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Pebble Tossers stands with the Asian and Asian American, Pacific Islander community

Pebble Tossers stands with our Asian and Asian American, Pacific Islander family members, friends, partners, volunteers, and members. We despise the violence and racism directed at them and are especially horrified by the murders of the Asian-American women on March 16th in our community.

The anti-Asian hate crimes, harassment, and discrimination that have increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic are disturbing, but they are not new. The tragic loss of these lives should remind us that we, as Americans, have a long way to go towards true equality, inclusion, and justice.

No child, youth, or family can thrive or should live with the threat of violence. In honor of the lives lost to racist violence, Pebble Tossers recommits to the important work of developing youth who embrace a sense of civic responsibility to our community, and we strive to provide opportunities where this sense of responsibility leads to a feeling of inclusion and belonging.

When youth and teens volunteer at Pebble Tossers projects, they introduce themselves and meet those they serve with as well as those they serve. They work alongside people from a variety of cultures, races, genders, and ideologies, yet they all work towards a common goal of helping our community thrive. We strive to cultivate a welcoming environment at our projects, which leads to an inherent sense of belonging and desire to serve with us again.

We, at Pebble Tossers, will not tolerate discrimination of any kind. As an organization, we will provide intercultural assessments for our staff, board members, and advisory council in order to build and strengthen intercultural competency. We will continue to work with a wide variety of nonprofit organizations that serve the most marginalized of our brothers and sisters. We will continue to offer high-impact projects serving diverse populations. We will continue to develop educational curriculum based on social-emotional learning and positive psychology while incorporating leadership and social justice initiatives.

We hope you stand with us against this violence and work with us to equip and empower youth to lead through service. This summer, Pebble Tossers will host “Toss Up Dinners”, where we gather families together virtually (and hopefully in-person) for civic-minded conversations about relevant topics such as social justice, racial equality, gender equality, and our 12 service cause areas. If you are interested in serving on a planning committee or hosting a dinner, please contact us at outreach@pebbletossers.org.

Jennifer Guynn
Founder + Executive Director, Pebble Tossers
March 18, 2021

Pebble Tossers is a proud recipient of the See Beautiful grant 

The See Beautiful grant was created to fund nonprofits visions of creating sustainable beauty in our world

Atlanta, GA – Pebble Tossers, Atlanta’s leading youth service organization, is excited to announce that it has been selected as a recipient of the See Beautiful Grant. The See Beautiful Grant is awarded quarterly to non-profits for creating sustainable beauty in our communities. Pebble Tossers was announced as a grant recipient after a thorough and competitive application process.

Pebble Tossers partners with 65 area nonprofits; linking volunteers to service projects and organizing its own projects covering 12 major cause areas. Its mission is to empower and equip youth to lead through service. See Beautiful has awarded more than  $200,000 through its grant program and strategic giving initiatives. The See Beautiful grant will assist Pebble Tossers in its implementation of a new, immersive service experience. The grant will fund  educational components at all of the Pebble Tossers service projects to reinforce social emotional learning skills such as self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.

“Pebble Tossers is honored by the recent grant from See Beautiful. Their confidence in our youth volunteers’ ability to bring beauty through service is humbling and we plan on continuing to make an impact which will affect generations to come,” says Jennifer Guynn, Founding Executive Director.

Pebble Tossers encourages and empowers youth to see the beauty in themselves as well as the potential and power they have to make this world a better place. We are teaching this generation to be empathetic and ethical global citizens who will “start a ripple of giving”, fueled by kindness, inclusivity, justice and compassion.

About Pebble Tossers

Pebble Tossers is the premier local youth service organization focused on providing families with a comprehensive path to youth development through service to others, from preschool to graduation, or “nap to cap.” Our easy-to-use volunteer portal allows families to find and sign up for volunteer projects that interest them. With Pebble Tossers, volunteers can simply sign up, show up, and serve to create a ripple of giving in our community.

About See Beautiful

See Beautiful™  is a philanthropic company providing inspiring, ethically-sourced products that create more beautiful in the process. With every purchase, your purchase helps fund carefully vetted, sustainable projects of non-profits. 

See beautiful in yourself. See beautiful in others. Create more beautiful in the world.

 

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Four Community and Business Leaders join the Pebble Tossers Board of Directors

The 2021 board will focus on expanding offerings, diversifying its community base and helping youth develop leadership skills.

