Thursday, February 27, 2014

Transportation Tool Box

So all this talk about transportation, how do YOU plan how to get around this city? 

Well some of us here use the DDOT Trip planner on the Detroit Transportation website. (Click the link below!)

Here's how it works: Type in your current location and the address or cross streets of where you want to go and it generates a route with possible modes of transportation. (Pretty awesome, right?)

This is a great tool to help you PLAN AHEAD. (head nod to our post on Tuesday!)
They also have a great feature at the bottom of the page: You can click "departure" or "arrival". If you click departure that means you want to leave from the bus stop at (lets say) noon. If you click arrival that means you want to arrive at your destination by noon (so the computer will WORK BACKWARDS for you!)

Let us know if this is confusing or if you have any questions! We've got your back!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sit on It Detroit!

Have you guys heard of Detroit Soup? 
It is a potluck dinner that costs $5 and everyone eats together and watches four proposals from community members. These people are trying to start new projects or initiatives and need a bit of money to get their idea off the ground.  At the end of dinner, everyone gets a chance to vote for the idea they liked the best. At the end of the night, whoever has the most votes wins the pool of money from the $5 entry fee.
Awesome idea right? Check out the link here: Detroit Soup

Detroit Soup is great, but it's not our only inspiring tidbit for today. (It's transportation week, remember?) Today we're supporting Sit on It Detroit (the guys who won December Soup). Their project  provides seating at bus stops around Detroit. The benches are made out of reclaimed wood from Detroit homes and the benches store used and donated books with a plexiglas covering. Citizens are encouraged to read, borrow, and donate books freely!

Have you noticed any new benches popping up around the city? Let us know in the comments below! (We've spotted one on Jefferson!)

Here's the link for more info about this awesome project!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Transportation Tips!

This week we are all about TRANSPORTATION. I don't know about you guys, but with the rain and snow and ice and confusing weather these days, we've been awfully all over the place with our transportation situation. We have a few quick tips to help you out this week!


We're sure you've heard it all before. Here's how we do it: WORK BACKWARDS.
Ask yourself these questions:
               How long will it take me to get there?
                Do I know how to get there? 
                Is there traffic or weather concerns that might slow me down?
                What do I need to bring?
                What do I need to do in order to get ready?
                Is there anything I can prepare the night before to make it quicker?
Here's a little online re-enactment of a potential morning routine!
So I have an interview at 10 am! How do I get ready? Well,  it takes 20 minutes to get there by bus. I want to get there 10 minutes before 10am so I am not rushing into the interview and stressed so I actually want to be there at 9:50. 20 minutes before that is 9:30. However, it is icy out there today so maybe there will be some accidents, maybe  I should give myself another 15 minutes for traffic  time. Then I have to wait for the bus and I'm not sure if it will come exactly on time (and I need to walk to the stop) so I must leave the house at latest 8:50. So what do I need to do to get ready before I walk to the bus stop? Maybe I have to walk the dog, bring kids to day care, make breakfast, get dressed, take a shower, make lunch. I also need to prepare my resume, make sure my work clothes are clean and ironed. What can I do the night before to make my morning less stressful? Maybe I can make lunch ahead of time or iron my clothes and lay them out on my dresser so that I don't have to wonder about what am I going to wear in the morning.

See what we mean?  WORK BACKWARDS and ALWAYS leave more time than you think you need.

Plan time for your coffee, plan time to pack your bag. When I was Substitute Teaching I had to wake up much earlier than I was used to. The night before I would prepare my oatmeal in the bowl on the counter and even water in the tea kettle with the tea bag in it--I personally needed a stress-free morning because of the stress I experienced during the day!  Whatever I could do the night before  to make it quicker and easier was worth it for the moments of peace!

3. Finally, IT IS BETTER TO BE EARLY THAN TO BE LATE. That is always true. Always. Try to tell yourself if you are not 10 minutes early (especially to a job interview) you are late.

Friday, February 21, 2014

FREE Computer Classes

There are a couple of FREE beginning computer classes available in the Detroit/wider Detroit area!

This is an incredible opportunity to improve your computer and typing skills. Even if you feel comfortable with computers, it is always good to review the basics and maybe even learn a few new tricks! We highly recommend connecting with your library or community sites because not only will you learn new skills, but you will also meet new people! (which, who knows? may lead to new opportunities!)

If any of you guys know of more free computer classes PLEASE let us know in the comments below! We are always looking to expand our resources and help out as much as we can!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Meet Lily!

Meet the OLDEST woman to use a computer and get herself a Facebook!

Her name is Lily Strugnell and she is 106 years old. Lily lives in an estate retirement block in England. With a little bit of help, Lily became Facebook’s oldest user and also uses YouTube as well for knitting tutorials (we told you, you can learn how to do anything!) Her motivation for learning how to use social media was to connect with her family and see old photos. If this isn’t inspiring, what is? It sounds like Lily started with the basics from our Tip List we posted yesterday – her interests! (Knitting and her family!) From there, learning how to use the Internet is much easier because she really WANTED to! To learn more about Lily and her story, check out the article:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Basic Computer Skills: Tips

 Need help with basic computer skills? We’ve got your back!

