2011 November - Career Fuel2011 November - Career Fuel

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November 2011
In This Issue:



A Sweet Sample of Giving
Your Social Impact
Doing Something…Behind the Lens
Act Now!
Resource Corner

A Sweet Sample of Giving

’Tis the season of giving…and we’re not just talking a new pair of Uggs or an iPad. NJ Next Stop is a believer—in the power of positive change. This holiday season, one of the best ways to make a social impact is, yes, to help your community, but also to help people who might be struggling to become more self-sufficient through training and employment opportunities. What better way to do this than with cupcakes?

Zoe’s Cupcake Café in Teaneck sells cupcakes, pastries and other sweet treats with one goal in mind: to make money to fund Zoe’s Place, a nonprofit organization that helps Bergen County pregnant teens, teen moms and their babies—100% of the café’s net proceeds go to Zoe’s Place. Clients of Zoe’s Place also work at the café, operating the cash registers, bookkeeping and helping a professional pastry chef with the baking. As café supporter Jane Fiedler told New Jersey Monthly magazine when it launched in 2009: “These girls have dreams and hopes like everybody else. What they don’t have is the belief that they can realize them.”

It’s a great example of combining community care with on-the-job training and skill development. Oh, and the cupcakes are reportedly really yummy. Here’s what one patron posted on Foursquare, a cell phone application that allows users to virtually “check in” at different locations, thus notifying friends where they are and granting them points for their number of visits: “Red velvet is a [sic] soo good here. Cupcakes for a cause!”

“I think the colors are what attract everybody—all the different frosting colors and sprinkles and decorations,” said Zoe employee Christian Mims, 17, to Knowledge@Wharton High School, an online business journal for teens. “Then you taste one and you want to keep going back.”

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Your Social Impact

Social impact is the effect your actions have on the community. You can start to influence the world around you by:

  1. Joining an organization. One of the quickest ways to raise your own awareness about the needs that are literally staring you in the face is to join a group that is focused on giving back. Research local charities like Big Brother/Big Sister or look into joining groups that are often aligned with community activism, such as Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts. Be involved and you will soon see the results of your personal social impact.
  2. Discovering your inner entrepreneur. A social entrepreneur seeks to create social change through his or her business venture. Maybe you raise money for the local library or food bank through your lemonade stand or you find some other way to use your clever business skills to give back. Social enterprises usually have what is called a triple bottom line: They want to improve the environment, develop the community and achieve financial goals. For example, next time you drink a bottle of Honest Tea, remember that founder Seth Goldman is also trying to quench his thirst for social and environmental change.
  3. Becoming an informed consumer. Shopping is fun, but it can also be meaningful. No, you don’t have to buy t-shirts made from hemp, although wearing clothes that are environmentally sound can be a cool idea. You can also learn the concept of fair trade. Products that we use every day, from clothing and jewelry to chocolate, coffee, sugar and bananas, are often sourced from poor, rural areas of the world where laborers and artisans are not given the same economic and social opportunities as workers in more developed regions. Fair trade is a movement in the business world that advocates the payment of higher prices to these producers. Buying fair trade products can have a global impact.


Read an expanded version of this article by visiting http://www.njnextstop.org , clicking on the Advice 101 column’s “View All” feature and selecting “Your Social Impact.”

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Doing Something…Behind the Lens

Jordan Coleman, a junior at Hackensack High School, is using movies to make a difference. In September 2011, Jordan won first prize at the 2011 Run & Shoot Filmworks’ Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival for his film “Payin’ the Price,” a cautionary tale about teen dating violence. His honors included an HBO Best Feature Film crystal statue and $500.

Coleman, who turned 16 this summer, directed and produced, “Say It Loud!” a documentary about how education helped the world’s biggest sports and music stars achieve their dreams. Coleman interviewed Kobe Bryant, Ludacris and the Rev. Al Sharpton, among others, for his project. Although he doesn’t yet have his driver’s license, Coleman already knows his future lies in this type of film project. “I want to continue to make films to educate and entertain,” he has said. “I feel like there’s nothing out there to solve teen issues, and my films can help do that.”

Coleman is involved in Do Something, a New York City business that helps teens and young adults organize and carry out volunteer projects in their hometowns. It offers grants and advice for teens who are trying to make a difference, and it sends text message blasts out at least once a week to give teens volunteer ideas. Do Something helped 1.2 million teens organize community service projects in 2010, and is on track to work with two million teens this year.

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Act Now!

With so many young people finding ways to help the world, you no doubt want to become part of this growing inspiration nation. Take some time to develop your ideas into real organizations that make a successful social impact. Can’t wait? There are a lot of ways you can start helping your community today. For example, the demand for food at shelters is great in these tough economic times. Hunger affects 49 million Americans each year, 16 million of whom are children. Why not hold a food drive to collect much-needed cans and boxes of food? Do Something.org suggests these food drive tips:

  • Partner up: Ask a local grocery store if you can setup a drive at the store. Have friends give out information about the collection as people go in so they can buy something extra. On the way out, collect the donations.
  • Clean Up With Competition: Set up a competition between grades or homerooms and your school (or even sections of your orchestra) to see who can collect the most food. The winner gets bragging rights.
  • Host a Movie Night: Charge a food item as the admission price. Take it a step further: ask a local movie theater to host it. Now you can get hundreds of people & hundreds of cans of food!
  • Have a Pajama/Dress Down Day: Petition your Principal. Set a goal. (Like, if half of the students bring in food, you get to dress down.)
  • Got an Event Coming Up? Holiday party or concert? Big basketball game? Make a food item the price of admission.

Register your food drive and its results at dosomething.org (http://www.dosomething.org/tackle-hunger ) by December 25, 2011 and your team might win a scholarship.

Read an expanded version of this article by visiting http://www.njnextstop.org , clicking on the Advice 101 column’s “View All” feature and selecting “Act Now!”

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Resource Corner

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