News roundup: stories of community

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Students ‘Make a Difference’ volunteering at nine homes in Saginaw

Saginaw News – The three 16-year-old juniors joined about 170 students from 10 high schools who volunteered at nine Saginaw homes Thursday for Make a Difference Day. “It’s more rewarding than sitting in a classroom on a typical day,” said Webber. “Probably the best part was the bonding of kids between different schools and just coming together for the common good.”

Get outdoors, meet the neighbors

Lake Country Calendar – “Trails are an asset to the community just like parks, roads, and sewers,” says Dev Fraser. “They help promote healthy living, stimulate the economy and offer alternative opportunities for transportation. Most importantly though, I believe they make us better stewards of our environment. Being out in nature is the best way to build respect for it.” The trails were built using 100 per cent volunteer labour. Fraser says people in the community just heard about WALC’s activities and started joining in. Earlier this month a group of outdoor education students from George Elliot Secondary had a great time when they came out for a couple of sessions working on the trails. The District of Lake Country gives the group a small budget to work on with which to purchase tools, signs, gravel and surveying services.

Pilot paint program off to good start

Examiner-Enterprise – The City of Bartlesville recently began work on houses accepted for the pilot session of the Joseph’s Coat, an exterior paint program for low-income seniors/disabled property owners in Bartlesville. The program, recently passed by the Bartlesville City Council, is a collaboration between the city and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Applicants had to meet certain eligibility requirements, as did the proposed structure.

Protesters’ secret: they’re out there because it makes them happier

The Boston Globe. At least if recent research is to be believed, political activism, no matter the cause, seems to make people happy – even if they don’t win an election or triumph in a ballot initiative. Psychologists curious about what fuels human happiness have looked at political engagement and political activism, and they’ve found that it provides people with a sense of empowerment, of community, of freedom, and of transcendence. Political activists, in other words, are all happy warriors.

“People have psychological needs. If those needs are well satisfied, then people thrive, and if any of those needs are poorly satisfied, people don’t thrive,” says Tim Kasser, a psychology professor at Knox College and coauthor of a forthcoming paper on the topic. “Activism is a kind of activity that people can engage in that satisfies all of those needs.”

Volunteers help disabled senior stay in home

Going well beyond its mission to deliver daily meals, Meals On Wheels has teamed with other volunteers to renovate a Vista resident’s home that had fallen into serious disrepair. Oliver Mayfield, a retired aerospace engineering technician, has lived in the Sierra Estates neighborhood of Vista for more than 40 years. But after a stroke left him partially paralyzed three years ago, his home became dilapidated and even dangerous. Unable to navigate his chair through most of the home’s interior doorways or reach household appliances, Mayfield was confined to one room in his 800-square-foot home when a Meals On Wheels volunteer brought his plight to the attention of others.

Area Habitat Volunteers Gather To Dedicate 9 Homes

Tyler Morning Telegraph – Creating a safe community by uniting people from all walks of life so others can capture the American dream was “nothing short of a miracle,” a local pastor said. “I see a little bit of the kingdom of heaven,” said Rev. Stuart Baskin, senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church. One by one, homeowners told why they are humbled. Rosie Mastrolia-Parker was once homeless but now says she loves and appreciates the quiet, peaceful neighborhood. “I am so grateful to have a home, coming where I come from,” she told the crowd.

Churches join forces to build couple a new home

The Longmont Times-Call – The house is being built by volunteers from 10 local church congregations through Apostles Build, a program sponsored by Habitat for Humanity of the St. Vrain Valley. This is the first Apostles Build home the local Habitat affiliate has sponsored, executive director David Emerson said. The 10 participating churches provide volunteer crews and have pledged to collect the $80,000 needed to build the home. So far, they’ve raised $20,300.

Acclaimed conductor brings music education to neighborhood kids, and other selections

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Acclaimed conductor brings music education to neighborhood kids

Twin Cities PlanetMckenzie Martin – In 2008, Alsop founded OrchKids, an after-school music education program in low-income neighborhoods throughout the city. Through the program, students learn musicianship with the goal of improving the students’ social, academic and behavioral skills. Last year, 30 students participated in OrchKids, where they received musical theory instruction for the first half of the year, followed by lessons on the instrument of their choice throughout the second half of the program.

Crowd-Sourced Initiatives to Create a More Livable New York City

Inhabitat (blog)Olivia Chen When NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg launched the Big Apps competition this past June, he invited individuals and groups to program applications that make government data sets accessible to the public — solidifying that technology can contribute to improved quality of life. Applications created in response to Bloomberg’s decisions will join the crowd-sourced initiatives that offer residents not only information, but a place to gain a sense of community, to exchange ideas and to visualize space digitally.

