Diana Nyad To Oprah: ‘The Body Is Pathetic Compared To What We Have Inside Us’ (VIDEO)

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Diana Nyad To Oprah: ‘The Body Is Pathetic Compared To What We Have Inside Us’ (VIDEO)
Diana Nyad inspired the world earlier this month when she became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. The 64-year-old swimmer completed the voyage in just under 53 hours. On Sunday, Oct. 6, Nyad will appear on “Super Soul Sunday” to discuss how she achieved this feat of athleticism, will and spirit.

In this first look at the interview, Nyad sits down with Oprah for a revealing conversation about chasing dreams, pushing limits and daring with intention and purpose. “What you showed us all is what a real warrior looks like,” Oprah says to Nyad in the video. “I can’t even imagine what that pain felt like.”

“The body is pathetic compared to what we have inside us,” Nyad says in the clip.

Nyad had tried to complete the approximately 110-mile swim on four prior occasions but barriers ranging from jellyfish stings to lightning forced her to abandon each effort. She tried three times in 2011 and 2012, and her first attempt was in 1978.

“It wasn’t so much what did I want to do, it was who I want to be,” she tells Oprah.

Watch part one of the full interview when it airs Sunday, Oct. 6 at 11 a.m. ET on OWN.

Dr. Oz’s 7 Alternative Treatments For Chronic Pain
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By Dr. Mehmet Oz

Millions more women than men live with pain that lingers for months or even years, but compelling research shows that alternative therapies can offer lasting relief.

When I operate on a patient with heart disease, the ravaging effects of the illness are immediately apparent. I can see the source of the problem — a damaged blood vessel, a clogged artery — and know exactly what I need to do to try to fix it. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with chronic pain. Its source can be difficult to pinpoint, it’s hard to measure, and it’s not something a doctor can stitch up with sutures. And for reasons science can’t fully explain, of the more than 100 million Americans who experience chronic pain (defined as any discomfort that lasts three to six months or longer), the majority are women — they’re more than twice as likely as men to have rheumatoid arthritis, for instance, and seven times as likely to have fibromyalgia.

For generations, the default method for treating pain has remained largely the same: prescription and over-the-counter painkillers. But sustained use of painkillers can lead to its own problems, including stomach ulcers, liver failure, and addiction (about 1.9 million Americans with legitimate prescriptions are hooked on their pain meds). The good news: As a doctor who has long praised alternative therapies, I’m happy to report that pain management is one area in which drug-free treatments are showing promising results. In fact, a recent survey found that 75 percent of integrative-medicine centers across the country were successful at relieving chronic pain with therapies that don’t come in the form of a pill.

Lower-Back Pain

Up to 84 percent of people will experience lower-back pain at some point in their lives — whether due to injury (think: a yoga move gone wrong), poor posture, or osteoporosis that leads to fractures in the vertebrae of the lower spine. Debilitating backaches are actually so widespread that they account for roughly 385 million missed workdays in the United States every year. If you’re dealing with acute pain, it helps to start moving as soon as possible to keep muscles flexible, but avoid strenuous activity and try using a heating pad to relax injured or overused muscles; the discomfort should subside in a matter of weeks. For chronic sufferers, however, the pain may never fully go away.

Alternative Rx: Osteopathic Manual Treatment (OMT)

This hands-on form of therapy is much more than a spa-style rubdown: An osteopathic physician will use techniques like stretching and kneading soft tissue around inflamed muscles or applying pressure at specific sites along the back, known as myofascial trigger points, where muscle fibers are tight. A 2013 study in the Annals of Family Medicine found that 63 percent of patients with chronic low-back pain who underwent six sessions of OMT over eight weeks saw a 30 percent or greater reduction in discomfort, decreasing their need for painkillers.

