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Colleges expand mental health services for students

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an increased need for mental health services in colleges as students grapple with the social and economic consequences of closed campuses, online learning, and in some cases, loss of life. illness or death of their loved ones. Now, as most institutions return to more normal in-person operations, they are relying on telehealth mental health services to provide assistance to students, whether on campus or off campus.

“We have seen that many schools are focusing more on their services and making sure that they offer a health and wellness offering such as telehealth and teletherapy,” said Seli Fakorzi, director of health operations. mental health at TimelyMD, a telehealth provider. “Campuses are now wondering if they are offering enough services that offer virtual and in-person support. “

In June 2020, TimelyMD found that 85% of students reported experiencing increased stress and anxiety due to the pandemic and uncertainty about continuing with their education. Another survey from the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement found that 53% of freshmen reported a substantial increase in mental and emotional exhaustion. Due to the increased need for services, institutions are strengthening their mental health resources for the fall semester. And given the wide range of student needs and living and learning situations – on-campus, off-campus, in-person, remote, hybrid – many institutions are using technology in innovative ways to deliver advisory services. and support to all who seek them.

T. Anne Hawkins, director of the Carruth Center for Counseling and Psychological Services at the University of West Virginia, said she and her team recognize they need to do something “outside the box” for the next semester. fall. So they established a one-year partnership with Talkspace, an online platform and app that connects students with licensed therapists. Students can send text, audio, photo and video messages to their therapist anytime, as well as schedule live video sessions. Hawkins said the partnership is especially helpful for out-of-state students because of telehealth licensing laws. As of the semester started on Aug. 18, 178 students have signed up for the app, Hawkins said.

“We know some of our students haven’t returned and are out of state or elsewhere in the state navigating virtual learning,” Hawkins said. “Our goal is really to increase mental health services to support students and help them manage the events of the pandemic and get back to in-person learning.”

She added that the university has a “large menu” of mental health resources, both in person and virtually. In addition to seeing counselors on campus during office hours, WVU students have 24/7 access to the Crisis Text Line, a mental health service where they can text a trained counselor. live that responds to messages privately. Students can text the counselor, who asks questions, empathizes, and actively listens. ProtoCall is another mental health service that students can call for crisis intervention and stabilization, as well as for referrals for network providers and other resources.

Such programs hold great promise in helping students. Studies have shown that teletherapy can be just as effective as face-to-face therapy in treating post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety, as one researcher said. The New York Times. Even before the pandemic, researchers from the Milbank Memorial Fund, a nonprofit health foundation, drew similar conclusions, also pointing out that behavioral telehealth can cost less than in-person visits and affect more people as well.

“What we’ve seen is that telehealth is essentially as effective as face-to-face psychotherapy – and retention rates are higher,” said David Mohr, director of the Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies at Feinberg. School of Medicine at Northwestern University. the American Psychological Association.

At Belmont University in Tennessee, Katherine Cornelius, director of counseling services, said students were torn between the need for in-person or virtual mental health services. In the first two weeks of classes, the institution saw a 60% increase in the number of counseling appointments compared to 2019, Cornelius said. His office has worked to increase access to mental health for non-traditional students, including graduate students or those in full-time employment.

“Over the past few years, we’ve really focused on improving access to care and reducing barriers,” Cornelius said. “Telehealth has been a huge benefit for this. Students don’t have to go to campus, and we’ve seen that a lot of students are really concerned about their health, so they really feel more comfortable doing virtual tours.

Before the onset of the pandemic, Belmont purchased Therapy Assistance Online, a virtual self-help platform that offers self-guided tools, educational and interactive modules, reviews, and progress tracking tools, to which all students , teachers and Belmont staff have free access. This fall, the school also purchased TimelyCare from Timely MD, which provides free virtual physical and mental health support and is available 24/7 to all students at Belmont, Cornelius said.

“Student life doesn’t end at 4:30 pm when our office is closed. A lot of them are just getting started, ”Cornelius said. “So TimelyCare kind of fills the gap after working hours. “

At the University of Virginia, Nicole Ruzek, director of counseling and psychology services, said students were grappling with issues beyond the pandemic. Many have felt the impact of racial injustice following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, among others, at the hands of police, as well as the anxiety over the climate crisis and the 2020 presidential election. which divides. She said students seemed to like in-person and virtual counseling, so her department offers hybrid options. In 2018, the university contracted with SilverCloud, a virtual mental health platform that focuses on digital therapy, to give students access to informational videos, mental health quizzes and interactive tools.

In addition, the university signed a contract with TimelyMD “to continue to meet this demand for service,” said Ruzek. The contract allows students to have 24/7 virtual access to individual counseling, psychiatric services and on-demand support with a healthcare professional.

“Some students really appreciate having telehealth as an option. It can be much more convenient if they don’t want to travel, ”said Ruzek. “Having that option to be able to engage with a mental health provider, through a remote service, I think it’s really helpful. Then there are other students who really want to be seen in person.

Cooper Union, a private college in New York where the majority of students commute, has had to develop mental health resources that meet with students while they are on campus and when they are at home, said Chris Chamberlin , dean of students.

“We are small and we are trying to capitalize on our geography and all the resources that are available to us here in New York and in our neighborhood to provide students with significant access to care,” Chamberlin said.

In partnership with TimelyMD, Cooper Union created Cooper Care, an online app and platform that gives students 24/7 access to virtual healthcare providers. Chamberlin said that using Cooper Care with the institution’s own counseling program created “maximum flexibility” for students to meet their needs. He added that students are encouraged during Welcome Week to download and configure the Cooper Care app so that in the event of a crisis, they can immediately access help.

And it’s not difficult to engage students in telehealth resources if campuses standardize their use, said Fakorzi of TimelyMD. 24-hour services like TimelyCare can connect students with help during late hours and early when in-person care is not available in a crisis.

