2 weeks ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on Couple Loans Cottage To Single Dad During Pandemic
Families around the globe have had to adjust to the stresses of the pandemic and it’s always comforting to hear of instances of people helping one another during this unprecedented time. When a single dad in England, Sam Smith, appeared on the BBC Breakfast Show to talk about what it’s like to be confined in a very small living area during the pandemic, Ken and Sheila Sims decided to help.
Everyone has faced challenges during the pandemic but many don’t realize there are families with children out there who are living in small spaces with little to no space to run around. Since lockdown began in England, Sam Smith, 6-year-old Lysander and 3-year-old Zenduel, have been confined to their one-bed apartment on the 15th floor of a high-rise in East London. During the interview, Smith described what it was like sometimes being confined in the apartment 23 hours a day with just 12 steps from one side of the main room to the other—and with local parks closed.
Ken and Sheila Sims were watching the interview from their home on the Devon coast. Ken grew up in a high-rise apartment building as a young boy, and felt especially saddened seeing the difficulties the Smiths were going through. Ken knew all too well the challenges of growing up in a small apartment but he didn’t have to live through a pandemic. Luckily, he knew just how to help and he wasted no time in offering the Smiths a week at their cottage on the English seaside so the family would have some space to play, explore and run.
Sam immediately said yes to the offer and he was touched by the kindness of strangers. “I can’t find the words… ” Sam said at the beach on his family’s Devon vacation. Motioning at the sky and water all around him, at his young sons making sandcastles, he exclaimed, “It’s beautiful!”
3 weeks ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on NJ Man Mows Lawns For Free To Help Seniors During Pandemic
With many unemployed during the pandemic, it’s uplifting to hear about those that have found a way to help others during this stressful time. Brian Schwartz, an advertising executive who lost his job due to the pandemic founded the nonprofit I Want To Mow Your Lawn to help seniors, veterans and the disabled with their lawn maintenance for free.
Schwartz started out small, covering areas in northern New Jersey but he has a vision of helping people on a scale beyond his own part of the country. While he is using his own knowledge to market this idea, he is looking for volunteers from all over to join his crusade. Schwartz welcomes any and all help ranging from kids in school up to professional landscapers.
Schwartz said “It may sound like a bumper sticker, but it’s true: it just feels good to help out, to do something tangible that people need done and can’t quite do themselves, something straight-forward and clean-cut as newly mowed grass. It really is helpful, it makes an immediate difference that people can see, and people are so appreciative because it is free, no strings, no small print, no paperwork at all. We come, we mow, we go.”
The volunteers are the backbone of this non-profit, some also found themselves out of work and looking for some way to give back to their community. Volunteers can have their own shareable profile URL, custom email alias and phone # extension. Any and all help is welcomed, ranging from kids in school up to professional landscapers.
There is no better feeling than helping out someone in need and kindness is contagious. Schwartz is looking to keep growing nationally. Volunteers must have their own landscaping equipment, be able to transport it and be willing to travel within a 5-10-15 mile radius. To volunteer or request free mowing services you can find more information at IWantToMowYourLawn.com or check out the Facebook page.
Schwartz refuses to accept payment or tips, and he says there’s no fine print to this good deed. “I believe in putting some good into the universe. I see what’s going on in the world, and I just want to help.” His decision to not wallow in the loss of his job in a grim job market and instead, find a way to help others is a testament to who he is. He has helped many in his area and given those that want to help those in their community a way to do so.
4 weeks ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on Texas Mom Starts GoFundMe For Man Who Saved Her Daughter
A family out of Texas is hoping to repay a California man who they say helped save their 10-year-old child after she was caught in a rip current. On August 15th, ten-year-old Hayley Whiting and her family were enjoying a day at the beach on the last day of their vacation. Hayley was playing in the waves when she got caught in a riptide and was quickly being pulled deeper out to sea.
Her mother Samantha tried swimming out to save her daughter “I had her on my back, but it was slowly taking both of us down.” The two started screaming for help, which is when Kevin Cozzi, who was at the beach with his fiance, came to the rescue. “I’ve been swimming since I was three years old competitively, so I felt like I could get to them. I ran out there and as soon as I got to the mom, I knew she was struggling,” Cozzi said. Cozzi was able to reach Haylee and brought her closer to shore until a lifeguard jumped in.
After the heroic rescue, the parted ways. Months went by and Samantha only knew Cozzi’s first name and that he lived in Merced but she never stopped looking for the heroic bystander. It was only when she posted about the rescue in a local California Facebook group called Merced Neighborhood Watch that the two were reconnected within hours. Samantha set up a GoFundMe account and is now working to raise $50,000 to give Cozzi and his fiancé their dream wedding.
