Monday, October 31, 2016

ABANDONED AND HOMELESS IN AMERICA

"...There will only be one test as to whether we will go to heaven or not – namely, how we responded to the poor during our lifetime." Fr. Ronald Rolheiser)
"At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by, 'I was hungry and you gave me to eat. I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in.'" - Mother Teresa
I have been praying for homeless teens and abandoned children all over America, especially in light of the news that nine children were dropped off by one father in Omaha last week. "An out-of-work widower who abandoned nine of his children at a hospital under Nebraska's new safe haven law said he was overwhelmed without his wife and just "fell apart." (Full story below.) This really cuts to the core. I have young teenagers and though they are difficult, they are fledgling human beings and need more love than ever. Love, love and more love. Pour love into your children, family, neighbors, strangers, prisoners - for we are all in this together. We must take care of each other now. It's time. - Lydia


Children at Kitezh pitching in at the collective. It is one of the few largely successful alternatives in orphan care available in Russia, and its founders hope to set an example. (Oleg Nikishin for The New York Times)

In a fairy-tale village, Russian orphans thrive
By Michael Schwirtz Published: October 2, 2008

Despite the successes, few have been able or willing to follow Kitezh's example.

"Our experience is not being put to use because it requires that adults receive a significant amount of training," said Morozov, the founder. It also requires a strict allegiance to the collective that can be at odds with Russia's new materialistic and individualistic ethos.

But the government has begun to revamp child welfare services, promoting adoption to ease the strain on orphanages.
***
“This is the richest county in the richest state in the richest country in the history of the planet, yet almost 90,000 people do not have a roof over their heads. This is unacceptable.” - Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa

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OMAHA, Neb. (Sept. 26) - An out-of-work widower who abandoned nine of his children at a hospital under Nebraska's new safe haven law said he was overwhelmed without his wife and just "fell apart." ''I hope they know I love them," Gary Staton told KETV. "I hope their future is better without me around them."

The unique law allows caregivers to abandon babies and teenagers alike at hospitals without fear of prosecution. Staton anonymously left the five boys and four girls — ages 1 to 17 — at Creighton University Medical Center's emergency room on Wednesday night. He has a 10th child, a daughter who is 18 and was not dropped off.

A number of relatives have volunteered to take the siblings, said Kathie Osterman, a spokeswoman for the state department Health and Human Services.

Staton said his wife died early last year, shortly after delivering their youngest child. He said he quit his job because of his family responsibilities but couldn't pay rent or utilities or take care of his kids. "I was with her for 17 years, and then she was gone," he said of his late wife. "We raised them together. I didn't think I could do it alone. I fell apart. I couldn't take care of them."

Staton said he surrendered them so they would be safe.

A 2007 interview with Staton's oldest daughter in Omaha North High School's student newspaper said she shouldered some of the parenting duties at home. Despite helping to feed her siblings, check their homework and put them to bed, the teen managed to graduate a year early.

Once a child is abandoned under the safe haven law, the courts become involved. Parental rights don't end automatically, but parents who change their minds about abandonment may find it difficult to regain custody.

At least 16 children have been abandoned since the law took effect in July.
Hospitals call police when a child is left, and officers will usually place a child in protective custody.

Todd Landry, director of the division of Children and Family Services, said the safe-haven law was designed to help children who are in danger, but none of the kids who were dropped off had been in harm's way. Landry said he empathizes with parents who struggle to raise their families, but "it is the job of a parent to be a parent." He said there are resources to help them.

James Blue, president and CEO of the Lincoln-based nonprofit Cedars, which works with abused and neglected children, said he's been inundated with calls ever since the safe-haven law took effect.

He said the group gets more than 10 calls a day from struggling parents, and its temporary shelter is at its capacity of 15.

VETERANS ARE TWO TIMES MORE LIKELY TO BE HOMELESSThere are currently 141,000 homeless vets, more troops than in Iraq. More than 1 million have served in the wars on terror since 9/11. Six thousand of those will become homeless. Veterans have a higher rate of homelessness, (HUD Homeless Report, Feb. 2007, www.huduser.org).

* The war in Iraq itself will produce 3,000 more homeless Vets.

Homeless Teens: Crushed, Abused, Abandoned
"I would rather be homeless," one street teen said. "It is cold and miserable on the streets, but it is better than being beaten up by parents who don't care."

