This is US

How do staff internalize Jeremiah values? A recent team-building exercise focused on uncovering the beliefs we have about each word and a discussion about how each value makes us believe, feel, think and do. It was an opportunity to think about the values and also to get insight into team members.

Innovation is a value Danyelle Antone from Boston is particularly excited about.

“Innovation is what attracted me to Boston in the first place,” she said. “It’s a new model and I appreciated Emilia (Executive Director) giving me the autonomy to create community and find new ways to look at how we do program.”

The family-focused value struck a chord with Danyelle as well.

“It was a nice reminder that our entire work culture is family-focused, not just for the families we serve. It includes families of staff and paying attention to work-life balance.”

Gaining insight into team members is another benefit. Valerie Eubert from Austin enjoyed the opportunity to gain understanding.

“Everyone has such diverse perspectives,” she said. “And it was interesting to see how individual roles within a team or the overall organization also impacted what teammates believe, feel, think and do.”

Valerie’s most important takeaway?

“There was a lot of energy in the exercise with contributions from the entire team. It was inspiring to have everyone fully engaged in fleshing out the organizational values.”

Here are just a sample of some insights from other team members:

 

Empowered

I feel
. . .my inner warrior rising. …trusted. …like I have possibilities.

And I do
I provide others with opportunities and motivation. I hold people accountable and responsible for outcomes. I have confidence in the collective.

Collaborative

I believe
. . . that preconceived notions can influence the collaboration; they need to be put to the side. …that I have inherent biases. …that I have to seek to understand the people that I’m working with. …that the needs of the group may outweigh the needs of the individuals within the group.

And I do
I ask for participation and opinions. I clearly communicate roles. I invite feedback. I communicate the why. I listen. I ask smart questions. I thank people for their contributions.

 

Family Focused

I think
. . . about uniqueness and differences. …that everyone brings their own experience. …that because families are these unique microcosms, . . .it’s important to understand how families influence individuals.

And I do
I treat my team with the respect that I do with my family. I allow myself and colleagues to put their families first. I plan family events. I ask people about their family.

 

Inclusive

I believe
…that people can be their authentic selves. …that everyone deserves a spot at the table and all have the right to contribute. …that it’s the right thing to do and not because it’s the expected thing to do.

And I do
I share feedback and ask for feedback. I celebrate the diversity that is involved, whether a meeting or a process. I recognize people for bringing their full, authentic selves. I facilitate the sharing of ideas. I’m willing to feel uncomfortable. I consider whether what I’m doing is inclusive or preventing someone from being able to fully participate.

 

Innovative

I think
about efficiency in my job; making it easier. …about what are others doing.…about best practices; what I can learn from best practices. …about how to use the best of what’s been done, to create something better.

And I do
I implement a new empowerment curriculum and system. I share our model with others so they can impact more families. I try to create ways for others to find joy in giving.

 

Kristie & Rey

When former Richfield, Minn., resident Kristie Garcia, 22, discovered she and her son could have a better life, she didn’t give the eight-hour weekly round trip to Fargo a second thought. Garcia, one of the newest residents of Jeremiah Program Fargo-Moorhead, participated in a special 12-week Empowerment class designed for single mothers who are motivated to lift themselves from poverty.

“When I first started Empowerment, I was still going through a lot of emotions and anger about my son’s dad, who has not made an effort to be in Rey’s life,” Garcia said of her 14-month-old son. “The class helped me have the right mentality and gain support from other women who were dealing with similar challenges. The drive was not as important to me as beginning a new journey that would be better for my son and me.”

The Empowerment class is a first in a series of steps for single mothers enrolled in Jeremiah Program. Focused on two generations at a time, the comprehensive program prepares determined single mothers to excel in the workforce, readies their children to succeed in school, and reduces generational dependence on public assistance. The Fargo-Moorhead campus, which opened in January 2018, is the fifth Jeremiah Program location to develop.  Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn, the organization also has programs in St. Paul, Minn; Austin, Texas, and Boston, Mass., Rochester, Minn and Brownsville, NY.

