Dee Servance was canvassing door-to-door on a bitter cold winter night to raise support for a paid sick leave bill in Philadelphia. As it is now, low paid workers who get sick have to miss out on needed pay or come in to work sick, neither of which is good for anyone. The bill is before Philadelphia City Council and now that members are up for re-election, Servance’s organization, Working Families, which has worked on getting the minimum wage raised and on Pennsylvania Governor-elect Tom Wolf’s successful campaign, is urging citizens to call city council members who have not yet come on board, to support the bill. The bill would require employers with 10 or more employees to allow employees to accrue one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked. Watch video here.
According to her Dad, Bill, when Lisa Loonstyn was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 20, she accelerated the process of having a baby in expectation that she would need to have her ovaries removed. No one expected that the cancer, detected at stage one, would kill her at age 24. Her baby, now five, participated in the first “Lisa’s Army” 5K pumpkin race on Forbidden Drive along the Wissahickon Creek on Saturday. Loonstyn said his daughter was always helping others who were going through chemotherapy and radiation treatments. In her honor and memory, the friends and family who loved her continue this mission. Lisa loved pumpkins and Halloween was her favorite holiday. Watch video here.
Tova Tenenbaum sports a “Drive Out Suicide” bumper sticker on her car’s hatchback door to make it easy for people to notice. The sticker has a crisis telephone number 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and is for anyone in need or anyone who knows someone in need. A referral can be made for mental health services. Military veterans, who are in a separate health system, need only press #1 to get info directly related to them.
Tenenbaum says the hope is to take away the stigma around the issue and prevent suicides. A social worker at the Montgomery County Emergency Service in Norristown, she says that, even without a diagnosable mental health condition, a person going through a very rough time may become suicidal. “The people who are most likely to commit suicide seem to be the least likely to talk about it.”
Visit the Drive Out Suicide blog here, www.preventsuicidepa.org/blog, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Adult/Older Adult Suicide Prevention Coalition.
Victoria Carrillo solicits memberships and petition signatures door-to-door in Chestnut Hill for the Clean Air Council of Philadelphia. The long established organization advocates for recyclling, bike trails, fracking restrictions and such to combat air pollution and its serious effects like widespread childhood asthma. Watch video interview here.
The youngest person at Chestnut Hill’s Fall for the Arts festival Sunday may have been two day-old Xavier Brubaker. Sleep-deprived but happy parents Japheth and Suzanne recently returned to Chestnut Hill with their 2 year-old daughter, Quinn, to be closer to family. They were the southernmost exhibitors at the festival, promoting their new fitness and personal training studio, "Water and Rock," at 8109 Germantown Avenue. Visit http://waterandrockstudio.com/ for more information.
Vanessa Hazzard-Tillman teaches hula hooping in East Falls, entertains at parties and at the Public Eye: Artists Animals July 4th Vegan Potluck picnic in Harper’s Meadow in Chestnut Hill, she showed off some of her stuff. A former clown and currently involved with the vibrant Philadelphia circus arts community, Hazzard-Tillman is also a massage therapist and yoga instructor.
She especially likes to combine yoga and hooping. While being distracted by her young son, Phoenix, she nevertheless managed to twirl a hoop smoothly around one rotating foot in the air while switching from one yoga pose lying on the ground on her side to an inverted pose.
Hooping is good for muscle toning, she explains while demonstrating some “off-body” exercises that can be easier than “on-body” exercises.
Hazzard-Tillman often studies online videos and is now training to do fire hooping.
The circus community likes to give back, she says, introducing one of her ambitions. In addition to being President of the United States and a rock star according to her online profile, she hopes to successfully audition with a troupe that instructs youngsters in circus arts in one of the refugee camps in northern Thailand. The two-month program in which the children learn juggling, clowning, poi spinning, silks and hooping culminates with the refugee children mounting their own performance.
Hazzard-Tillman makes her own hoops out of black polyethylene tubing, covers them fun tape like Batman or Hello Kitty themed patterns and also sells them online through Amazon and her own website nirvanalandessentials.com where she also sells jewelry, gemstones and African soap.
Her business card also lists her profession as “Reiki Master/Teacher.” Had my interview with her continued further, I definitely would have asked how she manages to juggle it all!See other photos here.
College students majoring in exercise science are not just a bunch of meatheads who love to work out and run around lifting up things, says Tristan VanderMeer, majoring in the field at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. VanderMeer was drawn to the field as a way of learning more about his body and how to live a healthy life. Graduates in the field can work in a variety of careers such as in nutrition, physical therapy or as a personal trainer but for VanderMeer, it will be a component of a nursing career.
He explains the metabolic and hormonal basis of why he advocates a high non-saturated fat, low carb and low processed food diet. He also stressed the importance of regular exercise, getting out and moving about whether it’s biking or walking, and getting some strength training in.
For some “action” scenes, VanderMeer indulged your correspondent by demonstrating some beneficial exercises- hanging from rungs while twisting his trunk like a windshield wiper, sprinting barefoot and doing push-ups.
Watch video here. (At the J.S. Jenks children's park, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia)
Marsha Isard of Mount Airy (left) and a fellow gardener, not shown, get an early start planting lettuce, spinach, peas, beets, and radishes in their community garden plots at the Morris Arboretum. Watch video here.
During a break substitute teaching at Parkway Northwest High School in Mount Airy, Renaud Dardignac speaks with your correspondent about current conditions in his homeland, Haiti.
He laments the poor road conditions and lack of electricity that persist in Haiti, where extreme poverty existed before recent natural disasters – the devastating 2010 earthquake and the battering in the fall of 2012 by Hurricane Sandy.
Making frequent return visits, Dardignac is witness to many people continuing to live in very unhealthy conditions and suffering from rampant unemployment. Like him, many of his country people live abroad, in the “Diaspora,” and send money back home to relatives who depend on this outside support.
Dardignac believes the Haitian government has been looted of $200 million in assistance by certain unethical parties who have taken the money abroad and that it is in these parties’ interest to keep Haiti poor so as to continue benefiting from the corruption.
In the past, Haiti has had an agricultural economy and Dardignac attributes people’s reluctance to return to farming both on lack of education and fear that their products would be stolen. He wishes that the international community, which had rallied to support Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, would invest in factories around Haiti. “[Haitians] are not lazy. They like to work but they do not find work.”
With glittery facial make up and sporting their school’s purple and gold colors, Mount Saint Joseph Academy seniors Cassidy Peikin (left) and Michelle Handy took a lunch break at Bruno’s from the school’s annual Charity Day festivities. It’s a day of fun, the girls say, and the seniors get to dress up crazily. The day’s celebration features a talent show including skits by teachers, singing and Irish dancing which Handy performed in the morning and demonstrated in the accompanying video. This year’s donations will benefit the Make a Wish Foundation and the Chron’s and Colitis Foundation. Upon graduation Peikin plans to pursue social work and Handy, to become a therapist. Watch video here.