Posts tagged with "Support"

Allison Christensen for use by 360 Magazine

Tornadoes Devastate Central and Southern United States

A devastating stream of tornadoes unleased late Friday December 10 and early Saturday December 11 across sections of the central and southern United States. In accordance with information from the Storm Prediction Center, there were at least 50 tornado reports. The states affected include Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee.

Click HERE to see how you can assist and support the victims of these destructive tornadoes.

The most substantial damage arose as Tornadoes and strong winds broke down a nursing home in Arkansas, an Amazon warehouse in western Illinois and an inhabited candle factory in Kentucky. People were killed in all separate incidents and responders have been struggling to rescue survivors.

At least one death out of an anticipated two in Arkansas has been credited to the collapsing of a nursing home. Several were trapped in the nursing home before being saved. Around 20 people were injured at the nursing home, and eventually all were taken out of the home and accounted for. Another individual in Arkansas was reported dead after being trapped in a Dollar General when the storm hit, as reported by Mississippi County Sheriff Dale Cook.

One of the tornadoes fell upon an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois on the night of Friday December 10. Authorities were unable to recount the exact number of workers in the Amazon warehouse because “the warehouse does not employ a ‘set staff.’” It has been verified, however, that at least two individuals died when the warehouse collapsed. Edwardsville police chief Michael Fillback validated this report on Saturday December 11 and stated that an additional person was hospitalized.

Fillback also communicated that rescue operations were not at ease due to misplaced power lines, concrete and extra water everywhere from the fire suppression system. An OSHA investigation was opened on Monday December 13 to dig deeper into the collapse of the Amazon warehouse.

On the night of December 10, another tornado hit the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory in the Mayfield, Kentucky. Inside, around 110 people were working, and dozens were anticipated to be dead there. At least 40 people were rescued from the candle factory, but piles of metal and corrosive chemicals that toppled the factory limit the number of anticipated survivors that could be found alive.

Kyanna Parsons-Perez, survivor of the catastrophe that struck the candle factory, recounted the events of that night. She explained that workers had been hurried into a safety area before the storm officially hit. Parsons-Perez recounts seeing “a little dust of wind. My ears start popping. And it was like the building, we all just rocked back and forth, and then boom — everything fell on us,” Parasons-Perez told CNN’s Boris Sanchez.

During the devasting storm, Parsons-Perez broadcasted the tragedy on Facebook Live and made phone calls to 911 and other family members. She recounts realizing that rescuers were there when she felt pressure from people walking on the debris above her. “I was screaming like, ‘Sir, can you please just get this so I can move my leg?’ He said, ‘Ma’am, there’s about 5 feet worth of debris on top of you,'” Parsons-Perez recounts.

As of Monday December 13, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said that there is a confirmed number of 64 deaths across Kentucky, and that it could take some time to account for the full number of fatalities and damage that fully hit the state. Beshear noted that at least 105 individuals were unaccounted for as of that Monday morning. At least 13 people in the other varying states have been confirmed dead.

Emergency workers consisting of 300 members of the National Guard have been searching for survivors, searching through wreckage and remains and delivering water and generators to residents of Western Kentucky. Beshear talked of the damage during a press conference, stating “I’m not doing so well today and I’m not sure how many of us are. The people of Western Kentucky have gone through an unspeakable trauma. The devastation is unlike anything I have seen in my life,” Beshear stated.

President Biden is scheduled to travel to Kentucky on Wednesday, December 14 to assess damages and aid in the recovery processes. “We’re going to get this done. We’re going to be there as long as it takes to help,” Biden stated during a briefing on Monday December 13 regarding federal reaction to the destructive tornadoes. Biden ensures that he does not want to get in the way of rescue efforts, but to just provide aid to the community that truly needs it in these trying times.

By: McKinley Franklin

Illustration By Alex Bogdan for use of 360 Magazine

Juice WRLD × Fighting Demons

December 9 marks the inaugural Juice WRLD Day in Chicago, IL. The Live Free 999 Fund, which honors the legacy of Juice WRLD through giving support to young individuals in their own personal battles, will bring people together to commemorate his life and music. Juice WRLD Day will see his closest family, friends, collaborators and fans come together to celebrate and continue on his legacy.

For more information on the Live Free 999 Fund see HERE.

Viewers can experience Juice WRLD Day no matter where they are by live streaming on the Amazon Music app and the Amazon Music channel on Twitch at 8PM CT/ 9PM ET on Thursday, December 9.

Juice WRLD Day precedes the release of the new Juice WRLD album Fighting Demons. The cover and track list of Fighting Demons has just been released, and tracks include collaborations with artists like Justin Bieber, Polo G, Trippie Redd and SUGA of BTS.

