Love Local Apparel Is More Than Just A Dream And You As A Local Need To Support Them

Love Local Apparel Is More Than Just A Dream And You As A Local Need To Support Them

Love and support local.
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I have recently come across this amazing company that just launched. This company, Love Local Apparel, is centered around Carrollton, Georgia which makes it even sweeter. Carrollton is the little town where my school resides, the University of West Georgia. But right now, I want to share with you a few things about this company and why is changing my outlook on life.

Love Local was just started by 2 small town girls who had a passion and dreams bigger than anyone else. Their mission is simple:

Our mission is to provide quality, unique apparel that brings the community together through spreading love by giving back.

I was lucky enough recently to win a T-shirt from local love apparel, it will be here soon. What is cool about the apparel itself is that each item is not only made locally, but 12% of the profit will go straight to charities in Carrollton. So not only are you getting a quality product from them, but you are also helping support our local community.

I love when I get to give back, I’m not sure about you. I love knowing that part of my money is going to those who really need it. Charities are important to support because they are what helps make our environment of Keep Carroll Beautiful cleaner, but it will also be nicer to be around. Being kind to others is always a good quality to have and it certainly will help make our world become full of more love.

I really hope you take the chance to check them out, they would appreciate it!

Cover Image Credit: Love Local

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Why Working With Special Populations Doesn't Make Me A Good Person

What you're missing from the bigger picture.
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"What do you do?" might be one of my least favorite questions. Let me tell you why.

I am currently a registered behavior technician at a wonderful program (MAP) nestled in the heart of North Carolina. Usually, when I tell someone what I do, their response is either an uncertain nod or a plain look of confusion. At that time, I break it down by saying, “Basically, I work with children who have autism."

Now, more times than not, the response I receive is along the lines of, “Wow, that's so amazing of you", or my personal favorite, “Good for you. I could NEVER do that."

I understand that working with special populations isn't for everyone, just like being a neurosurgeon isn't for everyone. But, working with special needs children doesn't make me a good person, a saint, or a hero. Every time someone tells you he/she is a teacher, do you gasp and express how much you could NOT be a teacher?

What about when you meet a pediatrician? These people work with children just like I do. I'm certain if you spent one day in my shoes you would see just how much you COULD do my job.

Maybe not all of the technical work, but after a day with these children, you would be humbled by how much you could learn from them.

After all, these children are just children. They want to be accepted just like every other child.

They want to be understood and to be part of a community just like the rest of us.

My job has given me the opportunity to get to know a handful of the more than 3.5 million Americans on the spectrum. I've gotten to know each of their personalities, their quirks, and what makes them unique. I can't help but imagine a world where everyone gets to know these individuals as I have.

A world where we accept all of those who might appear or act different from us and educate ourselves on these populations. A world where that education helps us see that they aren't so different from us after all.

Working with individuals with special needs doesn't make me a good person, because I do it for selfish reasons.

I work with them because I don't know what my life would be like without them. They have taught me so much and changed my life in so many ways. I get to play a small hand in these children's lives. I get to help them learn fundamental life skills you and I take for granted.

But, I also get to leave work every day having learned a lesson. These children have taught me to be a better version of myself and to appreciate even the smallest of things life has to offer. Each day they challenge me to laugh more, have more fun, and not take myself so seriously. They show me more love than I ever knew possible. Maybe it isn't with their words. Maybe it's with the smiles and giggles when we're singing their favorite song, or the way they look at me when they finally get something they have been working so hard to learn.

The hugs, the kisses, and the moments where our two worlds collide and we finally connect; these are the moments that remind me how much these children have to offer the rest of us. If only we would take the time to let them teach us, we would be more selfless, less judgmental, and have a greater appreciation for life.

April is National Autism Awareness Month.

My hope is that this month we work to spread awareness for Autism, as well as other special needs. We take this time to learn something new, to help educate others, and to stop looking at these individuals as though they need special people in their lives to help teach them and focus more on opening our minds to the things they can teach us.

Explore Odyssey's featured Autism Awareness content here.

Cover Image Credit: Katharine Smith

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Selling Yourself

Building relationships with the people around yourself is the key to sales.

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Hi, my name is Isaiah Gardner. Every day, I sell myself to other people.

I approach strangers on the streets and in establishments - bars, clubs, restaurants, malls, shopping centers, insurance agencies, anywhere you can think of - in the hopes of building a new relationship with them.

At this point, you're likely thinking that I'm in a line of work that is entirely separate from the one I'm thinking about, but in all honesty, both use the key component of sales. As a salesman, the top priority is to build rapport and a relationship between yourself and the person with whom you are interacting.

Being in sales is probably one of the most difficult, yet also the most enjoyable, occupations I've held. People inherently hate salesmen - when I stroll into an establishment with my suit and a sly grin, leather-bound notepad in hand, I immediately receive cold looks and narrowed eyes. Dressed head to toe in black, it's no wonder that my presence is ominous, but I don that outfit in the name of professionalism and utmost seriousness. Simply put, I mean business when I enter a room.

I'm one of two people to the receiver of the aforementioned sly grin: An agent of some party that they really don't want to have to interact with, either because I'm there on official business that they'd like to extract themselves from, meaning that they need to turn tail and get out of there as soon as possible. Or, a salesman, here to pitch them a product or service that they don't necessarily need, but which I'm going to pitch to them anyways in the hope that I can advertise myself and the commodity that I bear as one of necessity and utmost quality.

While my demeanor and outfit may be off-putting, my alarming presence is the first thing that I aim to dispel. Not only am I there to sell my product; I'm there to sell myself as a personable, charming, amicable partner with whom a business owner should wish to do business. The foundation of all relationship-building, regardless of the situation, is based upon building rapport and earning the trust of the person or people before you.

Think back to your days in preschool. You were guided there by your parents to an establishment filled with complete strangers, all of which struggled with advanced linguistic mechanics, had just learned the fundamentals of coloring within the lines, and had an attention span of maybe five minutes, provided they weren't staring intently into the relatively fuzzy image produced by a VHS tape displayed on a boxed screen before them.

And yet, somehow, you made friends with these strangers. How'd you do it? I'll bet it was through finding common interests, perhaps through miniature race cars, small constructive blocks, dolls of the plastic or cloth variety, or similar hobbies. Even today as an adult, essentially nothing has changed. In order to sell yourself to others, whether it's to make a sale, make new friends, connect with your new love interest, or to reach any sort of audience, you have to appeal to them in some way - identify what they like, see if you can match that up with something you like, and boom, there's your connection.

People can be very complex, but they can also be very simple. Everybody likes something, and if you come bearing something that they like - in my case, that's money, savings, and the newest promotions - it's rather easy to reach through to them. Connecting with others is a simple process in the sense that you only have to find common ground; the complexity arises as you work around their suspicions and resistance to something new. I'm not preaching anything groundbreaking, but if you stay tuned, I'll give you the tips and tricks needed to connect with literally anybody - yes, anybody, from your friends to business executives - and sell your personality and trust to them.

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