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November 13, 2017

More Transcendental Meditation information sessions coming up

David Kidd, a Vietnam Veteran and Transcendental Meditation (TM) facilitator with 43 years experience will be offering a free four-day TM workshop for veterans at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Dublin. Don’t know what TM is or if it’s the right thing for you? Kidd will be hosting two more information sessions at the Four Points Sheraton Polaris from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Tuesdays, Nov. 21 and Dec. 5. Meet in the meeting room at the hotel, located at 8505 Pulsar Place, Columbus. The information sessions are also free and registration is not necessary. The sessions will explain what TM is, the benefits of TM, and how it works. TM is the most scientific method of self-development available today, with more than 600 studies proving its benefits. More than 3 million Americans have learned TM to date. More about TM can be found at www.tm.org. This program is paid for by grants from the David Lynch Foundation and the Resurrecting Lives Foundation. The course normally costs about $720. Space is limited to 12 veterans for the October workshop. For more information, contact Kidd at dkidd@tm.org or 330-417-3888 (cell).
November 17, 2017

Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs to hold hearing in Columbus Nov. 21

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) announced today (Nov. 17) that he is bringing the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs to Ohio for a special hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 21 at the main branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library starting at 1:15 p.m. Brown is asking for input from Ohio veterans on issues affecting them. “Ohio veterans served their nation honorably, and they deserve the highest quality of support in return,” Brown said. “By hearing from veterans in their own communities, the Committee can better understand what is working well and what challenges still confront our veterans today,” he added. Several representatives from the VA and other veteran organizations have been invited to participate to include:  Chip Tansill, director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services (ODVS), Keith Harman, commander-in-chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Ronald Burke, assistant deputy under secretary for field operations, Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), Robert Worley, director of education service, VBA,  Robert McDivitt, director of Veterans Integrated Service Network 10, Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and Dr. Kameron Matthews, deputy executive director, Provider Relations and Services, VHA. The Columbus Metropolitan Library is located at 96 South Grant Ave. in downtown Columbus.
November 24, 2017

Help! My Loved One Might Need Help

Approaching delicate subjects with friends and loved ones can be awkward. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s choosing a restaurant, who’s hosting Christmas dinner, or any number of everyday topics that we navigate with others. But, what happens when we notice a sudden change in mood or someone close to us starts making risky decisions, or begins to question their will to live? Discussing the mental health of those around us can seem like taboo for sure. Part of the stigma surrounding mental health can include our own comfort levels of approaching the topic, and maybe also questioning our skills or qualifications to even bring it up with others. Just like physical illness, mental illness can have warning signs and is just as treatable. We can support those who are suffering invisibly the same way we can support those trying to watch their diet. When approaching out of care and concern for the other, while offering appropriate support, we can serve as a catalyst that could result in a changed life – or could even save a life. Being the one to bring up the topic is tough, but the reward can be well worth the risk. There are books and articles that can help educate you on how to broach the topic, and how to support loved ones long-term. Here are a few signs and tools that can help with the conversation:  (from PsychCentral) Warning signs that a loved one might need help These would all include changes […]
December 14, 2017

Thriving through the holidays

Ryan Sargent Warm homes, big dinners, reconnecting with friends and family. The holiday season has the potential to bring joy and heart-warming memories. While we were growing up, we were exposed to traditions and ways of celebration and connection. If those experiences were warm, loving, and supportive, then the holidays can be a wonderful time to deepen our gratitude for the selfless gifts of love we’ve received, to continue traditions, and create some of our own.   If those experiences weren’t all that great, this time of year can stand to be a stark reminder of what was missing in our past, and perhaps what’s still missing today. If we’ve experienced loss, our grief can be compounded during this time. If our family relationships are strained, our stress levels can skyrocket with the thought of seeing certain people.  Whether our holiday season is a scene from a Hallmark movie or a Stephen King novel (or somewhere in between), being intentional and prior planning can ensure that we not only survive the holidays but continue to thrive. Below are a few tips to practice healthy behaviors and decision making through the holiday season:   Not Everyone Will Be Happy: We can’t make everyone happy. Even our best efforts can leave someone upset. Define some personal boundaries and honor them. Pace yourself. Make a road map of events and activities you’ll be participating in – only do what you want to do, and be honest with others about your plan. What do you […]
December 21, 2017
Shoe drop off