Pre-save Fighting Demons (Grade A/ Interscope) HERE.

Fighting Demons TRACKLIST

1.) Burn

2.) Already Dead

3.) You Wouldn’t Understand

4.) Wandered To LA (with Justin Bieber)

5.) Eminem Speaks

6.) Rockstar In His Prime

7.) Doom

8.) Go Hard

9.) Juice WRLD Speaks

10.) Not Enough

11.) Feline (with Polo G & Trippie Redd)

12.) Relocate

13.) Juice WRLD Speaks 2

14.) Until The Plug Comes Back Around

15.) From My Window

16.) Girl Of My Dreams (feat. SUGA of BTS)

17.) Feel Alone

18.) My Life In A Nutshell

Farmers Protest illustration created by Rumnik Ghuman from 360 Magazine for use by 360 Magazine

India’s Food Soldiers

By: Rumnik K Ghuman

Exactly a year ago, Narendra Modi’s government with little public or parliamentary debate, passed three farmer bills. According to them, these bills are a gift to the farmers, but in reality, the bills are a gift for the rich agribusinesses in India. The majority of the population in Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan are farmers, they make their entire income based on their produce. Some call the farmers ‘India’s Food Soldiers’ and many people have shown support to the farmers. 

The first bill that was released was The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce(Promotion and Facilitation) Act. This act allows the farmers to produce and have free trade outside the physical premises of the specific markets under the APMC Act (Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee law). Under this act, the specific markets that the government has listed are agribusiness typhoons. These businesses are only going to set the price at a low rate so it’s cheaper for them. This act is in their favor because the farmers will not be able to go somewhere else to sell so they have to agree to the price the agribusiness sets. This puts the farmers in a low position to control their own products. 

The second bill that was passed was the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act that made the decision to remove some items such as cereals and pulses from the list of essential commodities. This act was passed to attract foreign direct investment to the sector. This bill is limiting the number of items farmers can produce and sell. Certain states can only produce certain items based on the weather and the field the farmers have. This puts the farmers at a disadvantage when producing and won’t make as much money as they would normally. 

The third bill was regarding the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act. This bill states to have a nationwide price limitation on all produces. This act doesn’t give farmers any empowerment over their produces which is putting them at a disadvantage. Combining all of these acts together, puts all farmers at a disadvantage, to not have a free trade market for them, price points that are lower than normal, and limited items to sell. The agribusinesses have connections in the government which is why the agribusinesses have more control over the price and are the only buyers that the farmers can sell to. 

In August 2020, many farmers from the States of Punjab and Haryana gather to protest in the capital, Delhi. The farmers had seen that one bill was passed and they needed to stop for more to be released as in Haryana, these laws were issued as of August. September was when the government passed the Farmers Produce Trade and Commission Act, which put more fire into the farmers to get justice by removing these bills. Many farmers across the country were angry and had to show it somehow as the news was not covering the farmers’ protest in the capital because the news channels were owned by the agribusinesses or the government. So some farmers set their own fields on fire, marched to government offices, or protested at the capital. 

At first, the crowd of farmers was much smaller, so the government brushed it aside. It wasn’t until on November 23, 2020, when protesters march from around India toward Delhi. Once they reached the edge of the city on November 26, the protesters met a large group of police officers who used tear gas, water cannons, and physical force to keep them from entering the city. Over the entire year, over 1000 deaths have happened whether that be by the cold weather or by protestors hanging themselves. A majority of the population were elder men that have been farming for all of their life and don’t know another way to provide an income for their families. In Punjab, farmers have always had a hard time making an income as they don’t have much money to afford the necessities to run the field correctly. They take big loans to buy a tractor, but later can pay it off and then hang themselves. 

There have been big protests, but 360 Magazine feels the number of people from different religions, states, ages, and genders who came out to support the frontlines of the capital is unbelievable. The men were already fighting for their rights, but the women have been standing like hard rock with them. The women at the border are providing food and protesting as well. It’s amazing to see all come together to roll back new agricultural laws. Multiple women and kids have been injured during the violent behavior of the police but they still come back or stay to support. 

As many people from Punjab and Haryana reside in England, the United States, and Canada, the protestors sitting in the cold, were getting worldwide support. Even though these supporters are not in India to help physically, they showed their support by organizing protests in their cities, doing marches to bring more awareness, sharing on social media about what’s going on, and donating or sending money to their families back home to go provide food for the protestors as it was freezing at the start of the protest. Many other industry workers in India went on strike as well to show they are with the farmers. 

