Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti and writers for the website talk with the women and men making news in New York, Washington, D.C., and other cities around the world. Thanks to Ian Herman for his wonderful piano introduction.

Jason Veduccio

How to Start Your Own Business Even Though You Don’t Know How – Part 1


Chapter One – Launching You, Inc.

Start your own business by stopping.

Stop stopping yourself.

If you have a great idea, or even if you don’t, you can start your own business.

It won’t be easy. But you can do it.

You say you don’t have the time? Stop.

You don’t have the money? Oh please.

Don’t have any big new ideas? Whatever.

Whatever it is you’ve been telling yourself stops here. Are there some exceptions to what I’m saying, are there some people who can’t start their own business? Absolutely – but you’re probably not one of them.

In this series, I will get you up over the hump.

For those of you that don’t know what you’re going to do, ask yourself the following two questions. (And for those of you out there already with an idea, follow along and see how it holds up to these two questions):

  • What do want to do well?
  • What needs to be done?

What do you want to do well?

Picking to do something you like is a high priority for many. However, I think that’s often a questionable move. “Liking” something doesn’t mean you want to do it when you DON’T want to do it – which is the definition of work. There are so many books on this topic already, and my take isn’t much different, save for one thing – I think you should pick something you want to do well.

What do you like doing, that you’d enjoy being better at, and learning more on – even working for free just to improve? As I will say many times, I have no science beyond common sense behind this method, but when you find an interest you want to do better at, and add to it a demand, you’ve found an income stream somewhere in there too.

Having a business means standing up against competition and if you are out there enjoying yourself, but really not all that interested in the quality of your output, there’s going to be a problem. Improving, even at the novice level, means you have knowledge others may want.

What needs to be done?

Find or think of 2-3 skill areas or endeavors in which you’d like to improve. Look around you and find things that people need done. Use your first question as a lens. Are you a great organizer? What isn’t being organized well enough in your area of interest? When people have needs they are likely to pay someone to meet them.

Next put the two together and see if there’s any obvious overlap. None? Then take it back a step and think of other skills you may like to learn. It doesn’t have to be a “Google” type idea, it can be small and maybe only for a small market to begin. Some may say those are the best ideas.

Make these two lists and continue to work on them for next time: when we begin to choose a path.

Jason Veduccio, author of The New American Dreamer: How to Land That Ideal Job in a Nightmare Economy is a hard-working entrepreneur following his dreams, and he wants you to dream, too. Drawing on his experiences working with companies on marketing, technology, hiring, and workplace issues, his regular column will demystify the job search process and identify strategies for moving up the corporate ladder. Founder of In1Concepts, Jason also knows the ins and outs of launching a new business. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at jason@in1concepts.com.

Top photo: Bigstock

Get a Jump on Boosting Your Career


The state of working in America is abysmal for just about everyone. Complaints drown out positive stories. Most workers are dissatisfied about some aspect of their jobs. Owners are unhappy, management is unhappy and labor forces are unhappy. Those who remain without work—-7.75%, still high but down from 10% in 2008—-are the unhappiest of all.

Why so much unhappiness? Those lucky enough to have a job are working longer hours for less pay and, in many cases, with no job security. That’s old news to many yet at a time when technology should be transforming the workplace, making us more efficient and productive, as well as creating new jobs that can lead to better careers for so many, we are faced with nothing less than an employment crisis.

Should work make us happy? Freud might have argued in part yes, but I would qualify that. Work should bring us some form of satisfaction yet a job alone, no matter how exciting and lucrative, should not be responsible for our overall happiness. Family, friends, and what we do in our off hours should contribute to our sense of self worth. Still, our jobs should not be making us unhappy and, in extreme cases, sick. Unfortunately, that’s what we are seeing in so many industries. People are unemployed, underemployed or over-employed (those working multiple jobs and still not able to make ends meet). Change is needed but how to make those changes?

2014 is a new year and with a new year come new opportunities. There are reasons to be hopeful, even excited about the opportunities to come. So make that New Year’s resolution to do something about your job situation, whatever that might be.

Control Yourself

Collective thinking may be saying that the outlook for business is poor. Stop looking at the overall picture. Control what you can: your own situation. You don’t need the economy to be “good”, you need ONE opportunity. In fact some believe there are more opportunities for those just starting out in so-called “bad times” than in economic booms. Thinking as an individual is also going to be one of the foundations of the new economy so why not start by focusing on yourself?

