Caring Action, Caring Beyond Borders, Caring Connections, Feel Good News, Sharing Caring

Uplifting Stories from the Frontline of the Pandemic

Uplifting Stories from the Frontline of a Pandemic

There are so many news articles and stories on the internet today that reflect the insanity of the global pandemic. What we at Unified Caring Association (UCA) have seen many beacons of hope, caring, and kindness shining through headlines each day. We decided to compile a few that highlights how business and people are banding together to help support the heroes who are on the frontlines.

Starbucks Partners Bring Coffee & Comfort to COVID-19 Frontline Responders

Cheers to Starbucks

One Starbucks manager’s heart went out to those in his local area, and had inspiration to bring joy and comfort to front line responders. The manager cares for his community, and found ample support in his decision. “Now more than ever, the world needs places to come together with compassion and love…We provide consistency to create a sense of certainty in an uncertain world.” The Starbucks team gathered and filled coffee travelers. Each coffee care package was completed with a personalized note conveying gratitude and encouragement. The manager then delivered these to police officers, City Hall, the fire department, etc. This action inspired Starbucks locations around the world to show their support in the same way. Cheers to all of these Starbucks partners! You all are examples of how a community cares for its heroes.

Tesla is using its logistic network to deliver ventilators to hospitals.

Telsa

With the need for medical supplies, we have been seeing calls for help from those on the frontlines. We are excited to read that Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk announced that the automaker has ventilators. Additionally, Tesla will be using its logistic network to deliver them to hospitals for free. This is just in time, because several hospitals in the US are in need of ventilators to help save patients! Many of these patients are badly affected by the virus, and in need of that support. Tesla cares, thank you!

Officer Gives a Face Masks Instead of a Ticket.

frontlines supporting each other

Dr. Sarosh Ashraf Janjua was pulled over for speeding, and was surprised to receive a facemask instead of the expected ticket. “He went back to his patrol car to look up my license, and when he returned, quite firmly told me it was very irresponsible of me to be speeding, especially since I would not only take up resources if I got into an accident, but would also not be in a position to help patients.” (Janjua) The doctor was let off with a warning. “As I sputtered to apologize and say thank you, he reached in to hand me what I assumed was my license back.” This officer, Brian J. Schwartz, cares for fellow frontline heroes as well as others in the community. To show this support he handed Dr Janjua five new N95 face masks from his personal state-supplied stash. “[He] shared his precious masks with me, without my even asking…The veil of civilization may be thin, but … we are going to be ok.”

Tavern Owner Sets Up Virtual Pub.

Virtual pub, Cheers!

An English lady set up a virtual pub to entertain local townspeople while they are practicing self-isolation to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the regular events are live music, quizzes, DJ sets, open mic, and comedy nights. The virtual pub had been a hit, and she now employs bar staffers to cope with her 14,500 online customers. She has a team of 10  “bar staffers.” This team works together to talk with customers; there are even “bouncers”, who act as moderators and allow people into the virtual pub. ““It’s really nice to be able to bring people together in these difficult times in the most British way possible. It is pretty much like going to a pub, but doing it from your living room or back garden.” (Bowtell) We love the idea of getting together virtually and sharing support in a fun and family friendly environment. And as always, “we’re encouraging people to drink responsibly though. We have coffee mornings as well.”

Restaurants Giving Free Food to Hospital Staff Fighting on the Frontline.

Feeding the Frontlines

Like the Starbucks story above, many companies are helping support frontline heroes with free goodies. “Starbucks will be providing the free coffees to police officers, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses, and hospital employees until May 3rd.” Additionally, on National Doctors’ Day, Krispy Kreme is also offering boxes of donuts to health care workers each Monday. To help protect the frontline heroes feet, Crocs is also giving doctors, nurses, etc. free pairs of shoes through their online site. A fourth company mentioned in the Good News Network’s article is Tropical Smoothie. This smoothie drink eatery has locations giving away 100,000 smoothies to US healthcare workers. We agree with Tropical Smoothie’s comment that, “The 100K smoothie giveaway is a simple, but impactful example of one way we can show our gratitude and bring a smile to their face—one sip at a time.” 

Parents Pooled Money as Thank You Gifts to Janitorial Staff Who Sanitize Schools.