Punjab is known for its music and their music really reaches a higher population. It was the only way to show to the world this is the reality of the protest which the news channels were not recording nor reporting to the world. So many Punjabi singers came together to make a ‘Kisaan Anthem’(Kisaan means farmers in Punjabi) that tells and shows every detail of the protest with live footage. Multiple Punjabi singers personally came and served the protestors, sat with the protesters, and tried their hardest to talk to official officers to get these laws rolled away. 

As we are speaking about the Farmers’ Protest, it is still going on and it’s been exactly a year since it started. The government has been pressured to speak about the bills in the parliament and hopefully will take the bills back. No Farmers No Food.

Mina Tocalini illustration for mental health article inside 360 magazine

Athletes for CARE Supports Mental Health in Professional Sport

Olympians and Professional Athletes are setting new standards for personal care and well-being to protect their mental health, disrupting intense pressure and expectation

Athletes for CARE (“A4C” or the “Organization”) is a nonprofit organization working since 2017 with current and former athletes to address the long term impact of the mental and physical toll a career in sport takes on athletes. A4C advocates for the removal of stigmas surrounding mental health and personal well-being in sport, as well as for treatment options. A4C applauds and supports the challenging decisions made by Olympic athletes like Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka in the past weeks to protect their mental health and well-being. Their outspoken bravery sets a precedent encouraging others to reinforce that no athlete must suffer alone in silence on, or after leaving, the world stage.

A4C is committed to fostering resilience and support for mental health challenges faced by current and former professional athletes. To further this mission, the organization is proud to announce a collaboration with the Post-Game Players’ Lounge (“PPL” or the “Partner”), a program devoted to supporting retired athletes who are finding themselves, for the first time, in a world that isn’t solely dominated by participation in professional and team sport.

“PPL is excited to collaborate with A4C to help bring the mental health aspect of athletics to the forefront! While traditional sports psychology focuses on athletes’ success on the field, PPL is shifting their focus to helping athletes succeed off the field,” says Dr. Shannon McHugh, PsyD., co-founder of PPL.

“Athletes for CARE is committed to helping athletes find success in life after a career in sport,” said Anna Valent, Executive Director A4C. “We have worked for years on a one-on-one basis to address barriers to success and help athletes find support, opportunity and purpose in life after a career in sport. We are excited to work with the Post-Game Players’ Lounge to bring this program that focuses on mental health at no charge to any athlete from any sport.”

“A4C was there to support me through some dark times after my football career ended.” said Jamie Brown, A4C Athlete Ambassador and NFL Superbowl Champion. “I am excited that A4C and PPL are partnering to create a safe space where you can share anything in a group of people who understand how you are feeling. It helps connect the dots whether you are struggling with finances, or purpose or anything.”

The program, led by former athletes who are now mental health professionals, includes a 16-week program for athletes and will grow to include programs for spouses, partners and families of athletes. Athletes who complete the program will also be invited to participate in a leadership development program to continue their mental health journey. In addition to the weekly program, athletes needing additional support will receive individual care plans that will also be supported through A4C. Many athletes struggle with mental, physical, and financial health during and after a career in sport. It is difficult to navigate how and where to get help, especially when coming from a unique industry and usually without a transition plan or health insurance.

About Athletes for CARE

Athletes for CARE (A4C) is a nonprofit organization launched in 2017 by passionate retired professional athletes who recognized the need to advocate for the health, safety and wellness of more than 2 billion people of all ages who compete annually in sanctioned sports globally. Through that advocacy, we are improving health and wellness options for the billions of people around the world living with mental and physical illnesses including chronic pain, depression, anxiety, PTSD, CTE, TBI, substance abuse and opioid dependency.

About Post-Game Players Lounge

The Players’ Lounge was created with a collaboration between psychologists Dr. Shannon McHugh and Dr. Jesi Sasaki, B.J. Williams, the founder of Can I Be Vulnerable (an organization aimed toward reducing the stigma of mental health for black men and boys), and occupational therapist Dr. Madison Harris, who specializes in helping athletes with their retirement transition. Started as a safe space for former NFL players to come together and talk about their mental health and post-career journey, now turned into a program that all former athletes can access and benefit from as they transition out of their athletic career. PPL provides mental wellness tips and techniques to group members and collaborate with partnering neuropsychologists and occupational therapists to provide relatable information to help athletes develop a playbook for retirement that prioritizes their mental and physical wellness post-sport.

