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"A Taste of Summer" Charity BBQ was a Blast!

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(Pleasanton, California)

Cheers to everyone who was at Friday's "A Taste of Summer" charity barbeque and cook-off in Pleasanton! What a great event to benefit the "Hacienda Helping Hands" campaign and ultimately many local charities and nonprofits under the umbrella of the Tri-Valley Community Foundation, www.TVCFoundation.org.

The music, food and auction were sensational; but the big hit of the night was the corporate "Top Chef" cook-off. Six teams from local companies competed, and the winning ribs were from 1st United Services Credit Union. OMIGOD! The meat melted right off the bone! The chef told me about a combination of dry rub, then smoking, then finishing off on the grill. These are among the best ribs I have ever tasted in my life! (They also won Best Team Cheer-- shown above!)

"Best Grilled Vegetables" award went to the team from Hyatt Summerfield Suites, which was also the main corporate sponsor! Nice work, Jon Burchett! "Best Team Look" went to Faz Restaurants!

I was the event emcee and called attention to the day's two startling newspaper headlines. One noted that 12 percent of U.S. homes are in foreclosure; the other noted that one-third of Bay Area charities are in danger of closing. In fact, one of my favorite nonprofits, Vital Life Services (www.vitalcalifornia.org), has already announced it will shut its doors. This is tragic. The need for all these services is growing as the economy gets worse.

Please give what you can to your local charities, nonprofits and places of worship. In many cases they are the final "lifeboats" keeping the most needy people and families afloat.

Ten percent of my book sales from "Age of Obama: A Reporter's Journey with Clinton, McCain and Obama in the Making of the President 2008," is being donated to charity. Just click on the blue book button on the right side of this screen! Thank you!

I am "Under-employed" and Need Work

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(Danville, California)

I had a great experience today, which I want to share with my readers.

I attended the 2009 "Northern California Career & Leadership Summit" at Community Presbyterian Church in Danville. Boy, did it open my eyes! Attending were approximately 1,500 unemployed or under-employed people from all over the Bay Area. One person even came from Phoenix.

A lot of people are hurting out there, even in relatively affluent communities such as Danville. Many Silicon Valley workers who live here have lost their jobs, for example.
Two articles in the "Contra Costa Times" struck me yesterday. One said 12 percent of homes in America are in foreclosure. The other said one-third of Bay Area charities are "hanging on by a thread," according to a new United Way survey.

Times are tough, but there is help; and there were some great, inspiring speakers today.

First of all, check out www.JobConnections.org. While it takes place at my church (CPC) every Saturday, it is open to all faiths and denominations, and beyond the borders of Danville. It is a very welcoming, helpful church.

Skip Weisman, one of the great speakers today (www.SkipWeisman.com), offered some sound advice about humility because many of us are in the same boat. Why am I telling you this? Because I am also unemployed, or a more accurate term is "under-employed." His lesson in humility today taught me that I should not be afraid to say this publicly. People lose jobs--often through no fault of their own--and become unemployed. Such is the case with me.

Yes, I am doing my Comcast show (which employs me only two days a month); and, yes, I have a book out (which might mean a few speaking events per month); and, yes, I help various non-profits and charities (sometimes for a fee, but most often not).

The point is, I need work--lots of work--and I am not afraid to say it. Many people thought I was at the event today to cover it as a news story. "No, like you, I am here looking for full-time work," I said repeatedly.

Sometimes the best way to find work is to tell as many people as you can, and then network. Don't be discouraged by the headlines; do something! I learned that today from Olympic Medalist Paul Kingsman (www.PaulKingsman.com).

Dr. John Shinnerer gave a great lecture entitled "Stop Living on Auto-Pilot...Learn How to Reach Your Potential."
(www.GuidetoSelf.com)

I am posting these sites and promoting Job Connections because I really learned a lot today, about myself and about being under-employed. Job Connections meets every Saturday morning at 9 a.m.

I am available for full-time or part-time communications work, either as an employee or independent contractor. I can do anything related to communications: Press releases, media training, mass media teaching, voice-over work, interview coaching, advertising, political consulting, product introduction, freelance writing, radio and TV consulting. You name it--if it involves communications, I can do it for you! And if you know of anyone who can use my talents and services, I appreciate referrals.

This is the fifth recession I have lived through as a professional in the media--an industry often decimated in downturns because advertising dollars dry up. We'll all get through this by working together and helping each other out!

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