Knee Osteoarthritis

Blame this kind of joint pain on cartilage — or a lack thereof. As the connective tissue wears away, the subsequent bone-on-bone contact can trigger pain ranging from mild to severe. It’s more common among obese people (as excess weight increases pressure on joints) and the elderly (because cartilage deteriorates with age), but it can also develop from an injury like a torn meniscus or ACL. Cortisone injections are one option, but overdoing the shots may worsen joint damage, which is why many doctors limit the number of injections patients can receive in a year.

Alternative Rx: Acupuncture

This needling technique has been used to treat pain for centuries, and evidence suggests it can be particularly effective in treating knee osteoarthritis. A 2012 study found that acupuncture could be a low-cost substitute for knee surgery, providing substantial pain relief in about a third of patients. Researchers believe the needles may trigger nerves to signal the brain to release endorphins that naturally dull pain.

Sciatica

A subset of back pain, sciatica affects up to 5 percent of women and refers to pain that can begin in the low back and radiate south to the legs and feet. The pain can vary widely, from a burning sensation to numbness and tingling, brought on by the compression of nerves that begin along the lower spinal column. A herniated disk is one of the most common culprits, but injury, obesity, and even prolonged sitting can also trigger the condition.

Alternative Rx: Physical Therapy (PT)

While severe pain from sciatica will make you want to do anything but exercise, prolonged inactivity can make symptoms worse. Once your acute pain subsides (rest for no more than two days), PT can help prevent further injury to the back by improving posture and flexibility and strengthening muscles for support. One study found that 79 percent of sciatica patients who did physical therapy in addition to receiving routine treatment and medication from a doctor reported complete recovery or significant improvement after a year, while only 56 percent of patients who didn’t receive the PT saw similar results.

Fibromyalgia

The most common cause of general musculoskeletal pain in women ages 20 to 55 is also the hardest to treat. Unlike other common types of pain, fibromyalgia has no known cause and is characterized by fatigue and widespread aches that can leave the whole body feeling tender. The problem likely lies with the body’s central nervous system. In most cases, when the brain processes pain, it sends the signal back to the site of the problem (bang your knee, and you feel a sharp sting on the spot), but with fibromyalgia, the signal is amplified, affecting the body at many different points. While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, reducing stress, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly can help manage the symptoms. Some prescription drugs have also been effective at keeping pain under control.

Alternative Rx: Hypnotherapy

The healing powers of hypnotherapy, in which a licensed hypnotherapist guides your mind to a highly focused mental state while easing your body into deep relaxation, are impressive, with studies showing its ability to significantly decrease pain levels and reduce painkiller use. While it’s not completely clear why hypnosis works so well, some brain imaging studies suggest it reduces activity in areas of the brain that process pain. And it may not take long: Patients in one study reported relief that lasted for three months after just eight one-hour sessions.

3 Natural Treatments for Relief:

Arnica Gel

In my house, this is the go-to pain remedy for bruises and sore muscles, and research has shown it can even help soothe arthritis aches. One study of 204 people with osteoarthritis in their hands found that using arnica gel for 21 days worked just as well at zapping pain as ibuprofen.

Aromatherapy

Massaging certain essential oils onto aching body parts can trigger a calming response. People with fibromyalgia who applied a mixture of oils (including rosemary, eucalyptus, and aloe vera) to areas of discomfort as needed for one month reported significantly less pain than those using a placebo oil, according to a study in the Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain.

Vitamin C

In a study in Arthritis & Rheumatism, osteoarthritis sufferers who consumed the most vitamin C (an average of 500 milligrams per day) reported less knee pain and were three times less likely to experience a progression of their symptoms over seven to ten years than those consuming the least — possibly due to the vitamin’s protective effect on cartilage and bone. Try snacking on C-rich foods like guavas and red peppers.

How To Win Every Obamacare Argument: A Guide From The Experts
WASHINGTON — In his Friday op-ed in The New York Times, titled “My State Needs Obamacare, Now,” Kentucky’s Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear said he had a simple message for Republicans who don’t like the law: “Get over it.”

