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Exciting STEM careers and opportunities aplenty in the Navy

Education - 5 hours 29 min ago

(BPT) - There’s a big push for students to excel in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and for good reason. The careers available to students pursuing degrees in these areas present students with plenty of exciting and challenging opportunities. What you might not realize is how many of those opportunities exist in the Navy.

The Navy is looking for intelligent students with critical thinking skills who are interested in careers that involve working on the world’s most-advance weapons systems, developing the next generation of medical technology, or a number of other fields of STEM study. It is estimated more than 1 million STEM jobs will be created by 2020, creating a great need in the market for qualified employees.

For these reasons, talented, committed individuals with a STEM education will be needed to maintain the U.S. as a world technology leader. The U.S. Navy is partnering with organizations across the U.S. to help promote an interest in STEM subjects among elementary to college-level students. The Navy STEM for the Classroom tool is available for teachers and students, providing lesson plans and interactive tools to increase learning in these subjects.

One program incorporating STEM subject learning with real-world experiences is the Oceanography and Meteorology lesson, which provides students and teachers in the classroom tools to learn, study and measure the principles of oceanography like waves, tides and currents. Once they understand how these principles affect ocean navigation, students will be able to pursue other exciting opportunities like a hands-on search-and-rescue scenario.

The Navy also offers the Navy Proving Grounds widget, which is an interactive tool for students to test their minds in diving missions, flight school or at-sea trials.

Students with a background in STEM courses have the opportunity in the Navy to work with some of the most awe-inspiring ships, submarines, aircraft and communications systems, develop unmanned vehicles and robotics that keep people out of harm’s way, and pioneer advances in everything from nuclear propulsion to biofuels or medical research. A STEM-related career in the Navy provides almost limitless possibilities for leadership and relevant experience.

Joining the Navy allows students interested in STEM subjects to continue their learning with ongoing development opportunities during nearly all stages of their career. These opportunities include:

* Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) scholarship program with up to $180,000 available for college.

* Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program, which offers up to $168,300 for students who finish a degree in math, engineering, physics or chemistry, and allows them to begin the process to become a commissioned Navy Nuclear Officer.

* Civil Engineer Collegiate Program giving students pursuing civil engineering degrees the opportunity to pursue projects around the world right out of college. This program also offers up to $113,100 while finishing a college degree.

For more information about opportunities to serve in the Navy, call 866-408-1241 or visit navy.com.

Categories: Lifestyle

The growing burden of diabetes

Community Cares - 5 hours 29 min ago

(BPT) - Next time you're looking around in a crowd, there is something you won't see that will be there - Type 2 diabetes. Most Americans have heard of the condition, but very few understand just how prevalent it has become across the nation. In fact, Type 2 diabetes affects at least one in every 10 Americans. That’s about 9.3 percent of the population or 29.1 million people and a dramatic increase from 2010 when 25.8 million people, or 8.3 percent, were living with diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If this growing health problem isn’t addressed, the CDC estimates it will affect one in every three Americans by 2050.

Diabetes also affects loved ones and places an unsustainable burden on the health care system. With current medical costs at $176 billion annually as reported by the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes have, on average, 2.3 times higher medical expenditures. Factor in the $69 billion in indirect costs – disability, work loss, premature death – and you can understand the substantial burden diabetes represents in this country. Diabetes remains the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Many of those who die are vulnerable because they are low-income, uninsured or under-insured individuals with limited access to quality health care. 

What’s being done?

Initiatives like the Alliance to Reduce Disparities in Diabetes, supported by the Merck Foundation, are helping tackle this problem. The Alliance works to improve the delivery and quality of care for people most affected by the disease. Working with national, regional and community partners, the Alliance is implementing programs to educate the public about diabetes prevention and teach people living with diabetes how to manage their condition and take charge of their health. Programs include diabetes management classes, home visits and cultural awareness/communication training for health care providers as well as innovative health care system changes to ensure that programs are sustained over time.

The Alliance is delivering hope to people with diabetes across the country with program sites in Camden, New Jersey; Chicago; Dallas; Memphis, Tennessee; and the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. People with diabetes who are enrolled in the Camden program have already seen a substantial reduction in the number of preventable hospital and emergency room visits. Patients enrolled across all five sites have also shown a decrease in blood sugar – an important step in preventing complications from diabetes. If similar programs were established across the country, cost savings could be considerable.

Know your risk

As the saying goes, you can’t manage what you don’t measure - so understanding your risk of diabetes is half the battle. Type 2 diabetes can affect people of any age in any region, but certain ethnic groups are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease than others.

In particular, African Americans are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic whites and more likely to experience complications. Diabetes is more prevalent among Hispanic populations as well. On average, Hispanics are 1.7 times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites. Native Americans and Alaska Native adults are also twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic white adults.