Making a difference one pair of shoes at a time

There is nothing like the feeling you get when you put on a nice, comfortable pair of shoes. But what if you did not have the resources to keep good shoes on your feet, especially during the cold winter months? A good and sturdy pair of shoes are a means to living a better life.  Especially for veterans living without a means of transportation except their own two feet. Thanks to a new partnership with The Shoe Project, Military Veterans Resource Center (MVRC) will be able to provide sturdy shoes to hundreds of veterans and their families now and into the future. From what started as a failed business attempt, then later a hobby of sorts, blossomed into something special for the Hamilton teen who started the venture five years ago. John Ferguson, 17, a recent graduate of Lakota East High School in Hamilton, started collecting shoes and shipping or hand-delivering them to people around the world when he was 12-years old. The Shoe Project, which started in his family’s garage is now an international nonprofit with an army of over 500 volunteers in 50 countries that has helped more than 15,000 people around the world to date. John Ferguson handed off local operations to Lakota East High School’s AP Government class, taught by Tisha Grote. Outreach is being handled by his father, Andrew, as John is headed off to study at Harvard next fall after completing a year with the U.S. State Department in China. John Ferguson is backed […]
January 17, 2018

How to make the most of your experience at the New Year, New Career military job fair

Going to a career fair doesn’t have to be a daunting task if you prepare well for it. A military-focused career fair like New Year, New Career should be looked at as an opportunity and not a chore. If anything, it is good practice for interviews you will be participating in down the road. Even if you are happy where you are at professionally or you are in school, networking now could prove invaluable in the future. According to a report from ABC News, 80% of today’s jobs are landed through networking. Also with more and more veterans getting out of the military than ever before, the competition for openings that military-friendly employers are offering is fierce. So, how do you stand out among all the other similarly-trained military veterans? You must learn how to sell yourself by crafting your own ‘brand’, and then selling that brand effectively using tools like creative resumes, video cover letters, stellar portfolios and impactful elevator pitches. A job fair purpose is not to land a job on the spot but to get your foot in the door. Getting an interview or some other type of follow-up action on behalf of the employer is a successful outcome from events such as this. Most jobs fairs publish a list of participating employers a week to a few days before the event. Our list can be found here. Try to do as much research as you can on the employers you are interested in. A good place to get […]
January 22, 2018

What a government shutdown means to you and your VA benefits

The VA has pursued a comprehensive approach to diminish the impact of a partial or full government shutdown on veterans and their family members. In general federal activities that are authorized to continue during a funding lapse, are excepted activities. The two main categories of excepted activities are those authorized by law, and those involving the safety of human life or the protection of property.  Below are the functions and programs the VA has identified to be legally excepted during a shut down. These essential services include providing: consistent, high quality medical care; compensation and pension benefits; housing; and other services. Basically this means the following: The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) will be fully funded, meaning all VA clinics, CBOCs and hospitals will continue to function as normal to include: Medical services, medical community care, medical support and medical and prosthetic research. The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) will be suspending all outreach, the GI Bill call center, all public contact activities, all appeals, pre-discharge activities, transition assistance, Chapter 36 counseling, Vet Success on college campuses and quality assurance programs. The VBA WILL continue the following services: Administer the insurance and Loan Guaranty programs, ongoing processing and payment of compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation benefits; and processing monthly benefit payments. The Bureau of Veterans Appeals (BVA) will stop processing ALL claims appeals. The National Cemetery Administration (NCA) will cease all activities during the shut down. The VA’s Office of the Inspector General will cease all activities during the shut down. […]
January 26, 2018

Teens stand at high risk of gambling addiction

By Bruce Jones LSW, LCDC III, NCGC I, OCPSA One More Chance Administrative Coordinator Most people see the stereotypical “gambling addict” as a middle-aged (or older) woman or man relentlessly feeding coins into a casino slot machine for hours on end, day after day, ignoring their spouse, losing their job and blowing their retirement savings. But today about one in eight of the eight million compulsive gamblers in the U.S. are teenagers. And several gambling experts believe this group represents the fastest-growing segment of people hooked on betting. Many of the triggers that incite out-of-control gambling in adults have the same effect on teens, such as the “rush” of the game, the false belief that “the big one” will happen any second and the insanity of continuing to wager even when losing big. But teens face some unique risk factors too. They: …spend a lot of time alone or online. Many live in virtual worlds playing games or talking with friends so solitary activities seem normal. …have more free time and are more easily bored. School or work isn’t as time-intensive or as demanding as adult careers and family obligations. …lack the experience and maturity to fully understand how to handle money responsibly. Just as is true with other high-risk behaviors, their brains have not matured completely. They don’t completely comprehend what consequences may flow from their behavior and choices – making them even more vulnerable to addiction disorders. In most states, teenagers cannot bet in casinos or buy lottery […]
February 1, 2018

