Lori Mould's everyday life!

A sea of dysfunction! December 2, 2013

On November 22, 2013, we experienced the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK. The buzz surrounding the social media circles that I follow centered around several JFK quotes: “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country,” and “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them!”  

It is in moments like these that I saw hope for the country and felt a sense of civility that seemed to be returning towards our fellow man.  I heard and read various conversations about how we should reach out to help hose in need such as: like those in our country that wake up and go to bed hungry and that have no place to call “home” because they are homeless. But for some, almost as quick as those words were uttered they were forgotten!

The opinions and statements that I want to discuss here today should not be tied into what political party you are affiliated with (so please do not make this into a political platform) because I feel it is about how some of us view money and material things over people!  This last week I have witnessed and seen some pretty scary attitudes that are plaguing our country. People have lost the ideal that we should respect the opinions of others without bashing them for their beliefs such as: the people that shop on Thanksgiving and/or Black Friday are part of the problem with this country.  In some ways that might be true, however, there are many folks out there that can only afford presents for their children and families if they shop during those times because of the “HUGE” savings passed on the consumers. When you have not walked in another person’s shoes, it is easy to say how they are part of the problem and not the solution.

So less than one week after all the niceties were uttered we have the nastiness that surrounds the upcoming holiday season!  People bashing others for shopping on Thanksgiving/Black Friday, the loss of compassion over the huge issue of homelessness in this country, the total disregard for human life, the value of a celebrity’s life held at a higher regard than another person’s life, and I could go on….  

When did we become a society that has so little value on a human life? In just one instance, a man lost his life just because he was doing his job at a WalMart in Long Island and people were in such a frenzy over saving a few dollars on some electronics that they did NOT or chose NOT to notice that they crushed a person to death! The NYDailynews.com stated, “When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, ‘I’ve been on line since Friday morning,” witness Kimberly Cribbs said. “They kept shopping.” (http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/worker-dies-long-island-wal-mart-trampled-black-friday-stampede-article-1.334059)

I, personally, do not put a huge value on material possessions because where I live, what I drive, and what I wear should NOT define me as person!! I am saddened by what I have seen on the news and social media and it breaks my heart to know that more tears have been shed over a celebrity’s death than the 4 children that are killed everyday by abuse and/or neglect in the US (http://www.childrensdefense.org/child-research-data-publications/each-day-in-america.html).

Things have to change!! There NEEDS to be value put back on everyone’s lives…How and what can we do to help make this change??? How do we make people understand that a life is MUCH more important than a material object?

 

NYS Buyout of Homes on Staten Island damaged by Superstorm Sandy November 19, 2013

Last month I mentioned this NYS buyout of homes in the Ocean Breeze area of Staten Island.  I stated that I would get back to y’all with some details but life has gotten in the way, however, there was an article posted today on the ABCNews website:  NY to Buy Homes in NYC Neighborhood Hit by Sandy (http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/ny-buy-homes-nyc-neighborhood-hit-sandy-20929102) so here we go.

During the October 2013 Volunteer trip in which several students from #SUNY #EmpireStateCollege went down to Staten Island to help in the recovery effort, Darrell Hayes, the Staten Island Disaster Relief Coordinator for the Diocese of New York, drove us into some of the worst hit areas on his side of the Island and provided some important background information regarding the folks that had and were still living there, the deaths from the storm, the buyout, and the history of the area.

I thought that the buyout was mandatory, however, the article states that it is voluntary.  Governor Cuomo stated that the state has offered to buy all of the 129 homes in several flood-prone areas that were devastated by Superstorm Sandy. The areas in question are surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and tidal marshland.  Due to these factors, the area should be returned to the marshland that it once was before the housing boom brought families into these neighborhoods. The buyout for the homeowner’s will be at pre-storm value!

This buyout is a slippery slope because NYS is currently operating with a deficit.  On November 9, 2012, an article on the TimesUnion.com website titled: Cuomo says Sandy adds $1B to deficit: Governor expects worse financial picture for state (http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Cuomo-says-Sandy-adds-1B-to-deficit-4021228.php#ixzz2BhMPbLf2), stated that: “Without offering details, Cuomo said the storm would cause “an additional $1 billion deficit on the state side, maybe higher” on top of a deficit that before the storm had been pegged at $1 billion.”

