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safe, loving, nurturing, & family friendly Seeking a

day care program?


visit or call 919.255.3434 Mention The City Insight to receive $50.00 off your registration fee Appletree Day Care is ready to help foster the development of your 6 week old to 12 year old child with its educational based programs, which are provided by credentialed and degreed teachers and staff.

Offering "Before" and "After" school care, while promoting a "healthy learning" atmosphere is what Appletree is all about! Give your child the gift of learning in a structured environment while you are away!

Locations on: Old Poole Rd, Clarendon Crescent, New Bern Ave, & Poole Rd

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Let our featured businesses & organizations know you saw them in The City Insight magazine. This will help us highlight and maximize The City Insight’s business network and enhance your shopping experience with our clients. Want a Deals Store and Business Directory Listing? Click here.

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Inside This Issue Greetings! As always, first we want to thank you for

your support of The City Insight over the years. It is

very much appreciated! We are excited about this 10year anniversary issue. We decided to select July to

release the issue before we hit our 11-year anniversary in November. In this issue you will find that coming to the table to build business and community matches

the mindsets of those highlighted. The City Insight’s


company culture consists of keeping businesses


and make available the resources of products and/or


business or consumer.


Inside this issue you will also find articles such as

LIAISONS Abonni Anthony (Business) Rene Daughtry (Technology) Sheyenne Kreamer (NonProfit)

and communities first. It is imperative to be united

services that could be of value to someone, whether a

“How to Reduce Costs for College Students and Plan Successfully”, “Raleigh’s Brownstone: A Resourceful Gem”, and “My Son, SPD, and Me”, for example.

Additionally you will find business showcases from rising companies positively affecting our cities.

Collaboration is key to be able to turn the wheels of

success. Having said that, The City Insight is excited about its exclusive partnership with the Doubletree by Hilton Raleigh Brownstone, to create the

environment of collaborations and networking, as well as accommodations. We ask that you RSVP to our

monthly “Industry Influencer” Networking event every 3rd Thursdays at the DoubleTree by Hilton Raleigh

Brownstone. Make sure to follow The City Insight to be notified of all events.

You may ask, “Well how do I get connected?” To get

connected, you should signup to our newsletter, LIKE us on Facebook, attend our events, and keep your sights out for City Insight. Thank you again,

The City Insight, Inc.

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Aaron Andrews Kris Alvarenga Brittany Davis Ella Frazier Joshua Henry Sheyenne Kreamer For Employment Opportunities The City Insight, Inc is published bi-monthly. Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content in any manner without the written permission of The City Insight, Incorporated is strictly prohibited. 2007-2018 Copyright, The City Insight, Inc. All Rights Reserved


How to Reduce Costs for College Students and Plan Successfully


Elite Sitters: Taking the Stress Out of Babysitting


The Vegan Model, Billie McDowell: Representation of Healthy Living


Raleigh’s Brownstone: A Resourceful Gem


A Fan of Apprenticeship Programs


Reviving the Mind With Clara


Stepping Stone Staffing: A Rising Star in the Staffing Industry


My Son, SPD, and Me


Not Everyone with a Blog Can Be Called A Journalist


Why Consumers Are Now Producers With Social Media



on the cover:

The City Insight - Bridging Businesses and Communities through Shared Industries ...Page 26

How to Reduce Costs for College Students and Plan Successfully


Elite Sitters: Taking the Stress Out of Babysitting


A Fan of Apprenticeship Programs


My Son, SPD, and Me


Why Consumers Are Now Producers With Social Media


The City Insight, Inc. P.O. Box 28857 Raleigh, NC 27611

Phone: (919) 696-3250


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Are you a business owner and seeking affordable methods of reaching your audience? Email us at

LET US ADVOCATE YOUR BUSINESS: The City Insight believes in the betterment of small businesses and non-profit organizations. Join us today and participate as a Business Member for only $15 per month OR purchase a 2-month magazine ad for as low as $40. Or maybe you need graphic design, flyers, logo, brochure, or business card design? Contact us and we will provide a quote.


How to Reduce Costs for College Students and Plan Successfully

Why Sage? SAGE (Savings And Growth for Education) was developed by educational visionaries, including the former director of admissions and financial aid at the Wharton Graduate School of the University of Pennsylvania by Dr. James Johnston in 1995. Now, SAGE is the nation’s largest private college savings program, as measured by participants & eligible assets. For example in 2015, participating students submitted rewards points valued at $57.2 million to member colleges, meaning $57.2 million dollars saved off tuition cost! Today more than 390,000 students are now enrolled in Tuition Rewards program. SAGE Tuition Rewards Points represent guaranteed minimum scholarships — discounts on undergraduate tuition starting with the freshman year — provided by member private colleges & universities. The scholarships, based on Tuition Reward points earned, are discounts off the ‘list price’ of tuition -- and represent the minimum amount of scholarship that a student would receive at a 8

member school. Many students receive more aid beyond our Reward points – because of ‘merit aid’ or financial need. The maximum award with SAGE per student: Up to one year of tuition FREE!!! Public (state) colleges & universities give very limited financial aid that is not based on “need” and are thus not eligible to participate in Tuition Rewards. Also, an important fact is that private colleges have significantly higher 4-year graduation rates than state schools and thus cost less than most people realize (67% graduate in 4 years at a private university, 28% at a public university). The objective of SAGE is to help individuals and families save & prepare their children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. for college. That is the bottom line! Our unique reward helps with college selection & funding, and our program resources available to all members such as, the ABC’s to college planning, financial aid 101, student access to member college information, and much more!! Remember, as of Feb. 1, 2016, over 350+ member colleges in 45 states participate in the SAGE

