In most communities there are times when we are faced with challenges, negativity or bullying. The internet has not been spared from this, especially on social media platforms. This newest form of internet harassment is often referred to as cyberbullying. We at Unified Caring Association (UCA) want to help source tools and share resources to help others and our children learn the skills needed to stop current forms of bullying and prevent any future bullying from happening.
Bullying and forms of hate or discrimination have been around for most, if not all of human history. With the advent of the internet in the 1990’s there came a new form of bullying: cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is the use of electronic communication to harass, trash talk, or bully a person. Often times this is typically done by sending messages that can be intimidating or threatening in nature. One of the first pervasive examples of this is seen through Monica Lewinski’s experiences. At this time her private life became public, and people began to ridicule her as fast as a wildfire in dry grass. Since then she has become a prominent anti-bullying advocate, even giving a strong TedTalk on the subject.
Cyberbullying has become a more common issue in households and schools, especially for children and teens. Often we hear about messages that are hurtful or degrading left on one or more kid’s social media account from their peers. This begs the question: what tools and organizations can we turn to to help our children dispel cyberbullying?
Stomp Out Bullying
UCA has aligned itself with Stomp Out Bullying, a leading national nonprofit that dedicates itself to changing to a caring culture for all children. This organization works to prevent and reduce bullying/cyberbullying. Also Stomp Out Bullying educates people against LGBTQ discrimination and racism in an effort to deter violence in schools and in communities (online and offline) across the U.S. This organization teaches effective responses and solutions to bullying, cyberbullying, etc. They do this using in-school and online education programs for kids and teens. In addition to their education programs, Stomp Out Bullying provides help for people in need or at-risk of suicide. They raise awareness through public service announcements, peer mentoring programs in schools, and social media campaigns.
October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Every year the first Monday of October is World Day of Bullying Prevention™ where students, communities, and schools raise awareness by wearing the color blue. Stomp Out Bullying has unique blue shirts to commemorate this day and further bring this national challenge into the spotlight. But, we can all just unify under the color blue to show support as well. This strong unified voice will help the world hear and see that our culture needs to change to be more caring. This is the 12th year that Stomp Out Bullying has began this quest and they have a wonderful slogan for their shirts: ‘Make Bullying History.’ This event will help “…speak for all of our youth who are tormented by bullying, cyberbullying, cruelty, hatred, racism, homophobia and LGBTQ discrimination…[we] stand together to MAKE BULLYING HISTORY!” (Stomp Out Bullying)
Unified Caring Association is constantly striving to help create a more caring world. We love sharing more caring information and resources on our website and through blogs that share caring in our community, activities, and reviews. We also send out caring posts on our social media accounts (Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter) to give inspiration throughout the week.
Throughout each year, Unified Caring Association (UCA) holds scholarship contests to help those of all age ranges with funding for their education. Our recent fall applicants all had wonderful and caring essays that they submitted.
If you could change one thing in the world to make it a more caring place, what would you change? This was our most recent topic for the category for U.S. high school juniors and seniors. We were so impressed and moved by common themes we read that we shared them in our blog posts: Themes from Scholarships 2019 – Empathy to Passion, Themes from Essays – Gratitude, The Little Things Count, and Themes from Scholarships-Understanding Others: We are All Human. In these blogs we amplify these caring thoughts and actions, celebrating the growth, success, and innovative thinking for solving problems currently happening and in the future.
With these students we are looking at a brighter future. We are proud to honor these caring young adults who are taking steps in unique ways to create a better, more caring world. Thank you, and we are looking forward to your continued success!
Want to read more about UCA Scholarships? Click Here to link to our website. Would you like to catch the latest caring UCA activities and blogs? We love to share them on our social media feeds (Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter) in addition to posting them to the blog sites.
If you could change one thing in the world to make it a more caring place, what would you change? This is the question we asked our recent scholarship applicants to respond to. There are so many answers to this question, and all are wonderful. We read all of the essays and noticed common themes of empathy, gratitude, and a third common theme: “understanding others.” To understand others takes both empathy and gratitude to connect with others and see them for who they are: caring individuals with achievements of their own.
Grace Peyron – We are All Human
“…if I could change one thing, it would be to simply stop hurting one another and realize that we are all human.” This is part of Grace’s opening statement in her essay. She has a very good point. To help make the world a more caring place begin with stopping a negative action or thought. This takes vigilance. Grace comments, “Some may say that the world isn’t all that bad, that it is only the few bad people in the world creating this horrible corruption of hate against each other, but I think this ugly side is in all of us.” If we are able to let go of the negative when we recognise it, we are more able to promote the positive and caring aspects of ourselves. This example in turn helps others do so as well. Grace’s relatability to the human in all of us comes through when she continues “there are times where we can all admit that we haven’t reached out to help someone when we should have …sometimes get caught in the “id” mindset where we only focus on ourselves and our own desires instead of those of others.”
