alaska

A Spotlight on the Big Ways BGCA Serves Native Youth

boysandgirlsclubIn addition to serving youth in major cities nationwide, Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BBCA) maintains over 1,000 Clubs in rural areas. These include many communities on Native lands, which are home to American Indian, Alaska Native, American Samoan, and Hawaiian tribal youth. Along with the challenges that affect young people of all cultural backgrounds, those in Native communities often have unique needs that aren’t being addressed by local programs.

As part of a commitment to promote and expand youth development initiatives among Native kids and teens, BGCA established its Native Services arm in partnership with tribal leaders and other key stakeholders on tribal lands. Keep reading to learn more about BGCA Native Services and what it’s doing to improve the lives of Native youth.

 

Challenges Facing Native Communities

Across the United States, there are many self-governing Native American communities that are home to over 570 federally recognized tribes. Each of these groups has its own rich culture, heritage, language, and traditions. Unfortunately, many Native communities also face unique challenges that make it difficult for tribe members, including Native youth, to reach their full potential.

Although many young tribe members thrive and succeed in life, Native youth are among the most vulnerable populations in the country. In addition to experiencing high rates of poverty, a disproportionate number of Native youth face challenges related to physical and nutritional health, mental wellness, substance abuse, and education. A lack of local resources and the isolation of some Native communities can make these challenges even more difficult to overcome.

 

What BGCA Native Services Is Doing to Help

The mission of BGCA Native Services is to help Native youth reach their full potential while celebrating the particular strengths and cultural traditions of the country’s tribal communities. Since launching Native Services in 1992, BGCA has expanded its offerings to become the largest youth-serving organization on Native land. Today, more than 86,000 youth from over 100 tribes benefit from programming offered through nearly 200 Native Clubs nationwide.

Over the years, BGCA has built sustainable partnerships with tribal leaders and invested resources toward improving the capacity of professional staff and other leaders of Native Clubs. As with Club programs outside of Native communities, those implemented by BGCA Native Services focus on physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development. BGCA has also worked closely with local tribes and community leaders to develop programming specific to the needs and cultures of Native youth.

 

Native Services Club Programs

Native Services Club programs cover each of BGCA’s five core program areas: Character and Leadership Development; Health and Life Skills; Education and Career Development; the Arts; and Sports, Fitness and Recreation. Native Club youth take part in national BGCA programs such as All Stars, DIY STEM, My.Future, and Smart Moves.

Through the work of Native Services leaders, the curriculum of each of these programs has been adapted to be more reflective of Native American culture. BGCA also encourages all local Native Club leaders to create supplemental materials and activities to further reflect their own community’s unique culture and traditions. Native Services even created its Cultural Program Toolbox to make it easier for Clubs to build and implement culturally relevant services.

Along with adapting existing BGCA programming, Native Services has developed programs that are only implemented in Native Clubs. They include On the T.R.A.I.L (Together Raising Awareness for Indian Life) to Diabetes Prevention. This program aims to reduce the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes among Native communities through a combination of physical, nutritional, and educational activities.

 

Keeping the Momentum Going

More than 25 years after launching Native Services, BGCA continues to build momentum as the top youth agency on Native lands. As part of its Great Futures 2025 Strategy, which was developed in 2017, the organization has established four key priorities for its activities with Native youth.

Going forward, Boys and Girls Clubs will work to increase the quality of Native Club programs and leadership while advocating for Native youth development. The group will also focus on growing the number of Native Club members as it continues to expand and improve programming.

BGCA Native Services has received significant support in these efforts from corporate and nonprofit partners. This includes the Walmart Foundation, which donated $500,000 to help BGCA provide Native kids and teens with education on healthy lifestyles and nutrition. The funding is supporting education and Club improvements at over two dozen Clubs on Native lands.

BGCA also relies on the support of individual donors to continue its Native Services programming. Supporters can make a tax-deductible donation to the Native American Sustainability Fund to ensure that Native Clubs continue to thrive. Each dollar donated to the fund is used to increase Club sustainability, foster organizational growth, and provide training resources and technical support for Native Club leaders.

More information about BGCA Native Services and ways you can help is available at www.naclubs.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. 

AHA Highlights Advancements in Cardiovascular Disease Research in 2019

AHAlogoThe American Heart Association (AHA) has been behind some of the most important research breakthroughs related to heart disease and stroke care. Funding from the AHA has helped researchers to develop a better understanding of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, as well as to advance treatments that have improved and extended lives.

