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Monthly Archives: December 2015

Karam Foundation Launches “Sponsor A Syrian Refugee Family” Program To Build Syria’s Future Through Education

New initiative helps provide hope for Syrian families this holiday season

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CHICAGO, IL/REYHANLI, TURKEYThey are the young faces of the Syrian refugee crisis you hardly ever see, their fates forgotten amid a backdrop of an escalating war with no end in sight. Yasmeen, a 10-year old Syrian refugee, works at a local hair salon, sweeping floors for hair clippings to support her family. Her brothers, Haithem (11) and Khaled (14), collect scrap metal with their bare hands while their mother stays at home to care for their father, who is still suffering from an injury sustained in the Syrian conflict. Although Yasmeen’s family came to Reyhanli, the border city of Turkey a year ago, they have not attended school since the violence took hold in their hometown, Idlib, Syria in 2011. Thanks to Karam Foundation’s new initiative, “Sponsor a Syrian Refugee Family” program, Yasmeen and her brothers were recently able to quit their jobs and return to school for the first time in four years.

Sponsor a Syrian Refugee Family” launched by Karam Foundation in November 2015, aims to lift urban refugee families in Reyhanli out of poverty while providing a secure future through education. Refugee families, individually vetted by the Karam Foundation, receive a monthly stipend of $150 to $300 from the aid program on the condition that their children register and regularly attend school. Currently, the program is supporting 26 Syrian refugee families and 56 children, who have already enrolled in school.

Yasmeen and her brothers are just one of more than 400,000 Syrian refugee children living in Turkey, who are out of school due to extreme poverty. Although Turkish Government offers all registered Syrian refugees access to the public school system, many Syrian children join the illegal labor market to support their family or stay home to take care of their injured parents. These children are often employed in harmful working conditions, leaving them at risk for injury and exploitation.

“Our goal is to provide high-impact, community-driven and sustainable aid to those who need it the most in this refugee crisis – the children. ‘Sponsor a Syrian Refugee Family’ program delivers immediate aid to impoverished families while helping to build their children’s future,” said Lina Sergie Attar, co-founder and CEO of Karam Foundation, who strongly believes in the importance of educating refugee children. “We witnessed firsthand how Syrian refugee lives change dramatically for the better by being part of our program. Children are happier and parents are finally able to have a sense of stability. This holiday season with a contribution as low as $50 a month our donors can give a refugee family security for today and tomorrow.”

The foundation provides a unique opportunity to change refugee families’ lives with a long-lasting impact through a transparent aid program. Potential donors have the option to choose the family they would like to support from profiles of children featured on Karam Foundation’s website. Donors also receive periodic updates on the progress of the families they are sponsoring and can stay connected with them throughout the year. For more information, please visit www.karamfoundation.org or @KaramFoundation on twitter.

Carnival Cruise Line Builds World’s Largest Cruise Ship Made of Canned Food At Monday’s New Orleans Saints Game

More Than 17,000 Cans of Food Used to Build Structure to be Donated to New Orleans’ Second Harvest Food Bank to Feed the Hungry During the Holidays

MIAMI (December 21, 2015) – Carnival Cruise Line capped off a Holiday Food & Fund drive in New Orleans benefiting the Second Harvest Food Bank by constructing the world’s largest cruise ship made of canned food which was displayed on Monday at the New Orleans Saints game.

Carnival is the “Official Cruise Line of the New Orleans Saints” and the 30-foot-long cruise ship built from more than 17,000 cans of food was the culmination of a Holiday Food & Fund drive involving New Orleans-area schools that was sponsored by Carnival and the NFL franchise.

The can structure was built in consultation with the New Orleans chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and required more than 100 volunteers who expertly positioned the cans – one at a time – to create a reproduction of a Carnival cruise ship featuring such design elements as the line’s signature winged funnel, running lights and more.

Both Carnival and the New Orleans Saints provided incentives to students in New Orleans-area schools to participate in the food drive by awarding classroom prizes including free pizza parties, Saints lithograph footballs and free cruises to schools who collected the most cans of food. The winning schools will be announced during half-time at the game. The joint initiative will provide more than 75,000 meals for those in need in the greater New Orleans area this holiday season.

