Disrupting Foster Care

Angela Quijada-Banks is not only an incredible young woman who successfully aged out of foster care, she is making the time to disrupt the system in a positive way by sharing her story in “The Black Foster Youth Handbook,” a book set for publication September 29th. Please consider supporting Angela in getting this handbook into the hands of foster youth through her GoFundMe page.

The challenges of kids in Foster Care are beyond the reality that many can imagine. The lingering impact and trauma is carried deep inside. It is not often that a child can go through that process and emerge as an adult who wants to help other foster youth.

 “For a long time, I became accustomed to having one traumatic event happen after the other non-stop. I was constantly reliving my past, catastrophizing my next moves in a perpetual state of survival mode,” writes Angela.

The handbook Angela is working on is geared toward Black and brown youth and features 50+ lessons. Her words “brings a light to a taboo topic” of why and how youth of color fall through the cracks with ways that Angela has broken the cycle and reversing statistics that include:

I met Angela Quijada-Banks when she was 16-years-old and recently removed from the care of her parents. I was assigned to be her Guardian-ad-Litem, essentially the eyes and ears of the court in Angela’s journey in foster care. I am pretty sure I was the last person Angela wanted to talk to about her life. I told corny jokes, wore “old lady” clothes, and was just one more adult in a long procession of strangers that were dropped into her life in what felt like random and confusing ways.

More than anything else, Angela wanted someone who could give her encouragement and advice. In time, Angela started to open up and share. In part, it was because I kept showing up. When it was awkward to explain who I was to Angela, we settled on me being her “Aunt.” Over the years, I have become more than just her GAL to become family she can count on. It’s been such a privilege to walk alongside her and am so happy she is now sharing her experiences.  

I hope you will join me in supporting Angela with not only publishing The Black Foster Youth Handbook, but also funding the next steps for the book.

Milestone 1:  ($2,755 Raised will guarantee my self-publishing ( paperback and e-book Launch by September 29,2020)

Milestone 2: ($3,150 Raised will guarantee The Black Foster Youth Workbook to help young people and their supportive adults in congruence w/ the Handbook Launch by October 10,2020)

Milestone 3: ($4,255 Raised will guarantee production and launch of The Black Foster Youth Handbook *Audiobook* which will be given away for free with the purchase of this book Launch by November 11,2020)

“Let’s continue to make the world a better place and support those who speak up about the things that matter! Thank you for your contributions even if it is $5 or more or less…. your gift would be a blessing!!!! Your healing light, prayers and affirmations are also a huge help!”

Angela Quijada-Banks, author “The Black Foster Youth Handbook”

Back to School Resources

Whether children are attending school in-person, digitally, or homeschooling, COVID-19 has made this school year much more difficult for both students and parents alike. FRS Communications is reviewing resources for parents to use. This week’s blog includes a free downloadable journal, a fun game to play, and a good book that teaches giving back. If you have a resource to share, please send our way.

Big Life Journal

The people behind Big Life Journal understand that trying to juggle running a household, raising children, and adding work stress on top of everything else is overwhelming.  That’s why the company has created an exclusive and FREE downloadable “Back-to-School Care Package.”  This wonderful resource for parents and kids is jam-packed with helpful information, worksheets, tips, activities and exercises.  Consider picking up other Big Life Journal engaging resources that help children develop strong Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and growth mindset skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

Dino Crunch

This game is designed to help kids over 4-years-old develop fine motor skills while learning the basic strategy of game play. The idea is for kids to save all the dinosaur eggs before the T-Rex leaps. This is fast-paced game that will keep a child’s attention. For kids that are sensitive, the T-Rex leaping may be quite a surprise. The game is just $20 and available at Target.

These Are My Pants: Sam’s Giving Adventure by Jane and Katelyn Plank.  Children learn the joy of sharing while having fun with Sam the Squirrel in These Are My Pants! This charming book reminds us to donate and give when we have more than enough and someone doesn’t have enough.Plank Books has decided to continue the giving circle and will be giving 20% of their proceeds to the Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona.

Education is all about inspiring children to get excited about learning. This year will be different, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be great. The resources that are being provided are among the best I’ve seen. If you have ones to share – especially if they are free, please let us know by commenting below.

