Not Just One Solution
You may have never guessed that Kyriq Madeiras, a well-dressed young adult who spends his free time helping the homeless, was once homeless himself. He writes for Philadelphia’s first street paper “One Step Away” and can be seen selling the paper on the corner of Walnut and 18th Street.
Kyriq explained that he was homeless for two months before finding the paper, which gave him the tools to start getting back on his feet. Ever since then, he has dedicated himself to telling his story. He hopes that by doing this, he will help people understand how to help the homeless, because he lives in a city that is confused on what to do about homelessness.
Mayor Michael Nutter tried to place a ban on June 1st, 2012 to stop the feeding of the homeless outdoors, specifically in parks along Benjamin Franklin Parkway, where many of the homeless were living. This ban was specifically targeting church groups who had taken turns feeding the homeless in the parks, making sure that everyone in the area had a chance to eat every day. The Mayor’s actions were meant to raise awareness and encourage the homeless go indoors to the shelters, where they can receive counseling, medication and other needed help. However, the courts blocked the ban before it could be put into place, instead ordering the mayor and the church groups to meet together and work toward an agreement.
From the Huffington Post, “In Philadelphia, I see people who are hungry and in need of shelter on a daily basis and explaining to them that Congress is cutting funding for the help they need is not acceptable,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter in a statement.
Homelessness is on the rise for several cities all over the country. This past December, “the mayors released a report that found requests for emergency food assistance rose in 21 out of the 25 cities it surveyed in 2012 and remained at the same level in three. More than half the cities said homelessness increased.”
While local leadership has tried to address the issues, the problem is far from solved. “There is no single solution,” Medeiras said.
He explained that many people don’t want to go to the shelters.
“You may have your stuff taken away,” he stated. He himself didn’t seek any help from the government, but instead turned to private organizations. He was quick to recognize, however, that what worked for him may not work for everyone.
Even the best organizations can’t help everyone.
“People have to want to be helped and many of them don’t want the help. At the same time, those who want help often don’t get the help they need because they are turned away by their appearance,” said Madeiras.
He told of people who were trying to improve their situation, but were denied help because they were well groomed.
Medeiras went on to explain that people choose to only help the stereotypical person who is homeless. As a society, we picture homeless people in rags on the streets when those who want to be helped still try to take care of themselves by finding a way to shower and dress cleanly.
Medeiras added, “I’ll tell you straight up that people you see begging on the streets are doing drugs.”
From the Philadelphia Magazine March 2013, “Our troubled inner-city communities create in us a tangle of feelings, including this one: a desire for things to be better.”
On Friday, February 8th young girls ages 5-18 across the country will be selling Girl Scout cookies. The flavors of cookies and the Girl Scout Cookie Program have developed over a century into what we know and love today. Selling Girl Scout cookies is more than just a way to make money. As the Girl Scouts of America say on their website, “Selling cookies teaches goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics– aspects essential to leadership, to success, and to life.”
Sometimes the hardest part of getting Girl Scout cookies is finding a Girl Scout who is selling them. To help with that, the Girl Scouts of America has released for the first time an app highlighting the location of where the girls are selling their cookies.
Please also visit girlscoutcookies.org to see where your local Girl Scouts are selling cookies.
What are the most basic needs for survival in order for you to live? Water, food and clothing? But what if you couldn’t get one of those? How about the most important one? Water. Good, natural clean water. It’s what we take for granted every day when we turn on the faucet in the kitchen or take a shower in the morning. Why invest in helping people get clean water? It can change everything in a person’s life and charity: water does exactly that; change everything.
Video animation by Jonathan Jarvis. Voice by Kristen Bell.
Score and sound effects by Doug Kaufman.
Water changes everything. It will transform a village one drink at a time. What are you waiting for?
This year, pledge your birthday to help transform a community.
It’s that simple.
When you send an e-mail to another person is it always private? That is a question you may want to ask yourself especially if you’re writing from your work e-mail account.
Recently, from an editorial in the New York Times, congress is working on updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. The updated act, “would require law enforcement agents to get a search warrant from a judge in order to obtain e-mail content from a communications service provider that holds private electronic messages, photos and other personal records, like Gmail or Facebook. This means having to show the court there is probable cause to believe that the sought-after records may reveal evidence of wronging.”
