Friday, December 18, 2009
With 10% of Americans out of work, it can be quite a battle to find the job you are looking for-let alone keep it. How do you start the process? Where to begin? Do I start searching in newspapers, through social connections, or online? Unfortunately, there is no magic solution to win yourself the ideal job. There are, however, a few guidelines that might help you on your way:
1. First impressions = everything
When approaching a job, do not allow yourself to slack in any way. Even though you may have a number of skills and be perfect for the job, your employer has no way of knowing that. Your first impression may come in the form of an application, resume, or interview. Whatever the case may be, make sure it is a good one by running down this list:
Clean, professional appearance
Can-do attitude and eager spirit
Prepared responses, practiced interview
BE ON TIME!
For more tips on how to prepare for an interview watch the following video.
Make sure your resume is appropriate for the job you seek. Click here to figure out what kind of resume is a good fit for you.
Resume should be clean and neat in appearance. You may only have one chance to present yourself!
Your resume should represent you. Do not be tempted to include anything but the truth. A serious employer will look into the contents of your resume, and will not hire you if they think you are not telling the truth.
2. Enroll in classes or training to give yourself an edge on the market.
In these competitive times, you cannot do enough to make yourself a marketable individual. Go back to school, take online or night classes. Take a training course offered by your employer or elsewhere. This can help you to keep a job when your company is in a pinch, or it can help you to make the cut when competing with others for a job.
3. Get help.
Sometimes it is impossible to make a true change in our lives without the help of others. If you have been stuck in a dead end job, unemployed for longer than you'd like, or simply lack direction, we'd love to help! Hope is offering a Jobs for Life class starting January 4th. Hope for the Inner City also offers a job training course called Job C.O.R.E
4. Watch for Predators
Unfortunately, things are not always as they seem. Some job postings are at best outdated, or at worst, scams. Be sure that the posting is reliable and legitimate before responding or sending any personal information. Read the following for more information.
If you feel uncomfortable in an interview because of inappropriate sexual comments or situations, leave. No matter your current employment situation, it is not worth subjecting yourself to any kind of harassment or abuse. Click here for more information.
To find out more information about the current Job situation in the US, click here.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and I have yet again become so consumed with the preparation -cramming a 5 day work week into merely 3, readying the house for holiday guests, etc- that I have forgotten to be truly, really, and actually THANKFUL. But what exactly does that mean? Is it merely writing out a list of pros and cons, and hoping that, at the end I can rejoice in one list being longer than the other? Or, perhaps I should spend a few extra hours in nature, wrapped up in winter-appropriate attire, counting leaves and petting woodland creatures. After all, I am thankful for the wonders of the world God has created.
But being thankful isn't about feeling good about ourselves or our world. It's not about a warm holiday feel-good time. Let's leave that to the morning talk shows and television broadcast parades. On the contrary, the Bible is chock full of passages where we are commanded to, in our thankfulness, praise God by giving! Just as he gave himself sacrificially on our behalf, so should we give of ourselves.
In the book of Deuteronomy, chapters 14:22- 15:11, God lays out specific commands regarding care for the poor. In this particular instance, money is involved- but there is much more to it than just writing out a check. The tithes in this passage are to be used to care for the poor. When God's people care for the poor, it brings him glory. Outsiders can see that the poor are being cared for- in this passage, those who cannot earn for themselves. And these gifts are given in thanks.The landowner looks at the abundance that God has given him that year- grain, vegetables, animals, wine, oil- and gives to the Lord in thankfulness and praise. God is good! He has given this abundance. And in giving to the Lord, this man or woman has a chance to be imitators of God by sharing the abundance with others.
There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.
So taking this into 2009, this is what I propose. If we are to give sacrificially (See Matthew 5:1-2; Luke 14:12-14; Proverbs 28:27), we must see this in not only a financial context, but also in that of whatever you hold dear. Maybe this means bringing a lonely stranger into your family. Or maybe it means giving of your precious time to help a widow clean her home or rake her leaves. You might tutor children who don't have a mother or father to spend time with them. You could even make a lifelong friend of a somewhat scary person you see sitting on the street. Really. God actually commands it.
