Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Training Opportunities During COVID-19

Many organizations offer free trainings and courses to help you learn more and excel in your desired career. Below is a list of resources that you can take advantage of during this period.
  • Amazon and its partners are offering free online access to sponsored computer science courses in the United States. Content is intended for learners in grades 6-12, and teachers who are remotely teaching this age group. Parents can also access this curriculum online.
  • Babbel is offering three months of free language learning to U.S. students through June 2020. Students can take courses in any language offered including Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Dutch, Turkish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Indonesian, and English.
  • Codeacademy is offering 10,000 scholarships to high school and college students across the world for the rest of the school year for its Codecademy Pro program.
  • edX delivers online courses ranging from data and computer science to leadership and communications.
  • Goodwill is offering services online and by phone. Anyone can request assistance online or by calling (704) 372-3434.
    • Virtual training services include customer service, Microsoft Office and Microsoft Office Specialist Certifications, interview skills, online programming (Python, Java, JavaScript, HTML and CSS), and basic construction.
    • Virtual employment services offered include career coaching, employment referrals, and job seeker support.
  • iTunes-U has hundreds of free courses that can be used to learn a new skill or get started towards what you need to know for a certification.
  • NCworks has a listing of online offerings and trainings offered by local organizations and agencies. There are opportunities for free trainings as well as other job search and career readiness resources.
  • Skillshare offers online learning opportunities with thousands of classes for creative and curious people, on topics including illustration, design, photography, video, freelancing, and more.

Monday, April 6, 2020

COVID-19 Response Fund

(sharing information from different sites to help you during this time)
The COVID 19 Response Fund is a partnership comprising Mecklenburg County, the City of Charlotte, corporations, houses of faith and others. The Fund’s goal is to help those individuals and families in Mecklenburg County most impacted by the pandemic, with a special emphasis on providing for the basic human needs of our community’s most vulnerable residents. The Fund will issue grants to eligible nonprofits able to meet existing needs. 

The Fund complements government interventions and investments, and expands the local community’s capacity to address the outbreak’s social, health and economic impacts, with a special focus on populations disproportionately affected by the outbreak. Funding is restricted to Mecklenburg County organizations offering programming and services for residents. 

The Fund is jointly administered by Foundation For The Carolinas and United Way of Central Carolinas.

The next cycle of funding will tentatively open Monday, April 13 at 10am and will close April 17 at 10am. We will update the website, if the schedule changes.

Eligibility Guidelines 

501 (c) 3 organizations with an established track record of service provision in Mecklenburg County

 Organizations must have a demonstrated ability to deploy resources quickly, effectively, and to scale their efforts 

Organizations must have the ability to track and report on utilization and outcome data.

Application is Currently Closed

We are currently not accepting applications. 
The next cycle of funding will tentatively open Monday, April 13 at 10am and will close April 17 at 10am.
We will update the website, if the schedule changes.

