Monday, January 25, 2010

Maple Avenue

December 21

Hi Kate and Paula,
We delivered 177 pair of PJ’s to Child and Family Services today after school. I know we will have a few stragglers more than likely over the next two days also. I am very proud of the Maple Avenue community. This was a fun project and one most meaningful for the kids to be involved in. Our Student Council is comprised of third and fourth graders (our school is only grades 1-4). This was a valuable lesson for them. It really made them aware of what the season should be all about. Thank you for allowing us to participate this way. I will get some pictures to you ASAP. The thank you letter can be addressed to The Maple Avenue Student Council in care of me . Our school address is 16 Maple Avenue, Goffstown, NH 03045. I hope you will contact us next year. I would love to see the kids continue with this. Happy holidays!!! Debbie

Sunday, December 13, 2009

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Collective Power

The Warmth for the Millyard warm clothing drive began for me this fall as a member of Kate Hansen’s Intro to Community Leadership class. One of the first things we did was to write a mission statement:

The mission of the Warmth from the Millyard Project (Fall2009) was to mobilize the UNH Manchester community in a winter clothing drive to demonstrate our collective power to address the community need for warm clothes through collaborative partnerships.

I was intrigued and inspired by the words collective power. Did this class of 8 have the collective power to address these needs?

As I look back I am amazed, in the course of 3 months this group mobilized the UNH Manchester students, faculty and staff. Who in turn used their collective powers to assist our core group. Our primary goal was to collect 700 pieces of clothing for three local agencies. We exceeded that goal by collecting over 5,000 pieces of warm clothing. We have provided warm clothes to more than 8 local organizations, which will keep hundreds of people warm this winter.

Not only is our success gauged in numbers of clothes collected. I feel that the real success was in the awareness that we created. Through our collective powers we informed our school community, co-workers, families and friends, and the NH community of the need for warm clothing in their community.

Through our collective power we became a place to go if you were in need, we didn’t turn anyone away, we tried to meet the needs of anyone that requested our service.

We collaborated with many groups outside of the UNH Manchester community to communicate the extensive needs of the community. We had a presence on both NHPR and WZID, both stations broadcast to thousands of NH residents.

At the conclusion of the official clothing drive, we celebrated with many of the partners that were made over the course of the project. I was proud to see what the collective power of the Community Leadership program had achieved, a program that will continue to provide warm clothing not only in the Manchester community but throughout the state of New Hampshire.

- Mary Ann Allsop

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Making a difference

Angelina Jolie is someone who inspires me. She's more than a community leader- she's a global one. As a rich and famous Hollywood actress, like many people in her position, she could easily turn a blind eye to the pain in the world. Instead, she throws herself into it without hesitation.

She has donated millions of dollars to refugees and has visited more than twenty countries on humanitarian missions over the last nine years. She's been to Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Thailand, Colombia, Kenya, and Sudan, among many other countries. In Christmas of 2006, she spent time with refugees in Costa Rica, handing out presents. Apart from her children, spending time with refugees is "the greatest gift – the greatest life lesson I could ever receive." She funds the National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children, an organization that provides free legal aid to refugee and immigrant children with no legal representation. She also founded the Jolie/Pitt Foundation which donated two million dollars to Global Action for Children and Doctors Without Borders. She is very politically active and has received numerous awards for her humanitarian work.

She has said, "We cannot close ourselves off to information and ignore the fact that millions of people are out there suffering. I honestly want to help. I don't believe I feel differently from other people. I think we all want justice and equality, a chance for a life with meaning. All of us would like to believe that if we were in a bad situation someone would help us."

A New Hampshire native community leader that is also very inspiring, whose name is not quite as well known, is AnnMarie Morse. Her daughter, Michelle Morse, died four years ago from colon cancer. Under the law at that time, Michelle wasn't able to leave school while undergoing chemotherapy because she would have lost her family's health insurance. She still graduated with honors, all the while fighting to change the law so that no one would have to end up in her situation. After she passed, her mother continued the fight. AnnMarie Morse has said: "No other family will have to walk in our shoes and fight to keep the coverage they pay for to keep their seriously ill or injured college student on their policy. We were fortunate that Michelle’s Law became a state and federal law in 4 years. I am pleased that no other family or college-student will have to make the choice Michelle had to make, choosing between her health insurance or her education."

