Posts tagged with "awareness"

Illustration by Alex Bogdan for use by 360 Magazine

Helping Holocaust Survivors Through Covid-19

On this Inaugural Holocaust Survivor Day, The Blue Card, a national non-profit organization dedicated to aiding over 3,000 needy Holocaust survivors households is raising awareness of the services available through their organization for Holocaust survivors—as well as the ongoing need for donor support to fund these important initiatives.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, The Blue Card has been providing the following critical services for Holocaust survivors, among many others:

  • Ready-made meals, food purchase and delivery service
  • Securing vaccination appointments and providing transportation
  • Summer Retreat – Survivors are provided with handicapped-accessible accommodations, transportation, scheduled meals, and an itinerary that ensures a structure and safe experience for the group.
  • Mood Restore Light Box – A special, compact, and portable UV free unit provides light therapy to Holocaust survivors. In addition to effectively treating Seasonal Affective Disorder, the Mood Restore Light Box improved visual clarity and color rendering, as well as offsets season, weather, and climate changes and helps support circadian rhythm regulation, which is even more important during COVID-19 times.
  • Companion Pets – Companion pets bring comfort and happiness to the older population with interactive electronic cats and dogs that replicate the look, sounds, and feel of real pets. Many studies have found that these pets can enhance one’s well-being and quality of life through companionship.
  • Liftware Utensils –Liftware Steady is an electronic stabilizing handle and selection of utensil attachments designed to help people with hand tremor, which may be related to Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor, to eat more easily. Holocaust survivors with these conditions benefit tremendously from this device.

The Blue Card is providing critical assistance to Holocaust survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated The Blue Card’s Executive Director, Masha Pearl. “It is our duty to take care of those that have already suffered so much, during this time that can be extra traumatizing, considering their pre-existing conditions from enduring unimaginable hardships during the Holocaust.”

The Blue Card also provides Holocaust survivors with the following services daily:

  • Education & Outreach Programs:
    • Person-Centered, Trauma-Informed (PCTI) training for dental and medical professionals working with Holocaust survivors
    • The Blue Card-Lissner Hospital Visitation Program – Volunteer visits to hospitalized Holocaust survivors.
    • Nutrition guidance
  • Jewish Holiday – Provides financial support for the High Holidays, Hannukah, and for Passover, giving survivors the financial means for a better holiday season.
  • Mazel Tov Birthday – Provides survivors with a card and a check on their birthday. This is particularly meaningful for holocaust survivors who lost their entire family during the war.
  • FreeStyle Libre Glucose Monitoring: The Freestyle Libre 2 system continuously measures glucose data with customizable, optional real time alarms The unit gives people with diabetes excellent accuracy and actionable information to better manage their condition.
  • Grant assistance for emergency needs, including:
    • Housing and related costs to prevent eviction, homelessness, or utility shut-off
    • Emergency relocation
    • Food purchase
    • Medical and dental care, including medical equipment not covered by insurance
    • Emergency relocation
    • Essential clothing and footwear
    • Purchase and repair or essential major and minor appliance

The Blue Card, established in 1934 in Germany and organized in the U.S. in 1939, is the only organization whose sole mission is to provide critical financial aid for emergency medical, dental, housing and food needs to survivors of Nazi persecution. While the Holocaust seems like a long ago nightmare, for survivors it is a continuing one. Of the 75,000 Holocaust survivors in the U.S., 1/3 live at or below the federal poverty level. For many, the losses they experienced decades ago are compounded by their current struggles to subsist on meager incomes and threadbare or nonexistent support systems.  Studies show that Holocaust survivors have higher incidences of mental illness, cancer, and other debilitating diseases.

You can donate to The Blue Card Fund here.

Mental Health Awareness illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Mental Health Awareness

Many people, including children and adults across diversity backgrounds, can struggle with social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral health. These challenges can be situational, present for a season of life, or be a struggle across a lifetime. The symptoms may also turn on and turn off, be persistent every day, or resolve just to pop back up again.

Even though having complications with mental or behavioral health is common, it does not necessarily mean a person is functioning at their best or the symptoms should be left unaddressed. Early intervention can be more effective, than the choice to put off addressing a mental health concern for another time.