There are lots of terrifying opportunities out there this holiday season. I encourage you to take one. Be thankful. Put yourself out there. After all, didn't our Father do just that when he hung on the cross, giving His all to those he loved? God is good. For this I am very, very thankful.
Friday, November 6, 2009
With so many Americans in debt, it is no wonder that companies who promise to take it all away are enjoying a booming business. Some studies show that up to 56% of Americans suffer from some kind of debt. Many of these people are overwhelmed by the burden of debts they cannot pay. Creditors are knocking on their doors and the bank is taking a look at that unpaid mortgage.
The frightening thing is that there are plenty of companies who prey on those who are overwhelmed with their debts. These villains are called Predatory Lenders. They lend out money but on terms of very high interest rates, among other fine print details.
There are many helpful tools for avoiding such predators. Americans for Fairness in Lending has a great site with many tips for avoiding the scam. They also explain various kinds of loans and what all the technical terms mean. Don't be fooled. Check out their website.
If you are already in debt and are looking for a way out, get help immediately. Find a Debtors Anonymous group near you by emailing them at email@example.com. You can also visit their website at debtorsanonymous.org or mail them at letter here:
Debtors Anonymous, General Service Office
P.O. Box 920888
Needham, MA 02492-0009
If you live in the Northwest Georgia area, Hope would be glad to help you get out of debt. Heather and Travis are currently working on a financial literacy program and would love to walk through it with you. Please contact the Hope office for more information.
Monday, November 2, 2009
No matter who we are, or how we did or did not feel an impact from the change in the world economy, the truth is that we could all stand to take another look at our finances. Have I been responsible, or just lucky? Did I spend that as a wise investment, or in frivolous celebration of an unexpected windfall? What would happen if ____ happened? Where will we live ten years from now? What will we need in the future?
Guess what? There are some incredible resources out there that can be of help in answering these questions and more. One of these is Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. I looked up classes in the North Georgia area and found 7 that are going on right now! Click on this link to find out where you can get plugged in.
The Dave Ramsey site is also very helpful on various financial issues. Check it out here.
Another helpful resource is Crown Financial Ministries, which was founded by Howard Dayton in 1985 and joined with a financial ministry of Larry Burkett in 2000. Get in touch with a crown coach in our area.
Hope also offers financial counseling with our participating pastors. We hope to offer a Financial Literacy course sometime in Spring 2010.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Jobs for Life classes will be held at Chattanooga Valley Presbyterian Church in Flintstone, Georgia starting this January. The first class will be held on Monday, January 4th. Classes will run on Mondays from 7:00 - 9:00 pm through the beginning of May.
If you or someone you know might be interested in participating in the class, you can download the application here but do not mail it to Greensboro (as is stated at the bottom of the last page of the document). Instead, email or mail it to the Hope office.
Positions for volunteers are still available. Please contact the Hope office for more information.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Because Hope does not seek to replace the work of the church -and the work of deacons, more specifically- we often work closely with the Diaconate of our participating congregations. It is a privilege to work with men who are so willing to give themselves to this work! Although it is important that the church grounds are cared for -since we are commanded to be good stewards of all the Lord has given- how much more then, are we called to care for the needy who live next-door?
This is a daunting task, especially if a deacon has always thought of their job as being custodial and nothing more. Ministering to the poor can seem like an "add-on" -but it's not! Diaconal Ministries Canada has a fantastic website with very helpful resources for deacons. Their motto is "transforming communities for Christ," and if that doesn't sound exciting, I don't know what does! This site has helpful tools like FAQs deacons might find helpful in understanding their roles, as well as workshops and workbooks. Their Guidelines for Benevolence has been extremely helpful to our work at Hope. This document is helpful in creating specific guidelines for a church's mercy ministry policies. By creating limits to the kind of help a church provides as well as a rationale for why the church does/does not do what it does, a church can minister more effectively to the needy in it's community -without doing harm!
Check out this website. Even if you are not on your churches Diaconate, it may help you to understand the importance of demonstrating mercy thoughtfully, carefully, and prayfully.
Friday, October 2, 2009
At the Hope offices this morning, the topic of Welfare came up in conversation. I found myself wanting to know more about it, and other types of government aid. What kinds of aid are out there? Who gets what, and what are the limits? If one of our participants gets employment, is this going to be more helpful or harmful in the long run?