“If the problems boil over at 4 am I think it’s definitely a benefit for campuses to have a backup program to say, ‘Hey, this is also a place you can get help. “” said Fakorzi. “But it also gives the campus the security of knowing the help is there.”

There is always a stigma around helping with mental health, said Cornelius, of Belmont. Some students are concerned about confidentiality, while others come from backgrounds where mental health treatment is not the norm. And there is greater stigma against students struggling with mental health issues other than depression and anxiety, she said, including bipolar disorder and trauma.

Ruzek of the University of Virginia said the shift to more virtual mental health resources has opened up access for students from families or cultural backgrounds who do not typically seek mental health help.

“They don’t even have to come through our doors anymore,” Ruzek said. “They can connect with us electronically and we can put them in touch with the right resource without their parents knowing, if they don’t want their families to know, or even without their peers knowing if they are. are in a private location. “

Chamberlin agreed, saying the switch to telehealth “created access in a way that did not exist before”, when many mental health resources were confined to a certain time and place on campus. .

“More and more students are engaging in our virtual programming, whether it’s seeing a therapist remotely or attending a workshop they normally couldn’t do,” Chamberlin said. “I also think we’ve continued to do a number of things virtually that we could have done in person, because we also know that people learn differently and engage differently.”


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Get addicted to Colorado Drifters Coffee and Fly Shop

Drifters co-owner Beckie Clarke finishes brewing coffee in the downtown New Castle boutique.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

There’s a new buzz to pick up in Old Town New Castle.

Combining the West’s love for trout fishing and potent elixirs, Colorado Drifters Coffee and Fly Shop truly reflects highland culture at its best.

As the great Colorado River rushes a few hundred yards from its back porch, New Castle’s freshest cup of coffee in town offers both a full coffee bar and, yes, an entire fishing section. fly.



“Who doesn’t love coffee and fly fishing, seriously?” Wonders co-owner Kyla Hemelt, 36, standing behind the rustic cafe’s caramel-colored wooden bar adorned with a school of fish to the side. “Or, who doesn’t like coffee in the river?” “

Housed in a high-ceilinged historic monument in the heart of New Castle’s West Main Street, guests can sip locally brewed coffee while sinking into the welcoming furnishings greeting the front door. Palates can enjoy the Bonfire artisan roaster based in Carbondale. Hemelt said Drifters will soon sell two in-house mixes using this primary supplier.



For every bag sold, 3% of the proceeds will go to Fish For Change, a Denver-based nonprofit that promotes international fly fishing programs. Specifically, the funds will help sponsor a member of the Coal Ridge High School Fly Fishing Club.

Drifters co-owner Kyla Hemelt chats with business partner Beckie Clarke in the downtown New Castle boutique.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Beyond its roasted benefits, Drifters offers so much, like sweet treats, breakfast burritos, and homemade tea, called “Here, Fish, Fish.” Source: Moving Mountains Tea Company in Steamboat Springs.

But uniquely adapting to that ragweed of organic coffee harvested from small farms in the Roaring Fork Valley and high mountain tea is a recreational expertise. Meet 40-year-old co-owner Beckie Clarke, there’s a good chance she’ll serve you a hot cup of Jo before she talks about trout pretty quickly.

Clarke is from Fernie, British Columbia, Canada. There she ran a fly fishing guide outfit for 17 years.

“My heart runs through the waters of these mountains and I know them very intimately,” she said. “Unlike these waters, everything is new and great. It’s just a completely different fishery. It’s pretty epic.

Not surprisingly, Colorado Drifters offers recreational opportunities in harmony with the landscape. Stand-up paddleboard rentals, fly fishing lessons, and qualified fly fishing guides are available for trips along the Colorado River Valley, a world-famous artery that sometimes jumps with 16-inch trout. inches.

Drifters Coffee and Fly Shop in downtown New Castle.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

To catch these behemoths, the next customer is a sip of fresh coffee to check out the vast collection of Colorado Drifters flies backwards.

“We probably have the most flies in the valley,” Clarke said. “We have minimal space there, but we focused on the flies. You should choose two things that you are really good at when starting a business.

Products available at Drifters Coffee and Fly Shop in downtown New Castle.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

While fly fishing can be an expensive habit, Colorado Drifters’ selection is all about modesty. All fly rods are priced from $ 80 to $ 150.

“Everything that we have chosen to go to this store has been specially chosen for our community,” said Clarke. “We definitely want tourists, but we want to support local people and families and make things affordable, because rivers are our passion.”

“We are not fancy,” she added. “We are a family.”

Clarke and Hemelt first met during the height of COVID-19. Hemelt, a mother of two, grew up “living the river life” as a native of Gunnison. She started hanging out with Clarke, a mother of three who was passionate about the subject of trout.

One day, the two new friends noticed that something was missing in the restaurants of Old Town New Castle: a coffee shop.

“There was no cafe and there was no fly shop,” Clarke said.

Drifters in downtown New Castle is a combination of cafe and fly shop.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

After spending many late nights texting each other and ultimately making a business plan, Clarke and Hemelt acquired the storefront and began work on the building in May. By the time they opened the doors, “New Castle arrived,” said the owners.

Now, locals have a place to sip an early morning coffee in the mountains and bask in the Colorado Drifters mantra.

“The river brings everything to life, but it’s also what brought us together,” said Hemelt. “It brings people together.”

A wide variety of flies available at the Drifters Coffee and Fly store in downtown New Castle.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Journalist Ray K. Erku can be contacted at 612-423-5273 or [email protected]


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San Antonio nonprofit train provides guide dogs for visually impaired Texans

San Antonio – Since 1989, Guide Dogs of Texas, a non-profit guide dog provider, has worked to train and supply guide dogs for the visually impaired in Texas.