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Private College & University Enrollment Consortium. Typically, 20 new colleges per year join the consortium. This provides an excellent platform of choice for the parents and students. So, how do I get started with SAGE and to receive points for these private colleges and universities? Connect with one of many SAGE financial affiliates which includes state 529 college savings plans, banks, credit unions, insurance companies, mutual funds, etc. These financial affiliates will provide Tuition Rewards to Clients based on the value of eligible assets under management or products purchased. For example, Herring Consulting & Financial Group, Inc. ( specializes in College Education Planning in the States of North & South Carolina with a array of product selection to serve your needs, which costs towards rewards points. Also, you will receive 500 points immediately just for discussing SAGE with a HCFG, Inc. representative. Contact us today to get started! or Scholarship at Advertise or Exposure?


Elite Sitters Taking the Stress Out of Babysitting By Joshua Henry Summer! This time of the year conjures up images of beach getaways, picnics at the park, and lazy days on the hammock. However, summer also means no school and that can mean spending all summer balancing work and fun while ensuring your kids are happy, healthy, and welllooked after! While this may be easy for some, most of us struggle with finding the time to keep an eye on our children and keep our 10

job! Luckily, there are services like Elite Sitters eager to help us make the most of our summer! Elite Sitters is a fairly new service, having been born in April of this year, yet they are already making a name for themselves in the nanny/babysitting world! Charity Martin, President and CEO of the company, understands the need for parents to find that reliable and trustworthy babysitter or nanny in a world where it can be hard to find decent help. The organization, which is a babysitting and nanny placement agency that works as an interim between families looking for qualified help in the area, is ready to serve you. Charity, who began babysitting and helping out families in the neighborhood at the age of eleven, continued to find a passion for it throughout her teenage years. She enjoyed it so much, she began working for Building Blocks Childcare in Clayton, NC. This offered her the opportunity to gain experience as a helper in classrooms for children and to gain first-hand experience with individuals with developmental disabilities like Autism and Down Syndrome. Later on, she would help tutor the children at her church and eventually teach children’s church. It was in seeing the need for help in this particular area of life that inspired Charity to start Elite Sitters, so families all over the community could sleep easy knowing their children were in capable hands.

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you will be getting more than a sitter or a nanny; you will be getting an extended family of sorts that will be there for you and your kids to make sure life goes smoothly! Of course, there are plenty of companies that offer similar services throughout North Carolina, so what sets Elite Sitters apart? For one thing, it is Charity’s mission to ensure that she is personable with all her clients to better understand their needs and wants. In doing this, she can easily find the sitter or nanny that will be the perfect fit for the family. Not only are these sitters a great fit for the family, but they are also thoroughly vetted with background checks, CPR certifications, and other requirements that make them the best person to be caring for your family. The people of Elite Sitters understands that entrusting your family or children to another person, a stranger even, can be terrifying. That is why one of the core values of the company is trust! Charity and everyone at the company wants to make sure that the people in their employment are trustworthy, professional, and engaging with the families they work with. This means that

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If you still aren’t convinced that Elite Sitters is the perfect place to find that sitter or nanny for your family, then just look around the community. You can find Charity participating in events throughout, like the run/walk for Autism that takes place in downtown Raleigh every year or even helping out in her church. Plus, there are plans to incorporate Elite Sitters into charity and social events throughout the North Carolina area. So, when times get tough and you could use an extra pair of hands, visit and find that extra help in the form of a vetted and reliable sitter/nanny!


By Brittany Davis

The Vegan Model, Billie McDowell: Representation of Healthy Living

When you think of Billie McDowell, bachelor’s degree and varsity letter earning athlete, you might think vegan, but not model. Well, Billie is both of these things. She has dubbed herself as The Vegan Model, not only for her own personal beliefs and brand, but to help as many people as she can. As a member of the NC State Women’s Basketball team for four years, Billie earned a degree in Sports Management. After a successful college tenure, she had the opportunity to play professionally in the European league in the Netherlands. Billie is living life to the fullest and being a role model has come naturally. Whether she is inspiring another young girl from a small town to follow her dreams on the basketball court or in the fashion industry, she always makes sure that her life can help encourage others to press forward and never give up. Her healthy and positive lifestyle has already been commended by many friends and family. Billie aka The Vegan Model (TVM), is the perfect representation for healthy living. The Vegan Model’s decision to change her entire lifestyle now almost 4 years ago was an easy decision. For TVM, her family history was the number one reason. Her mother and maternal grandmother are both breast cancer survivors. She ultimately lost two aunts to pancreatic cancer. Changing her diet and learning about the things that she puts into her body came very easy for her. She also chose a vegan lifestyle to preserve animals and prevent cruelty. As many of us have seen, there are dozens of videos that show how animals are birthed, caged, raised, and then slaughtered for humans to eat. After serious research on the topic, TVM couldn’t see herself eating food that was raised in inhumane conditions. If you sit and think about it, there is no way that the types of farms can produce anything healthy to humans other than meeting their demands of the simple need. 12

