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Archive for September, 2014

Misconceptions About the Homeless

Hello readers,

Today’s blog airs more on the serious than light-hearted side. During my senior year in college, I had to volunteer for a local non-profit organization as part of a class requirement. Daily Planet, a Richmond-based outreach resource for the homeless, was my assigned organization that forever changed my viewpoint on being homeless. That learning experience helped to dispel many misnomers I had about the issue.

In today’s society, there is a perception about homeless people that is sustained by a collection of myths and assumptions, a majority of which are wrong. These misconceptions seriously hinder the attempts to help those in need. However, after the mortgage crisis in 2008, it seems that many people’s views have changed because thousands of Americans were made homeless due to the crisis.

Here are the most common misconceptions about the homeless:

homeless family

  1. Are All Criminals or Drug Addicts

Most homeless people are arrested for status crimes. These are crimes that include loitering, sleeping in public, or trespassing. The National Coalition for Homelessness (NCH) 2009 report stated that 39% of homeless people depend upon alcohol and 26% “abuse other drugs.” While close to half of homeless adults in the United States struggle with addictions or have struggled with them in the past, many don’t have a substance abuse problem.

  1. Are All Mentally Ill

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20 to 25% of the U.S. homeless population suffers from some form of severe mental illness while only 6% of Americans are severely mentally ill. [1] In a 2008 survey performed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 25 cities were asked for the three largest causes of homelessness in their communities. Mental illness was the third largest cause of homelessness for single adults (mentioned by nearly half of the cities). For homeless families, mental illness was mentioned by 12% of cities as one of the top 3 causes of homelessness.

  1. Are All Too Lazy to Work

The movie The Pursuit of Happyness is a prime example that homeless people aren’t lazy. Although this biographical film highlighted the highs and lows of Chris Gardner’s struggle while employed, the stigma of laziness still seems to be stamped on homelessness. 44% of the homeless who have jobs can’t escape it and climbing out of homelessness is virtually impossible without a job. For those with limited skills, job opportunities that pay a living wage are very hard to come by. In addition, many have obstacles such as limited transportation and access to educational and training programs.[2]

  1. It’s Due to Poor Choices

There are two trends largely responsible for the rise in homelessness over the past 20-25 years: a growing shortage of affordable rental housing and a coinciding increase in poverty. [1] NHC found that home foreclosure, poverty, eroding work opportunities, decline in public assistance, domestic violence, mental disorders, and addiction disorders are the leading causes of homelessness. Many of these factors are not by choice which dispels the myth that one chooses to be homeless.


Figure 1 shows the population breakdown of the number of people in families with children making up 37%, a total of 236,181 people in 77,186 family households. Of the individuals, 17% is chronically homeless (107,148 people) and 46% is non-chronically homeless (292,688). [4]

FACTS about Homelessness*:

  • Homeless people commit less violent crimes than housed people.
  • Many women and children are living without homes.
  • Families constitute a large and growing percentage of the homeless population.
  • Homeless people do work, and a relatively small percentage of them receive government assistance.
  • According to the Urban Institute, about 28% of homeless people have more than a high school education.

*National Law Center On Homelessness and Poverty: Myths and Facts about Homelessness


Figure 2 shows the ethnicity affected by homelessness, National Coalition for the Homeless July 2009.

 For more information on homelessness and how you can fight against it and its stereotypes: National Coalition for the Homeless




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1National Institute of Mental Health, 2009

2Long, Rio, & Rosen, 2007

3Statistics used from Homelessness Research Institute January 2012 report.


How to Know You’re with a Good Man?

Morning peeps!

I read this blog over the weekend. And I thought I’d share. Here are signs that you’re with a good man. Do you agree?

James Sama: 15 Signs You’re with a Good Man

Dream Vacation: Destination #7

Hello all,

Destination number seven is by far my most desired vacation. The Republic of Fiji, or simply known as Fiji, has postcard perfect islands with white sandy beaches and tropical weather year round. I mean c’mon, this is the ideal vacation for two on a honeymoon or a romantic getaway in general. Although, I’ve heard it can be very pricy because many things have to be imported, it still tops my list of places to go before I die.

Seventh stop: Fiji Islands!

Map of Fiji

Fiji Islands consist of 333 islands, which over 100 are inhabited. Most of the islands are clustered around two main large islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. The small island of Rotuma is isolated in the north and inhabited by people of  Polynesian descent.

Hut on the Water Fiji

A bungalow perched in the crystal-clear waters is the ultimate dream. These over water rooms are on stilts over a lagoon or just offshore. Most have platforms that offer direct access to the water for swimming or to watch the sunset. Pure perfection for any honeymoon or romantic getaway, if you ask me!

