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Shopping for a new vehicle? 5 questions to ask yourself before signing on the dotted line

Automotive - 5 hours 19 min ago

(BPT) - It’s that time again - time to buy a new car. Maybe you’re excited because you’ve been dreaming of getting new wheels for a long time now. Or maybe you’re nervous; buying a car is a big financial commitment and you want to make sure you do your homework. If you fall into this second group, don’t worry; these five simple questions can help you find a vehicle that fits your lifestyle.

* Is it a lemon? When you purchase your vehicle, the last thing you want to do is shop for another car in a couple of years. Picking a reliable vehicle is key. So how do you do it? Make a list of the vehicles you’re interested in and head to the Web to research previous vehicle recalls. If you are buying a used car, websites like CarFax.com and others can also show you the history of that particular car, giving you insight into just how reliable it will be.

* Where’s the value? Whether safety is your top concern or you want the most vehicle for your money, it’s all about value. USAA, which provides car buying guidance (or help) and recommendations to its members, recently released its fourth-annual Best Value list identifying the top vehicles for 2014. The list includes vehicles that finished at the top of USAA’s preferred propriety rating system, which evaluates safety, reliability, cost and other factors. There is also a list of the top 10 vehicles for teens, which you can review if you’ll soon be sharing a garage with a new driver.

* How will you pay for it? Behind safety, financing is probably the most important thing to consider when buying a new car. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you’ve thoroughly researched your financing options. And remember, you have other options besides what the dealership offers you.

* Are there any physical concerns you need to remember? Not every vehicle is perfect for every person. Think about yourself and who will most often ride with you. If you or your passengers are very tall, a smaller sedan may not make sense. Likewise, people who have mobility challenges may not be comfortable getting into a large pickup truck.

* Will it grow with your family? Sure it fits your needs now, but what about next year? The year after that? Whether it is children, pets or joining the office carpool, consider the fact that the space you need presently might not be the space you need even a year from now.

Shopping for a new car can be an exciting experience, but it can be nerve-wracking as well. As you begin your search, remember these questions and you’ll be closer to finding the vehicle of your dreams. To learn more about USAA’s Best Value list, visit usaa.com/bestvalue.

Categories: Lifestyle

Teaching kids to give back

Community Cares - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - One of the most rewarding reasons to get involved in your community is to set a good example for your kids. Whether you donate money or time, giving back is beneficial, and not just for the recipients. The reward for your selfless acts can be a beautiful thing for both your community and your children’s future. But what are some of the ways you can teach kids to give back and what age should you begin encouraging them?

Giving back is just as much about volunteering as it is about philanthropy. Dr. Lois Winchell, child and family therapist at Argosy University, Sarasota, believes it should be a combination of both. “If we want our children to give back, our families need to be involved in multiple activities,” says Winchell. “These include volunteering resources and time and giving money when possible. Learning how to donate time can be a very powerful lesson for children because it is a giving of ourselves. This intimate experience can be significant and can often reap a more personal reward than the offering of money and things.”

As with everything else in life, kids learn best by example. The closer you can bring your child to the recipient of the gift, the more personal the experience becomes.

“Nurturing a sense of giving and making sure this is a value for your children starts as early as age 3 or 4,” says Winchell. “At this developmental age, we can teach them that others have feelings and that your child has an impact on those feelings. This sense of empathy is the underpinning of charity. The most significant impact on our children is what they actually see us doing as it relates to a giving spirit. As we engage in specific projects, we can have conversations with our children regarding why the project is important and who will benefit.”

Start by expanding their sense of environment, from the immediate family to their local community and eventually the world around them. A sense of awareness of something greater than themselves is important in raising a compassionate individual. This sense of responsibility to others and the environment as a world citizen can be supported by making children aware of others’ needs whether in visiting a shelter or a food banks with family members or simply helping younger siblings.

“From infancy to about 5 years old, children aren’t necessarily capable of thinking outside of themselves. Even so, parents need to foster their child’s sharing with others,” says Winchell. As children grow older they can begin volunteering and supporting community projects more directly. Whether they donate toys to a children’s shelter or simply participate in a walk for charity, these years are important for a child to learn the art of giving back. When they become teenagers, they can do even more for the community by assisting an elderly neighbor with his yard work or helping out at a local food bank or soup kitchen.

Additionally, it is important to convey the message that “giving back” does not include an expectation of getting something in return. Instead, highlight the sense of joy in being able to make someone happy and how those feelings are the greater gift.

“When a child experiences sharing and the serving of others, an internal sense of contentment and self-worth is experienced,” says Winchell. “This self-enhancement and sense of belonging is coincident with their giving and results in a benefit that cannot be gained any other way. This sense of happiness and accomplishment then contributes to their positive sense of self.” In other words, teaching kids to give back is one of the best things a parent can do for the community and the child.

Categories: Lifestyle

Life after the Olympics: Luger offers insight on balancing work, school and life

Education - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - A natural-born athlete, Erin Hamlin grew up playing a variety of sports, although it wasn’t until the age of 12 that she was introduced to luging. Her prior athletic experience instilled a great deal of concentration, dedication and strength of mind and body, and it wasn’t long before she worked her way through the national team’s developmental luge program and was living and training full-time in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Hamlin’s hard work paid off and she went on to compete in the 2006 and 2010 Olympic Winter Games and recently made history when she became the first American luger to win a medal when she earned bronze at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. In addition, her momentous feat was recognized by the United States Olympic Committee at its 2014 “Best of Us” Awards Show where she earned the title of Best Female Olympian of the Winter Games.

Q: What was it like to compete at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi and make history by becoming the first U.S. singles luger to win an Olympic medal?

“Each time I’ve competed at the Olympics, I’ve learned and grown so much. The challenge of being the greatest in the world is what drives me to pursue my Olympic dreams,” says Hamlin. “Becoming the first American luger to win a medal in the history of the sport was a surreal experience. Standing on the podium and accepting my medal was the culmination of years of preparation, dedication and persistence to achieve success in my sport.”

Q: Now that you’ve made history and achieved Olympic success, what other life goals are you looking to reach?

“After I retire from competing, I want to help corporations plan more environmentally friendly events. Being a part of many sporting events over the years has shown me that there is room for improvement from a sustainability standpoint. Continuing my education and earning a degree will allow me to explore a career in which I can achieve this,” says Hamlin.

She adds, “To help me reach this goal, I am preparing for my career by earning a bachelor’s degree in technical management with a specialization in sustainability management at DeVry University.”

Q: How do you balance you athletic training with your academic endeavors?