Thomas Kegelman who works at The Villanova School of Business said, “I think it’s important to define ‘personal’. For me, ‘personal’ would entail the material I write within my work email could never be used against me, nor anyone else, without my direct consent. Additionally, it could entail that the IT group within my organization could not gain access to my written content without my permission. By that definition, I do not believe my work email should be ‘personal’, as I’m using the property of my employer, who also states within new hire orientation the rules and procedures when emailing/texting/calling using its property. I voluntarily accepted these rules, as well as all employees of my organization, when hired. If I wanted to send something completely discretely, I have access to my own ‘personal’ email accounts that aren’t affiliated with my employer.”
Often a company does have access to all of the e-mail accounts of the employees because they are representing the company. Many people do know that when they are hired, they sign a contract letting them know that their company has access to the information. Also, there is usually a confidentiality notice at the bottom of the e-mail for the receiver.
Kegelman continued, “While my organization should have access, when needed, to my email, I believe that a certain amount of trust needs to occur within the employer/employee relationship. The employee doesn’t want to feel like ‘big-brother’ is constantly watching and combing through material that is perceived by the employee to be private, and the employer needs to trust its employees that they’re making sound/ethical decisions as an agent of the company. There’s a certain amount of grey area that constitutes the appropriate level of monitoring, but the more trust both parties have with one another the less need for constant scrutinizing of the other’s intentions.”
You may have several friends who have started what they call a lifestyle blog. It’s a place for them to document their life and post photos of their vacations. There are many users and it seems easier than ever with user-friendly tools such as Blogger, Tumblr and WordPress; anyone can start a blog. The problem: With it being so easy to create a blog and then quickly post, it’s easy to copy another blogger.
Kassi Mortensen owner and author of the blog Truly Lovely said, “It’s lame. The whole point of blogging is to share your creativity or lifestyle or whatever you blog about with other people. For most, including me, it’s an outlet…. So to have someone else just copy what you’ve already written really cheapens the whole concept.”
When it comes to blogs and copyrights, there isn’t much available to the blogger. Many bloggers choose to simply create an image saying that something is copyrighted. When asked about having a more strict copyright law for bloggers Mortensen said, “It definitely wouldn’t hurt. Granted, I know something are automatically copyrighted by law. For example any photo taken by a photographer is automatically their copyrighted material… I think there absolutely needs to be more of an enforcement. Maybe a legal fine of sorts or something.”
Even Google Blogger has copyright tips to make sure their bloggers follow the rules, “The way to ensure that your blog doesn’t infringe someone else’s copyright is to use your skills and imagination to create something completely original. If it’s all yours, you never have to worry about the copyright—you own it! If you want to republish content from another author or creator, make sure to get their authorization first.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation published in their Legal Guide for Bloggers, “The difference between you and the reporter at your local newspaper is that in many cases, you may not have the benefit of training or resources to help you determine whether what you’re doing is legal. And on top of that, sometimes knowing the law doesn’t help – in many cases it was written for traditional journalists, and the courts haven’t yet decided how it applies to bloggers.
But here’s the important part: None of this should stop you from blogging. Freedom of speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Internet bullies shouldn’t use the law to stifle legitimate free expression.”
“If you think about it in the span of time almost everything has already been done. As far as blogging goes there’s not very many completely original ideas available anymore if that makes sense. So my advice is that if you’re not positive your idea is original or if you think of something and later find it on Pinterest, it’s all about putting your own spin on it. How you make it work for you,” said Mortensen.
It has been almost three weeks since Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast and the numbers of organizations that have stepped in have been amazing. This is how America tends to react, we reach out in times of major crisis. Yet, when it comes to homelessness, it can be difficult because not too many Americans seem to know how to help or know that the issue is larger than it seems. So many of us walk past people everyday who are begging for money.
When really, according to the survey below people are willing to donate to the cause of homelessness. They realize that the economy has been bad and that many families are out of work this holiday season. Soon the streets of America will line up with bell ringers from the Salvation Army to help with those less fortunate. It is an easy way to give because it can be big or small. The money is not just going anywhere; it’s going to a group who wants to help those who really need it. This is just one of the many ways people can help.
