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Stay in the game with these healthy options for your big game party.

Huddle up, because our charity partners have created some delicious, healthy alternatives to traditional game day snacks.

Heart healthy game-day treats that leave everyone satisfied? Touchdown!

Congress recently passed a tax bill reducing taxes for the majority of Americans. While this may be good news for some households, the tax change will double the standard deduction and may reduce the incentive to donate to charity—it is estimated to cost charities $12 to 20 billion annually.

This year, if you’re benefiting from tax changes, consider giving back.  Try one of these simple ways to give back, courtesy of the The New York Times.  Our favorite?

  • The tax bill is expected to cost charities up to $20 billion annually, and these charities and the people they support need your help more than ever.

Read more about #GiveItBack in the The New York Times.

Your good fortune can save a life, find a cure, or rebuild a community. It’s easy to give wisely: Community Health Charities has more than 2,000 Better Business Bureau trusted health charities needing your support. We have multiple ways to incorporate workplace giving into your organization’s culture, whether you’re looking to institute payroll deductions in a customizable platform or simply make it easy for employees to give with a Give Now page.

 

Community Health Charities proudly pledged to support #OperationPrevention, in partnership with Milken Institute, Drug Enforcement Administration and Discovery Education to combat opioid misuse in schools, homes, and communities nationwide. The no-cost program offers resources for students, teachers, and parents to combat and prevent addiction. Pledge to spread awareness today.

Take action:  Check out Community Health Charities’ addiction  resources, read one doctor’s take on the opioid crisis, establish a Give Now page or giving campaign to help, and support the work of our charity partners fighting to end addiction: Hazelden Betty Ford FoundationThe National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, and Shatterproof.

This year, don’t make your resolutions about cutting back—make them about giving back.

  • Give yourself mental and physical health. This year, prioritize mental and physical wellbeing. 77% of U.S. workers suffer from at least one long-term health condition, from cancer to diabetes. Take time every day to focus on de-stressing and physically moving, whether you’re doing a crossword puzzle, taking a walk, or making a healthy dinner for your family. Give your employees the same gift of wellness by educating employees and offering our health resources.
  • Give your time. No matter where you live, your community needs your help. Set aside time in 2018 to volunteer. Use our volunteer opportunity locator tool to find organizations in your area supporting the causes you care about. If you’re looking to volunteer with your office, utilize our Volunteer On The Spot guide to make a difference during the workday.
  • Give your support. Congress recently passed a tax bill reducing taxes for the majority of Americans. While this is good news for many, doubling the standard deduction means fewer people will itemize charitable deductions on their taxes and is estimated to cost charities $12 to 20 billion annually. This year, if you saved on your taxes, consider giving back by eating locally or donating financially. Offer your team giving options including Give Now pages or a workplace giving campaign, featuring our causes and over 2,000 trusted charity partners.

New Year, stronger, healthier communities.

This year-end giving season is unlike any other.

Annually, 31% of giving occurs during DecemberHowever, this year, donors are already fatigued. Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and wildfires caused over $15 billion in damage as of October. Puerto Ricans have been living without full power since Hurricane Maria hit the island in September. Wildfires took the lives of 42 people, injured 7,700, and burned over 8,400 homes and buildings. Hurricane Harvey flooded Texas, dumping 27 trillion gallons of rain and leaving an estimated 30,000 people needing temporary shelter. As if that weren’t enough, violent tragedies in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs rocked the nation.

As is tradition, Americans rise up and come together to support those in need, with an outpouring of generosity to rebuild lives and communities.

Meanwhile, the House and Senate are working to pass a bill that could have devastating effects on the number of Americans eligible to write off charitable giving as a tax deduction. Of highest concern is doubling the standard deduction limit currently in place for taxpayers. According to IRS data, this would remove the tax incentive for an estimated $95 billion of annual charitable giving and reduce the number of itemizers from one-third of Americans to about five percent. This could reduce charitable giving by as much as$20 billion.

With all the needs in our country (and world), we can’t afford to lose billions in charitable giving. Now is the time to support the causes that matter most to you.

Read more on The Huffington Post.

Community Health Charities urges all nonprofits across the nation to alert their constituencies to help turn the tide on what could be some very serious and unintended consequences—charities are expected to lose billions of dollars in charitable donations—if the current versions of the Senate and House tax reform bills pass without changes we urgently seek.

We need all Community Health Charities’ charity partners, supporters, and friends to join the thousands of other nonprofits in contacting your elected officials and urging them to protect charitable giving in the Senate tax reform bill. Doubling the standard deduction will eliminate the charitable deduction for 95% of Americans. The result? An estimated $12-20 billion lost in charitable giving. Ask your senator to avoid this devastating consequence by expanding the charitable deduction to all Americans with the Universal Charitable Giving Act.

The House took up and passed its tax bill on Thursday.  The Senate sent a tax bill out of the Finance Committee on Thursday as well. We expect it to go to the floor the week after Thanksgiving. However, it has been a case of “good news” and “bad news” so far.

As of this writing, both the House and Senate raised the limits on how much taxpayers can give from 50 to 60% of their adjusted gross income.  That is good.  In the not-so-good category, neither the House nor the Senate have embraced a universal charitable deduction to preserve the value of the charitable deduction.

The details of the proposed legislation:

What is the same?

Both the Senate and House bills share some of the same provisions:

  • Doubled standard deduction and preservation of the charitable deduction.
  • Increased AGI limits for the charitable deduction for cash gifts from 50% to 60% (Senate sunset after 12/31/2025).
  • Elimination of the Pease limitation (Senate sunset after 12/31/2025).
  • A 1.4% excise tax on investment income of private colleges and universities, and organizations formally related to the institution, with assets valued of at least $250,000 per full-time student.
  • Doubled estate tax and generation-skipping tax exemption to $10 million (Senate sunset after 12/31/2025).
  • A 20% excise tax on executive compensation over $1 million at tax-exempt organizations.

What is different?

There are some key differences. The House version also includes:

  • Streamlined private foundation excise tax to 1.4%.
  • Requirement that donor-advised fund sponsoring organizations disclose inactive fund policies, as well as average amount of grants made from their DAFs.
  • Estate tax and generation-skipping tax repeal after six years.
  • Repeal of the Johnson Amendment, effectively allowing all 501(c)(3) organizations to engage in political speech in the ordinary course of the organization’s business (Sunset after five years).

What comes next:  

Now, the Senate Finance Committee will have to write legislative text based on the provisions that passed on Thursday. The Senate is expected to bring the bill to the floor for a vote the week of November 27, and thereafter the two chambers will have to come to an agreement before the final bill can be sent to the President’s desk. There are many differences between the Senate and House versions, so we expect a lot of change and compromise in the negotiation process.

The problem

During the debate in the Senate Finance Committee, Senators Stabenow (D-MI) and Wyden (D-OR) offered an amendment that would create an above-the-line charitable deduction for non-itemizers with an AGI cap of 60% and a phase-out for high-income taxpayers, similar to the Pease limitation. After Republicans argued that they are maintaining the charitable deduction in tax reform, and claimed that you can only create this policy if you decide not to double the standard deduction, the provision failed on a party-line vote of 14 nays to 12 yeas.

