March Madness by Charles K.

MarchMadness2In a month known primarily for exciting and nail-biting college basketball games, all of us at CustomED have defined our own version of “March Madness”.  While juggling numerous projects and taking on new and exciting work, our staff here at CustomED truly developed into a Team over the past month.

We really don’t have one person that runs point on all of our projects– we definitely treat our jobs as a team sport. Sometimes I am responsible for setting up the play, sometimes I’m the one passing the project off, and sometimes I’m the one slamming it home. That philosophy allows each of us to excel in our tasks, and assure that the work we put out into the world is the best that we have to offer. Some might even say that the work we do is “Top-Ten” worthy (I might be getting carried away with the sports references).

When the clock is winding down and the ball is in our court, I’ve learned that it isn’t up to one person to step up to be the hero. In order for us to succeed, we need to have a play, execute that play, and work together to make sure we sco— um, to make sure we accomplish what we set out to do.

Whether we are viewed as the favorite, or seen as the underdog, one thing is for certain– CustomED will always strive for success and excel in what we do– and we do it as a team. And I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of it.


The Dress Color is Personal by Megan C.

9562830-largeFor a week or so in February, social media was engulfed by the “What Color is the Dress?” debate. People took sides and drew lines in the sand. Psychologists rushed to make judgements on those who saw which color.  And you were definitely wrong if you didn’t see it the same way the announcers on the TV or radio did.

But as it turns out, the perception of the dress is color is personal; it speaks to how unique people are. Our brains perceive information differently, based on a variety of factors. This example of “seeing” things is a good parallel for successful team-building. Working in a team environment, such as CustomED, requires a strong combination of people with many different strengths and skills.

A team needs to have common goals, but often times; each individual needs to express his or her own way of achieving those goals.  Perception in how you view the same project varies by person  and acceptance of each point of view can make or break the team cohesion. Recognizing and accepting the white/gold people and the blue/black people’s point of view can make for a more complete and successful team.

Making this debate more personal, let’s say that we were discussing what color to paint our new kitchen area.  The goal is to make the area inviting so that we eat lunch as a team.  However if everyone refused to listen to our other teammates, we may end up with rainbow walls of clashing colors.  The goal would not be achieved and we would continue to eat at our desks instead of in an area where we can exchange ideas.  However, if we found two prevailing colors, even if they were opposites, we could compromise and create a room with character.

Acceptance of differing opinions is what makes teams great.  We don’t always need to take that person’s suggestion, but allowing them to speak freely and honestly fosters team and personal growth.


Very Happy Holidays from the CustomED team!

Christmas_CardWishing you all peace and happiness for the rest of the year and beyond! #Holidays2014


How Many Mornings Do You Have to Make a Difference?

In the final REACH Job Training session for the year, students found out they only have an average of 30,000 mornings to wake up and live their dreams. So what are they planning to do with this time?

Well, the students had all day to reflect and exhibit their plans throughout the day.

photo 3 (1)Letting Creativity Shine Through

The “Finding Your Voice session gave students a chance to discuss different types of writing pieces – emails, texts, formal/informal documents, fiction, and cover letters. The group was split up into teams. The first team to grab the marker on the table had the chance to identify what type of writing sample the presenter read.

At the writing session, students were taught the difference between a business card and a mission statement. After seeing a few examples, they wrote ones for themselves. It gave them a chance to really think about the skills required for the career choices and the difference they wanted to make in the world doing it.

The students created vision boards in the “Passion and Purpose” session. The boards gave them the opportunity to map out what drove them to their career choices. They learned that you job position might frequently change in life, but your purpose and passions remained the same.

Gratitude goes a long way. It’s easy to look at any situation as good or bad. But if you want to be successful, you’ve got to look at everything as a learning opportunity. Students reflected on their own lives and wrote down how all of their experiences, even the ones they once labeled as being negative, were opportunities to be grateful for.

STEM put together a scavenger hunt. Different skills and careers were spread out throughout the room. Participants had to find the skills and match them up with the careers.

photo 5Put Your Plan to Work                                                     

In “Mapping Your Path Forward,” it was time to take a look at the journey instead of the destination. While most people think they’ll get a job and work it happily ever after. That’s not so prevalent these days. So, students were able to hear how Rusty McCarty, CEO of CustomED, made many career changes throughout his path. However, his mission still remained the same.

The students had their chance to present their community service projects in front of their peers and volunteer business professionals from the local area. After their three minute, timed, presentations, the volunteers asked the students more detailed information about their community service experience. They also evaluated the students on their presentations and provided suggestions to take their service projects to the next level.

For more information about the REACH program or other educational curriculum by CustomED, please contact (856) 833-9377.


April REACH Job Training

The Power of One

How many people does it take to make a difference? Is the whole group really more powerful than one person? Can one single vote really affect the outcome of an election?  This month’s Reach Job Training sought to help students reflect on some of those questions and help them understand the impact they can have on the world. The day revolved around a specific theme: the power of one.

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After the ducks flew in for another awesome activity to start the day off, groups broke off into three revolving sessions that each covered the day’s theme. ‘The Arithmetic of Making a Difference’ asked students to pander that, when it comes to people, does one plus one really equal two? ‘Path of Service’ gave participants time to reflect on their strengths, passions, and interests to aid them in finding the right avenue for them to make a difference. While ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ took its cues from the eponymous Christmas movie and tasked students with reflecting on what the world would be without them in it.

What’s Your “E Plurabus Unum”?

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The session on mottos illustrated the importance of having a personal motto to live by.In May, students’ nonprofit organizations will be hosting events to promote their organizations to possible donors. Whichever organization garners the most donations will win a cash prize! Groups were given time to plan their events with some help from volunteers. They have some big things planned for their events!

After students created their own mottos, they were given time brainstorm and come up with their nonprofit organizations’ mottos. After, representatives from TD Bank were kind enough to run a session on Checking, Savings, and Debt Management. Presenters offered invaluable insights into the ins and outs of personal finances and “making your money work for you.”

Get Creative

No REACH class would be complete without sessions on STEM and writing! In the afternoon, teams got to bring science to life during the ‘Genius of Science’ session. Each group was given a science topic and was tasked with presenting it to the group in a creative way. Teams sang songs, rapped, and ran skits! The writing session started off with a minute for students to dump everything out of their brain onto paper so they could clear their heads of all the junk!  They were then given time to fine-tune their cover 1 (44)

Later in the afternoon, teams rotated again for three awesome sessions. Students got the chance to receive feedback from last month’s mock interviews while others attended sessions on remaining memorable in the workplace and the importance of being a good citizen. After some time for reflection, students hopefully left with a newfound respect for their individuality and what they can accomplish. REACH Job Training #5 will be held on May 17.


Visual Communications Coordinator

Join Our Team: New Position Now Open…
CustomED is hiring a full-time Visual Communications Coordinator to design and create visual communication elements for program materials, marketing, web, and other project needs.  At least 25% of this position will also involve management and coordination a variety of projects for our clients, partners, and their initiatives/programs/events.  For additional information and application instructions, CLICK HERE.