California Wildfire illustration by Heather Skovlund

Windsor Vineyards × California Wildfires

HOLLYWOOD CELEBS RAISE MONEY TO SUPPORT VICTIMS OF CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

Windsor Vineyards Wine Magnums featuring Celebrity-Designed Wine Labels To be auctioned on eBay starting at $10,000 bottle

This year marks the first anniversary of the 9,639 wildfires that affected over 10,000 California residents and businesses in 2020 — from wine country in the north down south to the Hollywood Hills. As the 2021 wildfire season fast approaches, celebrities are showing support and solidarity by partnering with Windsor Vineyards and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) to auction exclusive wines, with 100% of proceeds benefiting wildfire victims throughout the great state of California.

Windsor Vineyards and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy — recently featured during the 14th Annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute — have enlisted stars including Zooey Deschanel, Jeff Bridges, Kim Basinger, Fran Drescher, Melissa Joan Hart, Ryan Guzman, Kevin O’Leary, Denise Richards, Sydney Sweeney, Sahara Ray, Corbin Bernsen, Jean Smart, Alison Sweeney, Camille Grammar, Josie Canesco, and Camilla Belle to design one-of-a-kind wine labels to adorn magnums of Windsor Vineyards award-winning wines.

“The wildfires and the pandemic compounded to devastating effect for many Californians in 2020,” said Patricia McIlreavy, president and CEO of CDP. “It is an honor to partner with Windsor Vineyards in bringing together two items quintessentially Californian -creative artists and wine – in support of the state’s recovery.”

“As a Sonoma-based wine company, we feel a great affinity to the local community that was, and continues to be, affected by wildfires,” said Jessica Kogan, Chief Digital Officer of Vintage Wine Estates, owner of Windsor Vineyards. “Given Windsor’s 60-year history of producing the most exciting custom wine labels and bottle etches, a charity auction celebrating the creativity of today’s most inspiring generational stars felt right. It’s a perfect way for us to help make a real difference and support a cause that quite literally hits close to home.”

The limited-edition, celebrity-designed wine magnums will be available for purchase on eBay beginning May 4th, 2021 and will be auctioned June 1st through June 8th, 2021 with 100% of proceeds benefiting the CDP California Wildfire Recovery Fund. Donations to The Fund will support communities across the state as they prepare, rebuild and recover from wildfires.

About the CDP California Wildfire Recovery Fund:

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s mission is to leverage the power of philanthropy to mobilize a full range of resources that strengthen the ability of communities to withstand disasters and recover equitably when they occur. In addition to providing expertise, CDP manages domestic and international Disaster Funds on behalf of corporations, foundations and individuals through targeted, holistic and localized grantmaking. For more information, visit: Disaster Philanthropy website and Twitter

About Windsor Vineyards:

Windsor Vineyards is one of top three most awarded American wineries for the past 60 years. Windsor was founded by legendary winemaker Rodney Strong in 1959 to support customer requests for custom wine labels for his wines. Windsor Vineyards continues to be dedicated to producing great wine, personalized wine labels and custom-etched bottles for private and corporate customers and gift recipients in the United States and abroad. For more information visit Windsor Vineyards.

Seton Hall player illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Baseball’s All-Star Game

Majority of Fans Support Removal of Baseball’s All-Star Game from Atlanta, Possible Removal of Super Bowl from Arizona Over Voting Laws

Support for Boycott of Beijing Olympic Games Over Human Rights Issues; Support for Athletes, Leagues, Unions Championing Social Change

By a 55-31 percent margin, a new Seton Hall Sports Poll has found that sports fans across the country support Major League Baseball’s decision to move the All-Star Game out of Atlanta in the wake of Georgia’s new voting laws. Those who call themselves “avid fans” are even more supportive, agreeing with MLB by a 67-25 percent margin. 

The general population was also in support of the move from MLB by a 49-31 percent margin, with 20 percent indicating “don’t know/no opinion.” The “don’t know/no opinion” choice was recited by 14 percent of sports fans and only eight percent of avid fans.

These were the findings of a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted April 23-26 geographically spread across the United States using a national representative sample weighted according to gender, age, ethnicity, education, income and geography based on U.S. Census Bureau figures. The Poll had 1,563 adult respondents with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percent. 

Super Bowl Removed from Arizona?

Almost exactly the same level of support was shown for the possibility of moving the 2023 Super Bowl out of Arizona should that state follow Georgia with similar voting law changes. By 55-32 percent (13 percent don’t know/no opinion), sports fans would support moving the game, with avid fans in support of a move by 64-27 percent (9 percent don’t know/no opinion). Among the general public, there is also support for moving the game by 49-30 percent with 21 percent in the “don’t know/no opinion” category.