“Carnival has been a part of New Orleans for more than two decades and we greatly value the opportunity to give back to our homeport communities,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “This Holiday Food & Fund drive in partnership with the New Orleans Saints and Second Harvest was a fun and rewarding way to provide tens of thousands of meals to those in need this holiday season,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president.

“We are so proud to have worked with Carnival Cruise Line and Second Harvest on the successful build of the largest cruise ship made out of cans, but even more excited about the amount of food donations made through the build and the food drives at local schools that will help fight hunger throughout this holiday season,” said Jean-Paul Dardenne, New Orleans Saints’ senior vice president of corporate partnerships. “Carnival Cruise Line demonstrated their leadership and dedication throughout this project and we are proud to continue to work together to make a difference in the New Orleans community.”

Added Natalie Jayroe, president and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank, “We are so thankful for wonderful opportunity with Carnival, the New Orleans Saints and AIA to team up with us to lead the fight against hunger in Southern Louisiana by providing incentives for schools to participate in our Holiday Food & Fund Drive. Our work together ensures that meals make it to the dinner tables of thousands of families struggling with hunger.”

Carnival’s Holiday Food & Fund drive is just the latest example of the cruise line’s support of the New Orleans community. Carnival is New Orleans’ largest cruise operator with two year-round ships carrying 400,000 passengers annually. The line will expand capacity on its short cruise program from New Orleans by 34 percent with the deployment of the Carnival Triumph in spring 2016.

For additional information and reservations on Carnival’s departures from New Orleans or any other of its convenient North American homeports, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com.

Carnival can also be found on:

Twitter: www.twitter.com/carnivalcruise
Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/carnival
YouTube: www.youtube.com/carnival
Instagram: www.instagram.com/carnival

Journalists also can visit Carnival’s media site, www.carnival-news.com or follow the line’s PR department on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CarnivalPR.

Methane Emissions in Arctic Cold Season Higher Than Expected

A new study finds that, contrary to previous assumptions, the Arctic tundra releases at least as much methane during its cold season as it does during summer.

Eddy covariance flux tower in winter in Atqasuk, Alaska, USA (Global Change Research Group, San Diego State University). The special, on demand, heating of the sonic anemometer developed by Donatella Zona and Walter Oechel allowed extending the flux measurements during the entire year under the harsh arctic conditions while maintaining data quality. Photograph courtesy of Salvatore Losacco.

Eddy covariance flux tower in winter in Atqasuk, Alaska, USA (Global Change Research Group, San Diego State University). The special, on demand, heating of the sonic anemometer developed by Donatella Zona and Walter Oechel allowed extending the flux measurements during the entire year under the harsh arctic conditions while maintaining data quality. Photograph courtesy of Salvatore Losacco.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Dec. 21, 2015) — The amount of methane gas escaping from the ground during the long cold period in the Arctic each year and entering Earth’s atmosphere is likely much higher than estimated by current climate change models, concludes a major new study led by San Diego State University.

A team comprising ecologists Walter Oechel (SDSU and Open University) and Donatella Zona (SDSU and the University of Sheffield) and scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Harvard University, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the University of Montana, found that far more methane is escaping from Arctic tundra during the cold months—when the soil surface is frozen (generally from September through May)—as well as from upland tundra, than prevailing assumptions and climate modelers previously believed. In fact, they found that at least half of the annual methane emissions occur in the cold months, and that drier, upland tundra can be a larger emitter of methane than wet tundra. The finding challenges critical assumptions in current global climate models. The results are published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that intensifies atmospheric warming and is approximately 25 times more potent per molecule than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. Methane trapped in the Arctic tundra comes primarily from microbial decomposition of organic matter in soil that thaws seasonally. This methane naturally seeps out of the soil over the course of the year, but scientists worry that climate change could lead to the release of even larger emissions from organic matter that is currently stabilized in a deep, frozen soil layer called permafrost.

Over the past several decades, scientists have used specialized instruments to accurately measure methane emissions in the Arctic and incorporated those results into global climate models. However, almost all of these measurements have been obtained during the Arctic’s short summer. The region’s long, brutal cold period, which accounts for between 70 and 80 percent of the year, has been largely “overlooked and ignored,” according to Oechel. Most researchers, he said, figured that because the ground is frozen solid during the cold months, methane emissions practically shut down for the winter.