Avoid the naysayers. Discontent breeds more discontent.
Vow to make five new contacts each month whether on LinkedIn or by attending a meeting or lecture.
Change habits, even seemingly harmless ones.

What's ImportantWhat’s Important

Finding out what’s important is the basis for your value system. Again, don’t let others dictate what you find important. Value systems don’t start with what others see in us, but with what we see in ourselves. What you really want in life is a hard question to answer but if you can identify what you need to lead a happy, productive life, you can begin to see how your job fits into that vision.

People who explicitly stand for something, whether the quietly brilliant characteristics such as integrity, honesty, or compassion, have advantages in the business world. Those traits inspire others. When your personal value system extends to your job, your career decisions will be made for you.

List three things you can’t live without.
List three things you could live without.
What business person/s do you admire and why?
Tune out. Most people who say they can’t decide what they want are simply distracted or entranced by their daily routine. Set aside time to do nothing but think about yourself.

The Challenge

The world is a much different place than it was ten, even five years ago. The technological revolution is doing what it should be doing: changing everything. Tasks that were once a full time job are now done in a millisecond. Entire industries are faltering, failing, or being completely reinvented in order to survive.

Education is the single most powerful tool in this new environment. What type of education someone needs today is less likely to be as simple as a degree. It more than likely may mean the learning of various skills separately while then taking those skills and assembling them together to create a unique resource within yourself that gives you tremendous value.

We see this over and over again in the computer sciences. The pace of change in that industry has much to do with it becoming a necessary way of working for many who learn all aspects of one discipline only to put it together with a secondary set of skills which in turn create an entirely new and productive worker.

Take a course, in a classroom or online, that will give you a new needed skill.
Again, read, read, read, whether magazines or books that add to your knowledge.
Stop thinking of math and science as…well, math and science. It’s not. It’s creative and flexible too.
Learn Microsoft Office software. If you already know it then learn Quickbooks or Salesforce. If you know those learn HTML. No I am not kidding.

Be the Mother of Invention

Once you have gained this new knowledge, find ways to put it to use. Have you ever been at work and wondered why there wasn’t a person you could call who could perform a specific task or handle a certain part of a job? Maybe that person is now you. Do you work in a job where waste and inefficiency are a problem? Define the problem and solve it, then bring that information to your supervisor. Do you work in a real estate development office and find people who would pay a consulting fee to get direction when dealing with all of the paperwork? You get the idea.

Invent solutions, answers, and even new ways to see old problems. Do not be shy about presenting your ideas and you may be surprised at your employer’s reaction.

If you are like many Americans you are facing part time work offers. My advice is to see this as a way to start your own business. Work those hours and then see if it translates to something else you can do on your own. Many times we have to piece together a living while we are building our careers so take advantage of part time employment.

List five things you could change about your job given the opportunity.
Practice presenting your ideas to your supervisor.
Treat everything as a trial and error process. In the new world they sometimes call this iteration.

Creative Thinking2Different Thinking

The best way to think differently is to doubt yourself. Approach the same material as if your past thinking was wrong. If you start to question things in a logical progression, you may find new ideas.

This way of thinking is so important in the new world economy that top schools are devoting millions in funding and resources to it. Take the now prestigious d-school at Stanford University also known as The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. Launched in 2005 with no affiliation to any department, the program offers no degrees, yet could fill three times as many seats as there are openings.

The Johns Hopkins Business School and the Maryland Institute College of Art also have created “Design Leadership” courses that along with the d school are quickly becoming popular among recruiters from companies like Google, Nike, and JetBlue.

There is no one way to describe all of these programs and how they work but a glimpse at the d school shows people literally being trained to “reinvent” or re-think things they already know. This could include observing the checkout process in a supermarket, or attempting to discover new procedures for applying paint to an automobile. Students are asked to perform exercises based in evolving a hybrid talent of business and design skills. What this means for those of you unable to attend these classes is that a trickle down effect will shape the rest of the workforce until everyone is expected to think in a more adaptable manner.

Take just one routine task you perform each day and find another way to do it.
Study something profoundly. Headlights. Lipstick. A door hinge. Pretend you were asked to redesign it.
Guess more. Guess using information you have and then compare your guess to the actual solution. Smart guessing is a skill.
Find people who challenge you. You don’t have to agree with them, just hear them out, let them make you a little uncomfortable. It’s good for you.

The next few weeks can be a time of reflection but should also be a time of action. Many of the best traits in the new economy are not primary characteristics of past workers. People now have to work with less on the job training, but are expected to have the skills and training at the interview.

