Monthly Archives: July 2011

We will miss you, Perry!

We have been blessed to have Perry Dubow as a summer intern from Ravenscroft. Below is the essay she wrote on her time here at TFS. It is a wonderfully written  snapshot of her experiences and observations.

Perry, we will miss you! Good luck on your senior year and don’t forget to come back and visit!

When I first heard that I would be spending my summer interning for Triangle Family Services, I was beyond excited, but also quite a bit terrified. I knew that working in this environment would be the chance of a lifetime, but all of the workplace knowledge I possessed at the time came from reading Dilbert comics in the Sunday papers and watching Darren trek back and forth from work on old Bewitched reruns. I was confident that I would leave my intern position at the end of six weeks with intimate knowledge of the non-profit world, but I was also convinced that I was going to be spending my summer sitting, copying, and typing away silently in a cubicle.  Oh how wrong I was. Reflecting back on my summer internship, I see that I have not only gained work-place experience, but I have also forged priceless friendships, and witnessed how one office full of dedicated people really can change lives.

Early on the morning of June 6th, my GPS informed me that I had reached my destination at 700 Blue Ridge Road. As I looked out the car window at the Triangle Family Services logo, attached to a squat brick building, the entire office complex seemed to grow before my eyes until it was positively looming over me. Shaking like a leaf, I straightened my new office attire and squared my shoulders, intent on making the best first impression that was humanly possible. I smiled through all of my introductions wondering to myself how I would ever learn to fit in with such busy, hard-working people. That first week of work was a whirlwind of new experiences as I learned my way around the mental health, emergency housing, consumer credit counseling, and supervised visitation branches of the agency. I did everything from memorizing acronyms such as MPP (Mortgage Payment Program), NCHFA (North Carolina Housing Finance Agency), and DMP (Debt Management Plan) to breaking the printer for the very first time. Before I knew it I could tell clients all of the steps involved in applying for an MPP loan, and I had entered into a full blown love-hate relationship with the office’s printer and scanner. I spent my days copying, filing, answering phones, and scanning applications onto the agency’s main server. I was finally learning the ropes around the office and beginning to grow accustomed to going home each evening knowing I had accomplished something meaningful that day.

It was sometime around the second week of my internship that I began to feel comfortable enough to venture out of my office on the rare occasion and get to know the people I was working alongside.  As I came out of my shell around my colleagues, they did the same with me. I bonded with Sharon over her undying passion for chocolate, deciphered mystifying voicemail messages with Keisha, laughed at Daniel’s relentless, teasing humor, and talked about the best places to shop with Tiffany. As I grew closer to the people I worked with, I learned how their unique gifts and personalities made them each excellent at their respective jobs. I will never cease to be amazed at how Harriett, Julie, Rebecca, Jen,  Alice, Joe, Alison, Tavenia and Susan can put a smile on and help even the most negative and ornery clients through financial troubles with an unwavering dedication unlike any I have ever seen. Despite friendly jokes aimed at Chris, and the occasional groan when Nellie pointed to a mountain of emergency housing paperwork that needed to be properly filed, I loved each and every second of my job.

If I had to pick just one lesson out of the countless ones that I learned from my internship this summer, it would be that attitude changes everything. Working in a non-profit can be a demanding and thankless job, even one that frequently extends way past the boundaries of a typical forty-hour work week. However, every single person that works in this office shows up each day with a positive attitude and a passion for bettering their community that never ceases to astound me. Meaningful thank-you’s from clients are few and far-between, but when someone tells one of my colleagues how much the work they do means, I can see the difference that it makes. As I look forward to my upcoming senior year and even further ahead to a career, I can only pray that I get an opportunity to make half the difference that I see my new friends and co-workers making here at Triangle Family Services. As my summer winds to a close along with my position, I have already begun to miss everyone that I work with. However, I know that I will stay in touch and volunteer whenever possible. It’s been a true blessing to spend my summer at Triangle Family Services. The nervous anticipation I approached work with that fateful first day has transformed into immense appreciation for the opportunity of a lifetime.

