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 […]