“Frankly, we can’t implement the Affordable Care Act fast enough,” Beshear wrote. “As for naysayers, I’m offended by their partisan gamesmanship, as they continue to pour time, money and energy into overturning or defunding the Affordable Care Act. It’s shameful that these critics haven’t invested that same level of energy into trying to improve the health of our citizens. … So, to those more worried about political power than Kentucky’s families, I say, ‘Get over it.'”

Of course, Beshear comes from the rarefied perch of a popular two-term governor in a fairly red state. He also has practice defending the health care law, having poured millions into the effort with marketing and branding campaigns. And he commissioned an economic study that projected that the ACA would create at least 17,000 jobs. President Obama even used Kentucky to illustrate a point about the ACA; feedback during the promotion of Kentucky’s health benefits exchange, Kynect, had been so positive that some Kentuckians didn’t even know it was the state’s implementation of the federal law.

Beshear won’t be hiding out during the Oct. 1 launch. He and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson plan on crisscrossing the state, promoting Kynect and urging the state’s 640,000 uninsured to log on and sign up.

But you don’t have to be a powerful governor to win the Obamacare debate. Kentucky officials and outreach workers have been everywhere — the state fair, minor league ballgames, community meetings in libraries — pitching Kynect. It’s starting to feel like a Vegas act; on some days, health department workers will be doing four events. Here, they explain what they’ve experienced pitching the new law to skeptical residents, and what it takes to win over converts.

Don’t call it Obamacare. Erin Hoben, an outreach worker with Kentucky Voices for Health, a coalition pressing for affordable and effective health care, has traveled all over the state explaining the new law to both health care workers and the state’s most vulnerable residents. “I don’t say Obamacare,” Hoben says. “I don’t ever use the term. I think if you don’t call it the Affordable Care Act then you would be doing a disservice to Kentuckians.”

“I don’t want to be confrontational from the get-go,” she explains. “If you use that term, the walls automatically go up.”

Dispensing with the controversial nickname means you can get to what’s actually in the legislation, explains Cara Stewart, a health law fellow and attorney with the Kentucky Equal Justice Center. “No one is very angry once they find out about the law,” says Stewart, who has also done outreach in every corner of the state. “I don’t even say ACA. I say health care coverage and health options.”

You have to become a myth-buster. The advocates and state officials interviewed by The Huffington Post all brought up examples of residents who lacked information. Abramson, the lieutenant governor, says some still pepper him with basic questions, such as where can they find Kynect.

The state set up a call center in mid-August. In the first six weeks, as of Sept. 29, they have received 7,487 calls, with the number of calls growing rapidly by the week, according to Gwenda Bond, assistant communications director with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. In the last full week they answered more more than 1,000 calls. The top five questions fielded by the call takers include basics like “What is the Affordable Care Act?” and “Will I be covered with a preexisting condition?”

Stewart gets these questions regularly. She says one Kentuckian called her an “angel” after she explained that he could get coverage, even with his old ailments.

Democratic state Rep. Jimmie Lee (Hardin) says the people he hears from mostly have a lot of uncertainty about the coming changes. “I think fear is 90 percent of our problem right now,” he says. “The fear of the unknown … Most of the people that have called me have insurance. They have it now and they are worried they won’t be able to keep it.”

A lot of time is spent dispelling those myths. One of the more common conspiracies: If you don’t sign up for Obamacare, you could end up behind bars. And, of course, the so-called death panels still get brought up in community forums. “The death panels are still not gone,” Stewart says. “Those are still coming up. When people bring stuff like that up, I just politely say there’s no such thing.”

Hoben says people are still unsure the ACA is even real. “One of the things that we’ve kind of learned — people are still unclear that the Affordable Care Act is the law. A lot of people think it’s been repealed,” she explains.

Stewart says the emergency room has become the health care version of food stamps — its use is eyed with suspicion and resentment. A frequent tall tale, Stewart says, is that, “people are in the ER with splinters.”

“I don’t know that that’s ever happened,” Stewart says. “It’s been an example that people have thrown at me a couple of times. Blisters and splinters. People go to the ER for a blister.”