“When I had the profound pleasure of meeting with Nelson Mandela in 1993 as the Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association, he encouraged us to use our positions in sport to become agents of change,” said Seton Hall Professor Charles Grantham, director of the Center for Sport Management within the Stillman School of Business. “It is perhaps a long time in coming, but there would seem to be more support than ever for that proposition amongst the leagues, the players and the fans as well as the general public. But so far, the moves are largely symbolic and will require the leagues to utilize their strong political lobby to effectuate legislative and policy change.”

An Olympic Boycott for Beijing Games?

Moving on to the global stage, respondents to the poll were also asked about a possible boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in China, a country often cited for human rights violations. Asked if they would support a boycott of the games, 55 percent of the U.S. general population said yes, with only 23 percent saying no, and 22 percent saying they did not know or held no opinion. Among sports fans, support for a boycott rose to 57 percent vs. 27 percent opposed to a boycott, and among avid fans, 65 percent said yes to a boycott vs. 23 percent saying no. The don’t know/no opinion responses were 16 percent and 12 percent respectively for these self-described fans.

With Allies?

When Americans were asked if they would support an Olympic boycott if multiple countries joined in, the “yes” numbers (in favor) rose to 60 percent for the general population, 62 percent for sports fans and stayed even at 65 percent for avid fans.

Should Athletes Be Able to Participate Independently if Their Countries Boycott the Olympics?

On the question of whether athletes should be able to compete without representing their countries (if their countries were boycotting), the general population said yes by more than a 2 to 1 margin (49-23 percent), with 28 percent registering don’t know/no opinion. Among sports fans, the yes margin was even greater at 54-23 percent (with 23 percent don’t know/no opinion). Support for athletes competing individually rose again among avid fans to 63-23 percent with 14 percent saying don’t know/no opinion.

Should Leagues and Teams Use Their Influence To Affect Social Change?

 Asked whether organizations (sports leagues and teams) should use their influence to affect social change, the general public supported such actions by a 48-36 percent margin with 16 percent answering don’t know/no opinion. The level of support for teams and leagues wielding their influence to affect social change rose to 52 percent for sports fans and 61 percent for avid fans. 

Should Governments Use Sporting Events To Influence or Affect Social Change?

Asked whether governments should use sporting events to affect social change, the general public supported such actions by a 43-38 percent margin with 19 percent answering don’t know/no opinion. The level of support for governments wielding their influence to affect social change through sport rose to 48 percent for sports fans and 61 percent for avid fans. 

Players and Players Associations?

Asked if athletes and/or players associations should use their influence to affect social change – 51 percent of the general population said yes, compared to only 35 percent no and 14 percent who said they did not know or had no opinion. Support for the players’ advocacy rose among sports fans to 55 percent with 34 percent opposing. Among those who describe themselves as “avid fans,” those in favor rose again to 65 percent with opposition declining to 28 percent (11 and seven percent, respectively, saying don’t know/no opinion).

“The question of moving major events in response to legislation or boycotting the Olympics gets to the heart of sports and society, and one influencing the other,” said Grantham. “If the leagues, teams and players continue to wield their economic and political power as agents of change, the potential for real and meaningful impact can be realized.”

Questions and charted breakdowns may be found below; an online version of this release may be found here.

ABOUT THE POLL

The Seton Hall Sports Poll, conducted regularly since 2006, is performed by the Sharkey Institute within the Stillman School of Business. This poll was conducted online by YouGov Plc. using a national representative sample weighted according to gender, age, ethnicity, education, income and geography, based on U.S. Census Bureau figures. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S residents. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls. The Seton Hall Sports Poll has been chosen for inclusion in iPoll by Cornell’s Roper Center for Public Opinion Research and its findings have been published everywhere from USA Today, ESPN, The New York Times, Washington Post, AP, and Reuters to CNBC, NPR, Yahoo Finance, Fox News and many points in between. 

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Teletubbies illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Teletubbies Launch Tubbycoin

Teletubbies Launch New Cryptocurrency Tubbycoin

Share BigHugs! with hashtag TubbyCoin

To mine TubbyCoin, all users need to do is share Big Hugs! tokens on social media with anyone who needs a hug, accompanied by the hashtag TubbyCoin. Then, sit back and let HugTech do the rest, as your TubbyCoin grows in value by collecting good vibes from being so nice.

As part of the initial offering of TubbyCoin, WildBrain will be making a base donation of $5,000 CAD to Kids Help Phone, and for every TubbyCoin shared or liked on social media, we’ll add one additional dollar to our donation, up to a total of $10,000 CAD. Be sure to use the hashtag TubbyCoin. Kids Help Phone gives millions of youth a safe, trusted space to talk over phone or through text or in self-directed support in any moment of crisis or need. In 2020, Kids Help Phone had 4.5 million connections with young people, reflecting a 137% increase over 2019.