Monday, January 14, 2019

A Single Mom's Guide to Financial Recovery

Ron Drescher Talks with Katherine about His New Book
Katherine: Hello everyone and thank you so much for joining us today on 
"This Needs To Be Said". Our friend, attorney Ron Drescher has come back 
with a book that I'm totally excited about. He is a bankruptcy attorney. 
We've talked with him on different topics over the years here on 
“This Needs to be Said”, but today he's bringing something that I wish I had 
while I was raising my children. They're all gone and grown at this point, 
but I wish I had this and every other single mom, after you hear this
 interview is going to wish you had it so you'll have the opportunity to get it. 
So today I want to welcome back to the show. How are you?
Ron Drescher: I'm great. How are you doing?
Katherine: I'm doing fantastic and your book has me excited because, or, the 
book that's coming has me excited because there weren't many things for single 
moms when I was raising my kids and a lot of times the world has said to me, you
need a man or you need some. You know you need help, but they usually say you 
need a man. And maybe this book could have helped us in lieu of what we didn't 
have because a lot of times we know what we need, we know that we could use 
more help or we should have a partner or you know, it would be better off with a 
partner, but it's difficult if that's not the case of what do we do in the meantime. 
And you have a new book coming out, Ron, tell us a bit about this book and why
you wrote it.
Ron Drescher: The title of the book is “The Single Mom's Guide to Financial 
Recovery. And the reason I am writing this book, we're not quite finished, 
but we're definitely going to be. Uh, we're definitely going to be, and will 
be able to start shipping it at the beginning of January, is that I think that 
single moms are terribly underserved segments, uh, and that they need 
know a single mom who's facing some financial distress needs, really 
need three things.
One, of course – is so it's nice to have money, but you have as much money 
as you have, unless you know, and you could go out and you could get a 
second job or a third job or a fourth job or some sort of other side is, uh, but 
ultimately there is only as much money as there is, so I think you need hope 
and I think you need information when you're facing financial distress. And 
one of the things that I've always liked about interacting with women, uh, 
and, and forgive me if this is a generalization, but, but I find that women tend
 to respond well initially on an emotional level and then on the informational 
level. And one of the things that I like about that is, to me that is real life. Um, 
if you're going to information solely on that intellectual, informational level, 
um, I don't know that that's going to resonate with an audience or with a reader 
who, who needs help.
Uh, I think when you, when you are facing a problem, you need to be addressed 
on an emotional level. Um, so that, that creates that idea of, of hope and even, 
you know, excitement from the hope which, which are both strong emotional 
responses and that's one of the things that I've always found really rewarding 
about, about working with women is that there are these emotional 
components of the work that make the experience more rewarding and, and, 
and allows, you know, the clients and the attorney to kind of work on a, on a 
deeper level than if you're simply analyzing information and data on a purely
intellectual level. So that's, you know, and I hope that that's a meaningful 
answer to your audience because that is definitely something that 
I've found.
Katherine: Well I'm sure that it will be, it's something that they probably have not 
thought about consciously, but as women we realized that we are, you know, and, 
and it is a general statement and it applies to the majority of people in your 
experience in. So I don't think that anyone should look at the information that 
you're providing in any other light other than this is general. Find yourself in 
the information. 
If this does not apply to you verbatim, I understand, but sometimes we have 
to have the three components or we may have one of the three components, 
so look and see what you may be missing if you are a single woman, single 
mom, and you have found yourself in a place where you're stuck and you're
 not able to move forward. Sometimes it just takes a little nudge, a little 
information or a little whatever you're missing. Not a lot of it to get you 
where you're trying to go and a lot of times we're trying to go somewhere new 
because this book is for single women, but how did you become 
single Have you always been single If so, then you know, approach it that way.
Have you been married now you're single than approach it from okay, or 
rebuilding point of view. So some of us are trying to get by, but we've never 
been and some of us are trying to get back at least to where we've been. 
Because when your finances have changed, I get emotional because I couldn't.
I get concerned and I want to know what can we do to solve this problem or how 
did we get into this situation and we as a single person is me, myself, and I 
because I'm the one that's managing everything for me and the children. 
So how did we get here and how can we get out of this? This is a question that will be
in my head, which means I lack information to know how to avoid being in this 
place again. So I think what you're about to bring to us is going to be well received 
and it is needed. So what are some things that can be found in this book but let me 
pause that question because that's not sound like you had something to say.
Ron Drescher: Yeah, no, actually it was going to talk about some things that are in the
 book. One of the things that, uh, one of the realities that my clients find so distressful 
when they are, uh, find themselves single again or on their own again, is they may 
have reached some sort of agreement with their ex that, okay, you know, I'm going 
to pay the credit card bills or you’re going to pay the credit card bills, so now I don't 
have to worry about that. I'm going to take on these other obligations or I'm going to 
take on these other assets or you're going to take on these assets and then you're 
going to pay the credit card bill.
So I'm going to be okay. The truth is that those agreements between spouses or 
significant others as to who's going to pay a credit card bill is not binding on the 
creditor, not binding on the credit card company. So even though you're, your EX might 
say, okay, as part of this separation or divorce agreement, I'm going to agree to be 
responsible for paying that Visa Card. The truth is you're still on the hook for that 
Visa Card. So if something happens with your ex, your ex has a job loss or your ex just 
decides, you know what, this really didn't turn out to be such a good deal for me, so 
 I'm not going to pay that credit card anymore. You're still responsible for that. A lot of 
people don't understand that. They don't realize that. And so it's important to know that, 
first of all, it's important to know that before you make the agreement to divvy up the debts 
and it's also important to know that you're still going to be responsible for that if something 
goes wrong with your ex.
So to know that going in would be helpful. And to know that afterwards you'll spare yourself 
some very unpleasant news when you get that demand letter from the attorney for the 