Cozzi and his fiancée had to postpone their wedding because of the coronavirus pandemic, so the Whitings decided to launch the GoFundMe to help them. So far, they are halfway there in just over a week. He is thankful for their fundraiser, but told ABC30, “That girl being saved was enough for me.”
Samantha and Haylee are grateful for Cozzi and plan to thank him again in person as they attend his wedding next fall. “If it wasn’t for him risking his life in such a selfless act, I would have lost not only my own life but my baby girl,” Samantha wrote on the fundraiser. “I want to raise money for Kevin and his fiancé to have their dream wedding and honeymoon… Lord knows he deserves so much more than this.” Hayley has one message for her rescuer. “Thank you so much and you were really brave to come out there,” she told KFSN. “He’s probably one of the biggest heroes I’ve ever met.” Cozzi happened to be in the right place at the right time to help the Whiting’s avoid tragedy and now their efforts along with the kindness of strangers is helping pay forward his bravery.
1 month ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on Recovered Addict Donates Kidney To Officer Who Arrested Her 8 Years Ago
Los Angeles woman, Jocelynn James-a recovered drug addict, donated one of her kidneys to save the life of Officer Terrell Potter, who had arrested her nearly a decade ago. James said Potter saved her life by arresting her and leading her to turn her life around. Potter learned that his kidney was only functioning at 5% last November. Doctors told Potter that he would face a 7 to 8 year waiting period for a kidney.
Potter said they began praying and looking all over the Southeast, little did he know the perfect match was just two miles away. “If you asked me 100 names of who may give me a kidney, her name would have not been on the list,” Potter said. “It’s just unbelievable that she was willing to do that.”
After scrolling on her phone on Facebook, James learned that Potter needed a kidney. After a series of hospital tests, James learned that they were a perfect match. On July 21, Potter received a successful kidney transplant. “All the numbers were great. It started working from the time it was put in,” Potter said. Potter now considers James like another daughter. “It’s made a great relationship and a bond between us that can go forever. There’s no doubt about that,” Potter said. “Her giving me a kidney, it extended my life.
No one knew that when their paths crossed several times between 2007 and 2012, that they would end up saving each other’s lives. Jocelynn fell into opioid addiction after being prescribed pain medication. James was arrested 16 times for theft and drug charges, landing a spot on the Franklin County’s Most Wanted List. It was a time she describes as being in a very dark place and not knowing if she would survive. “I was just living a really bad life, doing a lot of really bad things that I had no business doing and I was just a really lost person,” James said.
Terrell Potter, a former officer with Phil Campbell Police Department, said James was going through a difficult place in her life. “She was out running crazy, stealing and doing drugs and things she shouldn’t be doing,” Potter said. “I locked her up a couple of times.”
James said she reached a point where she lost all she had and finally decided she wanted help. She turned herself in to local law enforcement and was incarcerated and in rehab for a year. It was then that she was finally able to get her life straightened out, and on Nov. 5, she will celebrate eight years being sober. “I was sick of living that life, and I wanted to do something different,” James said.
James currently runs a non-profit organization called The Place of Grace, where she helps get women treatment. “I want people to realize that there is help out there for them,” James said. “It doesn’t matter what happens in your life. You can always turn it around.” She also has an active jail ministry at the Franklin County Jail in Franklin County, Alabama that she started 5 years ago.
1 month ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on Fourteen Year Old Named America’s Top Young Scientist For Work On Potential Covid 19 Cure
A 14-year-old girl from Texas has discovered a molecule that can selectively bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2. Eighth grader Anika Chebrolu has been named the winner of the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge—America’s premier middle school science competition. She received a $25,000 gift for her award-winning work and a one-of-a-kind 2 day/1-night destination trip.
The Young Scientist Challenge is a youth science and engineering competition administered by Discovery Education and 3M for middle school students in the United States. Students apply by creating a 1-2 minute video detailing their idea for a new invention intended to solve an everyday problem. Ten finalists are chosen annually to work alongside a 3M scientist during a summer mentorship and receive a trip to the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, to compete for $25,000 and the title of America’s Top Young Scientist.
Anika’s winning invention uses in-silico methodology to discover a lead molecule that can selectively bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Binding and inhibiting this viral protein would potentially stop the virus entry into the cell, creating a viable drug target. As part of her research, Anika screened millions of small molecules for drug-likeness properties, ADMET properties, and binding affinities against the spike protein using numerous software tools. The one molecule with the best pharmacological and biological activity towards the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was chosen as the lead molecule that can be a potential drug for the effective treatment of COVID-19.