This group professionally breeds, trains, and pairs guide dogs with owners statewide. It is a service that brings friendship, freedom and mobility to those who need the help of guide dogs.

Judy St. Clair has been legally blind since 1993, and she has said that only her ability to travel independently with a guide dog has positively impacted her life.

“We trust each other and that’s a factor of trust. With a wand you basically have to know where you’re going, but that’s great because you can still hurt yourself. The dog will see something in advance and protect you, ”said Sainte-Claire.

According to the Guide Dogs of Texas, puppies are placed with volunteer puppy breeders until they are 14 to 16 months old. The San Antonio group said it had been successful in dealing with the future number of guide dogs, even in a pandemic, and needed a “puppy breeder” to support the program.

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Patty McCauley is a puppy breeder who has lived with her dog “nugget” since she was eight weeks old. She said she had played with the idea of ​​volunteering for a while, then decided how much her service would help those in need.

“I just raised a puppy, gave it love, took it out and introduced it to people, the environment and what the average person encounters every day, and I know you give back to someone. ‘a. I think it’s pretty awesome to know that you can help someone on your own, ”said McColly.

According to the group, “No previous experience is required and all training is provided. “

“Puppies are responsible for teaching puppies etiquette and providing them with a social experience for the first year of their life,” a nonprofit said.

Puppies also attend monthly meetings to share ideas and information, work on training techniques, and participate in social gatherings.

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Guide dog instructor Amy Samora said dogs do more than just increase mobility and independence.

“The dog brings a lot of happy faces, and it really encourages people to go to our customers to get involved with them, and it also brings all of this great social relationship.” Said Samora.

Guide dogs are obedient and friendly, but the instructor said it was important not to pet the guide dog. Guide dog owner St. Clair says he will not allow the dog when wearing the harness.

“If I let someone touch her with the harness, she would want to go too far and play. It would be fun, and the general idea of ​​working with a guide dog would be a distraction. But they will continue to focus, ”said St. Clair.

Guide dogs in Texas charge only $ 1 per specially trained dog, but the cost of breeding and training guide dogs can run as high as $ 50,000.

For more information or to register for the program, please visit www.guidedogsoftexas.org, call 210-366-4081 or email @ guidedogsoftexas.org.

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San Antonio nonprofit train provides guide dogs for visually impaired Texans

Source Link San Antonio Nonprofit Train Provides Guide Dogs to Visually Impaired Texans


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Fourth Live Update from Stimulus Control: Child Tax Credit Extension to 2025, New Payment in California, Unemployment Benefits …

Securities

AOC announces efforts to expand federal unemployment benefits until February 2022. (Full story)

– New projections on Social Security Cost of living adjustment for 2022 emerge. (Whole story)

President Biden fails to convince Sen Manchin to support the $ 3.5 billion spending bill

Seventeen states have seen increase in unemployment claims Last week. (Whole story)

A new bill to extend federal unemployment benefits until February 2022 emerges on Capitol Hill. (Whole story)

– How do I register a newborn baby for monthly child tax credit payments? (Whole story)

Last week, initial unemployment claims have increased for the first time in recent months. (All the details)

800,000 New Yorkers lost unemployment benefits when federal programs ended. (Whole story)

September Child Tax Credit Payments Sent, when will the money arrive in the banks (More information)

– Fourth federal stimulus check not in the $ 3.5 billion reconciliation invoice (full story)

Some US states send their own stimulus payments (More information)

Overview of the three dunning checks adopted by Congress. (Details)

Useful information / links

California Golden State Stimulus Checks:

California Tax Franchise Board to Send 2 million additional Golden State Stimulus checks Friday September 17th.

– How to Track Your Golden State Stimulus Check

– Who can receive a second Golden State Stimulus check? (Details)

– When can I expect my $ 600 Will Golden State Stimulus in California Happen? (Details)

– What state programs exist for Americans who lost their unemployment benefits? (All the details)

IRS distributes third payment of the child tax credit (Find out how you can unsubscribe from the monthly CTC)

Some of our related press articles:


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Lewisville nonprofit ‘Haitian Pilgrims’ strive to improve living conditions in Haiti – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Observing the immigration situation of more than 10,000 Haitian migrants at the Texas border is difficult for a local missionary group.

“They are doing their best with what they have,” said Haitian Pilgrims President Sue Ogle. “They are a wonderful, loving and hardworking people and I really love the people of Haiti.”

Ogle is president of the Lewisville Haitian Pilgrims Missionary Group. It was founded by some members of St. Philip the Apostle Parish in Lewisville in 1999.

Ogle has been traveling for work in Haiti for 20 years.


Haitian pilgrims

“In fact, I lived in Haiti and taught in a school that we built there in 2014, period 2015,” Ogle said.

Ogle saw the struggles in Haiti with his own eyes.

“The situation is extremely desperate,” Ogle said. “Over the years, the economy has declined at a rate of about 2% per year.”

Ogle added: “People are on their feet and the children get up very early in the morning to go to the wells to get water to take away so the family can have water to cook for a day and clean themselves for a while. a day.”



Haitian pilgrims

Ogle said even some organizations trying to help can cause problems.

“Unfortunately, some very large nonprofits send a significant amount of food up for sale, which undermines farmers who cannot sell at the price the larger organization can sell,” Ogle said.

Ogle and Haitian pilgrims strive to improve life in Haiti, especially in rural areas. They have built schools and teach agricultural programs among their other initiatives including health, clean water and leadership.



Haitian pilgrims

Ogle said the situation on the Texas border is just a glimpse of the desperate situation in Haiti and what is fueling their migration.

“Desperation gives them strength,” Ogle said. “They don’t have opportunities in Haiti and of course we are the land of opportunities.”