After touring and helping the folks in these areas, I am sympathetic to their plight.  However, I would like to know what you think about this? Your comments and insight would be greatly appreciated!

 

 

Leadership through Service November 12, 2013

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

As stated in my prior blog, the concept of servant leadership has been around since 1970, however, there have been several leaders that came before this model was brought to light who were ahead of their time such as: Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, just to name a few!

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” Nelson Mandela

There are numerous traits that servant leaders have such as: compassion, vision, inspiration, respect, empathy, selflessness, and trustworthiness.  These key traits help make servant leaders very effective leaders. As we continue to have an increase in NGO’s, not-for-profits organizations, grass roots organizations, environmental activists, etc., it seems that these types of organizations have been trending towards the servant leadership style in the way that they view leadership and the way to treat their people, the causes they care for, and the communities around them. 

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.” Mother Teresa

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(Photo provided by: http://www.leadingtoabettercommunity.com/?p=86)

The Latin words primus inter pares means “first among equals” and best describes a servant leader.  In Robert Greenleaf’s essay,The Servant as Leader he states:“It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant–first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served.”

Are you a servant leader? 

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

 

What is a Servant Leader? November 8, 2013

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.~Alan Cohen

What is a Servant Leader?

Servant Leader/ship has evolved into a popular leadership model.  In 1970, Robert K. Greenleaf developed this model and his thought process behind the concept of Servant Leadership happens when a person/s reach out to serve others and leave behind the command and control models of leadership by focusing on being more in tune with the needs of others.

The word ‘Servant’ in this concept would be a person/s that devotes his/herself to meet the needs of those people that he/she lead plus work to serve the needs of organization members.  Also, the ‘Servant’ works in developing employees to be the best they can be by encouraging self expression and personal growth by working to build a sense of community and joint ownership.

A great Servant Leader is so effective at meeting the needs of those working around them that their followers can reach their full potential and perform to the best of his/her ability.  There is a strength in looking at this type of leadership because it moves us past the self-serving and domineering leadership style.  Servant Leadership has more of a focus on how to respect, value, encourage, and mentor the people that report to the team leader.

The concept and principles of Servant Leadership are quite admirable but t is the societal image of “Servant” that can be a problem and at times misleading. Hopefully, everyone has a better idea of what a Servant Leader is because my next blog will share some components surrounding the concept of Servant Leadership/Leaders. 

 

The Power in Volunteer/Community Service/Service Learning Work Part III November 1, 2013

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Part III of this series is about service learning.  What is Service Learning and how is it different from volunteering and community service?  Service learning fosters a way to encourage student learning and development by engaging the student in an organized community service activity and helps the student to apply this experience together with his/her personal and academic curriculum. The service combined with the learning occurs when the student had the opportunity to reflect on the learning goals and service outcomes.  This unique combination makes service learning different from an internship or volunteer work because both the provider and the recipient of the service are benefited equally.

Service Learning involves people of all ages from elementary school, secondary school, higher education, community service program, and the community.  The process helps to foster civic responsibility.  The learning is linked to the needs of the community while working in cooperation with various community partners and the service recipients.  Service learning comes full circle with the course materials which prepare the student through discussions and the analysis of theories and ideas, participating on the activity within the community, and the time that the students have to reflect on the experience while tying that service experience back to specific learning goals.

 

For more information, please visit: http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/service/benefits.html,

 

The Power in Volunteer/Community Service/Service Learning Work Part II

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

– Margaret Mead

Part II of this series has to deal with community service/involvement.  Community service has been a tradition for quite some time and it involves working without any pay for the greater good of the community.  This service is usually directed toward local issues where other volunteer organizations are mostly focused on larger issues/problems from city, state, and the world.  The idea behind community service is that when a person gives of his/herself without expecting anything in return and is each person were to give just a little in their own backyard well then the world would be a much better place because of that service.  When people reach out to the community through service then it inspires others to reach out too!  All-in-all, community service helps build stronger communities. I don’t know about you but when I am involved within the community I am much happier.

There are numerous reasons why people are engaged in community service but whatever the reason it is the community that benefits.  This service can range from cleaning up trash along a roadside, helping read to children at the local library, reaching out the the elderly, working at the local food pantry, or tutoring someone in need just to name a few.  This service can be any length of time that you want it to be unless there are requirements mandated for various reasons.

