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Non profit living

Anonymous reader pays Saint-Dominique cancer patient’s debt

Linda Burks owed more than $ 4,000 for her breast cancer treatment at St. Dominic, a not-for-profit church hospital in Jackson who hired a debt collector to sue her. Burks works as a full-time receptionist with Medicare who has started taking extra janitorial shifts to pay his bills.

After a series of investigations which the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting product, and the Mississippi Free Press republished in its entirety, a woman who read the series took action. Earlier this month, she hooked up with Burks and paid off her medical debt.

“We’re supposed to help each other, aren’t we? Wrote the reader, who wished to remain anonymous. “People helped me when I needed it.”

After receiving treatment for her breast cancer at St. Dominic’s Hospital, Linda Burks had thousands of medical debts, which the hospital sent to collections. Photo by Sarah Warnock

However, St. Dominic Hospital did not change its policies in response to the report.

Burks’ story was part of an investigation into the aggressive debt collection policies of St. Dominic and its debt collectors. Reports revealed that the hospital was billing thousands of Mississippians when these patients should have qualified for free or reduced medical care; inflated patient bills by a third or more with attorney fees, court costs and interest rates by 8%; the wages of the seized patients; money seized from patients’ bank accounts; and sued thousands of patients, many of whom work in low-wage industries like fast food and retail.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the the federal government has given the hospital millions of dollars in pandemic relief funds, but St. Dominic continued to sue patients and even their employees, as the hospital sued over a hundred staff for medical debts.

Burks: “What am I doing? “

Linda Burks was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 and received treatment at St. Dominic. She faithfully paid her bill for over a year when she said she noticed Saint-Dominique was no longer automatically withdrawing from her account.

Burks said she proactively contacted St. Dominic, but was told it was too late – her invoice was sent to the collections. Smith, Rouchon & Associates, a Jackson-based collection agency, started calling him, demanding more money from Burks. The debt collector sued her, adding more than $ 1,500 to her bill for legal fees.

Relief sculpture of Saint Francis of Assisi kneeling before an angel
Saint Francis of Assisi (photo) inspired the religious order which now sponsors Saint Dominic Hospital. Photo by Fr. Daniel Ciucci on Unsplash

St. Dominic has annual operating expenses of around half a billion dollars and pays virtually no tax due to its nonprofit status. Experts say suing patients for medical debts is only a tiny fraction of a hospital’s income, but the effects can be devastating for patients. For Burks, this meant she was reluctant to return to St. Dominic for treatment because she feared she would be sued again.

“I’m a cashless receptionist, living from paycheck to paycheck,” Burks wrote to a judge in 2018. “… I want to live, and these tests play a big role for me in whether I stay cancer-free. … What should I do. to do?”

Follow the example of the founder?

In 2019, the Dominican Sisters for St. Dominic’s Health Services sponsorship transferred from St. Dominic Hospital to the Health system of the Franciscan Missionaries of Notre-Dame, whose inspiration, St. Francis of Assisi, was a man born into a wealthy family who gave up his wealth and begged with the poor.

“Let us therefore have charity and humility and give alms because they wash souls from the stain of sins”, François wrote in the 13th century. “For men lose all that they leave in this world; however, they carry with them the reward of charity and alms which they have given, for which they will receive a reward and remuneration worthy of the Lord.

When contacted this week, a spokesperson for the Franciscan Missionaries of Notre Dame, the Louisiana-based health system that owns St. Dominic, reiterated that the hospital no longer directly pursues patients – a policy that took place in July.

“We always want to be compassionate and improve the experience for our patients,” spokesperson Ryan Cross said in an email.

But St. Dominic rarely sued patients directly, relying instead on two local collection agencies to handle the vast majority of medical debt collection lawsuits. The hospital still allows its debt collectors to sue patients, garnish their wages, damage their credit and bankrupt them.

The Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting produced the series. Email reporter Giacomo Bologna To [email protected]. Read Giacomo Bologna’s full series on medical billing in Mississippi:

Part 1: Investigation: St. Dominic’s nonprofit hospital routinely sued patients who could not afford care

Part 2: “It broke my heart”: the tactics of the Saint-Dominique debt collectors cause lasting damage

Part 3: Medical debt lawsuits hurt low-income Mississippians; Here are expert solutions


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Many obstacles for families with dietary challenges | News, Sports, Jobs

WASHINGTON – Many Americans who have struggled to feed their families in the past pandemic year say they have struggled to find how to get help and have struggled to find healthy foods they can afford.

An Impact Genome and Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll finds 23% of Americans say they haven’t been able to get enough to eat or the types of foods they eat. they want. Most people with food issues signed up for a government or nonprofit food aid program in the past year, but 58% still had difficulty accessing at least one service.

And 21% of adults who have difficulty meeting their food needs have not been able to access any assistance. The most common challenge for those in need was a fundamental lack of knowledge about eligibility for government and nonprofit services.

Survey results paint a big picture of a country where hundreds of thousands of households suddenly found themselves food insecure due to the economic disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic

They often found themselves navigating the intimidating bureaucracy of government assistance programs and with limited knowledge of local food banks or other charitable options available.

Black and Hispanic Americans, Americans living below the federal poverty line and young adults are especially likely to face eating problems, according to the survey.

Americans who struggle to afford food also feel less confident than others about their ability to afford healthy foods. Only 27% say they are “very” Where “extremely” confident, compared to 87% of those who do not face dietary challenges.

For housewife Acacia Barraza in Los Lunas, a rural town outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the challenge has been finding a steady supply of fresh fruits and vegetables for her 2-year-old son while respecting the family budget.

Barraza, 34, quit her job as a waitress before the pandemic when her son was born. She considered returning to work, but intermittent childcare shortages as the pandemic set in made that impossible, she said. The family lives off her husband’s salary as a mechanic while receiving help from SNAP, the government program commonly known as food stamps.

Despite government help, Barraza said she still scrambles to find affordable sources of fresh vegetables, actively browsing local markets for bargains such as a bag of fresh spinach for $ 2.99. .

“If we don’t always have vegetables, he won’t want to eat them in the future. And then I am worried that he will not get enough vitamins from vegetables in the future or now for his growing body. So it’s really hard. It’s just really hard. she said.

Even those who haven’t lost income during the pandemic find themselves stretching their food dollars at the end of the month. Trelecia Mornes of Fort Worth, Texas works as a customer service representative over the phone, so she was able to work from home without interruption.

She earns too much money to qualify for SNAP, but not enough to easily feed the family.

She decided to take distance education with her three children at home over fears about COVID-19 outbreaks in schools, which took school lunches out of the equation. Her job responsibilities prevent her from picking up free lunches offered by the school district. She takes care of her disabled brother, who lives with them and receives SNAP benefits. But Mornes said that $ 284 a month “Lasts about a week and a half. “

They try to eat healthy, but budgetary considerations sometimes lead them to prioritize cost and longevity with “canned soups, maybe noodles – things that last and aren’t that expensive”, she said.

Radha Muthiah, president of the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, said the difficulties reflected in the survey are evidence of a new phenomenon brought by the pandemic: families with no experience of food insecurity are suddenly in need, without knowledge of charitable options or experience in navigating government assistance programs.

“It’s all new to them” she said. “Many people and families, especially those experiencing food insecurity for the first time, don’t know all of their options. “

Many are reluctant to engage directly in government programs such as SNAP and WIC – the government’s parallel food aid program that helps mothers and children. Muthiah said reluctance often stems either from frustration with paperwork or, among immigrant communities, from fear of endangering their immigration status or green card applications.

The survey shows that overall, about 1 in 8 Americans regularly get their supplies from convenience stores, which typically offer less nutritious foods at higher prices. This experience is more common among Americans with dietary issues, with about 1 in 5 frequenting convenience stores.