Know Your Worth

The news that North Carolina is lingering in Phase Two for five more weeks isn’t easy on jobseekers who are hoping to land their next opportunity. Press on toward your goals and consider these tips.

Add to your Network

Reach out to your current LinkedIn connections.  Get the conversation going by adding the following to your profile:

 If you’ve recently been laid off, and we’ve worked or collaborated together in the past, please get in touch and let me know how I can help you. Can I write a LinkedIn review for you? Do you need me as a reference? Do you want me to send someone an email to put in a good word or help with networking? Please let me know if there’s anything I can do. DM me and I will follow up to help you get back on your feet. #bounceback #payitforward

Note: Please feel free to copy and paste this note, as I did, for your network. Let’s reach out to help people get back into the workplace. #strongertogether2020 #bekindalways

Add Skills

If you just gagged when you saw the image of top jobs for 2020, it’s OK. Many of the emerging careers require skills that you can learn from the nearly 10 million available online for free. Seriously, the courses are free – just Google free Covid-19 courses.  

Be sure you also start signing up for virtual networking events.  You never know who you might meet when you drop into an online course or offer your skills to help with an open source project. It could be the very thing that leads to your next job.

Know Your Worth

Before you go into a job interview, you must know your true worth. One of my favorite quotes to help me overcome this is from Tene Edwards, “You must find the courage to leave the table if respect is no longer being served.” Glassdoor and Indeed can help you understand what your worth is today.

Think Way Outside the Box

When you prepare for an interview, not only should you research the company’s social media, but also the interviewer’s background. Some companies ask questions to see how you might work through unexpected situations. Take a look of these questions share recently by Glassdoor.

How many ridges are there around a quarter?

How would you move to Mount Fuji?

Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?

Top Jobs in the Triangle

Senior Financial Analyst at BASF: Leveraging your education in Business, Finance, Accounting or Economics and your relevant finance/controlling experience, you will be responsible for the budgeting and forecasting for the AP NA affiliate and misc. 3rd party business.

Director of Marketing at V Foundation:  oversee the development and delivery of marketing strategy through the development and execution of an integrated marketing plan covering brand extension and awareness, social and digital media, and donor marketing. Apply by August 14 with resume, cover letter and salary expectations.

What are your dreams?

Is it a new career? We have jobseeker packages for that.

Is it to write and publish a book? We have a package for that.

Is it to get a business off the ground? We offer packages for that too!

For a limited time, we are offering a free 30-minute consultation to encourage you toward your goals. We are also culling through the best possibilities in careers and sharing through LinkedIn, blogs, and enewsletters. If you have a job to share, let us know! We want to help connect great people to new careers.

3 Things to Ask about Job Descriptions

Be encouraged. Job descriptions often read like the company is looking for a purple squirrel that bakes cookies. It is such a common thing that Wikipedia now defines Purple Squirrel as a “job candidate with precisely the right education, experience, and qualifications that perfectly fits a job’s multi-faceted requirements.”

For example. One local company wanted someone with 10 years cloud computing experience and the only person who seemed qualified was Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider who couldn’t apply because he was dead.   

This doesn’t mean to go crazy applying for jobs that you may not be qualified for – just to use common sense. Here are three questions to ask when reviewing a job description.

How old is the posting? If it is more than 30 days, it may well be an old, inactive posting that a recruiter forgot to take down or in the case with Glassdoor and Indeed, can’t be taken down.

How is the company doing? Google the company before you apply — if they’ve done mass layoffs, you will be able to find news articles reporting this easily enough. If you have connections at the company, reach out and ask them how the company has been impacted by COVID.

How many open roles are listed on the company’s site? If they only have one or two openings listed, this may actually be a good sign that means someone is actively posting and reviewing job listings. Plus these may be the most ‘critical roles’ that are needed to be filled quickly.

Jobseeker Event

Beat the Applicant Tracking Systems: In this Wake Technical Community College class you will discover how to make your resume “robot” friendly and get it past the machines to a human being, including several strategies to determine the right keywords and important formatting considerations. The class is 4.5 hours, with about 2.5 hours of independent online work and live Microsoft Teams meetings 8/6 & 8/10 from 1-2pm. Facilitated by Gail McCowan.