The Fargo-Moorhead campus features 20 furnished apartments designed to support single mothers, who are required to work part-time or volunteer, attend college full time, and work toward a career-track education while participating Jeremiah Program’s weekly coaching and life skills classes. Community spaces also available to campus participants include a community/multipurpose room, library, interior gymnasium and outdoor playground. The ground floor features a licensed early Child Development Center that can serve up to 52 children ages six weeks until starting kindergarten.

Garcia, who learned about the program from another Jeremiah Program participant at the Minneapolis/St. Paul campus, applied at the Fargo-Moorhead campus because earning a bachelor’s degree for radiological sciences is far less expensive in North Dakota. She is working toward a career as a diagnostic sonographer and would like to specialize in obstetrics.

After completing the mandatory 12-week empowerment course, Garcia moved into a fully-furnished apartment at Jeremiah Program’s Fargo-Moorhead campus and found part-time work at the M-State bookstore while her son Rey attends the on-site child development center at the Fargo-Moorhead campus.

“I honestly don’t know where I would be without this program and the support of donors and agencies who helped build it,” Garcia said. “I feel like I have grown so much as a person already and I am so happy to be in a program that has put my son and me on a better path. I feel like I finally have a fresh start and a place to call home.”

Human Rights Commission Award

 

Jeremiah Human Resources Intern, Nadia Mohamed will be awarded the 2018 Human Rights Award from the City of St. Louis Park’s Human Rights Commission on Monday, March 18. According to the St. Louis Park city website, the Human Rights Award recognizes individuals, groups, organizations or businesses that have made an outstanding contribution toward increasing understanding and cooperation between people of different backgrounds in St. Louis Park.

“This is just the beginning for Nadia,” said Michelle Price, Jeremiah Human Resource Director. “She’s bold and brave and she wants to make her mark in the world and I am just so very happy she’s on our team.”

Nadia teaches diversity workshops at the Lennox Center in St. Louis Park as part of their Adult Enrichment Program. Also, Nadia hosts and facilitates events about the Muslim Religion for St. Louis Park residents. The diversity education work she has been doing in St. Louis Park came out of a need she was seeing in the community

Diversity education is Nadia’s passion and what brings her joy. She loves to talk about the things that make many folks uncomfortable — race and religion — and she earnestly works to build bridges of understanding.

Congratulations Nadia!

Governing Board Member Insights

Advancement Director Debra Wilken recently chatted with board member Sandy Santana. Sandy is the Executive Director of Children’s Rights, a New York nonprofit. Here is one of his insights on being involved with Jeremiah Program.

What inspires you about being involved with Jeremiah?

My background.  My parents were Dominican immigrants, we lived in poverty in Harlem.  My dad was always working 2-3 jobs, always trying to make ends meet.  Making the monthly rent payment was a struggle.  But we were a privileged family, because we had each other, and our family stayed intact.

I can’t imagine the challenges Jeremiah moms face, trying to make it for themselves and their families by themselves.  Jeremiah’s support of single women inspires me, as well as what is being done for the children.  Reach them early, and you change their life trajectory.  I love that you can change for the better the next generation, and the next.

I always knew that I wanted to give back.  I went to law school, then paid off school loans and helped my parents.  There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to pursue a public interest career.

 

Whitney Wright Exceeds Expectations

From Volunteer to Jeremiah Rockstar

Whitney Wright began her service to Jeremiah Program as a volunteer four years ago. She assisted with childcare and volunteer coordination for weekly empowerment classes as well as annual event planning and logistics. In 2017 she was hired as the Event & Volunteer Coordinator and recently moved to Events, Volunteer and Annual Fund Manager for Fargo-Moorhead.

During her time with Jeremiah, she has led the development of a signature fundraising event that exceeded expectations for giving and attendance two years in a row.

 

In addition, the program’s volunteer force has grown from 95 to more than 600 in less than two years. In her new role, Whitney will lead the management and implementation of the events and annual fund, including the strategies, tactics, and initiatives to reach annual fundraising goals.

Prior to joining Jeremiah Program, Whitney held office manager roles for Sandman Engineering and Sanford Health.