“Virtually all the climate models assume there’s no or very little emission of methane when the ground is frozen,” Oechel said. “That assumption is incorrect.”

The water trapped in the soil doesn’t freeze completely even below zero degrees Celsius, he explained. The top layer of the ground, known as the active layer, thaws in the summer and refreezes in the winter, and it experiences a kind of sandwiching effect as it freezes. When temperatures are right around zero degrees Celsius—the so-called “zero curtain”—the top and bottom of the active layer begin to freeze, while the middle remains insulated. Microorganisms in this unfrozen middle layer continue to break down organic matter and emit methane many months into the Arctic’s cold period each year.

Just how much methane is emitted during the Arctic winter? To find out, Oechel and Zona oversaw the upgrading of five sampling towers to allow them to operate continuously year-round above the Arctic Circle in Alaska. The researchers recorded methane emissions from these sites over two summer-fall-winter cycles between June 2013 and January 2015. It was an arduous task requiring highly specialized instruments that had to operate continuously and autonomously through extreme cold for months at a time. They developed a deicing system that eliminated biases in the measurement and that was only activated when needed to maintain operation of the instruments down to minus 40 degrees Celsius.

After analyzing the data, the research team found that a major portion of methane emissions during the cold season were observed when temperatures hovered near the zero curtain.

“This is extremely relevant for the Arctic ecosystem, as the zero curtain period continues from September until the end of December, lasting as long or longer than the entire summer season,” said Zona, the study’s first author. “These results are opposite of what modelers have been assuming, which is that the majority of the methane emissions occur during the warm summer months while the cold-season methane contribution is nearly zero.”

Surprisingly, the researchers also found that during the cold season, the relative methane emissions were higher at the drier, upland tundra sites than at wetland sites, contradicting yet another longstanding assumption about Arctic methane emissions. Upland tundra was previously assumed to be a negligible contributor of methane, Zona said.

“The freezing of the surface inhibits methane oxidation, resulting in significant net methane emissions during the fall and winter,” she said. “Plants act like chimneys facilitating the methane’s escape through the frozen layer to the atmosphere.”

The highest annual emissions were observed in the upland site in the foothills of the Brooks Range where warm soils and deep active layer resulted in high rates of methane production.

To complement and verify the on-the-ground study, the University of Montana’s John Kimball and his team used satellite microwave sensor measurements to develop regional maps of surface water cover, including the timing, extent and duration of seasonal flooding and drying of the region’s wetlands.

“We were able to use the satellite data to show that the upland tundra areas that appear to be the larger methane sources from the on-the-ground instruments, account for more than half of all of the tundra in Alaska,” Kimball said.

Finally, to test whether their site-specific sampling was representative of methane emissions across the Arctic, the researchers compared their results to measurements recorded during aircraft flights over the region made by NASA’s Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE).

“CARVE flights were designed to cover as much of the year as feasible,” said Charles Miller of JPL. “It was a challenging undertaking, involving hundreds of hours of flying in difficult conditions.”

The data from the SDSU sites were well aligned with the larger-scale aircraft measurements, Zona said.

“CARVE aircraft measurements show that large areas of Arctic tundra and boreal forest continue to emit methane to the atmosphere at high rates, long after the surface soil freezes,” said Róisín Commane of Harvard University, who helped acquire and analyze the aircraft data.

Oechel and Zona stressed the importance for climate modelers to have good baseline data on methane emissions and to adjust their models to account for Arctic cold-season methane emissions as well as the contributions of non-wetland areas, including upland tundra.

“It is now time to work more closely with climate modelers and assure these observations are used to improve model predictions, and refine our prediction of the global methane budget,” Zona said.

It is particularly important, Oechel added, for models to get methane output right because the gas is a major driver of atmospheric warming.

“If you don’t have the mechanisms right, you won’t be able to make predictions into the future based on anticipated climate conditions,” he said.

Steven Wofsy of Harvard University added: “Now that we know how important the winter is to the methane budget, we are working to determine the long-term trends in greenhouse emissions from tundra and their sensitivity to winter warming.”

This research has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA, and Department of Energy (DOE).

Save the Date: Veterans Patriot Action Conference Announced For February 2016

Charleston, South Carolina will host the first-ever Veterans Patriot Action Conference (VPAC) to educate, equip and mobilize the veteran community for political action in the coming election year.