“Since I can take my courses online it allows me to balance my school work and my rigorous training schedule. I feel that learning helps me look forward to what is next and earning my degree will prepare me to achieve success off the track, as well,” Hamlin says.

Q: What advice do you have to share with young athletes who aspire to compete in the Olympic Games?

“It can certainly be intimidating to balance school and other life responsibilities – especially when you aspire to be successful in athletics or any extracurricular activity,” says Hamlin. “The big picture can be very overwhelming. It’s important to remember to stay focused on the end goal and break it down into smaller steps – that way it becomes much more manageable.”

DeVry University is an official education provider of the United States Olympic Committee. To learn more about Hamlin or other Team USA student athletes who have competed in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, visit newsroom.devry.edu.

Categories: Lifestyle

Career colleges play key role in demand for skilled workers

Education - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Education is not a one-size-fits-all system. Much like each public university has its own unique culture, so does each type of higher education institution. In addition, the goals of each student are not the same. Some students are fresh out of high school and looking forward to the social opportunities that a public university will give them, and they are not in a hurry to get their degree. Some are single parents, already working full-time jobs, who just want to go back to school and quickly get a degree and get a better job. For these latter students, a four-year university may not be the right fit for their needs. Instead, career colleges really can be the way to go.

Career colleges - What are the benefits?

Many people are recognizing the importance of skills training in the workplace as it relates to their chances of a promotion and increase in pay, according to a recent article in Business News Daily. These people are turning to career colleges because they know they can quickly learn the skills they are lacking and start moving up the professional ladder through the programs offered.

According to Westwood College – Dupage Campus President Jeff Hill, career colleges “are focused on providing students with hands-on learning and quick degree completion which help develop a trained workforce for employers and can positively impact the economy. Without question, education is one of the biggest factors with regard to economic advancement in today’s society and career-focused schools play a vital role as one - of many - education options for students.” If you’re interested in a new career? Check out Westwood’s degree programs.

Demand for skilled labor plays a huge role in the economy. It is not uncommon for employers to have available jobs, but not enough trained workers to fill them. Many employers discuss their plans to grow their companies and hire more people, but aren’t sure where they will find workers with the skills they need, according to a recent article published by the Newark Advocate. It’s not a problem just for businesses in Newark, New Jersey. Companies across the country face this issue. Many businesses looking to expand or move struggle to do so because it can be difficult to find a town or city with enough skilled workers to do the jobs.

The U.S. Department of Labor predicts those jobs that tend to require some form of higher education will grow faster than those you can get with just a high school diploma or less. The department also predicts a shortage of more than 35 million skilled workers over the next 30 years.

Categories: Lifestyle

Career colleges play key role in demand for skilled workers

Business/Careers - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Education is not a one-size-fits-all system. Much like each public university has its own unique culture, so does each type of higher education institution. In addition, the goals of each student are not the same. Some students are fresh out of high school and looking forward to the social opportunities that a public university will give them, and they are not in a hurry to get their degree. Some are single parents, already working full-time jobs, who just want to go back to school and quickly get a degree and get a better job. For these latter students, a four-year university may not be the right fit for their needs. Instead, career colleges really can be the way to go.

Career colleges - What are the benefits?

Many people are recognizing the importance of skills training in the workplace as it relates to their chances of a promotion and increase in pay, according to a recent article in Business News Daily. These people are turning to career colleges because they know they can quickly learn the skills they are lacking and start moving up the professional ladder through the programs offered.

According to Westwood College – Dupage Campus President Jeff Hill, career colleges “are focused on providing students with hands-on learning and quick degree completion which help develop a trained workforce for employers and can positively impact the economy. Without question, education is one of the biggest factors with regard to economic advancement in today’s society and career-focused schools play a vital role as one - of many - education options for students.” If you’re interested in a new career? Check out Westwood’s degree programs.

Demand for skilled labor plays a huge role in the economy. It is not uncommon for employers to have available jobs, but not enough trained workers to fill them. Many employers discuss their plans to grow their companies and hire more people, but aren’t sure where they will find workers with the skills they need, according to a recent article published by the Newark Advocate. It’s not a problem just for businesses in Newark, New Jersey. Companies across the country face this issue. Many businesses looking to expand or move struggle to do so because it can be difficult to find a town or city with enough skilled workers to do the jobs.

The U.S. Department of Labor predicts those jobs that tend to require some form of higher education will grow faster than those you can get with just a high school diploma or less. The department also predicts a shortage of more than 35 million skilled workers over the next 30 years.

Categories: Lifestyle

New discoveries decode the symbols and mysteries of the Mona Lisa

Education - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Almost 500 years after the death of artist Leonardo da Vinci, the world-famous Mona Lisa painting continues to fascinate people of all ages. An estimated 6 million people view the painting each year at the Louvre in France, and many more read and study about its history and the theories surrounding the legendary work of art.

The identity of the woman

One of the most debated mysteries of the Mona Lisa is the identity of the woman behind the iconic smile. Following 12 years of investigation, academic and art historian W.N. Varvel has confirmed that the painting took place in the Italian duchy of Mantua, where da Vinci promised to paint in color the portrait of Marquesa Isabella d’Este, considered to be an intellectual prodigy.

“Leonardo made three preparatory sketches during his stay in Mantua in 1500,” says Varvel. “The key to unraveling the mystery behind the painting’s iconic woman was the discovery of the final preparatory sketch of Isabella d’Este within a private art collection in Florence. When you compare Leonardo’s final sketch to the Mona Lisa, her true identity is immediately obvious.”

Varvel explains several new theories about the Mona Lisa in his book, “The Lady Speaks: Uncovering the Hidden Secrets of the Mona Lisa” (Brown Books Publishing Group).Through illustrations and maps, he details research that identifies the woman and explains the correlation between the painting and the bible.

Hidden meaning behind symbols

Intrigue deepens around symbols hidden in the painting. In fact, Varvel has identified 40 separate symbols comprised of 15 geographic landmarks and 25 religious representations. Several of note include:

Composition
The composition of the Mona Lisa combines three separate elements: a map of the Old City of Jerusalem, a pen and ink sketch of Isabella d'Este done in 1500, and verses found in chapter 14 of the Old Testament Book of Zechariah.

Theme
The symbols within the composition of the Mona Lisa present the message contained within the 21 verses of chapter 14 of the Book of Zechariah. This message states that the Christian concept of the "New Jerusalem" will not begin on earth until women’s rights to the priesthood of Jesus Christ are recognized.

Secret of the smile
The smile of the Mona Lisa is not meant to entice viewers to ponder her physical identity, but to recognize her theological rights and what is being hidden directly behind her back. The answer to this question is the "New Jerusalem." The body of the Mona Lisa has been painted within the exact geographic markers that define the boundaries of the "New Jerusalem" as stated in Zechariah 14:10.