Students MUST register online before 8/3 at https://tinyurl.com/y2d7zfm3. Fee-waived for qualifying individuals who are unemployed, underemployed, or who have received notice of layoff or pending layoff. To determine your eligibility, contact the HRD office at hrdstudent@waketech.edu

Jobs Opportunities

Organizational Strategy and Communications Coordinator for NC State University. This opportunity supports NC State’s mission and vision by providing consistent and reliable data that informs and supports the university’s strategic decisions.

Communications Associate for Autism Society. The Coordinator is involved in all aspects of organizational content development, including writing, editing, and concept design. The job involves work with the organization’s website, social media, email marketing, and public relations.

What are your dreams?

Is it a new career? We have jobseeker packages for that.

Is it to write and publish a book? We have a package for that.

Is it to get a business off the ground? We offer packages for that too!

For a limited time, I am offering a free 30-minute consultation to encourage you toward your goals. I am also culling through the best possibilities in careers and sharing through LinkedIn, blogs, and enewsletters. If you have a job to share, let us know! We want to help connect great people to new careers.

Be Prepared

When it comes to landing a job, consider treating the effort as you would a job. Plan your day in about 4-hour increments; one for the morning and one for the afternoon. The mornings are a great time to follow-up on communications from earlier. A good rule of thumb is to reach out about once a week to people you either interviewed with or asked for support.

Use your afternoon time to research new opportunities and reach out to connections for leads. When making requests for informational interviews, be sure to treat the other person’s time with respect by blocking out time on your calendar and being in a quiet environment where you can focus on the conversation.

When applying for a job, be sure your qualifications are a good match.

When you are feeling overwhelmed, take a break by stretching or going for a walk.

Be a friend to others by writing recommendations or helping them make connections.

Free Jobseeker Resources

Pump Up Your LinkedIn Profile: When it come to improving LinkedIn profiles, Debra Mathias is a legend in the industry. Be sure to register today for this FREE SHE NC virtual workshop on July 30 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. 

Join the “Colonial JobSeekers Virtual”: CJS meets weekly on Monday mornings via Zoom from 8:15-9:30 a.m. To receive Colonial JobSeekers weekly virtual meeting Zoom invitations, group announcements and incoming job leads, send an email request to join the Colonial JobSeekers Yahoo Group to:  colonial_jobseekers-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

July’s Best Career Opportunities

Community Home Trust has an opportunity for a dynamic and effective Manager of Marketing and Communications.  The position will set and guide the strategy for all CHT communications, website, social media, public relations messages and collateral in order to consistently articulate CHT’s mission to strengthen our community with permanently affordable housing opportunities.

Self-Help is seeking a Vice President of Marketing and Communications to join the team in Durham, NC. The VP leads the planning, coordination and implementation of strategic communications and marketing programs to increase awareness and support for Self-Help’s work among internal and external audiences. Through its credit union network, Self-Help serves over 150,000 people in North Carolina, California, Chicago, Florida and South Carolina.

What are your dreams?

  • Is it a new career? We have jobseeker packages for that.
  • Is it to write and publish a book? We have a package for that.
  • Is it to get a business off the ground? We offer packages for that too!

For a limited time, I am offering a free 30-minute consultation to encourage you toward your goals. I am also culling through the best possibilities in careers and sharing through LinkedIn, blogs, and enewsletters. If you have a job to share, let us know! We want to help connect great people to new careers.

Moving from COVID Chaos to Calm

Take the stress out of finding a job and rethink your skills to fit the new job landscape.  This process in the middle of COVID-19 chaos can feel impossible when no one knows when the economic impact will settle, but this doesn’t mean despair. It’s not good for you and certainly not good for the pencils you keep gnawing on.

It’s time to focus on your abilities, your skills, and your values. This can be fun a process to re-imagine your life. In college, I set my goals to a career in Human Resources. By the time I graduated from Meredith College with a B.S. in Business and Minor in Psychology, the HR related jobs dried up and I used my sales savvy to work in retail management then moved to mortgage sales. When my first son arrived and I wanted to work more from home, I used my creativity to launch a marketing career with a local winery. When we made a move back to North Carolina, I used my creative writing skills to launch a career as a columnist and reporter.  I switched to nonprofit leadership work for a while and then circled back to my first career passion – Human Resources.