Haitian pilgrims will continue to share this opportunity to try to make things better in Haiti.

To learn more about the mission of Haitian pilgrims and ways to donate, click here.


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How parents can find their strength and resilience

Parents facing issues such as violence, drug addiction, and food or financial insecurity often feel blamed, humiliated and judged by society. Even well-intentioned initiatives designed to help them focus only on the issues and challenges they face, as if that was their entire story.

But a new group of community parenting programs recognize the multitude of strengths and wisdom inherent in these parents. These programs help parents recognize what they are doing well, trust their own expertise, honor their resilience, and bear witness to the importance of their love for their children.

Three organizations supported by GGSC’s Raising Caring, Courageous Kids initiative have worked to help parents recognize their individual parenting strengths, promote positive bonds with their children, and improve their ability to raise caring and resilient children. Participation in these programs often causes parents, as well as children, to begin to strengthen their sense of purpose in the world and to articulate their goals and dreams for the future.

Resilient parenting at the Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota

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Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS) works with families to create stability and success in the home. LSS helps parents involved, or at risk of involvement, in the child protection system.

After listening to the concerns and needs of parents, they created the online program “Resilient Parenting” —a blended learning experience with a combination of online units, face-to-face meetings and activities. interactive learning. The program promotes character strengths such as purpose, gratitude, forgiveness, and love. For example, mindfulness activities can involve breathing, yoga, or visualization breaks that parents can try.

Woven into the program were stories voiced by real parents going through similar experiences. Hearing from other parents offered hope and helped participants trust their own parenting decisions. It also helped create what Carol Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford University, calls a “growth mindset,” in which parents in the program came to believe their basic abilities might be. further developed through hard work and dedication.

Heather Kamia, director of metro youth and family services at LSS, says they created a parenting program that has met parents in their community “where they are.” “We had to start from the assumption that all parents were the experts on their child. That they had ideas and experiences to share, ”she said. “To develop a productive partnership with parents, we also had to recognize [that] systems they may have experienced before have left many without confidence in this ability. “

According to Andrea Hussong, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this kind of strength-based partnership was essential. “It is important to work in partnership with parents around the knowledge that already exists and to help them remove the obstacles that prevent them from acting on this knowledge,” she explained.

Making the program virtual allowed parents to learn at their own pace and in a safe space. “Parents talked about feeling respected. They felt that the content could be really valuable to any parent, not just families involved in the system, ”Kamia said. LSS’s culturally relevant programming, which recognizes how systemic racism and lack of access to needs such as child care, wages and essential technology can affect a parent’s confidence in their child’s education , helped parents trust their own wisdom and positioned them to be able to guide their children to do the same.

Inspiring Grace and Resilience at UCAN

Chicago’s nonprofit UCAN strives to build strong youth and families through education and empowerment. They developed the “Inspiring Grace” program for young parents between the ages of 18 and 20 living in Chicago neighborhoods with high levels of violence, family and community trauma, and a lack of resources, including education and training. employment.

Once a week for six weeks, parents participated in dinner, discussions and activities focused on building resilience and improving parenting skills. Activities included planting seeds to represent forgiveness, marking the stones with aspects of their life they wanted to keep or let go, mindfulness through guided pictures, practicing benevolence by speaking into a mirror, and (most popular activity) creating vision boards. Parents wrote down their thoughts on their life purpose and who they wanted to become and wrote those thoughts on decorative vision boards that they presented to the group.

One vision was “to buy one of the abandoned buildings in the neighborhood for my son so that he always had a place to live”, another “to teach my children what love is”.

The creation of the vision boards made it possible for parents to see themselves in a better light and envision their possible inheritances, and even led to increased happiness. “These exercises led to aha times, in which parents could say, ‘Yes, I do. Yes, I have a sense of purpose. Yes, I help people. Yes, I show love! Said Karrie Mills, co-host of the program.

Velma McBride Murry, Professor of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University and Scientific Advisor at UCAN, says for these parents, “The consequences of negative childhood experiences are long-standing and the effects can be passed on from generation to generation, with which parents interact and raise their own children. She explained that the program was designed to disrupt the ripple effects of trauma on families through love, forgiveness and purpose.

Mills says it was essential to ensure that any trauma experienced by these parents did not obscure their ability to recognize their parental potential. They were encouraged to recognize the things they did regularly that helped others and showed their ability to love.

Murry says living in a home where parents are supportive and loving creates a sense of self-worth, self-acceptance and self-esteem in children. Having this internal trust can serve as a protective factor for children, reducing their dependence on their peers as a source of validation. She adds that these protection processes are essential when young people live in communities with an increased likelihood of exposure to violence.

Citywise: mentoring and more

Citywise specializes in individual, school and community mentoring programs for 8-12 year olds living in low income urban areas of the UK. Their goal is to develop character strengths in young people, including resilience, self-control, good judgment and fairness.

To be more successful with children, program officials also recognized the importance of involving parents. To help determine what services to offer parents, “they started out by listening, hearing what people are looking for, what they are trying to accomplish with their own parenthood,” according to Hussong.

The program has evolved over time to include parents who attend and participate in mentoring sessions, receive regular communications about the child’s mentoring experiences, and get tips and suggestions for activities that families could do. together.

Hana Bútorová, Director of Citywise Glasgow, says: “Most of the time the parents of the children we worked with were only contacted if something was wrong or something was going on that was difficult. So, we just started contacting them frequently with the right stuff, with quotes from mentors telling us how awesome the kid is today… inviting parents to celebrate their kid’s progress.