Reliance on convenience stores is a particularly troubling dynamic, Muthiah said, as the options there are both more expensive and generally less nutritious. Part of the problem is just habit, but a much bigger problem is the lack of proper groceries in “Food deserts” that exist in the poorest neighborhoods of many cities.

“Sometimes they’re the only quick and efficient option for many people to get food,” she said. “But they don’t get the full range of what they need in a convenience store and that has a lot of negative health effects.”

The survey shows that half of Americans with dietary challenges say extra money to pay for food or bills is needed to meet their dietary needs.

Fewer consider reliable transportation or enough free food for a few days, such as in emergency food parcels, or free prepared meals at a soup kitchen or school as necessary resources to meet their food needs, although the majority states that this would be helpful.

Gerald Ortiz of Espaeola, New Mexico, bought a 2019 Chevrolet pickup truck before the pandemic, then lost the office job he had for 20 years. Now he’s scrambling to make the monthly payment of $ 600 and gets by with charity and just eating less. His unemployment benefits ended this month.

“I make sure that the payment for my truck is made” Ortiz said, as he sat in a line of around 30 cars waiting to collect food from a charity, Barrios Unidos, near Chimay. “After that, I, I just eat once a day” he said, pointing to her stomach. “That’s why you see me, I’m so thin now.”

He applies for several jobs and survives on charity and all the produce he can grow in his garden – peppers, onions, cucumbers and watermelons.

“It was depressing. It’s been, like, stressful and I have anxiety. he said. “Like, I can’t wait to find a job. I don’t care what it is right now.

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Powell meets a changing economy: fewer workers, higher prices

WASHINGTON – Restaurant owners and hoteliers are struggling to fill jobs. Delays in the supply chain drive up prices for small businesses. Unemployed Americans unable to find work even with record high job vacancies.

These and other disruptions to the U.S. economy – the aftermath of the viral pandemic that erupted 18 months ago – appear likely to last, a group of nonprofit business owners and executives said on Friday. to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

The business challenges, outlined during a “Fed Listens” virtual panel discussion, highlight the ways the COVID-19 epidemic and its delta variant continue to transform the U.S. economy. Some event attendees said their business plans are still evolving. Others have complained of sluggish sales and fluctuating fortunes after the pandemic eased this summer, then escalated over the past two months.

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“We are living in truly unique times,” said Powell at the end of the discussion. “I’ve never seen these kinds of supply chain issues, I’ve never seen an economy that combines drastic labor shortages with a lot of unemployed … So it’s an economy that evolving very quickly, it will be very different from the one (before).

The Fed chairman asked Cheetie Kumar, a restaurant owner in Raleigh, North Carolina, why she is having such a hard time finding workers. Powell’s question goes to the heart of the Fed’s mandate to maximize employment, as many people who worked before the pandemic have lost their jobs and are no longer looking for them. When – or if – these people resume their job search will help determine when the Fed can conclude that the economy has reached the peak of jobs.

Kumar told Powell that many of his former employees have decided to quit the restaurant industry for good.

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“I think a lot of people wanted to change their lives, and we lost a lot of people in different industries,” she said. “I think half of our people have decided to go back to school.”

Kumar said her restaurant now pays a minimum of $ 18 an hour, and she added that higher wages are likely a long-term change for the restaurant industry.

“We can’t get by and pay people $ 13 an hour and expect them to stay with us for years and years,” Kumar said. “It just won’t happen.”

Loren Nalewanski, vice president of Marriott Select Brands, said his business was losing out to similar challenges as many former employees, especially housekeepers, left for other jobs that recently raised wages. Even the recent cut to a federal unemployment supplement of $ 300 per week, he said, has not led to an increase in the number of job seekers.

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“People have left the industry and unfortunately they are finding other things to do,” Nalewanski said. “Other industries that may not have paid that much … are (now) paying a lot more.”