AnnMarie lobbied for years to turn her dream into a reality and to protect college students across the nation. She continues to fight for health care reform today. She holds a great deal of compassion toward other people who are sick and don't have health insurance and she wants to fix the situation. Because of her hard work, she has made an enormous difference in the lives of many people.

Just these two stories show that anyone can make a difference, whether you are a rich and famous movie star or a mother from Candia, NH. People who are passionate about what they believe in can make this world a better place and can serve as inspiring community leaders. Ones such as Angelina Jolie and AnnMarie Morse have inspired thousands of people to support important causes and to take a stand. I think that community leaders who are sincere and determined attract like-minded people and effect change that they don't even know about. I'm sure that Angelina Jolie has no idea I am sitting here saying that she has inspired me to want to make positive changes in the world. Leading your community and setting a positive example infuses others with the enthusiasm and good will that you project. Community leaders don't just affect their community; they inspire everyone they encounter, and that inspiration incites change that is boundless.

- Whitney

Why study community leadership?

Three months ago, I didn't know anything about community leadership. When I saw that UNH Manchester was offering a class on it, I thought it sounded interesting. I was afraid I was a little out of my league because of my lack of background in this area, but this was something I had always wanted to try. I had just made the decision to apply to Master's programs in social work, and felt I really needed some experience under my belt.

When the ball got rolling for our warm clothing drive, I figured that we'd maybe collect a thousand clothing items. The economy is in horrible shape and no one can spare extra clothes or go out to buy some for strangers. We had all read the horrifying stories on Working It Out and contributed some of our own. I thought that we would meet the needs of the three organizations we had chosen, if we were lucky, and that would be that.

I did not expect such an overwhelming response from the community. Saying that we have collected over 5,400 items of clothing in a matter of a few weeks just blows my mind. Dozens upon dozens of total strangers donated brand new clothing to total strangers. The PASS students and City Year spent many hours carefully counting, sorting, and delivering the clothes. Everyone in class and all the volunteers put in a lot of work and effort into making this happen.

It was surreal that it reached the point where we were struggling to think of another organization to give to because we had given more than enough to half a dozen already. I can't tell you how fulfilling this experience has been, to know that thousands of people across New Hampshire will be warm this winter because of our drive. I think of one of the lessons that was taught in our textbook, that every volunteer should know what they are getting out of their work. I think I can speak for many of us when I say that what we get is the satisfaction of knowing we have taken care of our neighbors, friends, peers, and fellow human beings.

The connections we have made with various people through Warmth from the Millyard has been wonderful. Paula has encountered amazing people on Craigslist of all places; she pleaded for help on there and ended up receiving donations from very kind and selfless individuals. Delivering the clothes is highly rewarding. One woman from the Way Home thanked me and said, "You are helping a lot of people." She pulled out a bag of pants I had donated. They were the right size for a girl at the shelter who barely had any pants to wear. It just felt right that she had them.

Tonight at the celebration event, Kate said that there are no donors and receivers, because we all donate and receive. I can't agree with that more. I have no idea what will be going on in my life in ten years. I could fall on hard times and end up at a shelter. It can happen to anyone. We are all just getting by with what we have and are all vulnerable to misfortune. The people who received these donations may have once been donating themselves or will donate in the future. To me, it doesn't matter where they are, where they've been, or where they are going. All I care about is that right now they need warm clothes and I have a way to provide some assistance. I want us to share what we have because when we work together, a community has the power to lift everyone up. At the end of the day, we're all just humans. We are all the same. To serve others is a privilege, one that I think we should all partake in.

Kate asked us to reflect on the question: "How can something this small make a difference?" I think Warmth from the Millyard's progression over the years is the answer to that. It started out as an idea thought up by UNH Manchester students just a few years ago. It grew; more and more clothes were collected every year, more parternships were formed, more people became involved. This year, it shifted, and UNH Manchester started acting as a business partner, and we focused on acquiring clothes just from our community. Thousands of clothing items flooded in. The PSA on WZID brought in thousands of more clothes from people in the general area. Several other UNH Manchester classes became involved. We worked on forming a partnership with NH Public Radio. Just one idea spawned all of this success.

And now a new matching system is being introduced, whereby donors and receivers can team up online and clothes can be donated year-round. Through a partnership with the Department of Transportation, the Warmth from the Millyard will continue to expand.