Why do we all struggle as humans to pull ourselves out of the funky ‘id’? There are many reasons for this but often it is because we are feeling insecure ourselves, and then mirror it onto others. This allows us to externalize the struggle, and often lash out as a result. This can be seen as acts of jealousy or lack of confidence in ourselves. Cue acts of self-care and growth mindset coupled with empathy and gratitude to see that we are all just human beings. This shift in mindset is one way that Grace would like to help promote to create a more caring world. “When we are understanding of one another we listen, we feel empathy; we feel pain when they feel pain and happiness when they feel happiness. When we have this empathy we are forgiving of others faults.”
Shreya Mapadath – See Through Other’s Eyes
Grace is not alone in wanting to help others see and be seen as human. Shreya Mapadath too wants to help make the world a more caring place by giving “…each individual the ability to fully understand one another.” Shreya writes about how power struggles have been recorded throughout history. These conflicts that arise are at their core due to a lack of mutual understanding of each other. Shreya talks about a first hand experience during a conversation with a host family while abroad in South Korea. They had a duscussion about there different views on same-sex marriage. Ultimately Shreya came to the conclusion that “…it doesn’t make sense to observe other people simply through my own perspective; I have to actively seek to understand what part of their lives has molded their beliefs today.” This is a great example of opening your mind to new experiences and learning how to see situations and beliefs through others eyes. Shreya echoes this in her essay. “When we make the effort to educate ourselves on the unique contexts other people live in and connect with them on a deeper level, caring is a natural outcome.” This small task of keeping an open mind to learn about others to see things their way is a key to helping create a more caring world. “By understanding not just the meaning of someone’s words, but also the context from which those words come, the reasons behind our clashing opinions become much more apparent. It is only after we can see past the superficial divides that exist between others and ourselves that we can realize every human is at their core just that: a human being.”
Sara A. McDufford – Being Known For Your Achievements
“There is a common saying, ‘be the change you want to see in the world.’” Sara has a profound point. We have mentioned in other blogs about how actions often speak louder than words, and leading by example. In her essay, Sara talks about removing externalities from people’s perceptions of a person’s abilities and achievements. Sara focuses on race as her example in her essay. She defines race as “… the concern of physical appearance or the genealogical faction.” And she continues in her essay stating that this should stop ASAP. “But it can only stop if we focus on not who has power… but what that power has created in terms of gaps. A discussion about race and race equals power, dismisses communities of color by saying white is might and that’s how it will always be. When we speak of race as who has power and who does not, we invest in putting up additional borders that divides us from the honest conversation about realities that have been created and how to undo those realities.” This gap that Sara writes about does not allow for any healing. This gap doesn’t allow for promoting a more caring world. We are all human, right? There is empathy in the world and in those who strive to see the world through others’ eyes. So why is there a gap? “This [gap] is not exactly a lack of empathy, but it is a lack of exposure.” There are people who have a desire and passion… to learn about each other as a means of growth.” This echoes Shreya, seeing others through their own beliefs and values.
Sara offers a proposal that if these externalities are removed, the gap between people will most likely cease to exist. This will allow for individuals to be seen based on their achievements. This is what Sara believes is one of our biggest desires “…human beings want to be known for the good we do, for what we accomplished and how we existed. We do not want to be known or focused on as if we were just characteristics such as the color of our skin. When we bring our talents towards the public, we hope that our talent is judged alone.” Sara writes about creating a more caring world that allows for people to be known based on their “…work ethic, creativity, dedication… [and] the diversity of our talents should earn their own merits, always.”
With these talented and caring writers we are excited and hopeful for our developing world. Creating a caring atmosphere filled with empathy, gratitude and understanding of others. We are all human. We all can taking caring action. Thank you to all of our talented students who wrote in essays on how to create a more caring world. We are amped up for all of the actions and changes you continue to make!
Want to read more from Unified Caring Association? We have other blogs about UCA and member benefits, blogs for sharing caring the UCA way, and reviews and caring research. If you would like to get caring throughout your week, follow us on social media: Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter!
Want to create a better world? Unified Caring Association’s scholarship awardees have some ideas for you!
