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Monday, August 19, 2013

August 19 Is World Humanitarian Day

In recognition of World Humanitarian Day, I'm taking a moment to reflect on what it is that embodies humanitarianism.

Traits that often come to mind include: selflessness, a sense of justice and equanimity for all persons, willingness to sacrifice for a particular cause, a desire to help others achieve success.

Sometimes when I think about it, its easy to become a little cynical and question whether anyone who seems selfless is truly not out for some sort of personal gain too. In the media, we often hear about celebrities such as Bono, Oprah, Princess Diana, and Angelina Jolie who stand (or have stood) behind various causes and use their celebrity status as a forum to promote awareness and such for their cause. Yet in a way, I also feel that if a person is going to live a life of fame and fortune, it means something if they dedicate a part of their lives to a purpose that goes beyond languishing in luxury.

There's also those who have become famous (or perhaps even infamous) because of their efforts. People like Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, or Oskar Schindler come to mind. I feel that those in this category are the ones who in essence, became their cause...they lived their lives in an effort to better the world, or their corner of it at least. They did not seek fame or riches or reward. They saw, or many times witnessed firsthand, an injustice and decided to do something about it.

I have my own causes and social issues I feel are important as I'm sure many of us do. I support them as I am able and do my little part to raise awareness. It may not be much, but it is a start. The point is, I am a big believer that at least part of our purpose on this earth is to leave it a little better than we found it. We've all seen ways injustice and/or ignorance is able to permeate society and draw a dividing line between groups of people.

What are some causes/issues that are meaningful or perhaps even personal to you?  What do we need more of in order to see these causes through? How might you use what you learn and live on your daily path to become a humanitarian in your own part of the world? 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I Would Think We'd Be Higher

Number 9!!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Discoveries Of The Week

Things learned, accomplished and discovered this week...

Blog Discovery: How Not To Do Social Work  --I love the honesty and earnest insights into the profession shared here.

New-to-me-Etsy Shop: RossLab.  Whimsical, simple ceramics.  Because there can never be enough bowls and cups!

Activism task: I signed a petition to President Obama asking him to leave social security benefits alone.

Weekly treat: I enjoyed a week off from work...the last full week of vacation time I took was in October 2011! Of course, I fully absorbed a total state of doing-nothingness and may even have raised it to a whole new level.

Social work resources:  New search engine providing valuable info on local and federal U.S. programs for housing, employment, food and health for those in need.  It also gives users the ability to add resources.  And the website, Promised Land, has some awesome ideas and tools on how to become a changemaker in your community. 

Moment of suckage:  Watching the movie "Twilight: Breaking Dawn".  I have no adequate words to describe the pointlessness involved in this series, and furthermore, no rational explanation as to why I actually watch the movies.

Question of the week: Why are there so few resources such as social work blogs and/or helpful online resources (e.g. U.K Social Care Network | The Guardian) established by American social workers?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Social Workers Tweet

What Social Workers Are Talking About On Twitter This Week

Social Work Digest

This week's news and announcements in the world of social work.

  • "We're getting back to good old-fashioned social work". Department of Human Service social workers in Michigan moving into elementary and high schools.
  • New Jersey social service workers unhappy as case loads increase but staffing levels remain stagnant. 
  • Over 3,000 front line social service workers in British Columbia walk off their jobs in effort to receive higher wages.  “We do realize this is a fight we’re having with the government,” says social services bargaining committee chairperson.
  • Finally! Someone explains "what is social work". Spoiler alert: Not all social workers work in schools or for child protection agencies.
  • I like this U.K.  model for attracting and retaining social workers.  Adequate supports and ongoing opportunities for advancement and trainings are key.
  • Need for social workers growing; Northwest Nazarene University in Idaho planning to offer new social work program. 
    Jan Roeser, regional economist for the Idaho Department of Labor, said careers related to social work and two other degree programs NNU plans to offer in Twin Falls are projected to show a lot of growth.  The number of new jobs is expected to increase by 20 to 35 percent this decade. The professions also have high wages. {via Times News |
    My note: Not  so sure about the 'high wages' part though!


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Culture of caffeination

Words of Wisdom

Never permit a dichotomy to rule your life, a dichotomy in which you hate what you do so you can have pleasure in your spare time. Look for a situation in which your work will give you as much happiness as your spare time."  ~Pablo Picasso

Monday, January 28, 2013

Are The Elderly A Burden To Society?