“Leonardo placed symbols in the Mona Lisa as tantalizing clues to reveal the theme of the painting,” says Varvel. “Each of these 40 symbols specifically correlates to a verse found within the fourteenth chapter of Zechariah. This reinforces the theory that Leonardo used this single biblical chapter as his source of inspiration. When Leonardo combined the pen and ink sketch of Isabella d’Este with the map of the Old City of Jerusalem by placing her silhouette within the boundaries of the geographic landmarks, Leonardo married the subject of the painting to its stated theme in Zechariah.”

Summarizing the findings of the research, Varvel concludes, “For 500 years, the general public has suspected that the Mona Lisa was hiding something grand and now we know what it is.”

A video by the author on “The Lady Speaks: Uncovering the Secrets of the Mona Lisa” can be found at www.theladyspeaks.com. The book is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and IndieBound.

Categories: Lifestyle

Preparing for back-to-school: backpacks, new jeans and vaccines

Education - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Summer is a time when kids and parents get to take a break from the school year routine and have a moment to enjoy some ice cream, the outdoors and family time. But parents know that just as everyone begins focusing on fun, it’s already time to begin planning back-to-school to-do lists and prepare for the coming school year.

Back-to-school tasks for parents of pre-teens and teens often include such items as stocking up on school supplies, purchasing some new wardrobe items, coordinating extracurricular activities and organizing fall schedules. But getting prepared to go back to school also presents a great opportunity to talk with your child’s health care professional about recommended vaccines for your pre-teen or teen boys and girls.

As children get older and become pre-teens and teens they can be at risk for other diseases for which vaccines are available. Children tend to have fewer regular visits with their health care professional as they get older and visits are usually for sports physicals or because of illness. These types of visits, in addition to wellness checkups, can be used as an opportunity to ask about vaccines.

“Many parents know to vaccinate their children when they are younger, but there are some parents that may not know that there are vaccines that are also recommended for older children,” says Registered Nurse Beth Battaglino, Chief Executive Officer of HealthyWomen. “The school year can be hectic, so I encourage parents to use the summer break to make appointments with their child’s health care professional or take advantage of already scheduled appointments to discuss vaccines and their dosing schedules that are recommended for their pre-teens and teens.”

Vaccines are recommended not only for children, pre-teens and teens, but across an individual’s entire lifetime to help maintain health and wellness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccines to help prevent more than 15 diseases, and has vaccination schedules that cover children, pre-teens, teens, and adults. According to the World Health Organization, vaccines help prevent more than 30 infectious diseases worldwide.

To learn more about vaccines for all stages of life, people are urged to talk to their health care professional and visit www.LifetimeOfVaccines.com. The website provides information from Merck about the importance of vaccination, how vaccines are developed, approved and manufactured, and infectious diseases for which there are vaccines. It also offers a resource that can be used when talking to a health care professional about vaccination.

Categories: Lifestyle

Sports concussions generate attention with start of school year

Education - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - You’re spending your nights standing on the sidelines, cheering your daughter as she dribbles a soccer ball across the field. Or maybe you’re cheering on your quarterback son as he yells “hut” at a football scrimmage. The school year - and its associated sports - is an exciting time. But with that excitement comes the risk of traumatic injuries - including concussions.

Concussions are generating a lot of attention these days as an increasing amount of research highlights the difficulties in treating them.

To this end, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has developed Sports Concussion Guidelines - available in both English and Spanish - to help coaches, schools, parents and athletes better understand concussions, and when an injured athlete should be allowed to return to play. The guidelines cover the following:

Players: Concussions can happen in any sport and at any time during the season. A concussion can occur when the head hits, or is hit by, a solid surface. It can also happen when the head’s motion is stopped suddenly, even if it doesn’t strike, or is struck by, a solid surface. If you witness changes in the behavior or personality of a player on your team, or if you see them giving a blank stare, acting disoriented, suffering from memory loss or even vomiting, ask the player if he/she was involved in a collision. Alert your coach if you witness or are involved in any violent contact while on the field.

Parents: Educate yourselves about the signs of a concussion, as you know your child best when he/she might be exhibiting unusual behaviors. Download the AAN’s concussion reference sheet for parents, coaches and players at AAN.com/concussion, and share with your young athlete your concerns about him/her playing with a head injury. While cheering for your child in practice and in games, keep an eye on the play for any potential head collisions and report anything significant that may have been missed.

Coaches: Have a conversation with your players early in the season about the dangers of concussions, and communicate clearly that they can happen in any sport at any time. The AAN offers a Concussion Quick Check mobile app to help coaches, parents, and athletic trainers quickly identify if a player is exhibiting signs of a concussion. Additionally, listen to your players if they are talking about someone having taken a hard hit. Enforce the rule that players should not be allowed to return to play following a head injury until they are evaluated and cleared by a physician.

Physicians: Concussions are also generating more attention in the medical field. Physicians are ethically obligated to safeguard the current and future physical and mental health of the student athletes they treat, whether the student has a concussion or not. This includes providing parents and athletes with information about concussion risk factors, symptoms and discussing the potential for long term brain health effects from repeated blows.

“Brain disease threatens to steal from us what makes us human,” says retired NFL player Ben Utecht, who suffered five known concussions during his football career and is now the spokesperson for the American Academy of Neurology and its foundation, the American Brain Foundation. “I will fight relentlessly to see that through research we can in fact find the origins of healing through the cures that are waiting to be discovered.”

Categories: Lifestyle

Simple steps people with diabetes can take to improve their quality of life

Community Cares - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - One of the ways people with diabetes can help manage their disease is balancing food with physical activity, according to the American Diabetes Association (Association). By maintaining a balanced diet with regular exercise, you have the ingredients needed to help live a quality life.

There are many ways you can approach a balanced lifestyle and incorporate regular exercise. Here are five tips from the Association to help you get started:

1. Create a healthy plate – It’s easy to put together healthy meals when you use the diabetes plate method. Start with drawing an imaginary line down the middle of the plate. On one side, cut the section in half again. Fill the largest section with non-starchy vegetables like green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, and carrots. In one of the smaller sections, put grains and starchy foods, and put protein foods in the last section. Add a serving of fruit, a serving of dairy, or both as your meal plan allows. To complete your meal, add a low-calorie drink like water, unsweetened tea or coffee.

2. Healthy snacks – When it comes to snacking, think beyond chips and cookies. There are better choices that will give you a nutrition boost and keep you feeling satisfied until your next meal. Some good ideas are small portions of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and low-fat dairy.