Perhaps more importantly, they created informal ways for families to interact, such as “Family Fun Days” and family game and craft clubs. These interactions allowed parents and guardians to reflect on key areas of the program such as self-control and identifying emotions, things they may not have learned when they were younger. “I think that was the biggest advantage of the program: just creating a space for them to start talking more explicitly [those] things, ”Bútorová adds.

Participation in family activities has allowed the character growth of children (and sometimes adults!) To occur naturally. For example, board games allowed parents and children to discuss concepts such as taking turns, the need for patience and honesty. Citywise research found that children who participated in family activities achieved the highest level of character building.

It was especially meaningful for some parents to hear from counselors that their children wanted to participate because they had loving and engaged parents (not just because of games or snacks). When a parent had “realized his value as a parent to his child … it made him feel like his love was doing something important here,” Bútorová said. For parents living difficult lives, this recognition offered a renewed sense of purpose.

Courses for parents

For all parents, these community programs offer many lessons. An important concept they encourage is to reject the idea of ​​having to be “the perfect parent” before trying to raise children in any meaningful way. What parent has not felt this pressure? But the perfect parent does not exist! Children learn resilience when they have the opportunity to watch their parents make mistakes and bounce back.

Realizing that there are no perfect parents means that we are all “work in progress”. As these organizations demonstrate, being an active “work in progress” benefits children. Modeling self-reflection, discovering and leveraging inner parenting strengths, and working alongside children to develop character strengths together can be a rewarding and fulfilling family experience.

Another important lesson is not to be afraid to ask for and accept help from those around you. It is an act of courage, not weakness. When parents have a supportive community and opportunities to discover their strengths, they can better develop a nurturing environment for their children.

Hussong says experts are learning there is no big secret to parenthood; parents may need a variety of tools and habits to establish an environment that is most supportive of their children’s unique needs. “It’s not just the modeling or the communication you use or just the types of activities and things you do with your child, or how you respond to them when they are having difficulty or when they are successful. to demonstrate a positive character and virtues, ”she said. “It’s all of those things.”


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Afghans are likely to find Georgia a more welcoming place than former refugees

Heval Mohamed Kelli, 11, believed his family were going on vacation after crossing the Syrian border into Turkey in 1996, when his father paid smugglers to take them to safety in Germany.

He was unaware at the time of the political persecutions his father, a lawyer, was facing in Syria or how life was going to change drastically as they mostly lived in resettlement camps for the next few years in a unknown country.

Kelli eventually settled in Clarkston in 2001, where he and his family still lived in poverty, but the opportunities for better education and professional mobility sparked optimism they did not have in the camps. German refugees. Two decades later, Kelli watches with keen interest as hundreds of thousands of Afghans flee their country after the Taliban declared control when the United States ended its role in the longstanding conflict.

Kelli was 17 when he arrived in America and did not speak English. He now works at Northside Hospital as a cardiologist. It’s a piece of the American dream that started small as a teenage refugee working as a diver to support his family. Now he is inspired to help refugees and others living in underserved communities in the United States.

Heval Kelli, center, a Syrian refugee whose family moved to Clarkston in 2001 watches with keen interest Afghan refugees waiting to find new places to live after US troops withdraw from their home countries. Kelli is a cardiologist at Northside Hospital, Photo credit Emory University

“These Afghan refugees come from a very unfortunate situation, it is so sad to see what is happening,” he said. “They are just happy to be in a safe place for them. But I tell them, I think this is the only country in the world where you could come here. I have lived in the Middle East and I don’t think I would have become who I am if I hadn’t been here.

Approximately 123,000 people have flown from Afghanistan and 50,000 are currently undergoing security screening at military bases in preparation for reintegration into American communities.

Tens of thousands of Afghans who worked directly with the US government started leaving the country a few months ago and many arrived after a August evacuation. The majority of these refugees have special visa status which will allow them to clear basic security hurdles more quickly.

The Associated Press reported this week that officials in the Biden administration have started briefing governors and mayors in 46 states of the number of people from the first wave of 37,000 evacuees to be expected in the coming weeks, including more 1,000 refugees expected to arrive in Georgia.

A coalition of Atlanta nonprofits, including New American Pathways, will likely begin helping individuals and their families find housing, employment and other supports soon, as many relocate. in apartments and rental homes in Georgia, primarily in the Metro Atlanta area.

Larger numbers of refugees will go through an even more complicated process as they have yet to apply for permanent status as they seek to pass a more rigorous background check.

Finding enough affordable housing for those allowed to relocate to the United States will be a major challenge that will also benefit from the kindness of strangers. While resettlement groups typically pay a few months of rent, Airbnb provides temporary housing across the country to 20,000 Afghan refugees.

The Biden administration has asked Congress for $ 6.4 billion for the resettlement of Afghan refugees, with targets of 65,000 by the end of September and another 95,000 by September 2022, according to the AP.

Over 90% of people served by American Pathways and other local groups pay their own expenses within six months. There is a strong system of support from the religious community and beyond in the greater metropolitan area and among ethnic groups that depend on each other, said Emily Laney, director of development for New American Pathways.

“Even before the 1980 Refugee Act, groups were resettling refugees in Georgia,” Laney said. “It’s really so intense. There have been a lot of really traumatic events in the last few weeks, and we have the resources to support them.

“The people who have gone through some of the worst things humanity has to offer, these refugees are strong, resilient and courageous,” Laney said.

The amount of resources spent on refugee resettlement has been slashed under the administration of former President Donald Trump through federal policy changes reducing refugees admitted each year to less than 23,000 in 2018 compared to plans last year. year of former President Barack Obama to admit 110,000.

During Trump’s tenure, Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East were among the countries targeted by tighter restrictions hampering the path to a green card.

According to the New American Economy, a nonprofit refugee research organization, Afghans made up less than 2% of the total number of refugees who immigrated to the United States between 2002 and 2018.