Jill Rizika, president of Towards Employment, a non-profit workforce development organization in Cleveland, said she sees the stark disconnect every day between companies posting millions of job vacancies. and those struggling to find work and escape poverty. About 60% of the people her organization helps find jobs have criminal records, she said, and 65% have only high school diplomas. Many parents, especially mothers, are still unable to return to full-time work.

“They tried to work but because of the epidemics, the children are being sent home from daycare or school, which makes their schedules unmanageable,” said Rizika. “Where the digital divide comes in: a young mother tried remote working but didn’t have enough broadband to make it work.

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Small businesses are also grappling with rising costs, with little relief in sight, some participants said. The Fed has accelerated its plans to start withdrawing its low interest rate policies, in part because of concerns about rising inflation.

Larry Andrews, chairman of Massachusetts Growth Capital, a state agency that supports small businesses, said that during a recent tour of the state, a cafe owner told him that the price of a case of eggs had skyrocketed since the pandemic. Another restaurant owner said a jug of cooking oil went from $ 17 to $ 50 – “if you can get it.”

“The speed and intensity of this slowdown – and the speed of the recovery in many areas – is unprecedented in modern times,” said Powell in prepared remarks at the start of the event. “The business plans have been reworked, the outlook has been revised and the future continues to be tainted with uncertainties.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


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Expanded Child Tax Credit Means My Son Will Have More Options Than Me – Press and Guide

I remember finding out that I was about to become a mother. I felt fear take hold of me. My brain stopped. I remember crying, but I had no tears. I remember trying to run, but couldn’t move.

No one had prepared me for motherhood – my own mother abandoned me when I was not even 2 years old. The father of my child was violently abusive. My life was unstable and I was afraid that another human being would depend on me.

Things are so much better now. My son, Caleb, is entering kindergarten and he is the light of my life. We’ve been through so much together, but we’re doing it.

One thing that helps more than words can express is the expanded new child tax credit. Adopted as part of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 relief program, it puts money in our bank account – and the bank accounts of almost every parent in this country.

This credit is on track to lift half of all children living in poverty, including mine. This will help them lead safer and happier lives into adulthood.

My own early childhood was filled with trauma.

After our mother left us, my father had to take care of all of us children. He did his best, but he didn’t know how to access social services for us. When he got sick, we lost everything. We ended up living in a tent “village” under a bridge, where I had to cook for 50 people for the next seven years.

I was just a child.

I was afraid of people in the streets, of students at school, even of being with others where I lived. When I took action and skipped school, I was put in juvenile detention for truancy. The years that followed saw cycle after cycle of abuse, instability and trauma.

But eventually I found help. When I was 18 and on the run, I found a job at a homeless shelter called Covenant House and moved in. They helped me get ID and taught me about social services and how to get them.

I didn’t know there was help available for someone like me. I became a team leader there and my life began to change. Now I’m an advocate for a nonprofit called RESULTS, which trains and helps people fight for policies that help families like mine survive and thrive.

Along the way, I learned something really important: Many of us who grew up in abusive situations just don’t have access to mental health services, so we end up in abusive relationships. adulthood. And many others who experience the trauma of poverty simply don’t know how to get help.

Before the COVID-19 relief program, I would never have been able to access the child tax credit – I was just too poor. And complex paperwork and bureaucratic requirements also put other help out of reach.

But now families like mine, and all other families with children, are receiving life-changing assistance right in their bank accounts. I can’t tell you how much of a difference it makes.

Thanks to the Child Tax Credit, Caleb will not suffer the tremendous trauma I suffered as a child. His life will be better. He will have the love and economic support he needs to thrive.

We are the richest nation in the world, but too often we have abandoned our poorest children, like my mother abandoned me. But if we have the political will, we can make smarter economic choices like these to give all children a safe and secure childhood.

Not only will Caleb prosper, but we in society as a whole will.

La’Shon Marshall lives in the Detroit metro area and is a poverty advocate with the RESULTS Educational Fund. This editorial was distributed by OtherWords.org.