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The Vegan Model’s purpose isn’t to bash or disrespect meat eaters. Her overall goal is to encourage people to be the best they can be. Her way of living happens to be vegan, so that is the platform she uses. She understands that everyone’s idea of a “healthy lifestyle” doesn’t line up exactly with hers, but she still can attract these types of people through other examples such as exercising, better quality of foods, meditation, and education. This past May, she completed her first Meatless May Challenge. Over 25 friends, family, and a few strangers committed to not eating meats, poultry, or seafood for the entire month of May. Throughout this challenge, TVM coached many individuals daily by posting information on “The Vegan Model” Facebook page. Over 87% of the participants stuck with it the entire month and at this time, many have decided to continue becoming full time vegetarians and vegans! From growing up in a small town, earning a college basketball scholarship and graduating with a bachelor’s and master’s degree, unbeknownst to many, Billie has always had her sights set on modeling. She is extremely passionate about everything that she does. Her determination and willingness to succeed has already paid off; helping her become a fresh new face in the modeling industry. Billie has completed several projects. Billie was the principal talent for a health and wellness company for over a year, Total Life Changes. She was also the lead role for Dixie and the YMCA. She also modeled clothing for a local establishment, Proverbs Clothing Company, LLC. In addition to print work, she has walked in runway shows for Elizabeth Kennedy, Christian Siriano, and Ebony Fashion. TVM knows that in the modeling industry her body is her number one brand so all of this just makes sense to her. Being healthy. TVM can also be known as the health ambassador for her family and friends. She leads workout groups, creates personalized workout plans, meal plans, grocery lists, live cooking demos, positivity and encouragement, free of charge to anyone who feels they need it or whom she can help. Billie is looking forward to being a continual beam of light for those around her. She doesn’t do it for praise but for the simple pleasure of helping the next man be a little bit happier and healthier. Sharing, mentoring, and motivating is her life mantra in all aspects. I hope that she has done that for you. Website: Facebook: The Vegan Model Instagram: Billie413 Advertise or Exposure?


By E. Frazier

Raleigh’s Brownstone: A Resourceful Gem for Businesses and the Community Built in 1966 at 1707 Hillsborough Street, the Brownstone has survived all of the changes in Raleigh not only by its great location, but most of all, its great service. Nestled just minutes from downtown Raleigh and Cameron Village; the Brownstone is one of the first hotels built on Hillsborough Street. The Brownstone has succeeded the Velvet Cloak Inn, Raleigh’s first hotel to open “outside” the downtown area. Since then, Hillsborough Street has developed into a bustling city street in Raleigh. Acquired in 2004 by Sotherly Hotels, the hotel underwent a $5 million renovation in 2011 covering all areas before its conversion to the DoubleTree by Hilton Raleigh Brownstone. The Brownstone has changed with the times to offer all of today’s amenities to the diverse population. It offers todays amenities but also with southern charm for which North Carolina is known for. When you visit the Brownstone whether it’s to attend a meeting at one of more than 16 meeting rooms totaling approximately 15,000 square feet, or staying in one of the more than 190 luxury hotel rooms; you will experience the utmost in southern charm through its exceptional customer service. You will experience today’s comforts by relaxing in its spacious guest rooms with large work areas, Tempur-pedic or Sweet Dreams® by DoubleTree Sleep Experience beds, large flat screen high-definition TVs, complimentary high-speed internet and much more. DoubleTree also offers all of the latest in technology and upscale amenities such as 37-inch HDTVs, clock radios with MP3 connectivity and complimentary WiFi. 14

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However, this is just a small part of your experience, you have the option to start your mornings at the Brownstone with a DoubleTree buffet breakfast. For lunch or dinner, dine at the Harvest Grille. Cocktails are served each evening at the stylish Bistro bar. Then there is the signature fresh baked chocolate chip cookies served as only a DoubleTree Brownstone can. After all of the fantastic foods you will encounter during your stay, whether you are eating in at either the Harvest Grille or the Bistro bar or going out into the City of Raleigh, you may want to work off some of those extra calories. If this is the case, enjoy the on-site fitness room or just steps away you can enjoy complimentary guest access to the neighboring Alexander Family YMCA or take a swim in the Brownstone’s pool. The Brownstone is nestled in the heart of all kinds of wonderful attractions such as Cameron Village, Pullen Park, downtown Raleigh and all of the State government buildings. Additionally, the numerous shops and dining options on and around Hillsborough Street offers a plethora of options. Not to mention the wonderful campus of North Carolina State University, Meredith and St. Mary’s Colleges. All of these attractions are within walking, driving or biking distance from the hotel. If you did not bring your bike, you can usually find one or two just outside the entrance of the hotel for your convenience. Whether you will be at the Brownstone by DoubleTree for just a few hours or a few days, your experience will be one filled with excellent customer service, numerous amenities and great attractions, which are all to make your stay one you will want to repeat, whether for business or pleasure. The Raleigh Brownstone and The City Insight created an exclusive partnership to benefit businesses and the community in many way. For your next event, email to see how the DoubleTree by Hilton Raleigh Brownstone/City Insight partnership can benefit you!