My advice is that if the corporate world wants the workforce to be responsible for their own training, then go one better – own it. If you own that skill not just from the expertise point of view but from the idea that you are now such a particular expert that you deserve high compensation and consideration then slowly every person will be their own best agent for their personal independent contracting. Even as an employee you may see benefits as the leverage you bring to salary negotiations alone can only enhance your standing. If your employer knows that you just might go out there and make a go of it alone they might give you the extra vacation weeks or the best parking space.

And as for those of you that may give more serious thought to taking that entrepreneurial spirit out there on your own, the near future may be something to keep your eye on.

Jason Veduccio, founder of In1Concepts, works with companies on marketing, technology, hiring, and workplace issues. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at jason@in1concepts.com.

How to Think Like an Entrepreneur Part 3


Not everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur but everyone can start to think like one. Most of us think like entrepreneurs in many parts of life outside of work. Some may be efficient perfectionists in our backyard garden, while others might seek out only the most talented musicians for their new band. When it happens like this we call it passion.

In fact, thinking like an entrepreneur doesn’t take much thinking at all. There’s no big secret handshake, no school to attend, and no books to read. If you want to think like an entrepreneur it really all starts with an attitude.

We previously mentioned attitude as it relates to taking control of your surroundings; now let’s look at leading with that attitude. You might want to believe that your attitude is the second thing people judge you by at work, with your intelligence or productivity being first. I propose looking closely at the following before continuing on with that type of thinking.

However much we wish to believe that people should judge us based on performance alone we should consider the times in which we judge others by their attitude, at times without ever getting to know how intelligent, or helpful that person may be.

Even more important is the definition of attitude as way of thinking that affect one’s behavior. So to be intelligent and productive is, generally speaking,  start with a good attitude.

What is a good attitude? What is an entrepreneurial attitude? Good question. When it comes to thinking like an entrepreneur there are many components of a “good attitude.” Let’s look at three of the most critical.


Many people have more than enough self-confidence to think like or even be a successful entrepreneur. There are many others who either lack self-confidence or lack it in certain aspects of their career. You must learn ways to build your self-confidence. This means finding your core beliefs so that making difficult decisions, even lonely decisions, can be done with more certainty.

General dissatisfaction with what’s out there.

Dislike long lines at the supermarket and believe you could do better? Don’t understand why paint stores can’t match colors using your cell phone? Figured out a better way to make lemon meringue pies? You’re not only possibly a major grump, you’re an entrepreneur! If you are always seeking ways to improve things and subsequently give yourself the authority to solve these problems, then you’re thinking like an entrepreneur.

Ability to deal with the unknown.

We all deal with uncertainty differently. Handling it in business is about not being afraid when it comes to risk; more specifically it’s about keeping cool when you are most afraid. Making decisions when the mind is stressed usually prevents good decision-making, unless that person is able to quell the stressors and focus as if nothing else mattered. This is not easy when the stakes get higher and more money is involved, but the better you handle stressful situations, the better you will do in business–and in your job. One way to do this is to know as much as you can, and then stay in the moment.

Thinking like an entrepreneur is as much about attitude as it is about thinking. The good news is that your attitude is something you control. If it’s not quite where you need it to be today, you can change it. Work at your attitude every day. Being positive is a core ingredient, but you must balance that with a practical mindset at times.

All of this is helpful beyond the business arena, but when you’re trying to get a new job or start your own business, this can be especially beneficial.

New American SmallJason Veduccio is the author of The New American Dreamer: How to Land That Ideal Job in a Nightmare Economy. Click to buy.

Rethinking the American Workplace


We all have to work, and that’s not a bad thing. So why does the word itself bring up so much stress? Is it really that much of a bummer? And if it is, can we change it? What can we change?

The fact is the American workplace is changing. Businesses are measuring and rewarding value now more than ever. This is why you need to understand what makes you most productive, if you want to have any real chance at achieving it.

Businesses small and large are measuring your performance against specific goals and this brings opportunities for those with the right mindset. You must know how you are being measured and what others expect from you to be successful.

If you don’t already know what is expected of you then ask. This is always a good way to show you ‘get it’ and once you have that info, you can start to reshape your world.

If it’s sales figures they want, figure out what you need to do to achieve them. Would working different hours help? Could you use more training? Do you need to rearrange your work load?

Notice how all of these questions could be seen as opportunities if you keep your mind on achieving those sales goals.

