Passion Wins Magazine, January 2019

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PASSION WINS January 2019 |

“I blossomed. I have a better mindset— being around people helped me think for myself more...” p. 30




See where last year’s featured students are now, and learn about the Youth Empowerment Academy.

There is power in political representation. “We, the people,” must include us because nothing less than our future is at stake.

The College and Room Essentials (C.A.R.E.) Initiative was designed to help students who struggle to pay for college necessities.


THANK YOU TO OUR INVESTORS Mission Accomplished Transition Services offers a variety of programs and initiatives that help students transition from school to career. These programs would not be possible without our investors. Companies, organizations, and individuals support Mission Accomplished by investing their time, talent and treasure.

Time: Individuals investing countless volunteer hours to execute quality programs, events, advisement, and governance.

Talent: Sharing specific professional network, skills, reputation, and other resources to

help us help students prepare for careers, higher education, and philanthropy.

Treasure: Individuals, for-profits, and non-profits investing money or goods to help our students thrive, and help Mission Accomplished survive.

These investors come from a wide variety of indus­tries and they bring various talents, experience and specialties that enable Mission Accomplished to continue supporting students in the Capital Region and beyond.

Mission Accomplished would like to thank all of our investors. You are making a difference!


FROM THE CHIEF COACH & FOUNDER Dear Influencer: In 2017 we published our first magazine and here we are presenting you with Issue 3, now named Passion Wins. We chose this title because our work is dedicated to helping our students find, define and chase their passion while unapologetically asking (kind of demanding) help from those in positions to give them access to the right people, places and opportunities. We help them put all the pieces to their jigsaw puzzle together. A jigsaw puzzle is a mind game that starts in pieces and the beholder must use their strategic thinking and visual skills to interlock each shape revealing a beautiful masterpiece. Each part of your life includes these pieces:

People: The individuals who will help you mold, refine, design and bring your vision to reality or discredit your ambitions. End relationships with people who do not believe in your vision.

Experiences: The experiences you allow yourself to explore influence how hard you pursue

your vision and goals. From the career you are in to the culture of your workspace to the places you travel to the food you eat. All experiences influence your motivation, happiness, perseverance and even discouragement. Disconnect from those experiences that discourage you!

Focus: Maintaining focus helps you actualize the steps that will bring you a sense of gratification and accomplishment.

Determination: Maintain a level of determination. While in pursuit of your vision and goals, you will experience obstacles, do not allow them to stop you.

Self-Care: While pursuing all that you’ve ever dreamed of, schedule time to relax.

Time: Manage your time wisely to make sure you produce quality, measurable outcomes. This is your year of transformation. Your year to rethink. Your year to reveal an unforgettable masterpiece. With a hug,

Carmen Duncan

Carmen “Coach Carmen” Duncan Chief Coach and Founder Mission Accomplished Transition Services


TABLE OF CONTENTS 7 The World is Expecting You... As you strive for change, be prepared to wait. Waiting does not mean you have given up. You are just waiting for the rest of the world to catch your vision.

8 Partner Story:Proctor’s Mission Accomplished Transition Services and Proctors Collaborative have overlapping missions of launching young professionals and students into the workforce prepared, supported, and energized.


13 Gap Year Programs Gap years provide time to explore interests, give back, learn about other cultures, build confidence self-reflect and grow.

18 Five Simple Shopping Tips Blair Brodar, celebrity fashion stylist, offers tips on how to look and feel your best.

19 Theater Spotlight 20

Growing up I always had a thirst for theater, a need to be on stage...

20 Millennial Impact: Run for Office There is power in political representation. “We, the people,” must include us because nothing less than our future is at stake.

21 Construction as a Career Choice A few good reasons to consider construction as a career...

28 Where are they Now? 26

Since being featured in the 2018 Passion Wins magazine these students and alumni have made some headway.

30 Youth Empowerment Academy Mission Accomplished Transition Services was selected to develop and deliver the Youth Empowerment Academy (YEA) in the Capital Region.

32 Student Success: Manny Manny is on the rise. He acknowledges his growth and development, it is quite amazing to watch.



ABOUT OUR STORY Mission Accomplished Transition Services, Inc. was founded by Carmen Duncan, a millennial who dodged the potential negative outcomes of teenage homelessness and poverty. She beat the adverse childhood experiences with the help of family, coaches, mentors and sponsors who believed in her ability to control her future and pursue her vision. Carmen’s life experiences motivated her to “pay it forward” by establishing an organization that provides career coaching, mentorship and sponsorship from leaders who recognize the power of rising professionals, the skills they already have and are committed to helping them make their dream careers a reality. Mission Accomplished is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located in Albany, NY. Mission Accomplished was incorporated December 2012.

OUR MISSION We envision that students will become mature, active, compassionate citizens who are empowered to take responsibility for themselves and promote a future of purpose. We live our vision everyday by helping students develop their self-identity and recognize themselves as powerful members of society who influence societal change and the business market.


THE VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE Why did you choose Mission Accomplished Transition Services The purpose of Mission Accomplished and the energy of its founder, Carmen Duncan, pulled me in. I like being part of something that supports students as they embark on academic and career pursuits.