HugTech – harnessing the power of Teletubby antennae

The result of years of research at WildBrain Labs, HugTech is a unique, proprietary technology that harnesses the value of the Teletubbies’ trademark BigHugs! through a nascent technology that marries the secret power of the Teletubbies’ antennae with cutting-edge cryptographology.

Dr. Rolf P. Solia, Principal Scientist and Head of Cleverness & Fabrication at WildBrain Labs, said: “We have finally arrived at the unachievable! Everyone knows the Teletubbies spread joy and delight across the world. But until now, few outside WildBrain Labs knew those special powers emanated from their antennae. Now, through the magic of cryptographology WildBrain Labs has harnessed that power to offer people around the world the opportunity to share the ebullience of the Teletubbies through TubbyCoin.”

Teletubbies spokestubby Tinky Winky added: “Eh-oh! Big hugs!”

Gotcha! Happy April Fools’ day!

Michael Riley, Chief Brands Officer of Teletubbies owner WildBrain, said: “I’d like to wish everyone a Happy April Fools’ Day! Although TubbyCoin is not really a cryptocurrency, our hope is that you’ll still enjoy sharing TubbyCoins with friends, family and anyone who needs a hug – all to bring some very real smiles to faces. And the part about WildBrain’s donation to charity is no joke. To help ensure kids have the assistance they need in these difficult times, we’ll be making a $5,000 donation to Kids Help Phone and adding one dollar to our donation for every TubbyCoin shared on social media up to a total of $10,000. So, share those virtual BigHugs!”

About WildBrain Labs

At WildBrain Labs we strive to break free of the constraints of imagination and reach for the unachievable. Based in a secure, state-of-the-art facility in a region of the Coachella Valley so remote that even we sometimes have trouble remembering where it is, WildBrain Labs is home to an advanced team of rock star scientists, programming wizards, ninja futurists and various other less outrageous people who keep the lights on – all of whom are laser focused on deploying cleverness and fabrication to make the world a better place or at least a bit less boring.

About Kids Help Phone

Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7 e-mental health service offering free, confidential support in English and French to young people. As the country’s virtual care expert, we give millions of youth a safe, trusted space to talk over phone or through text or in self-directed supports in any moment of crisis or need. Through our digital transformation, we envision a future where every person in Canada is able to get the support they need, when they need it most, however they need it. Kids Help Phone gratefully relies on the generosity of donors, volunteers, stakeholder partners, corporate partners and governments to fuel and fund our programs. Learn more at Kids Help Phone.

Digital Divide illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Digitally Disconnected

DIGITALLY DISCONNECTED

13 TIPS FOR HELPING BRIDGE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE FOR CHILDREN DURING COVID-19

While social, racial, and economic disparities have always existed within the educational system, the COVID-19 pandemic is exasperating these inequities and widening gaps between students at a drastic rate. For families who can’t afford home computers, laptops, or high-speed internet access, remote learning is nearly impossible, and for students who already found themselves struggling before the pandemic, the prospect of more than a year of lost classroom time is a devastating blow. However, there are steps parents can take to shrink this digital divide, and there are resources available via schools, non-profits, and government initiatives that can help children access the technological tools they need to succeed. Indeed, Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, President and Founder of Children and Screens, notes that “the inclusion of 17.2 billion dollars for closing the ‘homework gap’ in the recently passed American Rescue Plan is a watershed moment for digital equity.”   
 
Several of the leading figures in the fields of public health, education, psychology, and parenting have weighed in with their suggestions on the best ways to combat the digital divide, and many will participate in an interdisciplinary conversation and Q&A hosted by Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development on Wednesday, March 24, at 12pm ET via Zoom. Moderated by the Director of Internet and Technology Research at the Pew Research Center Lee Rainie, the panel will engage in an in-depth discussion about the digital divide and actionable steps we can all take to bridge the gap. RSVP here.
 
1. DON’T WAIT, ADVOCATE 

While schools across the country are doing everything they can to make sure that children have access to the technology and connectivity they need for remote learning, the unfortunate reality is that many families still lack adequate resources. If your family is among them, says author and MIT Assistant Professor of Digital Media Justin Reich, know that you’re not alone and that there are steps you can take to advocate for what your children need. “Start with your school staff,” Reich recommends. “They’re often overwhelmed during this challenging time but be polite and persistent. If you run into a dead-end with your school system, consider reaching out to school libraries and youth organizations like The Boys and Girls Club or the YMCA to see what kind of support they might be able to offer.”
 