Although both were listed with the original amendments, Senator Thune (R-SD) did not offer the CHARITY Act as an amendment or the extended carryforward rule. The CHARITY Act would streamline the PF excise tax to 1%, expand the IRA charitable rollover to include distributions to donor-advised funds, and declare a sense of the Senate that the scope and value of the charitable deduction should not be diminished in comprehensive tax reform, among other provisions. The extended carryforward rule would make the charitable carryforward window 15 years instead of the 5 year window under current law.

Tax Policy Center and JCT Analyses

New research from the Tax Policy Center (TPC) tells us charitable giving will be affected by the House tax reform bill, and it’s mostly what we already knew. TPC estimates that H.R. 1 could reduce charitable giving by between $12 billion and $20 billion in 2018. In addition, while TPC has yet to publish research on the Senate version, it is likely safe to assume the findings would be similar.

This research is remarkably consistent with a study released earlier this year from the Indiana University (IU) Lilly Family School of Philanthropy that found the proposals considered in the Republican tax reform plan – such as expanding the standard deduction – could reduce charitable giving by as much as $13 billion. The drop in giving comes as a result of reducing the number of those who itemize to just 5% of Americans, which the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) confirmed last week would lead to a reduction of $95 billion being claimed as charitable deductions.

The evidence is now stacking up – the unintended consequence of current tax reform policies under consideration is a reduction in charitable giving.

Universal Charitable Giving Act

As you know, charities have rallied behind a universal charitable deduction as a way to protect against the consequences of an expanded standard deduction. Fortunately, there are options for lawmakers to consider. Just this week on Tuesday, November 14, Senator James Lankford (R-OK) introduced the Senate companion to the Universal Charitable Giving Act, which was originally introduced by Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) in the House in October. As you may recall, the bill would extend an above-the-line charitable deduction to non-itemizers that would be capped at one-third of the standard deduction. So, although nothing was included in the Senate tax package that would ensure more Americans have access to a tax benefit for charitable giving, Senator Lankford’s universal charitable a deduction bill can still be considered by the full Senate, and perhaps even included in their final tax reform bill.

What needs to be done:

Ask your constituencies to contact their senators – and specifically Senator James Lankford (R-OK)— and urge them to protect charitable giving in the Senate tax reform bill. They need to understand that the charitable deduction, in the current iteration, is not being protected.  Again, have your supporters explain how doubling of the standard deduction will eliminate the charitable deduction for 95% of Americans and result in a loss of $12-20 billion in charitable giving. Tell your senator that the way to avoid this devastating consequence is to expand the charitable deduction to all Americans.

Even though the House has already passed its version of tax reform, have them contact their representative and relay the same information. The House and Senate versions of tax reform still need to be reconciled and your elected officials need to understand what the current proposals will do to charitable giving.

Keep in mind that all elected officials will be in their home states and districts this upcoming Thanksgiving week. More than ever before, now is the time for your organization to rally the troops and tell our elected representatives how tax reform will affect your charities and community.

Looking to donate to a cause close to your heart? This #GivingTuesday—November 28, 2017— follow these three steps for a chance to win $500 to donate to your favorite charity from our charity partners.

  • Take a #HealthySelfie that shows you doing something to improve health — it could be eating a healthy snack, using our health resources, hitting the gym, volunteering or giving to make your community healthier, or just taking a break for your mental health.
  • Share your #HealthySelfie on social media. Entries submitted via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will have a chance to win.
  • Tag @HealthCharities, #GivingTuesday, and #HealthySelfie in your submission.

A different winner will be chosen on each platform, based on engagement (so encourage your friends to favorite/like your post). The winner of the Twitter competition will be able to direct $500 to a charity partner of their choice; winners on Instagram and Facebook will be able to direct $250. See list of eligible charities. Be sure to enter only pictures that you have a right to share and post. Thanks to a generous donor for sponsoring this campaign.

Submission deadline is November 28 11:59 PM ET. Engagements are due November 29 9:00 AM ET.

This #GivingTuesday, we’re working to build stronger, healthier communities. Join us for #HealthySelfie and check out six more ways to give this year.

 

As the holidays and giving season approach, it’s a great time to start thinking of ways to give back to your community and the causes important to you.

This year, join us for #GivingTuesday – a national movement focused on charity on the first Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday — and help build stronger, healthier communities.

Here are six ways to give back:

  • Volunteer your time. Our volunteer locator tool helps you find opportunities by zip code or keyword.
  • Support your favorite health cause. Our causes make it easy to support the issues close to your heart—whether it’s children, veterans, women’s health, or disasters. Pick one or create your own custom cause.
  • Share your #HealthySelfie. Follow three simple steps for a chance to win $500 to direct to your favorite charity from our charity partners.
  • Start a workplace giving campaign or create a custom Give Now page. It’s easier than ever to give back to the causes you care about at work with our GivingMatters365 platform or Give Now. These flexible tools are simple to use, plus we offer turnkey campaign materials and resources, and handle the set-up and processing of your campaign.
  • Show some love with the Combined Federal Campaign. If you’re a federal or military employee, you’re eligible to give to the 2017 Combined Federal Campaign. Community Health Charities is one of the campaign’s oldest and largest partners, distributing millions of public sector contributions. Join us this year and support the Combined Federal Campaign to defeat cancer, fight the deadliest diseases, and save lives.
  • Raise awareness and share critical health resources.

Giving Tuesday is November 28 this year, but giving back isn’t limited to one day. Together, we can build stronger, healthier communities all year long.

“It was the first time I was ever hooked to something and would get sick from not using. Then they took away my prescription. I ended up selling all my valuable stuff to buy pills on the streets. Forget some of my obligations. I hated who I had become.”

Jerry Chappell is one of the two million Americans living the nightmare of addiction to prescription pain medications. His story is not only compelling, but all too familiar to those of us who work in addiction medicine.

Addiction to prescription pain medications and heroin is not a new phenomenon. In 2008, I developed and ran an opioid use disorder clinic out of my outpatient practice in rural West Virginia. Although death by overdose was not considered a national epidemic or a political hot topic for the media, my neighbors, colleagues, friends’ parents, and many of the people living in the Ohio Valley were suffering and dying from their addictions.

The two years of engaging patients in a comprehensive medical/behavioral treatment plan, encouraging their participation in peer and community sober support systems, and watching them meet their recovery goals were the most rewarding years of my clinical practice. During these years, I learned that patients can manage their chronic disease when they are managed by qualified physicians, provided with evidence-based medicine, and administered proper medication-assisted treatments (MAT) and urine drug screens (UDS).  In 2010, I closed my practice and took a position in managed care.