What was your experience as a volunteer?

Mary-Ellen Piche Volunteer C.A.R.E Initiative Advisor

Which program, event, or project did you help with? I participate in the C.A.R.E. Initiative, a program that provides school supplies, bedding and toiletries to students entering college and vocational schools.

I had the opportunity to tell students about the program, encourage them to apply and review the applications to select the awardees. It was rewarding and fun to interact with the students.

Would you recommend others to volunteer with us? If you are looking for an opportunity to make a difference, I enthusiastically recommend volunteering with Mission Accomplished Transition Services.

Jamel Mosely Volunteer Marketing Advisor Owner and Creative Director of Mel eMedia Vice President of Marketing for Collectiveffort

Which program, event, or project did you help with? I consulted with RPI students as they developed marketing strategy for Mission Accomplished Transition Services as part of their course work.

Why did you choose Mission Accomplished Transition Services I choose to continuously volunteer with Mission Accomplished Transition Services because I was once a young person who was in need of services exactly like those offered.

What was your experience as a volunteer? I was able to volunteer in ways in which I felt encouraged,

empowered, and valued. The team asked me to perform tasks that were catered to my strengths. I was given some direction, but was allowed the autonomy to showcase my expertise and share my knowledge.

Would you recommend others to volunteer with us? Yes, because your volunteer opportunities are immediate and impactfull.


The World is Expecting You, Your Spot has Been Reserved

By Carolyn McLaughlin, Retired, President of the Albany Common Council (2010 – 2017) Common Council Member (1998 – 2009)

In my over twenty years of public service I have learned many lessons. A rewarding career in politics does not come without sacrifice and challenges. If you are following your purpose, you must and will press forward. At this point in time, I strive to share the benefit of my experience with those who are looking down this same road. These lessons are universal in application. We are often admonished that “failure is not an option” but I’ve learned that “failure is not fatal, but a reminder to keep moving forward”. I offer the following as “Carolynisms”; words to live by as you seek your place in the world.

“failure is not fatal, but a reminder to keep moving forward” Be Patient, Be Polite, Be Persistent. As you strive for change, be prepared to wait. Waiting does not mean you have given up. You are just waiting for the rest of the world to catch your vision. It may take weeks, months, even years to see the results you are seeking. Be Present, Be A Good Listener. Show up when you are invited into the room. Know that you would not be there if you didn’t have something of value to offer. Speak up! Those in the room and others outside, whom you represent, are counting on you to represent them. Develop good listening skills and deliver the correct message when you enter and when you leave the room. A Challenge Should Bring Change, Not Pain. If you keep the collective goal in your view, challenges will motivate you. Be optimistic and know that your “labor is not in vain.” Someone Is Always Watching You. Look around you; who can help you, who can you help? Agree to Disagree, With Understanding, and Move On. Differences of opinion provide an opportunity to learn.

Work for Results, Not to Be Liked. You can’t and won’t please all the people, all the time. Rather, seek compromise. If Not You, Who? Your Assignment is Not About You, but for those you have been given the opportunity to serve. In the Process of Leading Change, Take Care of Yourself. You can’t help anyone or lead the charge if you are not healthy. Expect to make personal sacrifices but don’t be a martyr! Leadership and Loneliness are Often Linked. You can’t take everyone where you are trying to go. Others don’t want to go with you. Staying focused on the prize can be lonely. Pray for Wisdom and Understanding of Self and Others. Exercise emotional intelligence. Know who you are and strive to know how you respond to others. Never Self-Select Out of an Opportunity. If an opportunity is presented to you, go for it. Step into it. Remain optimistic! As Michelle Obama states in BECOMING, “Failure is a feeling long before it’s an actual result.”



School Programs Director School of the Performing Arts

Mission Accomplished Transition Services and Proctors Collaborative have overlapping missions of launching young professionals and students into the workforce prepared, supported, and energized. It’s a natural fit. Working in partnership with Mission Accomplished has benefited more than the students in the Proctors Collaborative CapCom Internship Program. Being a part of the coaching sessions with Coach Carmen and the interns has given staff and managers a better understanding of how to coach students towards goals both personal and professional. Managers become mentors, and interns become more empowered to get the most of their time with us. This has proven invaluable in growing the internship program to be more meaningful and purposeful in its mission.