Abramson offers a simple way to bust through the myths. “What I have found if someone comes up to me and begins to ask questions, you can normally — from the way they frame the question, you can decide whether they are watching Fox News or they are trying to grasp the facts as they exist,” he says. “What I’m trying to do is get to the bottom line — get them to Kynect by phone or through the computer.”

The idea goes that once they hop on to Kynect, they can see for themselves the plans that are out there and what kinds of subsidies might be available. More than 90 percent of uninsured Kentuckians will qualify for some kind assistance under the ACA.

Make it personal. Not political. Hoben says when she is giving her ACA pitch, she wants to hear Kentuckians tell their own health care stories.

“I met a woman at the London homecoming who has two children, and has KCHIP for them but no health insurance for herself,” Hoben says. KCHIP is the state’s subsidized health insurance program for low-income children.

“She has not had insurance since she was a dependent and had always neglected her health for that of her two children,” Hoben explains. “She had Medicaid when she was pregnant with both of her children, but didn’t have any afterward. She has missed work in the past because her illnesses have lasted longer than they would had she been able to get care, which makes it more difficult to pay her family’s monthly expenses. She is in nursing school, and won’t have an opportunity for employer-sponsored insurance until she graduates, at least two years from now. She says that having the opportunity for health care will be a huge stress relief, both financially and because she can address some lingering health concerns, such as back pain, which could affect her ability to practice nursing when she graduates.”

Once Hoben explained the ACA, the woman was hopeful. Now she would have the chance to get health insurance.

Stewart says a lot of people just want to tell their stories, even in rooms filled with strangers. “A lot of people share openly,” she says, adding that she expects to be kept after meetings for at least an hour to hear those stories one on one. After a recent event, a woman handed over her cell phone and just told her to tell her mom about the new reforms.

She had to take the phone. “I’m talking to momma who is a manager at a car wash who doesn’t have insurance,” Stewart recalls. “She was like, ‘Will I be able to get help with my blood pressure pills?'”

People actually want health insurance — even those living in places with universal coverage. “I had a family who moved because his daughter had special needs and the mom is British so they moved to England. Now they want to move back,” Stewart says. The family contacted her online. “I introduced him to an immigration attorney. They own a house here but the decision is a factor on whether their daughter gets health care.”

Keep it simple. Abramson says there’s an easy route to a successful Obamacare argument: Use facts. “Our job is just to get the real facts,” he says. “Let us run those facts against your specific, personal profile and here’s what it costs and here’s what you’ll get — this robust expanded health care list of services. … When you lay out the specifics, I get a lot of positive feedback.”

You meet potential supporters everywhere. Stewart says a surefire way to reach possible Obamacare converts is to go out to eat. “One of my most successful ways to find people,” she says. “I ask the servers — they are typically uninsured.”

Stop worrying about the tea party. In Kentucky at least, tea party enthusiasts have largely stayed away from community meetings and interfering with Kynect’s rollout, besides an unsuccessful court fight. “I have never faced any opposition,” Hoben says.

Jean Klingle, director of education and outreach with Kynect, has spread awareness at the state fair and other events. “We have not seen anything,” she says when asked about any tea party presence. “They have not approached us.”

Stewart recalls encountering one tea party supporter. “He was there to find out how to get out of [the ACA],” she says. “He stayed the entire time, and was polite. He was one of the ones that said he wanted to avoid jail.”

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Learning to Hold Hands Again
We’d turned into one of those forever-married couples, the ones we’d mocked in restaurants. Sipping decaf, sharing the same table but not talking to each other. Not angry or anything… just nothing left to say.

A businessman by day, on weekends an avid photographer, my husband of 38 years is quiet by nature. After dropping our daughter off for her freshman year of college, I realized how much our conversations had centered around her. Suddenly a twosome, we sat amid couples holding hands.

“Should we get the check?” My husband broke the silence.

“Yes,” was my earth-shattering reply.

