Author Archive

Charitable Giving

Tis the Season to Give… Well Every Season is the Season to Give

Tis the season! It’s that time of year again when some of the biggest holidays in the American culture are celebrated: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah. Also known as the giving season. It’s also the end of the year for tax deductions, so in November and December there is increase in charitable giving compared to other months throughout the year.  With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas just a few weeks away, it’s never too late to spread generosity. In fact, you should always think of ways to give back whenever you have the chance. Giving is not about how good it makes you feel but what you can do to lend a hand to those in need. Here are a few ways on how you can give back over the holidays and all year round:

Volunteer at a soup kitchen/feeding. Give a couple of hours of your day to help serve food at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or a feeding event with a local organization or church.

Pack care packages. Buy Ziploc bags and fill them with toiletry products, a water bottle, soft cereal bars, crackers, fruit snacks (or other manageable healthy food products), and a card of encouragement and give them out to the homeless with friends or family members.

 Donate clothes or toys. Find a local clothing or toy drive and donate gently used or new items to organizations. You may be able to find drives in a mall, the lobby of your office or apartment building, or even a nearby Starbucks.

 Adopt a family. Many local organizations can help you sponsor a family in need to shop for over the holiday season.

Donate to a food bank. During your shopping trip to the grocery store, pick out nonperishable food items to take to a food bank or a local bank. You can also see about volunteering at the food bank. Make sure to double check the type of food the food bank accepts.

 Visit a nursing home or hospital. With family or friends visit a local nursing home or hospital by spending quality time with residents or patients. Sing a few Christmas carols, bring personalized cards and decorations, or create activities and play games. Many people are without families. Coming with a warm heart can simply brighten up someone’s day.

 Create your own donation drive. Select a charity for you drive and specify the items that you want to collect. Determine the location and date for your drive. Make fliers and do a social media campaign, contact local business, and advertise by word of the mouth to family members, friends, co-workers, and business owners to donate.

 Donate to a charity. If there is a cause or a specific organization that you are passionate about donate money. You would probably spend that money on your daily coffee, an outfit, a movie ticket, or your monthly streaming service bill.

 Go online. Research local organizations in your community or city. There are plenty of organizations around you that you have no idea exists. Understand what they are about and the cause they are representing. Learn about their volunteering and donating opportunities.

I hope this list was helpful in providing you with many great opportunities to give this holiday season. Over the past several years I have volunteered at the Thanksgiving and Christmas feedings at my church back in my hometown in NY. This year I plan to donate to the toy drive at my local mall for a children’s hospital. Now that I told you my plans, it’s time for you to start thinking about yours if you haven’t done so already. Happy Holidays!

Jazmin Kimble is an Urban Planner and Urban Designer  from Long Island, NY. She has a passion for empowering and planning adequate, equitable communities through the lens of Geodesign, Urban Design, Community Development, Sustainability, Environmental Solutions, and Community Engagement. Jazmin believes the culture and the history of a community is what makes it unique. This approach allows her to design with communities from a holistic viewpoint.

 

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How does Branding Apply to You? I’m glad you asked…

Before I tell you why personal branding is worth mastering, I need you to take a deep breath and open up your mind.

Okay, let’s begin.  Your personal branding is your reputation that you craft. Sometimes your reputation can precede you, meaning that people can formulate an opinion about you before they even meet you. Your reputation can be defined by others or you can take control of your brand. It’s your choice. It can seem like an extreme math problem at first, but after this read, you’ll be able to apply it in your career. We’re going to start off by talking about how you define your brand, how your brand helps your career, and then how you can apply it in your career.

To understand how it applies to you, we need to begin by defining branding. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, branding is the promoting of a product or service by identifying it with a particular brand. For example, Nike is an athletic brand associated with quality performance wear to amplify your exercise experience. Nike aligns the promotion of their products on an understanding of their own value and how their products are viewed by customers.