3. Exercise and blood glucose – With diabetes, safely exercising while maintaining healthy blood glucose levels is important. The Association recommends you have a plan on how to treat hypoglycemia, especially if you have type 1 diabetes. Having a fast-acting carbohydrate like glucose tabs or glucose gel available during your exercise routine can help you to quickly treat hypoglycemia. Test your blood glucose levels (if prescribed) to see how different types of exercise affect you.

4. Aerobic exercises – Aerobic exercise is important for everyone. For good health, it is recommended that you aim for 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise at least 5 days a week or a total of 150 minutes per week. Examples of aerobic exercises include brisk walking, biking, dancing, rowing, playing tennis, swimming and climbing stairs. These kinds of exercises help lower blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol. Aerobic exercise also makes your heart and bones strong, lowers stress and can improve blood circulation.

5. Strength training is also important – Aim to do some type of strength training at least two times per week. Lifting weights or using weight machines, resistance bands and calisthenics are all great options. Strength training helps lower your blood glucose and builds stronger muscles and bones.

For those with diabetes who are interested in getting active, and their friends and family who want to support them, the Association has 108 Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes signature fundraising walks happening across the country. These walks have raised more than $20 million a year to support the Association’s mission to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.

Walking this year are Mitch and Carly Lenett, a father-daughter team of Red Striders. Red Striders are walkers living with type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes. They are a reminder of why this walk exists.

“As a person who has lived with type 1 diabetes for 45 years, and a father to Carly, who is also living with type 1, walking side by side with other Red Striders is an empowering experience,” Mitch says.

Though the pair has raised thousands of dollars for their local Step Out walk, the family wanted to raise even more for the Association, so Carly combined her love of swimming with fundraising. In the last two years, she has raised more than $20,000 in pledges just for swimming laps. In 2013, at 8 years old, she swam 110 laps, more than 1.5 miles, with Olympic silver medalist Kristy Kowal by her side all the way.

“Carly is such an inspiration, not just to me as a father, but as a fellow person with type 1 diabetes,” Mitch says. “She is a true demonstration that diabetes doesn’t have to stop you.”

Carly is now in training for her 3-mile swim with Kowal on Sept. 20. Her goal is to raise $15,000.

For more information about the Step Out walks or to register for a walk in your community, visit www.diabetes.org/stepout or call (888) DIABETES (888-342-2383).

Categories: Lifestyle

Hospice reminds grieving children they are not alone

Community Cares - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Imagine feeling suddenly sad, angry, alone, confused and worried, without really understanding why. This is how 75 percent of grieving children claim they feel after losing a loved one, according to the National Alliance for Grieving Children. While the journey to acceptance of a loss is difficult for everyone, a child’s limited ability to understand death can make his or her way of grieving much more difficult. Children of all ages grieve differently than adults, and hospice professionals can provide the help they need.

Regardless of whether or not a child’s loved one received hospice care, grief and bereavement services provided by hospice for children can help them realize that feeling this loss is normal. In addition, hospice can provide tools to help parents, guardians and teachers of grieving children. Hospice resources can include individual or family counseling and referral information if another form of help is needed. Some also offer support groups for families with children of any age with any type of loss and grief groups that can be facilitated through schools to target children of a specific age. Some hospices also host camps, like Hospice Savannah’s Camp Aloha, where children can learn to grieve and heal together.

Hospice Savannah (Georgia) hosts Camp Aloha every year as a way to bring children ages 6 to 17 together and remind them that they are not alone. The name, Camp Aloha, comes from the dual meaning of the Hawaiian word, acknowledging that life is about both hello and goodbye. The concept of death is difficult for many children to fully understand, so the goal of Camp Aloha is to help them come together to learn that grieving is normal and healthy, not something that should make them feel isolated.

Here are three main ways that childhood grief differs from adult grieving, and how hospice can help:

1. Children have a tough time accepting that death is forever.

To young children, death can seem temporary or reversible, especially if their current perception of life is the day-to-day consistency of care from a lost loved one. Grief camps can help children work through this confusion in subtle ways, such as allowing children to write letters or create art in remembrance of their lost loved ones. This can help children work toward an understanding that while that person may no longer have a physical presence, there are other ways to communicate, thus altering the meaning of forever.

2. Children tend to act out in physical or unrelated ways.

Young children may have short, intense grief bursts that are followed by normal play and activities, while older children can experience severe shifts in mood or in the quality of school work. With such contrasting behaviors, it can sometimes be difficult for adults to identify these as normal symptoms of grief. Hospice can provide additional resources and counsel to help parents identify how to best manage these moments, and recognize when and if additional support is needed.

3. Children require an explanation in order to prepare for a loved one’s death.

Many parents find it difficult or uncomfortable to explain to their kids that a sick grandmother will not get better. They may steer clear of the words death or dying to avoid scaring young children. In reality, it is important to prepare children for the death of a loved one, if possible. Hospice support groups and counselors can provide creative, gentle ways to teach this to youngsters, or provide parents with the tools to explain death to their children themselves.

Of children who have attended grief groups or counseling, 76 percent said that their favorite part was meeting people who are sharing a similar experience according to the National Alliance for Grieving Children. The groups and camps offered by hospice remind children that they are not alone. Hospice can help children understand their path to a new normal, meaning more moments of life and joy in remembering their loved one.

For more information on coping with grief and loss, visit MomentsOfLife.org.

Categories: Lifestyle

Don't make these common mistakes when something hurts

Community Cares - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Managing pain can be tough, whether you’re one of the 100 million Americans with chronic pain, or only suffer from the occasional backache or headache. September is National Pain Awareness Month, the perfect time to make sure you’re managing your pain the best way possible.

While many people can manage pain on their own, or can be helped by a primary care physician, those with unrelenting, challenging pain should consider seeing a pain medicine specialist.

“One of the biggest mistakes patients make is not visiting a pain medicine specialist such as a physician anesthesiologist when they experience persistent, complex pain,” says Dr. Richard Rosenquist, chair of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Committee on Pain Medicine and chairman of the Department of Pain Management in the Anesthesiology Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. “Physician anesthesiologists and other pain medicine specialists can fully assess a patient’s pain and prescribe a treatment plan. This may incorporate medications, injections that can control pain for up to a year, spinal cord stimulation, physical and psychological therapies and alternative therapies, such as acupuncture.”

The ASA and its physician anesthesiologist members note these five mistakes patients in pain often make:

1. Taking medication incorrectly. Whether you’re taking opioids (narcotics) for chronic pain or an over-the-counter pain remedy such as ibuprofen for a sore back, don’t take more than prescribed or recommended by the manufacturer. With prescription pain medication, taking more than directed can lead to addiction or even accidental overdose. It’s critical to follow your physician’s instructions carefully. If you’re still in pain after taking the prescribed dose, contact your physician to discuss other pain relief options.