Building a House and Community Ties With Habitat for Humanity

CBS MoneyWatch.comKathy Kristof – Prior to Habitat’s arrival, Tutwiler was best known for the brutal 1950s murder of Emmett Till, a black youth who had the nerve to talk to a white woman. Now, thanks to the donation of several acres of land and the time of hundreds of volunteers, it’s a place where the privileged and impoverished work side by side to construct a neat community of homes within walking distance of a medical clinic and recreation center run by a group of Catholic nuns.

Tradition in large helpings at suppers

BurlingtonFreePress.comGlenn Russell – “What can be better than sharing a meal with your neighbors?” asked Paulsen. “I find it a great example of what community is all about.” Communities big and small across Chittenden County and beyond will follow Richmond’s lead this weekend by hosting their own chicken pie suppers. The dinners are organized as fundraisers by churches to generate extra income and to support a variety of grass-root projects, nonprofit causes and scholarships.

Photo Gallery: Falmouth event raises funds to help prevent homelessness

Falmouth BulletinSarah Murphy – A sea of people in turquoise T- shirts departed from the village green in Falmouth for an afternoon walk. But it wasn’t just any Sunday stroll. The group was participating in the 24th annual Cape Walk to End Homelessness to benefit the Housing Assistance Corporation. HAC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the housing needs of all Cape Codders. It operates homeless shelters for adults and families, administers rental subsidies, offers education and training, and develops new housing affordable housing.

Initiative to transform public housing project deemed success

Knoxville News SentinelMike Blackerby – The revitalization continues, but Knoxville officials and neighborhood residents deemed the HOPE VI initiative – which transformed the old barrack-style College Homes public housing project into the thriving and vibrant Mechanicsville Commons – a success during a Monday celebration at Danny Mayfield Park. Nance said the project is doing exactly what it was intended to do: enhancing neighborhood pride through home ownership, reducing crime, improving schools through better family engagement, attracting businesses and creating jobs.

Neighborhood Watch Programs Safer Than Before

Loudoun ConnectionMartin Casey – In the original Neighborhood Watch programs, volunteer residents took turns cruising the neighborhood in their cars, or even on foot. Volunteers literally stood watch to help keep their neighbors safe. But today, Dep. James Spurlock says, “I don’t want any of you out on the street, possibly putting yourselves in harm’s way. I want you in your homes, but keenly alert to any suspicious activities.”

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Community turns out to support local farm, and other stories

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Community turns out to support local farm through lean year

Lincoln JournalRaphaella Cruz – Laughter, bluegrass music and the sweet smell of flowers drifted across Blue Heron Organic Farm on Saturday during the farm’s Fall Festival and Fundraiser. Intermittently pouring and sprinkling rain didn’t seem to have any effect on visitors who picked bouquets of flowers in the labyrinth, joined the hayride around the fields, and shopped for fresh vegetables while mingling with friends and neighbors at the farm stand.

Single mom gets first Menlo Park Habitat for Humanity home

San Jose Mercury NewsJessica Bernstein-Wax The families, who were all on a waiting list for low-income housing in Menlo Park, must put in 500 hours of labor, called sweat equity, in exchange for a zero-interest mortgage and no down payment on the properties. The initiative revitalizes rundown or abandoned buildings and makes home ownership possible for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to realize that dream, organizers say. “It’s about rebuilding the community — putting families back into the community and letting them grow,” VanHook said at the ceremony.

New arrival: community-supported kitchen

OregonLive.comIvy Manning – Just as we were getting acquainted with the idea of community-supported agriculture, or CSAs, a new alphabet soup of initials has cropped up in our locavore food scene: the CSK, or community-supported kitchen. “The idea is something like a CSA, but we go one step further and use local food to make nutrient-rich, prepared foods for those who want to eat well, but don’t have the time or know-how,” says Tressa Yellig, founder of 3-month-old Salt, Fire & Time CSK in the Buckman neighborhood.

Eighteen years later, Citizens on Patrol credited with reducing crime throughout Fort Worth

Fort Worth Star TelegramMike Lee – “Our crime has gone down significantly because of the amount of people patrolling,” she said. The first class of 105 COPs volunteers from 11 neighborhoods was trained in 1991. At the same time, police began focusing on community policing and assigned liaison officers known as neighborhood patrol officers to each part of town. By the mid-1990s, there were COPs programs in 120 neighborhoods; today 214 have them.

