Monthly Archives: June 2015
Interview Series: Danielle Hardy, Community Donations Specialist for Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania
|June 30, 2015||Posted by M. P. under Interview Series||
Danielle Hardy is the Community Donations Specialist for Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania, where she focuses on donation acquisitions and community outreach events. She is also on the board of directors for Macedonia Family and Community Enrichment Center Inc., a faith-based non-profit community outreach of Macedonia Church in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, PA. As an organization, Macedonia FACE is committed to living out its mission to encourage the development of healthy families.
Years in the Pittsburgh area?
I was born and raised in the city of Pittsburgh. I left my beloved city to attend Virginia Tech but I couldn’t stay away long and returned right after graduation.
What was your first job?
I worked as an Assistant Event Coordinator at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens where I provided day-of coordination for weddings and other special events throughout the year.
How were you drawn to nonprofit work?
Since I was young I knew I wanted a career that bettered the lives of others. I always told myself that I would find the cure to cancer. Unfortunately, I am terrible at chemistry! But working in nonprofits has been a good second choice career path that has allowed me to do work that matters.
What is the first thing you do each day?
I don’t want to admit it, but if I’m being honest; the first thing I do each day is check my Facebook and Instagram. One day I’ll be able to say “meditation and yoga” … life goals!
What keeps you motivated?
I am motivated by my grandmother. She grew up in a time where women cleaned the house and cared for the children while their husbands worked and provided for the family. All she wanted was for me to have an education and a career I could be proud of. She didn’t get to see me graduate from college but she continues to motivate me. I strive to work hard and take advantage of every available opportunity because I know that’s what she would have wanted.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Think positively. You can’t have a positive life with a negative mind.
What are you reading?
“Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches: The Riddle of Culture” by Marvin Harris. This very interesting book discusses the “bizarre” behaviors of different cultures and explains how these behaviors always stem from concrete social and economic conditions.
What are you listening to?
Kanye West’s debut album “The College Dropout,” Adele’s “19” and “21” albums, and Sam Smith “In the Lonely Hour.” These are all my favorite albums and I will love them forever!
What is your go-to time-saving/productivity hack?
I don’t rely on my memory. Every day when I get in the office I create a to-do list and I arrange my daily tasks by level of importance. This way, I get everything out of my head and onto paper and I can physically cross it off of the list when the task is completed.
What issue or trend is currently affecting your corner of the nonprofit sector?
The current trend of unidentified donation bins; particularly the bins that do not clearly state that they are a for-profit agency that sells the donations and the profit generated goes straight into their pockets. Donors assume their donations are going to support individuals in need in their community and too often, that is not the case.
What is one goal that you hope to accomplish in 2015?
Professional goal: To collect 200,000 pounds of donations by my one year anniversary with Goodwill. I am currently at 189,333 pounds!
Personal goal: To have a healthier diet and cook at home more often. I am currently at pizza!
What is the best thing about the nonprofit sector in Pittsburgh?
The nonprofit sector in Pittsburgh is very collaborative. I’ve worked with several nonprofits and we are always looking for ways to help one another fulfill our missions.
Tell us a little about any upcoming events Goodwill is involved in:
Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania is partnering with Thrill Mill Inc. on the 2015 Thrival Innovation and Music Festival. The Thrival Innovation and Music Festival is Pittsburgh’s premier convening platform for new ideas, change agents, cutting edge technology, creative artists, and disruptive thinkers. Join us in September 2015 to experience Pittsburgh, and discover the blueprint for post-industrial resurgence.
The music portion of the event is an intersection of art and new ideas. Thrival will feature 25 acts from emerging international, national, and local artists. In previous years, Thrival has featured Portugal, The Man, Talib Kweli, Misterwives, De La Soul, and Moby. The 2015 line-up is coming soon.