Contact local agencies and/or organizations such as: churches, local schools. government, and charitable programs.  There is always a need within the community for community service as long as you are ready, willing, and able to reach out to help.

For more information regarding community service, please visit this website: http://www.ehow.com/how_2241582_get-involved-community-service.html.

 

Break the Silence…End the Violence! October 29, 2013

As October is coming to an end, please do no let important issues such as Domestic Violence fall by the wayside until next October! I am a survivor of Domestic Violence and we NEED to “Break the Silence…End the Violence!”

There is no discrimination when it comes to domestic violence and abuse.  The abuser does not care if about your sexual preference, age, ethnic background, economic background and he/she does not care if you are a man, woman, and/or child.   It is important to remember that verbal and emotional abuse are still classified as domestic violence although it is the physical that is most acknowledged.  Every person deserves to feel love, trust, respect, and safe in their relationships! There is NEVER as excuse for abusive behavior and it should NEVER be considered acceptable.

For more information please visit: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_types_signs_causes_effects.htm

and http://www.ncadv.org/.

Please note that there are numerous websites with valuable information and most cities and states will have their own resources available for those that are in need of help!

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One year later and many are still struggling…

It is hard to believe that it has been a year since Superstorm Sandy devastated the East Coast. My thoughts and prayers continue for those that are still struggling to regain their lives back. May you find the peace, strength, and courage to carry on. ❤ImageImageImage

 

The Power in Volunteer/Community Service/Service Learning Work October 28, 2013

This will be a three-part series regarding ways to give back to organizations/communities, etc. The first area that I will cover will be volunteering and this poem describes the essence of a volunteer!

Everyday Heroes

Volunteer holding elderly person's hand

Here’s to the everyday heroes,
The volunteers who do what they can,
To ease the suffering of others,
And be of service to their fellow man.

May they know the true satisfaction
That comes from helping others
Less fortunate than themselves,
But no less their sisters and brothers.

May they feel the gratitude in our hearts
For all of the good that they’ve done.
The appreciation that we all feel for them
Is truly second to none.

A volunteer is a person that gives of his or her time and skills to a project, organization, and service and in doing so gives back to those in need of a hand up and also by making his/her community better.

The volunteers are not given any monetary compensation but give of their time just because it feels good to do a good deed for others. There are many types and ways to volunteer!  A person can help an urban garden, plant trees in the community, spend time with the elderly, donate and/or collect food for the hungry, clean up trash, and so much more…you could even reach out with your own project anywhere that you see a need.
The length of volunteer projects can vary from hours to days and longer. There are many opportunities that can be done daily, weekly, and/or monthly.
Most people volunteer because it feels amazing to reach out and help others but it also gives each person a chance to learn a skill, meet new people, network with other volunteers and the organizations they work with, and did I mention…fun!!
Explore the volunteer data and stats in this interactive map:

http://www.volunteeringinamerica.gov/#sthash.qmcQeHNb.dpuf

 

Home safe… October 26, 2013

I am home safe from Sandy Relief on Staten Island but I can honestly say that I left a small piece on my heart there!  I am already looking at dates for a return trip because I know that value of having a safe, warm place to call home and coming home means so much to each of us.  My wish is that one day that some folks will have let go of various stereotypes surrounding the issue of homelessness in our country!  As many recent disasters have proven, it only takes an act of Mother Nature to wipe out our feeling of security and sense of belonging, our material possessions, our homes and jobs, and most heart wrenching of all our loved-ones.

It is truly ironic that the church we stayed at while on Staten Island was a temporary home to many each night!  I want to reach out to those individuals to find out what it meant to be homeless during Superstorm Sandy and/or if they were in their current situation because of the storm.  Often times, I feel that the folks that are homeless are the forgotten voices during times of disasters because the focus sifts to the overwhelming influx of need throughout the community during and after the crisis-at-hand.

I feel blessed to have been part of a group effort to help bring people “home.”  There is so much truth in the words: “Home is where the heart is!”  I take my “home” with me wherever I go because it is in my heart; however, there is much to be said about having a safe, comfortable place to rest your head at night, enjoy meals with your family and friends, and to build the bonds with everyone that enters over the threshold of the place we call “home.”  

Please reach out in anyway that you can to help those in need!