Planning News!

Bean counting, sorting and soaking.

These are Nicaraguan beans for Gallo Pinto (also known as Casamiento in other countries) – a consoling dish of rice and beans eaten almost daily in that part of the world.

Summer to me is a combination of accounting catch up and planning for the next chapter – and we have much to plan.

We are super excited to announce that we are working with DCYF to expand our classroom work learning into brief job shadows and internships, primarily in restaurants and retail businesses.  We are beyond excited and maybe, er, a little scared too, but I take that as a good sign.

Our first step is to hire a second person in the next 30 days and you can find out more about the position here under our Craigslist ad: (food/beverage/hospitality jobs)
(please don’t respond to the ad through this blog though, thanks)

Some of you may wonder why these are “brief” job shadows & internships (for which the students will be paid through this DCYF funding).  The last quarter of this year proved to us that relating to students in real working situations is like starting the ignition in a car – and they are eager to step up to the plate. The work situation doesn’t have to be extensive, but it does have to have follow through all the way, including clear, achievable and fair payment for services.  You can think of it as professionally believing in someone.

My restaurant experience instilled in me a strong positive attitude, even as I faced daily disasters. You start looking forward to that new calamity you will conquer with a smile, while caring for your customers and seeing their smiles.  All this happens quickly, often wordlessly. The sense of achievement is immediate and it brings forward a kind of trust in oneself and in others that you can’t find as easily in a desk job.  You can see something ignite in those students who experience even just a taste of this – being a part of something, being valued (and paid) for working, doing a job well, we know these feelings as we get our engines going ourselves in our own work.  Firing up that engine is the important part.

What I’m most excited about is the chance to involve restaurant and retail businesses, where I’ve had some of my favorite jobs.  It is hard on a business owner to try to create an ongoing alliance,  although those in the hospitality industry are some of the most caring, “wanting to give back” people I’ve met.  Having this come from where the students are can create a stronger connection with less duplication of effort and a lot more support.  If you as a business owner are interested in helping us with these planning stages or want to be more involved with these job shadows and internships, I would love to hear from you!