Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
As you probably know, Haiti was rocked by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on January 12th. In this already poor country where 78% of the population lives on $2 a day or less, the effects were devastating. There are estimates that 200,000 people died in the quake, 250,000 people were injured, and 2 million were left homeless in the nation of 9 million. Since then, relief organizations, such as the Red Cross, have been working feverishly to help the survivors. The Haitian people still need much more help though and will for months or even years to come. Even beyond the basics of food and water, the country will need medical care and mobility devices for people injured or permanently disabled in the quake. It will take Haiti a long time to recover from this disaster.
CAL wants to help. So, we are having a fundraiser from now until March 18th for the Haitian people as they continue to recover from this disaster. The name of this fundraiser is Helping Haiti and our goal is $500, 100% of which will go to the Red Cross Haiti Relief And Development Fund. We will be accepting monetary donations in the form of cash, coins, and checks at our Louisville and Murray offices. Checks should be made payable to the Red Cross Haiti Relief And Development Fund.
We know that no one is made out of money. However, it doesn’t take much money to make a big difference. Scroll down for some examples of what a little money can do.
We are topping it off with a fundraiser dinner called Taste Of Haiti on Thursday, March 18th, 6-8PM, here at CAL in Louisville. This dinner will feature Haitian food, a guest speaker, and a door prize. Admission is $2. RSVP is required by Friday, March 12th.
Please give what you can. Together, we can make a big difference for our neighbors to the south who still desperately need our help. For questions or to RSVP for the dinner, contact Amy at the contact info below. Information on CAL’s Helping Haiti fundraiser can also be found online at www.calky.org and http://www.facebook.com/centerforaccessibleliving.
Examples of what a little money can do from UNICEF.
- 7 cents buys a pack of oral rehydration salt. This solution, containing sugar and salt, treats children suffering from dehydration caused by diarrhea. Approximately 3,500 children die every day of dehydration caused by acute diarrhea.
- 60 cents buys 50 water purification tablets. Each tablet is able to turn 4-5 liters of dirty water into water suitable for drinking. Every day, 4,000 children worldwide die because they do not have access to clean water.
- $1 buys a pack of high energy protein biscuits. These contain minerals and vitamins and have been developed for malnourished children during emergencies.
- $2 buys a collapsible water container. Each container holds 10 liters of water and is especially useful for kids carrying water for long distances to ensure that all their water doesn’t spill en route from their water supply. It is also very useful for storing clean safe water for everyday use.
- $3 buys a blanket. Blankets provide some kind of protection from the elements as well as comfort in dire circumstances.
- $5 buys a soccer ball. Play, such as soccer, brings children together and helps restore a sense of normalcy in times of crisis or emergency.
Independent Living Specialist
Center For Accessible Living
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Secrets of the Internet: a social media fanatic’s insight into how to find a job through your social network.
A non-computer user once said to me, “It’s a wonder with everything that’s on the internets, they don’t explode”. As simple as this outsider comment might sound, and may make you chuckle, it’s actually not a bad insight. There’s so much out there. Want to learn how to put more RAM into your computer? How about change the bulb in your LCD TV? There’s a how-to for everything on Youtube. So why wouldn’t you use the internet to help you find a job? I’m not talking about Monster.com or Careerbuilder; everyone knows about those. Studies show that well under 50% of jobs are found through those sites.
I’m talking about Social Media sites. Some people are scared of the words.
“I don’t have time to waste on that stuff.”
“All it is are stupid people and their opinions.”
Some people think all social media is good for is to post your vacation pictures on Facebook. Here’s the secret… There are real people having real conversations out there. Networking is still the best way to find a job and you can’t count out electronic networking. The flip side of that idea is that you need to be careful of how you present yourself, not only in person, but online too. According to Careerbuilder, more than half (53 percent) of employers research potential job candidates on social networks such as Facebook.
Good ole’ Fashioned Google
Have you Googled yourself lately? Do it, and check the first four pages. If your Myspace page’s friends’ comments about drinking and partying pop up, it might be time to close that account. If your name pops up and it’s associated with a specific disability group and you’re uncomfortable with that, at least you know about it and you can address that. The other great thing about Google is Google alerts. You can set a weekly/daily/real time alert email for anything you want. I’d set it for your name (I do it) at least. You can set it for industry specific keywords, specific companies, or even the words “jobs+(your hometown)”.