Safe and Clean

Often when we talk about frontline heroes we are talking about doctors, emergency responders, and teachers. There are many more people whose profession and jobs are necessary to support the community and put them on the frontline. The janitorial and sanitation workers have been tirelessly cleaning and sterilizing offices, homes, and facilities so that people can remain healthy. This particular article celebrates the janitors who are making sure school facilities are kept clean and sanitary during the COVID-19 outbreaks. We are moved to hear that appreciative parents have raised thousands of dollars for their district janitors. These parents and communities care for their school custodians who are going the extra mile with each cleaning. “I said we need to recognize that these staff members who are going into potential contamination and a disaster zone, really, and putting themselves at risk… It’s already an under-appreciated job as it is, and not one that gets a lot of respect. It was a feel-good way to get people to recognize that.” (Thomas)

Support from a community the cares!

We are all being called to do extraordinary things for the collective caring of our families, communities and the world in response to the unique coronavirus pandemic. Whether home bound or providing critical services, everyone is stretched to adapt like never before.  All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us. Life is going to require new routines, resilience and compassion. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement to respond to local needs.

Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way! If you would like caring messages throughout the week, follow us on Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter!

Caring Action, Caring Beyond Borders, Caring Connections, Feel Good News, Sharing Caring, Unified Caring Association

Share Your Story

Share Your Story

Unified Caring Association (UCA) is reaching out to its awesome Caring Community of members who are daily overcoming the lifestyle changes of the current pandemic. Many of us have discovered upbeat, inspirational or even humorous ways to deal with the challenges. We would love to hear these stories from you!

We believe we can all learn from each other story.

We’ve created  a new section of our website called “Share Your Story.” Each week we will publish some of the member’s stories that demonstrate the encouraging ways people are coping.  

If you would like to join this caring community outreach effort, CLICK HERE!

We invite you to share your story by writing 1-2 paragraphs and clicking submit. Our excitement is filling the air as we hear, witness, and write about acts of kindness and caring community efforts during this global event.

Thank you caring community

The call is out for us all to do extraordinary things for the collective caring of our families, communities and the world in response to the unique coronavirus pandemic. Whether homebound or providing critical services, everyone is stretching to adapt like never before.  All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us. Life is going to require new routines, resilience and compassion. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement to respond to local needs.

Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way! If you would like caring messages throughout the week, follow us on Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter!

Caring Connections, Self-Care

How People are Re-finding Natural Balance

How People are Re-finding Natural Balance

We have passed the Spring Equinox.  The days are growing longer than the nights, the sun is warming the earth, and flowers and animals are returning.  And yet, we humans find ourselves in a unique situation trying to re-find our natural balance in life.  Some are searching for their “new normal.” With so many people under stay at home orders, we are seeing nature is in fact re-finding its balance.  There are animals returning to places they haven’t been in a very long time. The dolphins and swans have returned to the canals of Italy, elephants are roaming free through garden groves in India.  Other changes, like pollution being lowered all over the world because of the closure of factories and people not driving hours to work and home every day are also brightening our outlook about this pandemic.  But what of our own balance? Most of us have had to make major changes to our daily social routines.

Being Social

Being Social

Humans are social creatures.  And with such a task as self-isolation and social distancing being required of us, we find ourselves in new uncharted territory.  But humans are highly adaptable. And people are finding ways to be social even while home and practicing social isolation and social distancing. We are seeing a return of community that we haven’t seen in a very long time, perhaps not since the invention of television. People are walking their dogs, playing with their kids or siblings in the front yard, riding their bikes, and visiting lakes and beaches.  People make it a point to say hi from their porches and introduce themselves from a distance. On a nice day you may see people tinkering in their garage or with their cars, playing cornhole on the lawn, or flying a remote-controlled helicopter. In more rural areas, people have a chance to ride their horses, visit lakes and streams and fish, and hike.  In cities we are seeing folks singing and exercising with each other from their own balconies. Musicians are doing balcony performances. And almost everywhere, family members in different households are video chatting and sending letters to each other.

It looks like we are indeed re-finding our natural balance during difficult times. We are staying connected, staying social, and getting closer, in the midst of social “distancing.”

We are all being called to do extraordinary things for the collective caring of our families, communities and the world in response to the unique coronavirus pandemic. Whether home bound or providing critical services, everyone is stretched to adapt like never before.  All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us. Life is going to require new routines, resilience and compassion. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement to respond to local needs.

Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way! If you would like caring messages throughout the week, follow us on Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter!