The American workplace is evolving with industry leaders offering nutritious meals and day care as perks for high performance. The effect that has on smaller businesses means smaller changes but important nonetheless.

Here are some of the ways experts see the workplace changing over the next few years:

Flexible job titles and unique positions. Ever thought you’d make a great VP of Green Initiatives? Suggest it or a scaled-down version to a superior as something you’re passionate about. In the future unique job titles may be the norm.

Flexible hours. Need time to pick the kids up from school and willing to stay late to do so? Suggest it. If you produce many bosses won’t care and might even prefer you being happy about the time you do spend working.

Flexible workspaces. Have you thought to yourself that if you didn’t have to sit next to Larry you could get more done? Suggest a more creative office setup. Office design is changing fast and businesses are looking for more creative spaces to get the most from employees.

Everyone knows deep down what they would do if they were allowed to do their job any way they wanted. Take that idea and see which parts of it would make you more productive. Then use that to create a plan that serves the company first, as well as their own interests. This is called win-win-win and just what may be the new American workplace.

New American SmallJason Veduccio is the author of The New American Dreamer: How to Land That Ideal Job in a Nightmare Economy. Click to buy.

November Jobs Report Shows Some Positive Signs


The U.S. Department of Labor released its November jobs report recently saying total nonfarm payment employment rose by over 200,000 and the unemployment rate is now declared to be 5.8 percent.

Why should you care? There’s one very important reason and then a few smaller ones.

I usually tell people who are looking for a job to turn off the television news because generally speaking, it’s too easy to be swayed by the moods of others. At the same time it’s important to seek pockets of positivity to build your inner strength.

Here’s one of those pockets of positivity, and we should leverage it to push ahead. So if you’ve stopped looking for work or just recently need a new job, understand that it may be a good time for you to take action.

Want more reasons to send out your resume?

It’s that time of year. 27,000 retail jobs were added in October, showing some of the attitudes merchants are taking for the upcoming holiday season.

Industries are growing. Healthcare added 25,000 jobs in October. That’s a 12-month average of over 20,000 per month.

Businesses are growing. Professional and business services gained 37,000 jobs last month. These tend to be better paying jobs and it shows signs that small and large businesses are hiring.

Use this information to inspire you to send out more resumes, learn about other industries and meet new people. That’s always going to translate to better opportunities for you and the economy.

New American Small Jason Veduccio is the author of The New American Dreamer: How to Land That Ideal Job in a Nightmare Economy. Click to buy.  

Remember Our Veterans on Veteran’s Day


The entire world watched our recent Presidential election and we were reminded again and again that our freedoms come at a cost to those who bravely serve in our armed forces. Memorial Day in May celebrates those who have died while serving our country; Veteran’s Day celebrates the service of all military veterans, so we have the opportunity to reach out to honor and help our living veterans to thank them for all they have done.

Woman Around Town ran a three-part series, Veterans at Work – Winning on the Home Front,  interviewing three officials who assist veterans in the transition from the battlefield to the workplace. If you missed one in the series, you can click here to read the stories:

Part I – Helping Vets Find Jobs as Contractors

Part II – Helping Vets Help America’s Businesses

Part III – Holistic Help for Veterans

In addition, we have a list of websites for organizations whose aim is to assist our returning warriors. Whether you make a donation or volunteer with one of these groups, you will be giving back to a group that has given so much.


Hire Heroes

Call of Duty Endowment

Pragmatic Works

Farmer Veteran Coalition

Veterans Green Jobs

Microsoft Elevate Veterans


Veterans Inc.

Armed Services YMCA

Fisher House Helping Military Families

Homes for Our Troops

Fallen Heroes Fund

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

Semper Fi Fund

Navy Seal Foundation

Coalition for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans

Operation Homefront

Project Healing Water Fly Fishing

The Mission Continues

Adaptive Adventures


Veterans at Work – Winning on the Home Front III


Before we observe Veteran’s Day on November 11, Woman Around Town completes a three-part series by career strategist Jason Veduccio interviewing experts who help returning warriors re-enter the workplace. This week, Jason talks with Leslie Lightfoot who is the Founder and Executive Director of the Veteran’s Homestead Inc., an independent, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Fitchburg, Massachusetts whose mission is to provide medical, psychological, and spiritual care to veterans who are diagnosed with a terminal illness, elderly, disabled, or otherwise in need.