Last year Facebook became the fifth largest country in the world (if it were a country). No Joke. I’m waiting for my 96-year-old grandma to friend me. How many friends do you have? 50? 100? 200? More? Do they know you’re looking for a job? Let your friends work for you, but don’t overwhelm them. Nobody likes a needy person, so get on there and post content about other topics regularly, and your job search occasionally. The rule of thumb for companies to do self-promotion is 1:10 and I’d stick to that. One “help me find a job” to ten “check out this Youtube video”. Don’t forget that 53 percent of employers are checking your profile. Are your pictures of spring break 2009 visible to non-friends? What about your political/religious views?
If you’re a professional and you’re not on LinkedIn, I suggest getting a free account. It’s like a resume on steroids. You can connect with people you’ve worked with or know; it’s a professional Facebook. The great thing is that you can join groups, which all have discussions going on. I’m a member of quite a few and some are disability related. Many have jobs posted regularly. I’m a member of a Louisville group that has local jobs listed regularly. Invite me to connect with you and I’ll be happy to, check out my networks and groups. By the way, there’s a whole “Jobs” tab.
Are you an expert (or really good) at something? Are you blogging about it? This is a great way to get attention for your skills. Use Wordpress, Blogger, or whatever. If you know your stuff, write about it. What do you think I’m doing right now? I blog about disability, employment, and other topics because I just happen to know a little about these subjects. This is a great way to get some attention in whatever you know a lot about. I’m sure there’s something you know a lot about. Blog about it, and the practice of writing will make you better at the art of writing.
What is twitter? I think for many people this is an underestimated and misunderstood network, but I see jobs posted there every day. There are so many posted in my network. I follow 99 people, all who are not job related, and there are jobs there. Non-profit jobs, independent living jobs, social media jobs, because that‘s what topics I follow. Follow what you want. By the way, there are twitter accounts out there that tweet only job openings. Don’t want to sign up for twitter? You can go to www.search.twitter.com; then you can follow real time results like #jobs, #employment, etc. The hashtag (#) denotes a topic. You can use the same techniques as I mentioned for Google alerts, with industry specific keywords, specific companies, etc. Unprecedented access to experts. Many people will follow you out of courtesy if you follow them, this includes experts in many industries. You can ask questions or get help. I had a problem making a part of my website accessible and I threw the question out there. I got a response from @GlendaWH in Canada who connected me with @alzwell in California, who is an expert in accessible web design. The point is, there are real people out there and they may be able to help.
If I've left out anything, please let me know. I hope this helps you job seekers out there. Now, get out there and network… Happy job hunting.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
by Carrissa Johnson
If there is one thing I've learned in life, it's that nothing ever comes easy. Searching for employment as a person with a disability is not different. I've always had a job from the time I was 17 until last year. Jobs I've earned in the past, from my first one at a pizza place in high school, were given to me by people who knew my abilities. Although I did interview or go through the same processes as everyone else for those, I’ve never really experienced something like my current situation.
I clearly remember how I felt when I was told last year that my first professional placement as an employment specialist was ending. I'd been working with a population that I wanted to; I had success, the individuals I worked with had success. So when I was told I had to be let go I was angry and upset. Yes, honest feelings to have, but the organization had lost its funding and there was nothing anyone could do.
I was an educated individual with honors. I had job experience. I had a plan to keep my resume current through volunteering. I knew how to interview: what questions to be prepared for, and how not to over prepare. I knew what was legal and what wasn't, and what resources to call in those cases. I've coached other people on all these things so I thought things should not be a problem.
Getting callbacks wasn't ever a problem for me, and still isn’t for the most part. Approximately half of all the positions that I've applied for over the last year have given me interviews. I clearly remember the first time that I got an interview. It was also the first time I realized that my disability might be a problem as an applicant. The job was for an employment specialist. During my previous position I had spoken with this interviewer over the phone on a professional level. However, he'd never met me in person.