The Biden administration has raised its goal of admitting refugees to 125,000 people this year. It’s an unrealistic benchmark due to dwindling resources, but it’s a much better direction than the previous four years, according to Jeremy Robbins, executive director of America’s New Economy.

“It’s our biggest competitive advantage that people want to come here and work hard, but it masks the fact that it’s really hard to do if you don’t speak the language, if you don’t have the network, or if you can find a job by yourself. ” he said.

“Having a big influx of people from Afghanistan right now is something you can expect to have a backlash,” Robbins said. “But one thing that’s different now is that I think the circumstances in which this happened, seeing people who risked their lives to help us win this war all of a sudden hanging on the air libre has really brought about a big change that seems to be very bipartisan. “

Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp signaled his willingness to take in controlled Afghan refugees shortly after the Taliban took control of their country last month. This contrasts with the stance taken in 2015 by his compatriot Republican and former governor Nathan Deal against the resettlement of Syrian refugees fleeing a bloody conflict in their country of origin.

Witnessing current events was an overwhelming experience for Muska Haseeb, an Afghan refugee turned American citizen, as the Taliban regained control after two decades of sacrificing American troops and treasures and the dashed hopes of Afghans who sought more help. opportunities in their country.

Haseeb’s family moved to Phoenix in 2012 after spending six years in Pakistan as a refugee to escape the physical abuse her mother suffered in Afghanistan for working as an administrative assistant.


(left to right) Muska Haseeb, sister-in-law Madina Haider, brother Syed Haider, niece Marwaha, nephew Sultan and mother Haseeba Aria. Photo by Kulsoom Rizvi & Andrew Oberstadt / International Rescue Committee

Today Haseb’s mother is a social worker and her 27-year-old daughter runs her own fashion business and will soon be starting school at the University of Texas in a pre-medical program.

“I really wish they could do something about this in the future because nobody wants to stay under Taliban rule,” Haseeb said. “I’m definitely going to want to be a motivation for any new refugee, whether from Afghanistan or any other country. I want them to see that (the United States) is the land of opportunity and that we can certainly pursue our dreams and goals and that we can become something here.

Clarkston from Georgia to welcome remaining Afghan refugees

Clarkston, a town in DeKalb County where more than half of its 13,000 residents were born overseas, is likely to receive an influx of Afghan refugees via New American Pathways and other resettlement agencies in the coming months.

Clarkston became a home town for many refugees, earning it the nickname of Southern Ellis Island. It offers affordable rental housing and is small enough that newcomers can walk to schools or its small downtown area, while still providing enough public transportation to get around Atlanta’s two largest counties. .

Immigrants frequently take on low-paying minimum-wage jobs and other lower-paying positions as they adjust to life in a new country.

For some refugees who settle in Clarkston, this means daily trips to Gainesville to work in the chicken processing plants.

Yet Clarkston’s leadership was not so welcoming to foreign nationals and refugees settling in the city as recently as the past decade.

In 2013, the former mayor of Clarkston helped ban the resettlement of new refugees. A few years later, when Ted Terry was elected mayor, the moratorium was lifted. He has set in motion an attitude of acceptance within government that continues to push the community toward inclusion as more refugees become citizens, vote and run for office.

“I think we finally hit a kind of critical mass of voters who were like, in fact, we think refugees are a positive thing. And we don’t want to go back in the history of Clarkston. We want to look to the future and move forward, ”said Terry, who is now DeKalb County Commissioner.

Refugees are known to contribute to the economy of their new country almost upon arrival. Their crime rate in their community is generally low. And they own businesses or attend college at a higher rate than the average American.

Although Kelli lived in a poorer area of ​​Clarkston while he was finishing his studies, the town offered an enclave that could have been much worse for a Muslim family who had recently arrived in America shortly after 9/11.

“We always say we got scared more than anything,” Kelli said. “I think Clarkston was such a loving community that really offered protection from the harassment we might have faced.

With the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan now complete, Catholic Charities Atlanta will continue to help evacuated families find new homes, as it has done for the past 20 years.

“Rebuilding your life is not easy,” said Vanessa Russell, CEO of Catholic Charities Atlanta. “These brave families escaped with just what they could take. They are courageous, resilient and optimistic about their future. We will welcome these families with a grateful heart and help them integrate and thrive in their new home here in Atlanta. “


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Non profit living

Friendly Neighborhood ‘Dealer of Hope’ Fuels Federal Way

Louis Guiden is known as Federal Way’s “hope dealer”.

Since 2008, the Good Shepherd Youth Outreach of Federal Way has provided mentoring and character development skills to youth in the area. When the pandemic struck, the association pivoted its mission to tackle food insecurity among black and brown families in Federal Way.

“With their children at home, families are running out of food… it was the emergency for us,” said Guiden, 47, executive director of the association. “We have to respond to the need which right now is hunger. ”

Good Shepherd Youth Outreach of Federal Way is one of six finalists from the Western Region in the 2022 Chick-fil-A True Inspiration Awards competition.

The True Inspiration Awards began in 2015, in honor of Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy. The grant awards celebrate and support nonprofits dealing with education, hunger or homelessness that are run by black people or serve communities of color, according to the organization.

Voting began on September 4 and continues through September 25 through the Chick-fil-A app.

Good Shepherd Youth Outreach of Federal Way was founded by Guiden in 2008. The aim of the organization is to provide mentorship to youth of color through academic support, character development, life skills education and training. support for prevention and intervention.

Feeding Our Community was launched in April 2020. Since then, approximately 2.5 million pounds of food and over 28,000 meals have been served to local families from the Guiden drive-style weekly distribution program started at The Boys and Girls Club of Federal Way.

A team of about 15 people organize the drive-thru distributions each week, including young people from local middle and high schools who receive a stipend for their work, and additional volunteers from the community.

