Friday, December 20, 2013

The Real Face of Homelessness

This season resonates with what is perhaps the most well known story of homelessness...that of a child born in a manger who was to be the salvation for all our sins. In some ways this story glamorizes what it means to be on the streets. While Joseph and Mary were only temporarily without shelter as they traveled, I think we forget the pain, frustration and panic they must have felt. A pregnant woman traveling days upon  a donkey only to have nowhere safe indoors to give birth. Finally the only protection from the elements they could find was in a feeding stall amid animals. In desperation this is where their baby was born.

When we envision the manger scene we see a clean stall with gentle docile animals watching over the infant Jesus...with a guiding star illuminating the beatific parents and their small swaddled child...and three royal kings bringing precious gifts. In my mind I see a frightened young couple, shunned time and again by the community, trying to protect their baby and stay safe.

Thankfully for most of us homelessness is an abstract;. Trying to understand, we ask ourselves,  "What choices or misfortunes lead to homelessness. Why do some people actually choose homelessness when other option are available?  Seeking Solace in Homeless Shelters gives us a glimpse into this descent into homelessness and how for some people a shelter or even   living on the streets is actually a choice for safety.

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Second Grader and already a Hero

I often write about everyday folks who are heroes, simply because they step up, speak out or take action to help others. I truly believe that it's this daily awareness and small acts of kindness done regularly that hold the key to ending bullying and  relationship abuse. Sometimes all it takes is someone pointing out an injustice for us to realize that we've been part of the problem.

I think most of us feel powerless to tackle really big social issues... where would we start? But every one of us can make a difference by taking action right where we are when we see a problem. It's really so simple a 2nd grader could do it... and one has.

The Huffington Past reports that Christian Bucks of York, Pennsylvania saw that some kids in his school were lonely during recess and took action. Check out his Buddy Bench. It's a great example of compassion and action.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Real Talk from a Real Man

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil
is for good men to do nothing.
                                                              Edmund Burke
Here's one man doing what he can to end relationship and sexual violence. I think the strongest part of Jeremy Loveday's video
is that these acts aren't committed by monsters, but by ordinary men. But ordinary men also have the power to change our social norms... just by speaking out.
"because by Choosing Silence ...we're Allowing for Violence."
Big change comes from small acts of courage- acts as simple as not laughing when a colleague tells a sexist joke.
Take three minutes to watch the video. Let's hear more voices of everyday heroes, like Jeremy Loveday 
Let's work together to end relationship and sexual violence.

Related posts:

 Here's a Guy who Deserves Respect

 Patrick Stewart Speaking Out

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Celebrating our Unstung Heroes

UnSTUNG Heroes... was that a typo? Was it supposed to be Unsung Heroes? Nope.  UnSTUNG heroes are our local stores  who 'pass the test' when law enforcement operates a sting to identify if businesses are selling alcohol to minors. Caitlin Morris of the Saratogian summed it up nicely,
"New York State Police sent underage and undercover operatives to 32 establishments to try and purchase alcohol Saturday and not one drop of alcohol was sold to them."

That's not unusual. Throughout Saratoga County most establishments regularly fare well on these sting operations. So where are underage drinkers getting their alcohol. The answer may surprise you. Surveys of teens indicate that most underage drinkers access alcohol at home, either with parents knowledge (i.e., providing alcohol for their kids and friends) or by just taking it from their parents' supply.  What can you do to reduce underage drinking?
  • Talk to your kids about it. Let them know that you don't condone drinking and why. Believe it or not, parents are the most significant influence in  preventing underage drinking... they really do listen.
  • Don't provide alcohol for your teen's friends.
  • Educate yourself about how alcohol use impacts the adolescent brain.
Related posts:

Monday, December 2, 2013

Be a Cyber Shopping Philanthropist

I love doing my holiday shopping snuggled up on the couch near the woodstove...yup, it 's holiday magic. I press a button and 2 days later Santa's cyber-patrol  elves deliver the packages right to my porch. And I've found something that makes on-line shopping even better- Goodshop.

Use Goodshop.com when you shop online and they donate a percentage of every purchase and offer over 100,000 coupons to help you save money too! It's really easy; it's free and turns simple everyday actions into a way to make the world a better place.

I also use Goosdsearch.com to search the Internet and they donate a penny every time I search the Web.  And if you like to eat out sign up for their Gooddining program and they'll donate a percentage of your restaurant bill when you eat at any one of thousands of participating restaurants.

Go to www.goodsearch.com to get started. Please sign up today to help me support Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services of Saratoga County or choose your own favorite charity to support. It's an easy way to make your holiday giving keep on giving.