1.     Make a Goal
As with most things here at ECHO, we believe in setting goals for yourself! Goals help us stay organized, motivated, and create a path to actually get what we want. want to use the computer. Instead of trying to tackle the whole thing at once—think—“What do I actually want to DO on the computer?” Once you decide this, spend your time learning how to chat with family or download music or type up your resume! If you start with what you actually want to do with the computer, you will have more FUN and learn a lot faster!

2.     Do all the typing
If you are learning from a family member, friend, or ECHO staff member—don’t let them type for you! It might be more difficult at first, but you will learn much better from DOING than WATCHING.

3.     Make a Gmail Email Account
Making an email address is an important step to diving into the Internet world. Everything is driven through communication via email. It is very simple to make an account—just don’t forget your password!

 4. Google is Your Friend
Have you ever heard people say, you can find anything on google? Well its actually kind of true. Google is your friend because you can search for literally anything! If you are having trouble checking your email, want to make your own Neosporin, need to learn how to type--you name it--you can learn it on Google.

5.     YouTube is Also Your Friend
For those of us visual learners in the crowd, YouTube is a great resource. Similar to Google, you can type in any computer related question and you will find a video of someone showing you EXACTLY how to do it step by step. I find this can be much easier than reading directions!
(Here’s an example: Basic Computer Tutorial)

6.     Patience
Try over and over and over again. Don’t give up! The best way to learn is continuing to practice and be gentle with yourself. Remember that most teachers and family members have been using the computer for years (some for their whole lifetime) and forget how difficult it is to be a beginner. What you are doing is difficult and cherish yourself for it!

7.    Helpful Sites:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

College Weekend is Coming!

As some of you may already know, ECHO is paired with 8 different churches in Detroit. So far it has been an amazing experience getting involved with the community directly thru the churches and their incredible services! We thought we would invite you all to an event that one of our site churches is hosting in the next few weeks :)

Second Ebenezer is having a COLLEGE WEEKEND. (Basically there will be different events such as a step performance, College Fair, gospel choirs from various colleges in the area, and rep your college day!) It is going to be a BLAST and to register, sign up online at the Second Ebenezer website. 

Second Ebenezer is located at 14601 Dequindre near 6 mile.
The event will be Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (Feb 21st-23rd) 
Please let us know if you need help registering!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Perspective & Weather

Our Project Manager at ECHO has a quote in her office that always reminds me of the importance of perspective:

Think about this quote. Really think about this quote. I know it seems almost too simple, but sometimes through simplicity depth is revealed.

Does the sky know the difference between cloudy or clear?

In your life, how does this quote manifest? What do you think it means?

To me, I am reminded that everything in my life is the way it is based on how I CHOOSE to look at it. If I want to say things are really hard and miserable, then so be it: Things are hard and miserable. However, if I want to see things as a lesson in becoming a stronger person, then I am searching for meaning amongst the pain.

So in terms of what we were talking about yesterday--skills & strengths. How does this relate? Can you see your struggles as weakness or growth? What do you think?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Skills & Strengths

What are your skills? What are your strengths?

Here at ECHO we find ourselves asking these questions a lot. What do we mean when we ask this?
We would love to hear about your certifications or machine oprating abilities, however we often hear crickets as if they've come back from the summer months! We know it can be difficult to think of your skills under the pressure of an interview, but we often hear "I don't have any skills, I was fired" or "I lost my home" or "I only make $700 a month on S. S.I."

We believe that challenges in life make all of us stronger. In response, we try to ask, "So you've been living off $700 a month from S.S.I? How do you do it? Tell us, because that is a skill."

Some might see getting fired as a failure, however we believe that everyone learns from their mistakes, and those lessons are SKILLS. Time management, communication, resourcefullness, budgeting small amounts of money-- all of these things are strengths learned from difficult situations. We do not want to focus on the difficulties in life, we want to show you how your difficulties have transformed you into a strong, powerful (and marketable) person and employee.

To start, lets think about your life. What is working for you right now? If you cannot think of something, identify what is not working. For example, perhaps you do not have reliable transportation and depend on others for rides. Maybe you use the bus system, friends & family, and make a deal with your neigboors for a ride or two, you'll plow their driveway. Depending on the bus system requires time managment and organization (it's hard to follow the bus schedules!) Asking friends and family for rides is great communication skills and bartering with a neigbhoor is resourcefull as well as teamwork!

See? Are you getting what we mean now? Another way to identify your skills is to ask yourself, "What do people ask me for help with?" Maybe everyone comes to you for personal advice, moving help, or computer maintence. These are all great skills YOU possess! If you are having trouble answering this question, ask your family & friends, we're sure they'll have plenty of ideas for you!

Life experience can be seen as weakness or disaster--but it all depends on perspective! You can choose to look at your circumstances and see weakness, or you can see skills!