As a young professional, an internship is one of the most important learning opportunities you will have during your education. An internship can show you exactly what you want to do, and the goals and values that are most important to you when searching for a career. In my opinion, my internship with Mission Accomplished Transition Services (Mission Accomplished) allowed me to grow into the student, young professional, and leader I am today. With Mission Accomplished, I was able to see how making a positive impact in my community is an essential part to who I am and what I want in a career. Having the opportunity to work one-on-one with Coach Carmen and the members of her team allowed me to improve my current skill set while continuously expanding my knowledge and confidence in my work. As the summer marketing intern I was taught important graphic design skills with Adobe Photoshop and Canva, and had access to professionals who are experts in my field. I was responsible for creating social media graphics, which allowed me to take pride in my work and put me ahead of my peers with practical experience. The team at Mission

Accomplished made sure I felt accepted in the workplace, and allowed me to choose projects that interested me, such as researching new business ideas. I was even given time to participate in seminars and self-directed learning to improve my marketing knowledge. I truly felt that I was a part of the team, and the work I did every day was making a difference with people right in our community. My time at Mission Accomplished allowed me to meet and create business relationships with many professionals that have shared their knowledge with me. These relationships have made me more confident with networking and allowed me greater access to career opportunities in the Hudson Valley area. My message to those seeking an internship: Choose Mission Accomplished Transition Services. Working with Mission Accomplished allows interns to see what it is like to work for a smaller company where your ideas and individual strengths are appreciated. Additionally, you see first hand the impact a passionate individual can have with focus and hard work.



By Anne Marie Vaeth

Formal internship programs at both Fortune 500 and local businesses have boomed with the millennial generation. Internships have become a staple of higher education, and mandatory in many degree programs. An internship, as defined by the Department of Labor is “formal program providing a practical learning experience for beginners in an occupation or profession that lasts a limited amount of time.” Legally, internships can be paid or unpaid. While there are benefits to the experience of unpaid internships or similar programs, the benefits for both the students and the company increase when interns are compensated. While unpaid internships and apprenticeships provide a valuable learning experience, as well as college credits, paid positions provide opprotunites for all students not just those who can afford to work for free. Companies that advertise paid

internships have a more diverse applicant pool. The fact is, many students cannot afford to work for free. Summer and holiday breaks, and time after classes are often used to make extra money to pay bills, tuition, books, and food. As of 2013, four out of five US students (including high school and higher education) worked while in school1. In fact, African American and Hispanic students are much more likely to be holding college debt after graduation than White and Asian students2. For the students, participating in a meaningful paid internship often involves having more marketable experience and the ability to carry a professional workload. Paid interns are less likely to act as a secretary, make copies, and run errands. Paid internship programs have a higher tendency to provide interns a stronger workload that adds to a portfolio or project list. Additionally, students who hold paid internships are also more

likely to receive a job offer prior to graduation. In fact, 65.4 % of the class of 2014 who completed a paid internship at a for-profit company received a job offer, compared to 39.5 % of unpaid interns, and 38.6 % of students who did not intern at all3. Often paid interns are more likely to put in a greater amount of effort and become more invested in the company and the position. Having an intern interested and passionate about their role at a company can be a huge benefit. ENCOURAGEMENT: INVEST IN YOUR INTERNS! 1: Fottrell, Quentin. “80% of students work at least part-Time.” MarketWatch, 8 Aug. 2013, www. 2: Lucas, Suzanne. “A Strong Case for Why You Should Pay Your Interns.”, Inc., 22 Apr. 2014, 3: Soergel, Andrew. “Paid Interns More Likely to Get Hired.” USNews, 5 May 2015, news/articles/2015/05/05/study-suggests-coll



53.3% 17.5% 5,469

By Anne Marie Vaeth

are employed full-time are continuing their education

are entrepenuers who have started their own business

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers report, “First Destination Findings for the College Class of 2017,” over 50% of bachelor’s degree recipients were employed fulltime, and close to 5% had part-time employment. The survey gathered data from 360 colleges and universities, completing outcomes of 549,664 students, which accounts for roughly 28% of all bachelor’s degree graduates. Of those students, 17.5% were continuing their education. However, over 15% were still seeking post-graduate employment or continuing education. Smaller percentages account for those in the military, postgraduate internships or fellowships, with temporary or contract jobs, or engaged in freelance or gig work. Interestingly, 1% of graduates were working as entrepreneurs - running their own businesses. Although 1% appears to be an incredibly small amount, that’s over 5,000 young entrepreneurs. If that 1% represents an average of the entire class of 2017, that could mean 20,000 entrepreneurs came out of the class of 2017. NACE. (2018, December). First Destination Findings for the College Class of 2017. Retrieved from


GAP YEAR PROGRAMS A gap year is a year spent between life stages, such as between high school and college, or college and career. Gap year programs are increasing in popularity in the United States - for example, Malia Obama took a gap year between graduating high school and attending Harvard University. Gap years provide time to explore interests, give back, learn about other cultures, build confidence self-reflect and grow. Gap year options include national and international travel exploration, volunteering, internships, or working. Programs can be through an agency, or independently developed by the student. Students should take into account what goals they have

for a gap year while researching programs. Goals include the broad idea of “finding oneself,� exploring the world, giving back, or figuring out what to do next. THE STATS: According to the American Gap Year Association statistics 97% of students who traveled abroad during a gap year say they gained maturity, and 73% say their gap year increased college readiness, another 60% said their experience confirmed or influenced their choice of college major. In addition, gap years help build confidence and self-awareness. Despite the benefits of a gap year, there are a few things students

By Anne Marie Vaeth

need to consider in addition to the obvious. While many colleges allow, and some even encourage students to defer their acceptance for a year, other colleges may not. Other than enrollment, deferring financial aid is not necessarily possible. Given the costs of gap years, especially those involving travel, students tend to come from wealthier families. However, as the idea of a gap year keeps gaining popularity, more scholarship options are becoming available, and a gap year is definitely something all students should consider. The Gap Year Experience: A Life-Changing Opportunity. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www. gap-year Oppelt, K. (2016, August 23). 5 Reasons to Consider a Gap Year Before College | Money. Retrieved from



Every Tuesday Mission Accomplished shares professional tips on our Facebook page. Here are some of our top picks.