Awareness of mental health signs and symptoms are important. The first step is recognizing when we need support. Let’s set aside labels such as depression, anxiety, addictive behaviors, and disorders for a moment. Instead, let’s consider observations. Below is a clustered list of commonly experienced struggles we can lookout for to monitor our mental health:

Socially

  • Noticing a pattern of withdrawing or avoiding friends, family, or activities
  • Having interpersonal conflicts with friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, or even strangers
  • Having a difficult time understanding and/or relating to others or common life scenarios
  • Feeling disconnected from others or struggling to get close to others
  • Feeling lost about knowing who you are

Emotionally

  • Experiencing sadness, despair, distress, prolonged sorrow
  • You or others noticing changes in your mood from high to low
  • Enduring excessive worry, fears, or discomfort with the unknown
  • Experiencing extreme guilt, self-blame, or negative self-talk
  • Having bouts with excessive or persistent anger

Cognitive/Thinking

  • Noticing thought patterns that are confused, conflicted, indecisive, repetitive, or forgetful
  • Having a lowered ability begin or maintain focus
  • You or others noticing a disconnect between your thoughts and the world around you
  • Feeling fearful such as paranoia
  • Having repeat unpleasant or worrisome thoughts or images
  • Hearing, seeing, or feeling something that is not truly there
  • Thoughts of hurting or killing yourself or someone else

Behavioral

  • Having a reduced ability to cope or resolve daily living complications or stress
  • Struggling with adjustment to life changes
  • Experiencing problems related to alcohol, tobacco, and/or legal or illegal substances
  • Noticing changes in eating habits such as too much, too little, overly focused on eating
  • Observing patterns of overexercise
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Having episodes of violence towards others, yourself, animals, or objects
  • Challenges with impulsive decisions or risk taking

Physical

  • Seeing trends in energy level such as significant tiredness or grand amount of energy
  • Struggles falling asleep, staying asleep, waking up, or low quality of sleep
  • Having physical symptoms such as stomach pain, back pain, headaches, heart pounding, shortness of breath, or other unexplained physical symptoms
  • Experiencing medical providers do not take your symptoms seriously enough

Experiencing one or a few of these symptoms at one time may be a part of life based on the amount of lemons life just handed you. However, there may be a mental health concern worth seeking proper care for if you experience one or more of these symptoms for a short or an extended period of time. Due note, some symptoms are more serious than others, such as harm to yourself or someone else, that should not be ignored and need care immediately.

Another element we can use to monitor our mental health is awareness of how our mental health symptoms interact with our daily lives. Sometimes mental health struggles can become disruptive to daily life such as negatively impacting relationships with others, how you think or feel internally about yourself, employment, housing, finances, and/or legal issues. Other symptoms are manageable and do not cause a large disruption; however, beware some symptoms can fly under the radar, but that does not necessarily indicate all is well.

If you are unsure if you are experiencing mental health concerns and would like a better understanding, then consider completing a screener. Mental Health America provides a free, quick, screening tool that provides mental health you can use to make decisions about next steps for care. The results can also be used to start the initial discussion with a mental health provider.

There is hope! In most circumstances, symptoms can be managed, reduced in intensity, and relief increased when working with a mental health provider. There are various forms of care, and you can find the right fit for you such as talk based therapy in-person or online, activity-based therapy, and collaboration with medical providers for mediation as needed.

If you are ready to take the next step, then there are multiple resources available to help you find the right provider. In emergency situations such as thoughts of harming yourself or someone else as well as severe mental illness, then calling 9-1-1, going to a local emergency room, or contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or using live chat on Suicide Prevention Lifeline  may be the best routes.

In non-emergency situations there are options such as contacting a primary care provider for a referral, reaching out to loved ones, connecting to your religious or spiritual community, or finding a professional provider. Below is a list of resources for locating a provider in your area:

Mental health is just like it sounds….health. It can be scary or there can be a stigma to seek out care. However, removing the stigma, overcoming fear, seeking care, and taking steps to improving life takes courage. But you are worth it, and you deserve a better tomorrow.

Michelle Perepiczka, PhD, LPC (CO), LMHC (NY), RPT-S, NCC

Core Faculty

University of Phoenix

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Child illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Child Friendly Faith Project

Child Advocacy Group Highlights Abuse in Religious Institutions for Child Abuse Prevention Month

With National Child Abuse Prevention Month underway, the Child-Friendly Faith Project (CFFP), a national nonprofit that educates the public about religiously enabled child maltreatment, is raising awareness of crimes against children perpetrated in religious institutions.

The CFFP is also drawing attention to a dangerous court decision that could prevent abusive institutions from being held accountable and offering a valuable resource to parents and guardians to help them determine whether they should enroll or continue to enroll their children in certain religious institutions.

The little-known ecclesiastical abstention doctrine (EAD) guides courts in deciding First Amendment, religious matters. While historically the EAD has been raised in cases relating to claims of wrongful termination, in recent years religious schools facing lawsuits involving allegations of child harm have pushed courts to interpret the EAD very broadly to get cases dismissed. In one recent case, the Episcopal School of Dallas was permitted to ignore its own legal contracts with parents and the emotional harm suffered by a child never came to light.

Given this alarming legal precedent, parents and guardians of children who have been harmed by private institutions could lose their right to seek relief in court, while the institutions might never be held accountable.