The following two years were the most somber and frustrating in my professional career. At first I wondered, “Why are few of my colleagues experiencing the same feelings of reward and accomplishment that I had treating those suffering from addiction? Why are people still dying of overdose?” Then, I started receiving the not-so-infrequent calls, texts, and photos from my medical assistant back in West Virginia. Sometimes she would send snapshots of the latest evening news from her television screen. One after another were sad stories of previous patients having relapsed, been arrested, overdosed, or died. Even while writing this, I am haunted by feelings of guilt and questions of “What if I had stayed? Would they still be alive had I not left them?”

A great deal of my career since then has been dedicated to promoting quality care and services for those with Opioid Use Disorder. Over the last six years, those of us in the payer, or insurance coverage, industry have seen a “perfect storm” of events giving rise to the epidemic we see today. More potent pain medications have been manufactured and sales continue to rise. Increased utilization and demand for addiction services have quickly overwhelmed a system with few addiction specialists. A lack of industry-wide standards have resulted in extreme variance in treatment modalities.

These factors are not the primary reason that the opioid epidemic has received national attention: The face of opioid addiction has changed. Although still in existence, images of the poor, minorities, derelicts, and those on the fringe of society have been replaced by images of the rich, famous, young, and white. Methadone clinics have been replaced by posh destination facilities offering personal training, yoga, seaside views, and five-star culinary. Scholarships and graduation certificates replace the guarantee of transparency, outcomes, and results. An emphasis on “access to care” outweighs the demand for quality.

Fortunately, addiction medicine is now recognized as a medical specialty: research and clinical experience have resulted in standards of care, clinical guidelines, and evidence-based practice. The challenge now is combatting a billion dollar industry beholden to old, ineffective treatment practices, and replacing them with medicine-based and data-driven treatment models like we have for every other epidemic we have faced in modern times.

Perhaps one day the norm will be stories of people getting their lives back, year-over-year decrease in death by overdose, and practices based on science, research, and evidenced-based medicine. Hopefully we all will feel the sense of reward and hope that I did over a decade ago while practicing in rural America.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, utilize Community Health Charities’ opioid and addiction health resources for response toolkits, intervention guidelines, risk factors, and more. To learn more, utilize our charity partners’ additional resources: Shatterproof, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, and National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

About Dr. James

Dr. Frank James earned his law and medical degrees at Southern Illinois University. He is board certified in General, Child and Adolescent and Forensic Psychiatry as well as Addiction Medicine.

Dr. James spent his clinical years providing inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services in underserved areas in the Ohio Valley. He developed a specialty outpatient clinic for opioid use disorder (OUD). His treatment model focused on the integration of group therapy and psychotropic medication management with the use of urine drug screens (UDS) and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

For the last seven years, Dr. James has worked in managed care. He provides large behavioral health organizations guidance in drafting evidenced-based benefit guidelines specific to OUD treatment and service, including level of care determination, MAT prior authorizations, and UDS coverage determination. His current focus is medical/behavioral integration and alternative payment model development for substance use disorder services.

Dr. James is a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Finance Committee and Policy Committee. He is the vice chair of ASAM’s Payer Relations Committee, and alternate to ASAM’s board of directors for Region III.

Out of an estimated 18.5 million military veterans in the United States, four million are living with a service-connected disability. One in four military members show signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or other mental health condition.

They’ve sacrificed and served our country. They fought for us. Now it’s time to fight for them.

In the week leading up to Veteran’s Day, let’s show our thanks to our nation’s military, veterans, and first responders:

  • Use our Volunteer on the Spot Guideto coordinate a volunteer event in your office. Write cards for veterans in hospitals, make snack packs for family members visiting their loved ones, or come up with your own event! To volunteer onsite—visit our volunteer locator to find volunteer opportunities near you.
  • Support Hero’s Health. Your support will provide thousands of military families free lodging close to loved ones hospitalized for an illness, disease, or injury; prevent veterans from being in the emergency room, homeless, and incarcerated due to mental illness; and construct housing for families of injured servicemen and women.
  • Share our Military and Veteran health resources—get peer support, learn mental health warning signs, find PTSD assistance or housing support, and more.
  • Show some love with the Combined Federal CampaignMilitary and Federal employees are eligible to give during the 2017 campaign. Community Health Charities is one of the campaign’s oldest and largest partners, distributing millions of public sector contributions. November 6-12 is the campaign’s Veterans Week—support our nation’s military this week and support the Combined Federal Campaign.

For more stories to inspire action this Veteran’s day, and all year, check out these articles from and about those who have served our country:

My Greatest Honor: Serving Our Country – David Selzer, Vice President of Community Health Charities

Not All Battles are Fought in a War Zone – Thomas Bognanno, CEO of Community Health Charities

This Veteran’s Day, Support Our Heroes – Thomas Bognanno, CEO of Community Health Charities

I Don’t Deserve a Medal – Amanda Ponzar, CMO of Community Health Charities

Related:

1,688,780 people will be diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. in 2017. An estimated 600,920 people will die from the disease.

Our charity partners are working to save lives and turn these statistics around.

  •  St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats, and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
  • American Cancer Society’s mission is to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer.
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is working to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.
  • Susan G. Komen saves lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer.
  • Cancer Research Institute is the world’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to harnessing the immune system’s power to conquer all cancers.
  • Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is a nationwide network of people dedicated to working together to advance research, support patients and create hope for those affected by pancreatic cancer.

Join our charity partners this campaign season and build stronger, healthier communities free of cancer:

October 23—29, 2017 is the Combined Federal Campaign Cancer Awareness Week.

This week, Community Health Charities is celebrating the survivors who benefited from our charity partner’s hard work, including:

Vicky Davis, 55, says she’s finally beginning to feel like herself again after over a year of treatments and support from the American Cancer Society. She recently returned to her job working with children who have special needs, and she’s growing a support group of women in her community who’ve been diagnosed with cancer. She has only three more treatments and she’s anticipating breast reconstruction surgery in a few months. After that, she says, “I can go back to the life I once had.”

Vicky’s life was turned upside down in October 2015 when she was called back after her regular, yearly mammogram. Biopsies found cancer in 2 lumps in her left breast and in lymph nodes under her arm. The first breast surgeon Vicky met with did not take her case seriously enough, she says, so she got a second opinion. “If I had not gotten a second opinion, I would not be alive right now,” said Vicky. “I’m getting the latest treatment approved by the FDA. I couldn’t get better care.”

“A lot of things happened to me in my life. I’ve always been afraid; always worried for my husband. Now I’m not as anxious. I’ve tackled the beast. I wasted too much energy being afraid. I’ve tackled this – I can tackle anything.”

Read Vicky’s full story on American Cancer Society’s website and learn how the organizations is attacking cancer from every angle.

I heard two things after my stroke:

  • “You look fine—I can’t even tell!”
  • Nothing.

Though said with good intention, both responses meant one thing: They didn’t understand what I went through.

For me, the hardest part of the stroke was the lack of support I found afterwards.

All of the effects of a stroke aren’t visible: Even after I regained use of the right side of my body, I wasn’t fully healed. I had to relearn English. Bright lights made me nauseous. Noises from the vacuum cleaner and lawn mower, previously routine sounds, would make me dizzy.