This has all been possible because of the students in the Community Leadership program lead by Kate. She and her students have all mobilized their communities, friends, families, neighbors, and peers to support the Warmth from the Millyard and help it become the success that it is today. This is a perfect example of the power of community leadership. When you have the drive to lead your community for a cause, you can accomplish your goals, no matter what they are. If you persevere, you will surpass them. I think people should study community leadership because it is a compelling way to make a change and bring people together. If your community wants something and you organize yourselves to go after it, and you don't give up, there is no stopping you.

- Whitney

Monday, December 7, 2009

Food for Children

Here's an email from Kate Ferreira, director of the UNH Manchester Center for Graduate & Professional Studies. Every Saturday morning, she helps out at Food for Children, where volunteers give food to those in need. This past Saturday, students from WFMY were distributing clothes. Here is what she had to say:

A great big THANK YOU to you and the UNHM students that participated in the clothing distribution form Warmth in the Millyard on Saturday at Food For Children. Although Saturday was almost at freezing temperatures, it proved to be perfect timing for you to be there. The winter coats were a welcome addition for many, as the little boy that showed up wearing only a t-shirt. When asked where his coat was, he said he didn’t have one, but that was remedied with a cozy fleece jacket, hat, and gloves. A woman at church on Sunday was wearing the coat she acquired the day before and was just thrilled with it. Again, thank you to you and those that helped for being mindful of the community in need, it was a tremendous blessing!

Best regards

If you want to help out at Food for Children, they meet every Saturday morning at the JFK Coliseum at 303 Beech Street in Manchester.

BIO 413 essays

Students in Professor Patricia Halpin's class, BIO 413: Principles of Biology I, have researched the effects of cold on the human body so that we can use this research to raise awareness of the need for warm clothes. She has chosen five essays to share on our blog. Their findings demonstrate how crucial it is that everyone has proper clothing this winter, and how important our drive is to meet that need in our community.

Thank you to all of the professor's students for your wonderful work.

The Importance of Keeping Your Body Warm

By Kayla Bosela

Our bodies are constantly at work to keep everything functioning properly. When our internal systems are all where they should be and are stable, our bodies are successfully maintaining what is called homeostasis. The ways in which homeostasis is regulated is crucial to our survival. One great example of how homeostasis is achieved through various mechanisms is through a process called thermoregulation. We all know how important it is to keep ourselves warm when the temperature outside is colder than our normal state is suited to. That is why we wear heavy jackets, gloves, and hats in the cold winter months; to try to keep as much body heat from escaping as we can. However, losing body heat when we are outside and it is freezing is inevitable. This is where our body’s internal mechanisms kick in. Thermoregulation controls our internal body temperature. As soon as our body temperature drops below where is should be, a stimulus is sent to a control center in our brain called the hypothalamus. In this part of the brain, the hypothalamus processes the stimulus of our body temperature dropping. Then, it determines what to do about this stimulus in order to bring it back to homeostasis, since our bodies are constantly working to maintain homeostasis in every aspect. One way that this happens is by shivering. We all know that shivering is a result of being cold, but many of us do not know what shivering is accomplishing, or even think of it as a way of helping our body internally. Shivering is a result of our muscle tone increasing so much that our muscles go through small, short contractions. This in turn is generating heat in our muscles, trying to bring our body temperature back up to the homeostatic level. Another way that our body conserves the heat we hold is by decreasing the blood flow to our skin. With this mechanism, little heat is lost through possible convection or conduction. Also, with less blood flowing to the dermis, there is less radiation occurring due to the lack of heat at the surface of our skin. If the body was unable to perform these mechanisms in order to keep homeostasis, there would be a huge risk of getting hypothermia every time we went outside in the cold. Thermoregulation can’t guarantee safety against hypothermia, depending on how cold it is and other things specific to each individual, such as body fat. This is why it is so important to bundle up as much as possible before spending time outside in the cold.

Warmth in the Millyard

By Melissa Nighelli

Thermoregulation is an important process in the human body. The body is constantly working via various body systems to maintain optimal body temperature. Some of the systems involved include: the integumentary system, the muscular system, and the cardiovascular system.