In addition to providing research funding, the AHA reports on the latest significant research advancements through press releases and other publications. One of these is its year-end list of leading research accomplishments, which it has compiled annually since 1996. This blog post offers a look at several discoveries in heart and stroke science highlighted by the association in 2019.

 

Improvement in Blood Pressure Control

It is well established that controlling one’s blood pressure is a key factor in preventing heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions. Two research studies published in 2019 provided new insights on improving blood pressure control and underscored the importance of doing so.

A study published in the European Heart Journal in October 2019 suggested that bedtime might be the best time to take prescribed blood-pressure medication. According to the clinical trial, which involved over 9,000 patients with hypertension, taking all prescribed hypertension medications before bed rather than the next morning can improve ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) control and reduce one’s risk of a cardiovascular event by 45 percent.

Another study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that controlling blood-pressure might offer benefits that extend beyond cardiovascular health. Based on the results of a randomized clinical trial of individuals age 50 and over with high blood pressure, lowering systolic blood pressure to under 120 millimeters of mercury decreased the chances of mild cognitive impairment as compared to lowering it to under 140.

 

Insights from Gene Studies

lab study

Developing novel treatments for cardiovascular disease and prevention requires that researchers increase their understanding of the underlying factors contributing to the problem. In some cases, this can include looking at a person’s genetic makeup. Many researchers are examining the human genome, and their work is leading to new insights on heart disease and heart-related issues.

In 2019, researchers released the results of a study that shed light on genomic regions potentially linked to venous thromboembolism (VTE), a blood-clotting condition that affects between 300,000 and 600,000 Americans each year. The analysis, published in Nature Genetics, examined the DNA of over 650,000 people and led to the discovery of 22 new genomic regions in the human body that might overlap with VTE. Moreover, the journal Nature Medicine published the results of a study that identified 18 new regions of the human genome connected to peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Along with gene studies related to VTE and PAD, new gene research into pulmonary hypertension also emerged in 2019. For instance, the results of a study published in the AHA journal Circulation explained how the protein coding gene BOLA3 (BolA Family Member 3), plays a critical role in this type of hypertension. With this genetic knowledge, researchers can explore different avenues for treating the disease.

 

Evidence Reiterates the Importance of Physical Activity

The role that physical activity plays in keeping one’s heart healthy has been well understood for a long time. Recent research focusing on older women, however, has provided new insights into the importance of exercise for those in their senior years.

Two studies that appeared in Circulation and JAMA Network Open, respectively, examined groups of women averaging 79 years old who had no known history of stroke or myocardial infarction. In the first study, researchers found that reducing sedentary activity by as little as one hour a day could lower the risk of heart disease by 26 percent. The second study suggested that daily physical activity, even light activities such as walking and gardening, can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease among older women.

 

Research Studies Drive Care Strategies

In addition to increasing the scientific understanding of heart disease and stroke, research drives shifts in care by furthering opportunities for new therapies and treatments. The AHA’s list highlighted the results of several such investigations published in 2019.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that adults taking statins for elevated triglyceride levels might reduce their risk of stroke or another heart-related event by up to 25 percent by adding a fish oil derivative to their therapy regimen. Following this data, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new prescription form of the same fish oil derivative for treating elevated triglyceride levels. The medication is prescribed under the name Vascepa.

The New England Journal of Medicine also published studies focused on ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) heart attacks and ischemic stroke. The study on heart attacks concluded that percutaneous coronary intervention, an artery-clearing procedure used for STEMI heart attacks and epicardial coronary artery obstructions, might have better long-term effects if performed to open and clear both the artery that caused the attack and other partially clogged ones.

In the study examining ischemic stroke, researchers determined that the clot-busting drug alteplase might be beneficial for some patients up to nine hours following the onset of symptoms. Previously, physicians generally believed that the drug needed to be administered within a four-and-a-half-hour window.

More information about these and other research advancements from 2019 can be found at http://www.heart.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 health-care 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

4 Ways That Businesses Support the Mission of Goodwill Industries

goodwill logoOver the course of its history spanning over 115 years, Goodwill Industries has leveraged the support of various partners to fulfill its mission and goals, which focus on strengthening communities while helping individuals to achieve their full potential. Today, the nonprofit social enterprise oversees job training and employment-placement services, education programs, and other community-based initiatives nationwide with the help of individual donors and volunteers, as well as businesses both large and small.