Our daughter called this our “banana” conversation. We both ate a banana each morning with cereal. At dinner, my husband would report, “I bought bananas today,” even telling the price per pound.

“Let’s not talk about bananas again!” our daughter protested. “Soon, you’ll be eating prunes, like Grandma.”

No prunes — yet. But the empty seat at our table had never seemed more pronounced. Our threesome dynamic had suddenly become a duet, rusty and out of tune… a duet that had to find its harmony again.

We married young and had a child late. Devoted to our careers, we swam laps in the gym after work and dined out at 10 p.m. An “old” married friend remarked he was tired of us smooching at the dinner table. Our life was full of ambition, foreign films, lazy Sunday afternoons in bed. I supported him during a year of unemployment. I had back surgery (successful) and he had his first colonoscopy (polyps gone!). I took dance classes and he studied karate. We sojourned to romantic vineyards in the Loire Valley. We went to funerals of our grandparents and to one tragic loss, of my brother, to cancer at age 46.

I had a miscarriage.

I was 39. We were ready to settle down. We were terrified of settling down.

“I don’t want our relationship to change,” I naïvely told him.

“You’re the most important person in the world to me,” he promised.

If you Google “ruin a marriage by having children,” 79.9 million results pop up.

I delivered our daughter at the age of 41. Our romance shifted to the toddler who exhausted us, the preschooler showering her father with neon-colored hearts: I LOVE YOU DADDY!!!!!

We evolved into soccer parents, nursemaids cleaning up vomit, neurotic parents surviving an overnight hospitalization for dehydration, all while managing my mother’s care as she grew old and infirm. Watching a parent die adds no romance to a marriage.

No wonder we felt spent when we dropped our daughter off at college. We drove home dazed. Wandered around like stunned, jet-lagged tourists. Everyone looked under 30. Neither of us spoke as we ate a late dinner. We’d become accustomed to six o’clock meals to feed a cranky child.

My husband paid the check and asked if we needed to pick up bananas on the way home.

The noise of our daughter had filled up our house for 18 years. Two females and one man. Lots of hormones — hers rising, mine waning, his confused. Now it was quiet; we’d look at each other and say, “It’s so weird.” Instead of waiting for our daughter to come home, we escaped our eerily still apartment, remarking how many people swarmed the streets at this hour. Generations had been born and grew up while we were playing Candyland and pretending to help with pre-calc homework we couldn’t understand.

Every movie seemed to be a romantic comedy about twenty-somethings. Every restaurant was too loud for my husband’s diminishing hearing. Everyone on the street seemed to be in love.

A few months before, we’d taken our daughter to Paris. Strolling by the Seine at sunset, we passed couples drinking champagne. We had a quarrel that brought me to tears, one of those marital tiffs where neither remembers why it had started. After so many years of marriage, we’d learned to fight in public.

My daughter rolled her eyes, wondering, I’m sure, were my parents ever in love like these smooching couples on the Seine? Yes we were, and still are. But it’s impossible to explain the evolution of a long-term marriage to an 18-year-old. I once vowed to never turn into the marriage of my parents. And I remember the shock when my mother told me, “Your father and I still make love.” She was in her seventies. After my father died, she found love again, I saw her smitten, the way she must have been when my father courted her. By the time children grow up, we can’t imagine our parents had once been youthful lovers.

My husband and I have seen each other naked in lust. We’ve bathed each other when surgery scars were raw. We’ve had fights so boisterous that one of us slammed the door and disappeared to cool off. We’ve watched a baby come into the world, a scrawny, six pound, six ounce girl created from love. Now she’s gone, and we’re filling up the empty space with books, hobbies, naps, and finding conversations to share about politics, retirement, and yes, bananas.

In her first letter home from college, our daughter asked, “So what are you doing with your nights now that I’m not around?”

