Bringing Policy to the Table: New Food Strategies for a Healthier Society

imageThis morning, we’re launching the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University and the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund’s Healthy Food & Community Change Initiative. The conference, Bringing Policy to the Table: New Food Strategies for a Healthier Society, features an incredible lineup of participants who hold positions in public office, philanthropy, nonprofits, and health entities. 

Want to learn more? The event is over capacity, but join us from the comfort of your computer! Tune into the livestream beginning at 8:45am, and tweet with us using #tcfood

Editorially, I’ve worked hard on this event, and I think it will feature fantastic conversation and ideas. Very worth joining in, or at least sharing with a friend or two!

Chris has been watching math videos (huh?!), so I tuned in for a few, including this video introducing differential equations. They’re really easy to watch, follow, and learn from, and the instructor is an absolute delight. It’s impressive to see lessons that are considered ‘upper level’ math presented with such ease and in such manageable chunks. I am sad that my last math class was 8 years ago; these mini-lessons are just enough to fill that void for awhile longer!

Even if you’re not a math person, there are videos for you! The Khan Academy is an online-based nonprofit with a mission to make quality education available to everyone. They have nearly 4,000 videos on topics from biology, to animation, to finance, to history. I love the mission and the execution; two thumbs up. Now go learn about differential equations!

People who are negative tend to want to demean people’s ideas. They say what they don’t like, but they don’t really say what they want to do. It’s very hard to have ideas. It’s very hard to put yourself out there. It’s very hard to be vulnerable. But those people who do that are the dreamers, the thinkers and the creators. They’re the magic people of the world. So try to strive to be one of those.

Amy Poehler

How to Be a Connector

Nine months ago, I shared an article called Forget Networking. How to Be a Connector. Since then, I have developed and offered a class on just that. It’s been a popular class – surprisingly so – and I’ve learned a lot through teaching it. For instance:

  • People have a hard time realizing their existing network.
  • There’s genuine interest in developing stronger connections with people, but fear of going about it the ‘wrong’ way.
  • It’s a tough sell on why you’d want to go out of your way to connect two people with each other, because people want to unveil the hidden agenda.

I’ve also fine-tuned my definition of a Connector, which I think was a huge self-learning for me in 2012. I didn’t previously parse out what exactly makes me a Connector, nor did I think about why it is an asset that I can leverage in my career or otherwise. Here’s how I define it:

Connector is a person who…

  • has lots of great people in their network
  • naturally introduces members of their network to one another
  • is socially fluent
  • is known and respected in their communities

…and who uses that power to bring individuals in their network together constructively and with overall success.

This year, I have embraced this personality trait and run with it, and I’m proud to have connected people over ideas, shared interests, collaborative potential, accountability, research, and resources. I enjoy connecting good people, and am fortunate to have (or to create) many opportunities for doing so. It’s a science, an art, and an energizing delight. 

Most exciting to me is that connecting people unleashes unlimited potential. I can’t wait to see what partnerships, conversation, and social change are sparked through catalytic connection; the power never stops!

Mobilizer Academy: New Leadership Opportunity

If you know a Millennial interested in developing leadership skills and tackling community needs, join Mobilize.org‘s Mobilizer Academy to get access to training, mentors and fellow Millennial social change-makers. It’s not bound by geography or background; this is a phenomenal opportunity for anyone looking to make a difference. I have extreme confidence in this pilot program and look forward to following participants’ impact over their careers.

Learn more about the program, nominate someone, or apply today at bit.ly/MobilizerApp. And share this opportunity; applications are due December 19.

The role of the SNAP program isn’t to provide additional money to paid government volunteers; it is to help feed hungry American families.

Senator John Thune, R-ND, in an article framing food stamps as a perk for paid government volunteers.

Right. Food stamps (SNAP benefits) are to help feed hungry Americans. At an AmeriCorps salary, especially in a city where needs are high and the cost of living is far higher than in more rural areas, it’s tough to get by. Being an AmeriCorps volunteer means that you make sacrifices and cuts, but safety nets like food stamps are there to support people having a hard time supporting themselves who (hopefully) are working honestly towards making ends meet (and making their communities better). AmeriCorps employees are and deserve the support of any safety nets they can access should they choose to.

Further, if AmeriCorps volunteers could opt into food stamps but only if they are then be ineligible for the education stipend, we as a country are training the exactly right people to become civicly excited and motivated, and then are pulling the rug from under them and making it far more difficult for them to get degrees often needed to apply their skill base and experiences on a more impactful level.

Even further, AmeriCorps volunteers accessing SNAP benefits does not take those benefits away from anyone else who is deserving!

Or, maybe the Senator is correct. In that case, let’s get used to the idea that AmeriCorps volunteers will increasingly be those coming from comfortable economic backgrounds. Because it’s tough to get by on an AmeriCorps salary alone.