Companies and business leaders looking to engage with Goodwill Industries can become involved with the organization in various ways. Whether it involves making an occasional donation or hosting a partnership, any type of support makes it possible for Goodwill to continue its important mission. Here is a closer look at what businesses across the country are doing to assist Goodwill in its efforts to promote social good:

 

Donate Inventory

One of the easiest ways in which an individual or business can support Goodwill Industries is by donating items to a local Goodwill branch. Each year, the nonprofit uses the revenue that it generates from selling donated items to fund job-training programs and other services for millions of people in the United States and other communities around the globe. In 2018 alone, Goodwill programs and initiatives reached over 35 million people worldwide and provided focused career training and support services to more than 242,000 job seekers.

Goodwill accepts a wide variety of items from retailers, manufacturers, and product distributors looking to put surplus inventory to good use. Donating factory overruns, customer returns, and excess products left over from end-of-the-season sales not only helps to create jobs and support skill-building programs, but it also provides businesses with an easy and rewarding way to eliminate the costs involved in storing and handling unused merchandise.

In addition to accepting donations of surplus inventory, Goodwill encourages its business partners to engage employees and customers in one-time and recurring donation drives at its company’s various locations. The list of national and global brands that have hosted donation events and initiatives includes the online retailer Bon-Ton and the denim-focused clothing company Levi Strauss.

clothing

 

Invest in Job Training

Providing job training for those seeking meaningful careers has always been a major focus of Goodwill Industries’ mission. Businesses looking to support the nonprofit in this area can do so by funding existing programs or establishing new initiatives. With the help of its corporate partners, Goodwill oversees a variety of activities focused on employment readiness, career development, financial wellness, and the attainment of credentials.

Among the well-known corporations that are currently funding Goodwill initiatives are Walmart, Accenture, and InterContinental Hotels Group. These companies are providing financial support, digital skills training, and hospitality training, respectively. Other active Goodwill supporters include Bank of America and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

 

Hire Goodwill-Trained Employees

Along with investing in skill-building and job-training programs, companies can partner with Goodwill to provide jobs for those in need. Goodwill Industries is an excellent resource for businesses looking for qualified employees with a desire to undertake meaningful work. Companies and business recruiters can even connect with local Goodwill organizations for assistance in coordinating and hosting hiring events, job fairs, and employment open houses.

Every day, Goodwill and its partners provide opportunities for individuals facing various challenges. They include those with physical and mental disabilities, people who have formerly incarcerated, the elderly, military veterans, and individuals who have experienced homelessness and/or substance abuse. For a closer look at the human impact of Goodwill’s services, visit www.goodwill.org/my-story.

job-4131482_1280

 

Promote a Sustainable Workplace

As a nonprofit dedicated to reselling and recirculating donated items, Goodwill Industries cites sustainability as one of the core principles of its business model. In 2018, Goodwill organizations collectively diverted more than 4 billion pounds of usable goods from landfills, helping to create a less wasteful, more circular economy at the regional and national levels. Many environmentally conscious businesses are assisting in these efforts by collaborating with Goodwill in promoting zero-waste/sustainability goals and encouraging corporate social responsibility.

One of these businesses is Dell Technologies, which partners with Goodwill on the Dell Reconnect program. Launched in 2004, Dell Reconnect reduces e-waste by diverting computers and computer equipment such as monitors, keyboards, printers, and cables from municipal landfills. Instead of throwing these types of items into a dumpster, people can donate them to a local Goodwill, where they will be cleaned, tested, refurbished (if needed), and resold. Any items that cannot be resold will be properly recycled by Dell Reconnect.

Over the years, the program has kept more than 500 million pounds of used electronics out of the nation’s landfills, but the benefits of Dell Reconnect extend beyond the environment. For every donation received through the program, Goodwill offers 6.8 hours of training for each program participant. Dell Reconnect also provides consumers with computer products at an affordable price while raising awareness about the problems associated with e-waste.

 

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.

Here Are the Results of the 10th Annual Warrior Survey

woundedwarriorprojectIn its efforts to identify the challenges facing the nation’s veterans and their families, Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) conducts an annual survey examining the physical, emotional, mental, economic, and social needs of post-9/11 service members. It is the largest survey of its kind.

