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VWW Quick Tips

News | Aug 07, 2020 | Back to List

Get to know our amazing staff through VWW’s 2-minute Weekly Quick Tips, where staff will showcase tools, skills, fun activities they are doing at home while we all social distance and serve our community remotely.

Mindy Wong, VWW Development and Grants Coordinator

8/7/2020: With the many collective traumas that we’ve had to face as a society for the past 6 months (and even beyond that), this year has no doubt been a hard year. And it’s not even over! As a nonfiction writer, I have always found writing to be a great outlet during hard times. Writing is a great tool to process thoughts and express how you’re feeling but it’s also a great way to meditate and be creative. For this week’s quick tips, I invite you to try this meditative creative writing activity. Find a quiet space where you can sit and be comfy for the next 10 minutes, or longer if you’d like, with paper or a notebook and writing utensil close by. 

For the first few minutes: start by sitting in a comfortable position, gently stretching as you straighten your back. Relax your forehead, releasing any tension from your brows. Relax your jaw, noticing any other tension in your face. Close your eyes and focus your attention to your breath, finding your own rhythm. 


When you’re ready, with your writing materials, take a few minutes to reflect: What are all of the things that have been on your mind? What are all of the things that are stressful or have been stressful for you? Make a list. Explain why each thing has been on your mind or stressful. Then ask yourself why again to see if you can respond with another reason or go one layer deeper. 

Then, focus on breathing again: take a deep breath in through your nostrils and with each breath out, intentionally blow out each stressful thing on your mind. 

If you’re feeling enthusiastic…rip up the page! Feel free to rip it up into as many little pieces as you want. 


For the last few minutes, respond to any or all of these prompts:  

  • What is one object that has helped you through the past few months? 
  • What are all the great things that will or could happen a year or two from now (we’ll frame this answer with thinking things will have improved by then)?  
  • If you could stop quarantining and be stuck on a deserted island instead, who would you want to be stuck with? 
  • And if you were stuck on an island and could only have one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

Suzanne Eikenberry, VWW Director of Finance and Operations

7/17/2020: Today I want to continue on the personal finances theme our Employment & Career Specialist Rachel Kauppila started several weeks ago.

Years ago I was a Housing Counselor who helped people who wanted to buy their first house prepare their finances, understand the home buying process and tap into programs to assist them. The first step to buying a house is getting your credit score in a good place to apply for a loan.

During this time of stay-at-home orders my family was finding it easy to quickly buy things online without thinking of our budget or cash flow. It is so easy to just insert a credit card number and not think about the cost of what we are buying.

It made me think of my favorite tip from my housing counseling days: to curb impulse purchasing, put your credit card in a zip lock, put the zip lock in an empty ice cream container full of water, and stick it in the freezer! This requires you to stop and melt the ice block before using the credit card—plenty of time to think if you really want the item and how it fits into your budget.

In the modern era, we have to update this tip. If you want to slow down your credit card purchases, do not let websites or google memorize your credit card number. Having to get the card and type in the number also creates a pause, allowing you to think if you really want the item. You could even create a rule for yourself that you will wait a day before buying something outside of your daily needs.

If possible, paying off your credit card each month helps you a few ways:

  • Saves you money in credit card interest fees which tend to be very high.
  • Helps you manage your budget
  • Improves your credit score which helps if you need to get a loan such as a mortgage or car loan.

Federal law allows you to:

  • Get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company.
  • Ensure that the information on all of your credit reports is correct and up to date.

To check your credit report, visit

If you have a debt that you are having trouble meeting payments on, here are some places that can work with you one-on-one:

“Debt is something we bought that we haven’t fully paid for yet. That’s it.”

Ashleigh Feinstein Gerstley, The Fiscal Femme

7/3/2020: Today on VWW Quick Tips, VWW Data, Evaluation and Program Technology Specialist Caroline Keller walks us through one way to preserve fresh produce this summer: pickling!

To follow along with Caroline and try pickling, check out: for recipes!

5/27/2020: Today on VWW Quick Tips, VWW Employment and Career Specialist Rachel Kauppila explains how tracking one’s spending for a period of time can provide insight into spending habits and help one manage finances in the future and save money. Rachel can be reached for more personal support and advice by email at Track your spending with:

5/20/2020: Today on VWW Quick Tips, VWW AmeriCorps member Melissa Nelson walks viewers through the multiple steps of knitting, a great activity to pass the time during quarantine and/or other social distancing measures. And if you don’t have knitting supplies yet, many stores offer online ordering and curbside pickup! Thanks Melissa for the demonstration!

5/13/2020: Today on VWW Quick Tips, VWW Youth Program Manager Nell Carpenter steps out of the “card box” and shows us other ways to stay entertained with a deck of cards, outside of typical card games. Thanks Nell!

5/6/2020: Today on VWW Quick Tips, VWW Operations and Finance Coordinator Cody Reed explains how animals, and even videos of animals, can help relieve stress and boost one’s mood. Walk around the farm with Cody and a very special guest as she introduces baby chicks, Rupert the goat, and more cute animals! Thanks Cody!

4/29/2020: Today on VWW Quick Tips, Program Manager Heather Newcomb discusses the importance of self care, especially during COVID-19, and walks us through how to do an egg white facial with simple ingredients found in your kitchen! Thanks Heather!

4/22/2020: Today on VWW Quick Tips, VWW Director of Development and Communications Maisie Howard demonstrates how to sew on a button. Great tip for sewing back on any missing buttons on your flannels and jackets! Thanks Maisie!

4/15/2020: Today on VWW Quick Tips, VWW Director of Programs and Gender Equity Alison Lamagna will walk us through how to use an orbital sander. Thanks Alison for starting us off!


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