None of the career pathways required a certification or more degrees. Pivoting in a career can be as a easy as re-imagining the skills you have, networking, and being open to opportunities that come your way.

Through my years of experiences, I discovered I am really great at transforming a vision into reality. This is the foundation of the work I do through FRS Communications.

What are your dreams?

  • Is it a new career? We have jobseeker packages for that.
  • Is it to write and publish a book? We have a package for that.
  • Is it to get a business off the ground? We offer packages for that!

For a limited time, I am offering a free 30-minute consultation to encourage you toward your goals. I am also culling through the best possibilities in careers and sharing through LinkedIn, blogs, and enewsletters. If you have a job to share, let us know! We want to help connect great people to new careers. Do you have special talent and want to join our list of consultants? Let us know that too!

July’s Best Career Opportunities

State of North Carolina Jobseeker Site: It’s easy to navigate this site with careers or locations. Top pick is Recruitment Manager that will among other things be responsible for recruiting strategies through advertising, social media, job fairs, college fairs, networking, business and employee referrals, internship programs, and/or third party assistance.

Seqirus in Holly Springs: There is a wide variety of opportunites at this fast-growing pharmaceutical company. Top pick is Senior Communications Manager

Epic Games in Cary: There are almost 50 opportunities in Cary ranging from programming, design, and marketing.  

Virtual Chat with Beth Wood at Cary Pink House

Enjoy getting to know your NC State Auditor, Beth Wood through this exclusive Cary Pink House livestream benefit event on Thursday June 30 from 7 to 8 p.m.

“Beth is sassy, classy and smart,” said Sheila Ogle, Cary Pink House owner who will moderate the livestream event. “Prepare questions to ask and learn how Beth’s strong leadership with 30 years of auditing experience has identified hundreds of millions of dollars in wasteful spending during her 12 years as our NC State Auditor. Beth remains undeterred in her mission to protect taxpayers every step of the way.”

Register through the Cary Pink House Facebook Page.

“The citizens of North Carolina recognize my devotion to this office and the need for for me to complete the work I started. I want to continue to serve as your eyes and ears,” said Beth.

Listen in as Beth shares a little about the work of the NC State Auditor’s office.

Please support Beth with a $50 donation that will help her prepare for the November election.

A Note from North Carolina State Auditor Beth Wood:

Growing up on the farm in Craven County, I had daily chores from an early age and my parents taught me the value of hard work. I became a dental assistant and worked my way through college at ECU to earn my accounting degree. I have worked as a Certified Public Accountant for 30 years, and for the past 22 years I have worked in the State Auditor’s office, including my three terms as North Carolina State Auditor. I work every day to protect all of our tax dollars.

As State Auditor, I have:

  • Identified hundreds of millions of dollars in wasteful spending
  • Maintained objectivity and independence in the Auditor’s office
  • Produced audits with irrefutable findings
  • Aggressively presented audit reports for legislative action
  • Followed up on previous audits to ensure corrective actions are taken
  • Continued to identify abusive and wasteful spending of your taxpayer dollars

I remain undeterred in my mission to protect taxpayers every step of the way. From start to finish, I vow to safeguard how your tax dollars are spent.

About Beth Wood: Beth is a long-time public servant with over 30 years of auditing experience. The first woman elected to that office, Beth has served as State Auditor since 2009. She previously worked in the State Auditor’s Office for more than a decade and also served in the State Treasurer’s Office. Prior to state government, Beth worked with Rayovac Corporation, as a CPA with McGladrey & Pullen and was the CFO for a North Carolina-based furniture company.

FRS Communications is providing the technical and social media support for this event.

Betcha Can Create Something Fun

Board games are my addiction and one of the latest games to capture our family’s attention is Betcha Can’t! The game is fast moving and tests your ability to name common and not so common things in a short time. Sometimes you have 10 seconds to list ice cream flavors or you might have 45 seconds for arctic animals. Get your bet right and you get the card. Collect five cards and you are the winner. Challenges, time outs and proving you are the better bettor are all part of the fun.