While many vulnerable, underserved populations are at increased risk of diabetes, there is hope. Diabetes is a serious condition, but one that can be effectively managed by medication adherence, proper diet and exercise and receiving more coordinated health care. Initiatives like the Alliance are working to close gaps in access and improve the quality of health care for vulnerable populations. To learn more about diabetes and the work of the Alliance, visit the Alliance to Reduce Disparities in Diabetes website at http://ardd.sph.umich.edu

Simple tips to lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes
It is essential to seek advice from a medical professional if you feel you may be at risk for Type 2 diabetes. However, these steps presented in The Nutrition Source by the Harvard School of Public Health, may lower your chances of being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes:

* Stop smoking

* Lose excess weight

* Exercise for 30 minutes each day

* Eat healthy foods and limit excess sugar and processed meats

Categories: Lifestyle

Exciting STEM careers and opportunities aplenty in the Navy

Business/Careers - 5 hours 29 min ago

(BPT) - There’s a big push for students to excel in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and for good reason. The careers available to students pursuing degrees in these areas present students with plenty of exciting and challenging opportunities. What you might not realize is how many of those opportunities exist in the Navy.

The Navy is looking for intelligent students with critical thinking skills who are interested in careers that involve working on the world’s most-advance weapons systems, developing the next generation of medical technology, or a number of other fields of STEM study. It is estimated more than 1 million STEM jobs will be created by 2020, creating a great need in the market for qualified employees.

For these reasons, talented, committed individuals with a STEM education will be needed to maintain the U.S. as a world technology leader. The U.S. Navy is partnering with organizations across the U.S. to help promote an interest in STEM subjects among elementary to college-level students. The Navy STEM for the Classroom tool is available for teachers and students, providing lesson plans and interactive tools to increase learning in these subjects.

One program incorporating STEM subject learning with real-world experiences is the Oceanography and Meteorology lesson, which provides students and teachers in the classroom tools to learn, study and measure the principles of oceanography like waves, tides and currents. Once they understand how these principles affect ocean navigation, students will be able to pursue other exciting opportunities like a hands-on search-and-rescue scenario.

The Navy also offers the Navy Proving Grounds widget, which is an interactive tool for students to test their minds in diving missions, flight school or at-sea trials.

Students with a background in STEM courses have the opportunity in the Navy to work with some of the most awe-inspiring ships, submarines, aircraft and communications systems, develop unmanned vehicles and robotics that keep people out of harm’s way, and pioneer advances in everything from nuclear propulsion to biofuels or medical research. A STEM-related career in the Navy provides almost limitless possibilities for leadership and relevant experience.

Joining the Navy allows students interested in STEM subjects to continue their learning with ongoing development opportunities during nearly all stages of their career. These opportunities include:

* Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) scholarship program with up to $180,000 available for college.

* Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program, which offers up to $168,300 for students who finish a degree in math, engineering, physics or chemistry, and allows them to begin the process to become a commissioned Navy Nuclear Officer.

* Civil Engineer Collegiate Program giving students pursuing civil engineering degrees the opportunity to pursue projects around the world right out of college. This program also offers up to $113,100 while finishing a college degree.

For more information about opportunities to serve in the Navy, call 866-408-1241 or visit navy.com.

Categories: Lifestyle

5 secrets to keeping your sanity this school year

Education - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - The summer months are over and the school year is in full swing. As a parent, this means you’ve traded those lazy summer days for school sports and activities, colder temperatures and the morning rush to the bus stop. If you feel like your home’s organization is hanging on by a thread, take heart; there are some simple things you can do to return order and make the rest of your school year run smoothly. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

* Take the hectic out of those hectic mornings. Let’s be honest, the mornings are pure chaos. There’s breakfast to prepare, school supplies to collect and outfits to pick out. It’s a whirlwind. However, you can return some sanity to your mornings by accomplishing some simple tasks the night before. Before they go to bed, have your children pick out their school outfit for the following day and pack their backpacks – this will reduce the risk of forgetting something.

* Make snacking simple. Snacking is a mainstay for families on the run. Whether it’s an addition to a lunchbox, an option for an after school snack or something to eat at halftime, your kids’ snacks need to be simple. Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps Minis are the perfect choice for kids on the move. Pair them with nuts, dried fruit and chocolate for a delicious snack mix, or serve them individually when you’re on the go. Available in Original and Cheddar flavors, and at just 110 calories per serving, Pretzel Crisps Minis are a better option for your children than greasy potato chips.

