Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Purple Heart Day Celebrates Wounded Veterans

The Purple Heart Foundation originated in 1957 as a way to fund the Military Order of the Purple Heart, an organization made up of individuals who’ve earned the Purple Heart. This medal recognizes those who have been injured or killed while serving in the U.S. military. Through fundraising efforts, the foundation generates money that supports programs to help combat-wounded veterans and their families. 

Purple Heart Day takes place every August 7 to honor Purple Heart recipients, thank them for their service, and educate the public. First celebrated in 2014, Purple Heart Day offers an opportunity to acknowledge the sacrifices made by veterans and active military who’ve received the Purple Heart. 

The Medal and Award

Fashioned after a medal that George Washington gave to three men who served under him in battle during the Revolutionary War, the Purple Heart is a heart-shaped medal with a purple center and the profile of the country’s first president emblazoned on it. An engraving on the back of the medal reads, “For Military Merit.”

The medal became a standard award for military personnel who have been injured during battle when President Herbert Hoover authorized it on Washington’s 200th birthday. Since then, more than 1.8 million of the medals have been awarded. The Purple Heart is one of the few military medals awarded to servicemembers of any rank. 

How to Celebrate Purple Heart Day

Purple Heart Day is not a recognized federal holiday, but it is still observed around the country in a variety of a ways. Major League Baseball teams honor local Purple Heart recipients during pre-game ceremonies, and military and veterans organizations host remembrance meetings. The Purple Heart Foundation asks those who wish to observe the holiday to donate time or money to the organization to support the Military Order of the Purple Heart. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Goodwill Lifts Up Communities through Thrift Shops

Since 1902, Goodwill Industries International, Inc. has sought to help people reach their potential. The organization provides people with the opportunity to learn and find meaningful work in order to achieve their goals. In support of that mission, Goodwill oversees a network of thrift shops, with upwards of 3,300 stores nationwide managed through local affiliates. 

Regional Affiliates

The retail locations operate under the guidance of 156 regional affiliates, each of which manages its own independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The regional affiliates also maintain a certain amount of autonomy with their own board, and pay a membership fee to the international organization to continue functioning under the name of Goodwill.  

Thrift Store Operations

The thrift stores generate funding for training and job placement programs by selling items donated locally. Each location accepts clothing, furniture, and other gently used household goods. In turn, the money raised through sales goes toward programs for the local community served by the store’s regional affiliate. Every time a Goodwill store sells an item, it sets aside upwards of 90 percent of that sale for local programs. 

Shopping Online for Goodwill

The same is true of the organization’s online store, ShopGoodwill.com. This e-commerce site began in 1999 as an extension of Goodwill of Orange County, when the local organization chose to sell items from its stores online and drive more funding for programs in the Orange County area. Today, the online store represents 129 Goodwill thrift stores located all over the country.

As thrifting and resale become more popular with a younger generation, Goodwill thrift stores are growing in popularity. They continue to drive revenue that can be reinvested into their surrounding communities every day.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Safe Space for Youth Found at Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Since its founding in 1860, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America has sought to provide opportunities to young people who otherwise don’t have access to the resources they need to succeed. To achieve this, the organization set up a network of Clubs across the country where boys and girls can participate in programs that promote education, sports, and leadership. Additionally, the Clubs have offered kids a safe place where they can escape from dangers often found in their communities.

Why Safety Is Important

According to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, when students have a safe option for refuge, they can escape bullying as well as violence in their neighborhoods. In the security of a Club, those young people gain a secure space where they can focus on their studies, character development, and the other lessons and values that will allow them to reach their potential. To reinforce Club members’ sense of safety, the organization also hosts events and programs that spread awareness of safety in the broader community.

Safety Through Advocacy

In 2018, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America met with leaders from youth-focused nonprofits to determine a plan for increasing members’ safety in light of recent violent events, such as the shooting that occurred at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. During the event, the organization and youth leaders determined ways to boost both physical and emotional safety among young people. The discussion also resulted in ideas for how young people may act as advocates for change and how the organization can help facilitate that.

Safety From Bullying

Additionally, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America teamed up with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) to create a program to prevent bullying among young people. Wrestler Kofi Kingston starred in a video for the program and discussed his own experience with bullying and how young people who speak up can help put an end to the behavior.

Friday, November 5, 2021

AHA Aims to Reduce Inequities Related to Hypertension

Upon the founding of the American Heart Association (AHA) in 1924, one of its six founders, Dr. Paul Dudley White, suggested that the medical profession had “almost unbelievable ignorance” on the topic of heart disease. Since then, the organization has worked to improve awareness and knowledge around the disease, and has identified new causes and related conditions through ongoing research. 

As part of these efforts, AHA launched the National Hypertension Control Initiative to address hypertension, which can lead to heart disease. The initiative will spread awareness and promote prevention and treatment.

Why Is Hypertension an Issue?

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, impacts nearly half of the adult population in the United States. The condition disproportionately affects Black and Latinx individuals almost twice as much as people in other communities, due to genetics, health concerns, environmental issues, and socioeconomic factors that can affect health. 

How Can the Initiative Address Hypertension?

In response to the prevalence of the condition, the initiative aims to reach impacted communities with a strategy that includes a few approaches. The program aims to provide resources directly to the public with information on how to stay healthy, detect hypertension, and seek treatment. Additionally, AHA will partner with community organizations to set up locations where residents can receive screenings and learn about the disease. Finally, the initiative recruits healthcare providers working in underserved communities to promote healthy practices and treatments.

What Is the Initiative’s Goal?

Ultimately, the initiative seeks to reduce the number of people in need of treatment for hypertension. This will have the spillover effect of reducing heart disease, including heart attack and stroke. It will also improve the health of individuals living in communities with higher risk. 

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