The scholarship team at Unified Caring Association asked high school students to tell us what one thing they would change to make the world a better place. We didn’t expect to receive such excellent answers! Such a young group couldn’t possibly tackle any major problems of the world in a 500 word essay, could they? The answer is a resounding YES! In fact, with each essay submission we received, we became more amazed! The emotional intelligence of the students came shining through their writing. Every essay was a caring masterpiece worthy of celebration and praise. Each student had ideas to create a better world! How would our scholarship team ever pick the top ten? And who were these kids that were coming up with these great ideas? Each of their essays inspired us!
So, what does a better world look like to high school students?
We discovered as we read and reviewed each essay, that our high school students want meaningful changes. Specifically, they would like to change the way we communicate, interact and consider one another. Many wrote about ideas to create greater understanding and mutual respect in the world. For example, Shreya Mapadath wrote, “Given the ability to change one aspect of the world to make it a more caring place, I would give each individual the ability to fully understand one another.” Adding later, “… when we are able to see people as the fusion of countless elements, we can truly begin to both understand and appreciate their complexity, and ultimately, care for them.”
Similarly, Olivia Dixon wrote about the need for greater understanding of our global neighbors. She stated, “To make the world a more caring place, we need to break down cultural ignorance and bring people together through cultural understanding.” Additionally warning us of, “… stereotypes and negative views that shape the way that an entire group of people is seen.”
Last but not least, Nicole Svagr shared in her essay how understanding and empathy has helped her to forge new friendships and become a better a person. Based on examples from history and her own personal experience Nicole believes that empathy holds the key to a better world.
Where can we read these caring student essays?
Without a doubt, the next generation is concerned about the level of compassion and understanding in the world. For this reason, Unified Caring Association (UCA) wanted to provide them a platform for their caring ideas. In an effort to promote caring in our next generation, the UCA Scholarship Program invites students to think about how caring impacts our world, and to share their caring thoughts and ideas in writing. Every essay entry undergoes the careful reviews of our scholarship team members. The scholarship selection process is based on a caring rubric. Scholarship awardees are contacted and congratulated. In addition, top ten essays are published on the UCA website for the world to see. The UCA team believes that these caring student essays will inspire others to be more caring. With that in mind, we invite you to visit our website, read and share each wonderfully caring essay!
Please read our other blogs featuring UCA student scholarship awardees:
To show you care, invest in others.
If you are looking for a way to make a difference today, start with those at arm’s-length! One small change we can all make to create more caring in the world is to thoughtfully carve out some time and energy to invest in others. When we acknowledge and take time for others we let them know that they matter. The simple act of circling back to check in on someone can make a great difference. The daily act of making eye contact and listening with our full attention are also purposefully caring acts. In the end, we create more caring connections and everyone is better for the experience.
What truly connects us?
Modern technology has completely changed our methods of communication and connection in the past ten years. As a result, you might expect this generation to feel differently about making “in person” connections with others. After all, it’s easier to text or instant message someone at your convenience rather than pick up the phone or make the effort to go and visit someone. But, have we created a societal problem by introducing technology into our relationships? It seems that each new report from the Pew Research Center shows increases in online usage, and smartphones. The utilization of technology to create and manage relationships has become the norm. Suffice to say, with so many of us online, there are many opinions on the effects of technology on human interactions. However, the one thing we all seem to agree upon is that there is no substitute for direct human connection.
Unplug for a better connection!
Most people will agree that an emoticon will not ever be able to convey the joy of seeing your sister’s baby for the first time, nor will it appropriately express your sadness over the loss of a loved one. Yet, the selection of emoticons has become part of a modern day communication strategy. Instead of placing our efforts into being at the side of a friend who is in need of support, people are putting their effort into the selection of the most appropriate GIF and calling it a day! But, truly caring for one another requires that we show up in person and give of ourselves. That’s something no emoticon or GIF could ever accomplish! When we invest in others we create a better connection than high speed internet could ever provide!
Students are asking us to unplug and invest in one another.
Unified Caring Association asked high school students what one thing they would change to make the world more caring. One scholarship awarded essay entry written by Caleb Joshua Cox reminds us of the importance of investing in each other. Caleb’s essay makes a heartfelt case for the value of tenderness and true human connection and caring. He encourages us to share our time and knowledge with those around us to make the world a more caring place. Another scholarship awarded essay written by Elaine Yan asks us to seek freedom from the distractions of social media, and demonstrate our caring by giving each our full attention to others. Notably, the stand out essay topic in UCA’s most recent scholarship contest was the negative effect of social media. We are relieved to see that our next generation understands the value of investing the time to connect with others.