More than that, I didn’t know who I was.

It’s like being two different people in the same lifetime. I went from being a vibrant, social person to being paralyzingly shy. I felt a panic when around people and I had to tell my friends that I wasn’t interested in going out and being social anymore. Brownies were too sweet for me and most food was too spicy. I’m not as shy as I was initially after the stroke, but I’m still not my old, outgoing self.

Because I physically look fine, people assume that everything is back to “normal”—that I’m the same Charu as I was four years ago. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll ever be her again—or if I’ll recognize her if I do. This is my new normal. Looking from the outside, you can’t see my struggles with depression. You can’t see me asking my husband when my mother’s birthday is or what the portion of my leg above my ankle is called.

As a society, we know so little about mental health. We don’t want to talk about it. And the fact that it is not visible makes it even harder for others to recognize and provide support.  This knowledge gap makes it difficult to connect with people and explain what you’re going through.

My advice, to anyone who has lived through a stroke or is the caregiver of someone who has, is to find support. Find a group of people who understand what you’re going through and can empathize and offer meaningful advice. My husband and I started facilitating a caregiver and stroke survivor support group, and being surrounded by a group of people who were living with similar symptoms and feelings and mindsets as me was invaluable—I was understood.

You don’t have to recover alone. To find support, resources, and wellness tips after surviving a stroke, check out Community Health Charities’ health resources for life after stroke.

Tuesday, October 10 is World Mental Health Day.

One in five U.S. adults experience a mental illness every year—that’s 43.8 million people living with a condition that impacts their daily living.

Take time today to prioritize your own mental health and wellbeing and consider the mental health resources:

Help the millions of people living with a mental health condition: support Community Health Charities’ Mental Health and Wellbeing cause and share mental health resources with your network.

In November of 2005, I discovered two sore, achy lumps under my left arm. The doctor saw me within a day, told me he didn’t like the look of the lumps, and asked that I arrange for a biopsy. My first “uh-oh” moment came when my doctor informed me that he had already called the surgeon and that he was waiting across the street to see me.

The surgeon saw me immediately and agreed that a biopsy was appropriate. He was heading out of town, but thought he’d better squeeze me in before he left, another “uh-oh” moment. I had the biopsy three days later—the nodes seemed normal. Wow, what a relief!

If your physician has bad news, they want to tell you in person. My doctor asked if I could come by his office to talk. Since I could not get back downtown that day, he asked if he could call me at home later in the evening. That evening, I took the phone and headed out onto the deck for privacy. He told me that there was a 30% chance that I had mono, and a 70% chance that I had cancer. My life changed.

A few days later, on Friday, a day the oncologist usually did not see patients (uh-oh), my wife and I met the oncologist.  As we waited in the very busy reception room, I actually said to my wife that I was still hoping for mono. She looked at me with patience and amazement and said, “We are waiting to see an oncologist, it is not mono.” That meeting was a complete blur.

The initial treatment consisted of six rounds of chemo, one round every 21 days. For five days after the chemo day, I took anti-nausea medication and a steroid pills. For those five days I barely slept.

My hair fell out on Saturday December 11th, just about 14 days after my first round of chemo and on the day of my then 8 year old son’s birthday party. My wife had arranged with Debbie, the woman who cuts her and the kid’s hair, to shave my head when the time came. At about 5:00 on a Saturday night when she was supposed to be at a Christmas party, Debbie stayed home late to shave my head. This was one of many acts of kindness and generosity that I remember so fondly and cherish.

Savor what is good. In 2005, it was a friend shaving my head. Now, it’s having completed six triathlons and one half-ironman with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) team. Accept the support you are given. My wife, family, friends, and later the LLS team were there for me during multiple rounds of chemo, a cell transplant, and a donor lymphocyte infusion.

Every “uh-oh” moment is eased by your support system. Thank you to mine throughout this journey.

           

Visit Community Health Charities’ health resources to find more support for cancer and other long-term health conditions.

Bill previously served on Community Health Charities’ national board. Read more about his diagnosis story and journey at his personal blog, Living Lumpy

Eight-year-old Gabriel Taye hanged himself with a necktie earlier this year.

A few days before this little boy took his own life, school video footage shows a classmate hurling Gabriel into the bathroom wall where the third grader was knocked unconscious. He laid on the floor for more than five minutes while multiple students walked by – some even poked his lifeless body.

Read more on The Huffington Post.

Related:

Vanilla Ice had the right idea—are you listening to your employees?

Employers are creating wellness programs designed to improve the health of their employees. The programs revolve around improving employee health and can include anything from fitness challenges to rewarding regular doctor visits.

With a broad range of options, it’s important to implement an effective and helpful campaign designed for your employees specifically. When strategizing, ask for input.

  • Ask employees to anonymously complete Community Health Charities’ survey (sample only; we’ll customize one for you)—ask them what they’d like to see, what could be improved, and what they think your organization is missing.
  • Administer confidential health risk assessments. Find out what health issues most affect your employees and then identify the resources your employees need to live their healthiest lives—improved employee health can have an effect on absenteeism, productivity, and your bottom line. Use Community Health Charities’ resources to help provide the health support your team needs.

  • Host a roundtable on company culture. Make wellness part of your company’s culture. Host a conversation and discuss with employees how to best make wellness a part of the daily routine—the roundtable is the first step towards reaching this goal.

Your employees are your best resource—utilize them.

Make today, World Heart Day, the day you start making heart health a priority—incorporating a few healthy practices into your routine is all it takes.

  • Get moving and stay moving. Whether you’re training for a marathon or taking a brisk walk, find a way to incorporate exercise into your daily life. Getting your heartbeat up for 40 minutes three to four times a week can help fight off heart disease and stroke, as well as reduce blood pressure and stress levels.
  • Fuel up and eat mindfully. You are what you eat! Make sure your body is getting the nutrition it needs to keep you going.
  • Stop smoking and stay tobacco-free. Smoking increases your disk of a cardiovascular disease, as well as makes it harder for you to reach the rest of your health goals. Use American Heart Association’s resources to help you quit.

Check out all of American Heart Association’s suggestions for more ways to keep your heart healthy and utilize Community Health Charities’ heart healthy resources.

Trying to spark a healthy change in your office? Try adding some friendly competition to your workplace. Awards can be anything from the best parking spot, healthcare discounts, time off, a company-sponsored lunch, gift cards, or bragging rights!

  • Walking—Challenge your coworkers to see who can take the most steps in a week. Research shows that walking reduces your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. You can track your steps with fitness trackers or an app on your smart phone. Post a chart with everyone’s stats in the office and update it every day to keep the competitive streak going.
  • Water drinking— Drink up! Hydration is key to overall health and maintaining a healthy weight. Keep a white board in the kitchen and have everyone write a tally every time they consume 8 ounces of water.
  • Sleeping—Getting enough sleep each night is important for your physical health, emotional health, and overall productivity at work. Challenge your coworkers to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night one week. The department with the highest success rate wins.
  • Bringing lunch—It’s easier to know what’s in your food when you’re the one making it. Challenge your office to bring a healthy lunch to work twice a week for a month. With a variety of healthy ideas, healthy doesn’t have to be boring.