“It went from 15 to 20 cars a week to 120 cars a week,” Guiden said. The pandemic has allowed Guiden to refocus the mission of his program, moving to meet the most immediate needs of the community.

Black, Indigenous and Colored (BIPOC) families make up about 80% of those served by the association, Guiden said. Food is provided through partnerships with the Peacekeeper Society, Food Lifeline and Northwest Harvest.

Few food banks or distribution centers are run by Blacks or BIPOC, Guiden said, leaving a void in the provision of culturally relevant and culturally appropriate foods.

Guiden and his team understand the needs of the people to whom they provide food, and in return, there is a sense of understanding.

“As a black African American man living in Federal Way for 22 years, it really gave me a deep connection to my community, serving food,” he said. “It connects me to the community at large… The fight against food insecurity has given me so much hope, so much enthusiasm, so much love. ”

While Guiden and his team feed the community, people often drop off homemade meals, treats and other tokens of appreciation at distributors.

The True Inspiration Award nomination allowed Guiden to step back and realize the power of his work. If his nonprofit wins, the funds would be used to further develop the Community Empowerment Center, Feeding Our Community and Brothers Bout Business programs.

“It gave me the fuel I needed… I’m like, ‘What else can we fix in Federal Way? What can we do as an organization now to solve the problems of this community? ”

Moved from Louisiana to the Pacific Northwest in 1993, Guiden said he arrived with five dollars in his pocket. A work-related incident shortly after his move left him with a traumatic brain injury, an ankle fracture requiring 12 reconstructive surgeries and constant pain.

He found strength in his story through his faith and his wife. Guiden sees himself as a Sankofa bird, a symbol of his West African heritage that reminds people that “we must keep moving forward by remembering our past,” Guiden said.

By embarking on his own journey, he made sure to plant a seed to strengthen the capacities of future generations.

In its 22 years of mentoring and dedication to the youth of the community, Good Shepherd Youth Outreach has served over 180 youth and families.

“I’m the hope dealer,” he said. “I help people deal effectively with overwhelming pressures. ”

For more information or to get involved, visit www.gsyowa.org.

Local Federal Way youth are primarily responsible for the drive-thru food distribution each week.



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Non profit living

Northern Alabama Food Bank Tackles Child Hunger

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – Food insecurity continues to be an issue the Northern Alabama Food Bank is working to alleviate.

While some sit down to dinner each night, others wonder if they will go to bed hungry. Some of these people are children. Instead of focusing on learning at school or playing with friends, they worry about when the next meal is.

“You know, if we are to have a vibrant and prosperous community, children need to be able to learn and grow without having to worry about hunger,” said Bobby Bozeman, director of development for the Food Bank of North Alabama. They strive to beautify the future and the present by providing food to those in need.

One thing many people may not realize is how widespread food insecurity is in northern Alabama. According to the Food Bank, 1/4 of northern Alabama’s kids don’t know when they’ll have their next meal.

“When kids have to deal with this, it’s virtually impossible to focus on other things, be it clubs, activities, their studies or athletics,” said Bozeman. “When you’re focused on hunger, that’s all you can think of.”

Fortunately, there are nonprofits like the Food Bank that help ease this burden. Bozeman said they distribute food to partners who run backpack programs and help with mobile pantries set up at elementary schools in Huntsville.

For those fortunate enough not to have to think about where their next meal is coming from, there are opportunities to help through the food bank.

If you are interested in helping local families, one of the best things you can do is donate. To help them in their efforts to end hunger, click on ‘Donate’ at https://www.foodbanknorthal.org/. Every dollar donated provides nearly seven meals.

You can also volunteer to help. While many businesses and nonprofits grapple with the job, Bozeman says the food bank is in luck.

“Huntsville is a very passionate community that gives back and obviously we face sales like everyone else, but luckily a lot of people have come to work for us,” he said. “Nonprofits don’t always offer the best, but we try to be competitive and give our people a living wage. ”

You can find a link to become a volunteer on the organization’s home page, as well as information on how to get food aid and program information on the Food Bank’s website.


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Hello Kitty arrives at the new Sanrio store in Irvine; Madison Reed opens 2 stores – Orange County Register

Hello Kitty, Chococat, My Melody, and Keroppi head over to UC Irvine.

There’s no word on what classes they might take, but the popular characters will soon be on sale at a new Sanrio store that will debut at the University Center in early October.

The Japanese company is known for making kitschy characters and collectibles. Wendy Hsu is the franchise owner of Sanrio Irvine.

The store will sell the latest versions of Sanrio and limited edition collectibles such as back-to-school items, stationery, clothing, accessories and housewares.

Hello Kitty, Chococat, My Melody and Keroppi arrive at Orange County in a dedicated Sanrio store. The store filled with plush toys, stationery, clothing, accessories and housewares opens Oct. 2 at the University Center near UC Irvine. Address: 4255 Campus Drive (Courtesy of Sanrio)

Sanrio Irvine, which opens on Sunday, October 2, will have sections dedicated to plush, clothing, beauty and stationery walls, as well as space for Hello Kitty and friends.