You have PLENTY of just might not know them yet!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

TechTown Detroit

Have you guys heard of TechTown Detroit? 
It is an organization dedicated to helping people develop their entrepreneurial ideas. Isn't that awesome?! 
They have a space called "Junction440". It is a co-working community offering affordable, flexible and active work environment with access to educational resources, meeting/event space, and like-minded people to mingle and share ideas.They are open Monday thru Friday, 8am-6pm. We reccomend definietly visiting to ask some questions and check it out. Anyone can use their space for different fees/free depending on the time of the month. They also offer classes ranging from $15-$30 on tips to starting your business, financing, and gaining momentum.Here's the website for more info:

Also, they are offering a FREE open studio (time to ask questions, learn more about TechTown, network etc.) February 13th from 10am-12:30pm. The event is located at 440 Burroughs St. Detroit, MI 48202
Here's the link to register online: TechTown Registration

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Courage and Cowardly Lions

Remember in our post yesterday we referenced the movie "We Bought a Zoo"? We wanted to re-remind you to check it out if you have not already. The movie illustrates the idea of "10 seconds of courage". It says that we don't need to be couragous for hours or even a lifetime, it just takes 1 moment to put ourselves out there and take a risk--and who knows where that risk might take us?

On this theme of animals and zoos and courage--do you remember the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz? Remember how such a strong and ferocious creature hid from a little girl, her dog, a scarecrow and a man made of tin? Remember how he cowered with his tail between his legs upon the sight of the Wizard and ran away in fear?

Why do we find this character so funny and endearing? Perhaps it is because the lion is the "king" of the jungle, with a massive head and body; lions are innately strong and capable (even viscious). We expect a lion who is capable of such power to exhibit the same strength and when he does the opposite of that, it is suprising, even funny!

At ECHO we believe that all of you are lions. We don't mean this in a funny way... we really mean it. All of you posess the same grandeur, strength, and power as a lion. However, we see more often than not, many people cower with their tails between their legs. Our job is to do whatever it takes to rebuild that confidence. (We might not be the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but we have a couple of tricks up our sleeve)

Today we want you to think about this story. We want you to imagine yourself as a glorious lion. Are you hiding in fear or standing tall and proud? Imagine yourself as fully capable and powerful. How does this feel? What changes? Are you standing up straighter? Are you looking people in the eye? How does it feel to be strong? Doesn't it seem silly to be a lion and be scared of small things? What do you want and how can you go get it?

Look at your life--what are the situations you can run from or run towards?

We wish you a day full of courage... you lion :)

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Tips Towards Taking INITIATIVE!

 "There are three types of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened." – Mary Kay Ash, American businesswoman

1. Build Self Confidence - This is the most important (and difficult) step. In order to take initiative, you must BELIEVE in your power to DO something. You are capable of making change or getting that job or starting your own business; you just need to believe you can actually do it!

2. 10 seconds of Courage - Have you seen the movie "We Bought a Zoo"? If not, go check it out because it illustrates our point today. All you need is 10 seconds of courage. Thats it. All it takes is 10 seconds to make that phone call or decide to go to that job interview or press "send" on your resume. It's ok to be scared. It really is, however all you need is 10 seconds of courage to make a change and take a risk.

3. Set small goals and achieve them - You might be saying to yourself "I want to start a new business that changes Detroit for the better" or "I want to become the CEO of my own company" etc.etc. these are GREAT goals! However, they are so big, so...intimidating! Try to set small, small goals and actually achieve them. For example, "Today I am going to send my resume to three employers," or "Today I will go to the library and take out three books on entrepreneurship." This will make you feel more confident in yourself and your ability to make your dreams become a reality.

4. Tackle 1 piece of the project at a time - It is tempting to try to do the whole thing at once--but again, we want to help BOOST your confidence, so start small. Break a big task down into lots of little tasks and do those one at a time. This will make it seem way less daunting!

5. Stay ahead of Deadlines - Practice. Practice. Practice. Try paying your bills before they are due, try meeting work deadlines before they need to be done. If you are not working, try making a list of things you would like to get done around the house and do them BEFORE it becomes absolutely necessary. Doing things before they need to get done shows your work ethic, organization, and time management skills. (All of which are very marketable and desirable for an employer or self-run business)

6. Don't procrasitnate - Just do it. Get it done and you will feel better about yourself and your capabilities.

7. Share your ideas - That is what we are here for! Practice telling your pitch, your business idea, your biggest dream to someone (a family member, friend, neighbor, cashier!) The more you spread your idea and talk about it, the more input (and support!) you will get from those around you.

8. Don't call it work, call it banking on the future (perspective) - Treat your goals and dreams like working with the future in a time machine: precious, special, and intense. Change your perspective! If you look at it like "work, ugh" it will feel like work! If you think of it as preparing your time machine into the future...sounds more exciting, right?

9. Reward yourself - As you set up little goals, set up little rewards. For me, I use food as a motivator because I LOVE sweets. At the same time I create my goals, I create rewards as well. This way, I can think about that berry smoothie or chocolate chip cookies while I work! You can use anything that you want. Some people use a TV episode or trip to the mall...comment below with your rewards!

10. Visualize success - Imagine you have exactly what you want. Imagine the business or the new car or the initiative and LIVE it. Pretend it is real. This might sound silly at first, but people who imagine specifically what they want are more likely to get it. Dream on!