Conquering Homesickness !

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I come from a smaller city of Srilanka, first time in my life I am exposed to a foreign country which is fortunately United States, where I am supposed to jump straight to a completely different culture. Though, I left my home country 4 weeks ago and now occupied in the busy schedule of my fellowship program in Washington DC, I couldn’t stop thinking about my home; homesickness started Kicking me.  I started feeling uneasy due to cut off from my regular support system, confusion in understanding a new environment, culture shock, and advanced technologies in Transportation. At one point I broke down and in desperation called my family and shed tears. But then I realized: no one comes half way across the world for nothing; I have an intention in being here; missing my family is the price I ought to pay for this opportunity. So finally, I made a promise to myself that will never happen again.

Religious Freedom and the Reality!

What is religious freedom: Everyone has a different definition of it. I will lay out some of the definition and quotes of religious freedom to better explain the concept of the religious freedom.

Mormonnewsroom defines Religious Freedom as “Religious freedom is a fundamental human right and the first among rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution. It is the right to think, express and act upon what you deeply believe, according to the dictates of conscience.”

Minspring defines it as “the notion that people of religion can freely partake of the practices of their religion without opposition. This would not only include private devotions but also acts of religious significance within the realm of government.”

Time and Change

These days I feel I do not have enough time to do all the things I’d love to in a day. My routine, seems to be fixed, busy and inflexible- wake up, shower, rush to the office, run around and get work done, knock off, walk back home, cook, shower again, time to sleep- then next day- same routine again. These days more than ever, I have been curiously questioning myself, is this all there is to life? Can’t we do more than trek between the office and home? I wonder? My questions, on this tightly boxed routine have led me to two of the most constant and powerful forces of the universe: time and change!
Everyone has the same twenty four hours in a day. Some people seem to do and achieve more in the 24 hours of their day than others. Some people even seem to be more in control of their time and outputs more others, enthusiastically living their values and time’s working for them. Change is a constant that moves along with time and my observation, especially during this time as a Fellow is that we have to manage our time well in order the lives we want. This also call for a paradigm shift, a tilt in our routines, focus, priorities, beliefs, and to be ready for whatever form of change we may encounter. For example, one may ask, what economic activity can I engage in, to still have the time and financial freedom I desire?
What then, is my solution to being more in control of my routine, having the time freedom to live up to all my other values and manage change? It is planning! The same way we plan our projects at work, is the same way, I am now resorting to planning my days, to every detail of the second. Whatever was not planned for, I have also planned to either, postponed it to the another time, or completely do away with it.
Great leadership comes with planning our time and change in order to live a life of purpose. “Time changes everything, except something within us which is always surprised by change”, Thomas Hardy.

Lessons from My First Weeks

Live United!

By: Gashaye Melaku Tefera

It has been two weeks since I started serving at United Way Worldwide, the fifth biggest non-profit organisation, as operations fellow. I would like to share the lessons I learnt in this short period of time to my dear fellows and Atlas Corps family.

Be Open

Celebrating National Volunteer Week (US & Canada)

Why do we volunteer?

Different people do it for different reasons–from developing new skills and building their knowledge to helping communities in need and advancing a cause dear to them. Volunteering takes a variety of forms and it includes mentoring, administrative work, teaching, the arts, events, corporate volunteering, humanitarian work-related volunteering, and so on.  A society which supports and encourages different forms of volunteering is likely to be a society which also promotes the well-being of its citizens. Volunteerism is a basic expression of human relationships. It is about people’s need to participate in their societies and to feel that they matter to others. According to many organizations today, the ethos of volunteerism is infused with values such as solidarity, reciprocity, mutual trust, belonging and empowerment, all of which contribute significantly to quality of life. In the corporate world, volunteering is so powerful that is increasingly seen as a major driver of employee engagement programs, amongst which precisely employee volunteering which helps instil purpose in employees and drives better employee performance.

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, book summary

Daniel Pink, the bestselling author of and Drive, comes up once again with groundbreaking insights on a prism that still have little lights on in the performance studies, which is timing. All packed into a captivating narrative that delivers compelling performance-enhancing tactics.

Daniel answers -unsuspected- timing questions with his usual charming and persuasive approach based on recent evidence from psychology, biology and economics.

The book uncovers scientific truths of daily patterns such as circadian rhythms that shows consistently two typical mood peaks: Better chances for quality analytical thinking are in the morning for morning people, or what Pink calls Larks, and vice versa whereas creative thinking happens during daily moments of despair.