(Atlanta, GA, March 3, 2020)…Pebble Tossers, Atlanta’s leading youth development nonprofit organization, welcomes four new community and business leaders to its board of directors: Neal Chatigny, WebMD; Jason Halliburton, Merrill Lynch; Heather Housley, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch; and Brian Sengson, Bennett Thrasher.

“The Pebble Tossers Board is committed to providing support and thought leadership to the organization,” said Rebecca Sandberg, Pebble Tossers Board President. We are excited to welcome the brilliant minds of Neal, Jason, Heather, and Brian to our board. We look forward to their contributions, leadership and friendship.”

Along with the existing members, the new board members will work to guide Pebble Tossers as it tackles new projects, developments and reemerging programming after the restrictions from the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Neal Chatigny, Vice President, WebMD
A member of the WebMD team for 15 years, Neal works primarily with WebMD’s pharmaceutical clients to develop educational programs for patients. He is an active youth soccer and Little League coach and enjoys traveling with his family.

“I’m looking forward to helping Pebble Tossers expand its impact and footprint in our community,” said Neal.

Jason Halliburton, Financial Advisor/Senior Portfolio Advisor, Merrill Lynch
At Merrill Lynch, Jason works with successful business owners, senior executives and entrepreneurs to help them meet their goals. A recipient of the United States Department of Defense’s Patriotic Employer Award, Jason has a strong background in serving his community.

“I’m honored to help serve our youth and look forward to sharing my experiences to benefit this organization and our community,” said Jason.

Heather Housley, Director, Region Executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Heather’s role at Bank of America Merrill Lynch is to manage the Consumer Banking & Investments team that delivers financial advice to clients within Georgia and Tennessee. She enjoys finding ways for her family to engage in service and working as a mentor to those in her community and company.

Brian Sengson, Tax Attorney, SALT Senior Manager, Bennett Thrasher
As a tax attorney at Bennett Thrasher, Brian works with a variety of clients while specializing in M&A, sales tax, state income tax, and transfer taxes. Outside the office, he regularly hikes the Appalachian Trail, practices his woodworking and cheers on the Philadelphia Eagles. His wife and two sons share their home with two dogs.

“I am both humbled and excited at this opportunity,” said Brian. “It is a privilege to be a steward to our community in such a rewarding manner.”

2021 Board of Directors, Pebble Tossers
Rebecca Sandberg – Board President Management – Consultant
Kelly Weber – Board Vice President – OneDigital
Vijay Vaswani – Board Treasurer  – Bennett Thrasher, CPA
Broughton Barry – Board Secretary – Wolters Kluwer
Brandy Brock – Google Cloud Business Solutions
Neal Chatigny – WebMD
Andy Dakshina – WorkFusion
Aaron Dixon – Alston & Bird
Leslie Graham – United Digestive
Jason Halliburton – Merrill Lynch
Heather Housley – Bank of America-Merrill Lynch
Mary Ulmer Jones – Bank of America
Elizabeth Rasberry – ABB
Asher Royal – Davita Kidney Care
Brian Sengson – Bennett Thrasher

About Pebble Tossers
Pebble Tossers is the premier local youth service organization focused on providing families with a comprehensive path to youth development through service to others, from preschool to graduation. Customized programming empowers youth to lead by providing them with resources and age-appropriate service opportunities. With Pebble Tossers, volunteers sign up, show up, and serve to create a ripple of giving in their community.

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Helping parents navigate the challenges of raising children in the digital age

Pebble Tossers to host experts in a panel discussion on February 24th

 

(Atlanta, GA, February 18, 2021)…Pebble Tossers, Atlanta’s leading youth development nonprofit organization, is hosting two online panel discussions on February 24th for parents and guardians to help navigate the dangers of online activities.

Pebble Tossers, partnering with The Kid Factory, will host a viewing of Childhood 2.0 followed by an open dialogue for parents with a panel of experts. The Childhood 2.0 documentary explores the dramatic technological and cultural shift that children and parents face with the rise of social networks and mobile devices, including:

• issues of addiction and withdrawal

• anxiety and depression

• cyberbullying

• the culture of sexting and unforeseen consequences

• the loss of free play and autonomy

• the rapid growth of suicide among children and teens

 

“As parents, we worry about the physical safety of our children. However, many of us are not as savvy on social media and don’t know how to discuss cyber-safety with our kids, “ said Jen Guynn, Founding Executive Director, Pebble Tossers. “The Childhood 2.0 documentary brings this aspect to light and Pebble Tossers believes that cyber-safety is an important issue intertwined with the social-emotional development of youth.” 