Community Health Charities has a variety of health resources to help motivate your employees. Check them out, challenge your coworkers, and maximize employee wellness!

This September 11th, remember those who have fallen by supporting military and veterans in need. 1 of every 4 active duty military members shows signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or other mental health conditions. Whether their injuries are physical, mental or both, our nation’s heroes and the families who care for them need a tremendous amount of support.

Here’s how you can honor our active military and veterans on September 11th:

  • Use our Volunteer on the Spot Guide to coordinate a volunteer event in your office. Write cards for veterans in hospitals, make snack packs for family members visiting their loved ones, or come up with your own event! To volunteer onsite, visit our volunteer tool to find volunteer opportunities near you.
  • Support Hero’s Health. Your support will provide critical physical and mental health programs focused on hope and healing, support for families’ of injured veterans, employment and job training programs, and more.
  • Share our Military and Veteran Health Resources with someone in need.

Thank you to our service members and all those who support them.

Disaster response is not just about rebuilding homes—it’s about rebuilding lives.

Thousands of lives have been affected by Harvey and Irma, both inside their paths and out. Family and friends of our staff have lost everything, been displaced from their homes, and are living in shelters while their communities recover and grow during the storms’ aftermath. Shelly Douglas, a staff member, had a friend recently pass in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Amid the heartbreak, the solidarity and support we have seen has been uplifting—dedicated staff, charity partners working around the clock, and supporters, like you, giving to support communities in need. Funds raised through our Crisis and Disaster Response fund provide everything from emergency medical and healthcare services to mental health and wellbeing. Long-term recovery and rebuilding takes time and resources, as it is more than supplies and buildings—it’s rebuilding and restoring the lives of individuals, children, and families.

We’re building stronger, healthier communities. Together.

Wildfires: it’s more than just the burn; it’s the health impact

Wildfires are burning across the west coast, affecting both the communities witnessing active fire and those surrounding them—a study found that two thirds of the United States was affected by smoke-induced air conditions in 2011.  The fine particles dispersed into the air during fire are linked to a range of health conditions, ranging from burning eyes to aggravating chronic heart and lung diseases.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that those living in areas affected by smoke and worsened air conditions take active steps during wildfires.

  • Use common sense. Stay inside if it look smoky outside or you’ve heard reports of unhealthy air conditions.
  • Pay attention to local air quality reports. Stay up-to-date on news coverage and visit AirNow for your area’s air quality.
  • Keep indoor air as clean as possible. Avoid anything that burns—wood fireplaces, gas stoves, etc.—plus, steer clear of candles, wait to vacuum, and do not smoke.
  • Run your air conditioner. Filter clean air rather than bringing contaminated air inside.
  • Talk to a doctor. If you have heart or lung disease, if you are an older adult, or if you have children you may want to leave the area.

Take American Lung Association’s special precautions if you have lung disease, chronic disease, or diabetes.

Cause an impact for those living with dangerous air quality by supporting Crisis and Disaster Response and utilizing our crisis resources.

A healthy diet and active lifestyle affects a whole lot more than weight: USDA research indicates that a healthy diet full of nutritious food plays a part in preventing chronic disease.

Whether you’re planning school lunches or making healthy changes to your lifestyle, it’s hard to make a big change all at once. To get started, try these four small changes to make your health and long-term wellbeing a priority.

  • Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables work to maintain a healthy blood pressure, possibly protect against certain types of cancer, and reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. Use these creative ways to slip fruits and veggies into your snacks and meals.
  • Make half of your grains whole grains. Whole grains help maintain a healthy digestive track and keep your blood sugar steady, lowering your risk of diabetes. Check out the USDA’s tips on adding whole grain to your diet, as well as the American Diabetes Association’s Create Your Plate tool to ensure you’re getting enough whole grain in your meals.
  • Move to low-fat and fat-free dairy. While dairy can promote bone health, consuming too much high-fat dairy can result in high cholesterol levels. This can increase risk of heart attack and stroke. Follow these ten simple steps to make sure you’re making the right dairy choices.
  • Vary your protein routine. Switch it up! Protein fuels your body, so make sure you’re balancing the kinds you’re eating. Regularly consuming lean protein can help maintain heart health, relieve the symptoms of arthritis, and more.

Check out our health resources for more ways to feel healthy and energized!

What’s your company’s biggest cost?

According to a study by PWC, financial stress could be costing you—big time.

The study found that one in three employees reports that their personal finances are a distraction at work—and 46% of those people said they spend three hours or more a week thinking about or dealing with their personal finances at work. This results in $5,000 in productivity loss a year per employee.

To combat this, U.S. employers are implementing financial wellness programs for their employees.

This doesn’t mean better insurance policies, 401k policies, or the occasional bonus—It means offering programs that teach employees how to manage their finances: budgeting within their means, growing a savings account, utilizing insurance, and more. Whether it’s free employee consultations, workshops, or online resources, see what you can do to reduce employee financial stress and increase productivity.

Health and wellbeing is all-encompassing and includes financial wellness.  Check out a few of the financial resources by one of our charity partners.

Community Health Charities hosted our 7th Annual Health Heroes at Work Recognition Heroes Breakfast on August 18 in Denver, Colorado.

The event celebrated Colorado businesses’ and nonprofits’ amazing work to build stronger, healthier Colorado communities.

“The Hero’s Health breakfast in Denver was an awesome opportunity to celebrate the amazing working taking place in the community.  I enjoyed meeting representatives from local charities as well as all of the campaigns,” said Shelley Hayes, Vice President of Customer Solutions at Community Health Charities. “Seeing Colorado come together to build stronger communities inspires me both personally and professionally.”

The event was emceed by Corey Rose from 9News, an award-winning journalist who annually hosts the event. Beth Bowlen, daughter of Denver Bronco’s owner Pat Bowlen, was the keynote speaker. Beth is a prominent part of the Denver community and previously worked as the director of special projects for the Denver Broncos. She currently serves on multiple nonprofit executive boards, including Alzheimer’s Association.

Don Parsons, a retired surgeon general working at 9Health Fair, was this year’s Health Hero of the Year. Don has been with 9Health Fair for 10 years, serving on the Medical Advisory Committee and Board of Trustees and working as the site coordinator at the Summit County Fair in Frisco. His dedicated spirit demonstrates an unwavering commitment to the medical, health, and wellness of communities in Colorado.

Community Health Charities recognized local company partners whose campaigns excelled. Recipients of the 2017 Campaign Excellence award included Great-West Financial, Kaiser Permanente, King Soopers/City Market, and TIAA. Winners of the 2017 Campaign Success Award included Pinnacol Assurance, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Hyatt Regency Denver.

9News ran a segment on Parsons and Community Health Charities.

Thank you to all that attended the breakfast—and to everyone that continues to work to build stronger, healthier communities.