Initially, her goal was to use in-silico methods to identify a lead compound that could bind to a protein of the influenza virus. She was inspired to find potential cures to viruses after learning about the 1918 flu pandemic and finding out how many people die every year in the United States despite annual vaccinations and anti-influenza drugs on the market.
“After spending so much time researching about pandemics, viruses and drug discovery, it was crazy to think that I was actually living through something like this,” Anika said. “Because of the immense severity of the Covid-19 pandemic and the drastic impact it had made on the world in such a short time, I, with the help of my mentor, Dr. Mahfuza Ali, changed directions to target the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”
Anika said winning the prize and title of top young scientist is an honor, but her work isn’t done. Her next goal, she says, is to work alongside scientists and researchers who are fighting to “control the morbidity and mortality” of the pandemic by developing her findings into an actual cure for the virus. Chebrolu also received the “Improving Lives Award,” according to a release from Frisco ISD.
“I am extremely humbled at being selected America’s Top Young Scientist as all of the finalists had amazing projects and were extremely well-rounded individuals,” Anika said in the Frisco release. “Science is the basis of life and the entire universe and we have a long way to go to understand it fully.” While she hopes to be a medical researcher and professor in the future, she is already doing grown-up work and inspiring a generation to reach for the stars.
1 month ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on Mazda To Gift Fifty 100th Anniversary Edition Miatas to Hometown Heroes
Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) is giving away the 100th Anniversary Special Edition Mazda MX-5 Miata cars to 50 hometown heroes who have made a lasting impact on their respective communities. MNAO’s “Mazda Heroes-Honoring the Human Spirit spotlights first responders and others across the country who have selflessly uplifted those around them throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Mazda is taking submissions now through October 25.
To nominate someone you know, visit the Mazda Heroes website, where you’ll be asked to make a short 1 minute video explaining how your nominee has selflessly uplifted the community. Upload the video to YouTube and set it to public or unlisted. Complete the entry form and provide a link to the video to enter. Mazda will choose the 50 most outstanding examples and the honorees will be announced starting Dec. 2. All nominees must be 18 years or older.
“From teachers going the extra mile to enhance distance learning, to community activists sourcing PPE for others, there are countless examples of people across the country going above and beyond to support others without expecting anything in return. Mazda wants to honor these important acts of kindness, resilience and empathy,” Mazda’s announcement said.
In April, the car maker launched their Essential Car Care Program to give free oil changes and car cleaning to healthcare workers across the U.S. The program ran from April through June 2020. Throughout the initiative their dealers and employees were grateful to be a part of giving back to those selflessly giving back every day. The feedback that received inspired them to develop the Mazda Heroes program, which will honor individuals supporting communities and share their stories in a moment when people desire inspiration in their lives. Mazda North America President Jeff Guyton said he hopes the Miata giveaway will lift spirits during a time when good news seems scarce.
“We had hoped this time would be filled with moments of celebration and appreciation for our fans, employees and partners for the 100th Year Anniversary. But given the many tragic events of 2020, we decided to express, in another way, our brand’s unique heritage of trying to make things better” he said. “Mazda is looking for people who have demonstrated “selfless acts, creative approaches, and contributions to community.”
The Miata 100th Anniversary Special Edition features many cosmetic upgrades including a white paint job paired with red accents, including a red interior. Special badging can be found on the front fenders, key fob, floor mats, and headrests. Normally, starting prices for this special edition are a good deal higher than the top Grand Touring trim. Buyers can choose between a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic, as well as the soft top and RF variants.
2 months ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on Dreamweaver Foundation Donates Facebook Portals to Hundreds of Omaha Seniors
Seniors who are social distancing to stay healthy during the pandemic are now gaining much-needed companionship, thanks to the Dreamweaver Foundation which has provided ultra-loud, easy-to-use devices that connect them directly to loved ones using Facebook Portals. Most seniors who received a Portal were connected to loved ones with a clear picture and sound for the first time in months and the grateful reactions have ranged from “tears of joy” to an overwhelming sense of relief.
Founded in 2012, the eight-year-old nonprofit organization usually grants wishes to seniors with chronic or terminal illnesses, like hot-air balloon rides or race car driving. “We still wanted to serve seniors in a special way” said Cheri Mastny, Dreamweaver Foundation executive director. “Many families had been resorting to window visits or calls on smartphones which can be both expensive and difficult for seniors to operate.”
Staying connected has been difficult for everyone during the pandemic, but especially for seniors. The Dreamweaver Foundation’s donations are changing that for hundreds of seniors in the greater Omaha area. “It looks like an 8×10 picture frame,” Mastny said. “The apps come on it and they are super large, so it is very easy to touch, easy to use. It has a big speaker-subwoofer in the back, so the sound that is produced from the Facebook portal makes it easy for someone that is hard of hearing.”