 

A panel of experts, moderated by Guynn, will join the conversation to encourage communication between parent and child while still allowing freedom and privacy and the ability to maintain mental health and physical safety. They are:

Robert Myers, Clinical Psychologist with a history of working with the individual and family service industry

Tessa Cole, Ph.D. Candidate, Criminal Justice at Georgia State University Member of American Society of Criminology and Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences

Titania Jordan, Chief Parent Officer, Bark Technologies and author of Parenting in a Tech World

Cindy Robinson, Founder, The Kid Factory and certified parent coach

 

Event Details

(same panelists for both sessions)

Date: Wednesday, February 24th:

10:00am: Viewing of Childhood 2.0 documentary online. All participants are encouraged to watch the Childhood 2.0 documentary prior to the panel discussion. It can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/He3IJJhFy-I. Parental discretion is advised before showing to children 12 years of age and under.

11:45am: Panel Discussion via Zoom*

6:00pm: Panel Discussion via Zoom* 

*To register for either session, please visit: http://bit.ly/2NvcMsD. If you have any questions, please call 678.757.5597 or email beth@pebbletossers.org.

 

About Pebble Tossers

Pebble Tossers is the premier local youth service organization focused on providing families with a comprehensive path to youth development through service to others, from preschool to graduation, or “nap to cap.” Customized programming empowers youth to lead by providing them with resources and age-appropriate opportunities. With Pebble Tossers, volunteers sign up, show up, and serve to create a ripple of giving in their community.

 

 

Join Pebble Tossers at Snooze’s “Community Days”

Pebble Tossers invited to join Snooze, A.M. Eatery for their “community days” Saturday, February 13, and Sunday, February 14.

Snooze, An A.M. Eatery will open its long-planned Sandy Springs location next month, a rep for the breakfast chain Thursday confirmed in an email to What Now Atlanta. Snooze Sandy Springs has been delayed by at least a year and will finally debut its first Georgia location on February 17, at 4600 Roswell Road.

Leading up to its official grand opening, Snooze is set to host a series of soft-opening days — “community days” — on Saturday, February 13, and Sunday, February 14. “These special community days are a great way to introduce the community to Snooze and their commitment to community-based initiatives and partnerships,” the spokesperson said. A portion of pre-opening breakfast sales will be donated to local initiatives, Pebble Tossers, and Southern Education Foundation.

To see the full article please visit: https://whatnowatlanta.com/snooze-sets-opening-day-in-sandy-springs-breakfast-chains-entry-into-georgia/

 

 

 

 

The Emotionally Intelligent Leader – Teen Leadership Program: A mid-year review by Ben Deignan

 

As we reach the end of an unquestionably difficult year, it’s a positive thing to be able to say that the first Teen Leadership cohort is reaching the program’s midpoint. While no one could’ve predicted that 2020 might not be the ideal year to launch a brand-new program, perhaps the timing is actually somewhat serendipitous for a program such as this one to come into existence.

As we’ve witnessed, factors invisible to the naked eye can bring life to a screeching halt on the local and global scale.

In these moments, we depend on our appointed leaders to make swift and responsible decisions that will certainly affect us, our loved ones, and those within our communities. We also look to the people we see as leaders in our personal lives to guide us through times of uncertainty as well.

The 32 teens that makeup Pebble Tossers’ inaugural Teen Leadership Program are cultivating emotional intelligence at a time in history where the negative impacts of leadership, in the absence of emotional intelligence, are felt almost immediately and prove more costly to society than life as usual.

Now, more than ever, and in real-time, we can witness the fallout that results from global leaders who lack the self-awareness to question their own motives, the social awareness to practice human decency, the self-management skills to inspire discipline, and the relationship skills to establish and maintain trust.

These are the tenets of social-emotional learning (SEL) and the foundation upon which the Teen Leadership Program is built. These concepts fuel the TLP mission to Serve, Lead, Succeed.

Now, as we stand at the halfway mark and can see where we’re headed, it’s good to reflect on where we’ve been…

Sunday, August 23rd, the program officially launched. Woodruff Arts Center Director of Recruitment & Employee Engagement and motivational speaker Alex Desiderio kicked things off with a Volunteer 101 presentation.

