Tag Archives: helping others

Volunteers: Something to Be Thankful For (Judge Tom Jacobs)

Volunteers: Something to Be Thankful For, Judge To JacobsFor this season of Thanksgiving, the Changing Behavior Network posts this special piece sent by Tom Jacobs, a retired judge and author from Arizona. Times of great need don’t follow a schedule; we must remain prepared for them at all times. Judge Jacobs speaks of his experiences while serving as a volunteer for the American Red Cross, and suggests how we might help, also. (This article first appeared in the November, 2017 issue of Arizona Attorney.)

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Shortly after Hurricane Harvey hit landfall in south Texas on August 25, 2017, state bar president Alex Vakula sent an email asking bar members to consider assisting those in need through donations and pro bono legal services. There is another way you can help in a national disaster. My story illustrates how you can step up and work directly with disaster victims, almost immediately.

Katrina

In August, 2005, I heard on the news an urgent call for 40,000 new volunteers for the American Red Cross to assist with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I had always regretted not responding to 9/11 and felt this was my chance to pitch in. Two days later, I was on my way to Montgomery, Alabama for a three-week deployment as an “event based volunteer” (EBV). I received a half-day orientation and was given a choice of assignments to choose from. I selected client-services since it would put me in direct contact with the evacuees from New Orleans and neighboring parishes.

After a short van ride with my team of twelve, we arrived in Jackson, Mississippi where our assignment was to interview 1,000 families a day. One hundred thousand people had been evacuated to the Jackson area. We worked in 12-hour shifts, ate when we could, and slept on cots in a staff shelter. In less than a week from the broadcast, I was meeting the evacuees and qualifying them for financial assistance. The need, as it is now with Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and possibly Jose is great. EBVs will be needed at least for the next year.

The Joy of Helping Others

When I returned from Katrina, I was hooked on disaster relief. I completed the required courses through the Red Cross and became a certified driver of an emergency response vehicle (the red and white ambulance-looking trucks). My partner, Anne, and I have completed a dozen national deployments serving our clients in floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires. From California to the east coast, we have used the truck to deliver bulk supplies (cleaning and personal hygiene kits, cots, blankets, etc.) to shelters, and conduct fixed and mobile feeding.

In our Harvey deployment, we worked in three small towns in Texas (Edna, Inez and Telferner), delivering lunch and dinner to residents that were without power and water. Direct contact with people in dire straits is a hands-on experience and, admittedly, not for everyone. Even after a few short weeks, seeing them and their families twice a day, establishes a bond. There is nothing to compare with the thanks, hugs, handshakes, blessings and smiles bestowed upon us by our clients. That is our reward.

From the hindsight of a few weeks, in spite of the heat, humidity and mosquitoes (the size of a nickel), would we do it again? Absolutely. It’s the people in need and our ability to answer the call that will help us continue this work. It’s the little four year-old girl who looked at me and said “I’m hungry.” After giving her and her family dinner, she handed me a strip of bark from her front yard and said “This is for you. You can take it home.” Or Evan, a ten year-old boy who came to our truck just to say thanks. It’s the elderly man who hobbled to the truck to hand us a twenty-dollar bill (a fortune to him, we’re sure). We declined his offer since Red Cross assistance is free to everyone, and we don’t take donations out in the field.

Volunteers Needed

Some of the assignments available to the EBVs include shelter work, feeding, nursing and mental health services, damage assessment, warehouse, logistics, etc. You can apply your profession or occupation to specific needs of the disaster, or learn a new skill through Red Cross classes. During one disaster, when I had a half-day off (which is rare), I became a certified fork-lift operator. Again, not for everyone.

Consider becoming a Red Cross volunteer or, at least, an event based volunteer. Assisting others is addictive. Contact the American Red Cross at 602-336-6660; www.redcross.org

I brought that piece of bark home as a reminder of why we do this. ###

 

Judge Tom JacobsTom Jacobs was an assistant attorney general in Arizona for 13 years before being appointed to the Maricopa County Supreme Court. He presided over juvenile and family court matters for 23 years, retiring in 2008. Judge Jacobs is the founder of the teen-law website, AskTheJudge.info. His books on teen law include What Are My Rights? and Teen Cyberbullying Investigated. He and his daughter, Natalie, co-authored the most recent book, Every Vote Matters: The Power of Your Voice.

 

The Shoes: A Story of Kindness and Giving

BTLifesMoments1-300x76This is not a story that directly relates to the spirit of the Christmas season; yet it does. A moment in time and a gesture of concern and kindness offer encouragement and hope, often when it is most needed.

 

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The Scene:

Early 1900s

It’s a cold and blustery December day in New York City

 

coldA young boy was standing in front of a shoe store, barefooted, peering into the window. He was shivering with cold as a lady approached him from the street.

“Young man, what are looking at so intently in that store window?”

“I was just asking God for a pair of shoes,” the lad replied.

She smiled and reached for his hand. As she led him into the store, she asked the clerk for several pairs of socks for the boy. Then she requested a basin of water and a towel.

shoesThe lady took the boy to the back of the store, and, removing her gloves, knelt down and washed his feet, then dried them with the towel. She then put some new woolen socks on the boy’s feet and purchased for him a new pair of shoes.

As a finishing gesture, the lady tied up the remaining pairs of socks and handed the bundle to the youngster.