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Haitian group in Houston seeks to help refugees coming from the border – Houston Public Media

Migrants, many from Haiti, wait to board a bus to Houston at a humanitarian center after being released from the United States Border Patrol after crossing the Rio Grande and turned into asylum seekers, on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, in Del Rio, Texas.

As the United States orders the deportation of thousands of Haitian migrants crossing Mexico to Texas, a local nonprofit is dealing with those who have already made it to Houston.

Organizers of the nonprofit Houston Haitians United this week called for volunteers to cook and translate Haitian dishes, helping to bridge the linguistic and cultural divide. The organization has looked after relief efforts and recently worked with Mayor Sylvester Turner’s office to organize supplies drives in the wake of the devastating earthquake that rocked Haiti this summer.

HHU is also using its platform to denounce immigration policies aimed at deporting recently arrived Haitians.

“Some people walked two months to come to the United States just to be deported to Haiti and start from scratch,” said James Pierre, president of HHU. “It’s heartbreaking because a lot of money, blood, sweat and tears have been invested in trying to find a better life.”

According to the Houston Chronicle, up to 3,000 additional Haitian refugees are expected to pass through Houston on their way to other destinations in the country. Most or all of those who do will have come from Del Rio, where tens of thousands of migrants were waiting under the international bridge between Del Rio and Mexico.

Florida and northeastern states like New York and New Jersey have historically been stopping places for the Haitian diaspora. There are over 500,000 Haitians living in the United States, nearly half of whom live in Florida.

Pierre is a transplant from Florida who says there are thousands of Haitians in the Houston area alone, and his organization is a way to build a community here.

“When I moved to Houston 18 years ago, it wasn’t around, you know? ” he said. “Haitians have been here since the 1970s. But the reason we created HHU was that they were here, people move here every day.

Buses arrive at a shelter in northwest Houston run by the Mormon Church since Monday evening, with two to three buses of about 65 people each, greeted by HHU volunteers, organizers said.

Rolanda Charles, the group’s secretary, helped coordinate volunteers via social media, posting a call for people who speak Haitian Creole and who can help make large casseroles of comfort food like chicken stew and Diri Kole, Haitian-style rice and beans. plate. Charles also posted the bus arrival times.

“We were there from 6:30 p.m. to almost three in the morning, distributing food, translating, putting people in touch… with their friends and families who are currently in the United States and helping them buy those bus tickets or tickets. ‘plane. to bring them home,’ Charles said.

As of Thursday, the number of Haitian migrants at the Del Rio Bridge had fallen to around 4,000, according to information from the Associated Press. About 1,400 had been returned to Haiti on 13 flights under the pandemic public health authority known as Title 42, while 3,200 others are in U.S. custody and under treatment, several thousand more returning to Mexico, according to the AP.

For those who are allowed to stay in the United States at least for the time being, Charles was hopeful that more organizations would help them along their journey, especially after seeing heartbreaking footage at the border.

“Every person, however they get to the border – whether they stay there or have to go back – must be respected,” Charles said. “They must be treated with respect, dignity and humanity. We are people at the end of the day. We are not animals. We are human beings.

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Where to give Halloween candy

There’s no better time to give back and spread the joy than a holiday – Halloween included! If you are looking to make a positive impact in someone’s life this Halloween, you may want to consider donating candy to those who could use a treat to lift their spirits. Whether you’re planning to give back on your own or looking to instill charitable values ​​in your kids after a treat, read on to learn more about where you can give Halloween candy this spooky season.

United Way

United Way is a non-profit organization whose mission is “to improve lives by mobilizing the benevolent power of communities around the world to advance the common good”. The organization is known for hosting Halloween events for kids and making the holidays a little more special for underserved communities. Visit their website to find your local chapter and learn about Halloween candy donation.

Ronald McDonald House Charities

Ronald McDonald Houses is a non-profit organization that seeks to support families struggling with serious childhood illness. Because these children are unable to go out and make treats, many Ronald McDonald House chapters will accept unopened Halloween candy to share with children with illness and their families. Find your local and ask whether or not they could use candy donations to help spread the Halloween joy.

Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude proudly distributes candy to deployed troops, local military units, veterans and first responders. Complete the registration form and pair up with a local military unit, first responder service, or veterans organization. If no match can be found, you can always send your candy to the organization’s Candy Processing Center in Los Angeles.

Operation Shoebox

Operation Shoebox sends thoughtful care packages to troops and is known to include candy, especially during the holidays. Other sugary treats they’ll accept as donations for their treatment packages include individually wrapped granola bars and cookies. Visit their website to learn more about the donation.

Local organizations

Sometimes you don’t have to look far to tell the difference. Call your local pantries, nursing homes, and shelters to see if they would be interested in accepting new unopened Halloween candy. There is something special about giving back to your own community and doing something positive for other members.


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American Dream Center in Tulsa helps families integrate into the United States

The American Dream Center in Tulsa helps families from other countries settle in Oklahoma.

Founder Casey Jones told News On 6 they have helped nearly 100 families this year. Jones grew up in Oklahoma, then began to travel and live abroad.

“I have lived abroad, I have lived in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Ivory Coast,” Jones said.

Friends helped him adjust to life in other countries. When Jones returned home, he realized that there were people moving to Oklahoma from outside the United States who needed the same help and guidance as overseas. , so he created the American Dream Center.

“We are helping immigrants and refugees adjust to America,” Jones said.

The non-profit organization provides immigration legal services, it helps people find jobs, it even provides a translator who does errands, like going to the DMV a bit easier.

“We walk alongside them and help them navigate the ins and outs of our system,” Jones said.

American Dream Center has already helped 90 families this year and hundreds since the doors opened in 2017, including people like Ariana Wilson, who immigrated to the United States with her triplets from Venezuela.

“This country has opened the door to new life,” Wilson said. “Sometimes God sends angels into your life.”

Wilson thinks these angels are at the Dream Center. She said that before moving to the United States, she was robbed several times at gunpoint, would not have electricity for weeks, and could not regularly access the medications her son took. need. Jones and his team helped Wilson and his family gain Temporary Protected Status.

“We can help inexpensively since we’re a non-profit organization,” Jones said. “These people have left their friends and family, their culture, their language to try something new. We have to accept them, welcome them and help them succeed because if they succeed, we succeed.”

The American Dream Center has said it is ready and willing to help Afghan refugees in the coming months, but has not yet been contacted.

For more information, visit the American Dream Center website here.


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Family stranded in Afghanistan returns home to SoCal – NBC Los Angeles

When the Kashefi family first arrived in Southern California in March 2017, it was because Bashir Kashefi had finally been granted a safe exit, after working for the US government for over a decade.

But a summer trip to visit family went very badly for the Kashefi, who arrived in Afghanistan in June with a return trip scheduled just days before the country fell to the Taliban.

In a video sent to NBC4, Bashir Kashefi said he fears for the lives of his family.

“We have tried to leave Afghanistan more than nine times,” he said. “We went to the airport to catch a plane, but unfortunately because there were too many people, it was difficult to get in.

He says repeated attempts by members of the US government have also proved unsuccessful.

And when the American troops withdrew, he says he almost gave up all hope.

“Coping with life right now in Kabul, Afghanistan… it’s so difficult right now and more difficult than ever,” Kashefi said.

Kashefi served as the basis for an April 2017 NBC4 story about a local nonprofit called Miry’s List. Miry Whitehill started the charity to help refugee families resettle in the United States. The Kashefi family were one of the first families Miry’s List helped find an apartment, furnish it, and put them on track to thrive in the United States.

Bashir Kashefi has become the Miry’s List ambassador – an achievement – of what the association is capable of doing, even appearing in a special Belmont Shores TedX Talk, sharing his story of starting over.

Miry’s List announced its Emergency Action Fund in August 2021, following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, which led to donations from Lady Gaga to help resettle refugee families.

So it’s no surprise that Miry’s List stepped in again to help the Kashefi family return home.