“It’s about establishing a personal presence.” -Alex Desiderio
On leadership and service project planning

For our second meeting we had the great honor of welcoming Licensed Therapist and University of Southern Mississippi associate professor, Dr. Leslie Anderson. Dr. Anderson put the students in the frame of mind where they were encouraged to interrogate their true motivations behind their acts of service.

“Service is more than “helping the needy” or attempting to capture an Instagramable selfie. It’s about being able to see yourself in the eyes of those you seek to serve.” -Dr. Leslie Anderson
On motivations behind volunteering for community service projects

We were then joined by retired NFL player (New England Patriots: UGA Football), author and founder of Share the Magic Foundation, Ind. Malcolm Mitchell, for our October meeting. Mitchell shared with us the degree to which reading has impacted his life and how education has informed the leader he’s become now, off the field, as an author and entrepreneur.

“Reading unlocks potential. It’s as simple as that. I promise you that if you read every single day, you will grow; it’s impossible not to.” -Malcolm Mitchell
On the powerful benefits of reading

The Sunday before Thanksgiving, we welcomed Bank of America Community Relations Manager and service project veteran Cherie Wilson. Growing up, while other kids were playing sports, Cherie volunteered her time and effort to help her community. Her passion for community service lasted through college, her professional life, and even to this day. Cherie’s presentation may have been the most relevant to the Pebble Tossers’ cause as a whole and comes at a perfect time as the teens enter the program’s service project phase.

“You have to learn how to tell your story. If you want to inspire others to get behind your cause, sell them on the narrative that inspired you to get behind this cause.” -Cherie Wilson
On using your personal “secret weapon” and “super powers” as a guide for service and career paths.

The caliber of speakers willing to share their wisdom with us is certainly felt within the program, even in the virtual format.

“I love all of the different speakers. I feel like I’ve learned so much already, and we haven’t even been together in person. It’s really amazing.”
-Gracie Rosenberg

“The program and the speakers have definitely challenged my mind to think about things that I wouldn’t normally think about.”
-Ainsley McCaa

Now that the teens have put their heads together and decided on three service projects, they’re in the process of dividing themselves into groups based on where they think their interests and talents will be the most useful. This is really the reason many of them joined the program in the first place.

“I know for me I just wanted to get to know new people and get to find new service opportunities, and just grow my leadership skills as a whole, and this seemed like a really great way to do it.”
-Gracie Rosenberg

“I really want to find like-minded people who want to address issues within the community and improve my leadership skills.”
-Alex Farquharson

Ultimately, this group of young adults have an altruistic fire that burns within them. No one is forcing them to be in a leadership program; they all found their way here by their own means. What they’re learning through the curriculum, they already possess; but the time they spend together working on their own service projects will further uncover and strengthen these leadership skills.

“This program is a wonderful training ground for young, compassionate, and brilliant leaders. As an advisor, I am thrilled to see the creativity and drive in the young hearts & minds. Our current project is focused on planting trees in the memory of those who passed away due to COVID. Besides the raw power of the central theme, the team came up with great ideas – like a type of flora specific to the local region with flower colors symbolizing hope.  

Outcome driven meetings wonderfully curated guest speakers and reflection writing – Jen & Ben have made this program a powerful part of kids’ leadership toolkit.  Thank you, Pebble Tossers!”

-Anand Sathiyamurthy, Teen Leadership Program advisor

Happy COVID Halloween

Your guide to Halloween, trick-or-treating and COVID-19

Good news: It’s OK to decorate your COVID-19 mask

By Page Leggett

As chief safety, quality and epidemiology officer, Dr. David Priest is Novant Health’s top expert on COVID-19. He has helped lead COVID-19 treatment and prevention efforts throughout the Novant Health system. He gets nonstop, complex questions around the clock on the ongoing pandemic. He spoke to Page Leggett to answer the one question that a nation of children and parents are asking …

Q: Is it safe to trick or treat this year?

A: “I think some variation on Halloween celebrations, or trick or treating, can be created, as long as people adhere to the rules we all know: Avoid having large groups of people congregating together. Avoid indoor settings for parties. Make sure you’re masking. And it’s always safer to be outside.”

Q: Good! No one wants to have to tell kids Halloween is canceled. What about from an adult perspective? Is it safe to give out candy with a cluster of kids at your door?

A: “That’s something I’d avoid. Getting creative about how you give out candy is the best way to approach it. Consider individual plastic bags with a set amount of candy and maybe have candy set out on a table where people walk by and pick them up as they go. Or find a way to give it out without having people congregating and yelling “trick or treat” on your doorstep. Having a better way to dispense candy is preferable to having a group of kids on your doorstep.”