Part III – Holistic Help for Veterans

Many might think of a veteran’s search for work as something that begins with a resume and an interview but in many cases that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Returning soldiers face numerous challenges, beginning with finding proper housing and medical care. In the last part to this series I went a bit deeper into the roots of the problem, still under the assumption that veterans are in the best position to help their fellow veterans – with our support.

This brought me to Leslie Lightfoot, a humble and soft-spoken woman quietly doing incredible things for veterans on a national level. After learning of her organization and its work I was eager to meet this person who works tirelessly to develop a safety net for those courageous soldiers who return most in need. Yet when speaking with her she was sturdy in her humility, always pointing the attention to others, to the veterans and their families. I mentioned to her a few times that her story was important too, if only because through it we will learn of other stories. (Please see below for a more complete bio of Leslie Lightfoot.)

How did you become interested in the armed services? Did you come from a military family?

My father and uncles were all World War II veterans, but upon my father’s return from his duty in Germany he left the service for civilian life so I wasn’t necessarily an “army brat” but it was then I became interested in the military.

Was it then that you knew you wanted to follow in his footsteps in some way?

When I was nine years old my father gave me his Purple Heart and though at that age I didn’t know exactly what it was, I knew it was something very important to him and it affected me deeply. Then because of the times we were in, a very good friend of mine got killed in Vietnam and that also awakened me to something. I came from a middle class background in Canton, Ohio and most of the kids from my neighborhood were drafted, and so all of it was very much on my mind at the time. But when my friend got killed it really became something I felt strongly about, so at the end of high school I wanted to save the world as they say, and I joined, though at that time they weren’t sending female medics to Vietnam, they only sent nurses, so I ended up in Germany – just like my father.

What was it like coming back from that war as a female veteran?

Everyone knew that if you were a male you were probably drafted but as a woman they knew that you had chosen to join and because of the anti-war sentiment at the time I remember returning and going to a basketball game in Ohio wearing my uniform and I was so proud yet people looked at me like I was a pariah – so it set the stage for me not wanting to tell anyone I was a vet for a while.

When did it change for you and what brought you to working with veterans?

I went to school in Massachusetts and got a bachelor’s and then a master’s degree in psychology and I became board certified in traumatic stress. I started to work with combat vets at a shelter in Boston, but at the same time I was also taking workshops in Virginia with famed psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross who wrote On Death and Dying. All of this got me involved but it truly crystallized when I met this one man, his name was Tom Evans, a veteran of Korea. He was in the hospital and he couldn’t stay because he had no insurance, and he had no family, and he was dying of cancer with just eight months to live. So upon seeing this I talked to my family and we agreed to take him in but sadly he died that weekend. So that was the defining moment of “something needs to be done here” for me and that’s how the veteran’s hospice got started, a twelve bed facility in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.

Tell me about some of the challenges veterans you care for face before they can even consider looking for work?

Many times the physical challenges are more obvious and those need acute attention, but what people don’t realize, even veterans themselves at times, is that other factors such as alcohol abuse can really exacerbate their problems. And some don’t have close family relationships and we try to encourage them to become closer if it’s possible. Others are now older and their spouses have passed or they have a hard time living on a small pension. So the problems are many but as they heal, work becomes an important part of the equation.

How did your efforts expand?

As we saw veterans with more diverse problems, we started something called the Armistice Homestead that used to be a rest home so we made that an aftercare program for veterans for when they leave an alcohol treatment center. It’s a place where they can live while they look for work and for a place of their own. After that we opened a farm in New Hampshire, where we use animal therapy and the veterans tend to the farm. It’s a very structured program but it does so well because these animals have no judgments and seeing the way these veterans would care for them, it really helps.

I noticed you opened a program in Puerto Rico. How did that come about?

After the farm we opened a program in Puerto Rico because it’s a part of the United States, and the amount of veterans per capita is greater than in any other state or commonwealth. According to my friends in combat, Puerto Ricans make fantastic soldiers and are extremely patriotic.

What are you working on most recently?

We have opened Northeast Veteran’s Training and Rehabilitation Center in Gardner, Massachusetts where vets can come with their whole families. We have ten acres of land and twenty condos. They pay on a sliding scale depending on what they can afford. In addition, they pay no heat or electricity because we are geothermal and use photovoltaics to capture solar energy. The local college there, Mount Wachusett Community College not only offers education for the veteran but also offers a free education to the spouse – which is terrific. And then all forms of counseling are available. Many suffer from Post Traumatic Stress, which is mostly misunderstood by so many.

What is PTS ?