I never thought that I might say that work might be bad. -not that I am saying this still- However, it is not as clean cut a thing as to be able to say work=better. Unfortunately, society and those structures in which we all live do not support such statements. I do believe, as a Christian, that work is good. In doing work, we are imitating our maker. We are creating, making new, pressing on, to bring him glory through the work of our hands and minds. The Bible tells us in Genesis 2:15, God "took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." And in Genesis 3:23, after the fall, God still says that man will work. I could, of course, go on and on, because the Bible is full of passages on work. In Proverbs, again and again, we see that man should work for his food, labor with his hands- and that idleness is not to be rewarded. For the sake of brevity, I'll just say this: Work is good!
But what happens in a world that does not run in accordance with the Scriptures? What happens when the rulers and powers that be do not see the poor as image bearers? Even if their intentions are good, it is possible to do harm -great harm- by attempting to "fix" by the standards of the world.
Take a moment to read through the following link on the history of welfare. As you read, think about what God has to say about work and about poverty.
Who is responsible for the poor?
When is it good/bad for a man to work?
Why do we work?
How can the church act on behalf of the poor?
Please feel free to email us here at the Hope office with any comments or questions on this particular issue, or anything else that comes to mind.
Monday, September 14, 2009
I've posted a few office-friendly training courses. They are all free, and all worth your time. Just click on the links to the right under Develop. I found the Word courses very helpful, since you can sort through what you already know and not waste a bunch of time finding out how to cut and paste, etc. Even if you are feeling safe and secure in your present employment, it can never hurt to give your employer even more from your time under their employment!
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sometimes helping the poor can be painful. You might find yourself sacrificing time, money, or other resources. It can be a draining experience or one that does not turn out quite how you might have expected. ...But did you ever wonder just what this help has done for those on the receiving end of all your efforts? What if what you have been working so hard at has actually done more harm than good? A frightening thought.
Steve Corbett and Dr. Brian Fikkert have written a book that attempts to enlighten the reader (and church, group, or organization) on this very subject. For more information, go to the Chalmers center website. The book is also available at Amazon.com.
Friday, August 7, 2009
To find out more, check out this article in today's New York Times.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Several months ago, I made mention of Jobs for Life being held at Chattanooga Valley Presbyterian Church in Fall 2009. That class has now been moved to begin January 201o. Hope is very excited about their partnership with this church in Flintstone, Georgia, and looks forward to this winter start date.
Karen and Gerald Collins will be Site leaders for the 16 week course. If you are interested in participating as a student or volunteer, please contact the hope office at 706.820.2833 or email heather at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Jobs for Life, check out their website!
Monday, June 29, 2009
"This week I saw community development principles of ownership come out in the way the church members acted with community members. There is an apartment complex for disabled people a little ways away from one of the churches with which I am working this summer. The church is really interested in building relationships with community members of the area, and one way they are seeking to do this is through getting to know the people who live in these apartments as friends and actual people, and not as service projects. They have worked at the apartments in the past with things such as community suppers, ice cream socials and having the youth bring over groceries to the residents of the apartments, but they want to do more, and do it in ways that make the residents feel empowered. I got to sit in on a meeting about planning for another event: dinner and a movie on the lawn. This event that is getting planned for later this summer got me excited about the ways the church is interacting with the members of this community.
For one, when we showed up at the office, a woman with a disability greeted us at the desk. I was told she ran the office but also was a resident there. Seeing her handwriting, the way she formulated sentences and a few other things, I saw that although she had an impairment of sorts that perhaps slowed her down a bit, she was still really running the show, and doing a great job of it. The cool thing I noticed was that the church members didn’t come in with an attitude of “we are here to do this wonderful thing for you,” but rather they asked her to make the final decisions on things. Her ideas were actually listened to and respected, not just listened to for politeness’ sake.