Your Skills Matter. Don’t underestimate the skills you acquire with each position you hold,

including volunteer work.


Career Services Matter. If you are in college, be sure to visit your career services

office at least once.


Practice. Practice your elevator pitch by recording it on your phone and watching until you’re comfortable with your delivery.



Stay Encouraged. Never let disencouragement or fear set you back from following your dreams. Self Respect. Be true to yourself and respect yourself. Make the commitment to stay true to your

value system no matter how enticing an opportunity may seem.


Passion Trumps All. Be passionate about what you do in both your personal and professional worlds. Allow your passion, your life’s mission and your purpose to lead you, unapologetically.



The Coaching Pathway is the formula of all Mission Accomplished coaching programs. Transition coaching and group coaching all follow the coaching pathway. The basic steps of the pathway show how students will succeed with our guidance. Each program begins with trust and ends with a transformation. Mission Accomplished Coaches empower students to transform into who they want to become and accomplish what they aim to achieve.

HOW DOES IT WORK? The Coaching Pathway begins with the formation of a positive relationship between the student and coach. The students’ vision is defined and goals are laid out. Through exploring opportunities, creating a strategic plan and putting that plan to action, students accomplish their goals and achieve their personal success.



Create a trusting relationship with your coach, define your personal life purpose and establish academic and career goals in order to foster the relationship

Explore Explore careers, college, vocational training and leadership development opportunities

Strategize Create a game plan to gain access to the people places and opportunities that will help you accomplish your goals

Transform Transition from the coaching process, fully launch your career and education path then begin to teach others


Put your goals into action, stay motivated and stand out from the competition



By Blair Brodar

The workplace is an ever-changing environment and companies today are constantly evolving and revamping their images. While many companies offer a more relaxed dress code , many of us still have to follow strict wardrobe guidelines. So how do we navigate these guidelines and still maintain our own personal style?

1) Accessories

When I work with clients I always include key elements that are identifiable and unique to them. By layering key pieces like a fun printed button down shirt and a bold colored sweater under a structured blazer instantly adds style to what could otherwise be a boring mundane look. The use of scarves, handbags and belts can completely change the feel of any look. Try adding key pieces such as a statement necklace and stud earrings to the look.

2) Shoes

If you’re anything like me I need to be comfortable when I’m working because I’m on my feet all day. But that doesn’t mean that I am willing to sacrifice my personal style! If you have a job that allows you the creative freedom to express your own personal style then you’re in luck. Many of us, however, don’t have that freedom. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have plenty to choose from - adorable flats with fun prints to chunky heels, ankle boots, wedges or knee high boots we have plenty to work with.

3) Color

I love working with color. Adding vibrant colors not only enhances our moods but also dramatically changes our outfits. The use of textured fabrics, subtle patterns and prints can easily take an ordinary suit to something stylish and fun. Spend a little time exploring what pops of color make you feel good that you can add underneath a work suit over a top or dress.

4) Hair & Make-Up

A fresh face and updated hair style can be a total game changer. You’d be amazed what a few highlights can do to

frame your face and brighten any skin tone! A little time spent at the beauty counter with an expert make up artist is a worthwhile investment. This doesn’t mean you need to spend hours on make-up but a few key pieces are a must. Take five minutes every morning to throw on a little blush, mascara and a fun lipstick to add a pop of color and you’ll be ready for the day!

5) Intimate Things

I encourage all my clients to feel great from the first piece of clothing they put on every morning and that starts with the basic foundations. Having a great fitting supportive bra to seamless panties, hosiery and even socks be as creative as you want. Since you’re the only one seeing your undergarments be playful, feel sexy, and boost your confidence!

Blair Brodar is a Celebrity Fashion Stylist who provides clients with wardrobe assessments, image consulting and rebranding services. She’s spent over a decade traveling the world working for clients such as Lady Gaga, Oprah, Gwenyth Paltrow, ‘’American Idol’’ contestants, and several Broadway shows. She was featured as the Wardrobe Makeover Expert on The Rachael Ray Show for several years , making over viewers across the country. Today she continues to serve her private clients both locally and around the world.