Teens often live in "families" of as many as 20 adolescents, huddling under bridges, in woods, on beaches or in abandoned buildings. Most were forced to support themselves by panhandling, theft, drug sales or prostitution, reports a Stanford University study.

Fully 92 percent of those surveyed came from broken homes. Half reported family alcoholism and 40 percent reported drug abuse. In addition, 56 percent of the teens reported physical abuse and 38 percent reported sexual abuse in their families.

"There are throwaway, as well as runaway, teens among the homeless youths," the researchers said. "The parents of throwaway teens, those who were forced out, felt that the teens caused too many problems. The teens also mentioned frequent conflict with parents, lack of money or room, and teenage pregnancy and homosexuality. Most teenage homeless were not wanted nor well cared for."
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Imagine no one has said your name in years; no one has hugged you in decades, no one knows you have died. Imagine 90,000 women, children, teenagers and men living in Los Angeles alone. Imagine wintry cities like Chicago and Milwaukee at Christmastime. Imagine a school child with no home, no bed. Blessed are they that mourn...

Coming: "The Voice in the Trees"... an essay I wrote about an encounter with a homeless woman I had. I post it every so often to remind myself of what we have to be grateful for.

HOMELESS CHILDREN & THEIR MOTHERS ~ THE VOICE IN THE TREES


An 11-year-old homeless girl: "I died three years ago." 


  • 97% of these families are headed by single women with an average of two to four children.  
  • Many of these women are struggling with histories that include being victims of domestic abuse, injuries and/or illnesses resulting in loss of employment and housing*. 


Today I was walking the dog behind Trader Joe’s and I passed a shady alcove bordering the alley, in the center of which was a large tree. I peeked into the bushes, and saw a grocery bag. This seemed like a private place for a person to rest, but just as I was thinking this, I glimpsed a pair of shoes attached to legs in camouflage pants, standing behind the tree, hiding inside the tree — as if they were hoping not to be seen, trying to blend in with the shrubs. I could hear the owner of this pair of legs trying desperately not to breathe. Was it a homeless person, or just someone who was trying to go to the bathroom in the bushes?

As I passed by, I said to the bush: “Bless you.” I kept walking. Then I realized that I was holding in my hand two sticks of Mozarella string cheese, so I circled back to the bush and offered it to the person hiding in the trees. “Would you like a piece of cheese? It’s wrapped in plastic, it has its own wrapper," I said. A woman’s voice, shaking, rang out, “No, no thank you.” Then, the voice said: “You're very sweet.” I could see a pair of glasses and dark hair through the leaves.

I walked away and said, “You are sweet too.”

Then I started crying; I couldn't stop. The same way I cried on Sunday when they talked to us about how desperately sad they are. It is tragic it is to be a homeless child. Can you imagine what it’s like to have no place to rest, no privacy in going to the bathroom... no clean, safe, or soft place to lay one’s head. No place without insects or vermin… no place to get dressed, to bathe, or to bring friends home for ice cream. No place to do homework. No place to have dinner or play Monopoly or take piano lessons. No dinner. God bless these poor lost little souls.

My favorite charities are Feed the Children, Imagine L.A., Union Rescue Mission and Candy Christmas" "Under the Bridge Mission" which you can read about in recent threads.

_______________________________

An 11-year-old homeless girl: "I died three years ago." 

  • 97% of these families are headed by single women with an average of two to four children.  
  • Many of these women are struggling with histories that include being victims of domestic abuse, injuries and/or illnesses resulting in loss of employment and housing*. 

* Please note that these matters do, indeed, precipitate homeless episodes; however, the  underlying cause of extended family homelessness is simply the lack of affordable housing.  Struggling parents in low paying jobs and the decreasing access to available Section 8 or other low-income housing is ultimately a losing situation.  Imagine LA's current programming does not include the development of low-income housing, but we applaud and encourage those efforts. 