Now any person with an obvious disability has gotten the “stare.” That one “deer in headlights” look where for a moment they have no idea what to say. When I introduced myself, shook his hand, and he made the connection - that is what he looked at me like. The interview was short; I felt like they were firing questions at me as quickly as they could from their list. I let that opportunity go fairly quickly because I realized later I didn't want to work for them anyway.
I've had other silly situations like that. There was one in particular. Before the interview I could hear them talking. They were going over the job description and driving was an essential function of the job. Therefore when I went into the interview I made sure my keys were visible. My license hangs from them in a clear pouch - a small visual clue. I also made sure they knew driving was not a problem. And when talking about my past employment I used words like essential function and
You have 180 days to pursue legal action. I'm past that point and I regret that now. I regret not going any further because maybe sometimes that's what needs to happen in order to make any changes. A woman's right to vote didn't happen overnight, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 didn't necessarily change things overnight, and the
Now I take comfort in my most recent “failure”. The position I applied for was exactly what I was doing in my last job, and the interview went well. I didn't get the job. I know two individuals that work in that same organization. They were pulling for me to get the job and I asked one of them if they knew of the reason that I wasn't hired. She told me I was almost hired for the job. The individual that interviewed me asked both of them about me. She was very impressed with everything I've done and was going to hire me. However, at the last minute the director hired someone that he knew. I take comfort in that. Why? Because I was endlessly considered for the position on my abilities. I was actually given a fair shot based on past experience. Because what was supposed to happen did happen, I know for sure that nothing was based on ignorance.
I won't give up. I can't. I need to have a purpose in life. I need to provide for my family, drawing off the government isn't going to fill those two things for me. I need to be independent just like anybody else; as I have been all my life. We're given two choices in life. Everyone is given the choice to give up or to keep going. I choose to keep going.
Monday, February 1, 2010
The Center for Accessible Living is in the running for a Pepsi Refresh Everything project and the public gets to decide who is funded (by voting). Please support us with a vote. This is to support our First Impression Men's Suit Program, which provides interview appropriate clothing for low income men to attain self-sufficiency. It's a valuable program that helps many men with a 2nd chance in life. One vote per email address. Voting ends 2/28!
The First Impression Men’s Suit program was started to collect and store free professional clothing for low income male job seekers in Louisville Metro area and surrounding counties that need interview attire. While Dress for Success of Louisville has been serving women in this capacity, there was no service or program meeting that unmet need for men, a major barrier to low to moderate income job seekers. Although the Center for Accessible Living is a disability service organization, individuals do not need to have a disability to receive a suit. The Center has recognized the overwhelming and previously unmet need for this program in the community. The typical individuals that benefit from the program, many of whom are veterans, ex-felons, or homeless, are all trying for a fresh start in life. With the power of a suit and the confidence it brings, these individuals are able to become more self sufficient.
The program has grown from a six (6) foot long self-service closet holding approximately fifty (50) suits to 256 feet of hanging space with well over a thousand suits, shirts, slacks and other professional clothing items. This program has innovated how men who cannot afford a suit get the clothing and confidence they need to gain and maintain employment, some for the first time ever.
Feedback from area service providers has shown that the suit closet has made a great impact and changed lives of the people who received suits and subsequently jobs. These individuals are able to constructively contribute to society through gainful employment, and many times have gained a second chance at a new beginning.
To date the program has grown exponentially, serving over 850 people since it began in 2005. The program has grown to a point where it is difficult to manage with current staff, none of whom are directly assigned to the suit closet, as there is currently no program income. The program relies heavily on in-kind staff involvement and a base of very dedicated volunteers. All of the clothing is collected as tax-deductible donations from the community, which relies heavily on word-of-mouth for those donations. While there is great support from the community donors, the suit program lacks many above and below average sizes and is sometimes unable to suit participants. Rarely are donations monetary in nature, which makes cleaning the clothes and basic supplies like hangers and shoe polish difficult to procure.
"Pepsi Refresh Everything" funding for this program would allow the Center to hire a staff to perform program outreach and resource development, which the Center is currently unable to do with existing staff. This individual would be able to spend time on necessary functions like developing corporate sponsors and corporate donors. The Center for Accessible Living does not have the resources to adequately pursue essential program partners such as Dry Cleaners, clothiers, shoe stores, cobblers and shoe repair and tailors who may have time or resources available to give to the program.