Blair Brodar, Yoga Instructor


THEATER SPOTLIGHT By Morgan Elizabeth, Illuminate Theatre

kept me there. Then I was given a little sister, a mentee. When I met her I knew that I couldn’t leave the school that way, I knew that I had to leave something behind that gave other girls like me the will to speak up for themselves and do something to make a change. In high school I was told by my friends who I should be. I was told that because I was mixed race I wasn’t black enough to braid my hair or talk a certain way or dress a certain way. When I got to college I was told that I was too black to be cast in the plays that I wanted to be in, too black to talk a certain way, dress a certain way or act a certain way. By the end of my second year in college I was broken. I had tried to drop out several times before, I was getting ready to go abroad and that was the only thing that

My entire life I was fighting to figure out who I was. When I got to college I was fighting to combat racism, microaggressions and discrimination yet, no one knew. So, in my third year I wrote a play about my life, about finding myself, about fighting for what I believed in. That play helped me to graduate on a good note, its helped me find hope again, find me again and he allowed me to share my story with the world. The response was incredible, so many other people were looking for the same opportunity, the same hope. So, I started Illuminate Theatre so

that myself and everyone else could continue to tell our stories. Growing up I always had a thirst for theater, a need to be on stage. Unfortunately, I didn’t see a lot of people on stage in Albany that looked like me. As I got older I continued to notice that there wasn’t a wide range of opportunities for people of color. When I got to college and started asking why this was I was told that there weren’t enough black professional actors in Albany to cast “ Black” shows. I wanted to find those actors and create or develop a new community of talented actors of color who have previously be left in the shadows. My advice to upcoming theater artists is to create opportunity where there isn’t any. If you want something to happen, make it happen.

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By Na’ilah Amaru

What Does Political Representation Mean to You? According to the Pew Research Center, in 2019, millennials will surpass Baby Boomers as the largest generation. In 2015, the U.S.Census reported more babies of color than white babies were born, reflecting the changing face of America. The challenge of our generation is transforming our demographic and population growth into political power.

officials with the lived experience to offer a different perspective. Diversity in thought, often rooted in the identities we carry, shape our politics and the policies that govern passion for public service and run our cities, states, and nation. for office. We must lead by example and the next generation will see As a political operative with political leadership looks like them. scars earned on the battlefield of politics, I understand how critical There is power in political representation is in the corridors of representation. “We, the people,” power. By running for office, you are must include us because nothing less than our future is at stake. stepping into a different sphere of leadership and these tips will serve A Little About Na’ilah Amaru: your journey as you enter politics This past November, an America’s communities deserve with a purpose: unprecedented number of meaningful engagement with a millennials, minorities, and women • Know your “why” responsive government. Throughout of color ran for office and won. Still, • Decide which elected position her 15+ year career as a public is the best fit we are not proportionally reflected servant, Na’ilah Amaru’s mission has in the halls of government and fall • Assess the political terrain been to strengthen that engagement short of a representative democracy. • Get comfortable asking for by driving public policy and money (and be good at programs that effectively address How then, do we change the face of raising it) the needs of diverse constituencies government and flex the political • Grow thick skin – from local neighborhoods to the muscle of our generation? Run for corridors of Capitol Hill. • Be yourself office. Make an Impact. Public policy reflects government decisions. Who benefits, who loses, and who has the power to decide? As a rising leader, consider expanding your public service from the nonprofit boardroom to the ballot. In doing so, you will literally be at the proverbial table of power. And that matters. As a legislative advocate I have engaged in countless conversations where nuances of policy consequences are overlooked because there are no elected

Breaking Glass Ceilings and Building Legacies. 2019 brings America many “firsts” as history-making candidates rise to positions of power in an institution never created for us. Yet, it is not enough to be the first, if we remain the “only.” We must build as we climb and blaze new trails for those that will follow.

As a natural bridge-builder, Amaru uses her platform to connect underserved communities with their government officials, while in turn ensuring that elected leaders never forget who they were put in government to serve: the people.

With a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities that exist across the advocacy and public policy spectrums, Amaru As a generation, we are 83 million has rich and diverse experience strong. As people of color, we in: Nonprofits (direct service and make up 44% of America’s largest electorate, and as women we are advocacy), Government (city, half the population. Now is our time state and federal), and Campaigns to offer our skills, experience, and (electoral and issues).


CONSTRUCTION AS A CAREER CHOICE Our country offers a variety of career paths that feed the passion of so many, from the medical field to construction. Most people do one of the following every day: wake up in a home, walk on concrete, use a faucet, or travel over a bridge. Each of these constructs are measured and built by teams of craftsmen and women. According Deb Carpenter-Beck, here few good reasons to consider construction as a career for yourself or to consider exposing a rising professional to the opportunity: 1. Construction is one of the top 10 best paying jobs for college graduates with an average starting salary of $45,591, according to a 2014 study by Michigan State University. 1 2. You don’t have to have a college degree to enjoy a rewarding career in construction. According to Don Whyte, president of The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), “60 percent of jobs are going to be for students who have two-year certificate or degree programs and technical education background.” 2 3. The industry is ripe for anyone with technology skills. Today there is much more use of sophisticated laser and GPS-guided equipment, building