Los Angeles, which boasts the world's fifth largest economy, since 2005, has become the Homeless Capital of our country.  Currently, at least approximately 8,000 family units, representing more than 18,000 children and youth occupy our city. 
  • 97% of these families are headed by single women with an average of two to four children.  
  • Many of these women are struggling with histories that include being victims of domestic abuse, injuries and/or illnesses resulting in loss of employment and housing*. 
The journey begins with the inability to pay rent and then leads to eviction, forcing the family into motels, SRO hotels, homeless shelters, friends and relatives, or, ultimately, the  streets. The typical homeless Mom is trying to survive without adequate housing, childcare, and access to support services.  Her children are often uneducated; shuffled from one school to another due to the transient nature of no permanent housing.  Homeless children, more often than not, drop out of school, fail, or join gangs.
The most innocent victims of family homelessness are the children.  They are the ones who suffer the most, not knowing where their next meal, bed, or school is.  The following transcription of an eleven year old homeless girl, speaks for itself.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

ON DIRECTING COMEDY ~ Nominated for Women's Film Festival

I am honored to be nominated by several film festivals as the director of "It's My Decision" ~ an original film written by Ralph Odierna.

"IT'S MY DECISION" ~ the "Mafia" comedy I directed (written by Ralph Odierna, produced by RedHead Said Productions) has been nominated for the Milwaukee Women's Festival this weekend August 21, 2016


SUPER BOWL 2017 TICKETS too be auctioned at Ghostly Gala 2 #CureFSHD Muscular Dystrophy

I am on the celeb honorary board along with Olympian Scott Hamilton, Sean Astin, Mickey Dolenz, Rita Moreno, Pat McCormick, Kim Alexis and more to raise awareness about FSHD Muscular Dystrophy.  FSHSociety.org

SuperBowl2017 tickets to be auctioned at Ghostly Gala 2 #CureFSHD. Remote & proxy bidding! https://lnkd.in/bitHA5f I'm on celebrity board of FSHSociety.org Muscular Dystrophy along with Olympian Scott Hamilton, Sean Astin, Mickey Dolenz, Pat McCormick, Rita Moreno.. to raise awareness of FSH at the Ghostly Gala Oct. 30 at the Cicada club. If you want to watch the live stream during the ball here is log-in: http://fshlive.org/



Hollywood joins the fight to #CureFSHD at the Ghostly Gala to vanish FSH Muscular Dystrophy! Wear a mask, a wig from Bach to Bowie! Costume contest. Tickets are only $175 and it goes to a GREAT CAUSE. Plus you can win dozens of prizes and Super Bowl Tickets! fshsociety.org
   

Hollywood joins #CureFSHD at the Ghostly Gala to vanish FSH Muscular Dystrophy!

SuperBowl2017 tickets to be auctioned at Ghostly Gala 2 #CureFSHD. Remote & proxy bidding! https://lnkd.in/bitHA5f I'm on celebrity board of FSHSociety.org Muscular Dystrophy along with Olympian Scott Hamilton, Sean Astin, Mickey Dolenz, Pat McCormick, Rita Moreno.. to raise awareness of FSH at the Ghostly Gala Oct. 30 at the Cicada club. If you want to watch the live stream during the ball here is log-in: http://fshlive.org/

Hollywood joins the fight to #CureFSHD at the Ghostly Gala to vanish FSH Muscular Dystrophy! Wear a mask, a wig from Bach to Bowie! Costume contest. Tickets are only $175 and it goes to a GREAT CAUSE. Plus you can win dozens of prizes and Super Bowl Tickets! fshsociety.org

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

GHOSTLY GALA FOR FSHD MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY OCT. 30 AT THE CICADA CLUB

I am on the honorary board along with Scott Hamilton, Sean Astin, Mickey Dolenz, Rita Moreno, Pat McCormick, Kim Alexis and more ~ COME TO THE GHOSTLY GALA FOR FSH! OCT. 30 AT THE CICADA CLUB ~ FSHD is the most prevalent of the nine primary types of muscular dystrophy affecting adults and children. It is a genetic disorder. New York Times article describes the landmark discovery of the genetic mechanism of FSHD: Reanimated ‘Junk’ DNA Is Found to Cause Disease."