New Year, New Career job fair a success

  Many of the 150 veterans who attended the New Year, New Career job fair on Jan. 18 left with new contacts, job leads and in some cases, interviews. In its fifth year, more than 40 employers representing a wide variety of industries participated in the fair. “Military career fairs re a great opportunity for veteran job seekers,” said Kelley Koons, veterans services specialist for Military Veterans Resource Center (MVRC) and fair organizer. “They give veterans a chance to meet employers who value their and give them an edge over others during the hiring process,” Koons added. Employers were just as pleased as the job seekers who attended the fair. Dee Terrie from Caterpillar said that they scheduled 17 interviews at the fair. Ten of those interviewed moved on to second interviews and four have already started working. Terrie added that she was pleased with the applicants from the job fair and looks forward to participating again next year.
February 9, 2018

10 Inexpensive Date Ideas

With Valentine’s Day upon us, I thought it would be fun to make a list of 10 inexpensive date ideas in Columbus. If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to get in a rut of doing the same old things, so it’s fun to explore the city through someone else’s eyes. 1. Go ice skating at the Columbus Blue Jackets Winter Park, presented by Worthington Industries at McFerson Commons. ($5/kids $10/adults, includes skate rental) 2. Show your competitive side at Pins. They have Duckpin Bowling, Pinball, Ping Pong, Shuffleboard, Bocce Ball, Foosball, and Giant Jenga. (games range from 50 cents-$10/hr) 3. Think you would be a good detective from all the crime shows you watch on Netflix? Find a good deal on Groupon for an Escape Room. These are especially fun with a group of friends! 4. Visit your favorite frozen yogurt joint, and take a stroll around Easton. Whether you’re people watching, or window shopping, there’s something for everyone! 5. Something everyone must do at least once, is explore German Village and have a cream puff from Schmidt’s! 6. When the snow finally melts, you can climb 6,000+ square feet of wall for free (if you have your own harness) at the Scioto Audubon Metro Park. 7. Take advantage of free admission every Sunday, at the Columbus Museum of Art. 8. Enjoy a coffee while taking in the picturesque beauty of the Topiary Park. 9. Step back in time at the Slate Run Living Historical Farm. Take a peek […]
February 13, 2018

Healthy Habits – How’s That Resolution Going?

By: Ryan Sargent Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash Most resolutions don’t make it past January 31st. Is that why gyms charge their “maintenance fees” in February? Maybe Valentine’s Day is strategically positioned so we can cope with chocolate? On many occasions I hear people talking about their resolutions, which is usually promptly followed by a look of disappointment for not following through a promise they made to themselves at the turn of the new year. They lost motivation, can’t seem to get their schedule around the change they started to make, or otherwise share words of defeat for not feeling capable or able to step up to the challenge. There must be a more effective way to make healthy change, right? Some of the drastic changes some of us expect: get a new career, lose 40 pounds in 12 months, go from never going to the gym to going for two hours a day. On New Year’s Eve, these sound admirable and almost doable – we get caught up in the moment and make promises. Once we get out of the starting blocks, however, we quickly feel defeated. If you dig a little deeper and explore the impact this dynamic has on our mental health, it might have you reconsidering how you approach goal setting. Setting these kinds of goals, expecting ourselves to achieve the impossible, and then beating ourselves up when we fail closely remind me of a common thinking error called, “All-or-Nothing Thinking”. This nasty little trait can fuel a […]
February 28, 2018

Healthy Habits – Is Organic Worth the Extra Expense?

Food for thought- Is organic worth the extra expense? By: Kelly Koons Organic has become quit the trend over the last decade. You probably pass by the organic produce section before coming to the regular produce or even see an entire section dedicated to just organic products at your local grocery store. If you’re one of the shoppers wondering if you should pay the extra price to be more health conscious, maybe this article will help you out. Here I’ll talk strictly about produce and some items which may be worth the extra price you pay for organic, and their long term affects on your health. What exactly is “organic”? It means products must be free of synthetic additives like harmful pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and dyes, and must not be processed using industrial solvents. Often times you’ll see a label that states “USDA Organic” which is the stamp of approval from the United States Department of Agriculture, certifying the organic farming process. Many people wonder if it’s beneficial to purchase organic foods since they are more costly. That’s a difficult question since so many factors go into a particular fruit or vegetable such as, the attraction insects and animals may have to it, region of growth, size, exterior layer and so on. To better help you determine if you are getting extra bang for your buck on your favorite produce, take note of the Dirty Dozen list below.  Everything on this has been tested and scientifically proven to contain more pesticides […]
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