Sound Bites - Issue #45 - May 2017
Community Education's Premiere Online Magazine
On the Cover
"Lady in Pink" - Fun in Bookkeeping! Is It Possible?
McIntosh's 19-year-old daughter Paula is a teaching aide for her mother
Jennifer McIntosh's Bookkeeping and QuickBooks classes are always filled to capacity, which is not surprising given the widespread use and practical application of both and the employment opportunities inherent with both.
But the popularity of the classes also probably has much to do with the instructor. A hardworking but fun-loving instructor who almost always wears pink, McIntosh is equally informative and entertaining.
"There's no telling what might come out of my mouth," she says. "We spend a lot of time laughing in class. I give crazy examples but the students remember them."
QuickBooks - a popular accounting software package that McIntosh teaches in three one-day workshops at three levels - attracts a wide range of students. She says she gets business owners who want to take control of their finances or to understand their finances, spouses who want to take over bookkeeping, unemployed people looking for a new skill, and employed individuals who want to advance in their careers.
Born and raised in Watts along with four brothers, McIntosh was raised by her mother after her parents divorced when she was in middle school.
"My mother went back to college when I was in high school and became a teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District for almost 30 years," she says. "All five of us siblings are successful in our own right."
McIntosh received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration/Accounting from Cal State Dominguez Hills and has a Master's of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.
Over the years she has held many accounting jobs, working for such organizations as retail food chain Kroger and the nonprofit Brain Injury Association of Washington in Seattle, as well as real estate firms, entertainment companies and more. She now owns a boutique accounting service, The Accounting Studio.
She fell into teaching by accident more than 10 years ago when a former professor asked her to substitute for him at a West Los Angeles College class. Now, she teaches Extension classes at Santa Monica College and West Los Angeles College. And as a professor of accounting, she teaches academic courses at West Los Angeles and Los Angeles Southwest Colleges. She also teaches through the Los Angeles County Office of Education.
"At first I was scared to death of teaching," she says. "I was scared someone would ask me a question I didn't know the answer to. But when that happened, I simply said, "We'll figure it out together.'"
McIntosh said she loves teaching. "What I particularly like is giving people information they thought they already had but didn't," she says. "Many business owners have been working with QuickBooks for years, but they miss so much by being self-taught. When they take my classes, they often come back to me and say they are so glad they took the introduction workshop as well as the others."
She is close to her 19-year-old daughter Paula, who knows QuickBooks in depth and serves as a teaching assistant to her mother in some of her classes.
And what are some things that most people don't know about her?
"I have chronic Cynophobia, a fear of dogs," she says. "Also, I started out as a math major, but was told that the only thing that I could do with it was teach. I didn't want to teach so I changed my major to accounting. The rest is history."
We Need Your Help!
from the desk of Alice Meyering
"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."- Mahatma Gandhi
There are times in life when we find ourselves facing a frustrating dilemma, but the solution opens doors of new opportunities and rewards.
Here at SMC Community Ed, we've been facing such a vexing problem - a staff shortage - all the more acute because our program has grown ever more popular and we work hard to do our best to respond to our wonderful community's needs and desires.
But this quandary has forced us to rethink the way we do business. And we've come up with an exciting new venture: A volunteer program!
Already, I have had two instructors come forward to offer their time to help us out, and I am most grateful to French instructor Harriet McCauley and Sumi-e Painting instructor Sherry Davis for stepping up to the plate.
I'm hoping that others in our special Community Ed family - instructors, current students and former students alike - will follow Harriet's and Sherry's example.
Details of the volunteer program have yet to be finalized, but we would be most appreciative to any and all who step forward at this time.
Whether it's one hour a week, or every other week, whatever you are willing to contribute to our program can make a real difference on how we currently operate. Any type of pitching in will be greatly appreciated. Volunteer duties will be typical office work such as answering phones, registering students, and some simple computer work.
Our call for volunteers comes at a particularly fitting moment. As we approach Memorial Day, it is important to remember that thousands - maybe even millions - of military men and women who gave their lives for this country were volunteers.
On that note, I want to wish you all a reflective Memorial Day weekend. And I ask that you contact me for more information on volunteer opportunities. I will be most grateful for any help you can give.
If you are interested in donating a few hours on a regular basis, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information and your availability. The past five years have shown me that our community is one that has always been able to step up to the plate when needs arise - I know I will not be disappointed.
