most NGOs appreciate skills such as grant writing, fundraising, research and writing, communications, program implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. If you can develop concrete skills in writing grants, hosting fundraising events, researching and writing human rights reports, or marketing organizations effectively through web design and social media, you will be able to contribute concretely to the needs of most non-profit organizations. Learning valuable skills in school – such as strong writing, research, and economic analysis – can also be very useful.

5. Blog, write, and engage in social media.

Personal branding can be useful in the development and human rights field. Starting a blog and contributing your thoughts on human rights and social justice work can be a useful exercise in honing your knowledge, increasing your awareness and understanding of key issues facing your field, and also getting your voice heard. Combining blogging with social media such as Twitter can be extremely useful in making connections that can eventually lead to a job, considering the importance of networking.

6. Have a specific goal if possible, but also be flexible.

Focusing on a specific subject matter area – such as women’s rights, environmental justice, refugee rights, economic development, or post-conflict reconstruction – can be helpful, although it is not necessary. Having an area of focus, however, can allow you to develop particular expertise and knowledge in one area. At the same time, flexibility can go a long way. If you’re willing to take on a lower salary or relocate to a new country or city, for instance, you’ll have a lot more opportunities available to you.

7. Consider graduate school, but be careful about the cost.

I chose to go to law school because of my particular passion for the intersection of law, human rights, and development and my desire to learn direct client representation. A Master’s in International Affairs, an MPP, or even a Ph.D. from a top school can also be helpful in breaking into the field. However, many graduate degrees are extremely expensive, and you should consider carefully whether the degree will be worth the cost.

Ultimately, a career in international human rights can be incredible; it is deeply inspiring and energizing to see grassroots movements, the positive impact of aid and development, and small victories that add up to broader social change and justice. At the same time, it can be truly frustrating and challenging, with constant international travel, time away from family and friends, and the seemingly slow pace of change you want to see happen. Following these tips will help you break into the field – but it’s up to you to decide whether this is the right path for you, and the right way to make an impact!

Akhila Kolisetty

 

Author Bio: Akhila Kolisetty is a first year student at Harvard Law School and a graduate of Northwestern University. She has worked with human rights and legal non-profits in Washington D.C., Chicago, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, and is passionate about issues of gender-based violence, access to justice, and rule of law.

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Opportunity Spotlight: Human Rights Day

Come together to create a better world (Photo credit: cobalt123, Creative Commons/Flickr)

December 10th is Human Rights Day, commemorating the UN General Assembly’s 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, one of its first major achievements. This year, the theme is how to ensure that all people make their voices heard in public life and be included in political decision-making.

Want to get involved? Get started by taking a look at our introduction to human rights work.  Then check out Human Rights Watch, an organization investigating human rights abuses and bringing international attention to injustices worldwide, challenging those in power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law. They’re currently seeking interns to work on diversity initiatives, a London film festival, and their Middle East and North Africa research. They’re also seeking full-time help in their Health and Human Rights division and in their research on Mexico.

To get involved in the United States, take a look at the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. They’re looking for a Senior Program Officer in Arlington. Or check out the American Civil Liberties Union, which has been fighting for individual rights since 1920 and needs people to fill forty positions ranging from attorneys to executive directors to project managers in New York, DC, San Francisco, and St. Louis. If you’re interested in LGBT rights advocacy, visit the Human Rights Campaign. They need someone to develop their online properties and social media presence, so if you’re got some web development chops, check out the position they have open right now.

And if you’re looking to keep your job search on theme for this year’s Human Right’s Day, take a look at the Texas Organizing Project. They make sure that the voices of low-income Texans are heard in the political process. Get on board as their new Director of Voter Engagement.

If you’d rather volunteer, take a look at these great opportunities to make a difference. And if you’re still curious about human rights work, shoot a message to one of these folks to chat about their experiences.

There are lots of ways to fight for human rights around the world and around the corner. No matter what your skill set or interests, there’s a human rights opportunity out there for you. Are you looking for a position defending human rights? Or are you already deep in the trenches? Tell us about it!

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Can we create one million new jobs by expanding national service?

City Year is an example of a national service program (Photo Credit: City Year, Creative Commons/Flickr)

Recently, I stumbled across the One Million Jobs petition, launched by Our Time and ServeNext, to tackle high rates of unemployment among young people (which is currently at 46%, the highest since World War II). They are asking the presidential candidates to, “Pledge to create one million new national service positions by expanding programs such as AmeriCorps, VISTA, City Year, Habitat for Humanity, Teach for America, and others so we can serve and rebuild our country now.” The thinking is that by increase these opportunities, we can provide employment, develop important skills among young people, while improving our communities.

This made me wonder: Can we create one million new jobs by expanding national service?

I asked this question in the Opportunity: What’s Working Group on LinkedIn, a special partnership between the Huffington Post and LinkedIn to spotlight how people across the country are tackling what they call a dual crisis: that 20 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed and that 3.5 million jobs are currently unfilled due to talent shortage. Here are a few of the responses:

“I am currently serving at a position through Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS), a faith-based volunteer program similar to AmeriCorps. I have found the experience helpful in defining and uncovering transferable skills, developing a list of accomplishments, and building a network.