2. Choosing the wrong medication. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help you manage the pain of a sprained ankle or twisted knee without seeing a doctor. But choosing the right pain relief medication can depend on your health history. If you have liver problems or consume three or more alcoholic drinks a night, avoid acetaminophen which can cause liver damage. And anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as ibuprofen and naproxen can make high blood pressure and kidney disease worse, so ask your physician or a pharmacist for an alternative recommendation.

3. Demanding an X-ray. Studies show tests such as X-rays and MRIs do not do a good job of pinpointing the cause of pain. For example, you might have pain, but nothing shows up on the image. And vice versa – sometimes things show up on X-rays that aren’t causing problems or pain. That’s why it’s so important to see a physician who can assess your symptoms and order the most effective tests when necessary.

4. Not thinking outside the pill box. Many treatments that don’t involve taking medication help people in pain find relief. For example, spinal cord stimulation uses electrical signals to short circuit pain in the lower back and legs. Other alternative treatments that may help include injections, acupuncture, massage, meditation and physical therapy.

5. Neglecting your overall health. Studies show people who smoke are more likely to have chronic pain, so if you smoke get the help you need to quit. Also, be sure to eat healthy. Studies show following an anti-inflammatory diet of wholesome, unprocessed foods (vegetables and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as wild salmon and walnuts) may help reduce pain. The healthier you are, the better you’ll feel and the less pain you’ll have.

For more information about pain treatment and finding a pain medicine specialist, visit http://ow.ly/Al55Y.

Categories: Lifestyle

Auto insight: What makes synthetic oil different from conventional oil?

Automotive - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - There was a time when you were considered a “responsible” vehicle owner if you changed the oil and oil filter every 3,000 miles and had your tires rotated every other oil change. It turns out that while it is good practice to maintain your vehicle on a schedule, breaking out of that traditional oil change mind set and utilizing premium synthetic oil can ultimately save you time and money.

What makes synthetic oil different from conventional oil? There are two components that determine how well motor oil will perform in your car. One factor is the base oil and the second is the combination of chemicals (additives) that are added to the base oil.

Mineral or conventional oils are by-products of refined crude oil. Refining helps reduce the impurities in the oil, but its end product has molecules that vary in size. This inconsistency in size can result in restricted flow when working its way through the engine. Synthetic oil molecules are manufactured and are all the same size and shape. This creates less friction in the engine and allows the oil to move throughout the engine smoothly resulting in better performance.

Additives added to the base oil are what give the oil the characteristics needed to do its job. Although additives are typically only 15 to 25 percent of the make-up of motor oil, they can impact a lubricant's performance much more than the base oil. For example, mineral-based motor oil with a very good additive package can easily outperform synthetic motor oil with a mediocre additive package. There is no easy way for a consumer to determine the quality of motor oil's additive package. Price is often an indicator of quality since the more advanced additive technologies cost more to produce. Performance is the ultimate measure of additive package quality.

There have also been advancements in additive technologies that allow synthetic oil manufacturers to offer consumers a product that will allow them to go more miles between oil changes. By going 10,000-12,000 miles instead of three, depending on your driving habits, you could be changing your oil once a year instead of four times! This benefit of using synthetic saves the owner time and money, and reduces the impact on the environment with less oil waste that has to be disposed of.

So you decide to switch to synthetic oil, but even then not all synthetics are alike. For example premium synthetic lubricant manufacturer Royal Purple offers three different types of synthetic oils to meet a variety of consumer needs.

* Warranty compliance – This API licensed motor oil is for consumers who have newer vehicles and are concerned about warranty compliance in both gasoline and diesel engines.

* High performance - High Performance Street (HPS) motor oil is ideal for vehicle owners who are no longer worried about warranty compliance and are seeking a higher level of performance and protection.

* High mileage - HMX is high mileage motor oil especially formulated with zinc and phosphorus and Royal Purple’s proprietary additive technology Synerlec in vehicles with 75,000 miles or more.

There are several benefits can you gain from using premium synthetic oil. This includes: increased fuel efficiency; better wear; and corrosion protection that will extend the life of your vehicle. Taking care of your investment by using synthetic motor oil is a money saving step that savvy owners choose.

Categories: Lifestyle

Passion pays off: No-kill movement saves millions of animals per year

Community Cares - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Americans like to think of themselves as a pet-loving society; today, nearly 70 million dogs and 74 million cats live in U.S. households, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Yet as recently as 30 years ago, animal shelters across the country routinely killed an estimated 17 million companion animals a year as a means of population control.

Today, the no-kill movement – which advocates adoption and spaying/neutering, rather than euthanasia to control the companion animal population – has helped reduce significantly the number of animals killed in shelters, saving about 13 million per year. The handful of passionate activists who helped launch the movement three decades ago say there is still work to be done, and that everyday Americans, working together, can help end the killing of shelter animals altogether.

“All life has intrinsic value,” says Francis Battista, a co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society, which has been at the forefront of the no-kill movement for three decades. “By relating with kindness and unconditional love toward the most vulnerable members of our society, we are celebrating the intrinsic value of life, uplifting society as a whole, and moving us all toward the better, kinder and more loving community we all aspire to live in.”

In 1984, when a group of 28 passionate activists founded the first Best Friends Animal Society no-kill sanctuary in Utah, American shelters practiced killing as the primary means of controlling the country’s population of unwanted companion pets. Five years later, no-kill advocate Ed Duvin wrote a revolutionary article, “In the Name of Mercy,” that challenged conventional wisdom about the “kindest” way to manage homeless animals, appealed for a new ethic in animal sheltering and set the philosophical stage for the no-kill movement.

Just 10 years after the founding of Best Friends, the city of San Francisco became America’s first “no-kill city,” when the San Francisco SPCA and the city’s Department of Animal Care and Control established an adoption pact for homeless animals. Today, communities across the country have adopted the no-kill philosophy.

OutTheFrontDoor.com, a website that tracks the progress of the no-kill movement, currently lists 264 communities that either credibly report they have a “live release rate” of 90 percent or more – meaning the majority of animals taken into their shelters are saved – or that approach that percentage.

Since the inception of the no-kill movement, millions of homeless animals have been saved. Still, animal advocacy groups estimate that just 3 million to 4 million of the 6 million to 8 million animals that enter shelters each year are adopted. What’s more, Best Friends estimates that 90 percent of all the animals that enter shelters each year could be adoptable.

Adoption and spay/neutering programs are key alternatives to killing homeless animals.

