December 15, 2008

How to Give Back During Tough Economic Times

(ARA) — During tough economic times, it can be hard to find money in your budget to donate to charities. But there are many other ways to give back to the community that allow you to support charitable causes throughout the year.

The need for charitable donations this year is even greater because of the faltering economy — just as nonprofits fear donations will be decreasing, the demand for their services is increasing. All of this is happening as charities enter their key fundraising period of the year — between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day — when up to half of all individual donations are made.

In fact, 2008 and the following year are expected to be one of the most challenging periods charities have seen in some time. According to a survey released by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, donations to charities in 2007 grew by less than they had in years past. While almost two-thirds of charities raised more money in 2007 than 2006, the size of their gains dropped. With daily headlines reminding us that this economic climate will only get tougher, could there be a more compelling reason to give, be it a donation of money, time or skills?

“Families are stretched to the breaking point, and that has strengthened our resolve to do even more,” says Madonna King, president and CEO of Children’s Home Society & Family Services. “Contributions from donors and volunteers are essential, and their generosity makes it possible for us to continue our vital work on behalf of vulnerable children and families, here, at home, and around the world.”

As you look into your wallet and your heart during tough economic times, there are many meaningful ways to give back to the community. Here are some suggestions from nonprofit organizations, including Children’s Home Society & Family Services.

Stretch your holiday dollars to help others
Some stores donate a portion of their holiday sales to charity. It’s a way to increase the impact of your holiday gift giving while doing something good for the community. Another way to help others is to donate to charities in lieu of giving gifts. If you choose to do so, the charity may give you a tax receipt for your donation.

Your time is as good as gold
Choose to donate another precious commodity — your time. Volunteering for a good cause enables nonprofits to handle increased demand for services, and also allows you to give back in a very personal way. No matter how much time you have to give, you will be welcomed with open arms by those in need.

Where to find volunteer opportunities  
Many companies and organizations make volunteering part of their work culture, such as Foresters (TM), a leading fraternal benefit society that provides members with innovative life insurance products and benefits of membership. Foresters customers are known as members and get together locally for such projects as Habitat for Humanity home-builds and to refurbish Ronald McDonald Houses. Last year Foresters members donated 950,000 hours to help more than 400 charities.

Make giving part of your family’s DNA
The holidays are an important time to give back, but don’t forget about the rest of the year. There are worthy nonprofit organizations that offer volunteering opportunities on an ongoing basis. Find a local or national organization that supports a mission you and your family believe in and find a way to be involved regularly. It will help your kids understand important life lessons, help you meet other people and lend a helping hand to those who need your help the most.

Even if your wallet holds less for charitable donations this year, pick up the phone or stop by and volunteer your time wherever you can.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

September 29, 2008

Diaper Rash Or Yeast Infection?

The diaper area is dark, moist, and warm. Therefore, by the virtue of wearing diapers, infants are prone to develop diaper rashes and even yeast infections in the diaper area. It’s important to learn how to prevent diaper rashes, as well as how to tell a diaper rash from a yeast infection, to protect your baby’s skin integrity.

Prevention Is Key
You can keep your infant’s diaper area healthy by frequently changing her wet and soiled diapers, applying barrier ointments, such as petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or A & D ointment, and allowing the area to air out after every diaper change. Using cloth diapers decreases your infant’s risk for diaper rashes, because the air can circulate better through cloth than though a synthetic diaper.

Diaper Rash If you notice redness or pinkish red pimples in the diaper area, your infant has developed a diaper rash. You need to reach for over-the-counter zinc oxide cream like Desitin. Apply a thin layer to the diaper area 3-4 times daily, and then cover it with a thin layer of a barrier ointment. Continue to air out the area after each diaper change.

Yeast Infection
If the redness in the diaper area has spread to the bends of the legs and looks very red and shiny, most likely it is a yeast infection. You might have already tried the zinc oxide cream at this point without any results, so it is the time to consult with your infant’s health care provider. The best treatment for yeast infections in the diaper area is an anti-fungal cream applied 3-4 times a day for 7-10 days.

Contact your child’s health care provider if your infant has a rash and develops a fever, the rash is spreading, or you are concerned in any way with how the diaper area looks.