In addition to this, when we went outside for her to show us where the best place for tables was, the church members continued to show respect to other residents by shaking hands and carrying on conversations with those who came to say hi. They also asked their opinion about how many tables would be needed, the kinds of tables and number of chairs. The number of chairs was reduced when some of the residents said they had chairs they would be willing to lend for the night. When one man heard we were making a meal, he said he’d like to help out by making turkey and stuffing. One of the church women said, “Wonderful! We’d never say no to food!” I think further plans were made after that for him to make the turkey. I think that if the attitude of letting the community take ownership of the project continues, the potential for good community development to take place exists in this apartment complex."
Friday, May 22, 2009
Christina is working with Chattanooga Valley Presbyterian Church, which is located in Flintstone Georgia. One of our HOPE partner churches, CVPC is interested in getting out into the community. As Pastor Dan Gilchrist put it, "Our goal is not to get the community into the church, but to get the church into the community."
Christina is researching the Flintstone area and plans to survey for existing assets available in this community of approximately 1,500 households. Christina is also researching businesses and organizations in the area with the hope of developing a directory of resources to help the church to better partner with the community.
Renee Barnett is working with Rock Creek Fellowship, another HOPE partner, in Rising Fawn Georgia. Renee is conducting research in the area of the church and hopes to complete a survey and directory similar to Christina's work in Flintstone. Renee is currently conducting informal interviews and doing transect "drives" through the rural mountain areas of Rising Fawn, Hinkle, West Brow and Trenton.
Hope is very excited to host these young ladies, and we are eager to see the results of all their hard work. To find out more about their methods and practices, please contact the HOPE office.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Hope is currently working with Highlands Presbyterian Church of LaFayette Georgia to take a look at how they can become committed to reaching the poor of their community. Within this question, thousands more seem to lie beneath the surface.
How poor is poor?
What is our "community"?
What does commitment really mean?
Where do we start?
This process can, and almost definitely will be, overwhelming. Bryant Myers, in his book Walking with the poor, approaches the matter as follows:
"When Christians say that they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they are also saying that they intend to to announce this fact in every facet of their lives and by every means available to them: by life, deed, word, and sign. ...The gospel is not a disembodied message; it is carried and communicated in the life of Christian people."
Our lives matter. If we are going to truly transform our community for Christ, it will take much more than added programs and projects. This is about how we treat the people we walk past every day, the grocery checker, the gas station attendant. It is about making or not making eye contact. It is about taking that sometimes very scary step of getting to know someone who is very unlike ourselves.
Here are a few questions to help you or your congregation to get started:
1. What are we already doing?
2. Where do we live?
3. Where do we work?
4. What do we consider our immediate community?
5. Who do we know?
Please feel free to contact Heather at the Hope for Northwest Georgia with any comments or questions.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
This Saturday, March 28th, Hope will be holding a Mercy Ministry Training at Highlands Presbyterian Church in LaFayette, GA from 9 am to 12 pm. Topics of discussion will include the History of Poverty, Holistic Development, and Ways to Do Harm, among others.
If you are interested in having Hope come to your church, please contact Heather Wilson at email@example.com.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Congratulations to our Jobs for Life Graduates! The picture above was taken this past tuesday, when our Jobs for Life class concluded its final session. Graduates of the program have been putting the training into practice even before graduation. One graduate began new employment one month prior to the class finishing. Another participant is planning to attend nursing school, beginning preliminary requirements this summer. Even as early as this May, one participant is going back to school for higher education.
We are very excited to see our JfL participants putting their new found "soft skills" into practice. Each will receive a certificate of graduation as well as the benefit of adding this class to their resume.
Hope plans to begin a new Jobs for Life class at Chattanooga Valley Presbyterian Church in Fall of 2009.
Hope will be hosting their second clothing give-away on February 25 & 26 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. All items are free. Please come and join us for this event at Chattanooga Valley Presbyterian Church at 3371 Chattanooga Valley Road in Flintstone, Georgia. For more information, call the church office at 706.820.2833.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
If you are interested in having Hope come to your church for Mercy Ministry training, contact heather at 706.820.2833.
Friday, January 16, 2009
From January 14 - January 16th, Hope for Northwest Georgia is hosting a Clothing Give-Away from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Items include shoes and year-round apparel for Men, Women, and children of all ages. All items are in good to new condition.
If interested, please stop by the office or contact Heather.