7-18-2014 2-56-04 PMLast weekend, The Bridge hosted a STEM Super Fun Saturday event that included engaging students ages 5 – 16 in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The students had a blast conducting science experiments and building engineering structures, but when it came time for the Math Smarts Competition, the only thing I heard was “I hate Math- it’s too hard!” Does this sound familiar? A rising number of our children in the United States have decided that math is their least favorite subject and would rather clean the house before working out math problems. Sadly, I am sure some of you feel the same way. You too would say give me the broom and put the math book away! Where does this attitude and stigma around math come from? Most research says it starts at home! Parents, teachers, and role models we must be careful what we say when it comes to our own negative thoughts and comments around the subject of math. We have heard it time and time again and mostly likely you heard it from someone in your family, statements such as: “I wasn’t good at math so you must take after me” or “Math is just not my thing.”

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There are several of us who can attest to some horror stories around math when we were growing up, and the discipline it took to keep those math grades up, but let’s face it: math is an essential part of life and everything we do is somehow connected to it. I was no math whiz myself while in school, but I definitely understand the importance and emphasis that must be put on math education for our students to be successful. Math has an image problem that needs some work and it is up to us to change the way our children think about the subject. I challenge each of you to drop the math negatives and accentuate the positives (no puns intended) to broaden our children’s understanding of how math impacts every moment of their lives. The earlier you start, the more equipped they will be for life. I think back to that million-dollar question “When will I ever use this stuff?” Surprisingly, now, more than we ever thought we would.

When you buy a car, follow a recipe, decorate or remodel your home, go to the bank, start a wellness program, balance your checkbook, figure out the best deal when grocery shopping, purchase and calculate gas mileage on your car , prepare a household budget, estimate time and distance when traveling, price match and redeem coupons, and of course reviewing your paycheck, you are using math!

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Remember: “The essence of mathematics is not to make simple things complicated, but to make complicated things simple.” ~S. Gudder
Until Next Time, Be sincere, Kind and Intentional
Jackie Warner, Career Development Facilitator
The Bridge “Where Community Matters”
Email: thebridge.us@gmail.com

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2014-06-21_15-21-15Not to boast and definitely not because I want to scream team “ME” to the whole world, but sometimes you have to be your own cheerleader in the world of work. It’s a new business mindset and organizations say this is what it will take to get you noticed and considered worthy of the next step on your career ladder. In years past, we were taught to work hard and it will all pay off. I still believe it will. We were told don’t shine your light, just let your light shine. Fast Forward 2O years and the playbook has changed. I am not telling you to be that person we all know oh-so-well who toots their horn, is that artful fast talker and gets everyone’s attention while absolutely saying nothing of value- all talk and no real action. No, no, that is not the team “ME” Cheerleader that I speak of. Listen up: you are with YOU all day and AUTHENTIC self-appreciation, positive affirmation, and love for yourself should be a daily routine.

The “World of Work” can be a very harsh place at times and we constantly observe actions that lead us to believe that we are not good enough, not the right fit, or need to be fixed in some form or fashion. We live in a draining society and there will always be someone competing against you or trying to break your spirit. The “haters” they are called, but don’t be ashamed to say out loud “I love me, get used to it.” Why shouldn’t you be your biggest genuine cheerleader? When we start with ourselves, then we have so much more to give and share with others around us so don’t forget to pack your pom-poms and most of all, your self-motivation.

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Career Playbook- Cheerleading 101 Tips for Success:
1. Credit for what you do: Take it and accept it, don’t down play your expertise!
2. You said “Oh that was nothing.” Erase that phrase from your vocabulary. It was something and yes you did it. Thank them for the acknowledgement without minimizing your time and actions.
3. Celebrate your successes. Pat yourself on the back. You have permission to buy your own flowers.
4. Know what’s happening in your industry. Build your internal and external networks.
5. Plan for that upcoming performance review. Keep a journal of your successes and accomplishments throughout the year and send a copy to your boss to add to your personnel file (it’s just a friendly reminder that you value your work).
6. Look for opportunities beyond your desk. Put your knowledge on the road and speak at conferences in your area of expertise.
7. Set your own benchmarks to measure your success
8. When someone compliments you, breathe, let it in and say “thank you.” No need to discount it your worth!

Until Next Time, Be Sincere, Kind and Intentional
Jackie Warner, Community Outreach Specialist
Email: thebridge.us@gmail.com

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2014-05-16_14-51-54Just imagine- no email, cell phone, social media, not even the TV for an hour a day. This would truly be the recharge all of us need to find a quick moment of peace and really see and hear more clearly the woes and pleasures of life. Before mobile devices and endless sources of technology, we actually had better focus and transparency about our surroundings, families, hobbies and priorities.

It’s a new day and a different world. Everywhere we go, there is a cell/iPhone, iPad, laptop, iPod, digital camera or some sort of wireless device very near (and did I say dear?) and of course it has to be the latest and greatest on the market. We tell ourselves that this really keeps us connected with whats going on, but does it? I sometimes find myself saying if I text my daughter in her bedroom I will probably get a faster response than just yelling for her to come to dinner. Incredible! This really makes me feel connected to my family. We must stop kidding ourselves! I am definitely not condemning the benefits of technology but I am also certainly convinced of the benefits of unplugging to reap the real benefits of what’s truly becoming a lost art- effective face-to-face communication.

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In what some would call our “yester years,” you would not even think of sending an email to ask such personal questions as we do today and then expect a response, nor dare deliver terrible news. But now what do we say? “Just text it,” or “Send them an email.” Change has arrived and prompted a new mode of communicating, or should I say not communicating. True focus and clarity have gone out the window, and been replaced with short abbreviated letter messages someone made up and called a plausible language that everyone had to learn and follow. Oh, did I forget to say that you could even add your own letters too, not tell anyone what they meant, and take it for granted that everyone understood? Move over Webster’s, you have been replaced!

As I finish typing this article and decide to unplug from our tech world and fix dinner for my family, I leave you with a few parting tips:

1. De-tech and you will de-stress- YOLO (You Only Live Once)
2. Ditch the touch screens and spend less money online- The more you touch the screen the more you will want to purchase the items when shopping online.
3. Leave your phone while out with family & friends- Check it later; the messages will still be there.
4. Smart phones actually boost your stress levels- You are constantly holding in one hand a device that will do everything for you; real smart right? The problem: you actually let it!
5. Ban technology at the dinner table.
6. Instead of allowing children to take technology to their bedrooms to recharge overnight, take it in your room.
7. Live, laugh, and love the old fashioned way- for real and out loud! No “LOLs” allowed!
8. Practice mindfulness- the act of being present!

Until Next Time, Be Sincere, Kind and Intentional
Jackie Warner, Community Outreach Specialist
Email: thebridge.us@gmail.com
By: Jackie Warner

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2014-04-18_15-57-01High schools seniors and their parents all over the country are excited and getting ready to attend their high school graduations and hold those “EPIC” graduation parties. There is just one major problem being seen all over our nation- a failure to truly plan for what’s next. Statistics tell us that a tremendous number of high school seniors are ill prepared for their upcoming futures. More time is put on finding the right prom attire, attending the last series of sports events, and planning the graduation trip.
Parents, put on the brakes and halt the spending until you and your soon to be adult – “no longer a child”- have evaluated his or her plan of action for adulthood.

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High School Seniors & Parents Must Do List:

  • Parents and students should have a heart to heart about the future and schedule an appointment with your high school guidance counselor to discuss college and career options based on your student’s abilities.
  • Explore realistic career options that fit your skills, interests, and abilities.
  • Choose a path for your future. Whether it is college, going straight to work, military, or another option, have a plan of action!
  • Review your high school transcript for accuracy.
  • Take the ACT and/or SAT a minimum of two times to boost your scores when seeking scholarships and applying to colleges.
  • Visit the colleges you are interested in attending to make an informed decision about your future.
  • Be realistic and do the math on college costs and expenses before confirming your choice.
  • Apply for scholarships, no matter how small the amount; every dollar will help fund your education.
  • Apply for FAFSA -Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Most colleges require that you apply for Federal Student Aid before any scholarships will be awarded.

Parents, remember it’s your child’s future and they need to own it. You can assist but realize that it should be their plan. Students, hold yourself accountable to achieving your goals. Remember, High School Seniors- What you do today will determine how you live tomorrow! Don’t you want to live well?
Until Next Time, Be Sincere, Kind and Intentional
Jackie Warner, Community Outreach Specialist
Email: thebridge.us@gmail.com

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2014-03-21_14-09-22Does this sound familiar? Of course it does. All of us know someone who takes their leadership responsibilities overboard and allows it go to their head and therefore is really not leading at all. With leadership comes great responsibility and personal self-development. It involves more than just having the title. Leadership encompasses heart and a servant attitude.

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In today’s world of business, leading others takes special talents that one has to hone daily. When leaders acknowledge that they are not a one person island; they involve and value their team’s ideas and strengths, then and only then does authentic leadership qualities start to take root.

True Leaders value Heart in their day to day and do not hog the spotlight; they are humble and passionate individuals who are deeply involved in the details of business and believe that every employee should be treated with respect and be given the opportunity to do meaningful work.

Leadership should be intentional; so how does one get there?
• Communicate the Organization’s Vision, Goals, & Mission Statement
• Display kindness and compassion for the growth and development of your team
• Take time to know who is on your team- not just their names
• Ask for and value feedback; be receptive to others’ suggestions and ideas; implement
• Express genuine care and concern for your team’s wins and losses
• Recognize your need for the ones on your team- Let them know you appreciate them
• Stop jumping to conclusions; reflect and evaluate; situations are not always what they seem
• Share relevant information. Give employees the information they need to perform in their positions
• Seek critical feedback for ongoing self-development from your team; Admit mistakes
• Follow – Leading sometimes means stepping aside and allowing others to be the leader
• Be available

People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. — John C. Maxwell
Until Next Time, Be sincere, Kind and Intentional
Jackie Warner, Career Development Facilitator
The Bridge “Where Community Matters”
Email: thebridge.us@gmail.com
By: Jackie Warner

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I Did Not Sign Up For This!

2014-02-22_16-13-33We all come to this earth with a purpose unknown to us in many ways, but it is definitely there without a doubt for us to accomplish. Often we catch ourselves saying, “I didn’t sign up for this” and “Why me?” Actually you were signed up and didn’t even know it. The things we encounter in this life are not totally by accident. I will say it again! The things we encounter in this life are not entirely accident. It is what we choose to do next that ultimately makes the difference in the fulfillment of our purpose. My actions and your actions in times of trouble, pain, and sorrow are what determine the depth of our strength.

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There is a story of a man I would like to share with you. He strived to do right, prayed to the Lord daily and kept himself from the evils of this world just as many of you do in your lives. One day he received word that there had been a major devastation and all ten of his children had been killed, seven sons and three daughters. Imagine how he must have felt. Not one child, not even two of his children but all ten were now dead.

Truly he must have thought “I did not sign up for this to happen in my life!” At such a terrible, devastating, and sorrowful moment his next move, many would say, was unique and truly different from how our society today deals with matters of distress and hurt.

The actions he took after receiving this news should encourage us when we are faced with despair, pain, and suffering to know that we are not in control. When he was told the horrible news about the loss of all his children, he fell down (yes, he fell down) and worshipped saying “I came into this world naked and naked shall I return. The Lord gives and he takes. Blessed be His Name.”

Would this have been your response? For many the answer would be no, but I challenge you to think about all the things in your life that you have dealt with or are dealing with. Loss of a loved one, stress on your job, divorce, heartache, sickness, family troubles, disobedient children, unemployment, cheating spouse… Whatever it is or whatever it was, allow your next actions to be strengthened by what the man in this story decided to do. The man I speak of was Job. I only shared with you the loss of his children. He lost so much more, but chose to fall and worship. (Job Chapter 1)

As I close today, I would like to leave you with this verse: Job 22:21 “Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace; thereby good shall come unto thee.”
Until Next Time, Be Sincere, Kind and Intentional
Jackie Warner, Community Outreach Specialist
Email: thebridge.us@gmail.com

1-17-2014 4-01-05 PMHave you ever heard someone say, “I bombed that interview!”? Mostly likely the answer would be yes. We have also heard others say, “I nailed it and I think I got the job!” It takes a lot of work to truly be ready and successfully complete a job interview. Being prepared for the interview requires specific actions on the part of employers and perspective candidates.

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An interview is not a one but a two-way process. During the interview both parties are seeking to make an informed decision as to whether or not this is the right investment for their future. Employer investments include the fit with others in the organization, salary, training and other resources specific to the position, while perspective employees should determine if this is the right investment for them, taking into account key factors specific to their personal and family needs and goals.
As you are preparing for the job interview, take critical thought to ensure that you are in fact ready to successfully complete the interview and obtain a desired offer of employment.
1. Check yourself first! What’s on your social media sites? (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linked In) Employers will definitely check, so clean it up.
2. Research the company and match your skills to the open positions. Stop applying for everything.
3. Practice, practice, practice. Complete a mock interview with an objective friend for constructive feedback, and then follow it to be ready.
4. Know where you are going and arrive early.
5. Leave your cell phone in the car.
6. Be alert for the interview- Get a good night’s rest!
7. Dress professionally. Know what you are wearing before the day of your interview.
8. Speak with confidence, shake hands, make eye contact, exude confidence, and engage the person(s) you are speaking with.
9. Answer the questions asked by tying them back to relevant work experience, skills and education for the position.
10. Bring a portfolio, including a copy of your resume and samples of your work.
11. Always have questions prepared to ask the interviewer about the position. Remember this is a two-way process and you also want to make an informed decision.
12. Thank the interviewer for their time and send a thank you note via mail or email.

Until next time, be sincere, kind and intentional.
Jackie Warner, Career Development Facilitator
The Bridge “Where Community Matters”
Email: thebridge.us@gmail.com

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12-20-2013 3-50-15 PMBusiness owners ask yourselves what worked and what didn’t for 2013. As you start to prepare for business success in 2014, taking a critical look at your business success strategies is vital for future business growth. Review the comments made by your customers. Look at commons, trends, peaks, and valleys in your business during the 2013 year. Use this data to make changes and adjustments to increase your opportunities for continued or new success. One of the most important investments you will make in your business is taking time to truly evaluate where you are currently in your business. Identify any gaps or barriers to your success and then act upon your findings.

