VISTA Career Transitions Featured on Social Media Monday

The upcoming Social Media Monday webshop focuses on the career transition, especially for AmeriCorps VISTAs.

Monday May 24th at noon Pacific, 3 pm Eastern, you can hop online and on the phone for a free web presentation featuring tools for your transition from VISTA.

Social Media Monday webshops (web-based workshops) are “virtual workshops for social change.” Monday’s webshop will focus on:

  • Plaxo, an online contact management and social networking tool that can help you stay in touch with the folks you work with currently as a VISTA, as you move onto your next steps — one of the most valuable, long-term effects of VISTA in your career and life will be the friendships and professional connections you’ve made this year. Plaxo isn’t just another e-rolodex, however. The contacts in your Plaxo network update their own information as they move along in their lives and careers — so you don’t have to. Plaxo also allows you to get all your social network updates in one place.

Learn more and register for Monday’s webshop: (free) Tools for Transitioning: Plaxo, Idealist & More.

Check out past Social Media Monday webshops — archived online — on the VISTA Campus (free login required).

Skip the Gym Membership and Get Fit for Free

Who has a couple of New Years’ resolutions in mind for 2010?

I know I do.

In the spirit of healthiness, many Americans want to become more health conscious.  And health conscious resolutions usually involve a gym membership, diet, and “dream weight” on the scale.

However, as many of us start this New Year, we will have a tighter clutch on our wallets.  Save money by bypassing the gym membership and creating your own exercise at home or searching for free and low-cost fitness classes in your neighborhood. Break a sweat without breaking your bank and save money for better food shopping and your savings.

Gym Math:

Membership Fee: approx. $75

+ Monthly Fee: approx. $30

= Roughly $435 Per Year.

I am not bashing gyms.  I have a gym membership and regularly attend my gym but also replicate similar workouts in my Continue reading

Recipes for Healthy Holiday Eats and Treats

The holiday season is amongst us, which includes an ample dose of delicious celebratory foods and drinks. It can be hard to pass up egg nog, creamy dips, latkes, or any holiday food. And as a number one fan of my mother’s sugar cookies, I wouldn’t ask anyone to give up their indulgent holiday favorite.

However, several days ago, I contributed to a healthy holiday potluck gathering with fellow HealthCorps’ corps members. The spread of “healthified” and inexpensive options varied from creative appetizers to desserts and reaffirmed the notion that healthy holiday treats can extend beyond an entire table of carrots and yogurt dip. I’ve chosen several inexpensive, healthier, and delicious recipes to incorporate into your regular holiday fare this year. Follow the recipes to a “T” or create your own versions.

Spicy Sweet Potato Cakes and Guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato or yam, cooked and peeled
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and very thinly grated
  • ½ Jalapeno pepper, minced Continue reading

HIV Positive and Serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer

Contributed by Elizabeth Tunkle, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Zambia and Lesotho.

When you join the Peace Corps, many people ask you why. I never had a very good answer. But the truth is something way down deep inside of me told me that is what I needed to do and I listened. I really had no idea what I was getting into. I thought 2 years would go by in a flash and I would come home better for having gone so far from home and for having done such a noble thing. Two years did not go by in a flash and I came home changed but not how I thought I would.

I started out my service in Zambia and after getting posted to my village, as I was settling in, I met my future boyfriend. When we started dating, I asked him if he had been tested for HIV. He told me yes. He told me his test was negative just 1 year before and he had not had unprotected sex since his last test. We mutually decided it would be safe for us to use birth control and not condoms. We were wrong. Despite the fact that I knew all about HIV prevention I had unprotected sex with him anyway.

A few weeks later, I decided we should get tested. I had a bad feeling. I tried telling myself that it couldn’t be me. I was going to be fine. Too many times in my life I had played with all kinds of fire and survived. Not me. I was too nice and honest and fun and giving and I practiced yoga and meditation. We get bonus points in life for being good, right? No, I guess we don’t. HIV doesn’t just choose mean people or people who tell lies. It turned out it chose me. We found out my boyfriend was positive and that I was also infected. As if that news isn’t devastating enough, the Peace Corps told me I Continue reading

For Corps Members: Free or Low-Cost Gift Ideas for People You Love

homemade soap, wrapped in cloth

Giving gifts when you are a corps member.

Last year I wrote about how people can show love to the corps member in their life through their holiday gift-giving. This year I wanted to offer some ideas about how corps members themselves can give gifts when their incomes are often incredibly limited.

I asked The New Service contributors and currently serving corps participants Marissa Pherson of AmeriCorps VISTA and Leslie Dolland of Health Corps to share their thoughts, too. Here are the ideas we’ve collectively come up with.

Setting the Stage for Frugal Gift Exchange

If you are gathering many other corps members, extended family, or among a group of old friends, consider throwing a White Elephant party swapping gifts doesn’t have to be expensive when you’re swapping things you already own.

If you are exchanging gifts individually with others — your partner, close friends, family members, and/or fellow corps members — consider setting some ground rules such as: Continue reading

Keeping Your Sleep Debt Slim

cmw3_d_alarmclock1I’ve yet to hear an adult tell me on any given morning: “I’m soooo rested.  I had way too much sleep last night.”

On the other hand, we’d all be smiling if we had a nickel for every time someone said: “I’m soooo tired.  I didn’t get enough sleep.”  Demanding jobs, personal relationships, and day-to-day tasks consume our lives.  Yet the important task of sleeping seems to fall to the bottom of our priority list.  Sacrificing quality sleep, however, could potentially be adding to your sleep debt.  And who wants more debt?!

What is Sleep Debt?

Sleep debt is the accumulated sleep that is lost due to poor sleeping habits, sickness, or other causes that affect “peaceful” sleep.  This debt can become difficult to “pay back” if it becomes too large.  Adults roughly need between 7-9 hours of sleep Continue reading