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Acts of Kindness Becoming a Trend?

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By Tamara Florence

So many times as people, we forget that we’re occupying the world with others. We get caught up in our families, rush hour traffic and crowded grocery stores which allow us only to see only what’s in front of us. Seldom are we looking to see what’s going on in the lives of others and how we can help those surrounding our communities.

This year the youth of Cathedral of Praise International Ministries, Bishop Craig Johnson, were motivated to go a step further and partake in random acts of kindness including: visiting convalescent homes, helping the elderly with groceries, helping others with homework etc… Out of the Acts of Kindness (AOK), a ministry was formed. Over the last 6 months they were asked to perform over 1600 acts of kindness.

Saturday, April 14, 2012, the Orange Committee hosted their first Orange Extravaganza gala commemorating the youth of AOK. There were over 50 youth represented at the event. All were acknowledged for their efforts with a plaque. Awards were issued for the most hours dedicated to the helping in the community (1st through 4th place) and also for the AOK members that sold the most ads for the event. Also, the AOK members received an honorary certificate from Assembly member Wilmer Amina Carter. Guests included: Cheryl Brown (Field representative for Assembly member Wilmer Amina Carter’s office), Mayor Aquanetta Warren (Fontana) and Danielle Gates (Dance instructor of City Gym).

Hearing the AOK’s motivation will hopefully start a trend that will inspire others to do the same in their communities.

FREE CANCER OUTREACH CONFERENCE TARGETS AFRICAN AMERICANS

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Focus Is Prevention, Detection, Intervention

BVN Staff Report

Cancer and how the disease disproportionately affects the African American community is the focus of the American Cancer Society’s annual free conference entitled “Living Smart Cancer Awareness: Your Community Forum on Cancer Awareness,” set to take place Sat., April 21, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Parkview Community Hospital in the Founder’s Center Daily Room, located at 3865 Jackson Street in Riverside. Attendees will get a free lunch, a goody bag and access to dozens of health and wellness professionals.

Presented by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) the event will feature a distinguished panel of physicians and lifestyle experts on colon, prostate and blood cancer prevention and early detection; the role of nutrition and genetics in prevention of cancer and the importance of clinical trials.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death among African Americans. Data from the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that incidence and mortality rates for all cancers combined have decreased over the last decade. Speaker Clifford Eke, M.D. president of the American Cancer Society, California Division, a surgeon at Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center says advances in early detection, screening, and treatment have reduced cancer incidence and mortality, improved life expectancy, and enhanced quality of life for many cancer patients, however, when cancer incidence and mortality rates of African Americans are compared with other ethnic groups, African Americans are significantly more likely to develop cancer and, subsequently, die from their disease. “This is a decades old problem among African Americans,” said Dr. Ekes. The reasons are many to include distrust of doctors, obesity, diabetes and smoking.

“The challenge is people may hear what they are supposed to do but they just don’t do it. Our mission is to change those attitudes through education, inspiration and motivation.” Dr. Ekes, who works with cancer patients daily, says African American men had lower 5-year survival rates for lung, colon, and pancreatic cancer, as compared to non-Hispanic white men and are five times as likely to die from prostate cancer, as compared to the same group. Colon cancer for example can be prevented through early detection and the removal of polyps Dr. Ekes said. “But people have to take the first step and talk to their doctors, family members and friends about getting tested.”

American Cancer Society Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, American Heart Association Livestrong Foundation/Lance Armstrong, American Lung Association Stand Up To Cancer and other organizations say Californians can do even more to reduce cancer deaths: Vote for Prop 29.

Prop 29 - The California Cancer Research Act - is a qualified ballot initiative that will be placed before voters in June 2012. Through a $1 per-pack tax on cigarettes, Prop 29 delivers over $700 million every year for cancer research and to keeps kids from smoking.

What A Difference A Gun Makes

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By Marian Wright Edelman

On April 16, 2007, our nation suffered its deadliest shooting incident ever by a single gunman when a student killed 32 people and wounded 25 others at Virginia Tech before committing suicide. Five years later, have we learned anything about controlling our national gun and gun violence epidemic? A look at just a few of the sad headlines across the country so far this year suggests we haven’t learned much or anything at all.

In February 2012, a 17-year-old high school senior, who other students described as an outcast who’d been bullied, shot and killed three fellow students and injured two more at Chardon High School in suburban Ohio. Would this have happened without a gun?

In Washington state, three children were victims of gun violence during a three-week period in February and March 2012. A three-year-old died after shooting himself in the head with a gun left under the front seat of the car while his family stopped for gas. The seven-year-old daughter of a police officer was shot and killed by her younger brother after he found one of their father’s guns in the glove compartment of the family van. And an eight-year-old girl was critically wounded at school when her nine-year-old classmate brought in a gun he found at home that accidentally went off in his backpack. Would this have happened without a gun?

In Chicago there already has been a rash of shootings this year including the especially violent weekend in mid-March when 49 people were shot and 10 were killed. One of the victims was a six-year-old girl who was sitting on her front porch with her mother getting her hair brushed before a birthday party when she was killed by shots fired from a passing pickup truck. Would this have happened without a gun?

