From story reading to community org’s, well-delivered messages work wonders

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Wednesday morning was the second time I’ve had the opportunity to prepare a ten-minute reading for the summer school program at Oakhurst STEAM Academy.  What they call a Harambee reader, is part of a half-hour psyche-up session for about fifty seven-eight-nine year olds.

The picture book I read – about an eight-year old boy learning to play lacrosse – was built around an Aesop’s Fables-type moral about “dependability.”  Reading enthusiastically was a reminder of the SHOWTIME! of doing group kickoffs for three years in the scholastic fundraising days.

More directly, reading at Oakhurst stemmed from being aware of the Chetty Study, a Harvard/UC Berkeley project that correlated a link between 4th grade literacy and economic mobility.  Economic mobility is how many children rise from the bottom of one economic quadrille to the top of it as an adult. That study showed Charlotte, NC has the lowest ranking (4.4%) of the largest fifty US cities, so it became an obvious place to put old SHOWTIME! abilities to good use.

My bottom-line in volunteering for short, meaningful opportunities to help with reading and writing is always, “Never let it be said…”

That the male voice was appreciated as such a significant factor in this setting wasn’t lost on the previous days reader, Steve Echenique, or myself, because the Freedom School sponsors regularly say its a presence the kids simply don’t get often enough. Bearded college volunteers are one thing, men with ties, yeah, it’s a different visual that counts.

These are actually the luckier kids, both because this program of two-3 week sessions takes some edge off the “knowledge drop” summer often brings, and there is a cereal and biscuit, milk/juice, fruit cup breakfast to start the day with.

For parents who don’t always know whether their kids are touched by enough of the right information you’ve tried providing for situations that may come,  this audience raised their hands and responded. Having that level of connection with an energized and attentive group, it *should* put a little hop in your day.

Eye contact is at a premium in such presentations. 99% of the time, moving through your group and not just pontificating from behind a podium works best.

Having introduced the idea of writing this story for them based on Aesop’s “morals,” and shown them the covers of the binder really had nothing to do with the 8-year old boy in my story, two girls provided the correct moral, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Extend  the positive vibe

Giving some attaboys! to the counselors here, or volunteers at other events, is a legitimate way for speakers to extend  the positive impact of physically being there. Practice your good communications skills someplace besides a networking event. See who looks you in the eye, can articulate their young person ideas, knows why they’re there at 8 a.m. in the middle of June.

One-to-ones with a couple college students in this situation is a freebie – (almost) everyone likes talking about themselves – and nothings lost if you don’t get an impressive response.

Having participated in several Communities in Schools “social capital” programs this spring, complimenting high school students on their speaking without “umms, errs, y’knows” as out of the ordinary – and a factor easily noticed by adult others – was definitely a simple, effective teaching moment.

Communications: Oyster Roast meeting

Even as a homogeneous group of older guys in a community projects organization, it took over two hours to work through operational Q&A regarding our 5th annual Oyster Roast Wednesday night.

Oyster Roast is a mature product – we were tweaking things, not debating whether an idea will accomplish certain financial goals, or whether to attempt it at all. When 16 guys show up mid-week though, its a good problem to have a quantity-quality number of opinions in steering the club.

After working with friends and members on dozens of similar projects over the years, you develop a sort of shorthand communication,  where a nod, thumbs up, or quick comment lets them know you’re clear on/in favor of what they just discussed, even if others might still be talking.

That doesn’t happen immediately, but having history with individuals usually makes things work easier. The fact we often view opportunities and challenges with very similar results-oriented reasoning or career training, is an organizational strength to draw on.

When it came to how the low-country boil is done for the Oyster Roast, the President answered as the man responsible for that aspect of four previous OR’s. The Community Development VP ticked off his list of pricing, marketing, and What abouts? as the guy who brought the unique idea to start with, and welcomes input like this to tweak the positives.

Finally, its elementally a 1-1 world. Speaking with the Prez about a specific lack of cooperation related to donuts at Meet & Greets after the official meeting, he said a roadblock for several years has been mostly negotiated with a parish official. The results, more suited to our needs without making a single change in an established system, was good news to end the day.

That operational block had bothered me for a while, and now its been pretty well fixed. Hurrah! for good communications.

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Glenn Shorkey – Creative eDitorial Talents Enterprises 
(704) 502-9947

 

Content Creation, remote work, SHAZAM! Online options are worth the effort

20190313_212841During a recent run as a content creator in an SEO-focused area of a CBD manufacturing company,  all the research kept showing how far hemp/CBD oil had come while quickly morphing into a product sector.

How much online information there is about a LOT of things – monetizing writing skills draws me – is like tapping Will Smith’s SHAZAM! genie for assistance, with less craziness.

Having read plenty of online material about CBD and ‘less than 0.3% THC industrial hemp’ over several months, it’s been chillingly good to develop a handful of online possibilities related to writing style and  experience, in exactly the same way.