PTS is something many try to define but it’s sprawling. It’s not always just the combat stress. Sometimes things that happened before they even joined were enough for people to have psychological stress after leaving the armed services. Anyone who has been traumatized can be showing signs of stress and some people won’t recognize it.

In terms of treatment for PTS, what is your methodology?

Shut up and wear beige. The people working with anyone who is traumatized you need to listen, listen, listen. And if you’ve been in the military it does help because certain things don’t have to be explained. So I tend to shut up and wear beige.

What do your programs do to help get them work?

Because we always try and treat the whole person, we help them with everything from resumes to tutors to free education arrangements with local schools. Anything they need to prepare, we try to provide. One of our caseworker’s even brought in an outfit for someone to wear to an interview. We can do this because we keep the size of our facilities manageable.

Are any corporations doing more than others to hire Veterans?

Yes. Home Depot hires a lot of our veterans, I don’t know if it’s policy for them but I know they do. And that’s on a national level. Other places that work in defense do as well – for instance Raytheon also hires a lot of veterans. But across the board it’s not as common it should be.

Is there anything someone reading this can do to help?

Educate, educate, educate – yourself and others! And learn about PTS. Not everyone who has it is so obvious, and just because they have it does NOT mean they can’t function. It just means you have to learn to notice it and how it affects the person’s point of view and that takes education.

If anyone reading this knows a Veteran returning from duty, where can they get information that we can learn from?

I suggest contacting the Department of Veterans Services in Massachusetts or a place like the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts to start. (Editor’s note: These groups can help you find agencies in your own area to help.) Then, depending on your need, keep reading, and ask for help. Educate, educate, educate is always part of the solution.

If you would like to contact Leslie Lightfoot you can visit her website, Veterans Homestead, or send your request to jason@in1concepts.com and it will be forwarded.

Leslie Lightfoot

Leslie served in the Army as a medic from 1967 – 1970, then pursued and obtained a bachelors and a master’s degree in psychology.   She is also a Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress.  Leslie has been serving the needs of the veteran community since she left the army in 1970, is a nationally recognized expert on PTSD and has developed seven successful projects for veterans in need.  Leslie has served on the boards of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, The Central MA Coalition for Homeless Veterans, The Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund and on the Advisory Committee to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs in Washington D.C. and the Governor of Massachusetts.  Her Awards include Hometown Hero Award from both Worcester Magazine and Boston radio station WTKK, the DAR Medal of Honor, Unsung Hero award for Civic Engagement from Mount Wachusett Community College and an array of certificates of appreciation from federal, state and local dignitaries.  She has two daughters and a son that are Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

Read the other stories in this series:
Part I – Helping Vets Find Jobs as Contractors
Part II – Helpings Vets Help America’s Businesses

Working Together to Help Others in Need


There’s little left to say to those of us who have seen the destruction on the east coast. Millions of lives have been disrupted and others badly damaged and we are now in a period of shock as we slowly start to climb out from under the mess.

If you have been deeply affected by Hurricane Sandy then turn to others for help. Some tips on re-building to keep in mind:

-Take photos of everything. Not just for insurance, but for keeping track of personal items that you might have to throw out.

-Do not use food or supplies that have been touched by floodwater. Floodwater is dangerous and even canned goods should be thoroughly washed before using.

-Never touch downed wires. Always assume a downed power wire is live and if it’s in water then avoid being near the water as well.

-If you use natural gas or propane pay close attention to valves – they could need replacing before using after being soaked with water.

If you feel you can help others please do. Everyone can do something. Start locally by contacting friends and family to see if anyone needs anything. Do some food shopping for an elderly person in your building. Babysit for a neighbor. Drive someone to work.

Other ways to help are to organize a blood drive at work. Get co-workers to sign up and ask supervisors for approval and support. Use social media to contact and collect donations from friends and relatives from outside the affected areas. Tell them where their money will be going and follow through after you have made the donation to let them know how helpful their support was.

If you are the creative type perhaps you might lend your expertise to those around you by re-planting someone’s garden, painting some damaged property or using your photography skills to help document someone’s damage. If you are an animal lover offer to watch someone’s pet until they can sufficiently care for the animal again.

And if you have more time or resources think about some of these places to help:

American Red Cross
American Red Cross Blood
Team Rubicon
Save the Children
Feeding America
Community Food Bank of NJ
The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City
City Meals on Wheels
The Humane Society of the United States

Before giving to any charitable organization we recommend you do your own research on Charity Navigator

Photos courtesy of NBC News (John Makely)

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