A group of volunteers – they call themselves the Hive – ensured that the Kashefi family did not feel the trauma of returning to the United States as they did when they arrived.

“They’re in a life and death situation one way or another,” says Laurel Felt, a Hive volunteer. “World events conspired against them. They didn’t do anything wrong. They brought nothing on themselves.

The Hive raised funds to cover the costs of living the family overseas and to cover bills at home to keep them up to date when they return.

“We really wanted to make sure the rent was paid, the utilities were paid, certainly the cell phone because that was our lifeline for him,” said Shareef Mustafa, Hive volunteer. “We wanted to make sure that their repatriation to the United States was not filled with the same anxiety as when they arrived in 2017.”

And good news arrived on Monday morning – with the Kashefi family sharing photos from Doha, Qatar. They were out of Afghanistan safe and sound.

“Bashir confirmed that they all slept well last night for the first time in a long time,” Felt said.

The family’s return to Southern California and their home in Anaheim, however, is still unclear. It will likely cost additional money and effort from the volunteers, who hope to see Kashefi in the United States soon.


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Diapers and push-ups desperately needed for children living in Village of Hope – Orange County Register

Orange County Rescue Mission is in desperate need of diapers for toddlers and young children living in Village of Hope, a transitional living center for homeless families.

The association is looking for diapers in sizes 5 and 6, as well as diapers and wet wipes for boys and girls 3T-4T.

“We have received generous community donations of newborn and small infant diapers, but the continued need for larger diapers and retractable diapers is often underestimated,” said Jim Palmer, president of the Orange County Rescue Mission.

The increase in homelessness in the wake of the pandemic has contributed to this continued need, the mission said.

Those wishing to donate or organize a diaper drive can drop off their donations at the Village of Hope at 1 Hope Drive, Tustin, 92782. Donations can also be made online and delivered to this address.

For more information, visit rescuemission.org/urgent-baby-needs.

The facility’s donation warehouse is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Sunday.

Upcoming fundraisers

The Orange County Community Foundation is hosting a fundraiser on Wednesday, September 22 for 17 local nonprofits, seeking to raise $ 200,000.

The 24-hour Ignition Potential event will support programs that help Orange County youth.

Participants include Assistance League of Irvine, Child Creativity Lab, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Early Childhood OC, Giving Children Hope, Helping Others Prepare for Eternity, Irvine Public Schools Foundation, Kid Healthy, Kidworks Community Development Corporation, MOMS Orange County, Parentis Foundation , Pretend City – Orange County Children’s Museum, Scholar’s Hope Foundation, Literacy Project, Prentice School, Orange County Youth Center and YMCA.

To donate, go to igniting-potential-giving-day.ocnonprofitcentral.org or bit.ly/2VOfvSz

The Santa Ana Chick-fil-A at 3601 South Bristol St. will contribute 20% of sales from 4 pm to 7 pm Tuesday, September 22 to the non-profit MOMS Orange County if you mention “Spirit Night”.

Donations for MOMS

Eat chicken, help a mom.

The Santa Ana Chick-fil-A at 3601 South Bristol St. will contribute 20% of sales from 4 pm to 7 pm Tuesday, September 22 to the non-profit MOMS Orange County if you mention “Spirit Night”.

MOMS Orange County helps moms caring for newborns and pregnancy health, helping improve birth outcomes, infant health and development.

Body Spa Salons, a concept that leases space to beauty professionals, has opened an 8,000 square foot location at 3333 West Coast Highway in Newport Beach. The company rents spaces to specialists in hair, nails, skin, massage and medical / wellness care such as weight loss services, medical spas, vitamin infusions and acupuncture. (Courtesy of Body Spa Salons)

New spa debuts in NB

Body Spa Salons, a concept that leases space to beauty professionals, has opened an 8,000 square foot space in Newport Beach.

Spa salon at 3333 West Coast Highway rents spaces to professionals specializing in hair, nails, skin, massage, and medical / wellness treatments such as weight loss services, medical spas, herbal teas of vitamins and acupuncture.