This special veterans-centered event will not only offer Vets in the Fight — a robust “Get Out The Vote” educational program led by some of the nation’s foremost experts on campaign strategy at the local, state and federal levels — VPAC’s presidential forum will provide our men and women in uniform, along with their spouses, a unique opportunity to meet presidential candidates from both parties firsthand.

The 2016 Election is a tremendous opportunity for Veterans to become influencers in the political process to select the next Commander-in-Chief and defend the Republic.

The event will be hosted at Charleston’s Embassy Suites (map) on February 18 and 19, 2016 just prior to the South Carolina Presidential Primary. All veterans and their spouses are welcome.

Tickets available here.

Conference website: veteransconference.com

Jabil Investing in All Children’s Hospital Brain Protection Sciences Program

St. Petersburg, FL – December 21, 2015 – All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine received more than $200,000 from Jabil this year to help children with brain disorders. As one of All Children’s Hospital’s largest donors, Jabil employees have now raised more than $1 million for the hospital since 1985. The latest donation will help the hospital’s recently established Johns Hopkins All Children’s Institute for Brain Protection Sciences which includes neuroscience programs such as neurology, neurosurgery, epileptology, neuro-oncology, neuroradiology, behavioral medicine, rehabilitative medicine, neuropathology, neuropsychiatry, psychiatry and neuropsychology.

“Jabil has been a great example of a corporate philanthropic partner,” said Jenine Rabin, executive vice president of the All Children’s Hospital Foundation. “Their employees always go above and beyond when it comes to fundraising efforts and their support truly makes a difference in helping us provide the best care for children in the Tampa Bay area and beyond.”

Throughout the past year, Jabil employees held several fundraisers for the hospital including a bike rodeo and family safety event where they collected bikes and helmets for needy children in the community. Jabil also donated Halloween costumes in 2015, supported the hospital’s autism center and is a corporate sponsor of the All Children’s Sensitive Santa Holiday party for children with autism spectrum disorder.

“We are passionate about our ongoing relationship with All Children’s Hospital,” said Jabil’s CEO Mark Mondello. “Our relationship with the hospital has continued to grow over the years and we are proud to be able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with All Children’s in support of the children.”

About All Children’s Hospital

All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine in St. Petersburg is the most advanced children’s hospital on Florida’s west coast and a U.S. News & World Report Best Children’s Hospital. As a 259-bed teaching hospital, All Children’s provides compassionate and comprehensive care while training the next generation of pediatric experts and leading innovative research to cure and prevent childhood diseases. A network of 10 outpatient centers and All Children’s Specialty Physicians at regional affiliate hospitals provide care closer to home. Founded in 1926, All Children’s Hospital continues to expand its mission in treatment, research, education and advocacy to help children from Florida and around the world. For more information, visit www.allkids.org

A Sustainable Solution To End Homelessness And Poverty In The United States of America

Announcing the Beautiful Minds Ranch network of communities, the millennial solution to poverty and homelessness in the US. This is a call to Federal, State and local governments across the country to focus funding on building new, self-sustaining, affordable housing communities to house the growing non-labor force civilian population.

There are several successful, active communities that demonstrate the expansive benefits of the low cost investment that such affordable housing endeavors generate. Benefits for the community members, millions of dollars annual cost savings to the public, and the timeless benefits that the labors of members and volunteers contribute to improving the health of the land, water, and air quality in the world.

The public cost of homeless and impoverished Americans, especially the 17 million children now living below the national poverty line, is far higher than what tax revenues can cover [$44 billion deficit in fiscal year 2015].

According to a report issued by the Social Security Administration using data from fiscal year 2002, expenditures for disability benefits and health care expenses related to Severe Mental Illness was $124.4 billion, plus almost $200 billion in lost earnings. Most Americans who suffer from Severe Mental Illnesses and apply for SSDI benefits are highly vulnerable to toxic workplace dynamics, which have become increasingly volatile during the mass layoffs from 2008 thru 2010, and remain dominate today.

Most SMI SSDI recipients are highly intelligent and many are physically fit. There is a very small percentage of this population who find adequate career opportunities in work environments which are supportive their sensitive natures. They don’t require special equipment or structures built to accommodate their needs. Telecommuting jobs are the best fit for this population, however, many qualified SSDI recipients have not had the luxury of higher education, either for lack of funding or due to barriers to public exposure, and are quickly passed over by employers who offer these alternative career opportunities.