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A Fan of Apprenticeship Programs? Surprise! Here’s a Type Your Didn’t Expect! (And it’s totally misunderstand!) By Sheyenne Kreamer Ever since I graduated high school and headed straight into a manufacturing apprenticeship program with a Fortune 500 company, I have been a fan of apprenticeships. Hands-on learning and an opportunity to get paid - does it get much better than that? Just recently I was talking to a sharp 22-year-old who was working in a health food store. When I asked him what it is he would really like to be doing, his eyes lit up and he said, “I would love to be an apprentice working in HVAC”. I’ve personally heard that we could use more HVAC technicians, but interestingly, we had a hard time finding much information about such opportunities when we searched Google, and even the local community college. Then when I asked him what he would like to be doing with his time if he didn’t have to worry about a paycheck, and his demeanor changed even more, sporting a big grin as he said, “I would be learning about all kinds of science. More about physics and energy, and plants that can help our bodies be healthier!” Believe it or not, I have an apprenticeship opportunity that is perfect for this young man to learn 16

more about science. And I’m helping him further investigate the HVAC thing, too! The apprenticeship opportunity I’m speaking of happens to be an opportunity to partner with a wellknown doctor who loves to teach about plants, foods and nutrition that can make our bodies healthier, and this young man could even be making money at the same time as part of a (gasp!) network marketing company. Most of the people I meet have no idea how valuable this industry is as an apprenticeship opportunity. Every company I have ever experienced has the following valuable benefits that are hard to find most anywhere else: Mentors who are willing to invest their time, and sometimes their money, in YOU before they ever make a penny on their efforts! Access to professionals in amazing industries who will teach you (often for little or no money) about the justice system, ways to take better care of your health, numerous ways to save money on things you purchase every day, how to make money on the

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internet, how to build wealth - and so many other things I don’t have time to list! Amazing education, at far less than the cost of college! A way to teach people about business and help them build their confidence in their ability to produce their own income - without having to handle all the operational pieces that other entrepreneurs must handle. A team-building structure that allows you to pair people up in a team so they can best utilize their natural gifts and talents and have success regardless of their weaknesses. A way to build what I like to call “automatic money” - money that keeps dropping into your bank account whether you’re working or not. (yes, there are alternatives too depending on a questionable social security check!) Something else that may surprise you is that people can find opportunities to start their own business these days for as little as $5. While they are not all that low, I’ve seen many recently with an entry-point of $25 or less. Since I’m into surprising people today, let me add one more thing you might not have thought about. There are a lot of non-profits out there that are struggling for funds that could use this type of apprenticeship to create funds for themselves, while helping their clients. Case in point. I used to live just down the street from the very first store of a wildly popular ice cream company. Before they sold the company to a larger conglomerate, they used to have something called “partner

shops”. They would set up a non-profit to own one of their franchises. Clients from the non-profit worked in the store. Profits from the store funded the nonprofit’s services. Here’s the difference between setting up a network-marketing-based apprenticeship and a franchise-based apprenticeship - far, far, far less up-front cost with network marketing. And quick turnaround to get things up and running. We invite you to think on these things the next time you come across someone, young or old, who really just wants an opportunity to create their own income. We have incredible options sitting right in front of us (there are literally thousands of companies people can partner with!). Be aware that many of our adults AND youth today learn best in a hands-on learning environment. My husband and I are already implementing this form of apprenticeship with young people, people who have experienced homelessness, people who are recovering from physical and mental challenges and those who have had experience in the justice system. Care to join us? Email promo@thecityinsight. com and mention this article.

City Directory Listing Shiloh Restoration Church, Inc. Pastor Felix Iyoko 7304 Falls of Neuse Road Raleigh, NC 27615

By Aaron Andrews

Reviving the Mind with Clara: Changing the Tone of Alzheimer’s thru Music! Alzheimer’s! This is a term that is probably known by many but understood by few. Society doesn’t necessarily promote discussion on this disease, but it is one that is affecting so many across the globe. Luckily, there are organizations like Reviving the Mind with Clara (RTMWC) that are working across the world to bring comfort and support to those who suffer from Alzheimer’s. RTMWC’s mission is to reach all cultures and people around the world to touch the lives of those who think they are alone in the struggle with Alzheimer’s. Through music and laughter, the organization wants to help heal the hearts and souls of those affected by the disease all over the globe. They also hope to share as much information about the disease with as many as possible as there is not enough information being circulated in the world. RTMWC realizes that our seniors need us, and we need to take the time from our busy lives to check on those aging relatives, neighbors, and friends around us and know what signs to look for. Therefore, the organization provides 20

outlets for families to get the proper education as it relates to Alzheimer’s. They then link families with the appropriate organization that suits their needs from counselors to doctors to transportation services. It is important for everyone to understand that even though an Alzheimer’s attack has occurred to a family member or friend, they can still laugh, love, and have a perfect peace of mind. A fairly new endeavor, RTMWC began with Ms. Clara singing and reaching out under the name of Unlimited Praise and Worship. Through Ms. Clara’s singing, the organization grew, and the name changed to Clara Pulley and Friends. Finally, Reviving the Mind with Clara came to be upon realizing the power of the voice and purpose added to the strength of the song and could help strengthen those dealing with Alzheimer’s directly and indirectly. What sets the company apart from other organizations doing similar work is that RTMWC doesn’t just focus on treating the survivors of Alzheimer’s, but they also assist the caregivers. This is done