Sigatoka River Safari Fiji

Ever wondered what a water safari was like? Wonder no more. Fiji’s Sigatoka River Safari will transport you deep into the Fijian interior aboard a custom-built jet boat. Your guide will introduce the rich culture of the Fijian people as the adventure begins in the coastal town of Sigatoka. Traveling upriver, one will be left in awe by the stunning natural scenery until arriving at the designed village. A village guide will present you to the community and then you will experience village life firsthand.

Waterfall Jumper Fiji

Have you ever wanted to do a backflip into at the top of a waterfall into the lagoon below? Uh, yes! A tour called Adventures in Paradise Fiji will give you that opportunity. After visiting with a village chief and partaking in authentic ceremonies, a traveler can enjoy an exhilarating dip in the waterfall lagoon. On top of that, the locals teach you how to husk a coconut.

Robinson Crusoe Island Fiji

If you’re seeking an experience filled with Fijian customs, culture, and cuisine then Robinson Crusoe Island may be the place for you. The island is a part of the secluded Fiji Beach Resort, which has an assortment of free activities to enjoy. A few Fijian traditions that will enrich any trip are fire and knife dance shows, basket making, dancing under the stars, bonfires, and kava ceremonies.

Whether you’re on your honeymoon or seeking a serene getaway, Fiji offers plenty for couples. I can’t wait to go!



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How To Get Your Kid to Talk About Their School Day?

I was watching the ABC nightly news on a Friday night. And there was a segment about 25 ways to ask your child their school day without asking, “How was school day?” It was a very resonating piece as I struggle every day to get my son to tell me about his day.
I worry about not knowing my child as he begins to discover himself and the world around him. And I’m sure plenty of other parents feel the same way. So check out this piece: 25 ways to ask your child “How was your day?” without asking “How was your day?”

Number nine and ten are my favorite.


93 Days of Sun: How I Plan Spend My Summer – Part II

goodbye summer, hello autumn
Great Sunny Day, Batman!

With only five official days of summer left, I had planned to close out in a memorable way. These last 46 days have been hectic, enjoyable, upbeat, and adventurous. The summer of 2014 has definitely reminded me that each day should be appreciated. And even though the days have flown by, I’ve learned that there’s something appealing about simplicity. I’m glad that I spent the last six weeks with the ones I care about.

  • August 4: Annual check-up for my son
  • August 5: Girl’s lunch with my cousin Jessy
  • August 8-10: Family reunion in Fredericksburg, Virginia
  • August 13, 14 & 18: Interviewed childcare centers
  • August 16: Kiddie birthday party with my son / Saw Lucy
  • August 17: Guardians of the Galaxy with my friend Temple
  • August 19: Happy hour with my good friend Wesley
  • August 23: Shop and lunch date with Nikki, fashion and beauty expert
  • August 28: Kindergarten orientation with my son
  • September 2: First day of school for my son
  • September 9: Celebrating my cousin’s 5th birthday with the family
  • September 17: Root canal procedure instead of the Matisyahu concert at The National (Sept 16)

Here’s to the escapades of autumn.



Follow Anita on Twitter and Bloglovin’: @Emranija & Anita Young

Best Places In The World To Watch The Sunset!

If you ever wondered where the best places are to watch a sunset around the world, check out The Hand Luggage Only blog for the 16 top places. At least two of my dream vacations are on the list!


Fun Facts: Month of September

Uncle Sam wants YOU!

Uncle Sam wants YOU!


Can you believe it’s September already? That means in about a week or so, summer will be over. I don’t want it to end! To celebrate the ninth month of the year (in the Georgian calendar), here are a few fun facts about it:

  • It used to be the seventh month on the Roman calendar. And it had 29 and 31 days but was later changed to 30 days by Emperor Augustus.
  • September is the only month with the same number of letters in its name in English as the number of the month.
  • In any year, no other month ends on the same day as September.
  • September 8 is International Literacy Day.
  • September 13 is International Chocolate Day and Uncle Sam Day.
  • Shakespeare did not mention September in any of his plays.
  • National Sickle Cell Month
  • In the U.S, the first Sunday after the first Monday (Labor Day) is National Grandparents’ Day.
  • Mexico’s War of Independence began on September 15, 1810.
  • On September 3, 1900, Wizard of Oz was published.
  • On September 1, 1905, the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan were established.
  • On September 2, 1789, the U.S. Department of Treasury was established.
  • On September 25, 1789, the Bill of Rights were created.
  • President McKinley was assassinated on September 6, 1901.

For more interesting facts, check out September Facts and Random facts about September.



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VIDEO: Doctor helps us understand fast-spreading virus sickening kids across U.S.

This is why I chose to keep my son at home when he had a 104* fever two days ago. Parents, don’t allow your sick child to go to school and spread this sickness.