Parents who have children enrolled in private, faith-based schools (or are considering enrolling them) should be aware of the potential harm posed by the EAD. With this in mind, CFFP’s campaign is offering parents valuable tips on how to determine whether they should enroll (or continue to enroll) their children in private, faith-based schools:

  • Determine whether the institution your child is enrolled in (or might be enrolled in) could claim to be faith-based. Some private schools have stretched the meaning of “faith-based” as a way to be shielded by the EAD in court. Even if an institution seems to operate in a way that appears secular, as long as a facility, school, program, or daycare operation can claim that it has some sort of faith-based or spiritual component, it could convince a court that it should be protected by the EAD and cannot be sued for child abuse or neglect.
  • Read the school’s contract carefully. Many schools specify in their contracts how legal issues must be resolved. For example, some require parents to agree to mediation. It’s important to know what legal recourses you’re agreeing to. However, be aware that if a case goes to court, the EAD does have the potential to make contracts of religious school’s moot.
  • Ask to see a school’s child-abuse prevention policies & procedures. Those that take abuse seriously and proactively develop and enforce comprehensive abuse-prevention policies are usually open to making these policies available and may even post them on their websites.
  • Research whether the school has a history of abuse allegations. Conduct an online search using the name of the institution and words such as “lawsuit,” “sued,” and “abuse” to determine if it has been accused of abuse or of covering up cases in the past. Be extremely wary if you find a pattern of abuse allegations, even if you do not find information about final court decisions.
  • Explore the educational programs of secular private or public schools. Children can receive a high-quality education and experience at many different types of schools. Consider the offerings of private secular schools or public schools, which would be unable to raise the EAD in court.

Recent abuse cases

The CFFP has previously exposed issues of religious institutional child abuse and offered support to survivors and affected families. An example is its efforts to make public the decades-long, egregious abuses perpetrated at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch. Recently, other cases have also made the news:

  • Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) — Last February, the SBC’s executive committee voted to expel two member churches for employing pastors who were convicted sex offenders. One pastor, who had been with his church since 2014, had pleaded guilty to two counts of statutory rape of a minor in the 1990s. The other pastor led his church since 2018, despite having been on Florida’s sex offender registry since 1993. In 2019, the SBC published a report on preventing and responding to cases of sexual abuse and later launched its “Caring Well Challenge” that calls on all SBC churches to adopt the report’s recommendations. Unfortunately, the program is voluntary.
  • Circle of Hope Girls Ranch — The owners and operators of this faith-based boarding school in Missouri face more than 100 criminal charges of sexual, physical and mental abuse of girls in their care. Their arrests came after their estranged daughter, Amanda Householder, posted social media videos of former residents talking about the abuse they endured. In an interview with a Missouri TV station, Householder said that victims had been speaking out since 2007. “Why did it take ten years for anyone to do anything?” she asked.

A dangerous court decision

While it’s heartening that these cases are receiving public attention, it is possible that they, and many more like them, could be dismissed thanks to a legal precedent set by a Texas appellate court in 2018. The case involved the Episcopal School of Dallas which invoked a common-law doctrine known as the “ecclesiastical abstention doctrine” (EAD). The EAD provides guidance to courts when weighing in on First-Amendment, religious matters. However, in the Dallas case, in which a father alleged that his son had been wrongfully expelled and in violation of school policy, it was applied very broadly and used to shield the school from being sued.

In another case involving Trinity Episcopal School in Galveston, Texas, a district court, in recognizing the EAD, threw out a lawsuit filed by a mother whose son had endured repeated racist bullying by other students. The mother wanted the school to hold the perpetrators accountable after the school had only demanded a written apology and suspended them for one day. Despite emotional trauma suffered by the victim, the judge agreed with the school’s claim that a court should not “intrude upon a religious institution’s management of its internal affairs and governance.”

“The EAD allows courts to prioritize a religious institution’s desire for secrecy and avoidance of accountability over the wellbeing of children,” said CFFP founder Janet Heimlich. “In cases in which organizations invoke the EAD, the public may never learn what abusive or neglectful actions took place, and parents may unwittingly enroll their children in those schools.”

To schedule an interview with a representative of the CFFP, an affected parent or a survivor of religious institutional child abuse, contact Jeff Salzgeber  through email or (512) 743-2659 cell.

The Child-Friendly Faith Project (CFFP) is a national, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that seeks to end religious child maltreatment by raising awareness of this issue through educational programs that benefit the general public, survivors, professionals, and faith communities.

Dog Driving illustration by Heather Skovlund (Original Photo Credit: Pixabay) for 360 Magazine

8 Safe Driving Tips

8 Safe Driving Tips That Will Keep You Accident-Free

As a driver, you must learn safe driving habits to avoid accidents on the roads. As you operate behind the wheels, remember that the safety of many road users depends on you. The safety of your passengers and pedestrians depends on you.