Q: Should children not go trick or treating with their friends? Should they go with just one adult?

A:“I think they can go with a small group of friends, although they all should wear masks. You’ve got to keep the group smaller – three or four friends outside wearing masks. And while walking down the street, they should try to stay socially distant. I think that’s a reasonably safe approach. Just avoid big groups and unmasked folks.”

Q:A lot of Halloween costumes have masks, but they would generally have an opening. I’m assuming that is not sufficient protection.

A: “That’s true. Kids should use masks that inhibit the spread of COVID. There are some Halloween costumes that would be more authentic with a mask, right? Stick to the kind of mask that helps prevent the spread of COVID rather than, say, a Darth Vader mask.”

Q: So, dressing as a nurse or doctor would be a good call this Halloween? Is it safe to decorate those cloth masks or “doctor up” a surgical mask with Sharpies, glue and glitter?

A: “Yes, I think that’s a way to be creative and still wear the appropriate mask. Remember: Bandanas and the gaiters you pull up your neck to cover the lower half of your face are not as effective as the surgical-style or other cotton masks.”
Is using a Sharpie on your mask OK? Is there any chance kids could be poisoning themselves with the decorations?
“Minimal risk – nothing you need to worry about.”

Q: You mentioned not having kids come up to your door but instead putting something out in the yard where they can grab candy. If somebody chooses not to do that, do they need to be disinfecting the doorbell after every ring?

A: “I don’t think so. As long as you’re washing your own hands, there’s little need to be wiping down door handles and doorbells. I don’t want to discourage people from cleaning things, but I would say hand hygiene is more important than wiping down surfaces.”

Q: Should kids wear gloves as part of their costume?

A: “Not necessarily. Hand hygiene is better than glove wearing as a preventive strategy. Now if you’re Batman, you’ve got to have gloves, right? Don’t avoid gloves – but don’t go overboard trying to make them part of the costume.”

Q: Do parents don’t need to wipe down individual pieces of candy?

A: “I don’t think so. Just wash your hands.”

Q: How would you recommend talking to kids who balk about wearing a mask with their costume?

A: “Remind kids about how masks keep them safe. Promote the idea that it’s a cool part of the costume. If a child wants to dress as a ninja, the mask fits in perfectly as part of the costume. Let this be the year you find a costume that incorporates the right kind of mask. With little, little kids, it’s tough. Try as best you can to keep the mask on them. If they don’t, then stay outside and stay socially distanced as best you can.”

Q: What about corn mazes, pumpkin patches and other common fall activities that take place outdoors?

A: “I’m personally OK with that. You need to avoid congregating at the entrance to the corn maze or the ticket booth or anywhere else. And I would make sure those places have some parameters to keep the lines spread out and to help people maintain a safe distance.
I would be concerned about haunted houses if they’re enclosed. Avoid them unless you can find one that offers a drive-thru option or that strictly limits the number of people who can come in at one time.”

Q: Should neighbors come together and put out sanitation stations for trick-or-treaters?

A: “I don’t think, as long as people are doing their own hand hygiene and masking and being socially distant, that a station like that is necessary.”

source: https://www.novanthealth.org/healthy-headlines/your-guide-to-halloween-trick-or-treating-and-covid-19

What Your Service Signals to Others

What your service signals to others

Contributing your time, effort and energy to a community service organization like Pebble Tossers is rarely (and should never be) about resume building.  It should be about serving the community, building traits like compassion and empathy, and ultimately making the world a better place.  That being said, we all have personal goals like wanting to go to college and get a good job, and it is natural and smart to consider how time spent towards community service might help us reach those goals.  

I am beginning my fifteenth year as a professor at a large university.  During my career, I have evaluated hundreds (if not thousands) of applications for academic programs, scholarships, internships, etc.  With this post, I will share some insight on what your community service means to those of us who make these decisions.  Three factors stand out.

First, your service shows that you care about something bigger than yourself.  These are precisely the types of people we want to support, but it is very hard to differentiate between selfish people and those who care about others.  Volunteering provides evidence that you care about others.  Take a look at the Pebble Tossers Board of Directors and Advisory Council for a moment.  We see lawyers, health professionals, web designers, accountants, financial advisors, and many more high-level, powerful positions.  These are busy people who find time to give back because they care about something bigger than themselves.  These are the type of people we want in our programs, and these are the types of people our donors want to support through scholarships.  By serving, you signal that you want to become one of these people someday – you will set lofty personal goals like becoming a lawyer or CEO, but you’ll also stay grounded and use your talents to make the world a better place.

Second, serving demonstrates the type of work ethic that will allow you to reach your goals.  Rest assured that being a college student, arguing a legal case, running high-level meetings, and working with investors is rarely like what you see on TV.  Sure, parts of these jobs can be a lot of fun, but much of what we do as professionals is a grind.  Similarly, serving your community by planting trees, delivering meals, and picking up trash can look like a lot of fun in pictures, but anyone who has done these knows that they are mostly just hard work.  Most do not reach their goals because they cannot dig down deep and grind it out when difficulties arise.  Your service tells me that you can.  

Third, serving signals that you understand the importance of working with a diverse team to accomplish big goals.  This is what all successful organizations do, and the workforce desperately needs servants and leaders who can bring people together to reach goals.  Seeing Pebble Tossers on your resume tells me that you are one of these types of people.  You understand that people have diverse talents and skills, and you understand that we can accomplish great things when these people come together effectively.  

Ultimately, you should volunteer and serve because you care about others and want to make the world a better place.  However, never discount what you are signaling about yourself when you serve.  Youth with high GPAs and ACT/SAT scores are a dime a dozen.  Serving sets you apart as not only a high achiever, but also a high achiever who cares about others.  These are the type of people we want on our teams.

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Written for Pebble Tossers by Clayton Thyne, a Professor in the Political Science department at the University of Kentucky. He currently serves as the Department Chair, having previously held positions as Director of Graduate Studies and as the co-founder and Director of the Peace Studies certificate program. His research currently focuses on domestic conflict/instability, coups d’état, regime types and democratization, and international education.

7 ways to lead your business, your team, or even your family during COVID-19

written for Pebble Tossers by Jeff Hilimire

This is a scary time for all of us. None of us were prepared for a crisis of such magnitude, and we’re all working hard to keep our families, our companies, and even our sanity together.

I wrote my book, The Crisis Turnaround, in an attempt to help people navigate through these uncertain times. While the book is focused on leadership (of a team or a business), the principles can be applied to many areas of life, including raising a family or overseeing a nonprofit.

Here are seven of the concepts that I lay out in the book that might help you persevere through this pandemic:

#1 – Have open conversations

One of the first things I’ve had to remind myself while running my business, Dragon Army, through this crisis has been to have open conversations with my team. My thinking is: you cannot communicate enough with your team when times are hard.

This goes for my family as well. I have five children (ages 8 – 15) and, as you might expect, they all have different concerns and questions. I’ve found that the more we talk, and the more honest my wife and I are, the more they can process their feelings and be prepared for what’s to come.

#2 – Focus on the foundation

In business, there’s a saying that “cash is king”. What this means is that cash is the lifeblood of your business, and without it, your business will dissolve. Some companies, mine included, would argue that culture is just as critical as cash. While each business is different, they are all similar in that they have certain basic needs that must be met for them to function.

For a family, that foundation might be things like family dinners, Friday night pizza and game nights, worship & faith, etc. You know, the good stuff that brings your family together and provides unique connection points. Every family has them and during a crisis, it can be easy to lose sight of those foundational elements.
Take a moment to pause, step back, and remember to ensure your foundation is on a strong footing.

#3 – Optimize your time

When our schedules are thrown into disarray, and our normal lives are disrupted, it can be easy to fall prey to a lack of motivation or ambition. This is true for businesses and for families.

In The Crisis Turnaround, the characters in the book work at a business and are forced to find ways to manage their time and workload in an entirely new situation: working from home, by themselves. They reschedule their days, look for tricks and tips to optimize their time, and rely on each other for accountability.

For families, time optimization is critical. As parents, you’re forced to manage not only your calendar and to-do’s but also your children’s schedule. When doing so, I find the following good things to focus on:

Be purposeful and deliberate
Allow for freedom within the schedule
Focus on consistency
Create opportunities for rewards (achievements for completion)

#4 – Listen, but not too much

It’s important to stay on top of the news, especially during the time of a health-related crisis. Being informed is critical as you navigate your day and attempt to stay safe.

That said, it can be easy to fall into the trap of information overload, especially during times like these. Too much negative data can lead to a sense of feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and anxious.