Children, Resources, Sharing Caring

HeartMath Keen on Teens

Keen on Teens

There are so many challenges in the world, especially for children and teenagers facing new challenges today. Unified Caring Association (UCA) has many caring tools and resources to help parents and teens during these tough times. We recently got a note from our friends at HeartMath that there is an upcoming online event to help teenagers. We are brimming with excitement to share an awesome free telesummit gear towards helping teenagers. 

The best opportunities and guidance for teens to succeed.

One core question that this summit is trying to answer is, “Why do some parents feel challenged in guiding their teens to success?” Today many teens face challenges such as pressures from school, bullying, body image, and social media. Unfortunately, these challenges can lead to issues such as anxiety or depression. Teenagers need caring tools to help build resiliency. With a good foundation in caring tools and techniques, teens can reach their highest potential, and have an easier time bouncing back from adversity. The goal for the Keen for Teens telesummit is to learn how to best guide your teen to lead happy and healthy lives. A key speaker is HeartMaths’s Director of Education, Jeff Goelitz. He will be speaking on March 18, 2020. His goal is to share strategies to help teens deal with self‑management, stress, and how to prepare and cope with challenging events successfully. 

Join in the caring!

Keen on Teens Telesummit

March 14‑27, 2020.

Free 

Keen on Teens Topics
Keen on Teens Video

Click Here to visit the site and watch the introductory video!

Would you like to know more about Unified Caring Association and keep up to date on UCA’s caring acts? Check out our blogs on UCA, Caring Action, and Caring the UCA Way! Other ways to keep up with UCA activities are on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, and Twitter for updates throughout the week!

Animals, Caring Action, Caring Beyond Borders, Caring Connections

Conservation Ambassadors Zoo to You

Conservation Ambassadors Zoo to You

Cute, fierce, and awe inspiring are some of the feelings that many of us feel when we see animals. Sometimes our furry and crawling friends need a little help. An example that Unified Caring Association (UCA) loves to do is have UCA member benefits that help pets. Other organizations that help animals hold a favorite place in our hearts. One such organization is Conservation Ambassadors and their Zoo to You program.

Who are Conservation Ambassadors and what is the Zoo to You?

Conservation Ambassadors and Zoo are a rescue zoo. This is a place where un-releasable and unwanted wild animals could have a permanent loving home. These animals have a second chance at life by becoming animal “ambassadors” through an outreach education program. At the sanctuary there are about 230 animals, and about 8 employees. Largest of the animals are the camels, black bears and tigers. What the team loves is that all the animals are well cared for and accustomed to people. This helps them become ambassadors for education.

Conservation Ambassadors have rescued hundreds of animals and educated many children for years. Over the years, the sanctuary has been growing and is currently planning further developments to house the growing animal population. Conservation Ambassadors are giving a caring voice to wildlife by providing a stable and loving home. Many of these animals are displaced, exotic, abused, abandoned or permanently injured. Their second life is full of fun and TLC as they are able to participate in outreach programs with school children. These learners, young to old, are educated about conservation, can become connected to the wild world, and inspire them to protect and conserve animals and their habitat.

Zoo to You is a specific program that helps inspire many people all over California. This unique style of education is a blend of relevant storytelling and fun, enlightening messages through meeting live animals. With the efforts of Conservation Ambassadors and Zoo to You, these children grow into informed, caring adults. Often these children call and write to the sanctuary about how much they have learned and enjoyed the programs, and want to bring their kids to learn as well. This is such an inspiring organization brimming with caring, inspiring others to see the natural world as an important and necessary part of life. 

Video Conservation Ambassadors

Learn more about Conservation Ambassadors by CLICKING HERE to watch a short video!

Meet some of the Animals

Recently, we had a chance to meet some of the caring team members and their animal ambassadors. We are happy to see them all, and want to celebrate them!

Izzabu

Izzabu is a 5 year old camel who used to work in the movies. She is gorgeous with her long eyelashes!

Rhetta

Rhetta is an Augur Buzzard from Central Africa. She enjoys eating small prey like lizards and snakes or small birds. She loves to chill all day when she is not hunting.

Emeril
Spike

We met Emeril, who is 5 years old, and Spike, who is much larger. Both of these alligators are happily hanging out with full bellies. 

Nick

Next we have Nick the reindeer. He is 7 yrs old, and lives in the Midwest most of the year. He loves his grain snacks, and gobbles them down at every chance! November through December his antlers fall off. But before that, during the middle of the year, he will often rub the fur off his antlers.