  • FSHD is the most prevalent of the nine primary types of muscular dystrophy affecting adults and children. It is a genetic disorder.
  • New York Times article describes the landmark discovery of the genetic mechanism of FSHD: Reanimated ‘Junk’ DNA Is Found to Cause Disease."
  • FSHD gets its name because of the type of progressive loss of all skeletal muscle, where weakness is usually noticeable across facial (facio), back (scapula) and upper arm (humeral) muscles.
  • Previously, studies estimated the prevalence at around 1 in 20,000 people, but a 2014 Dutch study reported a much higher prevalence of 1 in 8,333.
  • Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is broadly characterized as a neuromuscular disease (NMD), as are all types of muscular dystrophy. Muscular dystrophies are marked by progressive skeletal muscle weakness, defects in the biochemical, physical, and structural components of muscle, and the death of muscle cells and tissue. FSHD gets its name because the progressive loss of skeletal muscle is usually noticeable across facial (facio), back (scapula), and upper arm (humeral) muscles. The hip girdle and legs can also be affected in many patients. Muscle weakness often sets in asymmetrically, affecting only one arm or one leg, for example, and as a result may be mistakenly attributed to strain or a sports injury. Symptoms may manifest early, sometimes years before a formal diagnosis. 
  • https://www.fshsociety.org/honorary-board/


  Sean Astin is best known for his leading role in the feature film series Lord of the Rings, but you may have also seen him in GooniesRudyEncino ManToy SoldiersWhite Water Summer, and many more films. His voice can be heard in cartoons such as Special Agent Oso and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Recently, his television series roles include 24JeremiahMonkLaw & OrderNCIS, and more.


HonoraryBoard_LydiaCornellLydia Cornell is best known as the star of the hit ABC series Too Close for Comfort as Emmy legend Ted Knight’s daughter ‘Sara.’ An international star of over 250 TV shows and films in 27 countries, Lydia received the Southern California Motion Picture Council’s Golden Halo Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. She also directed the SAG film “It’s My Decision” nominated for best film in several film festivals. One of TV’s most popular sex symbols, she is now a writer, director, mother, comedienne, talk show host, women and children’s advocate, teen mentor and inspirational public speaker.
HonoraryBoard-MickyDolenz
Micky Dolenz was one of the stars and a lead singer for the iconic television show, The Monkees. He has appeared on numerous other shows including Peyton Place, Circus Boy, The Secret Files of the Spy Dogs, and The Tick
HonoraryBoardy-BrianGoodell
Brain Goodell won two gold medals at age 17 for swimming in the 1976 Olympics and set world records in each. He won three gold medals for swimming in the 1979 Pan American Games. He graduated from UCLA in 1982 having won nine NCAA titles and 10 U.S. National Championships. In 1986 he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame, the Orange County Sports Hall of Fame in 1984, and the UCLA Hall of Fame in 1991.
HonoraryBoard-ScottHamiltonScott Hamilton is one of the most popular skating stars in the world today. He is an Olympic Gold Medalist, TV skating commentator, actor, performer, producer, Emmy Award nominee, best-selling author, role model, humanitarian, philanthropist, and a cancer and brain tumor survivor.
HonoraryBoard-RichardKarnRichard Karn is famous for his role as Al on the long-running series Home Improvement. He has also appeared on the series CTRLThat 70’s Show, and Boy Meets World. He was the host of Bingo America as well as Family Feud, one of the most famous game shows in television history.




Thursday, October 20, 2016

COMMUNITY ARTS PARTNERSHIP ~ CALARTS INAUGURAL CAP EVENT

Please join us for several AMAZING charity events next weekend, end of October, before Halloween!

CAP

Ghostly Gala



Tuesday, October 18, 2016

MEETING FACEBOOK FRIENDS IN NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY AND STATEN ISLAND

I just returned from 3 weeks in New York City with side trips to Staten Island to meet some of my favorite people on Facebook. This was an incredible trip. I feel I am bonded for life with these wonderful people.



Tuesday, October 04, 2016

HOW TO SURVIVE ANYTHING ~ IF YOU HAVE LOST HOPE, DON'T GIVE UP ~ READ THIS

I told my friend, who's a psychoanalyst, "I think I'll stop analyzing my problems and see what happens." She nearly bit my head off: "Are you crazy? You have to analyze your problems or they might go away!"