Research shows that 1 in 5 children are vulnerable to mental disorders, and children who live below 50% of the national median income level are 4 times more likely to develop severe mental disorders in their lifetime. Of this 20% of children who do survive childhood and go on to build meaningful lives, the loss of a close family member, or the loss of a respectable job, can intensify vulnerability to SMI and increase the likely hood of disability status for those who qualify. For the millions who do not qualify for SSDI benefits, many have little to no family or social support and end up joining the masses of chronically homeless Americans.

Reports indicate that the public cost for the growing population of chronically homeless Americans [having experienced 12 consecutive months of homelessness or multiple episodes over a three year period], who are placed in supportive housing programs saves the city of New York approximately $20,000 per person per year from different sources in 2015. In Sonoma County California, the estimate was about $8,500 per person per year in 2014.

These estimates are based on State and local welfare funding sources and do not include the Federal expense.

Financial security and affordable housing continue to evaporate in the US as the cost of living steadily increases, wages steadily decrease, and access to adequate employment opportunities continue to fall far short of the work-capable population. In addition to the manmade scarcities that now exist in this once great nation, the use of illegal street drugs, alcohol abuse, and other behaviors linked to the hopelessness and despair attached to social exclusion, further incapacitate the impoverished masses.

The progress of the campaign to end homelessness varies from state to state, but the counts in 2015 show a total decline in homelessness of 11% nationwide from the counts in 2007. Chronic homelessness has dropped by 31% nationwide in 2015 from 2007. The hundreds of billions of dollars spent in this campaign show little progress because the underlying issues are not being addressed.

Alan Graham, Founder and CEO of Mobile Loaves and Fishes, and Community First!, set out to address the real needs of the chronically homeless population in Austin, Texas, 11 years ago. Today Community First! is welcoming the first new residents to the 27 acre community located just outside the city limit. Alan estimates that by midsummer this year, there will be 250 residents living at Community First!

This is a supportive community program which provides the residents with the freedom and dignity that every human deserves by also housing professionals who are drawn to participate in this very selfless program by contributing their professional skills to the on-going needs of these most vulnerable members of society.

Residents enjoy the security of supportive services, far away from the filth, noise and confusion of the city, where 10s of thousands of predators have flocked over the past decade. Residents operate the Genesis Gardens project where they grow fresh, nutritious foods for community consumption. There is a wood-shop supplying hand tools and blacksmithing equipment, Community Works, for use by residents, volunteers and visitors, to build goods and products that improve the quality of life, as well as for artistic projects just for fun.

A Bed and Breakfast structure is being constructed to house visitors from around the world who wish to engage in workshops and entertainment productions at the village. The B&B will help generate funds to help cover operating costs for the village.

Homes are laid out comfortably and promote social participation. Many homes are micro-homes which provide sleeping quarters and privacy, but have no air conditioning, bathrooms or kitchen facilities. Community-use facilities are strategically located throughout the village where micro-home residents can go to shower, prepare and share meals, enjoy entertainment venues on site, and use the picnic areas sporting beautiful stone fire pits for bar-b-ques and campfire social gatherings.

Volunteers, a base of about 20,000, come out in small groups each Saturday to pitch in on construction projects, gardening, and other areas as needed. The volunteers are broken down into smaller groups, led by trained residents and assigned specific projects. The sense of purpose and inclusion that this arrangement gives residents, who generally don’t do well in traditional employment situations, is priceless.

The cost for the initial capital outlay for this venture was somewhere around $14 million, being one of the first of its kind. Alan Graham and supporters have achieved this magnificent solution to house and protect the most vulnerable members of society without any grant funding, but with individual donations and volunteer labor hours.

By networking similar communities to pool resources and purchasing power, both supportive and independent affordable housing communities would soon become fully self-sustaining and profitable, eventually eliminating the need for public welfare assistance.

I imagine that with each new community built modeling Community First!, the total capital outlay will decrease significantly over time, and the cost savings to the public for unsheltered, chronically homeless individuals will increase exponentially in the years to come.

The same village model can be used for low income family and individual households across the nation to alleviate poverty and the serious health issues related to poverty and hunger. Statistics show that the US labor force continues to shrink in relation to the growing population. The Community First! village is the long term, sustainable solution for Americas most vulnerable members of society.