We are learning to hold hands again.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

Good News – The Huffington Post
Comprehensive and Successful Healthcare: Innovations from Brazil
Picture yourself in Rio de Janeiro, not on Ipanema’s gorgeous sandy beach as most of us would but in one of the hundreds of favelas or shantytowns that are spread throughout the city. Substandard housing, overcrowding, and limited basic services such as poor sanitation systems are the norm. In this context, favela dwellers are overexposed to adverse and unexpected health events, which constitute a major channel for the inter-generational transmission of poverty. Most poor families must cope with a vicious cycle in which misery and illness lead to hospital admission and subsequent readmission and/or death as a result of poverty and the lack of adequate coping mechanisms. Even more vulnerable to the negative consequences of severe health conditions are single mothers and their children, which represent approximately 25% of poor urban households in Brazil (IETS, 2011).

When severe health problems occur in these circumstances, it is not enough to be able to have access to public hospitals. In addition to the psychological toll of dealing with chronic diseases, there are more bills to pay and a loss of income since someone has to take care of the family member who is hospitalized. It is not enough for these poor families to receive medical treatment since they will go back to living in terrible conditions, with less income, more debt, and few opportunities for improving their wellbeing. The picture is indeed dire but an innovative Brazilian NGO developed an approach to healthcare that is proven to be effective and which helps families during health shocks to prevent relapse, and generate the conditions for a much brighter future.

For over twenty years Saúde Criança (“child health” in English), (link), has helped thousands of poor families, mostly female-headed households, cope with chronic health problems that affect their children. It does so through fostering partnerships with public hospitals and implementing a co-responsibility scheme with families whose children suffer major health issues such as cancer, brain tumors, or chronic respiratory problems. Together with the beneficiary family, Saúde Criança’s volunteers design a Family Action Plan through which the organization provides direct support in five key areas that create a solid foundation for a better future: health, education, housing, income generation, and citizenship. In return, and in order to continue receiving the benefits of the program, family members commit to achieve specific monthly goals such as enrolling in a professionalization course, attending doctor’s appointments, sending their children to school, receiving nutritional counsel, and participating in workshops on specific topics such as drug abuse, self-esteem, and domestic violence, among others.

The innovative work of Saúde Criança relies on successfully bridging the gap between ideas and implementation (link WBank paper). The organization developed a comprehensive concept of health that takes into account the biological, socio-economic, and psychological conditions of beneficiaries, and implements a multidimensional program that complements medical treatment. Their pioneering work has been recognized across the world (link BID-Global Journal) and has expanded across six states in Brazil (link map). Further, its positive effects have been confirmed by a rigorous program evaluation carried out by Georgetown University researchers, who found that there are long-term and sustainable gains across the five key themes, particularly in children’s health, housing, and employment.

Far too often NGO programs are seen as handouts for the poor, and sometimes it is not enough just to try to do good. Saúde Criança’s model shows that a holistic approach to healthcare is an investment that provides positive returns to society by improving the wellbeing of vulnerable and socially excluded families.

Support Saúde Criança in the Skoll Foundation Social Entrepreneurs’ Challenge!

Daniel Ortega Nieto – Georgetown University, PhD candidate.

Daniel Ortega Nieto Twitter: https://twitter.com/DanielOrtegaN

Saude Crianca Twitter: https://twitter.com/saudecrianca

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Links:

Saude Crianca http://www.saudecrianca.org.br

Global Journal http://theglobaljournal.net/top100NGOs/

IADB http://www.iadb.org/en/topics/education/call-for-proposals/idb-alas-foundation-announce-winners-of-early-childhood-development-awards,6555.html#.UkdubBaRr0c

World Bank paper http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTURBANDEVELOPMENT/Resources/336387-1369969101352/Ortega-Nieto.pdf

90-Year-Old Newlyweds Prove It’s Never Too Late To Find Love
A pair of spunky elderly newlyweds in Washington state are proving that it’s never too late to discover true love.

Andy Nilles, 93, and Gladys Salley, 90, tied the knot last week at the Cock-a-Doodle Doughnuts shop in Port Angeles, WA. where they had spent many hours together sharing apple fritters and other sweets.