credit card company, when it turns out that you x hasn't been making those payments that 
were agreed upon to make. So that's, to me, one of the most important things that is a, 
that comes out of thinking about what a single mom facing financial distress has to think 
about is if you thought you were free from those credit card bills because you're asking 
them that may not turn out to be the case. So that's important. Uh, other things that are 
important are, you know, how to deal with, uh, expenses that have come up if you don't, 
if you now just don't have the money to pay them. One of the things that we will talk about 
in the book is bankruptcy and whether or not bankruptcy is a good tool for you if you're in 
that position to help cope with your new financial reality.
So that is certainly a thing that I will discuss in the book. Um, you know other things I will 
discuss in the book there. There is a series that I've, um, started, um, called the bankruptcy
lawyers, a guide to saving money. And I'm going to include some of the information from 
that series of blogs that I wrote. For example, is it going to help you to buy a car at an auction 
and it helps you to drop your high payment vehicle and go look for a car at an auction and 
there are some techniques that are , really will work great. And there are some things 
that you've got to be super careful about before you jump into that. But if you're paying, 
if you're paying $500, $600 a month on a car, and the money's just not there for that, I think 
you do need to find other strategies.
You know, I've had a client who gets a ride to work every day and she takes a lift home 
and she's been criticized for that and I say, you know what, I think that's a great strategy 
for you because you don't need to be paying a car payments and gas for the car and car 
insurance and maintenance for the car if you're hardly driving it. So, you know, it ends up it 
actually costs about $200 a month over 600. That's right, that's right. So by taking a Lyft or an 
Uber from work every day, that's not a bad strategy, uh, for, for the right person. So I'm going 
to be exploring different approaches like that, uh, that are maybe a little bit outside the 
box that you wouldn't necessarily think about.
Katherine: I think this is so neat. It, Ron, I know that we're going to get into this some more. 
You promise me that. So I'll put that out there. So the audience knows to expect more. I know 
to expect more. I am continually excited about things that cater to a different way of thinking 
and I kind of felt that when you said she was being criticized for it, everybody has an opinion, 
don't they Sometimes you just say too much, let a person be, but you have to have the nerve 
in this world to go ahead and do what's best for you regardless of what other people say, 
just because they would accept you having a five or $600 car payment. So you'd have this car and be independent or whatever. They're criticizing this lady about you made the decision that's best for your household. And what you can do to make it work and so you can sleep at night and not be worried. So boys, it is tough and knowing when to, you know, be head strong.
Not head strong. The word to be more intellectual, to be more emotional, to be more of anything else you have to learn that and way out. Does what they say matter over what attorney Drescher is sharing with me some new strategies to make my life work for me because everybody's life isn't cookie cutter. Yeah, you got married. Yeah, you got kids, but the part of the cookie cutter that isn't clear is the. Yeah, you got separated. Oh yeah, you got divorced or yeah, you are the only adult responsible for the household. Now, whatever the change, is change, it happens. How you got there, maybe devastating everyone doesn't know the right way for everyone, but there is a strategy that may work because your situation is slightly different from your friend that you talked to at the water cooler about her separation. So I want people to be ready to receive your information with an open mind and to receive these books, received this book when it comes out and you're going to share with us how we can get on a list so that we're ready when this book drops. But before you shared that one, give me the three keys. We started out in the beginning of this interview and you said there are three things that we should, I guess, engaged when we are considering either rebuilding or approaching this book. And I want to make sure I have them down right.
Ron Drescher: The first and most important one is know your fat. Okay. So many people have, I guess you could call it, you know, rose colored glasses way of looking at their life, but there is no substitute for knowing exactly how much money is coming in and what your fixed expenses are. So the first thing is one, know your facts, okay All right. The second is, don't be afraid to change. Because I mean, if you're looking at a situation where you've got some, you've got all right, so you, you've figured out your facts, this is the amount of money that's really coming in now. How much is it really costing me to live you need to know that and you may need to make very hard choices about that, but make those choices. Don't let them be made for you. I mean, don't wait for the eviction to come if you know that you can't afford that housing, don't wait.
You know, so one, know your facts to don't be afraid to make the big decision. And then here's the third one, get help, get help. There's no shame in getting help as another reason why I actually, um, I, typically like working with women, um, because I think women are smart enough to know that they need to get help when they need to get help. You know, they don't have these same preconceived notions that men frequently have, you know, which is that they've got to go and do it on their own. Although I'm going to tell you, plenty of women do have those preconceived notions that they need to accomplish this on their own and every once in a while you're going to be in a situation where you really just need to get help. You need to reach out to the people who care for you and the people who were in a position to help you and say, you know what Ron Drescher: I'm having this problem. You know, what are some possible solutions so know your facts and it's not necessarily the earth times. Get help know your facts. Make the brave decision.
Katherine: How do we get on the list be alerted when the book is available.
Ron Drescher: Feel free to send an email to, d, r e s, c h e r l a Uh, and, and so that's the best way to get advanced notice. And also, you know what, if, if you want to rummage around on my website,, some of the information will be there. Um, feel free to order my, my book of file bankruptcy and get rich. That's, um, maybe, maybe you want to read single mom's guide first and then file bankruptcy and get rich. Some information will overlap, but that's also a book that, that a lot of people have found useful.
Katherine: Awesome. Well thank you so much for coming by sharing with me and the audience what you've been working on, what's going to help us, and we're looking forward to your next visit. So until then, have a super day.
Ron Drescher: Thanks a lot. I always enjoy coming here and talking with you.
Katherine: Awesome, until next time.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Excuses, The Frustrations, and The Plateaus