Carve out time to check the news, see what’s happening in your social feeds, and then…put it away. There are even apps that can help you by monitoring your activity and putting thresholds on how much time you spend on certain sites/apps. However you do it, don’t get sucked into the seemingly minute-by-minute deluge of news we have access to today.

#5 – Learn to pivot

In business, a pivot is an action that a business takes to change its course, usually when it realizes a change needs to take place for it to survive. Oftentimes this is required during a particularly difficult time.
Change can be scary, but leaning into change can help a business, and a family, weather the storm they find themselves in. Look for ways to shift your S.O.P. (Standard Operating Procedure) in order to be more effective, both while working and also with your family.

For instance, you likely don’t have to get up as early as you used to since no one is rushing to catch the bus in the morning or fight traffic to get to work. So perhaps you’re sleeping in, and maybe that’s causing you to feel lazy (since sleeping later is what you do on your ‘day off’). That’s ok! Now you have a new time to get up, just make sure you embrace that and officially start your day when you wake up.

#6 – Find ways to do some good

Everyone likes to help others – it’s part of what makes us human. However, we can fall prey to taking our do-good efforts and putting them on the sideline while we make our way through a tough time.

I would argue that doing good during difficult times is just what the doctor ordered. In The Crisis Turnaround, the characters decide that they will take a day to help several nonprofits in their area, even while they are struggling to maintain a profit. The result is massive: the team is energized and motivated, and their community is better off for it.
Find a way to allow your family to do some good during this crisis. I promise it will help in ways you can’t even imagine.

#7 – Stay positive

It can be hard to stay positive during difficult times. But as the leader – of your business, your team, or your household – you should work hard to focus on the positive things that are taking place. And in almost all cases, there are positive aspects to your struggles.

For example, while during this particular crisis we are restricted from going out into our communities, the positive might be that you are able to spend more time together as a family. Or that you were able to clean out that closet (which you’ve been putting off for years, haven’t you?). Or that you’re eating healthier foods because you can’t eat at your favorite restaurant right now.

Your team (or family) is looking to you to see how to respond to this crisis. Show them that there are bright spots and that, all things being equal, you have it pretty good right now.

In conclusion, I think you’ll find that if you’re more purposeful about your time and more focused on how to lean into these changes vs. fighting against them, you just might come out of this crisis better than when you entered it.

About the author:

Jeff Hilimire
CEO | Author

Jeff Hilimire is an accomplished entrepreneur who has launched multiple successful for-profit and nonprofit organizations, and who has successfully sold two companies. His current business, Dragon Army, is one of the fastest-growing digital agencies in the nation. Over the course of 20 years, Jeff has applied his knowledge of entrepreneurship and innovation to help guide leaders from some of the most well-known global brands to mobilize growth using an entrepreneurial mentality. He is also the co-founder of 48in48, a global nonprofit that produces hackathon events to build 48 nonprofit websites in 48 hours.

When Jeff isn’t running Dragon Army, mentoring, or volunteering at 48in48, he is working hard as the founder of Ripples of Hope, a collection of for-profit and nonprofit organizations focused on business as a force for good in the world. Jeff is also an accomplished author, and his books, The 5-Day Turnaround & The Crisis Turnaround, are a reflection of his drive and personal purpose to have an outsized, positive impact on the world.

Jeff lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his lovely wife, Emily, and their five children.
See the many other ways he’s worked to help leaders increase their satisfaction and success via his personal blog, jeffhilimire.com.

Atlanta Area Production Company Partners with Pebble Tossers for Their June Volunteer Project

As we continue to experience the challenges with the ongoing health climate, Pebble Tossers is working to curate volunteer opportunities for you and your family to continue to safelyserve from home. Several of the available opportunities include a virtual element such as a Zoom Cooking Classes with Two Thumbs Up.

This past week The Atlanta Community ToolBank hosted a Virtual Workshop via Zoom for Pebble Tossers Volunteers. They showed basic hammering techniques while showing those attending how to build a small Keepsake Box. This project was perfect to show kids how to use a hammer (with adult supervision).

Pebble Tossers was excited when they heard that Brownieland Pictures, a full-service production company in the Atlanta area who partners and supports nonprofits throughout the Atlanta area, chose this event as their June volunteer project. We received several pictures from their participants with big smiles on their faces. Be sure to check out what they had to say about this project by visiting Brownieland Pictures blog.

To see pictures of this volunteer project and many more, be sure to follow us on bothInstagram and Facebook.