I will also note that for 15 years up until June 2011 some BVS placements were eligible for a $5,350 education award AmeriCorps through the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). Federal budget cuts passed at that time meant CNCS could not pay the award to all affiliated community service programs. These awards often helped pay student loans or continue education once the volunteer completed their term…”

“Creating a national service would create jobs in the short term. Everyone can agree there’s a lot to do. But these would be paid for by the gov’t (read: taxes). If creating a national service would help stimulate the economy and create job IN THE LONG TERM, then it might be worth it. But I don’t see how that would happen. We need a long-term, structural change.”

“When I first saw this discussion the first thing that came to my mind was, where does the funding come from? But the more I thought about it, the more I thought given a clear, detailed plan, this could be a viable option. If this was to be a true “National Service” program, then everyone would need to buy in. That would mean major corporations sponsoring the program, (a program like this would provide them with a higher quality employee candidate pool in the future) as well as local, state and federal government buy in, (they would have the same benefit). Scholarships for outstanding service would also be a possible part of this program…”

So what do you think? An important step to reducing unemployment or do we need something else?

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Opportunity spotlight: "Life itself is the proper binge" edition

Julia Child's Kitchen

Julia Child's Kitchen (Photo Credit: c_nilsen, Creative Commons/Flickr)

This week was Julia Child’s 100th birthday! We here in the Idealist office are big fans of anything involving food, so in celebration, we’re highlighting some food related goodness recently posted on the site.

  • If you’re looking for an internship in the DC area, Share Our Strength is seeking a Corporate Partnerships/Dine Out Intern. Share Our Strength is a national nonprofit devoted to wiping out child hunger. Their Dine Out campaign partners with restaurants to raise money for their programming. Participating restaurants donate a portion of sales, host a fundraising drive, or incentivize employee donations. You’ll be helping research prospective partners, plan events, create presentations, and generally support the work of the campaign.
  • If a little competition is more your style and you’ll be in San Mateo, CA this weekend, check out the San Mateo Fire Fighter’s Chili Cook Off! Fire departments across the Bay Area will offer up their best homemade chili – $10 gets you a sample of all the chilis, a bowl of your favorite, and one drink. Kids 12 and under are totally free! All the proceeds will benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
  • Want to think about food full-time? Apply to be the new “Food, What?!” Associate Director!  Food, What?! is a Santa Cruz-based youth empowerment and food justice nonprofit that partners with low-income and at-risk youth to grow, cook, eat, and distribute healthy, sustainably raised food. You’ll be the third member of a small team, working on fundraising, marketing, and program support and leadership. Farm and gardening experience is a plus!
  • Or join Open Table in Maynard, MA. Their volunteers organize food drives, grocery shop, cook, and serve food as part of a weekly community supper program that serves over 225 guests. The organization aims to relieve not only hunger, but also social isolation, offering a warm, welcoming community to anyone in need. Many of their guests require other social services as well, and Open Table often operates as a resource center, referring guests to other community organizations and providing assistance whenever they can.

Julia Child said, “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” Whatever you’re passionate about it, you can find ways to do good while doing what you love by taking a look at all the great opportunities to intern, volunteer, or work with the perfect organization.

Are you following your love of food? Or music? Or sports? Tell us about it!

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Opportunity spotlight: “Life itself is the proper binge” edition

Julia Child's Kitchen

Julia Child's Kitchen (Photo Credit: c_nilsen, Creative Commons/Flickr)

This week was Julia Child’s 100th birthday! We here in the Idealist office are big fans of anything involving food, so in celebration, we’re highlighting some food related goodness recently posted on the site.

  • If you’re looking for an internship in the DC area, Share Our Strength is seeking a Corporate Partnerships/Dine Out Intern. Share Our Strength is a national nonprofit devoted to wiping out child hunger. Their Dine Out campaign partners with restaurants to raise money for their programming. Participating restaurants donate a portion of sales, host a fundraising drive, or incentivize employee donations. You’ll be helping research prospective partners, plan events, create presentations, and generally support the work of the campaign.
  • If a little competition is more your style and you’ll be in San Mateo, CA this weekend, check out the San Mateo Fire Fighter’s Chili Cook Off! Fire departments across the Bay Area will offer up their best homemade chili – $10 gets you a sample of all the chilis, a bowl of your favorite, and one drink. Kids 12 and under are totally free! All the proceeds will benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
  • Want to think about food full-time? Apply to be the new “Food, What?!” Associate Director!  Food, What?! is a Santa Cruz-based youth empowerment and food justice nonprofit that partners with low-income and at-risk youth to grow, cook, eat, and distribute healthy, sustainably raised food. You’ll be the third member of a small team, working on fundraising, marketing, and program support and leadership. Farm and gardening experience is a plus!
  • Or join Open Table in Maynard, MA. Their volunteers organize food drives, grocery shop, cook, and serve food as part of a weekly community supper program that serves over 225 guests. The organization aims to relieve not only hunger, but also social isolation, offering a warm, welcoming community to anyone in need. Many of their guests require other social services as well, and Open Table often operates as a resource center, referring guests to other community organizations and providing assistance whenever they can.

Julia Child said, “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” Whatever you’re passionate about it, you can find ways to do good while doing what you love by taking a look at all the great opportunities to intern, volunteer, or work with the perfect organization.

Are you following your love of food? Or music? Or sports? Tell us about it!

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