With a Portal, the buttons are super large, so it’s very easy to touch and use. It has a big subwoofer speaker in the back, so the sound is much better for someone who is hard of hearing. Calls can be made seamlessly to and from smartphones and tablets. Staff and families have continued to see the positive impact on seniors that have received Portals. The portals are giving seniors back their independence and family time.
Since seniors began using them, Dreamweaver has been overwhelmed with requests for more, so they launched a fundraising campaign to purchase more of the Portals. The CONNECTING HOPE CAMPAIGN hopes to continue to spread joy to seniors. They are trying to make Portals possible for seniors and their families to create shared memories, despite the distance. Each Portal is $179 and is purchased through donations.
There are other ways to help by making lower donations which help the “Dream Team” deliver tubs full of fun to care facilities during the pandemic. Playing cards, coloring books, crayons, nail polish, building blocks, board games and more have been delivered throughout the pandemic. The organization is also asking for volunteers who can send postcards, make phone calls and letters of love to seniors.
Their mission is made possible with the help and dedication of Dreamweaver Volunteers and they are always looking for more volunteers. You can make a dream come true and enrich the life of a senior in our community simply by giving of your time. Opportunities to volunteer may include being a Greeter, Personal Shopper, Fundraiser, or Dream Maker. The Dreamweaver organization trains all volunteers to provide the best experience possible. Due to their work involving seniors and sensitive information, they require all potential volunteers to complete orientation and training as well as pass a background check.
3 months ago ·
by Health Insurance 4 Everyone ·
Comments Off on Chrissy Teigen Buys Teachers’ Amazon Wishlists, Inspires Others To Help
As school is starting for many across the country, Chrissy Teigen has generously bought entire school supply wish lists for many teachers. Chrissy Teigen, who is home schooling her daughter Luna, called on teachers to send her their wish lists so she buy them. “If you are a teacher in need of supplies for the upcoming school year, please drop your amazon wishlist here, I will do as many as I can!” she tweeted. Teigen’s tweet received over 5,000 replies, with many of her followers also chipping in to fund supplies.
The response was overwhelming. Teachers, as well as their friends and family, all reached out to take Teigen up on her generous offer. “Today I cleared 50 entire lists and countless extra items were purchased from lovely people just passing through,” Teigen subsequently posted. “Will do more this week and would love to focus on struggling districts and special needs. Please keep posting in this thread!”
While teachers have traditionally purchased classroom supplies that school budgets don’t cover, COVID-19 has totally changed the landscape of education. Virtual classrooms or hybrid learning that combines at-home and onsite classes have become the new normal. Although the fundamental educational supplies and equipment needed to meet these changes continue to evolve as we feel our way through the pandemic by trial and error, teachers are still the ones who must often pick up the slack.
The generousness, while wonderful to see, highlights that teachers are regularly forced to resort to crowdfunding their basic classroom needs or more likely, paying out of their own pockets, a fact that Teigen herself alluded to. As teachers head back to their classrooms, their shopping lists are stocked with items that aren’t just for arts and crafts. They now need hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes and air purifiers—just to keep themselves and their students safe in what is sure to be one of the most challenging school years any of them have ever experience.
These last few months have given so many a window into how hard teaching is. It’s certainly not going to get any easier now that so many teachers will be facing tasks like keeping their kids socially distanced, helping with masks and hand washing, or teaching a class where some students are in the room and others are joining remotely. Many people were inspired by Teigen’s post and also began purchasing items from Amazon Wishlists posted. Making sure they have everything they need is the least we can do— and if you have the means to help, there are plenty more wish-lists to be found in the thread.
4 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on Protests Over Eviction Proceedings Spread Across US
Housing activists across the country are demanding local protections against evictions during the pandemic. Many states have faced criticism for resuming evictions as millions of people are still out of work, many who still have children at home until the school year starts. Many companies have closed their doors indefinitely, taking jobs with them across the US. While some states and counties issued eviction moratoriums, they have expired and thousands face homelessness.
In New Orleans, members of the Renters Rights Assembly surrounded a courthouse that handles evictions, chaining themselves together under a banner reading “Evictions = Death,” and blocking several landlords from entering the building. In Maryland, more than 100 protesters marched through Mayor Tom Barrett’s neighborhood demanding a moratorium on evictions and other forms of housing protections. Beyond standard legal protections, tenants in Maryland have an extra layer of protection against eviction during the pandemic: an executive order from Governor Larry Hogan prohibits eviction so long as the state remains under the state of emergency — and so long as the tenants can prove that their income has been significantly impacted by COVID-19. A second layer of protection, a pause on eviction-related hearings in Maryland courts, expired on July 25.