 I want to change something. will the date change? Early on I found that no one wants to deal with the new kid on the block and the reason is simple, you're new and they're not sure if they can trust you. There are some things I really wished that someone would have shared with me early on in my business and well, that is what I am going to do in this post. You are going to have some days that are not so pleasant when you are living your dream. Press play and hear what I have to say about The Excuses, The Frustrations and the Plateaus in our business.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Children aren’t afraid to talk about skin tone…Why are their parents?

 When our children talk about skin color, we parents don’t have to be afraid to engage in their conversations. Actually we can let them lead the way. When children talk about their friend’s skin being brown, peach, pink, etc., they are simply noticing the obvious. 

But parents have been shamed into shunning conversations about skin color, opting instead to embrace the seemingly more safe and politically correct colorblind approach.

Colorblindess—the notion, the theory, the language or lack thereof—has made parents a false promise. If we don’t see skin color (or talk about it), racism will go away. I wish it were true. But it’s just not.
Research shows that because children are developmentally prone to in-group favoritism, avoiding conversations about race and skin tone will not produce color-blindness. Instead, the colorblind approach will rob them/us of language and power to address race-based issues when the opportunity presents itself.
The observation of skin tone is not inherently connected to the social political construct of race. So, in our family, we empower our children by giving them language and freedom to talk about skin tones and other obvious differences. For example, the ethnic make up in our family is white dad, black mom, and three multi-ethnic little girls. We have given ourselves a language and narrative to acknowledge our five different ‘hues of brown’ (and five different hair textures) without using race terminology like ‘white’ and ‘black.’
Having conversations about skin tone void of shame and discomfort in their early years has established a safe space and frame work for educating them about the complexities of race ideology. Our then seven year old articulated her understanding of race as a terrible idea created a long time ago, that if not for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would have made it impossible for her to be born! She expressed anger about the invention and existence of race and racism. (Yay! We want anger to be pointed towards the idea and legacy of race, not towards a group of people.) 

I was amazed at how she formulated this position. She had read Meet Addy: An American Girl series, Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?, Who Was Abraham Lincoln?, both of the Who Was…? series, to name of few. She had lots of questions and I gave her age appropriate answers. 

As parents, we can not allow fear to keep us from having these conversations. Shunning comments about skin tone and race in the warmth of our loving homes, may leave our children susceptible to the conditioning of institutionalized racial narratives. Let’s empower our children to create a more beautiful world.
Here are a few related resources.
In the comments section, please share your resources and practices or any questions you may have.

I am a wife, mother, educator, writer, and speaker. I am passionate about helping people overcome boundaries through spiritual and social consciousness. I love the work of ONEness and  am co-creator of Brownicity: The Art & Beauty of Living & Loving Beyond Race, our platform for inspiring, equipping and empowering people to eradicate race ideology.
You can connect with me at Brownicity, on Facebook & Twitter.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

When children have questions about skin tone, how will you respond? with Lucretia Berry

National Nanny Training Day

‘Why is your skin a different color than mine?’

‘My skin is not white/black, why is it called white/black?’

What are some of the skin tone or race related questions that you’ve been asked by a child? One summer I was collecting data in an Appalachian preschool where everyone was white. A sweet little boy walked up to me and asked me why my legs were brown. I could sense that his question made the adults uncomfortable, but I thought that he and his question were adorable. How would you have answered his question?

Addressing the toddler was easy. It was the discomfort of the adults that caught me off guard. Why were the adults uncomfortable with his question? Because they were more than likely taught to be colorblind. Colorblindness is the notion that If we say we don’t see skin color or talk about it, racism will go away and that the person who mentions skin tone or race is racist. I guess colorblindness sounds good in theory, but not only did it make us an empty promise, it left us void of the language and ability to have seemingly simple conversations with children.

You shouldn’t avoid talking with children about skin tone and race. Research shows that because children are developmentally prone to in-group favoritism, shunning conversations about race and skin tone will not produce the desired ‘everyone is equal’ mindset.