Marcel

At one point we were quickly introduced to Marcel the monkey. He gave a quick squeak before being whisked away for a snack.

Pockets

Pockets is an opossum who is 3 years old, which is old for her species. Interestingly, we learned that opossums are more closely related to monkeys, and their bodies are too cold for carrying diseases. We were having fun watching Pockets wrap her tail as she descends from shoulders and branches.

Bluebell

A chinchilla named Bluebell was snoozing in her ash bath as she was waiting for night to fall. We learned from her that chinchillas see best in the dark, and if their fur gets wet it will begin tol mold. We were enjoying petting Bluebell because she is SO soft. This soft silky fur is because of how dense and fine their fur is; we can only describe this as petting a cloud.

Disco

Lastly, we met Disco the Fox. Disco is a rescue from a lady who was illegally raising him. He is 12 years old, and is looking forward to many more years as an ambassador because foxes can live to be 20 years old in captivity.

We had a blast meeting the animal ambassadors and the caring individuals who help care for them. Nothing makes our hearts sing than seeing others sharing the caring and helping educate others on how the world can become a better place for all to live.

Zoo Animals

Want to check out more about Unified Caring Association? CLICK HERE to visit our website! If you would like to read more about caring the UCA way, sharing caring, and/or topics on caring action check out all of our blogs. Not able to check in on the blogs each day? Follow us on Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter to get notifications from us. We look forward to connecting and sharing with you!

Children, Scholarships, Sharing Caring

Scholarship Themes : Equality

UCA Scholarship Themes: Equality

Unified Caring Association (UCA) offers scholarship opportunities throughout the year. Each scholarship essay submission that comes to us during our contests fills us with joy. There are so many caring students who share their ideas for a better world. Or how they have helped others in the past, even sharing their life stories. These stories have shaped them into caring ambassadors that go out into communities and spread kindness to all they meet. There seem to always be themes that pop up when we read the essays submitted. One strong theme that we found is that of equality. Below are some pearls of wisdom and caring essays that reflect the theme of equality.

Jennifer Watt quote

Jennifer Watt has a fantastic pearl of wisdom. Equality between others is not just one part of creating a more caring world. Sometimes equality isn’t the only thing. She goes beyond equality to promote helping others who are struggling.

Savannah Kartchner

Savannah Kartchner quote

“If I could change the world to make it a more caring place, I would change how everyone, especially children are educated about diversity. I believe that if we started educating kids at a younger age about accepting diversity, and continue to educate them through the rest of their lives, we could make people more comfortable with themselves, as well as others and change a lot of the problems people suffer with now, especially bullying. I know that this would not end all problems in the world, but I also know that children are our future and if they were raised to believe that there is nothing wrong with being different, they would be less likely to be uncomfortable with differences. They would also be more accepting of themselves and know that it is okay if they are different. 

I know how important this is. I was born with a birth defect called symbrachydactyly, which means that I have three fingers on my left hand. Ever since I was little I have always loved my hand. In preschool, I showed it off for show and tell because I thought it was so cool. At that time in my life, I didn’t really care about other people’s comments or how they treated me, but as I have grown older it has become a little harder to brush them off. However, I was raised with the knowledge that I look different, but I am still beautiful. That knowledge has helped me remain confident in myself throughout my entire life. 

I think giving people more education and allowing them to become more comfortable with diversity would really change how we see each other. That is the best way I have found to get people comfortable around my hand is by educating them about it but at the same time making them more comfortable. Whenever people notice and ask me what happened to my hand I usually make up an exaggerated story. Something so unbelievable that they, usually, realize that I’m joking. Then they relax and become visibly more comfortable. After that, we can talk pretty freely, and they feel comfortable asking me questions. That’s what I want for the world, for people to feel comfortable to discuss and accept someone else’s differences.  

When we accept each other’s differences we can make a major impact on the world. We become kinder and more understanding. With this attitude, we could end bullying because no difference would be seen as bad. Everyone would be accepting and there would be no need to make fun of someone because they were different, because in the end everyone is different and thus we would accept each other.  

I believe that educating others about diversity would impact how we see ourselves and our differences and could help increase our self-esteem. It could also impact how we treat other people when they are different from us. We could also stop bullying. If we learn to accept other people’s differences we could change the world and make it a more caring place.”

