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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Walkable Neighborhoods Fight Obesity – And Crime

Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions and health care costs to address this issue have now reached $14 billion a year.

But ordinary citizens have discovered an unexpected solution to this national problem: walkable neighborhoods.

By forming walking clubs, Americans are not only losing weight, they are also fighting crime and creating safer communities.

In Bakersfield, California, two mothers started a walking group, initially to improve their families’ health – and they ended up building a better neighborhood for everyone. When they first started out, however, the group ran into roadblocks: aggressive dogs, broken bottles, and broken lights as well as drug and gang activity. So the mothers, Gena Perez and Leticia Encima, stepped out of their comfort zones and contacted the police, parks and animal control departments to start tackling those problems, according to a report on the group published in Children’s Advocate (March-April 2008).

While they had to be persistent, the group kept working together until the broken lights got fixed, dogs were restricted, police patrols increased, and park maintenance improved. Now, more than 60 members participate in the Greenfield Walking Group which started from the efforts of two determined mothers. Besides learning better nutrition and exercise habits, group members also got to know their neighbors and developed a network of support.

Those moms demonstrated how important it is for parents to become actively involved in their communities – and their children’s lives. Children need involved adults to role model a healthy life style to help them make healthy choices. The path to healthier lives starts at home and support can be found in the neighborhood.

Some children lack self-confidence and use food to feel better. Overeating and avoiding exercise, can become self-destructive habits. Obesity can lead to Type 2 diabetes and an increase in asthma and heart problems. Education can help, but it will not solve the problem entirely. It is up to parents to get active with their children – and to build a circle of support around them.

When we start walking together, we encourage each other. We begin to feel better and sleep better. Life becomes more enjoyable as we develop healthy relationships. Walking is a fun way to learn about your neighborhood, so…

1. Invite one or two of your friends to join you
2. Ask more neighbors to take part and form a regular walking group
3. Plan your schedule and walk together several times a week
4. Map your neighborhood – Check out safe destinations, crosswalks, and traffic; and avoid hot spots
5. Evaluate neighborhood safety, stay alert and stay together
6. Compare notes on nutrition and share healthy recipes
7. Include children after school and on weekends

START TODAY! Be the example you want to see in your child’s life. Progress happens when we take one step at a time.

If you think good nutrition and exercise are important, so will your children. They will learn that exercise can be fun as they make connections with other adults. You and your neighbors will become a visible presence, which will help deter crime while also helping the neighborhood network of support for families grow stronger.

By Stephanie L. Mann, Family and Neighborhood Safety Consultant
For more information:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

YOU Make a Difference: Positive or Negative?

Frequently we hear,” if I had power, position or money, I’d make a difference.” We placate ourselves with desires that seem to be out of reach. We imagine we are powerless to affect noteworthy change because the desires we feel would empower us, have not been met. We forget cause and effect is a law of physics, not a law of size and it is constant on every level, all the time, everywhere, with or without our desires being met.

We react or don’t react to circumstances. Our reactions or lack of them set into motion other reactions. Sometimes we fail to realize that what we do or don’t do makes a difference. We affect the lives of others even when we don’t realize it. Consider your smile or lack of it, your understanding or lack of it, befriending someone who needs you or turning away. Everything has an effect. Few of us analyze the effects we cause. Determining their positive or negative value and to whom, isn’t always considered.

Are we strengthening the self confidence of the people in our everyday lives, or are we weakening it? Are we building honesty and dependability in those who learn from us or are we undermining it? Are we helping others find their purpose and seek their dreams or are we siphoning off their energy to strengthen our own desires?

Each situation finds us either adding or subtracting quality in the immediate intellectual, emotional or physical environment. Emotional climate can be joyfully spontaneous and loving or rigidly fearful from the dominance of a hot or cold war whose brewing storm overtakes everything in its path.

Acceptance is respect. Acceptance can die a slow death from the continual bullets of criticize, or passive aggressive confusion.

Making a difference doesn’t start with power, position and money. It starts within you. It starts with desire to make life better, which is done through positive daily human contacts with family, friends, coworkers, and community. It is the people that make up the nation.

If you want to make a difference, be the difference you want to make. You have an effect as you walk through this life. Consciously or unconsciously, you leave your footprint. You can make life better by the path you chose or you can make it worse, but your being here leaves it’s mark. Your personal quality or lack of it will be reflected in the lives you have touched and you do touch them each and every day, with or without power, position and money.

Wittingly or unwittingly, you are making a difference. The question is, is the difference you are making the difference you really wanted to make?

Rebecca Kimbel DTM, MsCD and CEO

DTM: Distingished Toastmaster
MsCD: Dr. of Metaphisical Science, the great religions and philosophies of the world.
CEO, Corporate Executive Officer, Tio Inc.

Monday, September 13, 2010


2 stories from Rich, a school teacher, in Grand Rapids, MI. Outrageous stories? Why aren't parents and teachers banding together and speaking up for kids?

1. As an educator for 10 years, I was appalled when I worked at a charter elementary school where the daily violence was totally ignored. Gangs, boy and girl, guns brought to school, fights, broken walkie-talkies so no way to get help in an emergency and an administrator who put his ego in front of his school's kids and staff members. He still has his job!

Seven kids from this school have gone to prison and how this school stays open, I have no idea.

2. A middle school teacher rented a motel room and gave students pills and alcohol. Everyone knew about this. They finally got him after he led police on a high speed chase, intoxicated. The same district, had a janitor steal athletic equipment from lockers and sell everything on Ebay. $40,000 just disappeared from the district and the new superintendent just blew it off.

A varsity volleyball coach / elementary teacher attacked a big donor to the high school in an e-mail. The donor pulled over $3,000 in annual scholarships out of the school. The teacher/coach, athletic director and new superintendent never bothered to apologize to the donor. The athletic director's husband was picked up and prosecuted on peeping from a bathroom stall at kids in a mall bathroom.

READ Rebecca's comment...She is right on! Click below...

Friday, September 10, 2010

San Bruno GAS EXPLOSION! Tragedy could have been prevented!

The gas explosion in the San Bruno CA neighborhood (4 dead, 52 people injured, 38 homes destroyed, 37 homes badly damaged) demonstrates the critical importance of neighbors connecting, sharing information, reporting what they see or smell.

1. How many people smelled gas before the explosion? (Neighbors stated, "I smelled gas for several weeks.")
2. How many neighbors smelled gas but didn't reported it?
3. Could involved neighbors have prevented the tragedy? (We don't know all the facts yet but YES is a good possibility.)

Neighbors are powerless as individuals. Together neighbors who discuss concerns and report as a group can protect each other! Aware and involved neighbors can also stop bullies, car thefts, burglaries, drug dealers, gangs and violence. In the process, neighbors reduce social isolation and fear as they become role models. Youth need to see neighbors as problem solvers and active participants in community life.