Teen Inventors

What I like most about this game is that is created by teen entrepreneurs Lily Brown and Tait Hansen. After overcoming the hurdles of designing a game that can be mass produced by a toy company, the teens entered the game into a competition and won the chance to meet a toy manufacturer. The rest as they say is history or in this case herstory!

Think you can invent a game? Now is the time to try. Betcha Can’t! was entered into the Young Inventor Challenge that happens annually during the Chicago Toy and Game Fair in November. 

To enter, kids must first design and prototype a game or toy and create a pitch video for their product. During the Fair, kids present their products to major toy companies and, ultimately, the judges. From a pool of approximately 200 entries, a handful of winners are selected across a range of categories. Only one grand prize winner is chosen, and that winner’s product is eligible to be licensed by a major toy manufacturer (in this case Pressman Toys) and launched by Target.

Listen in as Lily and Tait talk with Eyewitness News WTVO WQRF

Book Review: “Dead Last”

Amanda Lamb takes her talent for writing compelling news stories to new heights with her first fiction “Dead Last.” Available May 12 on Amazon, “Dead Last” will captivate you from the start with the intrigue around a runner who falls during a marathon and whispers, “My husband is trying to kill me.”

It’s almost as if the years of having to trim stories to the minimal for a 60-second news sound-bite have flooded through Amanda’s  writing to deliver colorful characters in a story that will keep you reading to find out what happens next. Craftily written phrases bring images offering more clarity to the story. The lead character, Maddie Arnette, doesn’t just go visit someone. Maddie enters a neighborhood with “beautiful houses that have the power to hide the lives crumbling inside.” People aren’t crazy. They “casually wield passive aggression like a machete.”

If you are craving a great mystery that offers insights into crime reporting, pre-order your copy today and be sure to sign up for a virtual book-signing on May 14 to hear from Amanda Lamb as she reads from the “Dead Last” and answers questions.  A time will be set up soon for Amanda to sign the books for readers who join the livestream event on Facebook.

About the author:  Amanda Lamb is a veteran television crime reporter with three decades of experience. She works for an award-winning NBC affiliate in Raleigh, North Carolina, WRAL-TV. She also appears on a regular basis on national news magazine programs and networks which feature true crime stories including Discovery Investigates. While Amanda has written and published nine books, Dead Last is her fiction debut and is born out of her many years of experience covering the crime beat. Amanda is the author three true crime books based on murder cases she covered for the news including: Deadly Dose, Evil Next Door, and Love Lies. She has also published four memoirs, one about caregiving and three about parenting, including: The Living Room, I Love You to God and Back, Girls Gone Child, and Smotherhood. Amanda has penned two children’s books, a story book version of I Love You to God and Back. Her newest offering is We Are Not the Same which is a labor of love for the Tammy Lynn Center, an organization that supports children and adults with disabilities.

You can catch Amanda’s juggling act daily on WRAL-TV or online at WRAL.com, on Instagram on Twitter and on Facebook.

Giving Back During COVID-19

There are so many reasons FRS Communications is a proud sponsor of Fit & Able Productions. The most obvious is the unwavering support to the community. When faced with having to cancel event after event to prevent the spread of COVID-19, this incredible nonprofit took the opportunity to highlight the needs of others.

I am proud to serve as a board member for Fit and Able and volunteer Content Strategies including videos. Check out their YouTube page that now includes workout tips you can do at home. In an email sent to the followers was the list below of the groups that need our help now more than ever.

Dorcas Ministries – “Dorcas has celebrated over 50 years of serving our local community with tools and resources to help our clients become self-reliant while addressing immediate crises. Dorcas Ministries provides compassionate assistance to area residents to empower people to become stable and self-sufficient.” Fit & Able supports Dorcas Ministries through our Threads of Hope. 

The Wake Tech Foundation – “The Wake Tech Foundation cultivates and manages an array of resources critical to Wake Tech Community College’s success. These resources allow the college to meet instructional and institutional needs and continue to offer top-quality, affordable education and training to the Wake County region.” Fit & Able supports the Wake Tech Foundation through our Fostering Footsteps for Bright Futures.