Another model community village with affordable housing is the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center located in Sonoma County California. The best community model I have come across, where partners contribute their time and knowledge through labor efforts and education workshops that improve the quality of life of the entire world population.

http://oaec.org/our-work/projects-and-partnerships/  (excerpt from site)

One of the first actions taken in the founding of the Sowing Circle community was an agreement made by all partners that each owner’s “share” in the company that owns the land would not be linked to the land’s market value. This took the land off the market and affirmed that relationship, the good of the whole, and kinship with the land are all more important than the conventional rights associated with ownership of property.

WILDLANDS PRESERVE

The 70-acre Wildlands Preserve serves as OAEC’s living learnscape for stewardship and wildtending methods that integrate traditional knowledge with modern science. Our goals for land management are simple, yet bold: we strive to create conditions conducive to life, and to return people to our place as an interconnected and regenerative component of a thriving landscape.

Our objectives include surface water management and groundwater recharge and erosion control; sequestering carbon and building soil; restoring fire to its place as a beneficial and healthy process; enhancing habitat for biodiversity; and tending ethnobotanically significant native plants that are gathered as wild food, medicine, basketry, and craft material.

Various strategies help us achieve these goals, such as mowing, grazing, controlled burning, thinning and limbing the forest, saving and sowing native grass seed, and creating wildlife habitat.

We are Americans, pioneers of ingenuity and invention. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 2015) initiative, successor to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG 2000), was initiated to end extreme poverty in the world. The number of people now living in extreme poverty in the world has declined by more than half, falling from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 836 million in 2015.

In the US, the number living below the national poverty level in 2007 was 37,276,000 (12.4%), in 2014 that number was 46,657,000 (14.8%). There is something very wrong with this picture. In 2014, the number children under the age of 18 living in poverty is 15,624,000 (21.6%), the number living in homes receiving public assistance was 20,751,000 (28.3%) up 10% from 2007.

A report released in 2003 by the Social Security Administration, using data collected in 2002, shows that expenditures for disability benefits related to Severe Mental Illness was approximately $24.3 billion, and health care expenditures totaled approximately $100.1 billion. With inflation, these dollar amounts almost double in 2015. Severe Mental Illnesses are defined as: Major Depression; Schizophrenia; Bipolar Disorder; Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Panic Disorder; and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The 2015 Federal deficit was $44 billion. If we were invest in sustainable communities for US residents most vulnerable to developing severe mental disorders alone, the total public costs for welfare program expenditures would quickly decrease below ½ the current burden. That would shrink the (with estimated inflation) $250 billion Federal expense to $125 billion, alleviating the Federal deficit to a ($81 billion) surplus, savings which would surely increase over future years.

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Bio for Cynthia Schramm: In April of 2013, I committed myself to building a self-sustaining, affordable housing community village in rural California, for highly sensitive people, and others with significant barriers to traditional employment.

http://beautifulmindsranch.com/

https://twitter.com/CynthiasWriting

https://www.facebook.com/cyn.schramm?_rdr=p

Rediscover Why We Celebrate The Season: We’re Meant To Keep On Giving Till The End Of Time

Boston, MA, December 18, 2015 – Life has not always been easy for Sylvia Anthony, but if you met her you would see a vibrant, remarkable woman who today, at age 86, stands as a pillar of inspiration that life does not end in retirement – but finding new meaning in life is what gives us life! Sylvia overcame insurmountable adversity in order to help others and is living proof that life can be lived victoriously at any age. As founder and president of Sylvia’s Haven, a shelter for women and children near Boston, Sylvia has helped transform over 1086 lives in the past 28 years. While there is never enough money (she has loaned her own money to the shelter many times and has not received pay for the past four years), Sylvia wouldn’t change what she does for the world and calls it her “magnificent obsession!”

Sylvia’s memoir Till the End of Time is now in its third edition (eFluential Publishing), a compelling biography, seasoned with wisdom from a vast array of real-life experiences, that portrays a rich emotional and personal journey of transformation from an abused child to senior citizen. It is an extraordinary true story of abuse, love, sorrow and triumph – and is a story that will forever change your life.

