” If you want to touch the past, touch a rock. If you want to touch the present, touch a flower. If you want to touch the future, touch a life. ~Author Unknown
Our design firm is experiencing tremendous growth this year and we are poised to continue to expand our client roster and expand our team in 2013. One thing is for certain, we did not do it alone. Through our network, our long term relationships, key clients, referrals and friends have helped our growth. For me, personally, I challenge you to think about the fact that somewhere along the line, whether it was as early as grade school, as late as college, or as recent as today, someone has reached out to you and offered an opportunity, opened a door, or offered an inspiring word. No one gets to where they are all by themselves.
Last week I was asked to speak to a group of high school students in Bridgeport for Career Week. The group is called the Youth Business Center and it is a division of Family Services Woodfield. Here is a brief blurb about their organization that I pulled from their website:
Family Services Woodfield: Youth Services
FSW’s Youth Services offers year round programming to youth ages 12-23 from the Greater Bridgeport area who are referred to our programs. Under the direction of adult and youth role models, mentors, trainers and staff, youth are motivated to learn life, employment, entrepreneurship, business and leadership skills by participating in youth businesses and entry-level jobs, linking the world of work and learning. Students learn and practice appropriate behavior, reduce involvement with the legal system, set and attain goals to prepare for further education and/or to enter the workplace. FSW engages families of the students to build a stronger family unit. Youth participate in one or more of the following programmatic areas.
The Youth Business Center (YBC) offers five businesses during after school hours. Bridgeport Boat Works provides opportunities to build and sell or restore private boats as students learn carpentry, applied math and blueprint reading skills. On Smash Media Group teaches students to transfer audio and video media and create product and sales opportunities. Park City Guitars offers opportunities to manufacture, repair, market and sell custom made guitars and other stringed instruments and fine crafted jewelry boxes. Parker’s Pampering LLC provides an opportunity for students to explore cosmetology as a career. They learn basics of nail care, hand and foot massage, grooming and good hygiene practices. Photography and Computer Design a program that introduces youth to photography in conjunction with computer design, and that may prepare them for employment opportunities. Services include instruction on digital photography, as well as the use of laptop computers with appropriate software. In all five businesses, students learn about teamwork and communication, gain valuable employment, business and life skills, and increase their self esteem in a positive and supportive setting.
I’ve been a guest speaker at YBC’s Career Week for over 6 years now, but this year was a little different. After inviting some of my fraternity brothers to participate (Alpha Phi Alpha), I decided to also invite my staff to join me as well. I wanted them to speak because they are closer in age (read: younger) than I am to the audience, and I felt that they would make a greater impact perhaps, being closer to their peer group than I am.
Additionally, I wanted to accomplish a couple of things: First, Speaking in Public is a highly underrated skill that I want my team members to develop a strong proficiency in. My goal is for them to continue to feel confident articulating concepts or strategies to clients, and what better way to practice speaking in front of large crowds than to participate in a Career Week.
Secondly, I want to foster a work environment that encourages social responsibility and one that stresses the concept of GIVING BACK.
The young people that we spoke to are studying Photography and Computer Design and have expressed an interest in the arts.
Amanda engages the crowd with her unique custom-made clay jewelry.
Jorge, our resident Web Guru and Techno-Geek, spoke about his love of Anime and Comic Books and how his love of art and technology led him to a career in interactive web design and web development.
Amanda, our resident Designer and Illustrator extraordinaire, shared about her experiences taking the bus to design school as a commuter student, and how important being punctual was to her and how it translates from being on time in the classroom, to being on time for work. She went on to share about her love of crafting and displayed a clay necklace she had created herself. Initially, Amanda was really hesitant about speaking, but mustered up the courage to tell her story.
“Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.” ~ Anthony Robbins
Of course, as luck would have it, Friday was probably one of the busiest days we’ve had at the office in a very long time. If there was any day of the week where we didn’t have the “TIME” to go speak to some young people, it was Friday. However, we had made a commitment to speak at Career Week and we made an additional statement that we keep our promises.
Did we change the world that afternoon? No. Did we give that aspiring young graphic designer an exact roadmap to success? Of course not. But we hope that we may have changed a life or inspired someone to follow their dreams, or maybe even just put a smile on someone’s face when we tossed out our red Squeeze balls into the crowd.
Despite all of the craziness and excitement of the entire week gone by, nothing can fill your spirit up like Community service does. Give it a try. Give Back. Help someone. Reach back and do good for someone else. It will pay dividends beyond measure.
“Giving is the highest expression of potency. In the very act of giving, I experience my strength, my wealth, my power. This experience of heightened vitality and potency fills me with joy. I experience myself as overflowing, spending, alive, hence as joyous. Giving is more joyous than receiving, not because it is a deprivation, but because in the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.” ~ Erich Fromm
FSW Changing Lives, Shaping Brighter Futures
TOP 10 Giving Back Quotes
Ramon has over 19 years of experience in award-winning, market-proven, print collateral, marketing material, iphone/ipad app and website design specializing in corporate identity and branding. Ramon’s passion for entrepreneurial design was borne out of 10 years as Creative Director for Jay Walker at Walker Digital, the Stamford based idea laboratory and business incubator holding over 300 US Patents. Ramon served as Senior Art Director on the start-up launch team behind Priceline.com, a Walker company and invention. Most recently, Ramon’s logo and identity work was selected to be published in “Typography and Enclosures” the fourth book in the Master Library series by LogoLounge.
Need help with your brand identity or want to overhaul your existing brand? Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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