Video feature with Joe Cotton, NC State Highway Patrol

200 Club of Wake County – “The 200 Club of Wake County is an organization of concerned citizens dedicated to supporting First Responders living or working in Wake County. The primary mission of The 200 Club is providing immediate financial help for the families of First Responders living or working in Wake County who lose their lives in the line of duty.” Fit & Able supports the 200 Club through our Cozy Toes.

Life Experiences, Inc. – “Life Experiences, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that blends education, training, and the free enterprise system to create and operate businesses which provide fulfilling employment for adults with developmental disabilities, allowing them to function as independent, productive citizens while at the same time providing valuable services and products to the community.” 

The Carying Place – “Our goal is to help working homeless families achieve independent living through mentoring of volunteers providing weekly guidance in managing personal finances, seeking permanent affordable housing, and maintaining a job – breaking the cycle of poverty they have experienced.” Fit & Able helps the Carying Place raise support with the Labor Day Race for Home.

North Carolina Senior Games – “In 1983 N.C. Senior Games began with a vision to create a year-round health promotion and education program for North Carolinians 50 years of age and better. Today, there are over 60,000 participants in 53 Local Games programs that serve all 100 counties across the state. Senior Games is a holistic approach to body, mind and spirit staying fit, while enjoying the company of friends, family, spectators, and volunteers.” Fit & Able stages NC Senior Games’ annual 5K and 10K Championship.

Center for Volunteer Caregiving – “The Center for Volunteer Caregiving engages the community in providing volunteer services to improve the lives of seniors, caregivers and adults with disabilities. In everything we do, we will conduct ourselves with integrity, caring, and compassion.”

Triangle Aphasia Projected, Ltd. – “TAP Unlimited is a community based nonprofit organization that helps individuals with aphasia, their families and friends, and the community. Individuals with aphasia receive support and programming for as long as they want to, helping them return to the community with improved communicative confidence and full engagement.” Fit & Able helps TAP drive support with the Strides for Speech race.

Wade Edwards Learning Lab (WELL) – “Our Mission: Providing the student community with opportunities for achievement, enrichment, and service, in preparation for personal and academic success. How? Positive youth development is an intentional, pro-social approach that engages youth within their various social groups; recognizes and utilizes strengths of youth; and promotes positive outcomes for young people.” WELL participates in the Charity Distance Festival.

US Veterans Corps – “We are a corps of military veterans performing hands on community service with a mission deployment attitude. Our mission: to participate in community service projects and events in the military and civilian community.” Fit & Able supports the US Veterans Corps through our Fortnight Before Christmas.

Watch this video featuring Christer Berg filmed at the 2020 Mutts & Marshmallows

SPCA of Wake County

“Our Mission: To transform the lives of pets and people through protection, care, education and adoption.  Our vision is to create a humane community–and achieving that vision begins with ending the euthanasia of all healthy and treatable animals.” Fit & Able helps raise support for the SPCA with the Mutts & Marshmallows and Pups & Pastries.

Travis Manion Foundation – “Travis Manion Foundation’s mission is to empower our nation’s veterans and families of our fallen heroes to develop character in future generations in order to strengthen communities.” Fit & Able helps support the Travis Manion Foundation with the 9/11 Heroes Run. 

Horse & Buddy – “Horse and Buddy exists to help people with special needs improve balance, muscle tone, motor skills, and self-esteem. We enrich the lives of children and adults with special needs through equine assisted therapies and activities in a safe and caring environment.”

A New Lease on Life – “A New Lease on Life helps those experiencing homelessness get back on their feet through stable housing. We bridge housing opportunities with local non-profit agencies and provide an available apartment home at a reduced rate. The program offers a hand up to those in need.” Fit & Able helps support A New Lease on Life through our Leaves to Leases.

Soles for Souls – “Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority has partnered with Soles4Souls in an effort to wear out poverty in developing countries by providing gently worn or new shoes to those who currently do not have them. A pair of shoes provides relief in developing nations, in times of disaster, and helps bridge the economic gap.” Fit & Able helps support Soles 4 Souls at Sole Mates.