Star of the Month: Daniel Bradley

Daniel Bradley, CEO & Co-Founder of Dreams Work, Inc.

Daniel Bradley, CEO & Co-Founder of Dreams Work, Inc.

Daniel Bradley strives to inspire, uplift, and encourage all those that cross his path.  As the CEO and Co-Founder of Dreams Work, Inc., he uses the fine arts as a mode of reaching youth.  The non-profit organization is designed to equip young people to face critical social issues plaguing their communities, preparing them to become “artistic activists.”

Bradley has often been inspired by song lyrics recited by his Grandmother:

“If I can help somebody, as I pass along…Then my living shall not be in vain.”

Bradley has traveled extensively throughout the United States, the U.K. and the Virgin Islands to facilitate training sessions in youth development strategies. With more than 10 years of experience in youth development and community organizing, it is our honor to name Daniel as our Star of the Month!

You can find out more about Dreams Work, Inc. here.

Five Ways Volunteering Can Advance Your Career

Community ONE Volunteers at our recent Stars v. Students soccer game.

Community ONE volunteers and students at our recent Star v. Students soccer game.

#1 Networking, networking, networking!

You’ve heard it before, but let’s say it again:  sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know.  It’s a well-known fact that networking is key to advancing your career, and volunteering is a great way to widen your network.  Your fellow volunteer may work in an industry that you’re interested in, or at a company you’ve had your eye on, and you never know what a good relationship with that person could lead to!  The key here is to make sure that the relationship is genuine.  So get out there and get networking!

#2  Skills

When it comes to volunteer opportunities, there’s just about something for everybody.  Once you find an organization or cause that you’re interested in, there may be chances to learn or practice skills that you don’t use regularly.  For example, maybe potential jobs you’re interested in are looking for someone experienced with graphic design.  If you handle all of the graphic design for the organization you volunteer with, that’s transferrable experience that you can include on your resume – all for a good cause.  It’s a win-win!

#3  Impressing Your Future Boss

Among the many benefits of volunteering, is the fact that it looks good!  As mentioned in the last point, doing volunteer work gives you the chance to practice skills that directly translate into job responsibilities.  In addition, it can show that you work well with others, you are passionate about a cause, you take initiative, and are a well-rounded person– all good things!

#4 Exploring Your Passions

If you are in a place where you are trying to figure out your career path, volunteering could very well help guide you in the right direction.  If you love kids, or the environment, look for ways to volunteer in those areas.  Maybe in the process you’re inspired to start your own business, or find out what you really love to do (or don’t love).  The possibilities are endless, you just have to start somewhere!

#5  Fill in the Blanks

If  you are in-between jobs, volunteering is a great way to fill in that space.  Potential employers will more than likely ask about what you’ve been doing in-the-mean-time-in-between-time, so you should be prepared with an honest answer.  Why not fill those holes with a positive experience that could help you hone in on your skills and interests?  According to a Corporation for National and Community Service report, ‘volunteers have a 27 percent higher likelihood of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers.’  Volunteer work can show a potential employer that you’ve been actively trying to make yourself a more marketable candidate, and hopefully help land the job that you’ve had your eye on!

Overall, volunteering is something that you won’t regret.  Not only are you bettering yourself, but more importantly, you’re helping someone else.  So while you look for ways to give back and how to reach your own personal goals, don’t forget the real reason why we volunteer.  Get up, get out, and give back!

Written by Courtney Battle

Back to School and Back to Work: Community ONE is looking for volunteers and speakers!

Backpacks, school supplies, a new outfit for the first day- all things that remind us it’s about that time for students to go back to school.  Community ONE is ready to get back to work, too, and we need your help!  We are looking for both event volunteers and speakers (or Stars, as we refer to them) to help us with our upcoming speaker series.

Volunteering

If you have been looking for a way to give back to your community, but haven’t quite found the right fit yet, this could be the opportunity for you!  We work hard to expose children to career paths that they may have never considered or seen before at home.  At our events, our volunteers are a critical part of the fun and educational experience we aim to bring to the participants.  As a volunteer you would be responsible for helping to engage the children in discussion with the Star, assist with the overall flow of the program, and participate in the interactive activity.  If all of that isn’t enough to convince you, you get a pretty cool t-shirt too!  

Exhibit A:

A Community ONE Volunteer sports his t-shirt at an event.

A Community ONE Volunteer sports his t-shirt at an event.

Stars

If you would like to take it one step further and you think you have a pretty cool job, you may be our guy (or girl).  What we’re looking for in a speaker is someone that loves what they do, has a good story to tell about his or her journey to the position they have now (including challenges he or she may have faced), and can explain all of this in a kid-friendly manner.  In addition, we will work with you to develop an interactive activity that the students can participate in to get a hands-on sense of what a typical ‘day in the life’ of you might look like.

Do these sound like you?  Let us know if they do!  Send an email to info(at)communityone(dot)org with your name, contact information, and what you would be interested in doing.  We look forward to working with you!

Written by Courtney Battle

The STEM of our Problems: Pushing for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education for Today’s Youth

Photo courtesy of Helix Magazine, Northwestern University

Photo courtesy of Helix Magazine, Northwestern University

STEM might be a term that may or may not have crossed your path recently- in the news, in everyday conversation, or in a Presidential speech that you caught the other day.  In fact, President Barack Obama has said, “… Leadership tomorrow depends on how we educate our students today—especially in science, technology, engineering and math.”  And that, my friends, is STEM- science, technology, engineering, and math.  I don’t think I’d be alone in saying these weren’t my favorite subjects in school, which is exactly why there are people, organizations, and initiatives making serious efforts to change that mindset for upcoming generations.  

In recent years, there has been a huge push for STEM education in schools.  Frances Eberle, Ph.D. of the International Society of Automation writes, “A successful STEM education provides students with science, math, and engineering/technology in sequences that build upon each other and can be used with real-world applications.”  According to the Department of Education’s website, “only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career.”  It goes on to say that the US is behind internationally, ranking 25th in mathematics and 17th in science.  The Committee on STEM Education (CoSTEM) was formed for this very reason, and a key portion of its strategy is addressing groups that have “historically been underrepresented in STEM fields.”  President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget also has several areas that strive to improve STEM education for both students and teachers.

Female students are at the heart of those ‘underrepresented groups,’ and the national focus on STEM.  STEMconnector & My College Options tell us that “male students are over three times more likely to be interested in STEM majors and careers, compared to female students.”  In a 2010 report, the American Association of University Women found that “societal stereotypes can lower girls’ aspirations for science and engineering careers over time.”  In other words, if these subjects (and eventually careers) are not ‘cool,’ or considered acceptable for girls to take an interest in, then the cycle will continue.  

So the question is, what can we do about it?  We can make a change now by encouraging young people to not be ashamed or afraid of math and science, because those fields directly impact our everyday life and have brought us countless inventions and technology that we take for granted today.  There are tons of organizations who focus their time and energy on this effort- so don’t be afraid to get yourself and a student involved!  Community ONE supports the STEM initiative, and hopes to also play a role in encouraging students- boys and girls- to explore careers that are related to these vital subjects.  The sciences and technology are what keep our society evolving, after all.  It is our hope that through our programming we can inspire the next mathematician or marine biologist who makes a difference in how we live, work, and play.

Written by Courtney Battle