SPIRIT Alive in Cedar Rapids

On September 25, I had the privilege of accompanying Inclusive Dubuque and the City of Dubuque Human Rights staff as a facilitator for the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Student Problem Identification and Resolution of Issues Together (SPIRIT) event held by Cedar Rapids Washington High School (CRW). Earlier in the year, a student fight had received […]

My Day as a Volunteer

I volunteered to help with the Speak Your Peace booth at the Dubuque Farmers’ Market. Farmer’s Market is my favorite because of all the different and unique booths that range from training dogs to baby clothing, gifts and fresh foods and veggies. 

A Lesson in Communication

Growing up in Cedar Rapids, my exposure to real ethnic diversity was limited. Our neighborhood and the students at my schools were predominately white. I celebrated my Irish heritage by attending the St. Patrick’s Day parade with my dad—long before the holiday rivaled Thanksgiving in popularity. And although we aren’t Czechoslovakian, I played the accordion […]

Taking a Chance to Make a Change

Eight months ago, I was just a regular 22-year-old working a decent customer service job and taking it day by day. Life was comfortable. I didn’t hate my job; it paid well enough to cover my expenses and the schedule was a dream. All that came to an end last August, however, when the company […]

Paving a New Path

I scurried into the seminar venue and slid into the back of the room just as the presenter began to speak. “Welcome to the Bridges out of Poverty Workshop…” I have to admit this was one workshop that had intrigued me from the start. Having been born into a migrant working family, I was quite […]

Mulch, Manure and Memories…

Whenever I get a day out of the office, it’s generally only because I’m spending time in other people’s offices for meetings. When the opportunity arose to do some good old-fashioned manual labor outside of the office—with the special bonus of helping others—I jumped at the chance. On April 25, I was lucky enough to […]

My Name Is…What?

“What’s your name?” “Manisha” “I’m sorry. What is it?” “Muh-nee-sha” “I’m sorry. Can you say that one more time? I want to make sure I pronounce it correctly.” With a smile, I repeated, “Muh-nee-sha.” Much slower this time. The older lady who sat next to me asked these questions immediately after we made an eye […]