However, as a new driver, you might be struggling to drive safely. Here are some safe driving tips you should always consider.

1. Stay Away from Your Cell Phone

Using your mobile phone is dangerous when driving. It has been one of the major causes of accidents in the United States, and that’s why you need to put it away from you when driving.

There is no doubt that we’re in the mobile world and advanced technology. You might get tempted to use your phone to see what is happening.

However, every time you text or call while driving, you’re highly distracted. Distracted driving is a major contributor to road accidents. It is not worth the risk, which means you need to put your phone away.

2. Change Your Drive Time

Most accidents happen during peak hours. There is no doubt that every driver on the road is very alert. However, the number of cars on the road makes accidents inevitable.

There is a feeling that everyone is in a rush to get somewhere. This buildup of many vehicles on a rash can easily lead to accidents. It has been established that a huge number of accidents happen in the evening rush.

Therefore, it would be important to avoid driving during peak hours. However, you might not have the luxury of choosing when to drive. In such scenarios, you need to be super alert.

3. Avoid Over-Speeding

The first lesson you will learn in any driving school has everything to do with speed. You’re not supposed to drive your car at very high speeds. However, this is a commonly ignored lesson by many drivers.

A large number of accidents are directed related to over-speeding. When you’re moving at high speed, you don’t have sufficient control of the car. A slight error can lead to a fatal accident.

You should always drive your car at a moderate speed. This is the only way you will be able to control the vehicle in case anything happens. It is always essential to adhere to assigned speed limits.

4. Avoid Being Aggressive

There will always be aggressive drivers on the road. There is no doubt that they will annoy you as you drive. However, the prevalence of aggressive drivers is not a justification for you to be aggressive.

You should make sure that you adhere to the necessary safety rules on the road to avoid some possible accidents. An aggressive driver is an emotional person.

To be a safe driver, you should make sure that your emotions don’t control your reactions. You should avoid darting between lanes. Carelessly changing lanes can easily confuse other drivers leading to an accident. Moreover, one can learn defensive driving in Austin which can save lives, time and money despite road conditions and the actions of others.

5. Follow Road Signs

Every driver is expected to follow all the road signs to the letter. However, not every driver is focused on following such road signs.

Some drivers do not even know the meaning of various road signs. As a licensed driver, you should understand every road sign you come across. Reading and understanding all the road signs is considered defensive driving.

Some drivers have a comprehensive understanding of all the road signs. Unfortunately, others want to ignore these instructions. Avoid rushing on the intersection to beat the lights.

6. Don’t Tailgate

Tailgating is another leading cause of accidents. Driving too closely to the guy in front is a potential hazard. You need to keep some distance.

As a rule of thumb, you should keep a distance of at least 4 seconds from the car ahead. This will help you to respond in case something happens. Tailgating causes road accidents due to instant braking.

Some drivers are likely to be too close behind you. You should let them pass and keep some safe distance.

7. Get Enough Sleep

As a driver, you should never underestimate the benefits of a good night’s sleep. Good drivers should sleep for at least eight hours. Unfortunately, less than 40% of drivers sleep less than six hours.

These drivers are likely to start dozing behind the wheel, which is a serious offense on the road. If the police get you dozing, there is no doubt you will be serving time.

However, police may not get you in most cases. This does not mean that you will be getting away with a criminal offense. You might end up in a serious road accident that changes your life or kills other road users.

That is why you need to get enough sleep at night. If you’re driving for long distances, you need to get another driver to take charge as you sleep.

8. Don’t Drink and Drive

Drunk driving is a leading cause of road fatalities. It has remained a major cause for death in the country for more than five decades. Data show that drink driving makes up 40% of the 40,000 fatalities each year.

If you know you will be getting behind the wheel, you need to stay away from alcohol. Some people have a myth that taking coffee or getting fresh air will bring alcohol levels down. These practices will not make any difference to your alcohol levels, and the best thing is to avoid drinking driving.

If you’re involved in an auto accident resulting from these causes, you’ll need legal help. Visit kemprugegreen.com/ for more information.

Maximize on the Safe Driving Tips

To have an accident-free driving career, you need to make use of these safe driving tips. However, if you’re involved in an accident caused by another car, you need to contact a car accident lawyer. An experienced accident attorney will help you handle ensuing lawsuits.

Q×A with Jerrimiah James

This holiday season, 360 Magazine had the chance to converse with up and coming sustainable designer and entrepreneur Jerry Buckner. Read our interview below, as well as about the brand, based in Atlanta

1. What was your defining moment regarding understanding the impact of the fashion industry on the environment?

My defining moment… After reading the report “A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion’s Future,” I realized two things; first, I tied success to wastefulness and secondly it didn’t matter what fight I was fighting, gay, black, growing up disadvantaged… none of it mattered if there wasn’t a planet with conditions healthy enough for the good fight to be won. I realized at the end of the day the throne means nothing because winter is coming.