2. SCALE DOWN 

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Professor Dr. Wayne Journell agrees, pointing out that sometimes, despite their best efforts, teachers and administrators may not always know which students are struggling with connectivity issues. “Let teachers know if you have slow internet at home,” says Journell. “Sometimes detailed graphics and animations that look cute but have little relevance to the actual lessons being delivered can cause problems for students with unreliable internet. If teachers are aware, then they can scale down the ‘frilly’ stuff and still get the important content across.”
 
3. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF  

While it’s important for parents to speak up on behalf of their children, RAND Senior Policy Researcher Julia Kaufman, Ph.D., highlights the importance of encouraging children to express their needs, as well. “If your child does not have access to technology at home and is falling behind, make sure your child’s teacher knows the obstacles they’re facing and ask what accommodations will make it easier for your child to do assignments offline,” says Rand. “At the same time, help your child feel comfortable expressing any technology concerns or confusion to their teachers, including cases where they have the technology but cannot use it well.”
 
4. CHECK YOUR ASSUMPTIONS 

One critical step that educators and policymakers can take in addressing the digital divide is to check their assumptions. They cannot – and should not – assume that students do or do not have access based solely on demographics such as family income level. “In addition, they cannot assume that providing access alone creates equity,” adds Dr. Beth Holland, a Partner at The Learning Accelerator (TLA) and Digital Equity Advisor to the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN). “This is a complex and nuanced challenge that needs both a technical and a human solution to ensure that students not only have access to sufficient high-speed internet and devices but also accessible systems and structures to support their learning.”

5. SURVEY AND MODIFY  

For teachers who are on the ground and in the classroom, checking your assumptions can be as simple as asking a few basic questions at the start of the term. “Survey students to determine the percentage of your population that doesn’t have home Internet access,” recommends former AAP President Dr. Colleen A. Kraft, MD, MBA, FAAP. “Once you know the divide, you can address it,” adding, “When planning 1:1 projects and choosing devices, for example, you can consider a device’s capacity for offline use. For those without Wi-Fi, a public library in the child’s neighborhood can also be an excellent resource.”

6. VOTE FOR CHANGE 

That parents and teachers need to worry about the digital divide at all is a failure on the part of our elected leaders, says Bates College Associate Professor of Education Mara Casey Tieken. “Contact your elected officials—local, state, and federal—and complain,” she suggests. “Write letters, call their offices, attend their legislative sessions, and make your voice heard. Join with other families whose children are impacted by this divide to amplify your message and use your vote to support lawmakers who understand the impacts of this divide, have a clear plan to address it and are willing to take action.”
 
7. MAKE BROADBAND A UTILITY  

Reich agrees, reminding those families who already have their needs met that they share in the responsibility to advocate for the less fortunate. “It’s our job as citizens to demand that we as a society give families and children the tools and resources that they need for remote learning now and in the future,” says Reich. “We need to advocate for a society where broadband is treated as a utility rather than a luxury good, and young people enrolled in schools and educational programs have access to computers for learning.”

8. CONCRETE INITIATIVES  

Angela Siefer, Executive Director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, advocates four concrete initiatives. “Establish a permanent broadband benefit, increase access to affordable computers, digital literacy and technical support, improve broadband mapping (including residential cost data), and support local and state digital inclusion planning.” By implementing these changes, Siefer says, policymakers can start to mitigate the digital divide. 

9. USE TECH FOR GOOD 

There are many reasons to consider equitable solutions along a “digital continuum” rather than the “digital divide;” a binary description leaves less room for nuanced and customized interventions. It may be imperative to fortify existing institutions, implement new governance structures and promulgate policies to confront disparities regarding working families. Antwuan Wallace, Managing Director at National Innovation Service, suggests that legislators consider a Safety and Thriving framework to increase family efficacy to support children with protective factors against the “homework gap” by utilizing technology to train critical skills for executive functioning, including planning, working memory, and prioritization. 
 
10. LEVEL THE FIELD 

Emma Garcia of the Economic Policy Institute emphasizes that guided technology education will be of great value after the pandemic. She says, “it will need be instituted as part of a very broad agenda that uses well-designed diagnostic tests to know where children are and what they need (in terms of knowledge, socioemotional development, and wellbeing), ensures the right number of highly credentialed professionals to teach and support students, and offers an array of targeted investments that will address the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on children’s learning and development, especially for those who were most hit by the pandemic.”
 