Gently touching him on the head, she exclaimed, “No doubt, my little fellow, you are more comfortable now.”

As she turned to leave the boy reached for her hand. As tears filled his eyes, he gazed into her face and asked a question that tugged on her heart:

“ARE YOU GOD’S WIFE?”

 

 

 

 

The Kid’s Guide to Service Projects (Guest: Barbara Lewis)

Barbara1We do a lot for our children, don’t we? At some point, however, shouldn’t they learn that living in a thriving, healthy society means giving to others, also? Of course. That’s how they learn the value of service and the power of contributing positively.

In this program today, we’re talking about service projects for young people, about involvement in making the world better one generous gesture at a time. To help guide us through ways to get kids involved and excited about service to others is our guest, Barbara Lewis.

BLewisbookSPBarbara is clearly the expert on this topic. In fact, she wrote the book on it! A former public school teacher and award-winning author of The Kid’s Guide to Service Projects, Barbara and her students have been honored for community contributions by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Her work has been featured in The Congressional Record and print and broadcast media, including Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Family Circle, “CBS This Morning,” CBS World News and CNN. (27:58)

TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Target as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK

A Lesson in Character (Dr. James Sutton)

BTCounselorThe best classroom for learning character is life itself. Unfortunately, we are often too busy to pay all that much attention to it. In those moments we, along with our kids and grandkids, can miss a life-changing, golden moment.

Jim415smThose opportunities have a short shelf-life.

I can still clearly remember a day when a lesson in outstanding character happened right in from of me. Since I couldn’t get away, I had to attend to it.

Frozen in Fear
I was in a line of cars waiting to merge into traffic from a shopping center parking lot. A woman at the head of the line obviously was fearful and uncertain about getting into the traffic.

She sat frozen in her automobile. Everyone was letting her know about
it, too: Honk! Honk! Honk!

womancarsm

I probably was just an instant away from joining that chorus when the driver directly behind her jumped out of his vehicle and stepped into the street. He halted the oncoming motorists, and then motioned for her to get into the traffic safely. Problem solved.

Honestly, getting out of my car and helping her never occurred to me in that moment. I don’t know if his kind, effective gesture was noticed by anyone else, but that scene has been alive in my memory ever since.

A Part of the Solution
That moment could not have taken more than 40 seconds, but it represented a life-long lesson. If I ever encounter a situation like it in the future, I now know how to be a part of the solution instead of one of the herd piling up on the problem.

Unfortunately, I was alone in my car that day. If my son or daughter (or any one of my subsequent grandchildren) had been with me, observing that young man and what he did to solve the problem, it would have been a teachable moment like none other. Oh, I told them about it later, but it wasn’t the same as being there. But I do hope I was able to encourage them to be more mindful of moments just like that one.

But that’s the same message for all of us, isn’t it? For the sake of ourselves and our families, it pays to be more even more mindful of what’s happening in our lives and the role it asks of us. There will always be a place for those choosing to handle frustration with presence, grace and solution-driven insight.

These folks become professors in the Character Classes of Life. ###

ebook cover ISEsmPsychologist Dr. James Sutton, is the founder and host of The Changing Behavior Network. This story is from his latest book, Improving a Youngster’s Self-Esteem, revised (available for immediate ebook download). For more information, CLICK HERE.

 

The Kid’s Guide to Service Projects (Guest: Barbara Lewis)

Barbara1We do a lot for our children, don’t we? At some point, however, shouldn’t they learn that living in a thriving, healthy society means giving to others, also? Of course. That’s how they learn the value of service and the power of contributing positively.

In this program today, we’re talking about service projects for young people, about involvement in making the world better one generous gesture at a time. To help guide us through ways to get kids involved and excited about service to others is our guest, Barbara Lewis.

BLewisbookSPBarbara is clearly the expert on this topic. In fact, she wrote the book on it! A former public school teacher and award-winning author of The Kid’s Guide to Service Projects, Barbara and her students have been honored for community contributions by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Her work has been featured in The Congressional Record and print and broadcast media, including Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Family Circle, “CBS This Morning,” CBS World News and CNN. (27:58)

TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Target as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK

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Serving Up Food and Hope in Seattle (Guest: John Howie)

Life can be difficult sometimes, but that’s no reason to quit. Our guest on this program, Chef John Howie, can identify with this message; he has lived it. John is also quick to point out that dreaming big, working hard, and not giving up are very much worth the effort.

John worked to support himself while still a boy of 15. With skills and responsibilities gained from caring for younger siblings, he quickly made a place for himself in the restaurant business. He ultimate became the executive chef of one of the most prestigious restaurants in the Pacific Northwest. He now heads John Howie Restaurant Group, which owns and operates five award-winning restaurants in and around the Seattle area.

John has never been one to take his success or the people working for him for granted.  He believes strongly in giving back, which is why he and his family are so involved in local charities and causes, especially those involving young people. John’s is a heartfelt message of encouragement and hope based upon authentic gratitude.

John and his restaurants have been praised by numerous media, including Food & Wine, Wine Spectator, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Sunset, Martha Stewart Living, The Early Show (CBS), CNN, Food Network and The Cooking Channel. John is the author of Passion and Palate: Recipies for a Generous Table. (This book contains John’s story, as well as 240 prize recipes with 88 full-color photos.) (26:43)

www.plankcooking.com
TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Target as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK