Category: Miscellaneous

Don’t let your “but” stop you

Cayden Roth, 12, launched a fundraising campaign from mid-January to mid-February, netting $2,000 for Diakon Adoption & Foster Care and the Diakon Youth Scholarship fund.

Cayden was placed with his forever family, Lori and Stephen Roth, through Diakon at 13 monthshis adoption was finalized in 2011. 

“Cayden has a history of fundraising for our program and donating other supplies to our children in care,” says Joyce Riche, M.A., director of permanency services at Diakon Adoption & Foster Care’s Topton office.

In commemoration of the 10-year anniversary of his adoption finalization, Cayden had wanted to donate some of his own money to Diakon. He and his mother discussed the idea and decided that if he invested some of his own money, he could make enough to donate even more. So he used $250 to buy 25 signs. He sold all of them, for a total of $500, within a half-hour of his initial Facebook post. He then bought 100 more to sell. Cayden did most of the delivery and installation of the signs himself. The signs proclaimed: “You Are Loved – Happy Valentine’s Day!” and “Foster Love” with a pair of cupids.

Recently, Scott Habecker, Diakon president/CEO,  hosted Cayden and his mother for a thank-you lunch. Below, Cayden recounts their discussion.

​One of the good things Scott and I talked about was the importance of stewardship. When you’re in charge of collecting money to help someone else, you have to be mindful that most of the money collected goes to help who you want to help.

Tips that can help you get hired

In the first part of this blog post, we discussed ways to approach applications and resumes, as well as steps not to take. In this final part, we review how employers tend to evaluated applicants.

Besides your resume or application, employers use various other evaluation tools to determine if someone would be a good asset to the company. 

These tools may include screening for minimum and preferred qualifications, phone or Zoom interviews before an in-person one, reference and background checks and employee referrals. 

Another popular screening mechanism some potential employers now use is a review of your social media pages, a good reason to review that potential post before you make it. Will something posted in an emotional moment come back to affect you later? 

Job hunting? Start here…

You may have experienced this situation yourself: You apply for a job and you, one, never hear from the potential employer again; two, receive a form letter indicating the position has been filled; or, three, are interviewed but don’t receive an offer.

Disconcerting and disappointing, right?

As Diakon’s Human Resources recruiters, we want to offer some tips to help you potentially experience better results. 

Most important, you need to understand the qualities and skills an employer is seeking, so that you can stand out in a crowded field. 

For example, many employers look for skills beyond the academic qualifications of candidates. Prospective employees may share similar education and experience, but how they present those as ways to make the company more successful can create a huge difference in initial perceptions. 

In fact, incorporate that approach in your resume or application. Learn about the company and the open position and then determine ways your particular skills will successfully address the needs listed for that position. Emphasize your value and efficiency.

And, certainly, never rush through this process or omit details. (And a very simple caution: If you use the same cover letter for multiple applications, make sure you change the name of the company and job title. You would not believe how often people send cover letters addressed to a different organization!) 

These are key characteristics we seek on applications and resumes:

  • Summary statement 
  • Clear section headings
  • Use of correct grammar
  • Elaboration of core competencies (the attributes that make you stand out from other applicants)
  • Strong work experience, including names of organizations, employment dates and job titles
  • Length of work experience

Alternatively, here are “red flags” that will stand out to potential employers in an application:

  • Applications with spelling mistakes
  •  A suspicious work history
  •  Incomplete fields
  •  Inclusion of negative statements about previous employers 
  •  Indicating you left a job because of an unresolved disagreement. 

In addition, if you receive an interview, here are common missteps: 

  • Arriving late
  • Not having done research on the company
  • Looking at phone or texting during the interview
  •  Any other lack of attention during the interview 
  • Gossiping or making negative comments about former managers or employees
  • Showing a lack of understanding about the industry 
  • Not being able to explain why you are interested in the job

Remember, an interview is an excellent opportunity to showcase how your experience, education and initiative will make a difference for the employer. That’s why doing your research about the company and the role are so important!

Part 2 (coming): How employers evaluate applicants.

By: Christa Corum & Chip King, Diakon recruiters

It takes a village…

The Rev. Dr. Colleen Kristula, chaplain at a Diakon senior living community, has written a number of blog posts with reflections on the past year. This is one of those reflections, important as we note the one-year anniversary of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I am thankful for the community that surrounds our campus, and the ways they have supported us through this long, oh-so-long journey.  

From the hand-made signs thanking our staff to the flamingos (we were “flocked”) to gifts of food and “Happy cards” and musicians standing in cornfields to sing and play.  

And oh, the pop-up parade that, with the help of area churches and organizations and school district, brought more than 60 cars, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles to our campus, decorated, with honking and hooting and smiles, to cheer our residents.  Too many kindnesses to name them all, but so appreciated.

Are fat-free and sugar-free products better for you?

As a registered dietitian, I am often asked a lot of health- and diet-related questions by friends and family members. 

Two of the more common ones are:·         

Are artificial sweeteners better for you than real sugar?

Which fats are “good” fats?  

Eating a healthy diet includes all food groups; our bodies need carbohydrates, fats and protein to function properly and the right mix is key. So can fat-free and low-fat products aid in keeping ourselves fit and healthy? 

Absolutely! 

However, paying attention to labels is key. Because something labeled low-fat may not be a magic bullet.  

The social benefits of a senior living community

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll not only on health but also on people’s ability to socialize.

We’ve taken extensive steps at all our senior living communities to provide as much socialization as possible while focused as well on keeping everyone safe. Nevertheless, we look forward to the time soon when we can resume more “normal” activities.

That’s particularly important because something most people recognize about senior living communities is that socialization and connections are key to creating this ideal environment for older people.

Connecting with others and remaining social have many advantages; in fact, most older adults find that living alone at home simply doesn’t provide opportunities for them to meet new people, explore their passions, enjoy the company of others or live the lifestyle they want to enjoy.

At a senior living community, there are many ways people can achieve the benefits of socialization, allowing for a happy, healthy and social life!

If you or a loved one are looking into making the move to a senior living community—particularly now that vaccinations are beginning to take hold and we are offering safety-focused in-person tours—I hope you will consider some of the social benefits residents enjoy on a daily basis!

You can meet an array of new people. When moving to and living in a senior living community, you can be introduced to different types of people who have similar life experiences or very different ones. From seniors just like you to people who enjoy other interests, the opportunities are endless.

Click here to read more about the social benefits of a senior living community…

Preventing deaths that are preventable

In the early days of my career, I remember hearing stories that made me question whether behavioral health was really for me. As mental health and substance abuse professionals, we see and hear a lot.

Ultimately, though, I realized that helping people in their darkest moments comes with a heavy weight but not an unbearable one. Soon, I was getting used to hearing stories that, before, I wouldn’t have fathomed could be true.

“Used to” seems an odd way to put it, but I do not know how else to say it. As therapists, we get used to hearing stories of trauma, used to late-night calls from an individual in crisis, used to advocating for change and then hearing why change didn’t occur. We gladly take on these challenges.

What we don’t get used to is people dying.

Even in 2020, there were things to be thankful for …

The dates may have varied in each senior living community, but the outcome was the same. For us, it was March 12 of last year. The day everything changed.

That was the day the Diakon senior living community of which I am chaplain closed its doors to visitors and most family members to protect our residents from the virus that can cause COVID-19 disease. In an instant, most of my tasks as chaplain fell away.

Supporting colleagues during a stressful time

Workplace stress can be a serious issue—even without a pandemic.

Now, COVID-19 presents additional and unique mental health stressors, particularly for health-care and frontline workers.

But it’s also likely to affect you, either personally or indirectly, no matter your occupation. Disregarding your or a coworker’s stress is an option, but it’s probably not a good one.

So what can you do?

Counseling staff members with Diakon Family Life Services offer suggestions in response to typical questions:

What are warning signs that a coworker may be overly stressed?

1. A notable change in appearance, mood or personality

2. Negativity

3. Being overly sarcastic

4. Missing sessions or meetings

5. Not responding to emails, calls or texts after multiple attempts

6. Irritability

7. Being excessively fatigued

8. Becoming withdrawn and isolated

How can you be helpful and address your concern with a coworker without seeming critical?

Ideally, you may have a relationship with your co-workers or team member that allows a conversation to happen along these lines …

Reducing cyber threats at home

My wife is continually on the lookout for deals on disinfectant sprays and wipes as she works to keep our home free of viruses and bacteria, which today can result in a cold—or a potentially life-threatening illness.

Like many people, she relies on the Internet and email to track down best prices and availability.

Wearing face covers, physically distancing and, in some cases, working remotely have no doubt had an impact on the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The spread of cyber threats, however, continues to rise as workers and their families spend more time at home on home networks that are typically easier to break into. IT departments typically implement many security measures to protect workplace computing environments, but most people do not take these same measures at home or even know where to begin.

To make your home computing environment more secure, here are six security “must-dos” that I use to secure my own home network and make it more difficult for cyber criminals and hackers to attack, in hopes they will look for an easier target.