October has a lot of things going on (Halloween! Breast Cancer Awareness! People already selling Christmas stuff!) but it also happens to be National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Bullying is something that affects millions of kids across the U.S., and I’d bet that everyone reading this has some kind of bullying-related story. For me it was harassment from boys on my baseball team and comments from girls who decided I wasn’t cool enough. For my brother, it was a girl on the bus who tormented him for months before the school finally stepped in.
Today, over 2 million people will congregate in classrooms, libraries, community centers, homes across the U.S. as part of Jumpstart’s 11th annual Read for the Record. Volunteers will read to kids from this year’s book, “Quackers,” an adorable story about a kitten who grows up believing he’s a duck.
If you’re familiar with UWSECT, you’ll notice that much of our work focuses on ALICE- Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed- families. After hearing this acronym and seeing on our publications, I decided to do a little digging into what that really means. Luckily, a brief overview is already provided on our website, which gives some useful statistics.
On October 19, United Way will have its annual fall reading day in support of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record. Volunteers will flood into schools, libraries, and community centers across the country to make kids’ days by reading aloud from the same book. But the point of this event is not just to enjoy a book together (although this year’s book looks adorable, check it out here). It’s also to bring attention to the importance of early childhood literacy and quality education.
At a recent event of United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, President and CEO Virginia L. Mason asked everyone in the audience to inspire kindness and “pay it forward.” As added encouragement, she provided each person with a $5 bill and asked them to pass it onto someone in need. Several individuals shared their heartwarming stories back to United Way.
Last week was suicide prevention week, and I didn’t realize until it was almost over. I’m used to being at school and seeing the awareness events put on by Active Minds, but this year there was nothing to remind me until I saw a tweet from Connecticut 2-1-1. There’s a decent amount of conversation around mental health resources on college campuses, but out in the “real world” it’s something that’s easy to forget. This is a shame, because suicide rates are actually highest among middle-aged people.
Something you should know about me: I’m a geek. I love statistics, and I think a little extra research can make a difference in just about anything. So when I was invited to visit the Groton Mobile Food Pantry yesterday, I did some brief homework on food insecurity first. Here’s what I learned:
A 2014 survey of food pantry and soup kitchen clients in Connecticut found that in the past 12 months,
- 73% of them were forced to choose between food and utilities
- 68% had to choose between food and medical care, and
Yesterday was one of the most eventful and eye-opening days I’ve had here at UWSECT. I went on an Agency Bus Tour, along with some employees from Foxwoods and Zachry Nuclear Engineering. I was a little nervous before the tour because I’ve volunteered in some pretty disorganized and inefficient nonprofits, and, to be honest, I was worried that I might be disappointed by the agencies we work so hard to support (which is really the point of everything we do).
I was completely wrong.
This week, the country continues to watch in distress as the people of Texas and Louisiana struggle with the danger and damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. We’ve all seen the images- highways washed out, rescue boats searching through neighborhoods, nursing home residents waiting patiently for assistance as the water rises around them. It’s easy to feel helpless when you consider a natural disaster of this magnitude, and it can be frustrating to be so geographically far from the issue. How are you and I supposed to make a difference thousands of miles away here in Connecticut?