In Missouri, protests brought proceedings to a halt at a Kansas City eviction court. All spring KC Tenants demanded relief for Kansas City renters left vulnerable by the coronavirus pandemic. They organized — virtually and in person — to shut down the state eviction court proceedings at the Jackson County Courthouse. KC Tenants leaders pledged to keep shutting down the eviction docket until they see action to protect vulnerable residents. “If our so-called leaders continue to lead our tenants into death digitally, online, via phone or even in person, we are going to continue to shut it down until we get what we want,” Mason Andrew Kilpatrick said in front of the courthouse. In St. Louis, protestors gather outside city hall for an “anti-eviction rally” heavily criticizing the court’s decision to restart evictions. “People aren’t working. People don’t have money,” said Sarah Watkins, a rally organizer with Action STL. “People haven’t paid rent since the pandemic began in April. People will be on the street.”
In Milwaukee, a march was organized by the Milwaukee Autonomous Tenants Union to demand help for the many families still out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide ban on evictions expired two months ago and now, between 150 and 170 people are being evicted from their homes in Milwaukee every week. The state ($25 million), Milwaukee County ($10 million) and City of Milwaukee ($15 million) have poured millions into rental assistance programs, but advocates say vulnerable tenants need added protections. “The rental assistance is good, but it’s not enough,” said protest organizer Robert Penner. “It’s very slow, the systems are backlogged, and they’re over-saturated with cases. A lot of people lose their home before they can even get in contact” with such programs, he said.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a second round of $15 million in rental assistance for people financially struggling during the COVID-19 recession Friday, one day after he declined to support a city-mandated eviction grace period for tenants to catch up on past-due payments. More than 3 million Texans have applied for unemployment benefits since the pandemic began. They have also relied on federal benefits from a congressional pandemic relief package, eviction moratoriums and rent assistance programs to remain housed.
4 months ago ·
by HealthInsurance4Everyone ·
Comments Off on 4 Border Patrol Agents Fired, Dozens Suspended After Racist Facebook Posts
More than a year after launching an internal investigation into 138 employees for “inappropriate social media activity,” Customs and Border Protection — the parent agency of the Border Patrol — has removed four employees, suspended 38 without pay and disciplined an additional 27 with reprimands or counseling. Investigators from Customs and Border Protection‘s Office of Professional Responsibility determined that 63 of the cases — roughly half — were “unsubstantiated.” Six cases remain open, and the Homeland Security Department‘s inspector general is also investigating.
The office began looking into more than 60 current employees and eight former staff following reports of a secret Facebook group in which members used dehumanizing and derogatory language regarding Latina members of Congress and deceased migrants. The existence of the group, known as “I’m 10-15,” the code used by Border Patrol for migrants in custody, at one point had 9,500 members and was created in August 2016. The probe, which is not criminal, ultimately doubled the number of individuals under investigation, and included several additional private social media groups.
Most of the cases deemed unsubstantiated involved personnel who reported themselves or others as part of the groups and provided information to investigators, but whose history showed they’d never posted or been active in them. At the start of the investigation, Matthew Klein, assistant commissioner of the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility, emphasized that the privacy of the social media groups does not protect current or former employees from disciplinary action.
Members of the secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents joked about the deaths of migrants and discussed throwing burritos at Latino members of Congress visiting a detention facility while referring to them as scum buckets. In one post, a photoshopped image depicted Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez being sexually assaulted by President Trump. In another thread, members of the group made fun of a video of an immigrant man trying to carry a child through a raging river in a plastic bag. One group member commented, “At least it’s already in a trash bag.”
In one exchange, group members responded with indifference and wisecracks to the post of a news story about a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant who died in May while in custody at a Border Patrol station in Weslaco, Texas. One member posted a GIF of Elmo with the quote, “Oh well.” Another responded with an image and the words “If he dies, he dies.”
Rep. Veronica Escobar, who said on Twitter she was “one of the Latina members of Congress targeted by the hateful attacks,” but she had not received information about the investigation from Customs and Border Protection. Rep. Joaquín Castro, the head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, reviewed the Facebook discussions and was incensed. “It confirms some of the worst criticisms of Customs and Border Protection,” said Castro. “These are clearly agents who are desensitized to the point of being dangerous to migrants and their co-workers.” He added that the agents who made the vulgar comments “don’t deserve to wear any uniform representing the United States of America.”