Address: 4255 Campus Drive Ste-B-142; Hours: 11 am to 7 pm, Monday to Thursday; From 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Friday to Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

  • Madison Reed, a San Francisco-based do-it-yourself hair dye startup, opens its first Orange County locations, one at Tustin Market Place on El Camino Real (September 15) and the other at Fashion Island at Newport Plage (Sep 23). The startup specializes in matching colors and can apply the dye in their Madison Reed Hair Color Bar. (Courtesy of Madison Reed)

  • Madison Reed, a San Francisco-based do-it-yourself hair dye startup, opens its first Orange County locations, one at Tustin Market Place on El Camino Real (September 15) and the other at Fashion Island at Newport Plage (Sep 23). The startup specializes in matching colors and can apply the dye in their Madison Reed Hair Color Bar. (Courtesy of Madison Reed)

  • Madison Reed, a San Francisco-based do-it-yourself hair dye startup, opens its first Orange County locations, one at Tustin Market Place on El Camino Real (September 15) and the other at Fashion Island at Newport Plage (Sep 23). The startup specializes in matching colors and can apply the dye in their Madison Reed Hair Color Bar. (Courtesy of Madison Reed)

Madison Reed opens its first OC locations

Pandemic lockdowns have left millions of dyed, highlighted and swept women in quarantine at home with no living room and few good ways to hide those pesky roots.

Some women just let it grow, while others turned to startups offering DIY hair dye kits.

One of them was Madison Reed, a do-it-yourself hair dye startup in San Francisco that exploded early in the pandemic months. The company is opening its first locations in Orange County, one at Tustin Market Place on El Camino Real (September 18) and the other at Fashion Island in Newport Beach (September 23).

CEO Amy Erret told Yahoo Finance last summer that Madison Reed saw her sales increase 12-fold as the pandemic changed lives as we knew it.

“I’m not happy that it took a pandemic for this to happen,” she said in July 2020. “I’d rather it didn’t happen. But I think it proves that the coloring of the hair is really important to people emotionally.

The startup uses unique color matching technology in their kits, which can be mailed to clients, or a professional can match and apply the color in a Madison Reed coloring bar. The company says it employs licensed colorists and uses products that are ammonia-free, paraben-free, and cruelty-free.

Addresses: 3003 El Camino Real, Tustin (next to the White House / Black Market); 313 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach.

Fullerton’s Women’s Transitional Living Center, under the leadership of CEO Mark Lee, is raising the minimum wage for its full-time employees to $ 22.44 from $ 18.27. The nonprofit’s salary increases benefit 26 of its 49 part-time and full-time employees. (Courtesy of Bill Nichols and the Women’s Transitional Living Center)

Nonprofit salary increase

The Women’s Transitional Living Center in Fullerton is increasing its minimum hourly wage for full-time employees from $ 18.27 to $ 22.44.

The nonprofit’s salary increases benefit 26 of its 49 part-time and full-time employees.

The new wage standard was based on the Living Wage Calculator created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology so that a single adult without children could afford adequate housing, food and other expenses.

The WTLC said it previously relied on the Southern California nonprofit compensation report to determine a market rate for staff positions. The nonprofit, said chief executive Mark Lee, now recognizes that such reports are based on a system with “built-in inequalities that undermine people in lower paid positions.”

“Our new compensation standard is no longer influenced by external unfairness factors,” Lee said in a statement. “This positive change has been made possible by the dedication and commitment to the WTLC that our staff demonstrate every day.”

The non-profit organization helps individuals and families escape domestic violence and exploitation by providing resources aimed at independent living. WTLC has 24 hour bilingual telephone support at 877-531-5522 or can be contacted by email / text at [email protected] For more information, visit www.wtlc.org.

Moving

Yunkyung Kim has been appointed COO of CalOptima in Orange. Kim returns to CalOptima after leaving Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan, where she was Vice President of Medi-Cal Growth and Vice President of Medi-Cal Performance. She has 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry. CalOptima provides state-funded health care coverage for low-income children, adults, seniors, and people with disabilities in Orange County.

Good work

The Orange County Community Foundation raised $ 144,502 from 450 donors to Protect & Preserve, a day of giving to support the county’s open spaces and marine protected areas. The money will go to seven local nonprofits that help protect marine areas along the 12 miles of Orange County coast. Participating organizations included Laguna Canyon Foundation, Laguna Ocean Foundation, Newport Bay Conservancy, OC Habitats, Ocean Defenders Alliance, Pacific Marine Mammal Center and The Ecology Center.

Ralphs and Food 4 Less raised $ 100,000 in donations for their Hunger Action Month campaign. Proceeds will support Cal State Fullerton’s permanent pantry for students, Homeboy Industries’ Feed HOPE program and “Fill the Fridge,” an ongoing campaign that benefits Project Angel Food, the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The City National Bank recently presented a check to the Small Business Development Corporation of Orange County as a Community Reinvestment Act grant to help small businesses. From left to right, Eduardo Brugman, news director of SBDC-OC; Theresa Don Lucas, City National Bank CRA Officer; Richard Lee, Senior Vice President of Commercial Lending at SBDC-OC; City National Bank SVP Sal Mendoza. (Courtesy of City National Bank)

Subsidies

The Orange County Small Business Development Corporation received $ 20,000 in Community Reinvestment Act bank grants that will help the organization guide entrepreneurs and small business owners through tough times or expansions. The association received a grant of $ 10,000 each from City National Bank and CIT Bank this summer. the money will go to its entrepreneur loan fund which lends directly to businesses.

Milestones

Stretto, an Irvine-based technology and services company, was recognized at the 15th Annual M&A Advisor Turnaround Awards as Turnaround Product / Service of the Year. This recognition marks the second consecutive year that Stretto has received this award for its services. Stretto was also honored in the Chapter 11 Reorganization of the Year category.

Laguna Cafe and Grill was honored as Local Restaurant of the Month for August by MP Cottie Petrie-Norris (District 74). Laguna Woods Restaurant is known for its all American-style cuisine and breakfast. The Laguna Cafe was founded by Richard Martinez and is co-owned by Tammy Martinez and Monja Chavez.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to correct Madison Reed’s opening date to Tustin.

Status Update is compiled from press releases from Editor Karen Levin and edited by Editor-in-Chief Samantha Gowen. Send high resolution articles and photos to [email protected] Allow at least a week for publication. Elements are edited for length and clarity.


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