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Here Are the Top Programs the Purple Heart Foundation Supports

purpleheartfoundationWith origins dating back more than six decades, the Purple Heart Foundation has a long history of supporting initiatives for military veterans and their families. The group’s activities help ensure that the nation’s veterans can lead fulfilling lives after transitioning from military service.

Over the years, the Foundation has led programs that provide education, occupational training, health services, and support for those dealing with combat-related injuries and disabilities.

While the Purple Heart Foundation oversees several of its own programs and service initiatives, the group mainly functions as the fundraising arm of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH). Launched in 1932, the Order is the country’s only military service organization with a membership body made up entirely of Purple Heart recipients.

With support from the Foundation’s donors and fundraising activities, MOPH has been able to launch and grow a wide range of programs for the nation’s military community. Whether you are already a Purple Heart Foundation supporter or just now considering making a donation, take a look at some of the MOPH programs that receive funding from the Foundation’s donor dollars:

 

MOPH National Service Program

MOPH operates on an annual budget of approximately $6.4 million. Nearly $5 million of this is directed toward its National Service Program (NSP). Each year, approximately 125,000 veterans and their family members receive assistance via NSP. It operates through a nationwide network comprising 72 service offices staffed by over 100 trained National Service Officers.

The Order’s team of National Service Officers assist veterans in filing benefits claims with Veterans Affairs (VA). Regardless of whether they are a member of MOPH, veterans whose benefits have been denied by a local VA office can also turn to NSP for expert legal representation before the Board of Veterans Appeals and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

Among other things, NSP assists with VA claims related to employment, housing, education, job training, and medical care. Over 12,000 claims were submitted to the VA through the program in fiscal year 2017.

 

Purple Heart Trail

For more than 25 years, MOPH has been overseeing the Purple Heart Trail program. It aims to create a nationwide connected system of roadways, bridges, and monuments honoring the country’s Purple Heart recipients.

The idea for the Trail was first introduced by a member of MOPH Chapter 1732 in Virginia. The program was launched as an MOPH resolution during the organization’s 1992 National Convention in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Following the launch of the Purple Heart Trail, the first monument was dedicated in Mt. Vernon, Virginia, George Washington’s burial location. Since then, the trail has been extended to 45 states as well as the United States territory of Guam. The local roads, highways, and monuments that make up the Trail are marked by signs of various designs and formats.

In addition to roadways and physical monuments, government leaders and citizens of local municipalities can work with MOPH to establish Purple Heart cities, counties, universities/colleges, etc. To find more information about the Purple Heart Trail and a map of current Purple Heart locations, visit www.purpleheart.org.

 

POW/MIA and Homeless Veteran Outreach

In addition to honoring men and women who have been wounded in combat, MOPH has worked throughout its history to ensure that prisoners of war and those reported missing in action are remembered and accounted for. The Order maintains a close relationship with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), which oversees a searchable online database of both unaccounted-for and accounted-for POWs/MIAs. MOPH provides a link to the DPAA database on its website.

Another area of focus at MOPH is homelessness among military veterans. While this issue has improved in recent years, it still persists. As part of MOPH’s efforts to assist veterans who have been displaced without a permanent residence, local chapters across the country participate in Stand Down events.

These provide food, shelter, clothing, medical support, and other services for the veteran community. On the national level, the Order works closely with VA and other groups to connect those in need with homelessness resources.

 

Promoting Americanism and Good Citizenry among Youth

Another major component of MOPH’s work is focused on promoting patriotism and a love of US history in the nation’s schools. The Order does this under the leadership of its National Americanism Officer, who helps connect teachers and leaders of other organizations with various educational resources.

These resources include printable PDF versions of patriotic songs and historical documents. MOPH’s website features PDFs of the Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, US Constitution, and The Star-Spangled Banner, among other documents.

The Order also encourages young people to serve their country through its support of senior and junior ROTC programs in public schools across the United States and Department of Defense schools worldwide.