When branding is applied to the person, it is a two-way street experience: it’s the way you promote yourself externally and the perception of characteristics that your peers and superiors identify with you. The characteristics that you promote and the perception from your audience have to align. For example, let’s say you are a project manager with experience in transportation planning and you have great leadership skills. When you approach projects, it’s up to you to craft your personal message and align the experience to match. That means during the project you take initiative to lead the team exceptionally from project implementation to completion. It only works if your teammates believe that you have great leadership skills.

Personal branding can help you in your career because it is your own promotion of your skillset in your career field. When you and your audience have a clear understanding of your value, you will be the first on their radar when an opportunity comes about and vice versa. For example, if during a project you promoted your leadership skills and performed the work and your project team acknowledges that, in the future you will on their radar for more work.

To apply personal branding in your career, you want to attract the right people or information to grow and reach your goals and be known for these things. Ways to apply personal branding and define your brand include:

  • Telling your story on social media: Using LinkedIn and Twitter to post information about your expertise. You can create your own content or repost industry leader posts.
  • Creating a personal website: Use this website as a virtual resume to further showcase your expertise by identifying projects that you worked on, partnerships you have or blog posts.
  • Networking: To attend events in your industry to stay abreast of the latest or build relationships with influencers. See previous blog here on for tips on networking.
  • Volunteering your services: Provide your skills to non-profits or individuals to expand your client base and scalability of your skillset.

Defining your brand evolves as you grow. It’s a cycle. Keep these questions in mind as you grow:

  • What key players will you need to influence and build relationships with?
  • What level of a relationship is necessary to build?
  • What new skills can I leverage?

The evolution of personal branding shifts like any other process in life. The process you began with might not look the same when you reach your goal, but you will pick up on how to gauge your personal brand in a professional setting with aware of it.

Christina Glancy is a Pittsburgh Native who serves as our Community Outreach Specialist. She has built a unique perspective which blends project management, marketing, community involvement and data analysis. She has a successful track record of engaging diverse groups of stakeholders throughout the Transportation, Health Care and Cybersecurity Industries. She believes in changing the world one conversation at a time.

 

 

 

 

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Tis the Season for Saving

A thoughtful and Thankful Thanksgiving

 

Tis the season for boots, thick scarves, feasting and fun! Of all things to be thankful for, consider the privilege of having enough water and energy to enjoy the soul-warming festivities of thanksgiving. Whether you realize it or not, there are plenty of easy opportunities to sustainably enjoy this awesome holiday without having to do much different than what you already do. Consider these hacks for saving water, energy and money.

 

1) Reduce food waste- Typically, our first instinct is to cook buffet style, cooking enough to have leftovers for at least a week. Scrap that (pun intended). Save money and energy, and reduce food waste by getting an accurate count for dinner attendees. Cook just enough to satisfy your attendees or serve smaller portions. Encourage seconds. Whatever you do, make sure all food is enjoyed. Compost food scraps when possible but be sure to keep food items out of the sink.

 

2) Recycle water- Half-drunk bottles or cups of water all around the room? No problem. Collect abandoned cups of water and use for pets, indoor plants, or washing your car! Rather than letting water run, wash all produce in a basin or plugged sink. Recycle that same water to soak dirty utensils or cookware. Use your dishwasher to wash full loads of dishes. If you decide to wash dishes by hand, designate one basin to wash dishes and another for rinsing.

 

3) Conserve energy- Saving money makes holidays even more enjoyable. Save money and conserve energy by turning off lights in unoccupied rooms and use natural light when available. Also, cook side dishes that can be cooked at the same time and temperature as the turkey. Not only will it reduce cooking time and energy costs, it’ll quiet anxious and hangry guests a lot sooner! No one likes hangry guests!

 

Of course, these are not the only ways to celebrate the holidays in sustainable ways. But it’s a great start for beginner conservationists. Nonetheless, Nspiregreen wishes everyone a great holiday season, full of happiness, uplifting family time, and savings!

 

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Christie Holland is an urban planner from St. Louis, MO interested in community development, transportation planning, infrastructure, and urban design challenges. 





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