Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Cauliflower Ear

Today I was on the phone all day. I had three long conference calls, one at 10am, one at 12:00 and the last at 3:00. ear started to feel flat and I wondered what kind of effect it has on your brain to just listen to a tiny and tinny voice all day....The thing is, all three of the calls were so absorbing that I didn't have the time to multi task and work on the computer or check email at the same time.

Having three conference calls in one day is another reminder to me of how important technology has become in our jobs, and in education it's probably less prevalent than in the corporate world. I remember when I first started working at DISD as the parent involvement coordinator and then HIPPY coordinator, back in 1988...It took a while for me to even get a phone assigned to me, any contacts I made were done in PERSON! Wow...and after more than a year I got a computer!!! woo-hoo...the thing is, we were WAY ahead of the curve, compared to many other departments...My first computer was mac desktop and I used it to basically make fliers and write letters.

I know we are a lot more productive now, we generate more documents, share more information with more people, etc. When I do go out though, when I make a site visit, shake someone's hand, give someone a hug, look them in the eye and talk one on one...THAT's when I feel like I'm really making a difference. I hope that never changes.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Dog and Kitty City

I've had time to reflect a wee bit on a great experience we had yesterday! We did a collaborative service project and swearing in together with YMCA MAAP AmeriCorps, Habitat AmeriCorps and Red Cross AmeriCorps. It was so much fun to get a hands on project done together and to see 70 people put their hands to work for such a wonderful cause. Within the chaos of working in 12 teams we started or completed sheetrocking a water damaged room, repainting the hallway, scraping doors for repainting, replacing two corners of the water damaged mansard roof, landscaping maintenance of the front yard, and had a lot of fun walking dogs, petting cats and enjoying pizza and camraderie.

We heard from Felisha, the volunteer coordinator there today, and she says "I am still physically (and emotionally) recovering from yesterday's big event, but did not want this day to end without sending you all my
heartfelt thank you. We're so grateful for your efforts to get us started on this renovation project. A great big Bow WOW and Meow WOW from the furry friends." Her closing remarks yesterday were so moving and reminded us that there is so much good to be done in the world!

Check out the link below and see our swearing in ceremony:

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Multi-tasking away...

There are so many things going on right now, overlapping and competing with each other. We're closing down 05-06, starting up 06-07, and in planning mode for 07 through 10! It's exhilirating and overwhelming. Most exciting right now are the expansions we're working on, Laredo and Fort Worth. It's always energizes me to see a program start up or grow. It's such a feeling of hope, knowing that you can help a new program "start right".

Another thing in the mix right now is that tomorrow is our collaborative Swearing In and Service Project. We're going to be working on the renovation of the Humane Society, as a collaborative effort with Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross and YMCA.

We're excited! It will be our second year of doing a shared swearing in and it's really fun for our members and so rewarding for us to get something visibly done in one day! I'll let you know tomorrow!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Something New

It's a good time to start a blog! It's been 3 years and we're up for competitive again. This means that we are competing with everyone else who wants AmeriCorps funding. I am hoping that I made the right decision to recompete this year and not take the carrot last year when it was offered. The way I saw it, this allowed me another year of funding, last year and the three next years. The ones who competed last year shorted themselves one year of their three year cycle. It's complicated...

I just came back from Laredo last week and it's up and running. Two years ago we were approached by a private donor who wanted to provide funds for starting up HIPPY in Laredo. He's a native Laredoan who has lived in Israel his adult life and wants to give back to his community! Two years and many emails, phone calls and visits later it's a reality!!!! The picture above is of Jesse and Esther, the Laredo team implementing the program, Mendel who has donated funds to start HIPPY, and Richard who works at Texas A&M International University and was closely involved with all the logistics of starting up!

That's all for now--I need to work on the grant application!