Teresa Fundter

“If I could change one thing to make the world a more caring place, I would choose to make our society more accepting. This would allow us to have more open minds, leading us to be more caring individuals, and thus making the world a more caring place.

During my Junior year in high school, my school experienced an issue with a group of students yelling insensitive, racist, and homophobic slanders at our opponents during a… basketball game. A local newspaper wrote articles about the incident, and it led us to a discussion about our schools’ character and tolerance of others. As a community, we responded to the situation by focusing on healing and encouraging tolerance, notably for people that may be different than us. As a part of my school’s Athletic Leadership Council, I worked with the Dean of Discipline/Vice Principal and the Athletic Director to help remedy those students’ actions. The school administration reprimanded the students, taught us about acceptance, and encouraged many discussions, but most importantly, they showed us another point of view besides our own. My school handled the event very well, but this experience also opened my eyes to a much bigger issue: a lack of acceptance for differences. And this lack of acceptance does not only exist in small bubbles like my high school – it is very prominent across the United States, and even throughout the world.

People tend to fixate on and criticize what separates them. Because of this, they often get caught up in those differences and cannot recognize that arguing about such differences creates a more hostile world. For example, in today’s political climate, differences between political parties prevent people from having an open mind, especially regarding controversial topics like gun control, abortion rights, and the climate crisis. Two people from opposite ends of the political spectrum will not try to empathize with the other’s perspective, which can lead to rude, ignorant, and obscene misunderstandings of those differences. And, often times, people will immediately seek to label those around them as “ally” or “enemy,” further creating an uncaring world in which people are divided. Rather than seeing differences as an impossible obstacle to overcome, we should praise, accept, and celebrate our differences, because differences are what makes us all unique and drives the world forward.

Teaching acceptance would help foster a more caring world. In order to do this, we must first encourage empathy. If we do not take a moment to step back and consider another point of view, we will not be able to understand (and therefore accept) someone for who they are. Parents, teachers, and other role models can encourage empathy by teaching children from a young age the importance of listening to and caring for another person’s feelings. Although empathy can become harder to practice as children grow up and life becomes more complicated, they will have a solid empathetic foundation that they can always refer back to. And, as a result, these empathetic, accepting adults can help to teach the next generation the same caring nature, continuing to make the world a more caring place in doing so.

Teaching one another about our differences and having empathy for each other would help ensure that there will be less misunderstandings and less negative feelings towards each other. Having these empathetic learning experiences – not arguments – is the first step to creating acceptance, and an even bigger step to creating a more caring world.”

What an amazing group of students! We are happy and proud to be able to help support them and their continuing education. Equality is just one theme these caring students wrote about. There are many other themes other than equality that we will be blogging about, such as stopping bullying and empathy. We look forward to sharing more with our caring community. Thank you to all of our scholarship applicants, you truly are caring ambassadors!

Want to read more about UCA 2019 scholarship winners and get an extra dose of positivity on you news feeds? Read our other caring scholarship blogs, scholarship blogs on gratitude. Or follow us on social media: Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram. We are looking forward to sharing more with you!

Caring Action

2020 Clear Sighted Year

2020 Clear Sighted Year
Jim Rohn quote

Most of us set or reaffirm goals at the beginning of a new year. We at Unified Caring Association (UCA) have many caring tools and resources for our members. With the symbology of 2020, we want to help bring into focus great ways to help set attainable goals to achieve more caring in your life and the lives of those you love. We are ready to begin a 2020 clear sighted year!

Why Set Goals?

Many of us want to make changes in our lives. How we do that effectively is to set goals. Goals are great triggers for changes in lifestyles and behavior. Goals help guide our focus and overcome procrastination. Life can be overwhelming and that focus is important. When goals are attainable they help sustain momentum and give us ways to measure progress. Ultimately, goal setting helps develop our lives into more fulfilling and caring.

How do you set good goals?

There are so many ways to set ourselves up for success. Overall, they have some elements in common: a mission or vision statement, the steps to achieve the goal are chunked into smaller parts, and focusing on self-reflection to see what you really want and can achieve. There are three main acronyms in different goal setting strategies: SMART, CLEAR, and GROW.

