Daily Inspiration: Humans of New York

Humans of New York is a blog that displays the unique stories of people from all walks of life. Brandon Stanton, the creator, gets people to open up and divulge a page of their autobiographies.

In this episode a woman talks about how she pushed herself to stand out in a traditional family where girls were not celebrated. In doing so, she takes pride in her achievements and ability to live outside the box.

For more episodes visit Humans of New York Facebook.

Are Cell Phones To Blame For Rude Broadway Audiences?

The beauty of theater is the ability to get lost in the allure of the acting and captivating story lines- not the glare of a cell phone. A story in the New York Post reports that audiences have become ruder than ever and it’s making the actors angry.

Actors practice for hundreds of hours to deliver amazing performances. While a ringing cell phone may seem like a mild annoyance to the average person; it can be viewed as an insult to their craft.

A cellphone went off as Laura Benanti was singing “Will He Like Me” during a performance of the 2015 revival of “She Loves Me.”

“I’ll wait,” she said. The phone continued to ring. “We’ll all wait,” she said, and the orchestra stopped playing until the phone was silenced.

Benanti later tweeted: “Anyone saying I shouldn’t have called out the ringing during my quietest, most vulnerable moment during yesterday’s matinee can suck my phone.”

Current Broadway shows are running an average of seven times per week. The probability of at least one person engaging in disruptive behavior via smart phone during each show is high.

Many theater houses are not able to enforce a no phone policy due to the massive culture surrounding social media and the use of this technology in everyday life. Apparently, using a cell phone in this space is an offense that is punishable by ticket. Cara Joy David cites that the probability of actually getting a ticket for phone use is unlikely.

When Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg vetoed the New York City law that makes cell phone “use”—defined as dialing, talking, having it ring, etc.—in theaters a ticketable offense he cited the enforcement difficulty. The City Council overrode the veto and so it is law, but we all know the law doesn’t do anything.

To avoid being a rude audience member, general theater etiquette would include enjoying the hard work of the actors sans cell phone and being present to enjoy all the scenes. That way, the chance of you getting accosted by an usher or a side eye from an actor would be slim.

Daily Inspiration: To Complain or Not To Complain

This poem was performed by Rudy Francisco at the semi finals of the 2014 National Poetry Slam. He describes situations where people persevered through life and death situations and essentially said, “It could have been worse”. Life is journey where one can experience a lot of pain and heartache. However, many beautiful things also come out of this journey and he explains that sometimes it is best to focus on what keeps life worth living.

**Disclaimer: This poem has been criticized for being insensitive to those suffering from depression and anxiety. Its purpose is to provide motivation to help others keep things in perspective during tough times.

If you are suffering from Mental Illness and need help, you are not alone. Please seek the advisement of a medical professional or call the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Helpline today, 800-950-NAMI to see what resources are available to you.

Kansas Offers Opportunity For Student Loan Repayment

Student loan debt is no stranger to higher education seekers. As the demand for education has increased over the years, so has the price; leaving millions of people in debt and scrambling to make ends meet. According to the Pew Research Center, Americans owed more than $1.3 trillion in student loan debt.

These loans are great avenues for people to get a degree, that simply can’t afford it. The government has found ways to make repayment of federal loans more manageable through income driven repayment plans and public service forgiveness. Private loans operate under the specific terms of the lender. If you fall under hard times with repayment some options include: refinancing, forbearance and bankruptcy.

Kansas is offering another repayment option. The Kansas Department of Commerce is inviting young people to find a better solution to their debt problems with the Rural Opportunity Zones program.

There’s something special about life in rural Kansas. Something authentic and wholesome. Something that makes it the ideal place to live, work and raise a family. And thanks to the new Rural Opportunity Zones program, there’s never been a better time than now to make rural Kansas your new home. If you’re looking for lower cost of living and better quality of life, Kansas is your best choice.

Rural Opportunity Zones are 77 counties that have been authorized to offer one or both of the following financial incentives to new full-time residents:

  • Kansas income tax waivers for up to five years
  • Student loan repayments up to $15,000

In this instance, one hand washes the other. Counties offer a chance to eradicate debt, while bringing new life to areas that have been declining since 2010. Small town life, isn’t necessarily idyllic to those graduating from college but great things can come from unexpected places. Kansas could prove to be an amazing opportunity to gain experience, save money, life comfortably and pay off debt.

To qualify for student loan repayment one must establish residency in a qualified county after July 1, 2011, hold a degree (associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s) and have an outstanding balance. For more information on this program visit Rural Opportunity Zones.

 

Convenience To Contraceptives On Campus

It is not a secret that young adults attending college are sexually active. Even though the media has evolved to be extremely sex ‘forward’, the topic of sex is still taboo.

Women and men may still face scrutiny and some colleges are looking to ease that burden; with contraceptive vending machines. Since 2012, Shippensburg University, University of California, Santa Barbara and University of California, Davis have installed ‘wellness’ machines on campus.