By James Mitchell

information modeling (BIM), and cloud-based mobile applications. The future holds even more promise from a technology perspective. Drones, robots, and 3-D printing are all breakthrough technologies perfect to increase productivity, reduce costs, and improve safety in construction. 4. Construction offers plenty of opportunity for career advancement for all workers. 5. Construction is creative. Whether it’s a technician on a plumbing service call, a project manager faced with an unexpected issue on the job site, or a CFO making sure a construction firm’s profit goals are met – creative thinking and problem solving is a daily requirement. This is not brain-numbing work. 6. Today’s construction is green. Many construction firms are part of the solution to build more responsibly and sustainably to protect our environment. 1. Jacobs, P. (2014, November 10). The 10 College Majors With The Highest Starting Salaries. Retrieved from 2. Carpenter-Beck, Deb “Six reasons why construction is a cool career choice”

22 The Satisfashion Outlet provides rising young professionals, transitioning within the workplace, stylish yet affordable clothing. Our generous donors contribute high-quality, gently-used professional attire for young professionals to purchase at the economical price of just $5 per bag. Each donation benefits the Own Your Career Institue: Fashion Edition, a program that helps rising young fashion professionals bring their career to the next level. The Outlet also features a boutique of on-site fashion services including styling, alterations, makeup and skincare tutorials. Through our collaborative efforts within the Capital Region, our Satisfashion Outlets are hosted by partners from colleges and community-based organizations. Stay tuned for upcoming dates at a location near you...

Albany: March 2019 Troy: May 2019 Albany: August 2019 Schenectady: November 2019 If you would like to host the Satisfashion Outlet, or donate professional attire contact Coach Carmen at or 518-207-0209






in partnership with:





6:00PM — 9:00PM MUST BE 18 — 35



TRANSITION COACHING Customized coaching just for you!

Get one-on-one help to feed your life purpose and achieve your specific career, higher education, community engagment, and charitable giving goals.

Photo: Carly and Jennifer Gish, Senior Editor at the Times Union

Our coaches will: ►►Work with you to design an organized course of action to push you toward your goals and help you follow your purpose. ►►Help you explore college, vocational, employment, and leadership development opportunities. ►►Improve your communication skills and business etiquette. ►►Help you learn how to hustle and leverage connections with the right people to gain access to the right places and opportunities.


WHAT OUR STUDENTS SAY... “This program, specifically the workshops have quelled some of the fear about the coming few years that I have held. I have learned so much during this time that instead of frightening me more, [the class] has relaxed me and made me more confident moving forward.” Theo Dimin Freshman at the College of the Atlantic C.A.R..E. 2018 Class

“It was very eye-opening to learn about how I was spending my money/time and I would have never realized if no one sat me down and told me to write it all down.” Sutina Li Freshman at SUNY Binghamton CARE 2018 Class


THE C.A.R.E INITIATIVE WHAT IS IT? The College and Room Essentials (C.A.R.E.) Initiative was designed to help students who struggle to pay for college necessities. From tuition and fees to books, transportation and housing, higher education has a high price tag. The C.A.R.E. initiative helps lower that price tag by providing students with a C.A.R.E. package, complete with a variety of school supplies, bedding and toiletries. The C.A.R.E. Initiative is made possible by sponsors, including Cap Com Federal Credit Union, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) and SUNY Community Services Club, as well as private donations.

HOW TO APPLY? Accepted students will need to participate in a two-day, six-hour Higher Education Prep series that focuses on time and financial management, goal setting and the power of networking. Students must complete the full application, which includes an essay. Students will be accepted based on the quality of their essays. Anyone who has an economic need is encouraged to apply! The online applications go live in January of each year.

WHAT IS INCLUDED? WHO IS ELIGIBLE? Students who have been accepted into college, gap year or a vocational program for the fall term. Students must have some level of economic need.

Bedding Essentials: pillow, comforter and sheets, bedside organizer, storage bin, mattress pad, topper, bed risers, and more. Toiletries: disposable razors, shaving cream, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner Bath Essentials: shower caddy, towel and wash cloths School Supplies: planner, notebooks, pens, mechanical pencils, binders, highlighters and pocket folders Miscellaneous: cutlery set, blanket, and laundry bag

Learn more at Call Coach Carmen to invest or donate supplies


INAUGURAL FRIENDSGIVING TOP CHEF COMPETITION On November 9, 2018 we hosted our first Friendsgiving Dinner. The event was one of many events leading up to our 4th biennial Dancing with the Stars Dance-A-Thon scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 13th from 12 pm - 8 p,m at Hackett Middle School in Albany NY. The event featured three chefs within our local community who bring delicious food into the homes and community spaces of friends and family. CELINA OTTAWAY, COMMUNITY + PRIVATE CHEF Business Name: Celina’s Kitchen Celina Ottaway took an eventful route to her current role in the community as a loving private chef. The plates she prepares are influenced by her global life experiences as a journalist who has traveled through various cultural neighborhoods and homes. Her past and current international experiences motivate her to wow her customers with vibrant, bold, rich flavors that they cannot resist. TANIKA SMITH, COMMUNITY CHEF + PRIVATE CHEF Business Name: #KitchenLove Tanika Smith, is a mother of a son in college and a daughter in elementary school. She finds herself in the kitchen more than the average person. While she does get up every day and make her way to a desk job, her passion stays in the kitchen. DONA XU, RISING CHEF Born in China and raised in Brooklyn, Donna Xu grew up with her grandfather’s cooking and memories of his small, home garden as well as neighborhood pizzerias. She moved to Troy, NY to study entrepreneurship, obtaining an associate’s degree in business administration at Hudson Valley Community College. Her appreciation for good food led her to Sunhee’s Farm and Kitchen, an immigrant-owned family restaurant with a mission rooted in community-building and sharing stories through food. Donna is currently a student in the culinary arts program at SUNY Schenectady.