SMART Goals are specific. The clearer and unambiguous the goal statement, the easier it is to keep that goal in mind. These specific goals need to be measurable, that way you can keep track of the goal’s progress. SMART Goals are realistic goals. Taking the time to reflect on what you can actually do to achieve the main goal. Is it realistic and attainable to hike Kilimanjaro in your first month of exercise? Probably not if you have not hiked much in your life. Lastly, SMART Goals need to be time-specific. Build in an end date to achieve your SMART Goal. If you goal is to be able to hike to the top of Kilimanjaro, then pick a realistic date to summit the mountain.

CLEAR Goals are great for those who prefer more innovation. These goals are collaborative, which can help us be more accountable. Also, CLEAR Goals are limited in scope and time. For example, you could want to join a yoga class for 12 weeks. CLEAR Goals build in an emotional investment to help drive us to achieve our goal. Goals need to be broken down into manageable steps, and therefore appreciable. CLEAR Goals are more flexible to allow for unexpected life events, and are therefore refinable. It is ok to readdress your goals if you are suddenly sick, or have an unexpected family event.

GROW Goals allow for a lot of introspective reflection because they as questions to drive the plan. The “G”  in GROW is asking, “What the overall goal is that your want to achieve.” This is like the thesis or vision you want to achieve, “I want to meditate more.” Next, we ask questions that inquire what the reality of achieving that goal is. If we look at our example of meditation, take a look at how often you meditate now. What are our options to achieve this goal? Reflecting on your week to see how you can achieve your goals is important to be able to make smaller achievable steps to be successful. The last letter, “W,” is asking you what will you be willing to do? Are you actually willing to set aside 20 minutes a day to meditate? Or are you willing to set aside 20 minutes every other day?

Three Goals Acronyms

These three examples of goal setting methods are just the surface. There are so many different acronyms and techniques that are out there for setting goals. What is important is to get the ball rolling by getting clear, setting up a plan, and taking action to achieve your goals. With 2020 clear sighted goals at the beginning of the year, we can bring more caring into our lives, filling us with energy, and excitement!

Zig Ziglar quote

Video Inspiration

In our search for 2020 clear sighted goal setting, we came across a great TedTalk by John Doerr. In this he  gives examples of interactions with people who are cracking the secret to success through setting strong, tangible goals. Click Here to watch the full video!

Would you like to read our other blogs on Gut-Brain Connection, Monitoring Health With Biofeedback , and our caring acts? Maybe you would like an added smile to your day on your social media timeline? Find us on Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram. We look forward to posting more about what is happening in our caring community and promoting a more positive and kind world!

Caring Challenge, Caring Connections, Sharing Caring, Unified Caring Association

Caring Challenge x 365 Days

Caring Challenge

caring Challenge x 365

Each day we can do something nice for others or ourselves. This helps us feel better, and brings more caring into the world.  Our days this past year were bright with 365 daily prompts for caring. Unified Caring Association has the UCA Caring Challenge, one suggested caring act per day. Since 2019 has come to an end, we want to share a recap of the final months. 

Would you like to get on board?

Each day on the Unified Caring Association website there is a new caring act suggestion.  An example is, “Hold the door open for someone.”  We have a previous posts reviewing the first and second parts of 2019’s Caring Challenge. If you want to review on the last part of 2019 to see you missed since our last Caring Challenge Recap, below is a list of each caring act. Look through the calendars below to see each day’s prompt. We know you will enjoy them. Maybe we can add these caring acts to our upcoming daily acts of caring and kindness!

Caring Challenge July 2019
Caring Challenge August 2019
Caring Challenge September 2019
Caring Challenge October 2019
Caring Challenge November 2019
Caring Challenge December 2019

Would you like to read our other blogs on caring, Unified Caring Association member benefits, and our caring acts? Maybe you would like an added smile to your day on your social media timeline? Find us on Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram. We look forward to posting more about what is happening in our caring community and promoting a more positive and kind world!

Feel Good News, Scholarships, Unified Caring Association

10 Scholarship Winners

10 Scholarship Winners
Good Writing quote from Pinter

During the year, we at Unified Caring Association (UCA) hold scholarship contests to help students achieve academic success. Recently, we held an essay contest asking students: “If you could change one thing in the world to make it a more caring place, what would you change?” The resulting essays were filled with caring and amazing stories, activities, and solutions to bring more caring into the world.