Everyone loves a barbeque—but this classic option isn’t the only way to honor America’s workers this Labor Day. Try one of our three unconventional ways to celebrate Labor Day this year:

  • Volunteer! Labor Day honors Americas’ workers, but many of them—nurses, emergency responders, police officers, and farmers to name a few—can’t take the day off. Use our volunteer tool to find volunteer opportunities near you.
  • Organize a Volunteer on the Spot event at your workplace this week—and labor for a good cause. You and your coworkers can make a difference on your lunch breaks or in between projects without leaving the office with the onsite volunteer projects in our guide.
  • Begin making employee wellness and engagement priorities in your workplace. Make sure everyone you work with is happy, healthy and able to perform their best.

On Monday, August 21, 2017, North America will see the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse we’ve had since 1979.

While it’s tempting, it’s dangerous to look directly at the eclipse. The sun’s rays are much more powerful during an eclipse than a normal day, and since the retina does not have pain receptors, you can’t feel your eyes being damaged.

Try one of these easy tips to prevent retinal damage or eclipse blindness:

  • Purchase eyewear specifically designed for looking at eclipses. Ordinary sunglasses are not a substitute—keep your eyes safe and get the real thing! Refer to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers page for more details.
  • Install a solar filter on your telescope, camera, binoculars, or other viewing devices. Simply looking through these while wearing solar eyewear will not do! These devices magnify the sunlight, making the rays even more powerful.
  • Pinhole projection is another safe option for viewing. This involves passing sunlight through a small opening (such as a hole punched in an index card) and projecting an image of the Sun onto a nearby surface (for example, another card or the ground). Do NOT look at the Sun through a pinhole!

For complete safety information, visit the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Eclipse 101 page.

Unsure when the eclipse will be visible in your area? Check here.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a Community Health Charities partner, issued a warning about a fake charity sweepstakes. The scammers call from a Washington D.C. area code (202), referencing the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America and saying that the recipient has won $450,000. The catch? The “winner” must give up their banking information for taxes and insurance. Both the FTC and the Make-A-Wish Foundation posted alerts about the scam.

Keep yourself safe from charity scammers with BBB’s tips on identifying fraud:

  1. If a caller says you have to “pay” for a prize, hang up.  If you truly participated and won a sweepstakes, you will never have to send any type of payment to get your winnings.
  2. Government agencies won’t call you about sweepstakes.Scammers use this ruse to gain your trust and/or to make their tax or fees claim sound more official.
  3. Watch out for unauthorized use of a real charity name. The caller may use the name of a nationally recognized charity, like Make-A-Wish Foundation, to help build credibility, they may even offer to “connect” you with the sweepstakes office of that charity.  That’s another false-trust builder. If you truly want to connect with the charity, go to their official website for details.
  4. Don’t succumb to pressure to do as they say.Sometimes the longer you stay on the call, the more opportunities you will be providing scammers to push the right buttons to convince you.
  5. Report suspected scams to government authorities and the BBB.If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, contact the office of the attorney general in your state, report it to the FTC at ftccomplaintassistant.gov, and post your concerns to BBB Scam Tracker so that other members of the public will be informed about it.

It’s back to school season! You know what that means: Busy schedules and even busier mornings.

While it’s tempting to pack a pre-packaged breakfast, what you put in your body in the morning fuels you for the rest of the day. Whether it’s for a child or yourself, stay away from foods loaded with fat and sugar—your breakfast should be filled with hearty food that will keep you going throughout the day. Instead, try the American Heart Association’s Top Ten Tips for a Healthy Breakfast:

  • Oatmeal in an instant!—Instant oatmeal is great on a cold morning and contains fiber and vitamins.
  • Smoothie madness—Blend frozen fruit (bananas and berries are great), low-fat milk or fat-free milk, and 100$% fruit juice for a quick, tasty breakfast smoothie with lots of nutrients.
  • Go 100% whole grain—100% whole grain, cereals containing fiber served with low-fat or fat-free milk are a healthier alternative to sugary cereals. Whole wheat muffins with smashed banana are easy and tasty too.
  • Eggxactly!—Boil, scramble, or poach eggs and serve on whole wheat toast—they’re packed with nutrition
  • Toaster treats—Frozen whole grain waffles take almost no time to make. Top them with berries, low sugar apple sauce, or sliced bananas instead of syrup.
  • Go nutty!—Spreading peanut or almond butter on whole grain toast is a great way to get both protein and fiber.
  • Go fruity!—Fresh fruit cut up with a dollop of low or fat-free yogurt is a great way to start the day. Apples contain fiber and bananas contain potassium.
  • Try all-fruit spreads—Instead of butter or margarine on toast, try all-fruit spreads, fruit butters, or even sliced bananas or strawberries
  • Bagel classics—Try a while wheat or sunflower seed bagel with low-fat cream cheese or peanut butter
  • Breakfast on-the-go—Don’t have time to eat breakfast at home? Try whole grain mini bagels, muffins, nuts and dried fresh fruit that can be taken in the car (apple slices and bananas are also easy and not too messy!)

More than 14 million kids and adults in the U.S. attend summer camp every year.  It’s something we take for granted—afternoons spent swimming at the lake, popsicles eaten after a long field day, and the learning done by the creek rather than in the classroom.

For many kids, summer camp is a rite of passage.

It’s more than a tire swing by the river or globs of sticky sunscreen; it’s the chance to just be a kid. It’s the first time many children are apart from their parents for longer than a school day. It’s the first time they get to decide what they want for dessert. It is the first time they get to grow up and be on their own.

However, it can also be something more than just the classic camp experience portrayed in films like The Parent Trap or Meatballs. It can be a place where a child with type 1 diabetes learns self-confidence and independence from mom and dad, plus has an opportunity to be with other kids with diabetes. It can be a moment in the life of a child with special needs where they can broaden their worldview by meeting other children, interacting with animals, and engaging in sports and activities that help expand their social skills and display their unique abilities. Some camps provide youth from poor, inner-city communities with their only access to quality summer educational or recreational programs. This includes mentoring and fitness that can teach kids how daily choices support a healthier, happier life.

Not every child has access to summer camp.  Often, children living with long-term mental and physical health challenges don’t have the opportunity to go away for summer—camp isn’t always feasible when you need assistance climbing stairs or require multiple insulin shots every day.

But long-term health challenges don’t stop kids from wanting to be kids; camps across the country are working to make sure that every child has this life-changing opportunity. Camps like Camp Crescent Moon, American Diabetes Association Camp, and The Woods Project are working to ensure that children living with long-term health challenges, disabilities, and disadvantages still get to experience fun in the sun. From zip lining to fishing, camp gives children the chance to just be kids.

I witnessed the incredible positive impact of these health-based camps over the 20 years I spent with the American Diabetes Association. Spending a week at diabetes camp with all the other “kids” opened my eyes to what a parent of a child with diabetes faced every day. It meant waking up throughout the night to check on campers who might be experiencing low blood episodes, or celebrating with a six-year-old who was learning to test his own blood sugar levels or master the intricacies of an implantable diabetes pump. I learned there that these summer camps for kids with health challenges were about the only place where these children are ever completely “normal”; they could forget about their health issue and just be with other children who are like them, who understand them.