The two live in the same retirement community — where Nilles is apparently considered quite the catch — but didn’t start dating until they were introduced by a mutual friend.

Nilles, a former rancher and wheat farmer, said he would have proposed on one knee — but didn’t think he’d ever get back up again.

Salley, who was married for 52 years to her late husband, Fred, who died in 1996, said she never thought she’d marry again. Nilles was married twice before; his second wife died in 2002.

The two were married inside the doughnut shop by the Rev. Mark Weatherford of Eastern Hills Community Church, who told the Associated Press, “I feel like I need to counsel them, but what advice do you give somebody that’s 90?”

After vowing to stay together “until death do us part,” Nilles quipped that he figures they have at least another six years.

Following the ceremony, the two shared a passionate kiss before climbing into Nilles’ 2007 Chevrolet HHR for a honeymoon trip to Leavenworth, WA.

What Every City Can Learn From Atlanta, This Year’s ‘Turnaround Story’ For Fighting Homelessness
ATLANTA — After Larry Mainor left the armed forces, he spent years getting high on crack and sleeping in cars, under bridges, behind restaurants and even in the woods. Now, he finally has a roof over his head and his own bed to sleep in.

Mainor is one of hundreds of homeless veterans and other chronically homeless people being helped by an Atlanta initiative aimed at getting people off the streets and in permanent housing in a city that for years has struggled to keep people off the streets. The city is well on its way to meeting its goal of finding homes for 800 people this year, with already more than 700 in homes. Those like Mainor are eager to find the help.

“I just got sick and tired of living a life of drugs and alcohol,” Mainor said. “I saw my friend get shot and lay in the streets and die. That’s not how I want to leave this world.”

More than 6,000 homeless people live in metro Atlanta, according to a point-in-time count in January. Atlanta’s “Unsheltered No More” initiative is in keeping with a national movement toward a “housing first” approach, which advocates say is focused first and foremost on getting the homeless off the streets, and then providing them with any services and other help they may need.

“Atlanta is a really turnaround story in the last year,” said Jake Maguire, communications director for the 100,000 Homes Campaign, a national group working to find permanent homes for 100,000 of the nation’s most vulnerable homeless. “They have been able to make tremendous change in a short amount of time.”

Last year, the city partnered with the group to try to house 100 people in 100 days. That goal was beaten, with 131 people finding homes. Atlanta housed more homeless veterans than any other city participating in the nationwide challenge while also speeding up placement process by one-third.

“Atlanta in some ways is kind of the poster child,” Maguire said. “Dramatic change is actually possible in a short period of time.”

Nationally, Georgia ranks first in the largest number of statewide homelessness, as balanced by counties, and second in largest number of statewide veterans and chronically homeless individuals, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2012 Annual Homeless Assessment Report.

Atlanta’s efforts in addressing homelessness align with a federal strategy, called “Opening Doors,” to end veteran and chronic homelessness by 2015. Though only a small portion of the homeless population, research shows the chronically homeless consume a disproportionate amount of public resources, including homeless shelters, hospitals, emergency rooms, jails and prisons. Chronically homeless individuals also are the most vulnerable, with nearly four to nine times higher mortally rates than the general population, according to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.

A chronically homeless individual is someone who has been continuously homeless for one year or at least four times in the last three years and has a disabling condition, such as a substance use disorder or a mental illness, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“This is not the guy who could get a job who just didn’t want it – that’s not the population,” Maguire said. “They are folks who really, truly will not be able to sustain themselves and will need to be taken care of by their fellow community members.”

Mainor, the man who found a home in Atlanta, also has received help from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing voucher program provides rental assistance, case management and clinical services for homeless veterans through the departments and community-based outreach.

The VA nationally is increasingly viewing homelessness as a permanent problem – not a temporary one.

“The change now is that we want people to get housing first, and then we surround them with services and that helps their process of recovery,” said Protip Biswas, Vice President of Homelessness and Community Outreach for United Way of Greater Atlanta.