The skin and various structures are important in regulation of body temperature. Improper care or attention to the skin during extreme conditions could cause many problems including difficulty in regulating temperature and damage to the skin. This is why it is important to have access to appropriate attire when exposed to severe temperature. One risk of prolonged exposure to cold temperatures without proper protection is hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can maintain or produce it. Though hypothermia can occur in various conditions and is not always related to drops in temperature related to weather, this is a very real risk. The onset of hypothermia can lead to the shutting down of all body systems including respiratory and cardiovascular systems resulting in death.

Risks of hypothermia include inadequate clothing for conditions and lack of shelter or proper shelter. People at greater risk for hypothermia include infants and the elderly. In these populations hypothermia can occur more rapidly and without the same warnings as others. Also at risk are those with mental impairment and those that abuse alcohol and drugs. This again is because the body does not receive the same signals and/or the person does not have the cognitive ability to do something about the signals it is receiving.

If treatment is sought early on hypothermia is certainly treatable, though the best method is prevention. Removal of wet clothing and slow warming can be helpful when medical care is not readily available. Once in the care of medical professionals other techniques can be used such as the administration of warm intravenous fluids and humidified oxygen to re-warm the body, blood, and airway.

The signs and symptoms of hypothermia should not be ignored. Nor should the risk be ignored. Helping the body maintain proper temperature via proper care is imperative. Those that are aware of the risks and what is needed for prevention should take every step able to help those at risk populations.

Warmth in the Millyard

By Rachael Stanley

Surviving the winter is tough for everyone. And in New England, freezing cold temperatures combined with blustering snow storms and blizzards are hardly an unfamiliar phenomenon. Now, imagine surviving that winter without something as simple as a winter jacket. The effects of winter on the body can be very dangerous if proper precautions, such as wearing winter clothing, are not taken.

Homeostasis is the maintenance of stable, internal body conditions (such as temperature) regardless of the exterior. The human body regulates homeostasis of body temperature by a process known as thermoregulation. This process is vitally important; it keeps body temperatures within certain limits so the body can remain stable and complete all vital functions. Homeostasis and constant internal body temperature rely on a balance between the heats lost through the environment and the heat gained due to regular metabolic activities.

When an individual is exposed to severely cold weather, the body tries to keep its internal temperature within the normal range. When the temperature drops below a normal temperature, the “heat-gain” center within the hypothalamus of the brain is activated to attempt to raise the temperature of the individual. The body attempts to conserve heat by reducing blood flow to the dermis; this helps keep the blood and the heat closer to the body core and the vital organs. Next, the body tries to generate more heat. This can be done through shivering. This causes the skeletal muscles of the body to contract. This produces heat, which warms the blood vessels and keeps the individual’s core warm.

The dropping of body temperature to a below-normal temperature is called hypothermia. When a person has hypothermia, they may experience uncontrollable shivering and be confused and weak. Also, their skin may appear blue or pale. In the later stages of hypothermia shivering may stop because mechanisms regulating temperature lose their sensitivity as they become less effective. Also, someone may become drowsy and ultimately can experience slowed breathing and heart rate. If someone’s temperature reaches below 82۫ F, they are likely to experience cardiac arrest. At this point, heart rate and breathing stop and body temperature continues to decrease. However, a person can still be revived after this stage, due to the ceasing of metabolic activities.

The effects of cold temperature on the human body can be devastating. Show your warmth by donating your new or lightly used winter clothing to a person in need today.

Warmth in the Mill Yard Essay

By Emily Therrien

Living in New England we experience a variety of natural temperatures as the seasons change. Some may feel nicer than others but if you have the proper gear and apparel the harsher elements are more bearable. Over the last year or so our economy as taken a turn leaving many who were financially secure in a less fortunate position. As we’re approaching winter where temperatures will most likely go below freezing, it is important that we start preparing for the snow and cold weather to come.

Homeostasis refers to the maintenance of a stable internal environment. It's all about a living creature keeping their inside as constant and stable as possible, whatever may be happening on the outside which is not always something we can control. There are six main bodily levels that need to be controlled. CO2 and Urea need to be disposed of, and Ion content, water content, sugar content (of the blood), as well as temperature all need to be kept at a constant level.

Blood temperature is monitored by the hypothalamus, which then sends nerve impulses to the skin. If we're too hot then the hairs lie flat, sweat is produced and vasodilatation occurs. Vasodilatation is the opening up of the blood supply to the skin to remove heat, and it's why we go red when we're hot. If we're too cold, our hairs stand up and vasoconstriction occurs. This is when the blood supply to the skin is closed off to try and keep heat in. The body also increases liver activity and makes us shiver when we're cold, all to the end of producing more heat.