This impact is not limited to children here domestically—it happens all across the globe with camps like SeriousFun. Actor Paul Newman founded SeriousFun camps in 1988 so that kids with health challenges could, in his words, “raise a little hell.” Now, almost thirty years later, there are nearly 30 SeriousFun camps around the world.

For SeriousFun Camp Korey camper Alex, camp is a place that celebrates what he can do—not what he can’t. Alex uses a wheelchair, and often feels left out. But not at Camp Korey. Alex’s mother describes camp as “a place where he can be appreciated for who he is without constantly having to prove that he is good enough to deserve a place….He came home with his heart so full, he overflowed with happiness. It’s a place where he is a kid first and a person with a disability second.”

Alex isn’t the only camper to benefit from the freedom the camps provide. A study done by the Yale Child Support Center in 2015 found that parents noticed a positive change in their children with long-term health challenges after attending summer camp:

  • 66 percent of parents reported their child had an increased interest in social activities
  • 79 percent of parents reported an increase in confidence levels
  • 77 percent of parents reported increased self-esteem
  • 64 percent of parents reported an increased sense of belonging

Yes, camp is about mosquito bites, s’mores, and bunkbeds. But for some children, it’s the first time they’ve been in the water. The first time outside a hospital that they’ve been surrounded by other children who understand what they’re going through. It may be the first time they’ve been treated like kids, not patients.

Let’s help every child experience the confidence that summer camp fosters—and the sweat, smiles, and chlorine-filled fun that accompanies it—no matter what their disease or diagnosis.

Check out our Camps for Kids resources to find special camps for children with long-term health challenges in your area, or support the cause.

Two nights ago, I asked my older child (who just turned 21) if it was okay for me to discuss her personal situation in this blog post. She answered that if we don’t talk about it, we’ll never overcome the stigma associated with mental health problems, and people will continue to suffer in isolation and unnecessary shame. It was exactly the answer I expected.

 

Two years ago, before Emma’s struggles began, I would have called that a courageous attitude. Around that time because of my work, I began attending seminars and meetings about suicide prevention and mental health in the workplace, and I marveled at the courage of people who shared their lived experience stories of anxiety and depression. I didn’t understand how someone could be so brave as to admit to a room full of strangers that he’d tried to kill himself. But he knew exactly the impact it would have on his audience to witness a brilliant, successful man explain the hidden demon that had been destroying him inside for years.

 

Then that hidden demon attacked my family.

 

Ethan was a high school senior, a brilliant, successful kid with high GPA, strong test scores, and acceptance letters from good colleges. Then, suddenly, grades slipped. Anger appeared. He started cutting. As his parents, we didn’t understand why all his success suddenly began falling apart.

 

And we couldn’t talk about it, of course, because everyone else’s kids seemed just fine and no one would understand. So we stumbled along as best we could.

 

Shortly after graduation, Ethan and his girlfriend came to us, somber and serious, with “something to tell us.” Naturally we assumed what parents assume in this case, but we weren’t even close. Ethan said, “I think I may be gender fluid.” We didn’t know what that was at the time, but we learned quickly.

 

The ensuing two years has been a journey like none of us had ever anticipated. “Gender fluid” has clarified to “transgender,” and although Emma still looks to most people like a young man, nearly everyone accepts her for who she is inside. Depression and anxiety, in part driven by her gender dysphoria, has slowed her ability to transition. She’s been hospitalized six times on psychiatric holds for suicidal ideation, and one time she actually tried to take her own life. We’ve found that few doctors or therapists have any experience with or understanding of how gender issues complicate a person’s mental health picture. Although Emma has a tremendous network of support and love around her, depression is a powerful demon.

 

It’s a difficult thing, being the parent of a grown child whose depression has caused at least one suicide attempt. We are all just stumbling through this the best we can.

 

At first, I thought this was a private thing, something no one else would want to hear about. Then, during a reception at a work conference, I responded honestly to a colleague who simply asked, “and how are your kids?” By sharing my family’s story, I unexpectedly created space for her to open up about her own family’s struggles.

 

Telling her about Emma’s transition and depression didn’t feel courageous. It felt more like an act of compassion and connection, a recognition that few of us are as problem-free as we feel we have to present ourselves all the time.

 

Thus, when I stood up in front of a room of 150 people at the Charities@Work conference two weeks ago and told this same story, I didn’t think of it as courage at all. It should not have to be a courageous act to show vulnerability in public. Suppressing mental health challenges only perpetuates the stigma that makes it harder for suffering people to overcome the crushing feeling of pointless shame. There is no part of me that is ashamed of my daughter. There is no part of me that is ashamed of not having the answers, or not being able to “fix” her.

 

It’s important to remember that we are all stumbling along the best we can. This is the reason I started WriteCause with Community Health Charities. I hope over time it will grow, with others sharing their stories and shining a light on mental health concerns. Only through this sharing can we overcome the stigma and allow people struggling with mental health issues to change from being a person with a shameful secret, into being a person with a loving, supportive network holding them up.

 

Join us and share your story:

Everyone experiences fear. The fear of public speaking, failure, heights, darkness, small spaces — and, one of my all-time favorites — snakes. Just ask Indiana Jones. Fear comes in all sizes and shapes, and attacks despite our best efforts to ignore or avoid it. So, what makes you afraid?

We may not agree on politics, religion, or even favorite dessert (I like cannoli), but you will probably agree with me that you share the fear of developing Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, Alzheimer’s is the most feared disease in America.

Read more on The Huffington Post.

I always included the PSA (prostate specific antigen) screening test in any routine physical because I knew that prostate cancer was one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths for men in the U.S., and my PSA numbers had been climbing. To be honest, I didn’t really give much thought to my personal risk of cancer. No one in my immediate family had ever had prostate cancer, and at the time of the biopsy, I was only in my mid-50s. Prostate cancer was a disease that only affected older men.

All my complacency was shattered when the doctor came in and started the conversation with words that would change my life: “Man, you have a lot of cancer in there!”

 

Read more on The Huffington Post.

With summer vacation fast approaching, many parents are looking for ways to keep their kids active and healthy. Activity occupies the mind, avoids the summer slide, prevents boredom, and keeps kids from becoming couch potatoes.

 

Experts say too many kids choose sedentary activities over the summer, like video games and television, instead of exercise. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Public Health reported that the body mass indexes (BMI) of more than 5,000 kindergartners and first graders increased by almost twice as much during summer break as compared with the school year. A follow-up study in 2016, published in the Journal of Obesity found that the risk of obesity is higher when children are out of school than when they are in school.