WHERE ARE THEY NOW? We stay connected to many of our students as they continue to pursue their career, higher education, community engagement, and charitable goals. Since being featured in the 2018 Passion Wins magazine these students and alumni have made some headway.

IMANI “When I was applying to colleges there were those I knew I would get in to, those I thought I could get into and those I thought ‘What the heck am I thinking?’ I’m never going to get in here!” Imani said. Her courage influenced her to apply anyway. On December 10, 2018 Imani received an acceptance letter from Cornell University. Last year, she discused the charity she established to help orphans in Cameroon, a country in Africa. Unfortunately, due to political conflict in Cameroon, Imani was not able to complete her annual visit to HOTPE orphanage. She continues to raise awareness and funds for the orphanage until she it’s safe to visit again.

IAN Ian’s 2018 higher education goal was to get into Bard College. Today he is a freshman at Bard College pursuing a double major in music and human rights with a concentration in terrorism and extremism. In 2018 Ian and his band, Odd Cadre, have played in eight venues within the Capital Region and one venue in New York City. He is certainly on the rise in his career and education! Ian’s journey to college has helped him see the world through a more critical lens, he says “I’ve realized the benefits of taking initiative and advocating for myself.”


KAT In a year Kat has learned so much about herself. As a person, student, teacher at times, entrepreneur, and millennial in the 21st century. She says “I get mad at myself for not being on Forbes 30 before 30 list yet” [then she chuckles]. Learning the art of patience has helped her a lot with her career as a rising event producer and entrepreneur. She’s made a commitment to being patient with herself. She says “I haven’t thrown an event in so long because I want the next event to be better than the last. So I’ve been taking time off to really focus on bettering myself and the events I create. I always want them to be an experience and something people remember.” The first event for 2019, to be produced by Kat under her

company name #Untitled, will be a Pop-Up Brunch at Troy Kitchen at 77 Congress St. in Troy NY. In terms of her goals, working towards her career is her main focus. Kat says “I want to own a Tavern or Lounge, similar to Troy Kitchen.” She wants her venue to be a food + bar + event space. Every day she is working towards her goal and every year she gets clearer and clearer on next steps. Today Kat works at Troy Kitchen, she says “from the events I throw or assist with, to the way I serve customers behind the bar, to randomly cleaning tables/windows if they’re dirty just ‘cause. It’s just training for when I do have my own, at least that’s what it feels like.”


YOUTH EMPOWERMENT ACADEMY: CLASS OF 2019 By Carmen “Coach Carmen” Duncan + Dr. Amy Svirsky

Creating environmental and systemic change is not all about empirical research, as we know it through professors at researchbased universities. Graduates from the School of Hard Knocks, a “school” that provides education from challenging life experiences, bring our own set of empirical data. The marriage between the two is what influences collaborative change. The Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) is listening to those in and who have graduated from the School of Hard Knocks and taking action. The team at DCJS has a commitment to including youth voice in the decisions made for youth in the juvenile justice system. In 2018 DCJS selected Mission Accomplished Transition Services to develop and deliver the Youth Empowerment Academy (YEA) in the Capital Region. The main goals of the Youth Empowerment Academy were to:

• Assist youth and young adults, age 16-24, formerly involved in the juvenile justice system with developing the leadership, motivational interviewing and advocacy skills that enabled them to conduct focus groups • Present policy recommendations to New York State and local policymakers Prior to the delivery of the focus groups, the youth facilitators participated in a three day retreat. Day 1- The Youth Facilitators developed an understanding of the Academy and their role as senior and junior Youth Facilitators. Day 2- The Youth facilitators developed their stories of self (individual stories) + us (their collective story as a team/group). Day 3- The Youth Facilitators developed an understanding of the strength behind building a team foundation and trust that enabled them to develop and facilitate focus groups. Following the retreat, through weekly skill development coaching sessions delivered July 2018 - August 2018, the Leadership Team and Youth Facilitators decided to utilize panel discussions as their focus group format, these events were open to the public. The team facilitated three panel

discussions. The title of the panel discussions was Families Working Together to Improve Juvenile Justice Policies and Community Support. A total of fifteen community members attended the events. The audience/community members comprised of family members involved in the system to Social Workers helping families in the system. The panel discussions were cofacilitated by one Senior Youth Facilitator, one Junior Youth Facilitator and the Program + Special Events Coach. As a result of the panel discussions, we compiled a list of 12 recommendations to present to the JJAG. The Voices of the Youth Facilitators by the end of the Academy:

I blossomed. I have a better mindset—being around people helped me think for myself more. I don’t care about speaking in front of people now and don’t care what anyone thinks [about my story] I took away a lot—how to lead a panel discussion. I like the criminal justice field. Everything we did was a learning experience that we did take in. The way you guys taught us over time and broke it down—that helped me blossom and helped my leadership skills. I need to get better at being prepared at meetings. I’m a 7 now (on a scale of 1 to 10). I was like at a 3.