11. APPLY FOR LIFELINE 

Research also shows that the digital divide disproportionately affects Latino, Black, and Native American students, with the expensive price of internet access serving as one of the main obstacles to families in these communities. “Eligible parents can apply for the Lifeline Program, which is a federal program that can reduce their monthly phone and internet cost,” suggests Greenlining Institute fellow Gissela Moya. “Parents can also ask their child’s school to support them by providing hotspots and computer devices to ensure their child has the tools they need to succeed.”
 
12. GET INVOLVED 

Learning remotely can be difficult for kids, even if they have access to all the technological tools they need. Research shows that parental encouragement is also an important aspect of learning for children, notes London School of Economics professor and author Sonia Livingstone. “Perhaps sit with them, and gently explain what’s required or work it out together.” She adds that working together is a great way that parents with fewer economic or digital resources can support their children. “And if you don’t know much about computers, your child can probably teach you something too!”
 
13. NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL 

When it comes to encouraging your children, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. “Reflect on the more nuanced ways your children learn and leverage accessible resources (digital and non-digital) to inspire their continued curiosity,” says University of Redlands Assistant Professor Nicol Howard. Leaning into your child’s strengths and interests will help them make the most of this challenging time.
 
While the move to remote learning may seem like an insurmountable obstacle for families that can’t afford reliable internet or dedicated devices for their kids, there are a variety of ways that parents can help connect their children with the tools they need. For those privileged enough to already have access to the necessary physical resources, it’s important to remember that emotional support is also an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to children’s educational success, especially during days as challenging as these. Lastly, it falls on all of us to use our time, energy, and voices to work towards a more just world where the educational playing field is level and all children have the same opportunity to thrive and succeed, regardless of their social, racial, or financial background.
 
About Children and Screens
Since its inception in 2013, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, has become one of the nation’s leading non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing and supporting interdisciplinary scientific research, enhancing human capital in the field, informing and educating the public, and advocating for sound public policy for child health and wellness. For more information, visit Children and Screens website or contact by email here.
 
The views and opinions that are expressed in this article belong to the experts to whom they are attributed, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, or its staff. 

Medical illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Mental Illness × Addiction Crisis

With Pandemic Worsening the Mental Illness and Addiction Crisis, Biden Administration to Provide Nearly $2.5 Billion to States, Territories for Treatment, Prevention Aid

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Funding to Support Comprehensive Community Prevention, Treatment, Recovery and Health Services

The Biden Administration will provide nearly $2.5 billion in funding to states and territories to address the nation’s mental illness and addiction crisis, which has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will direct $1.65 billion in Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant funding and $825 million in Community Mental Health Services Block Grant funding to states and territories. The Community Mental Health Services Block Grant program allows states and territories to provide comprehensive community mental health services and address needs and gaps in existing treatment services for those with severe mental health conditions. The Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant program allows states and territories to plan, implement and evaluate activities to prevent and treat substance use disorder. This funding will also allow recipients to maximize efficiency in existing treatment and recovery infrastructure, promote support for providers and address unique local needs to deliver substance use disorder prevention.

“We know multiple stressors during the pandemic – isolation, sickness, grief, job loss, food instability, and loss of routines – have devastated many Americans and presented unprecedented challenges for behavioral health providers across the nation,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Tom Coderre. “During this time of increased urgency, we want to assure them that funding is in place to help states and territories provide pathways to prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery services, especially for underserved populations.”

Recently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data confirming a rise in fatal overdoses during the pandemic. This year’s increases in calls to helplines across the country indicate growing anxiety, depression, and trauma in Americans. The COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding economic crisis have been especially devastating for Black and Latino communities, which are experiencing a disproportionate number of COVID-19 infections and deaths as well as higher-than-average unemployment rates.

“SAMHSA resources connect Americans to evidence-based treatment and services every day,” said Coderre. “Focusing on both mental and substance use disorders – challenges that pre-date the COVID-19 pandemic but that have worsened over the past year – will be a crucial part of SAMHSA’s approach to helping the nation move forward.”

In addition to the $2.5 billion awarded today, SAMHSA has awarded $686 million in Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) Expansion Grants; Emergency Grants to Address Mental and Substance Use Disorders During COVID-19 (Emergency Response COVID-19), and supplements to the fiscal year 2020 Emergency Response COVID-19 grant recipients.

Funding allocation tables can be viewed here:

FY 2021 Community Mental Health Block Grant Program COVID-19 Supplemental Awards

FY 2021 Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant Program COVID-19 Supplemental Awards

People searching for treatment for mental or substance use disorders can find treatment by visiting SAMHSA’s website or by calling SAMHSA’s National Helpline,
1-800-662-HELP (4357).