A Twitter Success Story

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I am not a huge fan of twitter. I am a little embarrassed to say, I don’t really get it.

twitter

That being said, whenever my co-worker let’s me take over our twitter account for an event (and sadly, this has only happened twice) I start to appreciate it a little more. But how knows if that is twitter, or the sense that I am wearing a super hero’s uniform (yes, for this blog’s purposes, Robin Hood is a super hero).

But I did have a success lately with twitter.  And I must give my sister Abby credit for encouraging me to go to the twitter-verse for help in the first place.

To hear the story, please visit Robin Hood’s tumblr page for my latest post.

From Scratch

Matt and I have been working out a lot lately, trying to get in tip-top shape for the various triathlons and running races we having this year. We have been spending most of our evenings at the gym which has pushed back our dinner time to 9 or 10pm. As a result, I’ve found myself becoming a little lazy and have been making lots of smoothies for dinner. While they are quick and delicious, they probably aren’t getting us enough nutrients and certainly aren’t helping me to win “wife of the year.” And clearly I want to win that award. This week, I tried to step up my game with some home cooked meals.

A month or so ago I purchased some lentils at Whole Foods. I wasn’t sure what I could make with them but they looked healthy. I let them sit for a long time in my cupboard until finally I researched a recipe (on pinterest) that called for lentils. There were a lot of options but I settled on this recipe for thai coconut curry lentil soup.

It was pretty easy to make and very tasty. I used 3 big teaspoons of the red curry paste so there was certainly a kick to it. but Matt and I like to keep things spicy (terrible pun intended) so it worked for us.

Normally, I am a fan of blended soups, but I decided to keep this one “rustic” with chunks of sweet potato and lentils. However, for round 2 (aka today’s lunch) I broke out my trusty immersion blender.

On my way to work this morning, I walked through the Union Square Greenmarket and picked up a whole wheat roll to go with my soup from the Hot Breat Kitchen booth. With more than five different bread booths at the market, you may be wondering what made me pick this one. Well, Hot Bread Kitchen is a Robin Hood grantee (meaning we fund them)! I spent the last 4 weeks researching, writing, editing and rewriting all about them for an article that will be featured in our e-newletter. It has been a very long writing/reviewing/approval process, so it was nice to see them in action and support their incredible work.

I haven’t tasted the roll yet, but I already know that my 50 cents is going to something great!

Hiring Our Heroes

I watch the today show religiously. Every morning from around 8am until 8:45/9:00 I spend my morning with Matt, Ann, Al and Natalie. They provide just the right amount of news, weather and of course, gossip. It is a great way to start my day and is many times, where I get ideas for blog posts. One of my life goals, along with riding on a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, is to be on the Today Show.

Back in June, and then again in September, when we (Robin Hood) were hosting the massive 60,000 person Black Eyed Peas concert in Central Park, we was getting a lot of press. I thought for sure that one morning I would turn on the tv and see my friends chatting about the concert and the incredible poverty-fighting work that Robin Hood supports. Sadly it never came.

But the past few weeks, I could feel something brewing…

For the past few weeks, Ann has been highlighting  “Hiring Our Heroes” a nationwide initiative to help veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment.  By partnering with a network of 1600 state and local chambers and other strategic partners from the public, private, and non-profit sectors, Hiring Our Heroes hopes to create a movement across America in hundreds of local communities where veterans and military families return every day.

This morning the show broadcasted aboard New York City’s USS Intrepid, which is hosting a Hiring Our Heroes job fair today. During the broadcast, Ann interviewed both Mayor Bloomberg and Dr. Jill Biden about their involvement in this mission. During the interview, Mayor Bloomberg gave Robin Hood a shout out for all the work we’ve done over the past year, specifically geared toward helping New York City veterans (at 2:45)

Vodpod videos no longer available.
It is pretty incredible to hear the Mayor of New York City mention your work on national television,  especially when you are part of the communications team! Of course, it just so happened to be on the ONE day when I actually didn’t watch the Today Show. Oh well – more fuel to make it happen again.

Fighting Poverty with Cookies

A huge part of what makes my job so awesome is the incredible people who work here. It is inspiring to be part of an orgnaization that is full of intelligent, high achieving people, who have left fields like consulting, banking, and real estate management to come and work at a non-profit. The need to do something “meaningful” became greater than the desire to make a lot of money or “prestigious” career. And while Robin Hood is certainly “best-in-class” when it comes to fundraising and grant making, few people outside of the New York financial community have ever heard of it. But trust me, it is an awesome place to work.

If you don’t believe me, just read the email exchange I just had with my colleague. If this doesn’t show you just how incredible this place is, I don’t know what will.

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From: Molly
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 1:55 PM
To: Laura  

Want to get a chocolate chip cookie at paradise :)

From: Laura
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 1:56 PM
To: Molly
Subject: RE:

 Of course I do.  I was going to leave for my meeting at 2:30, want to go down in 15 and I’ll just leave from there?

From: Molly
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 1:57 PM
To: Laura
Subject: RE:

Perfect. I love that I can always count on you to partake in a mid-afternoon cookie break. It is really a big part of what makes you so great.

From: Laura
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 1:58 PM
To: Molly
Subject: RE:

A really big part of what makes you so great is that you request mid-afternoon cookie breaks.

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I am so happy that I have finally found a place of employment where people really “get” me. It took a few years, but I am here. And there are cookies!

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Girls Night with Jennifer Love Hewitt

Two weeks ago one of my co-workers invited us over to her apartment for a girls only movie night. We were all exited because Lindsay is on the events team at Robin Hood. Anyone who can put together this:

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is certainly going to put together a good girls night! And we were not disappointed. Lindsay’s apartment was impeccably decorated – I felt like we walked into a West Elm store. And she appropriately applied the “movie night” theme to the evening with fresh popcorn in red and white stripped boxes and large boxes of movie theater candy.