Health education programs in high schools vary widely across America. They employ conservative or progressive curricula to inform students about sex. By the time these students get to college, their experiences are different.

Wellness machines provide condoms, Plan B, and pregnancy tests for the convenience of all students. Ultimately, making it a great resource for reserved and liberal students who are engaging in sexual activity to stay safe without judgement.

Earlier this month, Stanford University became the latest school to install these vending machines.  According to an article by the New York Times, more schools are looking to provide these services.

Parteek Singh, a recent graduate who urged U.C. Davis to install the machine, said he had heard from people at more than 30 schools who are interested in learning how to do the same thing on their campuses.

“This will be big,” Mr. Singh said. “It’s just the beginning.”

This appears to be a new trend for schools that are looking to turn this taboo topic into new and improved health services for their students.

Regret In Everyday Life

Life is all about experience. Each day brings new situations, where we must make choices. In these decisions- we are eventually bound to fall short.

Mistakes will be made– tests can be failed or we have lapses in judgement. It is inevitable that regrets will exist.

The emotion of regret is explored in the podcast, “Regrets, I Have A Few“, by Hidden Brain. Regret can be defined as a ruminative thought, an obsession about an event in the past. Some events can be so intrusive that it leads to anxiety and depression.

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/550249439/550260483

The most important part of a regret, is understanding how and why it affects you. Analyzing the context surrounding these experiences can prove to be hopeful. Learning about the different types of regret is among the valuable information found in this episode.

Even though regret is the second most common emotion experienced, it doesn’t have to serve only as a negative pillar in the mind.

Detroit Aims to Break Poverty Cycle

Housing is a significant roadblock for those who cannot create generational wealth. Finding adequate solutions are often met with discussion and debate; making poverty a hot button issue in the United States.  Social programs have been centered around lifting the unfortunate out of desolate situations and making life more affordable. Long term efficacy of these efforts remains to be seen.

In 2017, there is not a state in this country where a person working forty hours on minimum wage can afford a two bedroom apartment. CNBC reported on this issue, highlighting these grim prospects.

That’s according to new research by the National Low Income Housing Coalition covered by The Washington Post. Across the country, it reports, even full-time workers would have to make about or more than twice as much to afford a typical home.

In states such as Alaska, Washington, Colorado, Florida, Virginia, Illinois and most of the Northeast, workers would have to make over $20 an hour. Workers in California, D.C. and Hawaii are the hardest hit by the price of housing: They need to earn a whopping $30, $33 or $35 an hour, respectively, to afford a two-bedroom.

Cass Community Social Services in Detroit, Michigan has spearheaded a revitalizing program for its idling communities. Tiny Homes has been launched to fight poverty by using just that- tiny homes. Homes range from 250-400 square feet and come fully furnished. Located in central Detroit, new constructions will be available for purchase after seven years of renting.

Current services have a limit for what they can help people achieve. Unfortunate situations involve a person getting just far enough ahead to price out of a program, but are still unable to afford basic needs for their families. A program like this should- in theory- lift generations above the poverty line. In addition to providing these tenants with an affordable home; tenants have to attend a mandatory monthly financial literacy class. Classes teach tenants about growing income and home ownership.

Opening doors for the working class that would otherwise remain closed is the highlight for this Detroit community. The advantages that come along with home ownership can change the outlook for current and upcoming generations. The education that will be provided to sustain this lifestyle is a step that is overlooked in other social programs. While longitudinal data on Tiny Homes will provide a better insight to its successes and failures, right now it gives needy families a new lease on life.

 

 

Intimate Partner Violence

Doing something about Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) has come a long way in just 40 years. The days of a husband getting rough with his wife and just being asked to leave the house for a while, are over. Men are definitely no longer laughed out of precincts when they are assaulted by women.

According to The National Domestic Violence Hotline , 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their life time.  In addition, it has been reported that nearly 3 in 10 women and 1 in 10 men in the US have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by a partner and report it having an impact on their ability to function. These statistics aren’t just reflective of the horror stories seen on the ID channel.

If these numbers seem harrowing on paper, imagine what they look like in real life. The factors surrounding victims of IPV are mostly complex yet understandable. However, when a victim is either brutalized to the point of death or narrowly escapes with their lives, they are often met with criticism. Telling another what they should’ve done in an unimaginable situation is always easy from the outside.

This Ted Talk given by Leslie Morgan Steiner paints a rather detailed picture of the life of an IPV victim. Her story is a great example of how this type of violence can happen to anyone at anytime. Domestic violence doesn’t have a specific face. It embodies all races, genders, sexual orientations and tax brackets. These victims have the faces of our sisters, best friends, teachers, and mailmen.

While laws have changed to protect victims of IPV, many people do not know where to go, who to turn to or what is realistic for their situation. Empathizing with a person in need, may be the first step to change. Instead of waiting for the day to receive a dreaded phone call, be in the know. Learn about what you can do to help your loved ones. If you know someone who is suffering, please do not turn a blind eye. If you are are suffering, get help today. Resources are available now.

Please call The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE or visit their website.