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by providing education, resources, and assistance with caring for their loved ones. RTMWC understands that Alzheimer’s doesn’t just impact a single individual but has lasting affects for those who love someone afflicted by the disease. The organization currently hosts formal benefits, which is the main event of the organization that all other events market and support, that is open to the public. There are also health fairs to bring awareness and support and this fall the company will host their first “Walk for Alzheimer’s” in the form of a fashion show! As the company is getting up and running they have big plans to be involved with the community. Currently, they are on the lookout for local community events that align and/or complement with the mission and goals of the organization. In the meantime, you can find RTMWC visiting different

assistant living facilities where Ms. Clara sings for and with residents and also shares the services of the organization. RTMWC is proud to be an organization that anyone can be a part of. It is important to them that people become inspired to get involved, not only because they have friends or loved ones diagnosed with Alzheimer’s but because change is for everyone. Though RTMWC’s primary focus is Alzheimer’s, the organization feels they can apply the same concepts to other mental illnesses. The company is in the community to serve as support and welcome to those directly or indirectly affected by Alzheimer’s, other mental illnesses, and those who love music! So, if you know someone who has been affected by Alzheimer’s, or simply want to understand more about this disease, reach out to Reviving the Mind with Clara at and make a difference!


A Rising Star in the Staffing Industry! A new company has popped up on the scene; a diamond in the rough, a job creating machine! In case you’re not already aware, we’re talking about Stepping Stone Staffing, LLC! And we’re not the only ones talking! . . . . The Greater North Carolina Triangle Area is buzzing with news of this new staffing agency that aims to bridge the gap between high quality staff and the employers who seek them! Stepping Stone Staffing is a temporary/tempto-hire/direct hire agency. With highly qualified staff and an emphasis on integrity, dignity, and success, this company is ready and able to go that extra mile to match you with the employment opportunity that best suits you and your circumstances. Overall, Stepping Stone Staffing aims to decrease unemployment, reduce recidivism nationally, and increase familial support among felons. The latter is of particular importance because it will cause these individuals to become fully re-integrated and contributing members of society, who create a positive impact in their communities and the nation. Their mission alone shows that Stepping Stone Staffing is a company that does not recognize employment challenges! D. Monae Moore established Stepping Stone Staffing, LLC in St. Louis, Missouri in 2005. D. Moore is a former Probation & Parole officer, Child Support Enforcement Technician, and Veterans’ Affairs Field Agent. The experiences in these fields helped open her up to the realization that assisting individuals with finding gainful employment--especially the harder to employ--is her passion and spiritual calling. She also found that her clients completed community supervision more successfully when she was the liaison between offender and employer. Hence, she decided to separate from state employment and establish Stepping Stone Staffing, LLC. After all, she has always believed that success is born from helping others succeed. This remains a driving force behind the company today. 22

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And while many staffing agencies exist in society today, what sets Stepping Stone Staffing apart is that this agency’s focus is not just on employment but on the total success of the employee. This means, not only finding them gainful employment, but also providing an adequate living wage and benefits and services that aid the well-being of the employee’s family unit as well! In addition, Stepping Stone Staffing serves not only the public at large but also job seekers experiencing employment challenges, such as felony convictions, military service-related disabilities, and insufficient childcare. Utilizing a proven, holistic approach, Stepping Stone Staffing is able to assist clients, their families, and others who may have been impacted by their circumstances. Stepping Stone Staffing is also active in the community! As a member of the Knightdale Chamber of Commerce, D. Moore frequently supports the Chamber by participating in Knightdale community functions. Also, D. Moore recently represented Stepping Stone Staffing at the 7th Annual AME Empowerment Center charity celebration in December 2017, offering information, employment applications, and interviews to attendees. The agency also hosts hiring fairs and participates in job fairs around the Greater North Carolina Triangle Area. As a God-centered entity with a spirit of community stewardship, Stepping Stone Staffing is also largely interested in lending qualified talent to neighboring businesses to help them reach their growth and developmental goals. So, whether you are an individual seeking employment; or a company interested in growth, cost efficiency, and quality talent, definitely put in a call to Stepping Stone Staffing! As their tagline states, they’re “Your Stepping Stone to Success!”

My Son, SPD, and Me By Kris Alvarenga

This is only my personal experience and should not be construed as advice, but I need to tell you about my son... I have been blessed to have been given the most amazing child so late in life. My wonderful wife delivered on our son’s due date without complication. I held our miracle thinking “what am I supposed to do with you?” I was terrified that at 41, I was already past my prime to be a father. As our son grew, we noticed that things were “different.” He was lifting his head faster than normal and adapting to new experiences immediately. When he first stood up on his own, it was on my birthday when he was only five months old. Then he began to use furniture to help him walk around. We thought “look at our clever boy go!” At his two-year-old yearly checkup, his pediatrician told us that we had a 24

child who is intellectually gifted and we need to explore all possibilities to nurture this. At the same time, we also were experiencing things that deeply troubled him. He was uncoordinated; he could not look into our eyes when we spoke to him; sounds and textures caused him great pain; he was shyer than other children his age. Our concerns led us to seek help. He was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). What this means for him is that his senses become overwhelming due to his environment. This is what my miracle has to deal with in life. I wondered, how do you nurture a gift that he has, while trying to protect him from the painful world around him? After months of intensive research, my wife found the answer - homeschooling. As long as we can contain and control the environment around him, we can also help that little brain blossom.