2. What are your thoughts on the rise of the “eco-conscious” shopper? Is it a fad?

I think it’s going to take a complete dismantling and a rise is not the same as an overthrowing. Is it a fad? The better question would be can we afford another fad if it is?

3. Is eco-conscious retail inherently a luxury?

No not at all. When we know better we do better. Moreover, then we are more likely to do what is right. I’ve had the opportunity through my company Jerrimiah James to outfit men and women in pieces that they could otherwise not afford and here is how. When I select pieces from the closets of friends who have the luxury of shopping extensively I share with them the cost paid for these pieces to wind up in their closets unworn. It’s not about guilt its about empowering clients to share for the planet’s sake.

4. How has the Atlanta community responded to the venture?

It could not be better received. I’ve been asked to speak on the radio, participate in panel discussions, held a call to action event and have also gained the support of many Atlanta Influencers. I still have a long way to go before I have catapulted Atlanta to the forefront of the global fashion industry’s sustainability concern, but with continued support from the city in my endeavor to bring a“wear”ness to this issue I am confident I will make the experience of resale and rental a more desirable experience

5. Where do you see yourself and your company in five years?

In the next five years I see myself as a prominent voice and force in circularity in retail as well as an advocate for transparency in fashion, and for policy that does not allow for the creation of a product at the expense of the creator, that is planet earth.

6. Who are your style heroes?

It’s a privilege to wear the clothes, attend the parties, and meet the men and women instrumental in the Fashion culture. I’m grateful. If clothing brings us together then there must be enough minds in this group to solve the problems caused by the production of it. My style heroes are the men and women, shoppers and creative directors, courageous enough to go against the flock. Brands like Stella McCartney, Brother Vellies, Reformation, Grailed, and Toms.

JERRIMIAH JAMES LAUNCHED AS ECO-CONSCIOUS RETAILER AIMING TO SPREAD A “WEAR” NESS 

Buckner, founder of Jerrimiah James, has been in the fashion industry for over 10 years and has navigated the realm of high-end retail, moving within circles of influence and affluence. While outfitting the lifestyles of an upscale clientele including entrepreneurs, high profile actors, actresses, models, music artists and well-known athletes, Buckner gained an acute awareness of the connection between a steady increase in sales of designer garments and the subsequent discarding of those garments. Buckner realized how significantly a “single-use” wardrobe item contributes to the global waste problem. The textile industry, Buckner discovered, uses an incredible volume of non-renewable resources to produce clothing that is eventually lost to landfill and incineration. Additionally, nearly 93 billion cubic meters of water annually and 20% of global industrial water pollution can be attributed to the dyeing and treatment of textile products.

The over-consumption and underutilization of clothing led to Buckner’s founding of Jerrimiah James which creates a new standard for conscientious consumers by providing the opportunity for luxury shopping resale and rental. As a membership resale and rental fashion service, Jerrimiah James caters to Atlanta-based influencers, artists and creatives. This format emphasizes garment sharing through a platform that introduces a meeting of both the minds and style.

“I had never given it thought before and, that was concerning because I find that the things that often cause the most damage are the things that we do thoughtlessly. Our vision of a planet as beautiful as the fashion we wear is a real possibility if we bridge the gap by creating circularity in our use of apparel,” states Buckner. “Circularity is the new black!”

Through this peer-to-peer e-commerce wardrobe platform, Buckner introduces the street fashion individual and environmental enthusiast, an opportunity for consumers to choose the pieces that will make the experience a lasting one and a sustainable solution for the planet.

In 2020 Jerrimiah James was named as a finalist in The Fashion Group International’s 24th Annual Rising Star Awards’ “New Retail Concept” category.

Isabelle Fries makes a brief splash inside 360 MAGAZINE

ISABELLE FRIES

At 22 years old, Isabelle Fries has started to make a name for herself in the music industry. Not only is she gifted in her art, she has an extremely large heart.

Born in Sydney, but raised in Denver, Colorado, Fries found her inclination for singing at a young age. “I knew I wanted music to be a part of my life since I was about 7, but as I got older I was able to recognize that it is a labor of love for me,” she expressed. “I have never searched for fame through my music.” 

Not long after, she discovered her heart had room for another love, philanthropy. At just 15 years old, Fries became the first youth board member and youth leader for the Global Livingston Institute (GLI) an NGO in Uganda who’s mission is to educate students & community leaders on innovative approaches to international development and empower awareness, collaboration, conversations and personal growth. 