Additionally, MOPH is currently working through its Veterans Affairs Volunteer Service program to create a new merit badge for the Boy and Girl Scouts of America. The proposed badge would recognize youth for volunteering their time to serve the nation’s veterans.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

running

Promoting Healthy Living at the American Heart Association

AHAlogoIn addition to advancing research and promoting effective cardiovascular treatments and care, the American Heart Association (AHA) serves as a public resource for people worldwide looking to improve their overall health and well-being. As part of these efforts, the organization offers a variety of resources and information on its website. The group also works closely with several companies on initiatives aimed at public health. Here’s a closer look at the AHA’s advice and work in the area of healthy living:

 

Championing the Healthy for Good Movement

The driving force behind the AHA’s healthy living activities is its Healthy for Good movement, which invites people to improve their health and lives by making simple changes in their activity levels and eating habits. The movement is focused on providing science-based information coupled with “you-based motivation.” Whether they are focused on losing weight, eating healthier, getting active, or reducing stress, Healthy for Good provides tips, videos, and life hacks that people can use to advance their goals.

 

Move More

A main component of Healthy for Good is all about encouraging and helping people to become more active in their daily lives. Along with medical professionals and other health-focused groups, the AHA recommends that people start with a goal to get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week. To support individuals in reaching this goal, the organization offers information on fitness basics alongside a number of tips for getting active.

Those interested in learning more about fitness will find a variety of articles on the AHA website. The articles cover physical activity recommendations for adults and children as well as topics such as staying hydrated and keeping cool during warm-weather workouts. The website also features articles on exercises that target specific goals, such as building balance, endurance, and/or flexibility.

Part of staying active involves staying motivated, and the AHA offers plenty of advice and tips in this area as well. The motivation-focused articles from the AHA cover topics such as overcoming fitness plateaus, setting fitness goals, and celebrating fitness successes. The AHA also offers an infographic on how to get energy when one is too tired to work out.

 

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Eat Smart

Of course, the AHA’s Healthy for Good movement also focuses on assisting people in their efforts to eat better. To help them make simple changes to their overall eating patterns, the organization provides a wide range of tips, articles, and infographics on nutrition basics. Individuals can turn to the AHA website for specific, science-backed information related to fats, carbohydrates, and sugar. Visitors to the website can also find articles on picking healthy proteins, reading food labels, healthy snacking, and many other related topics.

In addition to the informative tips and articles, the AHA provides a variety of free heart-healthy recipes. Visitors can search the website for recipes according to specific courses, ingredients, and lifestyles. The organization has even published a variety of cookbooks that are available in brick-and-mortar stores as well as the AHA online shop.

The AHA’s efforts to promote healthy eating also include helping people learn to shop for, prepare, cook, and properly store their food. At www.heart.org, those looking to improve their cooking skills can read cooking guides and watch instructional cooking videos. The videos feature easy-to-follow instructions on everything from how to properly use a knife to how to avoid freezer burn.

 

Be Well

Healthy for Good is not only about improving physical health but also one’s overall well-being. Along with eating the right foods and getting the appropriate amount of activity, living well includes managing stress, getting adequate sleep, fostering positive relationships, and quitting unhealthy habits.

The AHA’s resources for helping people to live well include stress-management tips and ideas for stress-busting activities. Other tips, articles, and infographics focus on promoting better sleep by changing certain tech-device habits and establishing productive bedtime and wake-up routines. In the area of general mental health, the AHA provides resources on mindful eating, meditation, depression, and the importance of gratitude.

As it puts people at a much higher risk for heart disease and stroke, smoking has been one of the AHA’s major areas of focus for several decades. Getting Healthy for Good requires that people give up smoking regardless of whether they’re addicted to traditional tobacco cigarettes or nicotine-filled e-cigarettes. In addition to providing a wealth of information about the harmful effects of tobacco and vape products, the AHA connects individuals with toll-free hotlines and other resources to help them quit and enjoy better health.

 

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AHA’s Healthy Living Collaborations

The AHA has a long history of working with corporations and other nonprofit groups to advance its mission goals. As part of the Healthy for Good movement, the organization is currently leveraging support from the food, beverage, dining, and retail industries to make healthier drinks and food more accessible. The AHA also works with industry groups to implement its Heart-Check Food Certification Program, which makes it easier for consumers to identify heart-healthy food choices in grocery stores and restaurants.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

Goodwill

A Look at All the Latest News from Goodwill

There’s always something happening at Goodwill Industries, and the beginning of 2019 has certainly been a busy period for the community-focused nonprofit. In addition to welcoming new leadership and recognizing its top-performing executives, the organization has been hard at work promoting and expanding its various programs focused on helping people reach their full potential.