Touched by the Wayland Angels

Wayland Town CrierSusan L. Wagner – In 2002, when Wayland’s Jean Seiden was being treated for breast cancer, her friends and neighbors set up a meal chain and delivered food to her home on a regular basis. Not long after, another town resident, Pam Washek, was found to have a tumor in her shoulder, and Seiden offered to set up a similar food chain for her family. Unfortunately, Seiden lost her battle three years ago at the age of 48. But the synergy between her and Washek still flourishes in the Wayland Angels, an organization the two women established to provide others with the same assistance they had received while undergoing their own cancer treatments.

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A beautiful day comes to town, and other stories

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A beautiful idea comes to town

Duncan BannerKevin KerrThe idea got to her, and she came up with something that has turned into a day-long event called Neighbors helping Neighbors. The event won’t be limited to curb cleaning, but to whatever community members think needs to be done in their neighborhoods to help clean up the look of Duncan, and to help their neighbors with tasks that they might not be able to do. “We get so busy doing our jobs and the things we need to do in life that we really don’t visit with neighbors anymore,” Bowden said. “We go to work, church, school functions for our kids day after day, but we don’t stop and find out from our neighbors if they’re doing OK. We need each other. If we’re all so busy, we miss out on finding out about each other.”

Choosing green path to jobs

The Spokesman ReviewCindy Hval – Summer jobs are hard to come by for young teens. Paper routes are scarce and often taken by adults with cars. Fast-food restaurants don’t hire anyone under 16, and day care centers have reduced the amount of baby-sitting jobs available. Yet 14-year-old Dave Howell not only earned income this summer, he also gained job skills that will serve him well throughout his life.

1600 Springfield College students, faculty, staff, help clean up Springfield

The Republican – MassLive.comGeorge W. Graham – The city is a bit cleaner and brighter and lot more neighborly today thanks to a small army of volunteers provided by Springfield College.  Some 1,600 Springfield College volunteers, clad in distinctive yellow T-shirts, fanned across the city Thursday as part of the college’s 12th annual Humanics in Action Day. “It makes us more powerful,” said 70-year-old Mattie M. Jenkins, a parent facilitator at the William N. DeBerry School where 30 to 40 volunteers volunteered their time.

Seattle Post IntelligencerSharon Hong – It’s been six years since 15-year-old Sobhi Subeh stood on two legs. Six years ago at his home in war-torn Gaza, Sobhi, at the age of 9, was severely injured when a bomb landed on his family’s farm field where he was helping his parents work. Three days passed before Sobhi awoke to find himself in a hospital with only half a left leg. Weeks passed before he got out of bed and started a new life on crutches.

Newberry welcomes Hope house to the neighborhood

Williamsport Sun-GazetteShawna T. Turner – Two agencies with the desire to help those in need have joined forces to bring six individuals – some of whom have never even had their own room – the house they deserve. Hope Enterprises and Habitat for Humanity partnered to build a new home in Newberry for the six, who are living in the Hope system.

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Habitat for Humanity Home Receives A Lot of Help

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Transcript: Ground was broken on a new home back in May that is bringing one community together in the spirit of service.

Habitat for humanity is known across the country for helping people to live the dream of owning their home. Tuesday night that dream became a little closer to reality for one Pocatello family and its thanks to a group of young men.

It was a buzz of excitement as a couple dozen boy scouts offered a hand to the newest neighbors.

It may not look like much now, but in the coming months this foundation will take shape for the Sheppard family.

They received the good news last week that this habitat for humanity home would soon be theirs.

Tiffany is a single mom who lives in a cramped apartment with her two daughters. The three are more than ready for a space of their own.

Tiffany Sheppard, home recipient: “We’re just looking forward to going forward and getting into our new home.”

The excitement hasn’t settled down since the May groundbreaking. The boy scouts helped to shovel dirt, haul lumber, and move rocks. The work was done in preparation for Saturday’s framing crew.

Tiffany: “I’m ready to go forward. I’m so excited. It’s like a pay it forward process.”

Tiffany says this home brings a new outlook on life, something she is very grateful for.

Tiffany: “Put me in a better spot so I can take better care of my two girls. That’s the most important thing. I’m just really happy.”

The goal is to have the house completed by April 1st of next year. Organizers say is a very ambitious goal, but they are determined to reach it.

For more information about becoming a volunteer for Gate City Habitat for Humanity, please call (208) 233-9081.

via Habitat for Humanity Home Receives A Lot of Help – KPVI NEWS 6: Pocatello, Idaho Falls-Weather, Sports, News-. By Stuart Summers