* Create a homework station. As a parent, nothing is more frustrating than learning your child received a failing grade simply because they lost their assignment. Keep your home organized and your child’s assignments accounted for by creating a designated homework area in your home. A space in your office, a desk in the kitchen or a spot at the dining room table works great. You can even add a calendar to help your students keep track of the due dates for larger projects.

* Adjust the bathroom routine. Of all the routines that create morning chaos, the battle for the bathroom is king. Simply put, this space is a one-at-a-time area, and if you have more kids than bathrooms, tension will arise. You can circumvent this by putting some of your children – or even yourself – on the evening shift when it comes to showers. Small children or children who require less mirror time in the morning are the logical choice, but you may want to set up a rotating schedule to keep the peace.

* Have a plan. If you have multiple kids in multiple activities, it can be impossible to keep track of who needs to be where and when, so don’t try. When your child joins a new activity, ask to see the schedule and instantly add the appropriate dates and times to your calendar. Don’t rely on your kids to remember when they need to be somewhere; they won’t remember until they are already 15 minutes late. You simply don’t need the headache.

The school year is a far cry from those relaxing days of summer, but you don’t have to let the crazy control your life. Institute these simple changes to maintain some order, and you’ll reach the following summer with a smile on your face and your sanity intact.

Categories: Lifestyle

Catch a glimpse of fall colors on these awesome off-road trails

Automotive - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 12:00am

(BPT) - The fall months are a great time for families to enjoy the great outdoors with the changing of colors and much cooler temperatures. If you don’t already have a fall escape weekend planned, you might want to consider scheduling one soon.

Interest in outdoor adventures is on the rise, especially for women, with more than 80 percent of women surveyed by Polaris considering themselves adventurous.

There’s no better way to experience the vibrancy of fall but to immerse yourself and the family in the brilliance, and an off-road vehicle provides a front-seat view. For family members of all abilities who want to drive their own off-road vehicle on the trails, the single-seat Polaris ACE is designed with the comfort and capability people want in an ATV, but with the security of a UTV for additional confidence when riding the trail. The high-backed, adjustable bucket seat is combined with an adjustable steering wheel to ensure the ride is about experiencing the outdoors in comfort.

If you’re interested in seeing some of the best colors America has to offer, check out these off-road trails designed to showcase vibrant reds, shimmering golds and deep purples that will have you catching your breath in awe of the beauty.

Copper Harbor, Michigan – This small town was given the best of Mother Nature’s talents overlooking Lake Superior. The drive to the tip of the Upper Peninsula is long, but Cooper Harbor provides an extensive system of off-road trails running along the lake’s shoreline. Keep in mind, fall colors change earlier in the UP along the shore, so consider planning your fall trip for around the first weekend in October.

Rock Run Recreation Area, Patton, Pennsylvania – The Allegheny Mountains combine a beautiful combination of oak, cherry, yellow poplar, ash and maple trees for a colorful fall blend that starts around the last week of September and peaks around the second week of October. Rock Run has 140 miles of trails to keep your family entertained for a long weekend, and you can easily find a camping spot in the three campgrounds spread around the recreation area.

Paiute Trail, South Central Utah – As the largest trail system in the nation, this is an opportunity your family can’t pass up, especially if you want to see some gorgeous fall colors. Many of the trails weave their way through Fishlake National Forest, which has a blend of deep green coniferous trees mixed in with the colorful orange and gold hues of aspens. The trail system is so extensive, your family will always be looking around the next corner from your Polaris ACE to capture a glimpse of new canyon, lake, scenic overlook or quiet valley.

Hatfield-McCoy Trails, West Virginia – With 700 trails ranging from easy to the most difficult, your family will have plenty of opportunity to enjoy the off-road riding, the scenery of the mountains in Southern West Virginia and spend some quality time together. There is no camping allowed on the trail system, but there are plenty of bed and breakfasts, cabins and campgrounds, as well as hotels and rental homes scattered throughout the six counties the trails cross. The second and third week in October tend to offer peak fall colors, so be sure to book your lodging early for your family excursion.

Clark and Jackson Counties, Wisconsin – With 227 miles of ATV and UTV trails available in these two counties, your family will have no difficulty filling a long fall weekend with fun and sightseeing. Clark and Jackson counties are known for their beautiful rolling hills, wandering streams and plentiful wildlife. Oaks, maples, birch and pine trees are common, providing a beautiful backdrop of color along the trails.

These are just a few of the many off-road trail options scattered across the country. Start planning a fun, mini fall vacation for your family to experience the colors in a whole new way, from the seat of an off-road vehicle.  With two power options, 32 and 45 horsepower, the Polaris ACE provides just enough power for beginners and a spirited ride for the more advanced rider ensuring a fall colors experience like no other.

Categories: Lifestyle

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

Automotive - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 12:00am

(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
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