Thoughts have substance, and we manifest those things that occupy our thoughts. "What you think about grows, so watch what you allow into your mind.  We have the power to reverse our circumstances by reversing our thoughts. Surrender to the moment. Accept whatever is happening, no matter how "bad" it looks or feels. Acceptance is the key to serenity. If someone has wronged you, stolen from you, locked you out of your home — do the basic footwork to right the wrongs —  such as reporting any crime to the police, the Better Business Bureau, Legal Aid, the Legal Defense fund, Renters' Rights, or whatever help you can find in your community. Find temporary housing, go to a Food Bank, take care of the basics for your family. If you have children, teach them that they are safe no matter what, and that every new challenge is a new adventure. Teach them that they can survive whatever life

There are public libraries where you can sit all day with your children and research the Internet for help.  There are community centers that will helP you find resources. There are missions and churches with temporary housing. There are parks with free meals for senior citizens. There are restaurants you can go to and just sit in a booth with a glass of water while you re-group and make calls. There is a Social Services Department. There are countless 12-step meetings in every city, where you can share your woes. There are kind people everywhere, willing to lend a hand when asked.

But after taking care of the basics, let go and let the Universe take the reins.  Trust that you will be taken care of as the lilies of the field.  Just try it. Try not worrying for one day and see what happens.  "But you have to worry about your problems or they might go away!"

It does no good to dwell in the misery of your own thoughts for long, or to keep asking "Why? Why did this happen to me?" Sometimes we fall down in order to learn to get back up. And to learn self reliance. It's an inside job.  Sometimes there is no human power that can save us; we have to find a higher power ...We have to go within and lean on inner resources. It's an inside job :)

It helps to realize that everyone is fallible and no person or system is perfect. Here in the U.S. we somehow have the idea that the trains will run on time, the water will flow from the pipes, and people will treat us fairly. We have a sense of entitlement.  People who are supposed to do the right thing often fail us.  Banks fail, the stock market fails. People break the law and the speed limit.

So instead of stewing or wasting time plotting revenge, or stressing yourself into a heart attack, realize your time here on Earth is a precious gift. Move forward out of the "blame zone."  Instantly reverse your thought.  Choose to feel differenty and react differently. Choose your next step based on joy, no matter what is happening in the outside world.  The world can be collapsing in chaos, but you can choose to be CALM.  Choose to feel good. Choose to LAUGH. Then see what happens.

For me, having a pity party is the fastest way to hell. Instead I like to look up, see that the sky isn't falling, and realize it could be worse. Then find a way to laugh at yourself.  This too shall pass.

Take a deep breath and accept that this is what is happening for whatever reason, at this moment.  What doesn't kill you makes you stronger and wiser.  We don't have control or power over other people's screw-ups or pathology, lack of morals or unkindness. We only have control over our reactions.  We can choose to think good thoughts even about our enemies, and not resist anything going on at any moment.  Disease and stress (which creates biochemical pathways to disease) are created when we are in resistance to the moment: when we are wanting something that is not happening or trying to prevent something from happening, or not being in agreement with reality.  Acceptance is the key to serenity.

Cathy Gelbart finally accepted that the shopping cart was going to always be in her way in the elevator until the day she decided, this is a holy moment, "this is my daily duty -- to lovingly remove the shopping cart for others and to stop being annoyed at the faceless, nameless asshole who leaves the shopping cart in the elevator every single time they go shopping."

Cathy began looking forward to the shopping cart. It was her new mission, an act of selfless love to move it out of the way, and not to react or be impatient.  She began to laugh at herself for the way she had behaved all year — the way she had cursed and kicked the shopping cart; the hours of wasted energy spent imagining a confrontation with the selfish jerk who put it there.

So she changed her attitude and began to look forward to the shopping cart each day. And the minute she did this, the shopping cart never appeared again.

If we resist or fight or spend time retaliating, brooding, worrying, screaming, fighting anyone or anything (including the System, the Powers that be, the Republicans, the banks, the government, the insurance companies, the economy, the law) we stay entangled in a toxic relationship with the very people we most want to disengage from. We stay stuck, or as Emmet Fox says, "tethered to our enemies, by a ball and chain, like a prisoner. The more we rehearse our grievances over and over in our minds, blaming and shaming and regretting and cursing them -- the more power we give them with our thoughts. We are only hurting ourselves; it's our stress levels that affect our health. Long-term anger is not a healthy emotional state to linger in. Forgive and move on.

I love this:  Maximize your experience on Earth.  Thoughts have substance, and we manifest those things that occupy our thoughts. We are all creators of our own individual universe.
Success, physical and emotional well-being, happy relationships, and spiritual wisdom are affected by our environment. Proper guidance of universal energy is essential to maximizing our experience on Earth.