Keep reading for a closer look at all the latest stories from Goodwill.

 

Goodwill Welcomes a New CEO

Steve Preston

Steve Preston | Image by Wikipedia

In January 2019, Steven C. Preston officially stepped into the role of president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. Goodwill’s board of directors selected Preston in October 2018 after conducting a formal nationwide search. In beginning his tenure as the organization’s new leader, he took over from Lorna G. Utley, an experienced Goodwill executive who had served as interim president and CEO since August 2018.

Preston’s previous professional roles include leadership positions in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. On the national level, he served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as well as administrator of the Small Business Administration.

His experience in the private sector spans more than three decades. Preston has held executive leadership roles with several large companies, including Waste Management and First Data. He has also maintained volunteer board positions with various nonprofit groups.

As Goodwill’s new leader, Preston is leveraging his varied background and experience to advance the organization’s employment counseling, training, and support services. His main goals are expanding the resources of local Goodwill organizations and strengthening strategic partnerships with outside groups.

 

Top Executives Receive Awards at Goodwill Annual Meeting

Each year, Goodwill Industries honors the work of its top leaders at the Goodwill Annual Meeting of the Conference of Executives. In 2019, several executives took home awards from the event, which was held February 18-20 in Miramar Beach, Florida.

The list of award-winning Goodwill executives in 2019 included those who received the J.D. Robins Jr. Distinguished Career Award. This honor is reserved for those who have served Goodwill Industries for at least 25 years.

Michelle Belknap earned the Distinguished Career Award this year for her work at Easterseals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain, Inc. She joined the organization in 1988 and was appointed to serve as president and CEO in 2000. During her tenure as a Goodwill CEO, Belknap helped expand her organization’s mission programs, double the number of its retail stores, and grow its total assets by nearly sixfold.

Joseph Byrum of Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries also earned the J.D. Robins Jr. Distinguished Career Award during the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Conference of Executives. A Goodwill leader for more than four decades, Byrum has launched and expanded a number of programs at his Cincinnati-based organization. The focus of his work has been on helping veterans and those with developmental disabilities and/or mental health conditions.

Other executives honored during the Goodwill Annual Meeting included Raimo Korjus and Jim Martin. They received awards for their work in the areas of international outreach and training of Goodwill personnel, respectively.

 

Goodwill Promotes Stores and Programs through Social Media

In an effort to promote the work of local Goodwill organizations, Goodwill Industries recently teamed up with social media influencers on a four-pronged public awareness campaign. The campaign was led by four influencers (Carmen Flores, Nicole Mazur, Jame Jackson, and Ashley McGetrick) in the areas of lifestyle and parenting, fashion, and home décor.

During four weeks in March and April 2019, the team of influencers reached out to their combined 70,000 followers to encourage donating and shopping at Goodwill. In addition to highlighting the personal benefits of supporting the organization, the campaign focused on how Goodwill donors and shoppers help those in need while promoting a sustainable lifestyle.

 

Goodwill’s Digital Career Accelerator Expands Nationwide

Since October 2017, Goodwill Industries has been working with its corporate partner Google.org on the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator. This program helps US-based workers build digital skills. Since its launch, over 250,000 people have received digital skills training through the program. It has also connected nearly 30,000 people with employment and career-advancement opportunities.

The Digital Career Accelerator provides job seekers and mid-career professionals with personalized training that ranges from a basic introduction to computers to occupation-specific tech instruction. The training and other program activities are led by Google employees who volunteer their time as trainers and mentors.

Originally launched as a one-year initiative, the Accelerator grew into a three-year program thanks to a $10 million commitment from Google. Training offered through the Accelerator is currently available at 93 locations in 34 states. Google and Goodwill are preparing to expand the program into more locations nationwide.