In addition to adopting from animal shelters, you can support the no-kill movement by:

* Volunteering or financially supporting your local no-kill shelter.

* Donating supplies or your time.

* Choosing not to do business with pet stores that get their animals from puppy mills.

* Having your pets spayed or neutered to help control the animal population.

* Founding a capture, spay/neuter and release program if your community has a feral cat population.

To learn more about the no-kill movement, visit www.bestfriends.org.

“It’s important for people to understand that the no-kill movement is deeply rooted in the basic principle of kindness,” says Gregory Castle, a Cambridge-educated philosophy major who built the roads and electrical systems for the original Best Friends sanctuary in 1984 and is now the organization's CEO. “If we dismiss the importance of being kind to animals, we won’t be successful in our efforts to be kind to each other. By caring for animals, we’re learning how to better care for each other.”

Categories: Lifestyle

Make sportsmanship part of your child's (and your) game plan

Education - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - You’ve probably been to a youth sporting event when an argument broke out between coaches and parents. Or maybe you’ve watched youth athletes refuse to help one another up or congratulate an opponent on a great play.  

And you wonder where has sportsmanship gone?

A new effort by Liberty Mutual Insurance’s Play Positive program looks to renew the spirit of sportsmanship and remind youth sports coaches and parents of the importance of this life lesson. Parents and coaches are asked to take the Play Positive Pledge to promote good sportsmanship. Taking the pledge could even help your youth sports team or organization earn $2,500 toward providing a better youth sports experience.

Recently, a survey of 2,000 youth sports parents and coaches conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance revealed shocking statistics about the decline in sportsmanship in youth sports, underscoring the need for a stronger emphasis. 

According to the survey:

* 50 percent of parents and coaches believe that sportsmanship has worsened in youth sports since they participated as children (while only 12 percent think it has improved).

* According to both parents and coaches, learning “teamwork” and “sportsmanship” are the two most important aspects of participating in youth sports.

* 26 percent of parents say they have witnessed a verbally abusive coach, and 16 percent say they have witnessed a confrontation between parents.

* 55 percent of coaches have experienced parents yelling negatively at officials or their own kids, and two in five have experienced parents yelling negatively at other kids.

So how do parents and coaches stop this trend and improve sportsmanship for the next generation? It starts with teaching children the value of sportsmanship. Seventy-five percent of parents and coaches say that teaching sportsmanship is the responsibility of parents. If you want to help your child learn the value of good sportsmanship and playing with a positive attitude, follow these tips:

* Play with integrity. One of the most essential lessons a child can learn from sports is to follow the rules. Make sure your children understand the rules and don’t break them, even if they have the opportunity to get away with it.

* Respect the officials. It’s important that youth athletes – as well as parents and coaches – learn to respect referees and officials. Showing respect for the officials will set a good example for your children. Remember, they are always watching and learning from you.

* Be a good sport. This means teaching your child to do what they can to lift up their teammates. Teach them that being a good teammate also means being a good person on and off the field regardless of the outcome.

* Maintain self-control. Help your child learn to keep their cool, have a positive attitude and avoid overreacting during practices or games.

* Let the coaches coach. Avoid chiming in with your coaching advice for the team or other parents. Let those in charge run the plays. This will help your children learn to respect their coaches and the coaches’ decisions.  

“Growing up as a youth athlete, my coaches and parents were constantly using examples of poor behavior on the field as an opportunity to teach me about the importance of sportsmanship,” says actor Chris O’Donnell, Liberty Mutual Insurance Play Positive ambassador. “Those lessons have stuck with me over the years, and now as a father of children involved in youth sports, I know the opportunity lies with us as parents to have the conversation and reinforce this important life lesson."

You can learn more about Liberty Mutual Insurance’s Play Positive program find helpful tips and resources for teaching your children lifelong sportsmanship skills and take the Play Positive Pledge by visiting www.PlayPositive.com.

Categories: Lifestyle

Take two: Going back to school to find a successful new career path

Education - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Thinking about returning to school as a way to restart your career, enter a new field or complete the degree you never finished? Now may be the time. Adults are flocking back to school, with nearly 4 million people ages 35 and older enrolled in a degree-granting institution, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In fact, adults have become the fastest-growing demographic in universities across the United States.

Driven by the desire to improve earnings, change one’s life-style or reinvigorate the way one feels about going to work every day, going back to school could be the first step to getting there. The first step of course, is determining your professional goals and what experience is needed to achieve them. Even if you are not set on the exact goal, this process is essential in helping you arrive at the right field for you to explore.

With back-to-school season upon us, many may find themselves thinking about a teaching profession. A December 2013 survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Kaplan University’s School of Graduate Education found that 32 percent of Americans have considered a career in teaching. Additionally, the survey found 60 percent of parents believe they would make good teachers.

If you think the education field might be a good fit for you, there are online tools that can help you make the right decision regarding your future. One of the newest such tools is Kaplan’s new Virtual Advisor. It guides users through a series of questions and scenarios, offering interesting facts and information about many different education careers, from teaching and educational psychology to college and university administration. At the end, Virtual Advisor analyzes your answers and recommends the best education degree for you at Kaplan. While Virtual Advisor is a great resource for guidance in the education career space, there are other tools on the market for those exploring other careers, from government-sponsored websites to online career quizzes and surveys.

A new career in the education field may give you the fulfillment you desire and numerous job opportunities are available. There is a demand for teachers in many cities across the United States, but also consider various education career paths outside the classroom that may align with your aspirations. Many build on skills you may already have.

For example, if you have a background in psychology or would like to pursue the field, a master of science in educational psychology might be a good option. With this degree, you’ll learn how to build, implement, evaluate and improve instructional and training materials and programs for use in K-12 programs, colleges, corporate or military environments.

Those who have a love for technology or a knack for instruction design might consider a master of science in education in instructional technology. In this program, you’ll focus on the design, development and evaluation of instructional programs, materials and media in K-12 programs, higher education, corporate and military environments.

If your interests lie with helping people and being involved in education at the college level, a master of science in higher education will teach you the specialized skills you need to teach online or on campus, work as a college administration leader or pursue a student affairs position. To learn more about these and other education degrees, you can visit www.kaplanuniversity.edu/education.aspx.

No matter what you decide to go back to school for, make sure you follow your passion. This is the best path to self-fulfillment and a rewarding new career.

Categories: Lifestyle

Young adults are getting serious about money sooner than you think

Education - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - More evidence has emerged that parents are doing a better job teaching kids about money, and young adults are getting better at managing it.