The company has 11 sites in California, Nevada and Arizona. For more information, visit bodyspasalons.com.

  • Justine Cromer is the new director of Goodwill at the Tierney Center for Veteran Services in Orange County. She is a retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel with 28 years of military service in the Air Force, Air Force Reserves and Air National Guard. (Courtesy of Brocoff Photography)

  • Gynecologist-oncologist Antonio Castaneda has joined Hoag Gynecologic Oncology. He comes to Hoag from the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University. (Courtesy of Hoag)

  • Paul Fleck, partner at the law firm Atkinson, Andelson Loya, Ruud and Romo, has joined the board of directors of Waymakers, a Santa Ana-based non-profit organization. (Courtesy of Waymakers)

  • GK Kannan, vice president of research and development at Grifols, a Los Angeles-based biopharmaceutical company, has joined the board of directors of Waymakers, a Santa Ana-based nonprofit. (Courtesy of Waymakers)

  • Jay Lee, family physician and co-founder of Family Medicine Revolution, has joined the board of directors of Waymakers, a Santa Ana-based nonprofit. (Courtesy of Waymakers)

  • Robert Handy, former police chief and assistant faculty member at Arizona and California universities, has joined the board of directors of Waymakers, a Santa Ana-based nonprofit. (Courtesy of Waymakers)

Moving

Justine Cromer is the new director of Goodwill at the Tierney Center for Veteran Services in Orange County. She is a retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel with 28 years of military service in the Air Force, Air Force Reserves and Air National Guard. As Director of the Tierney Center for Veteran Services, Cromer will lead strategic planning, project implementation, collaboration and innovation for the Goodwill program. She started her new role on September 1st.

Gynecologist-oncologist Antonio Castaneda has joined Hoag Gynecologic Oncology. He comes to Hoag from the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University. Her research and expertise covers a wide range of gynecologic oncology issues, from the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for women with early-stage cervical cancer to the incidence of ovarian metastasis. in small cell neuroendocrine tumors of the cervix.

On board

Waymakers, a Santa Ana-based nonprofit, has added four new members to its board of directors, including Paul Fleck, Robert Handy, GK Kannan and Dr. Jay Lee.

Fleck is a partner at Atkinson, Andelson Loya, Ruud and Romo, a firm of professional lawyers, with a focus on federal, state and local employment and labor laws.

Handy is a former police chief and was an adjunct faculty member at the universities of Arizona and California.

Kannan is vice president of research and development at Grifols, a global biopharmaceutical company based in Los Angeles.

Lee works in family medicine and co-founded the Family Medicine Revolution, a popular social media brand.

Venture capital financing

Vibrato Medical, a medical device startup in Irvine, closed a $ 4 million Series A funding round led by Newport Beach-based Horowitz Group.

Vibrato also received a $ 1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The money will support a clinical trial of the company’s non-invasive wearable device designed to treat patients with critical limb ischemia, peripheral artery disease, directly from their homes.

Vibrato’s technology is based on ultrasound research which has shown increased tissue perfusion and vessel growth. The company believes that the approval and commercialization of its device could reduce the costs of the current average annual treatment.

The 10th edition of the Getzlaf Golf Shootout, held on September 11 at the Monarch Beach Golf Links, raised $ 800,000 for CureDuchenne, a non-profit organization focused on finding a cure for muscular dystrophy by Duchenne. Seen here are Ryan Getzlaf, Jeff Frieden of F&F Capital and title sponsor, Zandy Davidson, Ryder Getzlaf and David Bradley.

Good work

The 10th edition of the Getzlaf Golf Shootout, held on September 11 at the Monarch Beach Golf Links, raised $ 800,000 for CureDuchenne, a non-profit organization focused on finding a cure for muscular dystrophy by Duchenne.

The event, hosted by Anaheim Ducks captain Paige and Ryan Getzlaf, included a golf tournament, awards reception and dinner.

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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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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