Through working with this organization, Isabelle travelled to Uganda to teach, perform and empower. In 2017, Fries performed in front of 20,000 people in Uganda at the annual iKnow HIV Awareness Concert Series along with other musicians from around the world, using music to breakdown barriers, bring people together and provide free medical testing and awareness for HIV for over 8,500 Ugandans.  

“I became a part of GLI when I was 15 and fully threw myself into their mission and their work. It is what opened my eyes to one of my passions I am now pursuing in international education. They really focus on young voices and drawing on perspectives from all types of individuals which is why I was asked to be on the board at such a young age. GLI is truly one of the most important things in my life so I could not be more thankful to be a part of it.” 

This wasn’t the only organization Fries carried out philanthropic work with. She volunteered in Haiti with The Road to Hope, an International Affairs Intern with Creative Visions in Malibu, California and a community worker with CEPIA in Costa Rica.

Isabelle still wanted to do more for Eastern African communities. She founded the “Bulamu Raise Your Voice Community Foundation (BCF)” and was able to draw on inspiration from one of her other life-long devotions: swimming. 

For twelve years, she swam competitively breaking records, winning State Championships and being a leader on her teams until complications from several autoimmune disorders forced her out of the water. This was never a part of her plan, but she was able to alter her life’s path and kept pushing through

“It is not something that I let control my life or hold me back from living. I take care of myself in every way I can and find strength in what I am able to do and learn new ways to improve my way of life,” she expressed. 

One of Fries’ missions with both GLI and BCF is to raise awareness for water safety on Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda by teaching swimming to prevent drownings. By working closely with GLI and the headmaster of the Kazi Primary School, Fries has been able to carry out this initiative, as well as implementing academic, music and sports curriculum.  

She said that the community of Lake Bunyonyi changed her life by seeing how they are such powerful and driven people. “I don’t go for my own benefit or to be a ‘white savior’ ,” she asserted. “When I work in Uganda, I give the individuals I work with support and resources and they truly do the rest.”

Isabelle was fortunate enough to meet one of her long time role models, Michael Phelps. Fostering a relationship with someone who has shaped her life in so many ways in and out of the water has been such a blessing, says Fries. This lead to her working with the Michael Phelps Foudation (MPF), where she took the opportunity to become certified in their “IM Water Safety Program” which is implemented in The Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

When given the opportunity again to combine her music and philanthropy through the MPF, she couldn’t resist. Isabelle was asked to open for country singer, Eric Church, at a MPF benefit concert in Chicago at the iconic Arcada Theater. “Swimming is an incredibly big part of my life as I was a serious competitive swimmer from the ages of 5 to 18, therefor having the chance to combine my music with my love and passion for swimming and water safety was very special and meaningful.” 

Now a recent graduate of The University of Southern California, Fries splits her time living between Denver and Los Angeles, continuing to pursue her passions: music and philanthropy, while working in Denver at a non-profit dedicated to mentoring students. Isabelle holds a degree in International Relations with minors in Spanish as well as  Non-Profits, Philanthropy and Volunteerism. 

While studying at USC, Isabelle was fortunate enough to catch the eye of Grammy-winning, multi-platinum producer/mixer Rob Chiarelli, who she’s fostered an incredibly close relationship with. 

She began releasing music signed with Chiarelli’s label Streetlamp records this year, already finding a widespread and loyal audience across all music platforms using her rich, soulful vocal that could be compared to the sound of Lauren Daigle or Adele. She recently released her 6th single, a raw piano ballad called “All We Had. When people listen to her music, Fries always wants to make them truly feel – whatever that feeling may be. Through channeling lyrics with her songwriters from her own life experiences, the emotions she is able to elicit are special to her. 

While the music may be interpreted differently for each unique individual, her raw style is something she hopes help guide those listeners on whatever journey they want to take. “I’ve always said, I love music because it lets you feel something you didn’t think you could.”

This is definitely something she mirrors artistically with one of her musical inspirations, Amy Winehouse. Growing up performing jazz music, Fries describes this genre as a big part of her musical identity, so she was instantly drawn to Winehouse’s style which she catalogs as “authentic, raw and groundbreaking. Amy created music unapologetically.”

But Fries’ number one music icon is Sir Elton John. “His music was always around me when I was growing up. My parents loved all music from that time and exposed me to it at a very young age which is one of the reasons it is the type of music I love the most. 

However, Elton John’s music was different for me, it felt like poetry and real emotion. His sound and songs are like stories that you never want to end. When I began to listen to him more I realized this is the type of music I want to sing and be a part of.” 

Feeling very blessed to have found such a supportive team, guiding her in finally being able to put her own original songs out there into the world, she is excited to evolve using her music to help create change, perform live again, and continue to build upon her body of work. While she’s away in the studio recording, we’ll be out here patiently waiting for more music, while she continues to use her voice to make the world a better place. 