And in Florida, unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin was shot and killed walking home from the store in February after being followed by self-appointed “neighborhood watch captain” George Zimmerman, who contrary to all generally accepted Neighborhood Watch rules was patrolling his gated community while armed with a gun. Would Trayvon’s death have happened without a gun? Now that George Zimmerman has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder, Trayvon Martin’s family is finally moving forward in their quest for justice.

As a nation we can’t afford to keep waiting for common-sense gun control laws that would protect our children and all of us from indefensible gun violence. It’s time to repeal senseless gun laws like the “Stand Your Ground” laws enacted by 21 states that have grabbed so much attention in Trayvon’s case and allow people in Florida to defend themselves with deadly force anytime and anywhere if they feel threatened. More than two million people have signed online petitions saying they want to repeal these laws. It’s time to require consumer safety standards and childproof safety features for all guns and strengthen child access prevention laws that ensure guns are stored safely and securely to prevent unnecessary tragedies like those in Washington state. And in a political environment where the too secretive and powerful advocacy group American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) pushed “Stand Your Ground” laws in other states along with other “model bills” that benefit some corporate bottom lines or special interests like the NRA, it’s time for all of ALEC’s corporate sponsors to walk away from enabling or acquiescing destructive laws that protect guns, not children.

It’s a tragedy that five years after Virginia Tech so little has changed. How many years must we wait until tragic headlines about school shootings, children dying, and people using the “shoot first and ask questions later” defense to take the law into their own hands go away? When will we finally get the courage to stand up as a nation and say enough to the deadly proliferation of guns and gun violence that endanger children’s and public safety?

Marian Wright Edelman is President of the Children's Defense Fund whose Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. For more information go to www.childrensdefense.org.

Letter To The Editor

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MAKING STRIDES AGAINST BREAST CANCER WALK

Dear Editor, When I heard the words “breast cancer” from my wife’s doctor in 2005, my world felt like it was about to come crashing down.

Jamie and I pressed through years of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. I felt helpless as a husband. But last year I decided to do something positive. I became the volunteer chair for the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer®, an inspirational two-mile walk in the Inland Empire to help raise awareness and funds to make strides and end breast cancer. Through my participation, I have met hundreds of other breast cancer survivors and their families and caregivers in all stages of their journey.

Through seven years, Jamie is still battling breast cancer today. I walk for her because I want to live in a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays. Already 2.5 million breast cancer survivors living in America today will celebrate another birthday this year. Imagine what we could do together to fight for even more.

On Saturday, April 28, I plan to walk beside my wife Jamie, friends, family, colleagues and breast cancer patients and survivors at the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk at The Shoppes at Chino Hills. Registration is at 7:30 a.m. and the walk starts at 8:30 a.m. Cancer does not go away in tough economic times, and the money raised will save lives by helping people stay well, get well, find cures and fight back against breast cancer. I urge everyone in the Inland Empire to join our community as we make strides toward a future where breast cancer never steals another year from anyone’s life. To get involved, or for more information, call Shannon Fowler at the American Cancer Society at (909) 203-2747, or visit http://makingstrides.acsevents.org/inlandempire.

Chris Bravata of Chino Hills
Volunteer Event Chair, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

Can A Game Of Tag Help Combat Bullying?

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New research from Mathematica and Stanford centered on schools in diverse neighborhoods shows a healthy recess can reduce bullying, improve learning time

PRINCETON, NJ — Strengthening recess transforms the school climate, paving the way for less bullying and more focus on learning, says a new study from Mathematica Policy Research and Stanford University. The randomized control trial specifically looked at what happened when schools partnered with Playworks, a national nonprofit that is currently providing healthy recess and other playtime to urban schools in 23 cities nationwide. Playworks schools are chosen for their eligibility to receive free or reduced lunch programs and are typically in urban areas with largely African American and Latino student populations. Researchers found that investing in recess and organized play can prevent bullying, improve students’ behavior at recess and readiness for class, and provide more time for teaching and learning. The study is one of the most rigorous scientific trials to find an effect on bullying in schools, and one of the first that evaluates a recess- and play-based program as a potentially promising school-based solution.

“Our research shows that Playworks makes a difference. Teachers in Playworks schools reported less bullying and exclusionary behavior during recess relative to control school teachers,” said Susanne James-Burdumy, Ph.D., associate director of research at Mathematica. “Playworks also facilitated students’ transitions back to classroom learning.”

The study compared schools using Playworks to a control group of similar schools without the program during the 2010-2011 school year in five cities across the country. Researchers found the following ways in which Playworks improves the school climate: Less Bullying. Teachers in Playworks schools reported less bullying and exclusionary behavior during recess than teachers in control schools; Better Recess Behavior and Readiness for Class. Teachers at Playworks schools tended to report better student behavior at recess and readiness for class than teachers at control schools, and they were more likely to report that their students enjoyed adult-organized recess activities; More Time for Teaching. Teachers in Playworks schools reported having fewer difficulties and spending significantly less time transitioning to learning activities after recess than teachers in control schools. Playworks students were also more likely than control students to report better behavior and attention in class after sports, games and play; Safer Schools. Teachers in Playworks schools perceived that students felt safer and more included at recess, compared to teachers in control schools; Satisfied Teachers. Nearly 100 percent of teachers in Playworks schools reported that they wanted the program in their school again the following year.

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BVN National News Wire