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Passion is a Must

I ran across an article about passion on alltop.com under their nonprofit section. It went into detail about how people avoid the word passion when talking about philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. I found this quite upsetting; I feel that we must have passion in order to survive as leaders and helpers of nonprofits. I have a passion for nonprofits; I am in the nonprofit minor at NC State; that is what brought me here to TFS to be an intern. I love working here and being able to see the results of my work. This article reminded me to keep up my passion in what I do and not to let anyone tell me otherwise.

Be sure to check out the article here and keep your passion burning! There will also be two more blogs about passion on nonprofit.alltop.com coming up; don’t forget!

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Good News for Fast Food Consumers

Unfortunately I found myself having to eat some fast food this morning. However, as soon as I got in the office I saw an NPR article online about how McDonald’s will be making their Happy Meals healthier starting in September! They are cutting the french fry portion in half and adding a fruit or veggie into every single kid’s meal, instead of having to replace the fry with fruit. Childhood obesity has risen to 12.5 million in America (information sourced here), so hopefully the company’s efforts will begin changing the way food is prepared for children.

They are also cutting the sodium by 15% across their menu. Which is important for North Carolinians since 28.6% of us have high blood pressure, putting us at #11 nationally (information sourced here).

Please read the whole article here for additional information about these changes. Though McDonald’s will not be able to affect the obesity problem in America single-handedly, this is a start. Proper nutrition and exercise is important for all of our daily lives.

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Food Deserts – Fixing Anti-obesity fight

A food desert is a “low income” census tract with low access to a grocery store. Some of these neighborhoods in Raleigh have a single grocery store or have a convenience store only. Fixing this is one piece of the anti-obesity fight.

Check out all the information at the USDA’s Food Desert website.

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Clearing Out The Clutter

Starting Point Church, meets at the Mission Valley movie theatre on Sundays, will be helping us to clean out our storage rooms next Sunday! This will give us more space to expand our offices and serve even more families in the Triangle area (we helped 6,249 last year!). This is apart of their Big Serve Day, when they will helping 14 different Triangle organizations after their morning service. They are even providing their volunteers with a bagged lunch and day care service. We are very grateful for their time, enthusiasm, and hard work. Thank you all in advance! For more information about the church, click here.

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Tony’s Story

Tony* came to Triangle Family Services after spending eight years sober from drugs and alcohol. He understood the benefits from this healthy choice but still found himself miserable and feeling lost. After having relapsed, he wound up suffering consequences for the decisions he made. This began his process of realization and he started to seek help. Here is what he had to say:

“DOSE and AA helped me realize that I needed to change one thing. And that one thing was everything. So last year I became honest. When I did that I became open-minded, and when I did that I became willing to do what was necessary to change for the better. That was a year ago, and today I have gotten my self-worth back… I have found contentment even though I don’t have much. It’s not perfection but it is a process.”

We are proud of Tony’s strides and achievements , wishing him future successes through his journey. 

*Name has been changed for client’s protection and confidentiality

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Wake Up with TFS: Triangle Family Services Annual Breakfast

On Thursday, September 1, Triangle Family Services will be holding our Annual Breakfast at the RBC Center from 7:30-9:00 am. During the event, we will discuss issues concerning the community such as homelessness, domestic violence, and mental health and how everyone/anyone can help. We will be honouring our outgoing Board Chair, Clymer Cease, who has remained an active member on almost a half dozen other boards in the Raleigh area. While it will be sad to see him leave, we are happy to have had him since 2005. For a list all board members, please click here. Additionally, we will have clients speaking to show the direct impact of how our work has affected their daily lives.

Purchasing tickets has been made easy on our website. Click here to make sure you don’t miss this impactful and memorable morning. All of us at TFS look forward to breakfast with you!

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