Cassadee Pope x National Suicide Prevention Week – Rise and Shine

Platinum-certified singer-songwriter, Cassadee Pope, has released the new fan music video for the title track of her latest acoustic album, “Rise and Shine.” Never one to shy away from the tough topics, Pope is using the video and her social media channels to bring much needed attention to mental health and suicide prevention. Her hope is to highlight National Suicide Prevention Week (September 6th – 12th, 2020) and end the stigma around mental health issues – making it easier for people to ask for help without judgement.

The heartwarming and empowering video for “Rise and Shine” was created when Pope took to social media to ask fans to submit moments in their lives where they felt they had to overcome and persevere through life’s challenges. The overwhelming response provided a collection of stirring moments that remind us all, even when life isn’t fair and things seem stacked against you, you can meet your obstacles head-on and ultimately, Rise and Shine.

WATCH: Rise and Shine

“In this video, I wanted to highlight how resilient and brave we as humans can really be even in the midst of pain and tragedy. Sometimes all it takes is hearing someone else’s story to make us feel less alone. I hope this brings comfort to anyone struggling and strength to anyone feeling defeated,” says Pope.

If you or someone you love is struggling with thoughts of suicide and depression, please contact:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
800-273-8255

For additional information on Cassadee Pope, please visit:

Instagram
Facebook
Twitter
Website

Live Virtual AIDS Walk

ABC7/KGO-TV San Francisco will air a one-hour virtual special, “AIDS Walk: Live At Home,” on SUNDAY, JULY 19 (10:00 – 11:00 a.m. PDT), to raise funds to
benefit PRC, (formerly Positive Resource Center), and more than 45 other AIDS
service organizations that provide HIV/AIDS care, prevention services and advocacy throughout the Bay Area. In addition to airing on ABC7, the special will be livestreamed on aidswalk.net and PRCSF.org.

ABC7 has been a proud sponsor of the AIDS Walk San Francisco since 1987. Normally, the news team would join in the walk that’s held at Golden Gate Park. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will
be held virtually. Additionally, AIDS Walk San Francisco and AIDS Walk New York have joined together to feature voices of communities of supporters from both cities and coasts. This year’s special will harness the strength and individual character of two landmark events coming together virtually to present the Bay Area’s largest, single-day
AIDS-related fundraiser.

Just added to the star-studded lineup for Sunday’s virtual broadcast on ABC7 are Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Glenn Close, Anne Hathaway, Jordin Sparks, Harvey Fierstein, Raul Esparza, Norm Lewis and San Francisco Mayor London Breed. They join previously announced guests, award-winning icon Bette Midler; GRAMMY®-winning global superstar Gloria Estefan; Golden Globe® winner Matt Bomer;
entertainment icon Vanessa Williams; Emmy® and Golden Globe Award winner Laura Linney; Katharine McPhee (“Smash”); Shoshana Bean (“Wicked”); Megan Hilty (“Smash”); Skylar Astin (“Zoe’s Extraordinary Playlist”); Alex Newell (“Zoe’s Extraordinary Playlist”);
and stars from “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” including Nina West, Jackie Cox, Latrice Royale, Willam, Chi Chi DeVayne, Alexis Michelle, The Vixen and Ginger Minj.

“AIDS Walk: Live at Home” will raise awareness and funds that support HIV care and prevention services, as well as mental health, substance use, housing and other important social programs. Viewers are
encouraged to register and raise funds at aidswalk.net

About ABC7/KGO-TV San Francisco

Emmy^® Award-winning station KGO-TV ABC7 is the San Francisco Bay Area’s source for breaking news, weather and live video. Widely recognized for its solution-based promise to help the Bay Area communities, the station’s initiative “Building a Better Bay Area” dedicates more time, resources and reporting to the issues that impact its viewers’ quality of life. From the local economy and education, to health and safety, to race and social justice, ABC7’s focus is to bring greater perspective on the challenges currently facing neighborhoods. In addition to being the first station in the market to expand its weekday morning program to 4:30 a.m. in 2008 and their 11
p.m. weekend newscast to one hour in 2011, the station has consistently garnered Emmy nominations and wins for Overall Excellence/News Excellence, with one most recently awarded in 2019. KGO-TV is an ABC
owned television station serving San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and all of the greater Bay Area.

Study: Texting While Driving

DriversEd.com—the leading online driving school—today released its 2018 Distracted Driving in America Report. An inaugural initiative, the report examines drivers’ behind-the-wheel behaviors, habits and decisions—providing insight into how Americans, while driving, engage in a number of activities, from texting to drinking to YouTube to Snapchat to marijuana and more.

Survey data found that 73% of drivers admit to reading text messages while behind the wheel, and 54% admit to typing texting messages while behind the wheel. Meanwhile, only 39% of drivers say that while driving they check and use their phone more often than they probably should.

