St. Patrick had a Big Mouth

happystpatricksdayAs we don our green, prepare our potatoes, and turn all manner of liquids green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, a couple of historians pause to remember the man that inspired this holiday.  According to several accounts, St. Patrick did not drive away snakes or perform other magnificent feats.  In fact, he spent years imprisoned in slavery during his early years.  So why the celebration?

St. Patrick had a big mouth and it was not for drinking green libations.  It turns out, in spite of his difficult years as a “young professional,” he developed strong beliefs during those trying times and dedicated the remainder of his life to advocating for those beliefs.  In fact, he was such a great advocate, he was named the patron saint of a nation.  Not too bad for someone who simply figured out how to put his big mouth to good  use, huh?

Regularly on this blog we discuss how we as young professionals can give back to our community through giving, volunteering, and raising our voice as an advocate for important causes.  Therefore, I challenge you to incorporate a new tradition into your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations: Be an advocate for something you believe in and tell your fellow revelers and issue you stand for as you raise a glass to one of the most celebrated advocates in history!

Change a Life in Just One Day

One of the most popular services and volunteer projects our community in our community, Project Homeless Connect, will take place on Saturday, April 4th at the Boutwell Auditorium.  Check out this video of last year’s event courtesy of UAB:

These services are more needed than ever, which means we need even more help than the 777 volunteers at last year’s event.  If you are a young professional and would like to volunteer with the United Way Young Leaders Society at this event, email us a youngleaders@uwca.org.  If you are interested in general volunteerism at Project Homeless Connect, please visit Hands On Birmingham.

We’ll have more to come about this exciting event, so stay tuned!

Tough Lessons for Homeless Kids

If you thought paying attention in class was difficult when you were young, imagine how difficult it is for local children that do not get enough sleep, food, or study time due to their family’s homelessness.  In recent months, local nonprofits have seen a rise in family homelessness in our region.  This increase is distressing because the stress on the family caused by homelessness creates ripple effects on children’s ability to learn and develop, which could impact their long-term success.

MSNBC wrote an incredibly insightful article that looks at the issue from a national perspective, but the problems described in the article are also visible here at home. 

“Homeless children are confronted daily by extremely stressful and traumatic experiences that have profound effects on their cognitive development and ability to learn,” said Ellen Bassuk, a Harvard Medical School psychiatry professor and president of the nonprofit National Center on Family Homelessness. “They tend to have high rates of developmental delays, learning difficulties and emotional problems as a product of precarious living situations and extreme poverty.”

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Were You Ready, Today?

ENIVRONMENT WEATHERA tornado touched down off of Highway 280 today.  No one was injured, but almost all witnesses were shaken.  Currently, as lightening bolts streak outside of my office window, I remember when I was a victim of a tornado during my childhood and I question, “Now that I work in disaster recovery, am I or my family more prepared should a disaster strike, again?”  Unfortunately, I’m not sure of the answer.

Here’s what I do know:  Severe weather  is such a frequent occurrence here in Central Alabama that we often overlook what we need to do to “be ready.”   In fact, there are multiple ways that I can prepare to help my family, friends, and neighbors in the event of disaster.

First, I know I should have a 3-Day disaster kit on-hand, which includes the following items:

That’s What We’re Talkin’ About!

Regularly, we talk about taking action, making a difference, and thinking outside of the box in regards to your approach.  Well, lo’ and behold, a proactive and creative woman in Utah accomplished just that.  Upon her co-worker’s car being burglarized, the woman pursued the suspected thief and subdued him with an unconventional move – the classic wedgie.  Kudos to Ms. Morris for humorously setting an example for all of us.

YP Innovation in India

Politics aside, there are large, complex issues facing our community on a local, national, and international stage.  So, how do you play a part in proposing and implementing a solution?

Young professionals in India decided to assume responsibility for community change by creating an awareness tour around their issue of choice, climate change.  What started as a small effort soon grew in participants and activities to include dancers. engineers, activists, musicians and so on.  Their motivation for this effort:

We wanted to find a way to bring people together around existing solutions to inspire more action and more innovation. There’s no time left to just talk about the problem…the world needs crazy ideas to change things, because the conventional way of thinking is not working anymore.

Obviously, these young professionals are taking their countryman Gandhi’s charge to heart. 

Take a moment to think about your own responsibility in creating change around the issues in our community.  Tell us your “unconventional” solutions and let’s see if we cannot start a caravan-for-a-cause (name  your issue) of our own here in Alabama.

Happy Friday

hands-heart…and that other thing too.