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At the age of three, our son began his educational journey. It all started with an amazing online Preschool curriculum that consisted of 84 lessons to complete. I thought “Wow, what a challenge!” I was wrong. Six weeks later, he was finished. This was no fluke; we knew he had something beyond even us. My wife prepared him well for the move to Kindergarten, this time with a traditional curriculum along with his first nationally standardized end-of-year exam as North Carolina General Statute § 115C-564 requires. After doing fabulous in school, we selected the IOWA Test; he scored in the 99 percentile of all children in the United States. As our son continued to develop, so too did his sensory issues. We later discovered that because his eye sight was still developing while he was learning to walk, it disturbed the development of his hand-eye coordination and depth perception, thus adding to the disorder. Fortunately, one thing that did change for the better was his social skills. He became a social butterfly. He became a natural leader and has had places where he can visit such

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as Romp N Roll in North Raleigh where he thrives being around other children his age who accept him for who he is, and have met another beautiful friend who suffers from SPD just like him. As his SPD has worsened, he will begin occupational therapy soon to hopefully find relief. Yet, every day he continues to smile, laugh, and have fun as any four-year-old should. By the way, he’s in first grade now. We do our best to give him a balanced life. He has learned to be humble, kind, and a gentleman; a quality sorely lacking nowadays. I know that the challenges awaiting my son will be chaotic over the next several years, but I also know that he has a solid support system in family, godparents and friends who are always by his side. My son has taught me that SPD and other challenges in life do not define who he is, nor limit his capabilities; he says that it is what he has and not who he is. For parents and children going through your own battles, my son has a message for you-- “being unique is my super power and it is yours too.”

COVER STORY The City Insight

Bridging businesses and communities through shared industries By Kris Alvarenga

Celebrating ten years in today’s society is not only an accomplishment, but it is also a testament of great community service. The City Insight (TCI), founded by Joseph Crawford has proudly served the Triangle, which consists of Cary, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Durham, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Knightdale, Raleigh, and Wake Forest, as well as statewide, nationally, and globally, not only as a marketing leader, but also staying on top of what cities are all about by covering the news made by decision makers, entrepreneurs, community developers and more. TCI is also a “direct to consumer” and “business to business” all-inone marketing solution provider, providing businesses with effective marketing strategies, fostering strategic partnerships, and working in concert with small businesses to promote growth and development. It relies on powerful associations with community and business based organizations to provide exposure for their marketing partners at community and networking events. Events bring businesses together for the opportunity to connect and benefit from the many resources available that can assist any growth level. The City Insight covers people, events and organizations that have an impact in the industries that make up city living. Industries include, but not limited to, art, authors, beauty, bridal, business, community, fashion, financial, food, health, legal, music, nonprofits, real estate, technology, and Advertise or Exposure?

travel. We have featured Lizard Lick Towing, Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison, former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker, The Carolina Hurricanes, the late Coach Kay Yow, just to name a few. Additionally The City Insight had interviews with Dr. Maya Angelou, UNC-Chapel Hill Women’s Basketball Coach Silvia Hatchell, Pam Saulsby, Deborah Yow, Billie Redmond, Smedes and George York, Jimmy Wayne, Shirley Caesar and other wonderful people. During these ten years, TCI has developed online and digital media marketing strategies aimed to bring maximum visibility to their marketing partners. TCI builds upon strategic partnerships to bring more awareness of the industries that make up city living. The digital version of TCI Magazine, for example, allows businesses to have convenient promotion through the magazine’s inner pages and social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. TCI has an online base of 225,000 readers made up on 50.5% Female readers and 49.5% Male readers. TCI receives 24,000-50,000+ digital impressions per one digital issue, per year, based on paid social ads. Their readers also make up 14,870 social followers on various channels. The readers’ age ranges vary from 18-24 (14%), 25-34 (25%), 35-44 (23%), 45-54 (21%), 55-64 (13%), 65+ (4%) ; with the median age being 36 years of age. TCI has the ability to create a customized target market that matches its clients.


Joseph Crawford, Founder of The City Insight says that, “a solid digital media strategy from The City Insight provides the ability for our clients and partners to target those who follow their specific industries and demographics. Additionally, it is a great marketing tool to combine with any current marketing strategies our clients may already have such as a company newsletter or social media page to connect better than just company information. It builds morale and trust within the eyes and minds of others.” In an article published by Forbes Magazine, businesses were shown why digital marketing strategies are vital to a brand. The first reason was Brand Recognition. Social media channels have become a brand’s voice to all new audiences. It provides a brand the opportunity to communicate with old and new customers by answering questions, assisting with product and/ or service details, and receive feedback from customers about their own experience; and with brand recognition comes improved brand loyalty. According to a Texas Tech University report, brands who utilize social media channels have retained and increased higher loyalty from their customers. published an article titled “The 4 Essentials to Building Your Brand on Social Media.” Those four essentials are:

1. 2. 3. 4.

Choose networks that support your brand image; Provide valuable and shareable content; Leverage Influencers, and; Use social campaigns to promote content.