Recommendations for Policy Change and Implementation

Youth Empowerment Academy, Mission Accomplished Transition Services 1. Make early prevention programs available to families at the first sign of need, not after their first offense. 2. Provide liaisons to connect families, schools, clubs, etc. to develop a succinct team to develop goals and a well-rounded plan with youth in and preparing for transition from the juvenile justice system.

9. Connect an unbiased adult, Youth Advocate, who will work to understand a young person’s state of mind/cognitive development, their ability to process and make good choices, and their version/ understanding of their story.

3. Exit plans from youth detained in detention centers, jails, etc. should include trainings on social developments such as pop culture, fashions trends and the technological advances they have missed while incarcerated. 4. Use a liaison to develop relationships between the parents, schools, program leaders, counselors and other adults or programs that are meant to be positive instrumental forces of growth for young people, especially those who are considered at risk. 5. Train staff and authority to teach, mentor, sponsor and coach students with a growth mindset, not a punitive mindset. 6. Develop a pipeline of information for parental and legal permissions in regards to youth in the media after engagment with law enforcement. 7. Develop ways to give families the tools to support their youth with developing coping mechanisms and bonding skills.

Senior Youth Facilitator, Terrell

8. Provide families with training that will teach them NYS policies and procedures. As well as informing parents and guardians of their rights and options.

Program and Special Events Coach CoCo developed and led the Youth Empowerment Academy

10. Use the Positive Youth Development framework as the guide to creating programs and the 8 Settings of Positive Youth Development as a checklist. 11. Note: Families who appear in court, get arrested, loose youth to the juvenile justice system are not interested in connecting more with the system than necessary. We recommend supporting the community based organizations (CBOs) and non-profits who are already making an impact in their communities. Find spaces where community leaders who have similar experiences, cultural backgrounds, and family backgrounds connect with CBOs in order to support, mentor and coach the young people and families engaged in the juvenile justice system. 12. Seek to place families and young people with programs that allow them to create healthy, happy and productive next chapters for themselves.



By Carmen “Coach Carmen” Duncan

Manny and his mother, Maria, in his dorm at Bard College

Manny was connected to Mission Accomplished Transition Services through the City of Albany Youth and Workforce Services and his mother, Maria. He was a junior at Albany High School with ideas about his future, but he was not quite ready to share all that he had in store for himself. The first three months of his coaching program he shared general ideas with us but never truly getting too specific or too personal. As my relationship strengthened with Manny he expressed his interest in fine arts, human services, entrepreneurship and theatre. Today, Manny is a freshman at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Since stepping foot on campus he’s started two clubs, starred in two plays and holds down two on campus-based jobs. He’s on the move! When I asked Manny how he has grown, he quickly shared “Overall I think I’ve been exploring the aspects of vulnerability in the work I produce. As a growing artist, I’ve noticed I’ve been guarded. I’ve been afraid to present my true self through my artwork. This stems from generational things - coming from a lower income, black community males have an expected persona to keep up. Working on

performance and visual pieces in college I’ve learned that in order to create pieces that show the true nature of the world I experience I needed to let my guard down. I needed to risk being denied by the world in order to grow as an artist. I’m still working on navigating being a vulnerable black man in today’s world but I’ve certainly noticed a shift within myself. And that may have been one of the toughest lessons yet.” Then he continues with “I worked with Whitney White, a well-known director and musician in Brooklyn NY, on one of her many her adaptations of “Three Sister’s” by Chekhov. Many of my fellow performers wanted advice on navigating the theater world post-Bard college. She held an hour discussion but essentially she said it boils down to this one principle. If you can’t find work that works for you, create your own. That was very moving because as a student and artist I was frustrated with the lack of representation, specifically people of color, in performative theater at Bard. This prompted me to start a People of Color Theater Ensemble group at bard with my friend and colleague Jadyn Gray-Hough.” Manny is on the rise. He acknowledges his growth and development, it is quite amazing to watch. He is naturally and unapologetically employing two key steps within our Coaching Pathway - Lead By Example and Transformation.


Volunteer Coordinator: In this role you will help us recruit and retain volunteers. Satisfashion Outlet Advisors: In this role you will help us coordinate and execute our Satisfashion Outlet. Learn more about the outlet at Next Gen Council Members: As a member of this council you will assist the Community Advocate team with educating the career canidates about construction related careers and minority and women owened business enterpirses about subcontracting opportunities. Empowerment Coaches: In this role, once per quarter, you will guide students through professional development activities that assist them with setting goals and strengthening specific skill sets. Board Candidates: In this role you will assist with governing the organization. Prior to serving in this role we engage you in multiple volunteer activities then the board will engage you in the board interview process. Experience Council Members: As a member of this team you will will advise us on the design, coordination and execution of our various special events and projects. This team meets every other Tuesday from 6 pm - 7:30 pm. Learn more at

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