To learn more about UCA’s most recent scholarship round, read our blog Change One Thing To Create a Better World.
We asked students to tell us what change they would like to see in the world.
If you could change one thing in the world to make it a more caring place, what would you change? Unified Caring Association’s scholarship team posed this very question to high school students in their recent scholarship contest. Students were instructed to consider what they would change to make the world better. High school seniors and juniors were invited to submit answers to the question in the form of a short essay. Students were able to let their creative freedom completely flow with such an open ended question! Their essay answers could be about anything, as long as they described how their one change would create a more caring world.
The response was amazing!
As you may have expected, the answers to the scholarship essay prompt covered an wide variety of topics. So many great ideas were shared! Students freely expressed their concerns about the world we live in and suggested some very well thought out solutions. As a result, the scholarship judges really had their work cut out for them! Each essay was a treasure!
Take for example the essay submitted by TiAnna Olivas. She answered the scholarship essay prompt very directly by stating, ” I would have people possess a more selfless heart and mindset.” In addition, she discussed the merits of engaging in community service, volunteering and paying it forward. Any one of the changes she suggested in her essay would make a notable impact!
Similarly, the essay we received from Briana Moore suggested implementing community service to benefit health, community and personal development. Another key point she made in her essay is the disconnecting effect of social media on relationships. Briana wants us to step away from technology and go out and help someone! And we think that’s a great idea!
As evidenced by the essays posted on the UCA Scholarship Announcement page, our student writers have many great ideas to make the world a better place. Please take some time to read the essays our high school friends submitted. You won’t be disappointed! They remind us with their essays that we are here for one another, and that positive change is possible!
Unified Caring Association (UCA) is happy to announce their sponsorship of the 2018 Miles for Maji Event! This caring event is happening on 4/22/2018 – Earth Day – at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, Boston. With their ongoing support of clean water projects, it’s not surprising to see our friends at UCA sponsor caring beyond borders once again!
When the team at Unified Caring Association heard from their non-profit C.A.R.E. partner, Save the Rain, about a wonderful humanitarian initiative that was started by a group of American students, they immediately decided to get involved!
What is Miles for Maji?
In the summer of 2016, a group of 13 high school students traveled to Tanzania on a service trip. While in country the teens learned first-hand about the global water crisis and even had the experience of walking for water with Tanzanian villagers. As they walked, they learned that each school day across Tanzania, children have to leave their classrooms to walk for hours to collect water … and the water is not even clean! The students reflected on the hardship of the Tanzanian students. They realized how lucky they were to not have to forfeit hours of their education each day. They thought about the waterborne illnesses their Tanzanian friends had to deal with. As a result, they decided to do something impactful to create a difference for those living in water starved communities. So, they formed a group called Miles for Maji – “maji” is the Swahili word for water – with the purpose of raising funds to provide clean drinking water to an entire Tanzanian village.
Where does UCA come in?
With the support and corporate sponsorship of Unified Caring Association, the Miles for Maji students created walking and running fundraising events in West Palm Beach, San Diego and Boston that took place on Earth Day, April 22, 2017. One UCA team member created an online “remote participation” option for the event giving others the opportunity to do their own “walk for water.” It created a wave of awareness and fundraising activity across the country! The 2017 event raised over $15,000 toward their goal!
UCA team member, Christine Greenberg stated, “It was a pleasure for all of us at Unified Caring Association to sponsor such a wonderful act of global citizenship. With the support of UCA, all money raised by the Miles for Maji events will go directly to fund the creation of a clean water solution for a village in need. Our CARE partner, the non-profit Save the Rain, will use the funds to provide clean drinking water to the village of Makiba, in Tanzania. Currently the primary school in Makiba has 1,100 students. Their walk for water is 6 hours long with 70% of the students suffering from waterborne illnesses and 53% failing school because of these challenges. Unified Caring Association is completely delighted to support the beautiful demonstration of caring beyond borders that the Miles for Maji project demonstrates. This is truly caring in action!”
How can I get involved?
On Earth Day 4/22/2018, Cate Brown, Miles for Maji founder, will be hosting her second annual Miles for Maji mile walk and 5k race at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, Boston. The goal of providing the village of Makiba with clean drinking water is clearly within reach! Unified Caring Association is proud to sponsor this amazing event once again. We wish Cate and the village of Makiba every success, and encourage everyone to participate or donate to this very worthy cause. To join the Miles for Maji effort to provide clean water to Makiba, please visit the Miles for Maji website.
Thanks to Miles for Maji and Save the Rain for their caring example in our world!