Having conversations about skin tone void of shame and discomfort in their early years empowers children with the right language and foundation for engaging in more complex conversations about race when the opportunity presents itself.

Here are some ways to talk with children about skin tone and race. When children talk about skin being brown, peach, pink, etc., they are simply noticing the obvious. The observation of skin tone is not inherently connected to the social, political construct of race. So, when children have questions about skin tone, we don’t need to launch into a civil rights speech right away.
Here is how it plays out in our home. Our family is multi-ethnic—white dad, black mom, and three little girls, currently ranging in ages from four to eight. Because the race concept is complex and confusing (for adults to understand, let alone children) we gave ourselves a language and narrative to acknowledge our five different skin tones (and five different hair textures) without using race terminology like ‘white’ and ‘black.’  Starting from when our oldest was a preschooler, here’s a little of what we do.
  1. We talk about ‘melanin’. Melanin is why our skin tones are different ‘hues of brown.’ Mommy has more or darker melanin. Daddy has lighter or less. We use fun descriptors for our skin tone like ‘sugar cookie, caramel, peanut butter, chocolate.’ We make up songs about our different skin tones and we celebrate them!  (SIDE BAR: We talk about our hair in terms of various degrees, ranging from dad’s super straight hair to mommy’s infinitely kinky curly hair. There is no ‘white hair, black hair or ethnic hair.)
  2. We talk about geography and ancestry. Our children’s ancestors who lived closer to the equator have darker melanin and their ancestors who lived further away from the equator have lighter melanin. Having ancestors from Italy, Germany and Africa has contributed to our beautiful ‘hues of brown.’ 
  3. We talk about the history of race/ism. Around seven years of age, our oldest daughter understood the concept of race. We explained that around 400 years ago, someone divided people by skin color in order to give white people advantages by taking away opportunities for people of color. She read non-fiction children’s books, like Who Was Abraham Lincoln, Meet Addy: An American Girl, Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr., and learned of the atrocities and consequences of racism. As you can imagine, racism upsets children (as it should), so we also talk a lot about hope for the future. If we are educated about race/ism and passionate about change, we can create a better world!     
In children, we have the opportunity to cultivate a future overflowing with love, justice, peace, unity and fun. Telling the truth about skin tone and race/ism will only equip and empower them to help get us there. 

Related Resources

Why White Parents Don’t Talk About Race: Does teaching children about race and skin color make them better off or worse? Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children. Bronson & Merryman. (2009) Here is a summary.

I am a wife, mother, educator, writer, and speaker. I am passionate about helping people overcome boundaries through spiritual and social consciousness. I love the work of ONEness and  am co-creator of Brownicity: The Art & Beauty of Living & Loving Beyond Race, our platform for inspiring, equipping and empowering people to eradicate race ideology. 
Lucretia Carter Berry, Ph.D (Curriculum & Instruction)

Monday, January 19, 2015

2 Across In Love And LIfe

Have you ever met anyone that you found annoyingly attractive? Someone who you would not normally be attracted to because of all their quirks? Maybe they seem instantly repulsive, but at the same time something pulls you in their direction? Or could it be that it seems you are the only two left on Earth OR on the BART transit system?

This romantic comedy promises to reach inside of your personal life and shine a light on those parts you dared to keep hidden. That chance encounter of the perfect stranger where you get to be whomever you want to be to protect yourself from the present danger of things in common like crossword puzzles and love. While protecting yourself from missing another opportunity to marry Mrs. Right. Or to protecting yourself from being drawn in by another man who will leave you out in the cold. Well this hour and a half stage performance proves to each of us that the walls we put up against ‘new’ love are real. Using past pain, regrets, or even degrees are not enough when you run into the one that will cross your path and test your heart strings. 

This 2 person performance would seem to be a challenge to pull off, but Mara Rosenberg (Janet) and Phil Robertson (Josh) pull it off nicely. They kept the audience engaged the entire time. The room filled with laughter at every other turn in the play. There was unexpected, heart warming moments on the transit ride that I was sure was going to end with these two strangers never seeing each other again. Then there was the naughty moment with the thought of there being a secret affair by two who were not happy in their current situation. My heart raced as I wondered 'could a kiss with a stranger make it better'? If only for 90 minutes it could. 

If you love a good romantic comedy you will enjoy this performance. Rachel Jeffreys, the Director did a wonderful job with this presentation. It will run another weekend at Upstage in NoDa 3306 North Davidson Street, Charlotte, NC 28205. Stop by to purchase tickets.