This moron Taro Aso (pronounced "as-hohl"), who happens to be Japan's finance minister, thinks so:

"Why should I have to pay for people who just eat and drink and make no effort? I walk every day and do other things, but I'm paying more in taxes"  {via The Guardian}.
Oh my.  I'm glad As-hol is a healthy 72 year old and not in need of assistance or medical care. And let me be clear: I do believe there are situations where prolonging life that lacks quality can be burdensome, not just financially, but from a humane perspective as well.  Aso's comments, however, are sadly reflective of notions of deservedness which run rampant in Western society as well.

Who defines what "quality of life" means?  And more importantly, who decides who deserves health care and who should just "hurry up and die"?  Believe me, I get that in the U.S. a lot of government spending in health care (in the form of Medicare and/or Medicaid) is distributed to our older population.  I'm not sure what long term care looks like in Japan, but when we in the U.S. talk about "exploring innovative ways to finance services for the elderly", and the never-ending chatter about cutting back programs like Medicare and Medicaid, it seems like we're shooting ourselves in the foot.

Image via:
Do people realize how difficult it is for elderly people living at home to receive home health aide services?  Medicare (in NY anyway) will only pay for *maybe* 8 hours of aide service per week. And home health aides and visiting nurses are spread thin enough as it is...its pretty hard to attract people to these professions when pay is typically so poor. Yet, some elderly people would benefit greatly from having access to more home health services, which if they could receive, would keep them home longer. And guess what? Medicare and Medicaid would actually save money for covering home health services vs paying for long term care for seniors. In NY state alone, the average monthly cost for a skilled nursing home resident is between $8000-$9000 per MONTH. The government doesn't even start to cover costs of long term care until the resident has exhausted all of their personal resources. At $9000 a month, that doesn't take very long.

Instead of threatening to cut Medicare and/or Medicaid benefits to the elderly (because let's face it, with the expense of long term care, the government allocates a good chunk in Medicaid benefits for the aging population), why not expand home health care benefits?   Programs like Meals on Wheels and Adult Day Care Centers are much more doable financially and do heighten quality of life for many elderly people committed to remaining at home as long as they can. Home health care including ongoing physical therapy, social services and daily aide services would undoubtedly make a difference in whether a person could stay home (and save money/not need to tap into government aid so hard) vs moving into skilled nursing where the care costs are exorbitant.

Of course, people like me would be out of a job if the elderly stayed home and never moved to a nursing home. I realize what I propose affects the bottom line of for-profit long term care.  Still, who but a small percentage of business owners benefit from the current system in which we care for our elderly?  Why shouldn't options for how we spend our later years be wider in scope? After all, aging is the great equalizer.  

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Are You Really For Real?

I think I'll pass on the Sarah Palin "kind-of-feminism".

You know guys like these are just pissed off because some woman they were chasing after blew them off.  Rather than look at themselves and their own shortcomings, its so much easier to insult female strength and intelligence.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Apparently Bradford County's Area Agency on Aging had been allowing criminals to fulfill community service requirements via programs that cater to elderly residents such as Meals on Wheels.

While it is reported that all volunteers for the Agency on Aging programs are screened prior to providing services, the agency's policy for accepting volunteers is now under review.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Comfort Care: Pasta-bilities

Pasta is THE comfort food extraordinaire.  This baked ziti dish makes for a filling, cozy winter supper.  Add a glass of red wine and I'm in heaven!

More photos including the recipe for this mouth-watering piece of magnificence can be found at Gonna Want Seconds.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Daily Escape

Even if only in our minds, we all need to have a "happy place" we can escape to when our caseloads and workloads are piling up.  Here is today's destination of solace.

What a glorious view!   This spot of pure perfection is  located at the Caruso Hotel in Ravello, Italy. Caruso Hotel is...

A former 11th century palace set on cliffs beside the Amalfi Coast, Hotel Caruso seems to drift on a 'balcony' above the Mediterranean Sea. As with so many Orient-Express hotels it is a triumph of the restorer's skill. Its ancient walls and fresco-covered ceilings have been carefully preserved to make it a work of art in itself. Stroll through the terraced gardens or lounge beside the stunning infinity pool. Take a boat trip to Positano or discover Roman Pompeii. Wherever you turn, both inside the hotel and out, a world of heritage, culture and beauty awaits.{Travel 2 Italy}

Photo via: Flickr