“There’s an argument to be made that, in 2018, distracted driving is actually a worse problem in America than drunk driving,” said Laura Adams, safety and education analyst at DriversEd.com. “The fact that so many people are texting and driving is alarming, but not surprising. However, what is shocking is the millions of people who are watching Netflix and YouTube videos while driving. These drivers may as well be playing behind-the-wheel Russian Roulette.”

Among the study’s findings:

·         TEXTING: 59% of drivers admit that they read texts while at a red light, while 41% admit to doing so while stuck in traffic, 30% at a stop sign and 11% moving on the road. In addition, 43% of drivers admit that they type texts while at a red light, while 31% admit to doing so while stuck in traffic, 24% while at a stop sign and 8% while moving on the road.

·         SOCIAL MEDIA: 18% of drivers report that they check social media while behind the wheel, with 16% saying that they have checked Facebook, 11% Instagram, 9% Instagram and 6% Twitter.

·         VIDEO WATCHING: 8% of drivers admit that they have watched YouTube videos while behind the wheel, with 6% saying that they have watched Facebook videos, 5% Instagram, 5% Snapchat and 4% Netflix.

·         MARIJUANA: 84% of Americans say driving after drinking alcohol is more dangerous than driving after smoking marijuana. Meanwhile, 10% of drivers report that in the past 12 months they have driven after smoking or ingesting marijuana.

·         TALKING: 60% of drivers say that they talk on the phone while behind the wheel on speaker, while 20% say they do so with the phone in their hand and 20% say they use headphones. In addition, 52% say that while behind the wheel, they use voice commands on their phone.

·         DRINKING: 32% of drivers report that in the last year they have driven after having one or more drinks. Meanwhile, 34% say they are comfortable driving after one drink, with 19% comfortable after two drinks, 7% after three drinks, 2% after four drinks and 1% after five or more drinks.

When asked, “If you get into an Uber, and you notice the driver checking and using their phone, what do you do?”, 49% said they would say something to the driver, then report them to Uber after the ride; 30% said they would not say anything to the driver, but then report them to Uber after the ride; and 21% said they would do nothing.

“Ultimately, the solution to distracted driving is a combination of awareness, education and individual initiative,” said Adams. “Parents, who are effectively largely responsible for the next generation of drivers, can play an important role by taking steps such as putting their own phones away while behind the wheel, avoiding texting or calling their teens when they know they are driving, and even using some apps, which will disable a driver’s phone while they are driving.”

Fashion Week x Petersen Auto Museum

How LA Fashion Week & Petersen Automotive Museum’s Cool Lineup of Edgy Shows Are All the Rage

Los Angeles – PRNewswire – LA Fashion Week (LAFW) will be hosting its 2019 Spring/Summer runway presentations October 6th – 10th at the Petersen Auto Museum; one of the world’s premier museums and historical landmarks in Los Angeles. In partnership with LA Weekly, over 20 award-winning designers & artists from around the world will take to the stage to showcase their latest work at LAFW.

Praised for “raising awareness of cultural diversity and creativity in the United States, “the LA Fashion Week Team were recently recognized by the honorable Office of Michelle & Barak Obama.

“LA is experiencing a cultural renaissance and being noticed the world around. We’re excited to be driving force behind its development into the premier hub fashion, art, design, and entertainment,” says Arthur Chipman; Executive Producer At LA Fashion Week.

After kicking off a successful summer pre-show event with designers Escada and Porsche Design at the beautiful Petersen Auto Museum, many have flocked to join the latest season of shows on October 6-10th. With each installment, LAFW is building a stronger network of strategic brands and partnerships aimed at increasing the profile of West Coast Fashion. Like Cross Colours, the iconic 90’s hip-hop inspired brand founded by Carl Jones & TJ Walker who created the baggy jeans are making their official runway comeback. LA pioneer Bohemian Society, by Victor Wilde known for his theatrical shows. RSVisualThing by Radka Salcmanova known for her unhinged model presentations, and Vogue Magazines latest featured label Bomme Studio by designer Bo Matthews. Fabiana Milazzo, a high fashion designer from Brazil known for her beautiful gowns & adored by celebrities like Katie Holmes & Gisele Bundchen will be making her US Runway Debut this October. Also featured country Thailand, joins LAFW again with a cool streetwear contingent with ISSUE THAILAND, Q Design and Play, Iconic Official, & LaLaLove, + Rising Star in Thai inspired jewelry, SARRAN.

With innovative designers, influential guests, and over 2.5 billion digital impressions per season, LAFW is a high-caliber fashion platform. Proclaimed by Mayor Eric Garcetti & California State Senator Ben Allen as the Official Fashion Week for the City of Los Angeles.