The WWP Annual Warrior Survey helps the organization allocate resources toward programs and initiatives with the highest potential impact. The survey also provides important data that policymakers and government agencies can use to improve the quality of veterans’ programs and services.

WWP recently released the results of its 10th Annual Warrior Survey. It collected information on numerous topics concerning veterans, including demographic shifts, deployment trends, employment and financial stability, and homelessness.

Survey data also provided health information related to service-connected physical injuries, PTSD and traumatic brain injury, physical health and obesity, and substance abuse. Keep reading for a closer look at the findings from WWP’s 2019 Warrior Survey.

 

Respondent Demographics

For its 10th Annual Warrior Survey, WWP reached out to just under 110,000 members and received 35,908 completed surveys. Of those who responded, 83 percent are male with an average age of 42. The majority of respondents (65.9 percent) were married at the time of the survey. Just over 37 percent of respondents possessed a bachelor’s degree or higher.

In terms of race and ethnicity, the top three represented among respondents are Caucasian (66.1 percent), Hispanic (19.6 percent), and Black or African American (16 percent). The remaining respondents comprise American Indian or Alaskan Native (5.3 percent), those who identified as other race/ethnicity (3.8 percent), Asian (3.7 percent), and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (1.6 percent).

Respondents hailed from several areas of the country, but most (54 percent) were living in the South at the time of the survey. Nearly one-quarter (23.8 percent) live in the West while 12.6 percent live in the Midwest and 9.6 percent live in the Northeast.

 

Service-Connected Injuries and Health Issues

boys and girls clubAs mentioned, the main goal of the Annual Warrior Survey is to identify challenges facing the nation’s veterans in order to help WWP and other organizations tailor their assistance programs and services accordingly. The top challenges typically include service-related physical injuries and associated mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Among the respondents to the 10th Annual Warrior Survey, 91 percent experienced three or more injuries as a result of their military service. At the top of the list of most commonly reported issues in the survey were sleep problems, PTSD, and anxiety. These issues were reported by 87.5 percent, 82.8 percent, and 80.7 percent of respondents, respectively. Back, neck, or shoulder problems and depression were also among the most common self-reported health issues.

A new health question in the 2019 Warrior Survey asked respondents about their exposure to toxic materials such as chemical agents and burn pit fumes. Over two-thirds (70.4 percent) of respondents reported that they had definitely been exposed to such environmental hazards during their service. However, less than 10 percent reported receiving treatment for their exposure.

 

Social Support, Health Care Coverage, and Access to Care

Fortunately, the level of social support among veterans who responded to the survey appears to be quite high. Nearly 80 percent of respondents agreed that there are people they could turn to for help if they needed it. Over 72 percent agreed that there are people around them who enjoy the same social activities they do.

In addition to benefitting from social support, most (71 percent) respondents reported that they receive at least some health care coverage through Veterans Affairs (VA). This represents a 12 percent increase over the last five years. Nearly all those who receive VA coverage choose to use the agency’s services. Veterans cited prescription benefits and access to care for service-related disabilities among the top reasons for selecting the VA over other providers.

An important takeaway from the 10th Annual Warrior Survey is related to access to care for mental health issues. This has been an ongoing issue that continues to affect nearly one-third of veterans in need of care. Fortunately, however, the 2019 survey shows slight improvements in this area over the previous year.

 

Employment and Financial Well-Being

Numerous barriers make it difficult for some veterans to obtain employment. Fortunately, however, the majority of Warrior Survey respondents (62.6 percent) are employed, and 48.8 percent of them are employed full-time.

The percentage of respondents employed part-time is 7.3 percent, and 6.6 percent are self-employed. For those respondents who are not in the labor force, some of the most commonly cited barriers to employment include mental health issues (35 percent), difficulty being around others (28.3 percent), and physical issues (19.6 percent).

In the areas of income and finances, findings from the 2019 Annual Warrior Survey show that respondents are feeling better about their financial situations than they were in 2018. Nearly 30 percent of warriors surveyed said that their finances have improved compared to the previous year. This represents a 2 percent improvement from 2018 and a nearly 8 percent improvement from the first Warrior Survey in 2010.

One reason for the improvement in finances could be related to the growth in the number of veterans who possess a bachelor’s degree or higher. Over 37 percent of respondents hold at least a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, approximately one in five of those surveyed reported that they are currently pursuing post-secondary credentials.

More information about the findings from the 10th Annual Warrior Survey is available at www.woundedwarrior.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.