 

With a little planning, you can ensure your kids have their best, healthiest summer ever with these 12 tips:

  • Create structure and plan daily activities
  • Limit electronics
  • Keep cool with outdoor water activities – pools, water balloons, squirt guns, slip and slide, hose, boating, etc.
  • Make exercise a family affair by walking to a park or playground, biking, playing football or Frisbee in the yard
  • Encourage socialization with friends
  • Checkout summer camp and vacation bible school options
  • Sign up for summer reading programs at your local library
  • Learn something new through activities sponsored by area parks, museums, science centers, libraries, theatres, and beyond
  • Join a summer sports league
  • Try seasonal foods through cooking activities or plant a family garden
  • Give back through volunteering – check out volunteer opportunities
  • Keep a stash of craft activities, board games, books, and art supplies for rainy days

 

Remember:

  • Ensure safety and adult supervision
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Consider the impact of air quality
  • Stay hydrated

 

Summer Obesity Studies:

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/03/health/children-obesity-summer.html?_r=0

http://www.easterseals.com/explore-resources/living-with-autism/summer-activities-for-kids-with-autism.html

http://www.lung.org/about-us/blog/2016/05/for-kids-with-asthma-rising-temps.html

http://www.diabetes.org/mfa-recipes/tips/2015-06/fitting-in-summer-treats.html

http://www.kidsgetarthritistoo.org/living-with-ja/daily-life/staying-active/

https://www.healthiergeneration.org/news__events/2013/07/02/800/active_and_healthy_this_summer#disqus_thread

These gift ideas are perfect year-round for holidays, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and more. Give a great gift that gives back, building stronger, healthier communities for all of us by supporting our trusted member charities. Here are 10 ideas:

  1. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: Items include to beaded and charm bracelets as well as home décor (photo frames and throw blankets). Our pick: the Daisy Fuentes necklace or Brooks Brothers Striped Tie.
  2. Free to Breathe: A partnership for lung cancer survivors, Free to Breathe offers a variety of jewelry, watches and apparel, including beautiful bracelets and scarves with a “Be Brave” motto. You also have the option to build your own charm bracelet or necklace for an even more personalized gift. Our pick: Time to Be Brave leather band watch in pearl white. Also featured in Gift Guide for Gamers.
  3. American Cancer Society: The American Cancer Society Bookstore has an assortment of books, including a children’s picture book about why smoking isn’t healthy, cookbooks, support & care and cancer education books. Our pick: American Cancer Society New Healthy Eating Cookbook.
  4. American Diabetes Association: Find T-shirts, gifts for the kitchen and entertaining, and more at www.shopdiabetes.org Our pick: Precise Portions® Go Healthy Travel Pack.
  5. American Heart Association: One of the best online charity shops out there. They have everything from travel mugs to apple scented planners and rhinestone jewelry. Our pick: “Go Red” fleece blanket
  6. Autism Speaks: From T-shirts to jewelry, the Autism Speaks shop has it all. Our pick: NEST Blue Garden Classic Candle.
  7. JDRF: Shop a variety of T-shirts, ball caps, automotive accessories and more at the JDRF. Our pick:  The OGIO® Sonic Sling Pack.
  8. National Stroke Association: The National Stroke Association store has everything from apparel and bags, to drinkware and temporary tattoos.  Our pick: “Come Back Strong” graphic t-shirt.
  9. National Multiple Sclerosis Society: At this shop you’ll find bracelets, lapel pins and even an orange teddy bear! Our pick: Orange and white compactible umbrella with the MS logo.
  10. Sickle Cell Disease Association of America: Sickle Cell Disease Association of America has a variety of gifts that include clothing, drinkware and more.  Our pick: “It’s Time” lunch bag.

My children were raised in a home where Elmo, Big Bird, and Oscar the Grouch were just another part of our family. Since 1969, Sesame Street has been reaching and teaching children all over the world with comedy, cartoons, games, and songs. More than just ABCs and counting, Sesame Street has influenced our perceptions about developmental psychology, early childhood education, and cultural diversity.

This month, with the addition of Julia, a new Muppet with autism, this long-running American cultural icon has taken another important step to increase the awareness and understanding of children who are “different,” specifically children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
The big question we need to be asking ourselves now is whether this unprecedented step forward is enough.

Read more on The Huffington Post.

It’s hard to know where to begin with the current maelstrom swirling around the refugee crisis.

From Trump’s executive orders, to airport protests regarding refugee bans, to deterring terrorism and ISIS, to the Ninth Circuit Court’s ruling, this issue has become political dynamite. Politics instead of people.

Read more on The Huffington Post.

Related:

Did you know that several of Community Health Charities’ members have gift catalogs and online shops where you can buy great gifts to support a great cause? Gift choices range from jewelry and apparel to home décor and automotive accessories.

Why not shop from one of these online stores for a great way to give a gift to a friend or loved one this Valentine’s Day while also donating to a worthy cause? Here are 10 ideas:

  1. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: Items include to beaded and charm bracelets as well as home décor (photo frames and throw blankets). Our pick: the Daisy Fuentes necklace or Brooks Brothers Striped Tie.
  2. Free to Breathe: A partnership for lung cancer survivors, Free to Breathe offers a variety of jewelry, watches and apparel, including beautiful bracelets and scarves with a “Be Brave” motto. You also have the option to build your own charm bracelet or necklace for an even more personalized gift. Our pick: Time to Be Brave leather band watch in pearl white.
  3. American Cancer Society: The American Cancer Society Bookstore has an assortment of books, including a children’s picture book about why smoking isn’t healthy, cookbooks, support & care and cancer education books. Our pick: American Cancer Society New Healthy Eating Cookbook.
  4. American Diabetes Association: Find T-shirts, gifts for the kitchen and entertaining, and more at www.shopdiabetes.org.  Our pick: Precise Portions® Go Healthy Travel Pack.
  5. American Heart Association: One of the best online charity shops out there is. They have everything from travel mugs to apple scented planners and rhinestone jewelry. Our pick: “Go Red” fleece blanket
  6. Autism Speaks: From T-shirts to jewelry, the Autism Speaks shop has it all. Our pick: NEST Blue Garden Classic Candle.
  7. JDRF: Shop a variety of T-shirts, ball caps, automotive accessories and more at the JDRF. Our pick:  The OGIO® Sonic Sling Pack.
  8. National Stroke Association: The National Stroke Association store has everything from apparel and bags, to drinkware and temporary tattoos.  Our pick: “Come Back Strong” graphic t-shirt.
  9. National Multiple Sclerosis Society: At this shop you’ll find bracelets, lapel pins and even an orange teddy bear! Our pick: Orange and white compactible umbrella with the MS logo.
  10. Sickle Cell Disease Association of America: Sickle Cell Disease Association of America has a variety of gifts that include clothing, drinkware and more.  Our pick: “It’s Time” lunch bag.

Whatever your cause, our member charity online shops can help you find a great gift for the important people in your life. For more on our member charities, view our complete member list.

Since 2007, the month of January has been observed as Sex and Human Trafficking Awareness Month per presidential proclamation. Unfortunately the epidemic has only worsened. According to the International Labour Organizationat least 20 million people are enslaved today – more than at any time in human history.

Read more on The Huffington Post.