What is hypothermia? Hypothermia is defined as a core, or internal, body temperature of less than 95°F. Anyone exposed to cold temperatures, whether for work or recreation, may be at risk of becoming too cold. Our body depends on the protection of warm clothing when its cold outside. To keep our body temp at normal levels the warm clothing provides extra layers. Since most of our body hear is lost through the head, we should wear hats to keep some of it in and jackets or sweaters around our core to keep our heart and organs stable since they are so vital to sustaining life.

There are two types of people living right now, the fortunate and the less fortunate. One may have the extra income to buy extra articles of clothing and the other is probably forced to spend what they have on other necessities such as food, housing, and children. Both people go through the same reactions when they get cold, how ever it’s not as easy for the less fortunate ones to find the resources to adequately find warm clothing and they are doing what they can, with what they have. Luckily most of us have warm shelter and decent clothing. I can't imagine feeling chilled to the bone regularly and not being able to get away from it. Nearly 700 people in the United States die each year from hypothermia.

This community event Warmth in the Millyard directly affects many people. We give to others and share because we can and it makes us feel good to look out for other people and make sure that they’re not wanting or hurting. And it makes others who could use our donations feel more comfortable and secure and know that there’s some compassion in this world, even though this dip in the economy has affected all of us in some way or another. If we all pitch in a little and waste less we can make sure that more people are being taken care of in this hard time. I feel like we a lot of the time take for granted how much we have, and it could be taken away from us. It makes me happy to help other people out and give of my time or extra things I may have and not be using. I think that this is a good community event that UNHM participates in it makes us appreciate what we have.

Finding the Perfect Balance

By Jessie L. Wood

Did you ever wonder why you get goose bumps and shiver when you’re cold? Perhaps you may have also noticed that on occasion your entire body is warm except for your fingers and toes which may feel numb. The aforementioned phenomena are the result of homeostasis. More specifically homeostasis refers to an organism’s innate ability to maintain an internal equilibrium by adjusting physiological processes. Homeostatic mechanisms primarily use negative feedback to keep the internal conditions of the body at a constant level. In particular negative feedback is initiated when a receptor detects a change in the external environment. The receptor then sends a signal to a control center within the body. The control center processes the incoming information and in turn sends out instructions for negating this change. These instructions are carried out by the effector. Once the instructions have been carried out the body returns to a state of homeostasis.

One of the simplest examples of homeostasis is that of thermoregulation which is exactly what is occurring when we develop goose bumps or shiver. In the human body temperature is controlled by the thermoregulatory center which is found in the hypothalamus of the brain. The hypothalamus receives information from two different sets of thermoreceptors. One set of receptors is in the hypothalamus itself and these receptors are responsible for monitoring the temperature of the blood as it passes through the brain, which is known as the core temperature. The other set of receptors are in the skin most notably the skin on the trunk of the body. These receptors monitor changes in external temperature. The body relies on both sets of receptors to determine the adjustments that need to be made to maintain homeostasis. Once information from the receptors reaches the thermoregulatory control center the center sends several impulses to different effectors in the body in order to adjust body temperature. For example the goose bumps one develops when they are cold are actually the result of muscles contracting on the outermost skin layer. This contraction causes the hairs of the skin to become raised which in turn traps a layer of warm air near the skin. Shivering is yet another response of effector. Notably shivering is the result of skeletal muscles repeatedly contracting and relaxing. This cycle of contraction and relaxation generates heat by way of friction. Finally even the scenario in which the trunk of one’s body is warm while the fingers and toes are cold is an example thermoregulation. Notably the effector in this case is the smooth muscles in the arterioles in the skin. The muscles contract causing vasoconstriction. As a result less heat is carried from the core to the surface of the body. While this helps to maintain the core body temperature the extremities most often feel cold, can turn blue and in some extreme cases can even suffer damage known as frostbite. All of these forms of thermoregulation are effective measures the body uses to maintain a stable internal temperature. In these three specific cases the thermoregulatory system is trying to prevent hypothermia wherein the internal body temperature drops dangerously low such that there is damage to organs, muscles and tissues. As one can clearly see goose bumps and shivering are not some haphazard occurrences. But rather they are integral part of the mechanisms used by the body to maintain homeostasis.