Taught by Megan Downing
This course focuses on the dynamics of teamwork. Roles and qualities of team leaders and team players will be discussed, along with attributes and behavior of teams. Special focus will be placed on problem solving in a team environment, diverse teams, and virtual teamwork.
- Professor Megan Downing
A word from Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky's Kim M. Webb:
"We are so excited to have been selected and to have $1,000 restricted to a staff room in the new building! I shared it with the staff, who was on the call with us, and she is already thinking of how to spend it!
On behalf of all the staff, thank you for investing in their development and happiness to have a space dedicated to their emotional well-being."
Adapted from Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky's NPO grant application:
The Emergency Shelter of Northern KY (ESNKY) has been serving those in need of emergency shelter since 2008. We provide emergency shelter and support to meet the immediate needs of homeless adults, increase their self-sufficiency, and help them recover from and prevent the return to homelessness. Since our beginnings in 2008, our services have expanded from the most basic shelter needs to now include summer housing recovery, summer shower & laundry outreach, and a variety of other services including goal setting, dinner & breakfast, clothing, health services, social service referrals, financial planning, housing assistance, safe shelter beds, and transitional beds. We are 90% privately funded, which supports our mission to operate as a low barrier, no judgment safe shelter where even small donations go a long way. Although we are the largest shelter in NKY, we consistently operate at full capacity. In Spring of 2021, we will be opening our new facility on 13th street in Covington. This location will allow us to expand and provide services in a building designed for those needs allowing us to more effectively serve individuals in need.. One need we also hope to rectify is space for staff. Our current location does not have space for a staff break room and since we are finally moving to our forever home, we now have the opportunity to have one. Our new facility will have a designed staff space that will have a need for tables, chairs, lockers for personal belongings, coffee pot, shelving, refrigerator, and speakers. Funds from this grant will be used toward creating this safe space where staff can step away, an essential needs since stress can be constant and relief options are minimal throughout the day. Staff deals with adults in immediate crisis, that are facing addiction, have mental health and physical health issues and it is constant throughout the day. There is currently no place to step away for a moment of privacy, to take deep breaths, or have lunch or dinner quietly before returning to their shift.Staff often has lunch at their desk or no lunch at all and our evening staff does not even have secure storage for their personal belongings. Everyone needs a mental break throughout the day in order to stay positive, focused, and effective with our guests. Establishing a dedicated area where employees enjoy some downtime during the workday is a strategic move that can reap many positive benefits for staff and the entire organization. A dedicated staff room has been shown to reduce staff tension, stress, and employee turnover. A staff room will improve staff well-being and build a sense of a community and connectedness. Our space will be designed to be a welcoming and relaxing space where employees feel comfortable, can strengthen social bonds, and relieve stress during the workday. Our focus has always been to take care of the guests that we serve, it is important to take care of staff to show that they are matter and we value their work with our guests and mission. Your funds will help to provide them a superior space for them to relax and renew. In our current location, all available space is used for guests. Staff share offices, share appliances with guests and do not have a quiet space to be alone to reflect & recharge. Your investment would improve our workforce and be a legacy gift for years to come.
Timeline: It is estimated that our building will be ready to open May 2021 for guests. Grant funds would be used during the course of remodeling which could occur as early as March 2020.
A word from The Center for Great Neighborhoods' Shannon Ratterman:
"We are very grateful for the award and look forward to putting it to good use. Please let me know if anything else is needed on our end or how soon to expect the award. Thank you again to your and your classes. This program with NKU is always a rewarding experience."
Adapted from The Center for Great Neighborhoods' NPO grant application:
Since 1976 The Center for Great Neighborhoods has been a catalyst for positive growth in Covington and we spark this growth by bringing people and families together, encouraging them to work with each other, and supporting their efforts to shape the future of their community. The Center began in 1976 when the Fourth Street Center and Downtown Neighborhood Center merged to become the Covington Community Center. In the late 1960s and early 1970s these two small neighborhood centers were created by separate churches in Covington. Both served the emergency needs of low-income residents, provided recreation activities for youth and helped residents address community issues. The merger helped create a single, strong organization with a mission to serve those same needs.
All of our current programs are designed to improve the health and wellbeing of our residents: creating safe, affordable housing; promoting financial wellbeing; improving health related infrastructure (parks redevelopment, pedestrian safety, walking routes, bicycle paths, etc.); fostering leadership and social/emotional skills in Covington’s youth; encouraging social connections and bridging community understanding; and, increasing access to healthy food and safe places to play. Our new home at the Hellmann Creative Center is a hub for building these community connections and identifying one’s own creativity and strengths.
Using our decades of experience in supporting residents who find creative ways to engage neighbors and bring positive actions in their community, we are creating a new program called the Covington Challenge. For the first challenge, we are looking to collaborate with individuals or groups on ideas that address two of our community's most pressing issues:
Funding from the Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project would allow us to almost double the project funding and potentially double the amount of projects we can support.
We expect to support three to five projects that will take place in the first part of 2021 -- creative ideas to engage neighbors, create a sense of place, strengthen our community, advance the goals of racial equity and inclusion, all while practicing physical distancing and respecting the guidelines recommended by the governor of the State of Kentucky related to the COVID19 pandemic.
Professor Downing: This class would have been a "face to face" (F2F) class if not for Covid-19 and encouraged to make site visits to the organization. Instead, it was a "live" synchronous class that met twice a week via Zoom. A unique challenge was the inability to engage in F2F small group activities that help teams begin to form social connections from which they can build trust and working relationships. To work around this, Zoom breakout rooms where teams engaged in small group activities and discussions were held in most class sessions. Teams then shared their key thoughts with the class either in full class discussion or on Google Jamboards (virtual whiteboards that allow synchronous editing by multiple users). We also incorporated a couple virtual, asynchronous discussions in order to free up some scheduled class time for brief small group project meetings. This minimized scheduling conflicts for the teams and helped them stay on track and minimize miscommunication.
A final challenge we encountered was the virus itself. Some class members came down with the virus, some were exposed to the virus and quarantined, some had family or friends battling the virus. Some students struggled with extra work obligations while others lost work opportunity. To acknowledge this, at least once a week we included an opportunity to talk openly where students were encouraged to share a "good thing", "something they did for themselves", and/or "concerns". Engagement in these open discussions was lively in the beginning, but seemed to decrease as we approached midterm. So, in the second half of the semester, I began opening the class with soothing music and an anonymous Jamboard where students could post virtual "sticky notes" anonymously to share questions, concerns, or 'one good thing'. Students seemed to enjoy this venue.
For the project, students conducted a Zoom meeting with their organization. They also recorded the interview (with permission). The staff emotional investment in the work they do was absolutely riveting and powerful. The critical need for this dedicated staff space in a world where every penny is typically invested in the services they provide and carefully accounted for was profound. Through this unique virtual interview process, the entire class was able to benefit from this powerful, organic interview process conducted by the team in their Zoom interview. Had we been in an F2F class, the students would have never thought to request permission to record and share the interview. It was a powerful learning moment that would not have occurred if not for our unique learning environment.