So what exactly is a brand? A brand is you… it’s that simple. YOU are THE brand. Whether you are a business, company, community, organization, or an individual, YOU are a brand. Imagine having a conversation with someone who is trying to help you understand what a brand is. “How can you be a brand?“ “Well, tell me how a person cannot be a brand? Stephen King is a brand.” “How is he a brand?” “Do you read his books?” “Yes.” “Do you buy his books because he wrote them?” “Yes.” “Then you are influenced by him, therefore you are influenced by the brand of Stephen King.” Does anyone know the story behind McDonalds? The initial business of McDonalds began in 1940 by Richard and Maurice McDonald, as meant to be a BBQ restaurant. In 1948, the McDonald’s changed their restaurant to become a Hamburger stand, but it wasn’t until 1955 when Businessman Ray Kroc came onboard and revolutionized the business to what we know it today. Kroc was already in the company and the chief architect of the franchising business. He saw the growth of the company to where McDonalds already sold their 100 Millionth Hamburger by 1958. More importantly, Kroc knew that to change a name so recognizable could cost him everything, so in 1961, he bought the rights to the name McDonalds because it was already a reputable brand. We know that social media channels can get you the largest online audience. We also know that you need content in order to capture your audience. You need to be able to share something with them to peak their interest. TCI can show their marketing partners how to leverage influencers by using social media channels. By creating social media campaigns, any business can target any specific audience.

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The most important job for any brand to do is to listen to their audience and never stop listening. Listening is the key to winning especially when listening can help you deliver new messages on a daily basis. People want to read about you, they want to relate to you in some way; therefore, brands need to be honest and genuine. Brands want to make sure that their audience know they can count on them. More importantly, brands need to let their audience see their excitement in working with consumers side-by-side through digital media strategies created by The City Insight. The goals of having opportunities are to see them convert to sales. Digital media allows businesses to speak to potential customers on a real-time basis. It also allows businesses to showcase products and services in new ways, putting every business on an equal level with big businesses. TCI provides this service and so much more to businesses within its reach. “Converting opportunities to sales starts with first identifying and customizing the best marketing package based on the needs of our clients. Since The City Insight prides itself on relationship building, an opportunity that is key to any marketing package is the fact we not only advocate relationships through our media influence, but with our clients and partners as well. This provides a support system for all businesses involved. Lastly, as long as we understand the needs of our clients, we will connect that need to others along the way. This is a direct sales benefits,� said Crawford. When you partner with The City Insight, you quickly learn that any post you make on a social media channel gives you several benefits: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Build a following; Have access to all customers; Have real-time interaction with new prospects; Convert opportunities to sales.

TCI helps brands build blog posts, images, videos, and more on any digital platform, which creates leads. Every lead drives new visitors to a brand’s website, and can turn into a conversion. This leads to higher conversion rates. Part of any digital media strategy is the humanization element. Brands become more humanized through their daily interactions, especially through social media. Consumers know that a person must be posting online therefore there is someone to actually speak with, which is a huge preference to them, rather than making phone calls speaking to a robot.

A great digital media strategy will reflect increased inbound traffic to a brand’s website and other social media channels. Without digital media, inbound traffic is usually limited to those consumers already familiar with your brand or those using a search engine and keywords to search for to find what a brand offers, if they can be found on the first page. Every social media “profile” creates another way to find that brand online; every piece of content that is published is another approach for a potential customer to become an opportunity. The more quality content a brand publishes online with the help of The City Insight, the more inbound traffic for that brand. Traffic = leads + conversions. “Partnering with TCI can increase inbound traffic to your website through the strategic use and marketing of content we provide your company. For instance, we would develop a marketing campaign that consists of your top marketing messages, convert them to relate to our audience and your target market, upload an image or your logo, then direct those interested to your website. To improve brand recognition we will ensure there is always positive content of substance constantly around your brand image. This means that people will automatically associate your brand with the positive things that matters the most to them. Loyalty will be built for your brand since you will be associated with The City Insight, whom regularly positions itself as a movement within communities,” added Crawford. Finally, with the help of TCI, brands can deliver richer customer experiences. “A great client experience means honesty and transparency with determining the services needed, as well as the ability to build meaningful relationships,” identified Crawford. Interactions with customers through an online medium create public opportunities to show other potential customers exactly what the brand is all about. It can demonstrate a brand’s level of customer service and enhance great customer relationships. It also gives a brand the ability to recognize what customers are looking for, and how they behave by simply listening and reading what customers have to say. Exciting opportunities lie ahead also for The City Insight. Now and years to come it will be all about growth, which means more opportunities for brands like yours. Whether it is through digital media packages, digital and print magazine ads and advertorials, media, content, and press release creation, website design, and so much more! The City Insight is looking forward to building a meaningful relationship with you! For a service quote send an email to start the process! Make sure to mention “CITY INSIGHT COVER STORY” in the body of your email.

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Not everyone with A Blog Can be Called a Journalist By Kris Alvarenga There has been a major shift to digital news reporting in the past several years that has created a lack of trust between the news media and its audience. Due to the growth of new media (Blogging, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) more and more people have become “journalists” without any formal training. Having said that, these “new media journalists” are failing to understand that there’s an area code of ethics when reporting the news. The number one lesson to learn about reporting is to take responsibility of your writing. This lesson is being taken for granted so much so, that legitimate news agencies have been caught copying information from new media journalists who have gotten the story incorrect, and gotten into big trouble from it just because they wanted to be the first to report the news. With a Social Media environment around us, one could say that it is difficult to find any kind of news happening within my area, however how one reports the news is certainly changing. When I look on the Internet, I find more opinion than reporting. We use channels such as Facebook and Instagram to make our point. We use Twitter to showcase our headline and direct our readers to our story. Then, we use blogs to for just about everything nowadays. Food – this is what I see blogs used more and more frequently for. It seems that everyone wants to make a Food blog and either talk about recipes or their favorite places to eat. Even if these bloggers are not talking about Hollywood gossip, they too become celebrities just because they are talking about food. They become respected in the area for which they blog about restaurants and are welcomed in hoping that the restaurant receives a good review; or if they are budding chefs and post some great recipes, they too can become celebrities in the food world. What the future of journalism holds depends on those who still want to be journalists. Mass Communication students, researchers and more should take careful note. Although the delivery method is evolving, I believe that the grass roots idea of being a journalist will always remain the same. As the video The Future of Journalism states, we are in a digital age. Whether the delivery is local news, nationwide news, or even as small as a one city area news, what we rely on such as newspapers and television is evolving into something new, different, and in many ways, exciting. It presents opportunities out there for those who want to become journalists and had very few outlets to practice their specialty in. With the evolution of news delivery, more jobs in journalism can now open presenting new ways to present the news in an ethical manner, but also a fun one. 34