Q13 FOX News

SEATTLE — Dr. Keith Jerome with the University of Washington Department of Laboratory Medicine has some advice on how to better understand enterovirus-D-68.

[ooyala code=”84OXg5cDpVDPdw4BwjuEFZLAfsEuFTbP” player_id=”c8cff4cec9d94ae0896f6443af7ee837″]

During Q13 FOX News, Dr. Jerome answered some of YOUR questions in a live chat on the Q13 FOX News Facebook page.

Click on the Facebook post below to see the Q & A:

View original post

Dream Vacation: Destination #6

Salutations Readers,

We’re going to the wild and arid land of the Serengeti for destination number six. Who hasn’t wanted to go on a safari to take in the picturesque view of this reserve? The area is best known for its vast migration of herbivores (mostly zebras and wildebeests) and the predators (lions, cheetahs, hyenas, oh my!) that pursue them. What most don’t know is that the Serengeti is one of many national parks of Tanzania. So let’s explore this natural reserve on the motherland of Africa!

Sixth stop: Serengeti, Tanzania!

Map of Serengeti, Tanzania

Located in north Tanzania and extending to southwestern Kenya, the Serengeti ecosystem is one of the oldest on earth. Its climate, vegetation, and wildlife have barely changed in the past million years. The Serengeti is most famous for hosting the largest continental mammal migration in the world, which establishes it as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.


Wildebeest of the Serengeti plains.

Over a million wildebeest and about 200,000 zebras flow south from the northern hills to the southern plains for the short rains every October and November, and then they swirl west and north after the long rains of April, May and June. The primal, yet ancient, instinct of these herbivores to move is so strong that no drought, gorge, or crocodile infested river can hold them back.


Massai Warriors

The land is also known as Massailand, named after the fierce Massai warriors that live alongside the wildlife.


Ol Doinyo Lengai in the Serengeti

Another attraction of the Serengeti is Ol Doinyo Lengai, the only active volcano in the area that ejects carbonatite lava. It is also a Massai holy site.


Serene SerengetiWhether it’s for the splendor of leisure or going for business, the Serengeti is one place that shouldn’t be missed on your trip in the area.




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America’s Most Romantic Towns

Good day everyone,

More often than not, we tend to get caught up in the glamour of big cities and their charms. As a seasoned traveler, I’ve been lost in the metropolitan glitz and ignored the appeal of America’s towns. I’ll never forget that feeling of old-world living and peace when I stopped for breakfast at a café in Burlington, Vermont. With more thought, the small towns of America need our attention.

Based on Travel + Leisure’s list of America’s most romantic towns, I’ve chosen the top five of the 26 that have captured my attention:

  1. Burlington, Vermont
Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, Vermont

I fell in love with the quaintness of this small New England capital in the summer of 2007 on the way to a Montreal wedding. I wish I could’ve stayed longer. Well, at least to watch the sunset over Lake Champlain. I can only imagine the fall foliage and then the first snowfall of winter. Apparently, one sip of Lake Champlain Chocolates’ decadent hot cocoas is all it takes to see why the town also scored highly for cafés and ranks among the top 10 for winter wonderland holiday-season visits.


  1. Annapolis, Maryland
Annapolis, Maryland

Annapolis, Maryland

I’ve been an east coast girl for roughly over half of my life. It’s mostly due to family, but blue crabs and fresh from the farm food help significantly. The food isn’t the only highlight of this Chesapeake Bay getaway, this city also ranked well for its wines. And after you visit Annapolis, you’ll discover much more to keep coming back to right coast too.


  1. Amelia, Florida
Amelia, Florida

Amelia, Florida

If you’ve ever dreamed of horseback riding with your lover on a beach then this is the perfect spot to do it. Amelia Island State Park is one of the few places in the country where you can still saddle up on the sand. This barrier-island town is prominently known for its parks and quaint historic inns, such as the Fairbanks House (a Victorian-era home filled with fireplaces, four-poster beds, and claw-foot tubs).


  1. Telluride, Colorado
Telluride, Colorado

Telluride, Colorado

Surrounded by the majestic San Juan Mountains and only having one road leading into the township, you realize how amazingly isolated Telluride really is. This southwestern Colorado town is perfect for a romantic rendezvous with its colorful Victorian homes and charming Western downtown. Winter or summer, complete the experience by hopping on the gondola and looking out over Telluride’s incredibly scenic canyon.


  1.  Fairhope, Alabama
Fairhope, Alabama

Fairhope, Alabama

With five rivers converging at this scenic Gulf Coast town, Fairhope boasts plenty of Civil War history (even the nearby Marriott was the site of a Confederate hospital). Be sure to explore this southern town’s own small French Quarter, which is home to a dozen little shops and the largest crape myrtle tree in the South, called the Alabama Champion Tree.


Check out T+L’s complete list: America’s Most Romantic Towns



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