The innovation portion takes place over the course of a week. Top level thought leaders and organizations present original innovation-focused events for the general public. This year, Goodwill will present a symposium focused on sustainability through creative reuse.
|June 24, 2015||Posted by M. P. under News, Policy, Research||
Americans with disabilities endeavor to find employment and are successful in overcoming obstacles in the workplace, according to the 2015 Kessler Foundation National Employment and Disability Survey, the first nationally representative survey to examine the work experiences of adult Americans with disabilities. Approximately 68 percent of respondents indicated they were looking for work, have worked, or were currently employed since the onset of disability. Persons currently working averaged 35.5 hours a week, and over half (60.7 percent) worked 40+ hours a week. The majority of those not employed (but looking for work) were actively preparing to enter the workforce in optimum condition by receiving medical treatment and rehabilitation (72.7 percent).
- Most respondents (86.6 percent) reported feeling accepted at their places of employment.
- Over half of those surveyed (68.4 percent) reported that their workplaces provided most or all of the supports or accommodations they needed. The most requested accommodation was schedule flexibility (28.4 percent).
- Challenges for those employed included receiving less pay than others in a similar position (16.5 percent) and management attitudes (15.7 percent). At least one-third of respondents reported overcoming one of these obstacles (38.6 percent for pay disparity and 41.3 percent for supervisor attitude).
The complete report, including video of the presentation of findings on Capitol Hill, is available at the Kessler Foundation website.
Report Citation: Kessler Foundation (2015). The Kessler Foundation 2015 National Employment and Disability Survey: Report of Main Findings. West Orange, NJ.
|June 11, 2015||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Health, Juvenile Delinquency, Policy, Research, Youth Development||
According to 2011 data, 12.5 percent of children under the age of 18 are abused or neglected in the United States each year. A Facts on Youth brief from the Center for Health and Justice at TASC cites a study published in JAMA Pediatrics that found confirmed maltreatment for 1 in 8 youth, with nearly 6 percent of cases (just less than half of confirmed reports) involving children ages 5 and under. The brief also notes that studies of child abuse and maltreatment that rely on self-reports rather than substantiated reports indicate a rate of up to 40 percent.
The Child Trends brief Preventing Violence: Understanding and addressing determinants of youth violence in the United States reviewed relevant research on interventions and policy approaches to reducing youth violence, with an emphasis on individual, family and school/community factors. This review identified several predictors of violence, including domestic violence, dysfunctional parenting, gun availability, low self-control, and lack of connectedness to school. Child maltreatment, however, was a strong predictor of nearly every type of violence. The prevention of child abuse and provision of interventions to address the impact of such trauma appear to be critical actions in reducing the potential of future violence. That said, although child maltreatment is a risk factor for criminal behavior, the longer term negative effects of that experience may be offset or amplified by other life events. Completing high school/getting a GED and getting married were two factors identified by a research team at the Social Development Research Group at the University of Washington as having a positive impact on a person’s life, thus reducing the power of the relationship between the maltreatment and future high risk behaviors. A history of maltreatment combined with additional risk factors, such as poverty, increases the likelihood of criminal behavior.
As safety and health are essential factors in optimal child development, and may affect a multitude of life outcomes, new strategies have emerged to better identify and “triage” high-risk situations. States are turning to the big data playbook to assist in investigations of abuse and maltreatment, using predictive analysis to help prioritize reports and better provide preventive services. Information such as family history, school reports and other administrative data, plus case officer knowledge, gives child welfare decision-makers more (if not necessarily better) data to guide the use of resources for the protection of children. Along with Connecticut, Florida, and Los Angeles County, Allegheny County here in western Pennsylvania is utilizing predictive analytics in an effort to reduce child maltreatment, abuse, and fatalities. For more information on how predictive analysis is being used in child welfare, see Who will Seize the Child Abuse Prediction Market by Darian Woods and Checklists, Big Data and the Virtues of Human Judgement by Holden Slattery, both in The Chronicle of Social Change.