For instance, the majority of millennials are investing for retirement by the age of 24, according to the Spring 2014 Merrill Edge Report. This is in sharp contrast to older generations who began investing for the future at an average age of 33. It shows that younger Americans are paying attention to money and learning lessons from the recession, but it also indicates that parents are doing more to teach these lessons early.

“Parents should add a money talk to their checklist of everything that needs to be done to set kids up for success this fall,” says Aron Levine, head of Preferred Banking and Merrill Edge for Bank of America. “We see young millennials taking money seriously, so if you’re a parent of younger kids it’s time to make money management a regular part of the parenting conversation.”

Money issues demand frequent conversation and teaching moments, and back-to-school season is the perfect time to explore financial lessons and encourage kids to benefit from the experience of others. There is no age limit for helping kids learn to manage money - teenagers and young children alike can become financially literate. Whether you have youngsters or college-bound kids, there are ways to teach your children how to manage money responsibly.

Here are tips for teenagers:

* Show your teen how to create a budget
Work with your kids on making a plan for spending an allowance or earnings from a job. By age 13 or 14, they may be thinking about buying a car or similar big purchase. That takes effort and smart planning.

* Introduce and explain investing
Investing smaller sums with limited consequences is a great way for kids to learn about managing risk. For 43 percent of Merrill Edge Report respondents, choosing among different investment products is the most complicated part of investing; starting early can help build a base of knowledge.

* Plan for college
Talk about the cost of college. Let your children know how much you can cover and how much they need to contribute. If you have established a savings plan, discuss how it works. Explain the difference between costs at a private and state school. Discuss loans options, and let them research scholarships.

* Create learning opportunities
If your kid is shocked by how much of their first paycheck goes to Uncle Sam, sit down and explain taxes, Medicare and Social Security. If your kid wants a bank account, show them how to balance a checkbook and track the account online. Consider bringing your kid along when you visit your financial advisor to establish a baseline understanding of the financial planning process.

Tips for younger kids:

* Teach budgeting
An allowance can be a great first step in showing your kids how to manage money. Consider giving money every week to young children, at two-week intervals for preteens and monthly for teenagers. Spreading out the timing helps children understand the need to set goals and manage spending.

* Show the value of saving
It’s natural for money to burn a hole in the pockets of young kids, but you can help them discover the benefits of delayed gratification. If there’s a toy they want, suggest they forgo spending on ice cream and instead save to make the bigger purchase.

* Let them earn extra
You probably expect your kids to do daily chores. Consider offering them the chance to make extra money by helping clean the garage, wash windows or taking on another job beyond the routine. Earning for extra work instills good habits and gives children more control over saving and spending.

* Introduce philanthropy
When kids are very young, they can understand charitable gifts. Talk about organizations they might like to support, then earmark part of their allowance for donations.

* Create learning opportunities
If your child spends an entire allowance right away, resist requests for more money before the next allowance is due. Negative consequences can carry powerful lessons. Talk with your child about how to do better next time.

Teaching money lessons early and reinforcing the messages as you go will help your children learn to avoid major money mistakes as adults. For additional resources you can also visit BetterMoneyHabits.com, a web site developed by Bank of America in partnership with education innovator Khan Academy with the goal of providing free, objective information to make it easier for everyone to understand the fundamentals of personal finance. With a little coaching from parents, kids of almost any age can learn how to make wise spending choices and become better prepared to live financially responsible lives later on.

Categories: Lifestyle

Allergy and asthma preparation: an important item on the back-to-school checklist

Education - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Sending children back to school comes with a long checklist of items to remember. For example, you need to know what school supplies to buy. You will want to visit the school to find the classroom and meet the teacher. You will also plan after-school activities full of fun enrichment opportunities. If you have a child with asthma or allergies going back to school this fall, you need another item on that list. Specifically, your checklist should also include connecting with the teachers, school nurse and other school staff about your child’s symptoms, treatment and prevention strategies.

One out of 13 children in the United States has a food allergy. This means there’s a good chance that two children in your child’s class will need plans in place to prevent exposure to certain foods. Some states have laws to protect children with asthma and allergies in a school setting. You can find out which states by visiting www.statehonorroll.org. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) publishes this report each year. It informs the public about how each state measures up on student health and safety policies. 

It is important that you prepare your child, his teacher, school nurse, classmates and others about managing his allergy or asthma condition at school. Discuss ways to prevent exposure to triggers to ensure his classroom environment is a safe zone where he can learn and play. Here are some helpful tips to consider:

 * Get an asthma or anaphylaxis action plan – This plan will inform staff at the school about managing your child’s condition, like worsening asthma and allergy reaction symptoms. Plan in advance to get your child’s doctor or nurse practitioner to review and sign the action plan. Make sure you bring it to school on the first day, if not sooner along with a fresh supply of any prescribed emergency medicines.

* Share a copy of the asthma or anaphylaxis action plan with all appropriate staff members – This way staff will be able to help should something happen while your child is in their care.

* Meet the teacher – Your child’s teacher has a lot to do at the beginning of a new school year. There are many new faces and a lot of information to process. In light of this, try to schedule a quieter time with the teacher, school nurse and other necessary school staff to educate them about your child’s allergies or asthma. It is best if this can be done before the first day of class. Many school districts have policies for handling food allergies. Review these policies and make sure that your child’s specific needs will be addressed. One helpful idea is to have the school draft a letter to be passed out to all students in the classroom or sent home to parents explaining what special policies will be in place.

* Encourage your child to share information – It is important for your child to be able to communicate about his condition to his classmates, friends and the teaching staff. Make sure he knows to tell a grown up if he is experiencing symptoms. Communication helps others become more aware of his condition. This leads to compassion and understanding and cooperation. People – even his closest friends – might forget about his allergy or asthma. An open dialogue is important to help others understand the condition. 

* Discuss medical emergency policies – Make sure your child’s school has procedures in place for identifying symptoms and for treatment of emergencies. Review these procedures with the school nurse. Make sure your child’s action plan is on file and that his medications are accessible. Your state will have laws governing what the school can and cannot do. For example, all states except one allow for students to self-carry their prescribed asthma inhalers or epinephrine auto-injectors. Epinephrine auto-injectors are used to treat anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction. Currently, 38 states allow schools to stock epinephrine auto-injectors for use in an emergency, but the numbers keep growing. Check out the 2014 State Honor Roll to see where your state stands regarding policies for children with asthma and allergies in school settings.

As your child prepares to start school again this fall, these actions can help ensure he, his classmates and the school staff are informed about ways to avoid triggering his allergies or asthma, and actions to take if his condition flares up. And then you can delete another item from the back-to-school to-do list.

Categories: Lifestyle

Must-have supplies for a successful year at college

Education - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - Packing up the bedroom and leaving for college comes with the promise of a semester of learning, meeting new friends and future peers, and good college fun.