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However, one can debate today “what is best in the industry of journalism – to be first or to be correct?� In the industry of journalism, its readers that make you powerful. The larger your audience, the larger your revenue through advertising because you can guarantee that an ad will be viewed more with you than anywhere else. Consumers are honestly a funny bunch. I believe that they can be split 50/50 in the question of being first or right. Honest journalism is a practice that should be expected always. However consumers also enjoy controversy and they eat it up when someone is backed against the wall. Now with the social media revolution, consumers can also be journalists and publicly give their two cents about this or any story out there. How this brings a major shift to digital news reporting is that it creates more outlets to actually share the news with the masses. I believe and hope that this also brought about more responsibility in the way we present the news. And that there is more comprehension about the fact that reporting the story first is not always in the best interest, but rather in how accurate the story we present is far more worth its weight in gold.

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Why Consumers Are Now Producers With Social Media By Kris Alvarenga

Once upon a time, we were the consumers who sat patiently back and watched advert upon advert beamed into our screens and into our minds. We were encouraged to try the most attractive product such as the best looking cereal box on the market while watching our Saturday morning cartoons. We were also asked to take the best vacations to the most beautiful spots around the world, or buy the safest car, or find the biggest toy possible and enjoy ourselves. But that was a time we call “then,” because now we live in a time we call “now.” No longer do we just sit back and become bombarded as we once did. Now we also create the adverts, and reviews, and even the products while using social media as our new “television.” Once we were consumers, and now we are producers. We take to the social media channels such as YouTube and create our own commercial. We go to Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest and create our own ads. We go to Twitter and WordPress and create our own headlines. We can even create our own radio commercials as well! So why has the market changed? Why can we do these things now? Because the cost to do these things is little to nothing! states, “Throughout history there has always been barriers to communicating to the masses. You might need an expensive printing press, access to one of a handful of radio airwaves or a thirty-minute time slot on one of three TV channels. The major media: radio, newspaper, movies and television, have always had gatekeepers deciding what content was “good enough” for their station, paper or film. If you wanted to write, you needed the approval of an editor. If you wanted to make a film, you required the backing of a large film company. Now we reach the world by creating a blog or social media profile with a few clicks. A quick video of your child after visiting the dentist or of your cat on a treadmill could easily have millions of people clicking, viewing and sharing.” 36

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On, Ms. Weil states that “The demand side is supplying itself. Dealing with that fact, and taking advantage of it, is the biggest challenge and opportunity for everybody who wants to succeed in the live Web.” Producing has become so easy that even non-geeks are taking part and creating millions of dollars in revenue. Author Clay Shirky noted during his Ted Talk, that consumers are not only the producers, but also hold the key to understand what is also being consumed. Consumers know exactly what kind of product they enjoy, so now they even take it upon themselves to generate ad revenue for the brands without taking a dime in return. This is where brands take advantage of the untapped creativity of the consumer. For so many years, brands have depended on advertising agencies for their main ideas, but by generating inspirational creativity among consumers, they become producers free of charge for that brand. If that brand decides to reward the consumers for their ideas, that is one thing, but by the time the rewards are distributed, the brand has already gathered hundreds, of not thousands of new ideas that they can use for many years to come. What does the consumer gain by becoming a producer? Experience and personal satisfaction many times. If the consumer becomes producers for their own benefits, then they can attract possible millions of dollars on a product or service that other consumers may need. As producers, consumers have so much to gain by having a voice, and being in control over the future of a product or service. Whether your voice is displeasure of an airline over Twitter, or outrage over a movie, or joy over a great tasting product, consumers today have so much more say so if a product or service continues to be in business because through social media, we can relay our thoughts in real time – as quickly as possible – to others who are willing to listen. Love it or hate it, the lines between big business and consumers is quickly fading away. References 9 Clouds,. ‘Consumers Are Producers – 9 Clouds’. N.p., 2015. Web. 24 June 2015. Bowe, Marvin, Marvin Bowe, and View profile. ‘Creating A Yes Brand: A New Approach To Product Positioning: Consumers Are Now Producers Making Media More Personal.’. N.p., 2009. Web. 24 June 2015.,. ‘Web 2.0: Consumers Are Now Producers’. N.p., 2015. Web. 24 June 2015.

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July/August 2018 Issue of City Insight Magazine  

Greetings! As always, first we want to thank you for your support of The City Insight over the years. It is very much appreciated! We are ex...

July/August 2018 Issue of City Insight Magazine  

Greetings! As always, first we want to thank you for your support of The City Insight over the years. It is very much appreciated! We are ex...