Recent analysis from Atlanta’s local housing authority found that veterans permanently housed through the HUD-VASH voucher program had an average retention rate of 95 percent. It is too early to calculate the retention rate for the city’s recent chronic homelessness challenge.

Many of the individuals housed through the city’s recent initiatives were identified through a volunteer-driven homeless registry created in January. The registry, based on a vulnerability index that screens for critical health and social conditions, serves to identify and prioritize the city’s most vulnerable citizens for housing.

As for Mainor, he’s been able to overcome his alcohol and drug addictions, afford permanent housing, receive medical and psychological attention and obtain pension benefits. Building off his skills as a cook in the military, Mainor recently graduated from Atlanta Technical College’s culinary arts program, where he also met his fiancée. The two are now making plans to open a bakery and catering business.

“Instead of me trying to find some drugs and alcohol when I wake up in the morning-time, now when I wake up in the morning-time, I can think about the positive things in life,” Mainor said. “It tells me that Larry is somebody now. It tells me that the last four years of trying to live a normal life is paying off.”

Cat Sits On Hedgehog, Quickly Learns To Never Do That Again
There are many lessons in life. Not sitting on hedgehogs is simply one of them.

Via Tastefully Offensive

Green – The Huffington Post
Honest Tea Co-Founder Seth Goldman On Sustainability, Business, And Success (LIVESTREAM)
Seth Goldman, co-founder of Honest Tea and Henry Crown Fellow, joins the Aspen Institute on Monday, September 30, at 12 pm to discuss sustainability, business, and the brand’s success. Goldman’s new book, ‘Mission in a Bottle,’ co-written with Yale School of Management Professor Barry Nalebuff, shares the story of creating Honest Tea in the form of a clever graphic novel.

We spoke with Goldman to get a sneak peek of his chat with Peter Reiling, Institute Executive Vice President of Leadership and Seminar Programs and Henry Crown Fellowship Executive Director. The conversation will be livestreamed on Monday at 12 pm ET.

Q: Explain your connection with the Aspen Institute and the Henry Crown Fellowship. How did the Henry Crown Fellowship influence your ideas of leadership, business, sustainability, and success?

I am a Henry Crown Fellow of the 9th Symphony Class. The fellowship helped provide me with a framework of ideas and a network of friends that challenged me to think more aggressively about the impact and scale of my work and career.

Q: How do you define success at Honest Tea? Since the brand has been purchased by Coca-Cola, do you expect to influence any changes at the global brand’s corporate level?

At Honest Tea we like to say that our mission is in the bottle, so every time we sell a lower-sugar, organic, Fair Trade certified drink, we are making an impact on health, the environment and access to economic opportunity. As a result, we define our success by our sales growth. Since Coca-Cola invested in Honest Tea in 2008, we have expanded our store count from 15,000 outlets to over 100,000. Our purchases of organic ingredients has grown from 800,000 pounds in 2008 to over 5 million.

Q: How can people live a greener life?

I’d like to think that every individual and every organization is on a journey toward living a more sustainable life. I call it a journey because there is no end point. We need to continually challenge ourselves to reduce our environmental footprint. So the first steps on that journey involve 1. understanding your impact, 2. being honest with yourself about where you are falling short, and then 3. taking gradual steps in the right direction. When you think about how far we have to move as a society, it can feel overwhelming, but there is not one big step that will get us there. Instead, it will happen through billions of small steps. Some of the easiest everyday steps that can be made include biking to work a few times a week, increasing purchases of organic foods, and eating less meat.

Q: What’s your favorite flavor of tea?

It’s hard to have a favorite among our dozens of varieties, but these days I continually find myself drinking our Heavenly Lemon Tulsi Tea. Tulsi is also known as “holy basil” in India, and it has a wonderfully refreshing yet soothing taste. Just as important to me, we have an amazing community partnership with the supplier community that is helping to transform their economic trajectory, so there’s wonderful karma in the beverage as well.

#alkalinity #alkalinitymovement #7.2 #sevenpointtwo

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