The next few weeks I plan to gather more information on the homeless in what is a fairly wealthy city. Are there any solutions that can be resolved for the city with no land available? The overall issue is that children need a home; they need a safe place to grow up in and to be a child. Otherwise, the effects are devastating. As shocking as they are, the statistics are real and tonight, 20,000 children need a home.
Many New Yorkers don’t know that there are thousands of homeless children in their city. From Hurricane Sandy, there have been people helping from all over the country. What if we were to continue with these homeless children? Are there more homeless children now because of the storm? I’d like to know your opinion to gather ideas on what can be done.
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.
You can find more information here on New York City’s homeless children.
It happens about this time every four years that the same letter is read in Sunday sacrament meetings all across the country. The letter is usually read by the bishop of the ward coming directly from church headquarters, signed by the prophet and his counselors. It generally encourages all members to do their patriotic duty by simply voting for president, explaining that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not affiliated with either party.
In past years, I’m sure that Mormons have ignored this letter and quietly made their way to the polls. Now the story is different as for the first time, we have a chance to vote for one from our own faith.
What the world may be surprised to know is that now more than ever before, Mormons make up most of the small group called, the undecided.
It’s not that we don’t trust Mitt Romney’s pioneer heritage or the fact that he served faithfully on a mission in France for two years. In fact, we all heard Ann Romney at the Republican National Convention give her speech and thought that we could have been sitting in a Relief Society meeting (Relief Society is where women receive instruction). The Romney’s are the ideal Mormon family raising the magical number of five children to where any Mormon young woman in the church will tell you that is the number of children she would like to have.
It’s simply this, Mitt Romney comes from a strange group of Mormon elitists who didn’t make their way to top the line; someone else did all the work for them. Most of us do not relate to this and we’re taught from the beginning to be independent and work hard for ourselves.
The majority of Mormons tend to make up the middle class, fathers going to work each morning kissing their stay-at-home wives and their several children going to public school. We are generally not a rich people. We’re like everyone else trying to make it by.
It bothers the middle class Mormons like me, when we hear Mitt Romney say something such as, “borrow money from your parents,” making it hard to be independent. Mormons know by heart that education is the key to success, and swear by it. You’d be surprised that even in the faith that constantly preaches, “get out of debt” how high the amount of student loans young Mormons take on. All of a sudden Obama’s answer of having a 3.4% interest rate on undergrad loans looks appealing.
And there’s the new statement of Mormons falling into that 47% who not only get help from the government, but there’s this little thing called the Bishop’s storehouse which houses food and clothing to those in need that several of us sometimes actually use. I wonder what Romney thinks of those members who need an extra hand.
Then again, Barack Obama is from the middle class and made his way to the top. He had to pay off his student loans like the rest of us. We can relate more to his life and what he has been through.
Not so surprisingly, with the number of Mormons who marry young, we don’t have health insurance, making Obamacare sound equally appealing. Young married Mormon women tend to flock to the nearest Planned Parenthood for inexpensive birth control until they are ready to start having their five children.
No, I promise, I’m not that different and I ask myself the same questions that other Americans ask about Mitt Romney even though, I’m a Mormon.
Mitt Romney is giving us our Mormon moment. Reporters and TV crews have flocked around Mormons to see what we’re all about. I like that many people who never wanted to know anything about Mormons before now know a little bit about us (whether it be right or wrong). It is opening up a discussion about the way we live an every day life.
Right now, for Mormons our Sundays haven’t been the same since we knew Mitt Romney was running for president. You can hear the gossip about the Romney campaign between church meetings and how cute Sister Romney looked in her outfit on the news.
In the meantime, several Mormons are simply waiting for the debates. We need a final stance on where Governor Romney and President Obama will stand on important issues, no more flip-flopping back and forth. Until then, you can count on me being the first person to Sunday school and skipping out on the election gossip until I make my decision.
Update: I’m ready to hear the debates tonight, both of them have will have to make a final stance. May the best candidate win.