Sylvia’s book tells of a child, beaten by her father and unwanted by her mother, whose saving grace was the love of her grandparents, uncles and cousins. At age five, when several of her beloved relatives moved to California, she was more lost and alone than ever before. As a teenager, still suffering beatings by her father, Sylvia experiences her first young love; Tony. Readers share a poignant story of a marriage that produces three children, but ends in divorce due to cruelty, leaving Sylvia to raise her children alone. Tony later becomes a disabled veteran through tuberculosis, and Sylvia goes on to cope with life and its hardships.

Sylvia’s second marriage to Rick brought them both closer to God and lead to the founding of her shelter, Sylvia’s Haven. In fact, just six months before Rick died of cancer, he completed the details, with the help of a lawyer who worked pro-bono, to get the shelter started. It was incorporated on January 25 and Rick died March 30. 1987.

The title, Till the End of Time, represents the favorite love song of Sylvia and Tony, her first love, so it makes perfect sense that the remainder of the book is devoted to many of the remarkable stories of how Sylvia cared for her “girls” and she did so with the help of Tony, who re-entered her life to help with the shelter until his death at age 71 – proving that their love truly did last Till the End of Time.

Sylvia believes that in spite of the bad experiences she endured, God gave her the courage to continue on. Although she was made to believe as a child she could do nothing, she went on to marry, raise three children and at 57 begin her service of sheltering homeless women and children. At age 86, still a force to contend with, she never backs away from a new challenge.

She has been featured on the 700 Club, and received a commendation from President George Bush in 2002. She is the recipient of the Arthur L. Whitaker Award, the National Alliance to End Homelessness Recognition Award, Ambassador for Peace Award, the Governor of Massachusetts Recognition Award, named the Hometown Hero by WBZ-TV in Boston, and recognized as Woman of the Year 2012/2013 by the National Association of Professional Women.

Sylvia’s Haven is a nonprofit housing facility near Boston providing shelter, guidance and emotional support for homeless women and their children. The women can be referred to schools, counselors and work advisers in the area for help with developing their own earning skills so they may live independent lives. Sylvia is also the author of Sylvia’s Haven, published in 2008 by AuthorHouse. For more information, please visit: www.sylviashaven.org

Available from Amazon.com and the publisher
Buy from the author’s website, www.sylviashaven.org and she will inscribe the book before shipping
Till the End of Time
eFluential Publishing
ISBN-9 781517 477851

Holiday Jingles Spread Cheer AND Freedom as Triller App Announces #Jingles4Justice Challenge

Popular Music Video App Challenges Holiday Revelers to Join International Justice Mission in Lip Sync Challenge to End Slavery & Stop Trafficking

Washington, DC, December 14, 2015 – What started as a holiday singing competition among staff at International Justice Mission (IJM) has since turned into a global lip sync challenge and anti-slavery fundraiser as Triller, a popular music maker app, launches a new #Jingles4Justice campaign.

The concept sparked on Friday when IJM hosted its quarterly, staff retreat where teams were challenged to create holiday Triller videos to be judged on their quality of lip sync skill and level of Christmas cheer. Staff uploaded nearly a dozen, creative music videos through the Triller app.

Inspired by IJM’s creativity and passion for justice, Triller is now challenging holiday revelers worldwide to join in helping spread the cheer while giving the gift of freedom by dancing and singing for a good cause.

Triller has pledged to donate $1 for every Triller video collected in 2015 using #Jingles4Justice up to $10,000.

Friends and families are encouraged to make a video to their favorite song of the year and tag submissions with #JinglesForJustice.

trillerad

“IJM first caught our attention when they blew up social media with hilarious videos from their staff retreat,” said Triller founder David Leiberman. “We saw how much fun they were having while working for a great cause. At Triller, we knew we wanted to give everyone the chance to do the same– make videos and help others! IJM is truly changing the world and we are happy to be partnering with them this holiday season.”

IJM is also encouraging holiday revelers to not only upload videos but to join Triller in giving a financial gift to help end slavery and stop trafficking by visiting IJM’s Holiday Gift Catalog and selecting from dozens of online gifts around the world.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Triller on the #Jingles4Justice campaign. What started as a fun way for our staff to celebrate the end of the year together is now going to bring rescue and restoration to those who are trapped in slavery,” said Michelle Quiles, IJM’s Sr. Director of Strategic Partnerships. “It goes to show that there are so many ways we can each use our freedom, joy and creativity to make a significant difference in the lives of others in unexpected ways.”