We are announcing with enthusiasm the top ten 2019 scholarship winners! Each of these winners received an award of $350:

First place 2019 Scholarship Winners -Part 1
First Place Scholarship Winners - Part 2

There are so many wonderful caring essays, and we want to share more caring to these students. UCA is proud to announce ten honorable mention scholarships of $100:

2019 Honorable Mention Scholarship Winners

UCA creates scholarship contests to encourage the next generation to think about ways to help create more caring in the world. We receive many entries each round of scholarships, this time we received close to 200 entries from all over the United States, from Hawaii to Virginia. Our hearts melt with every single inspirational essay. Some show courage by sharing a personal story with insight to empathize with those less fortunate. Others have the creativity to address more serious issues facing humanity, such as cyberbullying. We are grateful to each entrant for their essay contribution. They each hold a caring torch to make this world a more caring place. To us, it is clear that the future of this world is in good hands.

Want to read more about UCA 2019 scholarship winners and get an extra dose of positivity on you news feeds? Read our other caring scholarship blogs, scholarship blogs on gratitude, and or follow us on social media: Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram. We are looking forward to sharing more with you!

Caring Beyond Borders, Sharing Caring

School Lunch Debt Shaming

School Lunch Debt Shaming

Each day, sometimes twice a day, children line up at the school cafeteria. They eagerly chat about which meal they are going to order; the burger, french toast, or fruit salad all sound good! Once they get to the cashier, the mood quickly changes. It becomes embarrassment and horror as they are labeled with debt when the register flashed with a negative balance. To add to this, the meal that excites them is taken away. It is replaced with a simple sandwich made from two pieces of white bread and a slice of American cheese. This bullying happens more often than not, and is a little known issue in the United States. Without a doubt this bullying due to lack of funding is unacceptable, and breaks our hearts at Unified Caring Association (UCA). We would like to raise awareness about this form of bullying.

What is school lunch debt shaming?

“Lunch Shaming” refers to identifying and placing a stigma on a student who does not have money to buy a school meal. This is often referring to children in K-12th grade, who get their breakfast or lunch at school. “While the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) narrowly applies this overt identification to students who are eligible for free or reduced lunch, in practice legal lunch shaming occurs against students whose family income exceeds free or reduced lunch eligibility thresholds.” (American Bar Association) Lunch debt shaming’s purpose is to embarrass a student and subsequently their parent(s) so that the debt is paid quickly, making it so that the school has less financial burden. Both students who do not qualify for free school meals through the National School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program but qualify for reduced-price school meals $0.30/day (breakfast) and $0.40/day (lunch) or those that do not qualify for subsidised meal programs can accrue lunch debt.

It comes in many forms…

Think about the memes where people take pictures of their pets with signs shaming them for what they did wong, such as chewing up all the toilet paper rolls in the bathroom. Or, like this one below:

Pet Shame

Now apply this tactic to an elementary school kid. Their hand now has a stamp stating “Not Enough Money.” Less funny? We would agree.

Other stories that can be found in the news include throwing the child’s meal away after it had been served if they cannot pay. It appears that some schools even offer different meals to the children who have school lunch debt, such as PBJ’s instead of the hot meal. Or, there have been reports of schools barring the kids with lunch debt from participating in afterschool activities. Or threatening the kids with other actions such as placing them in foster care. These unacceptable actions vary because there is no set baselines for unpaid meal fees in the meal programs’ policies for the school districts by The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

How can we solve it?

There are so many ways that we can help solve the issue of school lunch debt. Jeffery Lew gives a great summary on how we can be more proactive in the short and long term in eliminating lunch debt shaming. Lew suggests being active in raising funds through crowdfunding, such as Go Fund Me, to help those in immediate need. Other ways are by the schools notifying the parents of the student meal accounts. This can be done by paper notifications sent home with the kids, or by email. Some schools can even set up automatic notifications to the parents’ mobile devices.

Watch the full TedTalk!

TedTalk Debt Shame

Other things we can do. We can share information about meal programs for kids at school, such as National School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program. Unified Caring Association has also worked with Great Northern Services (GNS) who has a summer lunch program to help feed students while school is not in session.

Overall, Lew sums it up when he comments how kids and debt should not be in the same sentence. And bullying children to get a message to the parents is unacceptable. With a supportive, inclusive, and caring community we can help remove lunch shaming debt from schools, we can further focus on growing caring children.

Would you like to know more about Unified Caring Association? Check out our blogs on Mobile Apps for Caring Children, Caring Communities to Help Stop Cyberbullying, and One Tree Planted T.R.E.E.S. Program for Kids! Would you like to keep up with UCA activities? Check us out on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter for updates throughout the week!