Behind the Scenes:
Changing of the Italian Guard
In honor of her volunteer work, TreePeople planted Paola a tree at their headquarters
Paola will pass the baton to Silvia Masera, who will take over Italian classes
After four years of bringing Italian language, culture and cuisine to SMC Community Ed students, Paola Barcaccia is leaving Los Angeles to return to her hometown of Pesaro, a small town on Italy's Adriatic coast, south of Venice.
Although her departure in June is bittersweet both for her and her students, Barcaccia's successor, Silvia Masera, will continue the tradition of excellent language instruction that also includes cultural information, travel tips and food.
"I will give the students a recipe to make at home, which will not be complicated, and they will bring their dishes to class and we will all taste them," Masera said. "I would like my students to embrace the taste of Italy while learning and enjoying themselves as if we all were in Italy at a restaurant."
Both Barcaccia and Masera have had extensive Italian teaching experience. A Los Angeles resident for the past 22 years, Barcaccia has taught not only at SMC Community Ed but has also been an instructor and lecturer at UCLA, Italian Culture Institute and Fondazione Italia in Los Angeles. She has also combined her love for language with her passion for art and has been an invited lecturer to UCLA on the topics of "The Art of Making Venetian Masks" and "The History of Italian Carnival."
Masera, born and raised in Milano, Italy, has been an Italian tutor at the British Council as well at British Institutes in Milano and Treviglio (Bergamo) as well corporations since the fall 2001.
She moved to Los Angeles in 2008 and has been teaching Italian privately to professors and doctors from UCLA and Cedars Sinai, as well as groups and individual classes at the Italian Institute of Culture in Westwood and The Beverly Hills Lingual Institute.
She has been a freelance foreign correspondent for Italian online and print magazines such as Gioia.it, XL.Republica and Rolling Stone for more than a year.
Both women love teaching, sharing their culture and meeting people from all over the world.
Barcaccia says she is moving back to her hometown to be closer to her family and will continue to teach Italian as a Second Language. She says her upcoming departure from Los Angeles is bittersweet.
"I will miss many things, people and situations here," she said. "I have so many beautiful and strong memories. Some are real milestones in my life. A piece of my heart will always be here."
And her time in the Community Ed classroom was also special. "Every class and every student gave me so much that I am sure (I actually know that already) I am going to miss them deeply."
Meanwhile, Masera says in her spare time she loves seeing friends, traveling, skiing, and going to the movies, museums, art galleries and theaters. She also volunteers for various causes, and takes pride in "eating well and healthy with a fine taste. "
And what does she hope to achieve with her students at Community Ed?
"I always challenge students to be more confident, combine the material provided and some of their interests while learning the basic and solid foundation of the Italian language," she said.
Masera’s first Italian class will start September 7; fall registration will begin June 17.
Call to Action:
Vote for Your Favorite Photo!
Victoria Bleeden - "Golden Flight"
Chad Suggs - "Barker Dam"
Diana Clevenger-Stephens - "Wish: Letting Go"
SMC Community Ed is excited to announce the three finalists for our Third Annual Student Photo Contest - and YOU get the opportunity to choose the winner by voting at this LINK. Voting continues until Monday, June 5, with the winner and runners-up announced shortly thereafter.
"As the contest has built momentum, we have received not only a greater number of submissions, but a higher quality of images overall," said Alice Meyering, Program Coordinator of Community & Contract Education. "In fact, we received 167 photos from 39 current and former students, almost double the 90 images from 22 participants in 2016."
The winning image will grace the cover of our Fall 2017 Class Schedule and will be featured on social media and our marketing and public relations materials. In addition, the finalists will receive $75, $50 and $25 credit vouchers, respectively, for Community Ed classes.
The top three images are, in no particular order, "Golden Flight" by Victoria Bleeden; "Barker Dam" by Chad Suggs; and "Wish: Letting Go" by Diana Clevenger-Stephens.
"Voting on the submissions went through two panels of judges to reach the Top 3," Meyering said. "And because of both the quantity and quality of these wonderful photos, it was a very difficult task. But we believe that our community's participation in selecting the winner and two runners-up is the most important element of the Photo Contest and dovetails nicely into our mission to serve our community to the best of our ability."