Having a beer for lunch while you work the proposal systems? Not a problem.

Post-college (for me), you were expected to blanket the world with resumes about experience you didn’t have, today its keywords and SEO. Face-to-face with an employer is still desirable, but three consistent days on a keyboard can set up a future course in bigger ways, and your doggie is the only one seeing you work.

When your materials (like PDFs and links) are set – let’s add ‘interesting’ cover letters for the heck of it – and you followed submission directions, qualifying oneself with four good prospects in a couple half-day sessions could become a kickin’ week towards achieving quality critical mass.

Commission-based companies promote a ‘You want it, go get it!’ mantra, set at high levels. You’re working for yourself in The Gig Economy – conduct yourself accordingly about wanting.

There are a plethora of help sites of course, but without schilling, I like FlexJobs. It kicks butt with results, quantity and quality possibilities, support functions are out the wazoo, and its a super-reasonable price.

Boomers to the rescue?

There are still problems with the recruiting process,  and thankfully, more awareness of ageism as diversity, a topic for another day. Employers think tech-kids know all the latest tricks, BUT… that talent thing doesn’t disappear when silver foxes appear in the hairline.

20181216_212044It’s no lie to say experience and perspective still counts. 

Ask a Boomer, the Forever Young generation. We’re not all DeNiro, starting a late career as ‘The Intern,’ but while the Great Recession messed up a lot of Boomers timing on retirement, some of us never intended to go quietly into that good night. 

If you recognize some of your professional skills are actually sub-par though, online is a great teacher, my Boomer brethren. Checking what the market looks like is legitimate. At many points we all probably got “what the position paid,” and in Charlotte, NC, the going rate for content creators is almost $56k,  about 6% less than the national average.

My first gig of the year produced just under 25% of that. I’ll be conducting myself appropriately going forward.

Glenn Shorkey

Creative eDitorial Talents Enterprises
(704)502-9947

‘The Producers’ was terrific theater, Social Summer rolls on

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The first week of my 25th year in Charlotte certainly felt like a success, especially the social aspects of live Theatre Charlotte on Thursday evening for ‘The Producers,’ and then a quantity of long, pretty straight whacking of golf balls on Saturday, with oysters and beers post-whacking.

I’m very glad I was able to find the venue on Queens Road, although having circled the Booty Loop plenty of times, I didn’t recall passing Theatre Charlotte before. Still, I got my beer and popcorn and was able to get right into a third row seat during the first scene changes. THIS is what live theater is about people, enthusiastically performed and almost touchable close.

According to all I spoke with during intermission, no pros were involved either, so extra impressive and kudos to all, especially those young actors. The female lead was just the right stereotype of sexy-Swedish competence, and the singing-dance numbers were solid every time.

Always so cool, parents who care and families waiting afterwards, such a slice of American pie for performers, to catch those affirming positives.

It was an exceptional opportunity to talk with a variety of people about the theater and Charlotte in general, and quite an articulate crowd. Several teachers were proud to mention those in the cast they’d coached, citizens with opinions were easy to approach.

I’ve said it before about the Queens Cup Steeplechases: “An aura of Good Will permeates the environs,” and it was true post-final curtain at ‘The Producers.’ 

Mentioning the small annoyance of microphones taped to actors foreheads is a truth, as was the almost flawless flow in keeping with the movie version. (Well, except for the Nazi trying to blow the place up, and the bar scene where the producers first grasp that the crowd is loving on ‘Springtime for Hitler,’ and their guaranteed flop is actually a hit.)

I asked the lady next to me about photos, because it was a little giddy to be so close, it would have been a killer shot, but glad all were willing to abide the “please, no,” and enjoy the show. Short notes: The Bloom character was a really strong singer, the Nathan Lane character was channeling him, and the egoist-director who substitutes for the Nazi (after he breaks a leg) was All That.

I’m definitely willing to try local theater again, and it shouldn’t be a problem to stuff the tip jar when it helps operations like local theater survive with volunteers in any way.

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I love a little show time myself, and in two weeks I’ll be a morning Harambee reader again this year at Oakhurst STEAM Academy. Its “just” ten minutes of reading for a summer school morning jazz up session, but as I said last year, Never let it be said you didn’t do the least that could be done.

Early on in my picture book presentation, I used the TIME cover of Black Panther while asking if anyone knew who THIS guy was – so I had their attention for sure. If being relevant, and reading a story with excitement in your voice for ten minutes is all the world needs, I’ll do what I can for the READ Charlotte program.

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Alas,  having become more of a golf enthusiast, I need to get much better sticks than I have now.  I’ve hit the same bag of clubs for over twenty years, but y’know, even while coaching my date, Lefty,  I did tag the majority of a large bucket pretty well. My footwork is solid now, and even shots that leaked right had length. Looking forward to the summer for sure.

Glenn S.