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We spent the evening chatting, snacking of delicious treats, drinking blood orange mimosas and sharing in the heartache of Jennifer Love Hewitt in Can’t Hardly Wait. It is pretty incredible to have such a fun evening with your co-workers!


Thanks Lindsay – you certainly have set the bar high! In fact, I was all geared up to host the next girls night, but I am now rethinking that idea… at least until after I see what you have in store for this year’s benefit!

Everyone Counts

During the week I set a pretty strict bedtime of 11pm. This is extremely frustrating to Matt, who likes to spend some time “winding down” after work and doesn’t like being held to a strict schedule. So, what in the world could keep me awake on a Monday night until 4:30am when Matt was fast asleep?

HOPE, that’s what. And I’m not talking about the Hope that Obama served up during the 2008 election – I am talking about the Homeless Outreach Population Estimate.

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HOPE is an annual survey used to assess the number of individuals living in New York City’s public spaces. In a way, it is a census for folks who don’t have mailboxes or permanent addresses. It is accounting for the thousands of folks who sleep on the street each and every night in New York City.

Last night thousands of volunteers, including 20 Robin Hood Staff and 20 Robin Hood supporters, teamed up and set out to survey New York’s streets, subways and parks. Conducted by the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS), HOPE is a point-in-time estimate of unsheltered individuals that helps the City evaluate its outreach programs and providers and measure its progress.

To increase public accountability and continually evaluate and improve the programming designed to help street homeless New Yorkers, DHS began surveying parts of the City in 2003, and has conducted the count citywide every year since 2005.

HOPE is an integral part of New York City’s approach to ending homelessness. The annual survey aims to achieve the following:

  • Provide a consistent year-to-year measure of the city’s programs to help those living on the streets move off the streets and into permanent housing.
  • Provide the city with a way to measure its outreach providers. In September 2007, New York City created Street to Home outreach services, which established a single accountable provider of services in each borough. HOPE highlights areas where outreach providers are successfully moving people off the streets, and where there is room for improvement.
  • Provide thousands of New Yorkers with an opportunity to help New York’s homeless residents, and contribute to New York City’s fight against homelessness.

Does walking around in the freezing cold on random NYC streets at 2am sound crazy? Trust me, it’s worth it! It’s an forgettable, eye-opening experience. Please read below to see just how moving this experience can be:

“A Recounting of the Street Count”
as told by a Robin Hood Staff Member

 As Team 21 was going around our counting route, we went into the 23rd street subway station (A/C line) and saw two people underneath a blanket on a few cardboard pieces in the area outside the turnstiles.  There were a few backpacks and scattered personal items, but it seemed at first like the two people were asleep.  Then one of our team members heard some Spanish and he used his skills to start a conversation.  At first hesitant, the man under the blanket started speaking English.  We learned that the couple had been together for a very long time and that the woman, Veronica, was pregnant.  After being told about the possibility of staying in a shelter last night, he was nervous that they would be separated.  We made some calls and figured out that they could and would be taken to a family shelter across town at 33rd and 1st at which they would stay together since they were a family and Veronica was expecting.  We called the van service and began waiting.

After hearing that we were 99% sure that they would stay together, the man asked about that 1% chance and began getting a little guarded.  His expression soured as we explained the possible consequences of being separated.  After talking about some of the benefits to staying in a shelter and reminding them of all the potential positive impacts, we gave them some private time to talk it over, and when we returned, he had started to pack up their things.  It was around this time that the woman started speaking to us as well, first joking to her partner in Spanish – luckily he explained the jokes to us – and then beginning to open up and speak English. While 2 team members went back above ground to wait for the van to come pick up this couple, another team member and myself sat down and talked with Veronica and her partner.  We showed them on a subway map where they would be going, and they showed up where they had been staying for the past week.  The man said that the subway was a far better option that sleeping by the River in East Harlem as they had been doing for some time.  The van arrived 20 minutes after we first called, and the driver confirmed that Veronica, her partner, and her baby to be would all be staying together and going to the family shelter.  We shook hands, hugged, wished them well, and kept on counting.

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It’s a Beautiful Day in the Hood

At Robin Hood, you never really know who is going to show up at our offices (since I started the following folks have walked through the doors at the hood: Christy Turlington, Admiral Mullen, the Chairman to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all his secret service offices, Mayor Bloomberg and countless billionaire hedge fund managers), how much money we will bring in during one day (in 2011, we raised over 160 million dollars, which is over 400,000 dollars each day), or what artist has signed on to perform a concert to benefit Robin Hood (just last year we had Lady Gaga, the Black Eyed Peas and Sting – just to name a few!) But those are the big things, and this blog is about the little things.

Well yesterday there were a couple little things to celebrate.

I received an email mid-morning letting me know that I had a delivery upstairs. I wasn’t expecting anything and my mom had just sent some cookies, so I couldn’t imagine what it could be. Well, needless to say I was SUPER excited to open the packaging to reveal this:

"The Organizing Issue"

I spent the rest of the morning looking at all of the wonderful organization solutions that Martha and her team came up with for all the various areas of your home. I LOVE having a friend “on the inside.”

Then, as the afternoon “slump” set in, we received a floor wide email alerting us of delicious baked goods someone brought in from Chelsea Market. Instantly, a herd of people (including myself) ran over to the designated table. We sampled brownies, rugelach, and sugar cookies. YUMMY. After devouring nearly every treat, we decided to use our creative artistic abilities to capture this afternoon fun. You’re welcome for that.

Clearly it was a slow day in the hood. But sometimes, that is just what you need.