Dr. Hillary is a pediatric nurse practitioner with a doctoral degree in health promotion and risk reduction. She works as a pediatric clinician and writes for Plugged in Parents. Plugged In Parents provides up-to-date info on pediatric health, safety and nutrition along with movie reviews, recipes, tech-savvy tips, and a parent’s only forum. You can also contact Dr. Hillary for personal questions related to health and nutrition.

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Article Source:,_PhD

June 4, 2008

Need tough love, not bad parenting

Our primary schools reward what they call citizenship, a series of behaviours ranging from helping a hurt friend, to finding the scissors for teacher, to not sticking gum under the desk. What they don’t teach is the morality of citizenship; the web of rights and obligations that cling to the right, or obligation, to vote.

Our schools, and our systems, teach the necessity of keeping your head down. Of not being the person to dob on the ministerial pedophile. Not fessing up to being the boss of Beth Morgan, the lowly Wollongong planner found to be corrupt, but whose decisions must have been ratified by any number of now-invisible superiors. Not carrying the can.

Full story: We need tough love, not bad parenting

May 14, 2008

Less School Pressure, More Results

Like most schools these days, Edmonton’s Vernon Barford junior high lived by the modern ethic: more homework produces smarter kids, better marks and happier parents.

But that changed in 2006 when the school decided to buck the trend and reduce the load of assignments sent home in the book-laden backpacks of young teens.

The result? Even better marks, happier students and more creative projects, says Principal Stephen Lynch.

Full story: Less school pressure, more results

April 14, 2008

Spring Cleaning: How to Make It Quicker and Easier

(ARA) – Spring cleaning is one of those things that seem like a really good idea at the time – until you are up to your elbows in grime, surrounded by clutter, and wondering what ever compelled you to start such a gargantuan project in the first place! Long gone are the days when people could devote so much time to the annual rite of spring cleaning. After all, we have busy lives and hectic schedules. How are we supposed to cram in spring cleaning when we can’t even get caught up on the laundry?

Here’s the good news – it can be done. After all, spring is a season that is full of possibilities. So throw open your windows and let the sun shine in because spring cleaning doesn’t have to be another dreaded chore if you keep in mind a few easy tips.

Spread out the work.
Nothing can blow good intentions like insurmountable tasks. It’s important not to bite off more than you can chew when it comes to cleaning the whole house. In other words, don’t clean up the entire house. Divide your home into zones and attack them one at a time. Instead of trying to tear through your entire home in a day, spend a week devoted to one zone of your home, such as the kitchen. After the week is over, move on to the next zone. Spring isn’t in a huge rush. You don’t need to be, either.

Set priorities.
Health and safety come first. Prioritize spring cleaning projects that will make your family and home more comfortable and healthier. For instance, consider replacing any chemical-filled household cleaners with natural, multipurpose cleaners. This could include using half vinegar and half water for cleaning glass or using baking soda and water for an inexpensive and chemical-free way to scrub bathtubs and sinks.

It’s also important to protect against the dust, pollen and dander that can cause poor indoor air quality and aggravate allergies or asthma. Installing a whole-home air filtration system, such as the American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning AccuClean, will eliminate up to 99.98 percent of these airborne particles from the filtered air in your house. It will also help you spend less time cleaning this spring and throughout the year so you can spend more time enjoying your family!

Stay on task.
This tip is probably the most difficult one for any homeowner to stick with, but it’s vital if anything is ever going to be accomplished. Set aside a chunk of time to do some spring cleaning tasks and then keep working. Distractions, of course, are inevitable. But take measures to prevent them as much as possible. Don’t answer the phone, refrain from checking e-mails, or put on a movie for the kids so that you can have at least one or two uninterrupted hours.

Seek help.
Nothing saves time better than increasing your workforce. Pick up the phone and invite some friends over for a spring cleaning party. After all, it’s always more fun to clean up someone else’s home. You provide the food and drinks, and your friends can help you attack a cleaning project. Turning spring cleaning into a friendly project will not only help you get the work done, it will make it fun. Of course, keep in mind your friends will likely ask you to return the favor!

Spring is a time of new beginnings, so begin today to achieve a cleaner, more comfortable home. No matter what your schedule, there is always time to create the home that you desire.

Courtesy of ARAcontent