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Review and complete the business scorecard below and use the results to start achieving your business success for 2014.

  • Development of Smart Business goals. SMART Goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic- Results, & Time Oriented.
  • Listen to Your Customers!
  • Are you trying to do too much yourself? Maybe it’s time to delegate. Hire a part-time assistant or college intern.
  • Who is your Audience? How are you promoting your business? What’s your Marketing Plan? Do you have a website and a social media presence?
  • Make business planning a weekly event. What’s working? What’s not? Adjust!
  • Learn something new. Enroll in a course to increase your knowledge level. Stay connected and abreast in your industry!
  • Join a business organization or networking group. Increase your Audience!
  • Give back to your community.
  • Do you have the right tools and resources? What equipment do you need to be successful? Get it!
  • Take time for you and recharge. Business Success is Challenging!

Until Next Time, Be Sincere, Kind and Intentional
Jackie Warner, Career Development Facilitator
The Bridge “Where Community Matters”

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12-7-2013 8-43-39 AMAs we start to prepare for Christmas and the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping, what is on the wish list for you and your loved ones? Does your list possibly include the latest IPhone, laptop, a big screen television, fashion jewelry, clothing, expensive sneakers, or maybe new games for the Wii or other electronics? I am sure the list goes on and on.

‘Tis the season for sharing and at Christmas we do believe in sharing. Let us reflect for a moment on what so many of us are really sharing: the countless number of credit and debit card purchases, bank withdrawals, and eyes glazed over when looking at sales ads of fruitless saving gimmicks at the mall and area shopping retailers.

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So I ask you: what should we be sharing this Christmas season? I challenge us all to really think about what true sharing means during this holiday season. Pause and consider the real reason for the season by saying “Thanks be to GOD for another day to share the gift of love and service to others!”
I was recently speaking with my daughter about what gift I would really love for Christmas this year. I asked her to interview her grandfather, (who is my father,) about his life growing up over the years. I wanted her to write it down and wrap it up for me this Christmas. I told her this would be the perfect gift for me!

The gift of love is priceless, and should say “I love you,” or “I am thinking of you,” but many times too often, we tend to measure our gifts against what others in the world will think, and not against the heart. If it is truly a gift of love, it should not stress us out or have us worried about paying off the vast amount of debt accumulated during Christ’s season.

All Sales Gimmicks Aside- The Best Black Friday Deals are listed below:
Gifts of love, simple acts of kindness,
time, service and friendship
Until Next Time, Be sincere, Kind and Intentional
By: Jackie Warner, Career Development Facilitator
The Bridge “Where Community Matters”
View From The Bridge

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11-2-2013 8-28-13 AMCalling All Home Renters….
I know many of you have heard the phrase “allow your money to work for you.” Stop and think about it – are you? Are you a renter or do you know someone who is renting or leasing a home, apartment, or business property? Stop throwing your money away; better yet stop making someone else rich on your dime!
Let’s make sure that I am clear on renting. There is nothing wrong with renting if you rent with a purpose. If one chooses to rent, then choose wisely. Renting should be temporary and not for the long term. Money paid for rent will continue to build equity for your landlord and leave you high and dry without any return on the money spent during your rental agreement.

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Instead of paying your landlord’s mortgage, start putting your money to work for you by paying your own mortgage. The money you pay toward your mortgage will build equity for you, and not someone else.

11-2-2013 8-32-00 AMIf you already have a home… then consider investing in another real estate property to keep, sell, or rent. You then become the landlord or the seller and are able to take your profits and do as you please; hopefully that involves saving and doing your research to find the next investment opportunity.

Home ownership can be a reality when you take the right steps for home buying success:
1. Check your credit score (If there are issues, find out what it will take to get your score where it needs to be. Clean it up and start making the effort toward owning your home!)
2. Contact a lender/bank to see how much you can afford.
3. Know your rights when making a purchase. ( Ask questions.)
4. Determine the best loan program for your particular situation; there are various home buying programs available today with excellent interest rates. Do your research.
5. Understand and be prepared for the costs associated with your purchase.
6. Start shopping for your home. (Have a realistic wish list.)
7. Shop for something you can truly afford; do not max out your budget.
8. Make and negotiate the offer.
9. Have an inspection prior to making the purchase.
10. After purchasing the property, keep it in the best condition possible for re-sale opportunities.
11. Pay extra monthly toward the principal on your property loan for quicker payoff and decrease the amount of interest being paid.
12. Start looking for your next investment!
Until next time, be sincere, kind and intentional.
Jackie Warner, Career Development Facilitator
The Bridge “Where Community Matters”