In addition to the clothes and household goods that will be packed into the car, there are some other items every college-bound student will want. These include the technology gadgets that help students process all of their homework and class projects, as well as the snack foods and cleaning equipment they’ll need to survive the semester. Staples recommends every college student has the following must-have supplies in order to succeed this school year.

* Laptops – From taking class notes and writing term papers, to checking emails from friends and family back home, a laptop is essential for college survival. Staples offers a wide selection of laptops from Toshiba, HP and more to ensure every college student has the technology that is right for them.

* Textbooks – Start the semester right with all the textbooks you need before you even arrive on campus. Save up to 90 percent and rent your textbooks from Staples.com, and then have them shipped to your dorm or apartment address so they’re waiting for you when you arrive. Plus, it makes the end of the school year much easier to close down – just ship the rented books back to Staples, pack up your belongings and depart for your next adventure.

* Extra charging stations – College dorms and apartments are plugged in. Students have smartphones, laptops, tablets and plenty of other electrical devices that need charging. Stock up on charging stations and portable chargers so you can have them in the dorm room or in a laptop bag or backpack if you need extra power during class.

* Data storage – With so much of college learning occurring online now, backing up your computer data is essential. Extra storage like flash drives, external drives or cloud storage will help all students feel confident that the hard work they put into taking notes, writing papers and completing projects will never be lost. Extra storage also makes the work mobile, so classmates working on a group project can share the work between members of the group.

* Bluetooth speakers – Music, videos and online video chatting are all ways college students like to kick back and relax in between classes and homework studying sessions. Having a set of Bluetooth-enabled speakers in the dorm room or apartment gives students the quality of audio they want and need for listening to recorded lectures or checking out the latest music videos.

Visit a Staples store or go online to find these must-haves and more so you can have a successful year at college.

Categories: Lifestyle

Giving back to the everyday heroes who inspire you

Community Cares - Fri, 08/08/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - When you think of public servants or people who do heroic jobs, do you picture police officers, firefighters and soldiers? While all those people selflessly serve the public, they’re not the only everyday heroes whose jobs contribute to the greater good. The field of public service is broad, encompassing teachers, health care workers, law enforcement professionals and social workers.

Demand is high for caring, trained professionals to fill a growing number of jobs in public service fields. In fact, job opportunities are expected to grow 22 percent for social and human service assistants, 7 percent for firefighters, 6 percent for high school teachers and 5 percent for police officers and detectives, across the nation by 2022 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Some of the professionals to fill those jobs will come directly from colleges like Kaplan University, where first-time students will pursue coursework designed to specifically prepare them for public service careers. Others will be career changers, like Arthur Chapel and Melissa Bowermaster, who entered public service after enduring personal challenges and were inspired by the caring help of other public servants.

“I was in a bad place, and someone helped me,” says Arthur Chapel, who successfully completed substance-abuse treatment and then decided to change careers to become a counselor. “Now I give back by helping others who need it. I have the satisfying career I always wanted and I get up every day eager to go to work because I know I’m helping people who need it.”

“Working in law enforcement, I saw every day the caring of the human services people I came into contact with,” says Melissa Bowermaster, executive director of Citrus County Child Advocacy Center in Florida. Her interaction with these professionals, especially those who worked with children, inspired her to return to school to pursue a human services degree. After graduating from Kaplan University with a bachelor’s degree of science in human services, Bowermaster went to work advocating for children in need in Citrus County.

Chapel and Bowermaster aren’t alone in finding inspiration from the everyday heroism of public servants. Each day, these professionals have a positive effect on thousands of people across the country. In honor of Public Service Recognition Week, May 4 to 10, Kaplan University is inviting the public to salute the everyday heroes in their lives.

Post a photo and story of your everyday hero – police officer, firefighter, EMS, early childhood teacher, social worker or other – using the tag #PublicServiceStars through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Google+, and then register at the #PublicServiceStars Wall of Heroes. As a thanks for submitting your story, you’ll have the chance to make a difference in the lives of others. Kaplan University will make a $500 donation to the favorite charitable cause of one lucky participant.

To learn more about public service career opportunities, visit www.kaplanuniversity.edu or the Center for Public Service website.

Categories: Lifestyle

Giving back to the everyday heroes who inspire you

Business/Careers - Fri, 08/08/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - When you think of public servants or people who do heroic jobs, do you picture police officers, firefighters and soldiers? While all those people selflessly serve the public, they’re not the only everyday heroes whose jobs contribute to the greater good. The field of public service is broad, encompassing teachers, health care workers, law enforcement professionals and social workers.

Demand is high for caring, trained professionals to fill a growing number of jobs in public service fields. In fact, job opportunities are expected to grow 22 percent for social and human service assistants, 7 percent for firefighters, 6 percent for high school teachers and 5 percent for police officers and detectives, across the nation by 2022 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Some of the professionals to fill those jobs will come directly from colleges like Kaplan University, where first-time students will pursue coursework designed to specifically prepare them for public service careers. Others will be career changers, like Arthur Chapel and Melissa Bowermaster, who entered public service after enduring personal challenges and were inspired by the caring help of other public servants.

“I was in a bad place, and someone helped me,” says Arthur Chapel, who successfully completed substance-abuse treatment and then decided to change careers to become a counselor. “Now I give back by helping others who need it. I have the satisfying career I always wanted and I get up every day eager to go to work because I know I’m helping people who need it.”

“Working in law enforcement, I saw every day the caring of the human services people I came into contact with,” says Melissa Bowermaster, executive director of Citrus County Child Advocacy Center in Florida. Her interaction with these professionals, especially those who worked with children, inspired her to return to school to pursue a human services degree. After graduating from Kaplan University with a bachelor’s degree of science in human services, Bowermaster went to work advocating for children in need in Citrus County.

Chapel and Bowermaster aren’t alone in finding inspiration from the everyday heroism of public servants. Each day, these professionals have a positive effect on thousands of people across the country. In honor of Public Service Recognition Week, May 4 to 10, Kaplan University is inviting the public to salute the everyday heroes in their lives.

Post a photo and story of your everyday hero – police officer, firefighter, EMS, early childhood teacher, social worker or other – using the tag #PublicServiceStars through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Google+, and then register at the #PublicServiceStars Wall of Heroes. As a thanks for submitting your story, you’ll have the chance to make a difference in the lives of others. Kaplan University will make a $500 donation to the favorite charitable cause of one lucky participant.

To learn more about public service career opportunities, visit www.kaplanuniversity.edu or the Center for Public Service website.

Categories: Lifestyle
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