In April 2019, the two organizations announced that the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator will be operating at more than 125 locations within the next year. More information about the program and other Goodwill initiatives is available at www.goodwill.org.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

Featured Image by Mike Mozart | Flickr

children

This Is How Boys and Girls Clubs Prioritize Child Safety

boysandgirlsclubAs one of the country’s most well-known and trusted youth organizations, Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) takes its commitment to child safety in all of its programs extremely seriously. No individual or group is entirely immune from danger. However, BGCA has comprehensive protection measures in place to shield Club youth from anything that puts them at risk.

The organization also maintains a zero-tolerance policy that enforces its safety guidelines. This ensures that all Club staff, volunteers, and members adhere to the highest standards of ethical and safe behavior.

Moreover, BGCA advances programs and initiatives that focus specifically on protecting and supporting marginalized or overlooked kids and teens. Over the years, the group has taken an active role outside of Club doors to combat child abuse and promote safety within all youth organizations.

Its past work includes advocating for the passage of the US Protect Act and partnering with the FBI and other organizations on various youth-protection initiatives. Keep reading to learn more about BGCA’s commitment to child safety.

 

The BGCA Safety Plan

At the core of BGCA’s work to protect and support Club members is a multi-step plan that adheres to the latest best practices in youth safety. It was developed by BGCA’s Child and Club Safety Department. This provides local Clubs with support for issues ranging from physical and emotional safety to facilities management and emergency and disaster preparedness.

The plan starts by requiring that all staff members at its more than 4,300 Clubs nationwide undergo a comprehensive criminal background check. This includes screening through the National Sex Offender Registry.

The same checks are required of all BGCA board members and any volunteer who has direct contact with Club youth. Any potential employee or volunteer who has ever been convicted of a felony or recently convicted of a misdemeanor involving physical assault or battery, drugs, or animal cruelty is not eligible to work with BGCA on any level.

Another major component of BGCA’s safety plan focuses on providing ongoing child safety training for both staff and volunteers. The training is delivered through seminars, webinars, and conferences.

Each year, the organization takes a lead role in the National Child Safety and Protection Symposium. This event gives groups from across the United States the opportunity to share best practices for protecting the country’s youth.

Along with participating in regular safety training, all BGCA affiliates must maintain comprehensive safety policies and procedures. To ensure that the policies elevate safety to the highest level, each Club conducts annual assessments and oversees a board-led committee focused specifically on youth safety.

In addition to helping local Clubs carry out safety policies, these committees assist with critical incident reporting to local law enforcement and national BGCA authorities. The actions, strategies, goals, and objectives of the local committees are further managed by regional Board of Governors Safety Committees comprising BGCA staff members and other stakeholders.

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Additional Safety Resources

On the national level, BGCA provides access to a variety of additional resources to reinforce local policies and promote a culture of safety among all Club affiliates. This includes the National Child Safety Advisory Task Force.

The task force brings BGCA leadership and child safety experts together to advance safety initiatives and provide guidance to local Club leaders. All BGCA affiliates have access to an online tool that enables them to self-assess their own safety plans at any time.

Additional resources include the 200-page Keep Safe: The Club Safety Desk Reference manual. It offers tools and guidance for creating customized safety strategies in local Clubs.

BGCA also publishes a guide of safety awareness activities and maintains a 24-hour safety hotline. This enables Club staff members, volunteers, and youth to report concerns and/or receive confidential safety advice.

 

Boys and Girls Clubs’ Commitment to Vulnerable Youth

In its efforts to lead the way in child safety advocacy, BGCA places a special emphasis on protecting the most vulnerable youth populations. The organization’s work in this area includes several initiatives designed to give kids and teens in need a safe place to develop meaningful relationships while building the skills required to attain success.

One of these initiatives is Be There. It equips Clubs with the knowledge, skills, and resources to provide safe and supportive environments for grieving youth and their families.

Other BGCA initiatives are focused more specifically on inclusion. Through a combination of on-site and online training as well as ongoing coaching and counseling, the organization guides Club managers and staff members in providing a safe, positive, and inclusive environment for all children. This includes those living with physical, emotional, and developmental disabilities.

Additionally, BGCA works to ensure equity and inclusion for LGBTQ youth, who account for 16 percent of Club teens. The organization’s leadership considers its efforts in this area essential to its broader mission to give every child and teen access to an out-of-school environment where they can feel safe both physically and emotionally.

To learn more about BGCA’s commitment to youth safety, visit www.bgca.org.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.