International Justice Mission is a global organization that protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world. IJM partners with local authorities to rescue victims of violence, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, and strengthen justice systems.

Land Trust Alliance Cheers Passage of Landmark Conservation Legislation

‘The Importance of This Vote – and This Incentive – Cannot Be Overstated’

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 18, 2015) – The Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization working to save the places people love by strengthening land conservation across America, today praised Congress for voting to make permanent a tax incentive supporting land conservation.

“The importance of this vote – and this incentive – cannot be overstated,” said Rand Wentworth, the Alliance’s president. “This is the single greatest legislative action in decades to support land conservation. It states, unequivocally, that we as a nation treasure our lands and must conserve their many benefits for all future generations.”

In a strong bipartisan action, the House voted 318-109 and the Senate voted 65-33 to pass the bills that included the tax incentive.

Farmers, ranchers, the public and generations of future Americans will directly benefit from the incentive that encourages landowners to place a conservation easement on their land to protect important natural, scenic and historic resources. The Alliance led its more than 1,100 member land trusts and 5 million supporters through a collaborative, multi-year campaign to secure the incentive’s permanency.

“As we celebrate this landmark moment in land conservation, we are immensely grateful to our many champions in Congress, our countless individual and institutional allies, and all who tirelessly worked toward this pivotal day,” Wentworth said. “This vote represents an unqualified congressional endorsement of our long-held belief: It is in all our best interests to permanently protect important natural, scenic and historic resources for public benefit.”

First enacted in 2006, the incentive is directly responsible for conserving more than 2 million acres of America’s natural outdoor heritage. Lands placed into conservation easements continue to be farmed, grazed, hunted or used for outdoor recreation and wildlife conservation, and these lands remain on county tax rolls, strengthening local economies.

Congress made the incentive permanent as part of a broad, year-end deal the White House supports. Once signed into law, the incentive will be applied retroactively to start Jan. 1, 2015. An earlier version of the incentive expired Dec. 31, 2014.

“As much as this moment energizes me and all who support land conversation, I know our work is not done,” said Andrew Bowman, who will become president of the Alliance when Wentworth retires Feb. 10. “The Alliance has cultivated in Washington and beyond a nonpartisan enthusiasm for land conservation and will build on that consensus to generate essential and lasting support for conservation.”

The incentive advanced through Congress as part of the America Gives More Act, a package of tax incentives to encourage charitable giving. It passed the House earlier this year, 279-137. A standalone version of the incentive, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act, earned 52 Senate sponsors this year. The agreement announced today also encourages donations to food banks and facilitates charitable deductions from IRAs.

“The bipartisan Conservation Easement Incentive Act provides private land owners an important tool to conserve our state’s precious natural resources, increase outdoor recreation opportunities and preserve our proud tradition of ranching without facing onerous regulations. This is an important policy for Nevada, and I am pleased to see it included in the final tax deal,” said Sen. Dean Heller (NV), also a lead sponsor.

“Our farmers and ranchers are some of the best stewards of our land,” said Sen. Stabenow (MI), a lead sponsor of the conservation provision. “That’s why I led a successful bipartisan effort to make this important deduction permanent, so more landowners can take part in conserving our land, water and wildlife habitats. This is a win for taxpayers, a win for farmers, and it’s a win for our environment.”

“This commonsense, bipartisan legislation is about supporting farmers who want to preserve our nation’s most cherished natural resources for future generations,” said Rep. Mike Kelly (PA), lead sponsor of the House bill to make the incentive permanent. “Since 2006, conservation easements have conserved hundreds of thousands of acres of America’s farmland and open space for hunting, fishing, hiking and locally-sourced food production.”

“Conservation easements have encouraged landowners across our county to conserve millions of acres of farm lands and scenic open spaces – so we know they work,” said Rep. Mike Thompson (CA), lead Democrat on the House bill to make the easement incentive permanent. “By making this conservation tool permanent, landowners will have the certainty they need to preserve and protect even more property and natural resources for future generations.”

About the Land Trust Alliance

Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents more than 1,100 member land trusts supported by more than 100,000 volunteers and 5 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C. and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at www.landtrustalliance.org.

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